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Serm.

CVI.

in

order

to Pardon

11

ers

;

and then

becaufe

private Chriftians

may alfo be ufeful

to

one

another

in

this

kind, he

adds,

that they

fhould

alto

lay

open

their condition and

troubles

to

one

another,

that

fo

they might have the help

of

one.anothers

Advice and

Prayers;

and very

probably all the

Confeflion here meant

of

private Chriftians

to

one

ano-

ther

is

of

the

Offences and

Injuries

they

may

have

been guilty

of,

one towards

.a-

nother; that

they fhould

be

reconciled upon this occafion; and

as a

teftimony

of

their Charity, Ihould

pray

one

far

another; whereas they are bound to

fend

for

the

Elders

of

the

Church,

and

they

are

to pray over them, as

an

a&

not

only

of

Charity,

but of

Superiority,

and by virtue

of

their

Office

in the Church,

a more

efpecial_

blefling being

to

be

expe&ed

from their Prayers.

Thefe

three Texts

are

the

main Arguments

from Scripture, which they

of

the

Church

of

Rome

bring to provetheir auricular

or

fecret Confeffion

to

be

of

Divine

Inftitution

; and woful Proofs they

are

:

which

(hews

what miferable

fhifts

they

are

reduced to,

who

refolve

to

maintain

a

bad Caufe.

I

proceed

in

the

Second

place,

to

difcover the Falfhood

of

their other Preten-

ces,

that

this kind

of

Confeffion

bath

always

been

praftifed in

the Catholick

Church ; and

not

only fo, but believed

abfolutely

neceffary

to the

remiffion

of

Mens

fins

and

their

eternal

falvation.

The truth

of

the whole matter

is

this

:

Publick Confeffion and Penance

for

open and fcandalous Crimes

was

in ufe, and

with

great ftri

&nefs

obferved in

the

firft Ages

of

Chriftianity ; and there

was

then no

general

Law

or

Cullom,

that

exa&ed fecret Confeffion

of

fins

to

the Prieft,

as

a neceffary

part

of

repentance,

and condition

of

forgivenefs: afterward publick Penance

was

by

degrees

difufed,

which plainly

(hews

that,

in the

opinion

of

the Church, this Difcipiine, how

ufeful

foever,

was

not

of

abfolute

necetfrty

to

reftore Men

to the Favour

of

God:

In

place of this came in

private Confeflion to

the

Prie(t, particularly appoin-

ted

to

this

Office,

and

calfd

the Penitentiary

;

but upon

occafion

of

a

fcandal

that

hapned, this

alfo

was

abrogated

by Ne5tarius Bifhop

of

Conflantinople

which

!hews

that

neither

was

this

neceffary.

And this

a&

of Neúarius

was jultified

by

his

Succeffor

St. Chryfoflom,

who

does

over

and

over molt

exprefly teach,

that

Confef-

fion

of

our

fins

to

Men is

not

neceffary

to the

forgivenefs

of them,

but

that it

is

fufficient

to

confefs

them

to

God alone

;

fo

that

St.

Chryfoflom

does

plainly flan('

condemned by

the

Decrees

of

the

Council

of

?rent.

And

thus

for

feveral

Ages

the matter

rated,

till the degeneracy

of

the

Church

of

Rome

growing towards

its

height, about the

IX.

and

X.

Centuries, fame began

to contend for

the

neceflìty

of

fecret Confeffion ; and

this

in

the

Year r

215.

in

the IV.Council

of

Lateran under Pope

Innocent III. was decreed and eftablifh'd.

And

this

is

the

fist!

publick Law

that

was

made

in the Chrittian

Church concer-

ning

this

matter,

notwithflanding

all

the

boafts

of

the

Council of Trent,

about

the

antiquity

of

this Inffitution and

Praftice;

for Oration, who lived about

5o

Years

before

this Council,

tells

us,

that

in

his

time feveral

wife and

religious Men

were

of

the contrary

opinion,

and did

not

hold

Confeffion

neceff:

ry by

virtue

of

any

Divine

Law. Afterwards in

the Council

of

Florence,

and

efpecially in

that

of

Trent,

this Decree

of

the

Council

of

Lateran

was confirmed

and enlarged

in

many particulars,

of

which

I

have alreadygiven

fome

account.

And whereas they pretend for

themfelves

the

univerfál

Pra

&Ice

not

only

of

the

pat},

but

prefent

Church,

we

are able

to

Phew

from

clear

Teftimony

of

their own

Writers,

that

Confeffion,

as

taught and

prafifed

in the Church

of

Rome, is

no

where

elfe in

ufe

at this

day,

neither among the

Abyifines,

nor

Indians

of

St.

Tho-

mas,

nor the

Neflorians,

nor

the

Armenians,

nor

theYacobites,

Churches

of

great

antiquity

and vati

extent.

And

as

for the

Greek

Church, if

we

may believe

Cara-

tiara,

and

the Author

of

the

Glofs

upon the Canon

Law,

the

Greeks

had

ancient-

Jy

no

Tradition

concerning

the,neceffrtyofConfeffion, nor do they

at

this day

a-

gree

with the

Roman

Church in

all

points concerning it.

So

that, infhort, there

is

no

Nation nor Church throughout the whole World,

that

bears the

name

of

Chrifl:ian,

the

Roman

Church only

excepted,

that doth

ful-

ly embrace and

maintain

the whole

Do&rine

of

the

Council

of

Trost

concerning

Confeflion

5

and

yet

according

to their

Principles,

the whole

is

of

equal neceffity

C

2

to