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cleanse more and more, as a man is more innovated," or amended. "But these authorities brought in," viz. that sin is not pardoned without confession, "if they be diligently expounded, prove but little." But friar Maurique, who by Pius V. made and published a censure upon the glosses, appointed these words, "quod tamen falsum est," to be left out; but the Roman correctors under Gregory XIII. let them alone; but put in the margent a mark of contradiction upon it; saying, "Imò verissimum est." But that was new. doctrine, and although Semeca, the author of the gloss, affirmed it expressly to be false, yet Gratian himself was more reserved; but yet not of the new opinion, but left the matter indifferent: for after he had alleged Scripture, and authorities. of fathers on one side, and authority of fathers on the other; he concludes, "Quibus auctoritatibus vel quibuslibet rationum firmamentis utraque sententia satisfactionis et confessionis innitatur, in medium breviter exposuimus. Cui autem harum potius adhærendum sit, lectoris judicio reservatur. Utraque enim fautores habet sapientes et religiosos viros1. Now how well this agrees with the determination of the council of Trent, every man, by comparing, can easily judge; only it is certain, this doctrine cannot pretend to be derived by tradition from the apostles. Of he same opinion was the Abbot of Panormo; saying, "That opinion (viz. of the gloss) does much please me: because there is no manifest authority that does intimate, that either God or Christ instituted confession to be made to a priest." But it were endless to name the sentences of the canonists in this question; once for all, the testimony of Maldonat may secure us: "Juris pontificii periti, secuti suum primum interpretem, omnes dicunt confessionem tantum esse introductam jure ecclesiastico." But to clear the whole question, I shall, 1. prove, that the necessity of confessing our sins to a priest is not found in Scripture; but very much to disprove it. 2. That there is no reason enforcing this necessity, but very much against it. 3. That there is no ecclesiastical tradition of any such necessity; but apparently the contrary: and the consequent of these things will be, that the church of Rome

De Pœnit. d. 1. cap. Quamvis Plenitudo.

m Lib. 5. de Decret. de Poenit. et Rem. in cap. Omnis utriusque sexus. Disp. de Sacr. tom. 2. de Confess. Orig. c. 2.

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hath introduced a new doctrine, false and burdensome, dangerous and superstitious.

1. If we consider how this article is managed in Scripture, we shall find that our blessed Saviour said nothing at all concerning it; the council of Trent indeed makes their new doctrine to rely upon the words of Christ recited by St. John°; "Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted," &c. But see with what success: for, besides that all the canonists allow not, that confession was instituted by Christ; Aquinas, Scotus, Gabriel Clavasinus, the author of the Summa Angelica' Hugo de S. Victore, Bonaventure, Alensis, Tho. Waldensis, Ferus, Cajetan, Erasmus, B. Rhenanus, and Jansenius, though differing much in the particulars of this question, yet all consent that, precisely from the words of Christ, no necessity of confession to a priest can be concluded. 2. Amongst those of the Roman church, who did endeavour to found the necessity of confession upon those words, none do agree about the way of drawing their argument; as may be seen in Scotus", Aureolus, Johannes Major, Thomas de Argentina, Richardus, Durandus Almain, Dominicus à Soto, Alphonsus à Castro, Adrianus, Petrus de Aquila, and others, before the council of Trent. 3. Though these men go several ways (which shews, as Scotus expresses it, "hoc verbum non est præcisum") yet they all agree well enough in this, that they are all equally out of the story, and none of them well performs what he undertakes; it is not mine alone, but the judgment which Vasquez makes of them, who confuted many of them by arguments of his own, and by the arguments which they use one against another, and gives this censure of them: "Inter eos, qui planè fatenter ex illis verbis Joh. xx. necessitatem confessionis (supple, elici), vix invenias qui efficaciter deducat."-And therefore this place of St. John is but an infirm foundation to build so great a structure on it as the whole economy of their sacrament of penance, and the necessity of confession upon it; since so many learned and acute men, master-builders, believe nothing at all of it; and others that do, agree not well in the framing of the structure upon it, but make a Babel of it; and at last their attempts prove vain and useless, by the testimony of their fellow-labourers.

There are some other places of Scripture, which are pre• John, xx. 21. P In lib. 4. Sect. dist. 17. 9 Qu. 90. in 3. Thom. dub. 2.

tended for the necessity of confession, but they need no particular scrutiny; not only because they are rejected by their own parties as insufficient r; but because all are principally devolved upon the twentieth of St. John; and the council of Trent itself wholly relies upon it. This therefore being the foundation, if it fails them as to their pretensions, their building must needs be ruinous. But I shall consider it a little.

When Christ said to his apostles, "Whose sins ye remit, they shall be remitted to them; and whose sins ye retain, they shall be retained;" he made (says Bellarmine, and generally the latter school of Roman doctors) the apostles, and all priests, judges upon earth; that without their sentence, no man, that hath sinned after baptism, can be reconciled. But the priests, who are judges, can give no right or unerring sentence, unless they hear all the particulars they are to judge. Therefore by Christ's law they are tied to tell in confession all their particular sins to a priest.-This is the sum of all that is said in this affair. Other light skirmishes there are, but the main battle is here.

Now all the parts of this great argument must be considered: and 1. I deny the argument; and supposing both the premises true, that Christ had made them judges, and that without particular cognizance they could not give judgment according to Christ's intention; yet it follows not, that therefore it is necessary, that the penitent shall confess all his sins to the priest. For, who shall compel the penitent to appear in judgment? Where are they obliged to come and accuse themselves before the judges? Indeed if they were before them, we will suppose the priests to have power to judge them; but how can it be hence deduced, that the penitents are bound to come to this judicatory, and not to stand alone to the divine tribunal. A physician may have power to cure diseases, yet the patients are not bound to come to him; neither, it may be, will they, if they can be cured by other means. And if a king sends a judge with

Primum istorum esset magis conveniens tenendum, si posset evidenter haberi istud præceptum ex evangelio. Nec oportet ad hoc adducere illud Matthæi xvi. Tibi dabo claves regni cœlorum, quia non est nisi promissio de datione futura. Sed si aliquid in evangelio, videlicet, ad hoc videtur illud Joh. xx. 6 Accipite Spir. S. Quorum remiseritis,' &c. dicitur quod sic, de illo verbo Jacob. v. Confitemini alterutrum peccata,' &c. sed nec per hoc videretur mihò quod Jacobus præceptum hoc dedit, nec præceptum à Christo promulgavit, Scotus in lib. 4. dist. 17. sect. de secundo.

competent authority to judge all the questions in a province; he can judge them that come, but he cannot compel them to come; and they may make an end of their quarrels among themselves, or by arbitration of neighbours; and if they have offended the king, they may address themselves to his clemency, and sue for pardon. And since it is certain, by their own confession, that a penitent cannot, by the force of these words of Christ, be compelled to confess his venial sins, how does it appear, that he is tied to confess his mortal sins? For if a man be tied to repent of all his sins, then repentance may be performed without the ministry of the priest, or else he must repent before the priest for all his sins. But if he may repent of his venial sins, and yet not go to the priest, then to go to the priest is not an essential part of the repentance: and if it be thus in the case of venial sins, let them shew from the words of Christ any difference in the case between the one and the other; especially if we consider, that though it may be convenient to go to the priest to be taught and guided, yet the necessity of going to him is to be absolved by his ministry. But that of this there was no necessity believed in the primitive church, appears in this; because they did not expect pardon from the bishop or priest in the greatest crimes, but where referred wholly to God for the pardon of them: "Non sine spe tamen remissionis, quam ab eo planè sperare debebit qui ejus largitatem solus obtinet; et tam dives misericordia est, ut nemo desperet:" so said the bishops of France in their synod held about the time of Pope Zephyrinus. To the same purpose are the words of Tertullian: "Salvâ illâ pœnitentiæ specie post fidem, quæ aut levioribus delictis veniam ab episcopo consequi poterit, aut majoribus et irremissibilibus à Deo solo." The like also is in the thirty-first epistle of St. Cyprian. Now, first, it is easy to observe how vast the difference is between the old catholic church and the present Roman: these say, that venial sins are not of necessity to be confessed to the priest or bishop; and that, without their ministry, they can be pardoned: but they of old said, that the smaller sins were to be submitted to the bishop's ministry. On the other side, the Roman doctors say, it is absolutely necessary to bring our mortal sins, and confess them, in order to be absolved by the priest; but the old Catholics

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said, that the greatest sins are wholly to be confessed and submitted to God, who may pardon them, if he please, and will, if he be rightly sought to; but to the church they need not be confessed, because these were only and immediately fit for the divine cognizance. What is now-a-days a reserved case to the Pope, was anciently a case reserved to God; and what was only submitted formerly to the bishop, is now not worth much taking notice of by any one. But now put these together. By the Roman doctrine you are not, by the duty of repentance, tied to confess your venial sins; and by the primitive, it is to no purpose to bring the greatest crimes to ecclesiastical repentance; but by their immediate address to God they had hopes of pardon: from hence it follows, that there is no necessity of doing one or other, that is, there is no commandment of God for it; nor yet any necessity in the nature of the thing requiring it.

Venerable Bede' had an opinion, that those sins only which are like to leprosy, ought to be submitted to the judgment of the church: "Cætera verò vitia, tanquam valetudines, et quasi membrorum animæ atque sensuum, per semetipsum interius in conscientiâ et intellectu Dominus sanat." And Goffridus Vindocinensis tells of one William, a learned man, whose doctrine it was, that there were but four sorts of sins, which needed confession, the error of Gentilism, schism, heretical pravity, and judicial perfidiousness: "Cætera autem peccata à Domino sine confessione sanari." But besides this, I demand, whether or no hath the priest a power to remit venial" sins, and that this power (in the words of St. John, chap. xx.) was given to him by Christ? If Christ did, in these words, give him power to remit venial sins, and yet the penitent is not bound to recount them in particular, or at all to submit them to his judicatory; it will follow undeniably, that the giving power of remission of sins to the priest, does not infer a necessity in the penitent to come to confess them. And these things I suppose Vasquez understood well enough; when he affirms expressly, that it may well stand with the ordinary power of a judge, that his power t Lib. 5. ep. 16.

In Lucæ Evang. cap. 69. tom. 5. Colon. Agripp. 1612.

" Concil. Trid. sess. 14. c. 5. Nam venialia quibus à gratia Dei non excludimur, et in quæ frequentiùs labimur, quanquam rectè et utiliter citraque omnem præsumptionem in confessione dicantur,quod piorum hominum usus demonstrat, taceri tamen citra culpam, multisque aliis remediis expiari possunt.

VOL. XI.

C

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