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int him bring in the Priests of the Church, and let them pray over him. This the Greek version clearly points out; for in the same passage where we have the words, that you may be saved, the Greek text has the word (byte which refers properly to the health of the body.




I shall now add the testimonies of the ancient councils of the church, which have been held at different periods, and in different countries, from which the doctrine of the Universal Church may be gathered. These testimonies of the councils which I shall adduce, although they may not go directly to establish the truth, viz. that confession is of divine institution, contain nevertheless, the ancient custom, and frequently also indicate the necessity of confessing sins to the Priests. From which it will be easy to ipfer, that it must therefore have been commanded by God himself, as well because the origin of this practice is no where found in any council; as, because it is by no means probable, the faithful would have consented to a precept so difficult and repugnant to nature without reclaiming against it, especially, if by confessiog to God alone, by a confession or made in general terms, they could have obtained the remission of their sins.

In the first place the practice of confession is proved from the council of Laodicea, held in the East as early as the year 364. cond Canon we read these words: To those who fall under the guilt of different sins, and who by prayer, confession, and penance shers a perfect conversion from their evil ways, a time of penance must be allotted according to the quality of the sin.

In the Canons also of the sixth Synod, held by the Greeks about the year 500; we read in the 1020 Canon, these words : It is proper that those who have received from God the power of loosing and binding, should consider the quality of the sin, and exert a becoming seal for the conversion of the sinner, and thus apply a proper remedy to the disease.

In the Latin church, in the 31st Canon of the third council of Carthage, which was held in the year 350, we find these words : The time of penance must be determined, according to to the judgment of

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the Bishop, agrecably to the difference of the sins. And we find the same Canon repeated in the African council, can. 10.

There certainly can be no doubt, that all sios must be revealed in confession, if the time of penance, or the period during which the sinner is to do penance, is to be determined according to the difference of the sins.

We read also in the 8th Canon of the first council of Chalons, held in the year 654, these words: We judge it to be highly useful that a penance, be imposed by the Priest on the penitent, his confession having been made.

Again in the 32d canon of the second council of Chalops held in the year 850, we read thus: We have remarked this also as requiring correction, namely, that when persons confess their sins to the Priests, they do not fully develop them. Wherefore as man is formed of two substances, viz. the soul and the body, and sometimes he sins by an act of the mind, and at other times by the frailty of the flesh, they must, by a strict enquiry examine into these sins, that a full and entire confes

be made of both ; viz. that those sins may be confessed which are committed by the body, and those also which are committed simply in thought,

In the third council of Tours, which was held about the same time chap. 22. we read as follows: Bishops and Priests ought cautiously to consider, how they determine the time of abstinence with respect to those who confess their sins to them. We find a similar testimony in the council of Rheims, equally as ancient as the above, in can. 12. v. 6. and in the Parisian, chap. 32. and 46. All these councils are of the Gallican church.

If we examine the Church of Germany, we shall find testimonies equally strong. For in the council of Mentz, held under the archbishop Rabanus, in chapter 26 it is thus decreed: Particular care

rust be taken by the Priests, that those sick who are in danger of death, make a clear and sincere confession; the quantity of penance must not however be imposed upon them. See also chap. 27.

In the council of Worms held in the year 868, it is thus set down in the beginning of that council, chap. 25. Priests are to regulate the penance of the penitents, according to the difference of iheir sins. Each Priest, therefore, in prescribing the penance, ought to consider the causes of each singly, also the origin and circumstances of the sins, and diligently to examine the disposition and repentance of the delinquents, to know then thoroughly, as well as to examine into the qualities of the

times, persons, places and ages, in order that he should not he inattentive to what is laid down in the sacred canons respecting the places, ages, times, or quality of the crimes, and of the grief of each delinquent. From these testimonies it appears how differently the ancient churches of the East and West, thought and taught, concerning Confession, from what the multitude of present sectaries and innovators think and teach.

To these testimonies we may add the general Councils: the Council of Lateran, under Innocent III. chap. 21. that of Constance, Sess, 8. of Florence in Instruct. Armenorum, the council of Trent, which I have inserted above at large, which, although rejected by our adversaries, by reason of their being of a more recent date than the others, are, however, rejected without reason. For they transmit to us a faith and doctrine perfectly conformable to all the most ancient Councils, and contain the sentiments of the whole Catholic church, during the space of four hundred years, so that they cannot be said to be in error, without admitting, at the same time, that the whole church of Christ has erred with them, (which is impossible,) and consequently, that the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against her, notwithstanding the promises of Christ.




To the testimonies of the Councils, we may add the testimonies of the Fathers, as well Greek, as Latin, who flourished in each age of the church.

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I shall cite in the first place, St. Ireneus, who lived in the first age, almost immediately after the Apostles, who was the disciple of St. Polycarp, who had been himself, the disciple of St. John the Evangelist. In his first book, chap. 9, he thus writes of certain women, whom Marcus the heretic, had seduced: These, says he, often converted to the church of God, confessed, that having their bodies extermina¢ed as it were, by him, and inflamed by lust, they loved him to excess. And, speaking a little below of another who had been seduced; When with great labour the brethren had converted her, penetrated with grief, she spent her whole time in confessing and bewailing her sins (in Exomologesi) and lamenting the crime she had been led, by this Magician, to commit. And in the third book, chap. 4. Cerdon, says he, after coming into the church, and making his confession, thus, spent his time, at one time privately teaching, at another making his confession.


The second testimony I shall adduce in favour of confession, is the great Turtullian, who flourished towards the end of this same century, under the reign of Severus, as he himself informs us in his apology, chap. 4. It is thus, he writes in his book on penance. (ed. Froben) p. 484. I presume, says he, that many avoid declaring their sins, or delay it from day to day, because they have more regard for their honour, than they have for their salvation ; they resemble in this respect those who having contracted a disease in the hidden parts of their body, conceal it from the eye of their physician, and suffer themselves ihus to br beref of life, through an unhappy shame. And a little after in a strain of irony: 0 the singular advantage to be gained. by concealing our sin! Do we think, that by covering ii from the cyes of men, it will escape the all-seeing eye of God? Here then is a strong testimony in favour of Confession, from one who lived shortly after the Apostles. He speaks in the most explicit terms of the necessity of confessing even our most secret sins, that it is not enough to confess them to God, but we must also declare them to men; and he considers our very salvation, as depending upon the faithful discharge of this duty.



YEAR 200 TO 300.


ORIGEN, who lived at the beginning of the second century, after the Apostles, under the reign of Alexander Afameas and immediate

ly after Tertullian, compares the secret şins, which burden the corscience, to indigested meat, which overloads the stomach, and says, that we must have recourse to confession, in order to rid ourselves of our sins and be cured. His words are these: Dum accusat semetipsum & confitetur, simul evomat & delictum, atque omnem morbi digerit causam. Hom. 2. in Psalm 37. T. 1. He adds, moreover, that we must use great discernment in the choice of our spiritual physician, to whom we are to discover the diseases of our soul; that having made choice of one, we must obey him in all things; and if he hould judge that we ought to declare any one of our faults to the assembly of the faithful, we must submit to it. Here we see, that it w: the practice of the faithful in those days, on some occasions, and when specially enjoined by the Priests, to make a public confession of some of their faults, that before they made this public confession, they previously made a secret confession to the priest, and that they did not declare before the public, all the sins they had revealed in private. This testimony is no less strong than the foregoing. But Kemnitius, has taken it into his head, to distinguish here, secret sins from public ones, and to pretend that the doctrine of Origen, is, that it is sufficient to coufess the former to God alone, and that it is not necessary to reveal the others to the priest, except to know from him, which those are, which may be declared in the assembly of the faithful, with fruit and edification, without exposing them to the evil consequences of slauder. He maintains that this doctrine is contained in the two homilies, upon the 37th Psalm, observing, that the first treats of sins of the first sort, and the following of those of the second. But, I here challange any one, who will take the trouble to read the above mentioned homilies, to point out to me, the least foundation for any such distinction. It is all mere assertion, and but a lame contrivance to weaken the force of the testimony. Origen gives sufficiently to understand in other passages, how much he is persuaded of the necessity of confessing his most secret sins, when for example, he says: that the only means of preventing the accusation of the devil our enemy, is to accuse ourselves ; that he who has carried us to offend God, will not fail to accuse us of our most secret sins, even of those we have committed in thought; hut by accusing ourselves, we shall avoid his malignity. What stronger refutation can there be to the imaginary distinction of Kempitius ? This reformer may equally read his condemnation in these other words of the same Father. If we confess our sins, not only to God, but likewise to those who have the power to heal our wounds, air sins will be effaceil

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