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them to see and repent their grievous offences committed against God, as also to reform all injuries offered with the breach of Christian love and charity toward their brethren in matters of ecclesiastical cognizance ; the use of this power shall by so much the plainlier appear, if first the nature of repentance itself be known.
We are by repentance to appease whom we offend by sin. For which cause, whereas all sin deprives us of the favour of Almighty God, our way of reconciliation with him is the inward secret repentance of the heart; which inward repentance alone sufficeth, unless some special thing, in the quality of sin committed, or in the party that hath done amiss, require more. For besides our submission in God's sight, repentance must not only proceed to the private contentation of men, if the sin be a crime injurious; but also farther, where the wholesome discipline of God's church exacteth a more exemplary and open satisfaction. Now the church being satisfied with outward repentance, as God is with inward, it shall not be amiss for more perspicuity, to term this latteralways the virtue, the former the discipline of repentance, which discipline hath two sorts of penitents to work upon, inasmuch as it hath been accustomed to lay the offices of repentance on some seeking, others shunning them; on some at their own voluntary request, on others altogether against their wills, as shall hereafter appear by store of ancient examples. Repentance being therefore either in the sight of God alone, or else with the notice also of men, without the one, sometimes throughly performed, but always practised more or less in our daily devotions and prayers, we can have no remedy for any fault; whereas the other is only required in sins of a certain degree and quality: the one necessary for ever, the other so far forth as the laws and order of God's church shall make it requisite. The nature, parts, and effects of the one always the same; the other limited, extended, and varied by infinite occasions.
The virtue of repentance in the heart of man is God's handy work, a fruitor effect of Divine grace, which grace continually
à Pænitentiæ secundæ, et unius, quanto in acta negotium est, tanto potior probatio est, at non sola conscientia proferatur, sed aliquo etiam actu administretær. Second penitency, following that before baptism, and being not more than once admitted in one man, requireth by so much the greater labour to make it manifest, for that it is not a work which can come again in trial, but must be therefore with some open solemnity executed, and not to be discharged with the privity of conscience alone. Tertul. de pæn.
offereth itself even unto them that have forsaken it, as may appear by the words of Christ in St. John's Revelation, “ I stand at the door and knock:” nor doth he only knock without, but also within assist to open, whereby access and entrance is given to the heavenly presence of that saving power, which maketh man a repaired temple for God's good Spirit again to inhabit. And albeit the whole train of virtues which are implied in the name of grace, be infused at one instant ; yet because, when they meet and concur unto any effect in man, they have their distinct operations rising orderly one from another, it is no unnecessary thing that we note the way or method of the Holy Ghost in framing man's sinful heart to repentance. A work, the first foundation whereof is laid by opening and illuminating the eye of faith, because by faith are discovered the principles of this action, whereunto unless the understanding do first assent, there can follow in the will towards penitency no inclination at all. Contrariwise, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of the world to come, and the endless misery of sinners, being apprehended, this worketh fear; such as theirs was, who feeling their own distress and perplexity in that passion besought our Lord's apostles earnestly to give them counsel what they should do. For fear is impotent and unable to advise itself; yet this good it hath, that men are thereby made desirous to prevent, if possibly they may, whatsoever evil they dread. The first thing that wrought the Ninevites' repentance, was fear of destruction within forty days : signs and miraculous works of God, being extraordinary representations of Divine power, are commonly wont to stir any the most wicked with terror, lest the same power should bend itself against them. And because tractable minds, though guilty of much sin, are hereby moved to forsake those evil ways which make his power in such sort their astonishment and fear, therefore our Saviour denounced nis curse against Chorazin and Bethsaida, saying, that, if Tyre and Sidon had seen that which they did, those signs which prevailed little with the one would have brought the others to repentance. As the like thereunto did in the men given to curious arts, of whom the apostolic history saith, that “ fear came upon them, and many, which had followed vain sciences, burnt openly the very books out of which they had learned the same." As fear of contumely and disgrace amongst men, together with other civil punishments,
are a bridle to restrain from any heinous acts whereinto men's outrage would otherwise break; so the fear of Divine revenge and punishment, where it takes place, doth make men desirous to be rid likewise from that inward guiltiness of sin wherein they would else securely continue. Howbeit, when faith hath wrought a fear of the event of sin, yet repentance hereupon ensueth not, unless our belief conceive both the possibility and means to avert evil : the possibility, inasmuch as God is merciful, and most willing to have sin cured; the means, because he hath plainly taught what is requisite and shall suffice unto that purpose. The nature of all wicked men is, for fear of revenge to hate whom they most wrong ; the nature of hatred, to wish that destroyed which it cannot brook ; and from hence arise the furious endeavours of godless and obdurate sinners to extinguish in themselves the opinion of God, because they would not have him to be, whom execution of endless woe doth not suffer them to love.
Every sin against God abateth, and continuance in sin extinguisheth, our love towards him. It was once said to the angel of Ephesus, having sinned, “ Thou art fallen
away from thy first love;" so that, as we never decay in love till we sin, in like sort neither can we possibly forsake sin, unless we first begin again to love. What is love towards God, but a desire of union with God? And shall we imagine a sinner converting himself to God, in whom there is no desire of union with God presupposed ? I therefore conclude, that fear worketh no man's inclination to repentance, till somewhat else have wrought in us love also : our love and desire of union with God ariseth from the strong conceit which we have of his admirable goodness; the goodness of God which particularly moveth unto repentance, is his mercy towards mankind, notwithstanding sin: for, let it once sink deeply into the mind of man, that howsoever we have injured God, his very nature is averse from revenge, except unto sin we add obstinacy, otherwise always ready to accept our submission, as a full discharge or recompence for all wrongs; and can we choose but begin to love him whom we have offended ? or can we but begin to grieve that we have offended him whom we love? Repentance considereth sin as a breach of the law of God, an act obnoxious to that revenge, which notwithstanding may be prevented if we pacify God in time.
The root and beginning of penitency therefore is the con-
of God towards men hath no power to
God doth not take it so in evil part, though we wound that which he hath required us to keep whole, as that after we have taken hurt, there should be in us no desire to receive his help. Finally, lest I be carried too far in so large a sea, there was never any man condemned of God but for neglect; nor justified, except he had care of repentance.
From these considerations, setting before our eyes our inexcusable both unthankfulness in disobeying so merciful, foolishness in provoking so powerful, a God, there ariseth necessarily a pensive and corrosive desire that we had done otherwise; a desire which suffereth us to foreslow no time, to feel no quietness within ourselves, to take neither sleep
a Basil. Epist. Seleuc. p. 106. Otrávapetrov Baépepea negoslovo av aldeiras Metávolav. Chr. in 1 Cor. Hom, 8. Ου το τρωθήναι ούτω δεινόν, ώς το τρωθέντα μή βούλεσθαι θεραπεύεσθαι. Μarc. Erem. Ουδείς κατεκρίθη ει μη μετανοίας κατεφρόνησε, και ουδείς έδικαιώθη ει μη ταύτης επιμελή. .
cal. Jib. ii.
nor food with contentment, never to give over supplications, confessions, and other penitent duties, till the light of God's reconciled favour shine in our darkened soul. Fulgentius asking the question, why David's confession Fulg. de
Remis. Pecshould be held for effectual penitence, and not Saul's, answereth, that the one hated sin, the other feared only punishment cap. 15. in this world : Saul's acknowledgment of sin was fear; David's, both fear and also love.
This was the fountain of Peter's tears, this the life and spirit of David's eloquence, in those most admirable Hymns entitled Penitential, where the words of sorrow for sin do melt the very bowels of God remitting it; and the comforts of grace in remitting sin carry him which sorrowed, rapt as it were into heaven, with ecstasies of joy and gladness. The first motive of the Ninevites unto repentance, was their belief in a sermon of fear, but the next and most immediate, an axiom of love; “Who can tell whether God will turn Jon, chap. away his fierce wrath, that we perish not?”. No conclusion iii. 9. such as theirs, Let every man turn from his evil way, but one of the premises such as theirs were, fear and love. Wherefore the well-spring of repentance is faith, first breeding fear, and then love; which love causes hope, hope resolution of attempt; “ I will go to my Father, and say, I have sinned against Heaven, and against thee;" that is to say, I will do what the duty of a convert requireth.
Now in a penitent's or a convert's duty there is included, first, the aversion of the will from sin; secondly, the submission of ourselves to God by supplication and prayer ; thirdly, the purpose of a new life, testified with present works of amendment: which three things do very well seem to be comprised in one definition by them which handle repentance, as a virtue that hateth, bewaileth, and sheweth a purpose to amend sin. We offend God in thought, word, and deed; to the first of which three, they make contrition; to the second, confession; and to the last, our works of satisfaction, answerable. Contrition doth not here import those sudden pangs
and conyulsions of the mind which cause sometimes the most forsaken of God to retract their own doings; it is no natural passion, or anguish, which riseth in us against our wills, but a deliberate aversion of the will of man from sin; which being always accompanied with grief, and grief oftentimes