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sion thereupon. “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time when thou mayest be found.” King Solomon, in his prayer for the people at the dedication of the temple, treadeth just in his father's steps. If they “ turn' (saith he) and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly: if they return to thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, &c. forgive thy people, which have sinned against thee, all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee.” And the poor publican, putting up his supplication in the temple accordingly,
“ Gods be merciful to me a sinner," went back to his house justified, without making confession to any other ghostly father, but only " the" Father of spirits,” of whom St. John giveth us this assurance, that “ifi we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Which promise, that it appertained to such as did confess their sins unto God, the ancient fathers were so well assured of, that they cast in a manner all upon this confession, and left little or nothing to that which was made unto man. Nay, they do not only leave it free for men to confess or not confess their sins unto others (which is the most that we would have); but some of them also seem, in words at least, to advise men not to do it at all: which is more than we seek for.
St. Chrysostom of all others is most copious in this argument: some of whose passages to this purpose I will here lay down. “ Itk is not necessary (saith he) that thou shouldst confess in the presence of witnesses : let the inquiry of thy offences be made in thy thought; let this judgment be without a witness; let God only see thee
e Psalm, 32. ver. 6.
h Hebr. chap. 12. ver. 9. I 1 John, chap. 1. ver. 9.
* Nunc autem neque necessarium præsentibus testibus confiteri ; cogitatione fiat delictorum exquisitio ; absque teste sit hoc judicium. Solus te Deus confitentem videat. Chrysost. homil. de pænitent. et confession. tom. 5. edit. Latin. Col. 901. edit. Basil. ann. 1558.
confessing. Therefore! I entreat, and beseech and pray you, that you would continually make your confession to God. For I do not bring thee into the theatre of thy fellow-servants, neither do I constrain thee to discover thy sins unto men: unclasp thy conscience before God, and shew thy wounds unto him, and of him ask a medicine. Shew them to Him that will not reproach, but heal thee. For although thou hold thy peace, he knoweth all. Let" us not call ourselves sinners only, but let us recount our sins, and repeat every one of them in special. I do not say unto the, Bring thyself upon the stage, nor, Accuse thyself unto others: but I counsel thee to obey the prophet, saying, Reveal thy way unto the Lord. Confess them before God, confess thy sins before the Judge; praying, if not with thy tongue, at least with thy memory: and so look to obtain mercy. But" thou art ashamed to say, that thou hast sinned. Confess thy faults then daily in thy prayer. For do I say, Confess them to thy fellow-servant, who may reproach thee therewith ? Confess them to God, who healeth them. For, although thou confess them not at all, God is not ignorant of them. Wherefore then, tell
1 Διά τούτο παρακαλώ και δέομαι και αντιβολώ, εξομολογείσθαι συνεχώς τη θεω. ουδέ γάρ εις θέατρόν σε άγω των συνδούλων των σών, ουδε έκκαλύψαι τους ανθρώποις αναγκάζω τα αμαρτήματα το συνειδος ανάπτυξoν έμπροσθεν του θεού, και αυτώ δείξουν τα τραύματα, και παρ' αυτού τα φάρμακα αίτησον. Δείζον τα μη όνειδίζοντί, αλλά θεραπεύοντι καν γάρ συ σιγήσης, οίδεν εκείνος άπαντα. Ιd. circa finem hom. 5. περί ακαταλήπτου, de incomprehensib. Dei natur. op. tom. 1. pag. 490.
ι Μή αμαρτωλούς καλώμεν εαυτούς μόνον, αλλά και τα αμαρτήματα αναλογιζώμεθα, κατ' είδος έκαστον αναλέγοντες. Ου λέγω σοι, εκπόμπευσον σαυτόν, ουδέ παρά τοις οις κατηγόρησον, αλλά πείθεσθαι συμβουλεύω το προφήτη, λέγοντι, 'Αποκάλυψαν προς Κύριον την οδόν σου επί του θεού ταύτα ομολόγησον, επί του δικαστού ομολόγει τα αμαρτήματα, ευχόμενος, εί και μή τη γλώττη αλλά τη μνήμη, και ούτως αξίου ελεηθή
Ιd. in epist. ad Ηebr. cap. 12. homil. 31. op. tom. 12. pag. 289. η 'Αλλ' αισχύνη είπείν, δίοτι ήμαρτες. λέγε αυτά καθ' ημέραν εν τη ευχή σου. και τί; μή γάρ λέγω, Είπε τω συνδόυλω τώ ονειδίζοντί σε και είπε το θεά τη θεραπεύοντι αυτά, ου γάρ, εάν μή είπης, αγνοει αυτά ο θεός. Ιd. in Psal. 50. hom. 2. op. tom. 5. pag. 589.
ο Τίνος γάρ ένεκεν αισχύνη και ερυθριάς, είπέ μοι, τα αμαρτήματα ειπείν ; μή γάρ ανθρώπω λέγεις, ίνα ονειδίση σε ; μή γάρ τώ συνδούλη ομολογείς, ίνα εκπομπεύση: το δεσπότη, το κηδεμόνι, το φι
me, art thou ashamed and blushest to confess thy sins? For dost thou discover them to a man, that he may reproach thee? Dost thou confess them to thy fellow-servant, that he may bring thee upon the stage? To Him who is thy Lord, who hath care of thee, who is kind, who is thy physician, thou shewest thy wound. strain thee not, saith God, to go into the midst of the theatre, and to make many witnesses of the matter. Confess thy sin to me alone in private, that I may heal thy sore, and free thee from grief. And this is not only wonderful, that he forgiveth us our sins; but that he neither discovereth them, nor maketh them open and manifest, nor constraineth us to come forth in public and disclose our misdemeanors; but commandeth us to give an account thereof unto him alone, and unto him to make confession of them.”
Neither doth St. Chrysostom here walk alone. That saying of St. Augustine is to the same effect: “What have I to do with men, that they should hear my confessions, as though they should heal all my diseases ?" and that collection of St. Hilary upon the two last verses of the fiftysecond Psalm, that David there teacheth us "to confess to no other but unto the Lord, who hath made the olive fruitful with the mercy of hope (or the hope of mercy) for ever and ever.” And that advice of Pinuphius the Ægyp
λανθρώπω, το ιατρό το τραύμα επιδεικνύεις. Ιd. homil. 4. de Lazaro, op. tom. 1. pag. 757.
Ρ Ουκ αναγκάζω, φησίν, εις μέσον έλθείν σε θέατρον, και μάρτυρας περιστήσαι πολλούς. Εμοί το αμάρτημα είπε μόνο κατ' ιδίαν, ίνα θεραπεύσω το έλκος, και απαλλάξω της οδύνης. Ιd. ibid. pag. 758.
9 Ού τούτο δε μόνον εστί το θαυμαστόν, ότι αφίησιν ημίν τα αμαρτήματα, αλλ' ότι αυτά ουδέ εκκαλύπτει, ουδέ ποιεί αυτά φανερά και δηλα, ουδέ αναγκάζει παρελθόντας εις μέσον εξειπείν τα πεπλημμελημένα. άλλ' αυτή μόνω απολογήσασθαι κελεύει, και προς αυτόν εξομολογήσασθαι. Ιd. Cateches. 2. op. tom. 2. pag. 240.
r Quid mihi ergo est cum hominibus ut audiant confessiones meas, quasi ipsi sanaluri sint omnes languores meos ? Augustin. confess. lib. 10. cap. 3. op. tom. 1. pag. 171.
$ Confessionis autem caussam addidit, dicens ; Quia fecisti, autorem scilicet universitatis hujus Dominum esse confessus ; nulli alii docens confitendum, quam qui fecit olivam fructiferam spei misericordia in seculum seculi. Hilar. in Psal. 51. op. pag. 81.
tian abbot, which I find also inserted amongst the canons collected for the use of the Church of England, in the time of the Saxons, under the title, De poenitentia soli Deo confitenda : “ Who is it that cannot humbly say, I made my sin known unto thee, and my iniquity have I not hid? that by this confession he may confidently adjoin that which followeth: and thou forgavest the impiety of my heart. But if shamefacedness do so draw thee back, that thou blushest to reveal them before men; cease not by continual supplication to confess them unto Him from whom they cannot be hid: and to say, I know mine iniquity, and my sin is against me always ; to thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee : whose custom is, both to cure without the publishing of any shame, and to forgive sins without upbraiding.” St. Augustine, Cassiodor, and Gregory make a further observation upon that place of the thirty-second Psalm : " I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin;" that God, upon the only promise and purpose of making this confession, did forgive the sin. “ Mark,” saith Gregory, “how great the swiftness is of this vital indulgence, how great the commendation is of God's mercy; that pardon should accompany the very desire of him that is about to confess, before that repentance do come to afflict him ; and remission should come to the heart, before that confession did break forth by the voice." So St. Basil, upon those other words of the Psalmist, “I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart," maketh this paraphrase: “I” do not confess with my lips, that I may manifest myself unto many; but inwardly in my very heart, shutting mine eyes, to thee alone, who seest the things that are in secret, do I shew my groans, roaring within myself. For the groans of my heart sufficed for a confession, and the lamentations sent to thee my God from the depth of my soul.”
! Antiq. lib. canon. 66. titulorum, MS. in bibliotheca Cottoniana.
u Quis est qui non possit suppliciter dicere, Peccatum meum cognitum tibi feci, et injustitiam meam non operui ? ut per hanc confessionem etiam illud confidenter subjungere mereatur : Et tu remisisti impietatem cordis mei. Quod si, verecundia retrahente, revelare ea coram hominibus erubescis, illi, quem latere non possunt, confiteri ea jugi supplicatione non desinas, ac dicere Iniquitatem meam ego cognosco, et peccatum meum contra me est semper : tibi soli peccavi et malum coram te feci : qui et absque ullius verecundiæ publicatione curare, et sine improperio peccata donare consuevit. Jo. Cassian. collat. 20. cap. 8.
* Attende quanta sit indulgentiæ vitalis velocitas, quanta misericordiæ Dei commendatio : ut confitentis desiderium comitetur venia, antequam ad cruciatum perveniat pænitentia ; ante remissio ad cor perveniat, quam confessio in vocem erumpat. Greg. exposit. 2. Psal. Pænitential. op. tom. 3. par. 2. pag. 476.
And as St. Basil maketh the groans of the heart to be a sufficient confession, so doth St. Ambrose the tears of the penitent. “ Tears",” saith he,“ do wash the sin, which the voice is ashamed to confess. Weeping doth provide both for pardon and for shamefacedness: tears do speak our fault without horror, tears do confess our crime without offence of our shamefacedness." From whence, he that glosseth upon Gratian, who hath inserted these words of St. Ambrose into his collection of the decrees, doth infer, that, “ ifb for shame a man will not confess, tears alone do blot out his sin." Maximus Taurinensis followeth St. Ambrose herein almost verbatim. “ The tear," saith he," was heth the sin, which the voice is ashamed to confess. Tears therefore do equally provide both for our shamefacedness and for our health : they neither blush in asking, and they obtain in requesting.” Lastly, Prosper,
y Psal. 38. ver 8.
2 Ου γαρ ίνα τους πολλούς φανερός γένωμαι, τοϊς χείλεσιν εξομολογούμαι. ένδον δε εν αυτή τη καρδία το όμμα μύων, σοι μόνο το βλέποντι τα έν κρυπτο, τούς έμαυτού στεναγμούς επιδεικνύω, εν εμαυτώ ωρυόμενος. Ουδε γάρ μακρών μοι λόγων χρεία ήν προς την εξομολόγησιν. άπήρχουν γάρ οι στεναγμοί της καρδίας μου προς εξομολόγησιν, και οι από βάθους ψυχής πρός σε τον θεόν αναπεμπόμενοι οδυρμοί. Basil. in Psal. 37. op. tom. 1. pag. 367.
a Lavant lachrymæ delictum, quod voce pudor est confiteri. Et veniæ fletus consulunt, et verecundiæ : lachrymæ sine horrore culpam loquuntur; lachrymæ crimen sine offensione verecundiæ confitentur Ambros. lib. 10. comment. in Luc. sec. 88. op. tom. 1. pag. 1523.
• Unde, etsi propter pudorem nolit quis confiteri, solæ lachrymæ delent peccata.
Gloss. de Pænit. distinct. 1. cap. 2. Lachrymæ. c Lavat lachryma delictum, quod voce pudor est confiteri. Lachrymæ ergo verecundiæ consulunt, pariter et saluti ; nec erubescunt in petendo, et impetrant in rogando. Maxim. homil. de pænitent. Petri, tom. 5. biblioth. patr. part. 1. pag. 21. edit. Colon.