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tants, that we are not only to confess our sins-to God; and that it is not useless to confess to men.
2. “Speak unto the children of Israel, when a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall confess their sins which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed. But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord; even to the priest.” Numb. v. 6, &c.
Now if in the case herein lastly mentioned the compensation was to be made to the priest, then of consequence, the confession of the sin was to be made to the priest too, otherwise how must he know what compensation to demand ? The whole text is a proof, that the people under the old testament were enjoined by the law of Moses to confess their sins to their priests; for, First, The priests were to order the satisfaction that was to be made to the injured party by the trespass done; and, Secondly, they were also to offer sacrifices of propitiation, such as the law prescribed, which were different according to the kind and quality of the offence; neither of which offices could the priests possibly perform, unless the people had confessed their sins to them. And although this was not sacramental confession, it was, a figure of it; as was also the law given to the leprous to shew themselves to the priests, that they might judge between leprosy and leprosy, and discern between the clean and the unclean. Levit. xiii. 15.
3. “Then went out to him Jerusalem and all
Judea, and all the region about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan confessing their sins.”' Matt. iii. 5, 6.
The Gospel does not say these people confessed themselves only in general terms to be sinners, as Protestants do when they confess that they have done what they should not do, and have not done what they should do (which indeed is an eternal truth); but, it is here said, that they confessed their sins; which implies a particular confession made to St. John Baptist of the sins each one had committed, , which confession, though not sacramental, was the pattern and preparation to it. 4. “ And
that believed came and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many also of them which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Acts xix. 18, 19.
Here we read that these new converts at Ephesus came to St. Paul and confessed their sins : They came and confessed, and shewed their deeds : like true penitents; first, believing, then repenting, then confessing; and, lastly, making satisfaction to God, by burning the books which had been their instructors in wickedness.
Admitting all this to be true, replies the Protestant, it is not yet proved that we are bound, jure divino, by the command and institution of Christ, to make a special confession of all deadly sins to the priests of the Church.
I answer, that this is most clearly implied in these words of our Saviour: “ Verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye
shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose
on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt. xviii. 18. “ Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John XX. 23. For according to a maxim in law: To whom jurisdiction or power is given, to them is also granted all those things without which the power can never be put in execution. And since it is not possible for the priests of the Church to know when they ought to absolve, and when to withhold their absolution; whose sins are to be remitted, and whose to be retained; what satisfaction is to be made to God; what compensation to the parties injured ; unless they are thoroughly apprised of the sins of each one, and of the different species and qualities of them, which cannot be known to them otherwise than by the confession of the parties who have sinned; it is undeniable that our Saviour giving to the apostles a power of binding and absolving, of remitting and retaining sins, does thereby give to us a command of confessing them to the priest that is to absolve us; since without such confession the power of remitting and retaining sins could never have been put in execution with any degree of judgment and discretion; which truth being so very plain, nay, I may say, self-evident, there could be no reason to expect from the Gospel any farther precept of confessing our sins to the priest.
POINT XX. PROTESTANTS hold, That penance entirely consists in a sorrow for our sins, and amendment of life. That no punishment of the sinner's own person, no penance enjoined by the Church, no satisfaction
by prayers, almsdeeds, and fasting, is necessary to pacify our offended God: nay, that all such satisfaction is needless and superfluous, and, moreover, injurious to the satisfaction Christ has already made for us.
Contrary to the express words of their Bible.
1. “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house, because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” 2 Sam. xii. 10. “ And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David : The Lord also hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed, thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” Ver. 13, &c.
Here we find that God afflicted David with many temporal chastisements, even after his sin was forgiven. And it is well known from the penitential Psalms of David, that though he knew by revelation from the prophet Nathan that God had pardoned his sin, that is, released him from the guilt of eternal death, he nevertheless persisted in doing penance for it, praying, weeping, and beseeching God for mercy all the days of his life. To what purpose if, as Protestants affirm, penance entirely consists in a change of mind and amendment of life, and all other satisfaction made to God by the punishment of the sinner's own person is superfluous.
2. “Therefore also now saith the Lord : turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.". Joel ü. 12.
3. “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job xlii. 6.
4. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee, Bethsaida, for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Matt. xi. 21.
5. “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even unto the least of them. Jonah iii. 5.
In these texts of holy Scripture, I think penance is described in far other characters than in a bare change of mind and amendment of life. In fasting, and weeping, and mourning, as Joel has it. dust and ashes, as Job has it. In sackcloth and ashes, as our. Saviour in the Gospel teaches. In sackcloth and fasting, as Jonah testifies.
Then there are other works of repentance (penance) to be done to pacify God for sin, besides a change of heart and amendment of life, and such other works of penance, called in Scripture worthy fruits of penance; works worthy of penance are not needless and superfluous as Protestants pretend. Matt. iii. 8. Acts xxvi. 20.
PROTESTANTS hold, That the use of indulgences was not in the days of the apostles, nor has any foundation in Scripture. Contrary to what we find written in St. Paul :
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which is inflicted of many.' 2 Cor. ii. 6. "For if I forgave any to whom I forgave it, for