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ro

Of

Confe

fJíng

and

Forfaking

Sin,

Vol.

II.

not

one

Word

in it concerning Confeffion,

nor the

leaft

intimation

of

the

necef-

fity

of it.

But let us

fee

how they

manage

it to their

purpofe.

The Apotles

and

their

Suc-

ceffors

(faith

Bellarmine)

by this power of remittingand

retaining fins, are confti-

tuted Judges

of

the

cafe

of

Penitents

but they

cannot

judge

without hearing the

Caufe,

and thisinfers particular

Confeffion

of

fins

to the

Prieft, from whence

he

concludes

it

neceffary

to the

forgivenefs

of

fins.

But

do

not

the

Minifters

of

the Gofpel

exercife

this

power of

remitting

fins

in

Baptifm

?

And yet

particular Confeflion

of

all

fins

to the Prieft

is

not

required,

no not

in the Church

of

Rome,

in the

Baptifm

of

adult Perlons. And therefore

according

to

them, particular

Confeffion

of

fin

to the

Prieft,

is

not

neceffary

to

his

exercifing

the power

of

remittingfins, and confequently

the

neceflity

of Con -

feffion cannot

be concluded

from

this Text.

And

to

chew

how they

are puzled in

this matter,

Ilafquez

by

a ftrange device

concludes

the

neceffìty

of

Confeffion from

the power

of retaining

fins;

for (fays

he) if

the Prieft

have

a

power

of

retaining fins,

that

is,

of

denying Pardon and

Ab-

folution

to

thePenitent, then

he

may

impofe

Confeffion

as a

Condition

of

forgive -

nefs, and

not abfolve the Penitent upon other

terms. But

fuppofing

the Prieftto

have this

unreafonable

power,

this

makes

Confeflion no

otherwife

neceffary

by

Di-

vine

Inftitution, than going

to

7erùfalem

or

China

is,

in order

to the

forgivenefs

of

our

fins,

or

fubmitting to any

other

foolifh

condition, that the Prieft

thinks

fit

to

require

;

for

according

to

this way

of

reafoning, this

power

of

retaining

fine,

makes

every foolifh

thing that the

Prieft

(hall

impofe upon

the Penitent,

to

be

neceffary

by Divine

Command and Inf}itution.

But

the

truth

is,

this power

of

remitting and retaining fins,

is

exercifed

by

the

Minifters

of

the

Gofpel, in

the adminiftration

of

the

Sacraments,

and the preach-

ing

of

the

Gofpel, which

is

call d the

word

of

reconciliation, the miniffry whereof

is

committed

to them.

And thus the antient Fathers underftood

it

;

and

as a

great

Divine told

them in

the

Council

of

Trent,

it

was

perhaps never

expounded

by a-

ny

one

Father

concerning

the

bufinefs

of

Confeffion.

The

Second

Text

they

alledge

to this

purpofe

is,

a

John

r.

9.

If

we

confefs

our

fins,

he

is

faithful

and

juf

to forgive us our

fins.

Here

indeed

is

Confeffion

; but

general,

not

particular,

as

appears by

the oppofition,

If

we

fay that

we

have no

fn,

we

deceive our

felves,

and

the

truth is

not in

us

:

but

if

we confefs

our

fins,

that

is,

if

we acknowledge

our

felves

to have

been (inners. And

then

here

is

not a

word

of

confeffìng

to

the

Prieft ;

the

Confeffion here meant

is

plainly

to God,

becaufe

it

follows,

be

is

faithful and jufl

to forgive us

our

fins;

that

is,

God,

who

is neceffarily underftood in

the formerpart

of

the

fentence

;.

as

if

it had

run thus,

if

we confefs

our

fins

to

God,

he

is

faithful and

jufi

to forgive

us our

fins.

The

Third Text

is;

Jam. 5.16.

Confefs

your

faults

one

to

another,

and

pray

one

for

another.

And here again there

is

only mention

of

Confeflion,

but not

a

word

of

the

Prieft ; and

for another Reafon,

if

I

had

been

to

advife them, they should

not

have preit this Text for their

fervice

in this

caufé, becaufe

it

does

them

as

much

hurt

as

good ; for it

is

certain,

theDuty

of

Confeffion here

enjoyned

is

re-

ciprocal and mutual,

confefs

your

fins

one

to

another:

So

that

if

by virtue

of

this

Text

the People

are

bound to

confefs

their

fins

to the

Prieft,

the

Prieft

is

hereby

as

much obliged to confefs his

fins

to the

People;

which

I

dare fay

is

more

than

they

have

a

mind

to prove

from this

Text. The

plain meaning

whereof

is

this,

that

as

Chriftians fhould

be

ready

to

perform

all

mutual

Offices

of

Charity,

fo

to

affìft

and comfort one

another

by

their

Counfel and Prayers. And

therefore

the

Apoftle advifeth Chriftians when

they

are

fick,

if

at the

fame time

they be

under

any

fpiritual

trouble,'

by

reafon of the Guilt of

any

fin

lying

upon

their

Confciences,

to

lay

open their

cafe

to

one

another, that

fo

they

may

have

the

help

of

one

anothers

Advice and

Prayers; Conte/spur

yo

faults

one

to

another,

and

pray

one

far

another,

that

ye

may

be

healed,

both

of

your bodily

and

fpiritual

diftem-

per.

Not that

the

Prieft

or

Minifler

is

here excluded ;

St. James

had fpoken

of

that

particular before,

that

when

any was fick,

he fbould

fend

for

the

Elders

of

the

Church,

that

he might in the

firit place

have

the

benefit

of

their Counfel and

Pray-

ers

;