صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

them : and it is also erlotpopri mpos Ocov, “a conversion to God";' from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God: ávavúpev, 'a returning to sobriety,' the same with μεταβάλλειν, μεταθέσθαι, μεταγινώσκειν, in Justin Martyr, all signifying a departing from our follies, and a changing to a better life. And though sometimes 'to repent’is in Scripture, taken for sorrow only, or a being troubled that the fact is done ; yet it is called repentance, no otherwise than as alms is called charity; that is, it is an effect of it, a part, or action, or adjunct, of the duty and state of repentance: which ought to be observed, lest (as it is too commonly) one act be mistaken for the whole state, and we account ourselves perfect penitents if we have only wept a penitential shower ; which is also to be observed in the definitions which the doctors give of it.

5. Tertullian calls it “a passion of the mind, or grief for the offence of our former acts:"St. Austin calls it', “a revenge always punishing in itself that which it grieves to have committed." These do only describe that part of repentance which is sometimes signified by Metauédera, and is nothing else but a godly sorrow, the porch, or beginnings of repentance. On the other side Lactantius" describing repentance, gives only the grammatical sense of perávota. "Agere autem pænitentiam nihil aliud est quam profiteri et affirmare se ulterius non peccaturum :" "To repent is nothing else but a profession and affirmation, that he will sin no more;" which descriptions of repentance are just as if we should say,--A man is a creature that speaks, or laughs, or that can learn to read. These are effects of his nature, but not the ingredients of a proper definition. Sorrow, and revenge, and holy purposes and protestations, are but single acts of a returning and penitent man: whereas repentance is a whole state of a new life, an entire change of the sinner, with all its appendages and instruments of ministry.

6. As the Greeks have, so have the Latins also, two words to signify this duty, ‘pænitentia' and 'resipiscentia,' and these have almost the same fate and the same usages with the other. • Pænitentia’ is used by the old Latin translation;

? 2 Sam. xii. 5. 13. Deut. XXX. 2. Jer. iii.7. Acts, xxvi. 18. Eph. v. 14. Ezek. xxxiii. 12. Luke, xix. 8-10. * De Pænit. in princip.

i Lib. de ver. et fals. Pænit. c. 8.

u Lib. 6. Divin. instit. c. 13.

and is most tenaciously retained by all them, who make the very life of repentance to run into corporal austerities (like the juice of luxuriant trees into irregular suckers and excrescences), which therefore, by way of eminency, they call “penances;' for they suppose the word, in its very nature and institution, to signify something that is punitive, and afflictive. So Hugo : “ Pænitentia quasi punientia, qudd per eam homo in se puniat, quod malè admisit?.” Much like that of Scotus : “ Pænitentia quasi pænæ tenentia ;" which they both learned from St. Austin'; : Pænitere est idem quod rei commissæ aliquem pudere ac pigere, ita ut pænitet sit idem quod pæna tenet.This sense of the word prevailed long, and therefore some that would speak exactly, observing that the duty of repentance did principally consist in the amendment of our lives, were forced to use the word “resipiscentia?,' which better renders the Greek metávola. So Lactantius expressly : “Græci melius et significantiùs uetávorav dicunt: quam Latinè possumus ‘resipiscentiam' dicere. Resipiscit enim, ac mentem suam quasi ab insania recipit, quem errare piget, castigatque seipsum dementiæ, et confirmat animum suum ad rectiùs vivendum :” “He truly repents who recovers his mind from folly, and chastising his error, and grieving for his madness, strengthens his purposes to better living?.”

7. Either of the words will serve the turn. Pænitentia,' or 'penance,' is the old Latin word; ‘resipiscentia' is the new one, but very expressive and significant : and it is indifferent which be used, if men had not a design upon one, which cannot prudently be effected by it. But such is the force of words, especially when men choose and affect one particularly, and studiously reject another, which is apt to signify the same thing,—that, in the Greek church, because their words for ‘repentance' did imply only or principally'a change of life, they usually describe ‘repentance' in that formality ; but the later Latins practise and discourse to other purposes; and the college of Rheims render metavoeite, word for word after their vulgar Latin; 'agite penitentiam,''do penance ;' which is so absurd a reddition, that their interest and design are more apparent than their skill in grammar, or their ingenuity. It is much, very much better, which we learn from a wise heathen, who gives such

» Lib. 3. de Mysle. Eccles. Solil. cap. 19.

1 Lib. 6. c. 24.

an account both of the words and thing, as might not misbecome the best instructed Christian, so far as concerns the nature and morality of the duty: his words are excellent words, and therefore I shall transcribe them. Διο πειρασθαι δει μάλιστα μεν μη αμαρτάνειν' αμαρτόντας δε σπεύδειν, ως επί ιατρικής της πονηρίας την δίκην, επανορθουμένους την αβουλίαν τη κρείττονι βοηθεία επεί γαρ του είναι αγαθοί έκπεπτώκαμεν, του γίνεσθαι γούν αντιλαμβανόμεθα μεταμελεία ευγνώμονι, την θείαν επανόρθωσιν εισδεχόμενοι. Η δε μετάνοια αύτη φιλοσοφίας αρχή γίνεται, και των ανοήτων έργων τε και λόγων φυγή, και της αμεταμελήτου ζωής η πρώτη παρασκευή. «We ought principally to take care that we do not sin; but if we be overtaken, then to make diligent haste to return to justice or righteousness as the cure of our wickedness; that we may amend our evil counsels or wills, by the help of a better. For when we are fallen from goodness, we receive or recover it again μεταμελεία ευγνώμονι, by a wise or well-principled penitential sorrow, admitting a divine correction. Η δε μετάνοια αύτη, but repentance itself is the beginning of wisdom, a flying from foolish words and deeds, and the first institution of a life not to be repented of.” Where, besides the definition of repentance and a most perfect description of its nature and intention, he with some curiosity differences the two Greek words; making μεταμέλεια to be but the beginning of μετάνοια : sorrow' from the beginning of repentance;' and both together the reformation of the old, and the institution of a new life.

8. But to quit the words from being the subject-matter of a quarrel, it is observable that the Latin word 'pænitentia,' does really signify (by use I mean and custom) as much as the Greek μετάνοια, and is expressive of the whole duty of repentance; and although it implies that sorrow and grief, which are the natural inlet of reformation of our lives, and the consequent of our shame and sin, yet it also does signify correction and amendment, which are the formality and essence of repentance; and therefore Erasmus more warily, and in imitation of the old Latins, says, that 'pænitere’ is from

pone tenere,' quod est posterius consilium capere;' to be wiser the next time; to choose again, and choose better; and

a Hierocl. in Pythag. Aur. Carm. Needham. p. 124.

so A. Gellius defines it: “Pænitere, tum dicere solemus, cum quæ ipsi fecimus, aut quæ de nostrâ voluntate nostroque consilio facta sunt, ea nobis post incipiunt displicere, sententiamque in iis nostram demutamus :" "To repent is, when those things which we have done, displease us, and we change our minds."-So that here is both a 'displeasure' and a

change;' a displeasure and sorrow for the evil, and a change to better. And there ought to be no scruple in this; for by the first sorrow of a penitent man, is meant nothing else but the first act of eschewing evil: which whether it be by grief alone, or by fear, or by hope, or by all these, it is not without some trouble of mind, and displeasure; for if it were still in all senses a pleasure to go on, they would never return back. And therefore to suppose repentance without displeasure, is to suppose a change of mind without alteration, or a taking a new course without disliking the old. But then to suppose any other sorrow naturally necessary, than this which naturally is included in the change, is to affirm that to be true which experience tells us is not true; and it is to place self-affliction and punition at the head, which is to be looked for in the retinue of repentance; to make the daughter to be before the mother, and the fruit to be kept in the root, not to grow upon the branches. But the Latin words can no way determine any thing of question in this article; and the Greek words are used promiscuously; and when they are distinguished, they differ but as the more and less perfect, as the beginning of repentance and the progress of perfection; according to that saying; “ Pænitentia erroris magnus gradus est ad resipiscentiam,” “ To acknowledge and be sorry for our sin, is a great step to repentance;"—and both together signify all that piety, that change, and holiness, which are the duty of the new man, of the returning sinner : and we can best learn it by the words of him that revealed and gave this grace to all his servants; even of the Holy Jesus speaking to St. Paul at his conversion"; from whose blessed words, together with those of St. Paul in his narrative of that story, we may draw this more perfect description. To repent is to “turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, doing works worthy of amendment of life, for the forgiveness of sins, that we may receive inherit, b Noct. Ant. lib. 17. c. 1.

c Acts, xxvi. 18. 20.

ance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus."

9. Upon this account, the parts of repentance are two; 1. • Leaving our sins:' which is properly repentance from dead works. And, 2. ` Doing holy actions' in the remaining portion of our days; " actions meet for repentance;" so the Baptist called them. This is in Scripture, by way of propriety, called repentance ; jetávola, so the Baptistd used it; distinguishing repentance from its fruits; that is, from such significations, exercises, and prosecutions, of this change, as are apt to represent, and to effect it more and more; such as are confession, weeping, self-afflictions, alms, and the like. So St. Paul, using the same words before King Agrippa. But by way of synecdoche, not only the fruits and consequent expressions, but the beginning-sorrow also is signified by the same word : and all are under the same commandment, though with different degrees of necessity and expression; of which I shall afterward give account. Here I only account concerning the essential and constituent parts and definition of repentance.

10. All the whole duty of repentance, and every of its parts, is sometimes called conversion. Thus godly sorrow is a conversion or change: and


that account St. James f calls upon sinners ; " Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into weeping. This is the first change of our affections, which is attended with a change of our judgment: when we do no longer admire the false beauties of sin; but judge righteously concerning it. And of this the prophet Jeremy & gives testimony ; “ Surely, after that I was turned, I repented.” And by this word on the Hebrews express the duty; which the LΧΧ. indifferently render by μετάνοια and μεταμέλεια, and is best rendered - conversion. And then follows the conversion of the whole man, body and soul, mind and spirit; all are set in opposition against sin, and apply themselves to the service of God, and conformity to Jesus.

d Matt. iii.8.

Acts, xxvi. 20.

James, iv.

& Jer. xxxi. 19.

« السابقةمتابعة »