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12

Of Con( effing

and

For-faking

Sin,

Vol.

to

bebelieved,

as

any

part

of

it.

With

what

face

then

do

they

declare,

that

this

manner

of

Confeffion always was, and

(till is

obferved

in

the Catholick, that

is,

in

the whole Chriftian Church

?

I

have

not

time

to

thew

the great

and manifold inconveniences and mifchiefs

of

this

pra

&ice

:

How infinite

a

torture

it

is

to the

Confciences

of

Men,

by entang-

ling them in

endlefs doubts and fcraples ; and

how great

a

fcandal

it

is

to the

Chriftian

Profefíion,

in the lewd

management

of

it

by the Priefts,

is

evident from

the two

Bulls

of

Pope

Pius

the

IV. and

Gregory

XV.

which mention things

too

fhamefull

to

be

declared; not

to

infiit

upon

other

horrible

abufes

of

it to the vileft

and

wickedeft

purpofes; not

fo much

to direst the

Confciences

of

Men,

as

to dive

into their

Secrets,

of

which there

are fo many

plain and notorious

Inftances,

that

they

are

pat}

denial.

The other

thing

pretended for

it

is,

that it

is a

great reftraint

upon

Men

from

fin.

And very 'probably

it

is

fo,

to

modelt and well difpofed Perfons

:

but

expe-

rience thews

how

quite

contrary

an

effe&

it bath

upon others, who

are

the far

greateft

part

of

Mankind. Does

not

all

theWorld

fee

in

the Popifh Countries,

in

the

time

of

their

Carnival,

jufl

before Lent,

the

Anniverfary feafon

of

Confeffion,

how

fcandalous

a

liberty

Men take

of

doing

lewd and

wicked

things;

and

that

for

this

very Keaton, becaufe

their

Confciences are

prefently to

be eafed and

fcour'd

(asthey

call

it)

by Confeffion and

Abfolution

?

And they

therefore

take

the oppor-

tunity to

gratify

their

Lofts,

and

fill

up the meafuré

of

their Iniquity at

that

time

;

becaufe

with

one

labour

they

can

fet

their

Confciences

right,

and clear

them

of

all guilt. And

they look upon this

as

a

fpecial piece

of

fpiritual good husban-

dry, toquit their

fcores

with God

at once,

that

fo

they

may

have no

occafion

to

trouble him, nor the Prieft,

nor

themfelves

again

for

a

good while

after.

So

that

Confeffion, inftead

of

being a reftraint from

fin,

gives

great encouragement

to

it,

by deluding

Men

into

a vain

hope

of

obtaining the pardon

of

their

fins

from time

to

time,

tho'

they

1H11c.mtinue

in the

pra

&ice

of

them;

by which device,

Mens fins

are at

once

remittedand

retained

;

the

Prieft

remits

them by Abfolution, and

the

Penitent

retains them,

by

going on dill in the

Commiffion

of

them, in

hope

of

ob-

taining

a

new Abfolution

as

often

as

occafion

(hall

require.

I proceed to

the

II.

Enquiry,

namely, How

far the

difclofing

and revealing our

fins

to the

Mi-

niflers

of

God,

may be convenient upon

other

accounts, and

to

other

purpofes

of

Religion

?

To

which

the

Anfwer

is

very plain and

Ilion ;

fo

far as

is

neceffary

either

to the

direaion,

or the

eafe

of

Mens

Confciences.

There

are many Cafes

wherein

Men,

under the guilt

and

trouble

of

their

fins,

can

neither

appeafe

their own

Minds,

nor

fufficiently direíl;

themfelves,

without

recourfe to

forne

pious and

prudent

Guides

in thefe

Cafes, Men

certainly

do

ve-

ry

well, and many times

prevent

a

great

deal

of

trouble

and

perplexity

to

them

-

felves, by

a

timely difcovery

of

their condition to

fome

faithful

Minifter,

is

or-

der

to their

dire&ion and

fatisfa&ion,

without which

they

(hall

never perhaps

be

able

to

clear themfelves

of

the obfcurity

and entanglement

of

their own

minds,

but

by

fmotheriag their trouble

in

their own

breath,

(hall

proceed from

one

de-

gree

of

melancholy

to another,

till

at lati they

be plunged

either

in diflra

&ion

or

defpair;

whereas

the

difcovery

of

their condition

in time, would

prove

a

pre-

fent and

effe&ual

remedy. And

to

this purpofe,

a general Confeffion

is

for

the

moti

part

fufficient

; and where there

is

occafion

for a more particular difcovery,

there

is

no

need

of

raking into the particular and

foul Circumítances

of

Mens fins,

togive that

advice which

is

neceffary

for the

cure and eafe

of

the

Penitent;

a

thing

fo far from being detirable,

that it

mutt

needs be

very grievous

to

every

modal

and

good

Man.

And

thus far

Confeffion

is

not only

allowed,

but

encouraged among Proteftants.

In the

Lutheran

Churches,

Cbemnitius tells

us,

that

private

general Confeffion

is

in

ufe and pra&ice.

And

Calvin

freely declares,

that

he

is

fo

far from being a-

gaintt Peoplesrepairing to their Paflors

to

this purpofe,

that

he earne(ily

wifheth

it

were

every where obferved before

the

receiving

of

the

Sacrament.

And

the

fame

is

tbe

fenfe

of

our ownChurch, laying no

neceflity

upon

Men in

this matter,

but

advifing, efpeeially before

the

Sacrament,

thofe

who

have any trouble upon

their