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T. p. 273:
Ritual. Rom. in
put upon their Confessors? They will think, opus operatum, the plain Deed
T. p. 272. Bread to the hungry and to do all Acts of Mercy and Goodness to your Neigh
hour, of Devotion towards God, of Purity towards your felf? This is the in
ward Part, and true Life of Repentance which the Priest cannot Judge of; but Mat. 5. 18. God which seeth it in secret will one day reward it openly.
The Priest can only guess, (and that very uncertainly) at the fincere performance of the outward Penance which he enjoins ; only God knows and can judge of the inward Wound and Cure of the Heart. The Scripture doth every where so plainly distinguish opus operatum, the meer doing of an Ast, from the true intent' and ipward Thought or Design of ir, as it declares that without this it is often very Evil, or Vain, or at best Insignificant. Thus invincible Ignorance, perfect Necessity, unavoidable Mischance, and the like, excuse an Action which otherwise would be very Evil, because the Will and Mind of the Actor were not, por could be, any ways concern'd in it; So Heedless or Careless Acting, meer Ce. remony, pure Complement, a Grudging or Grumbling Performance, and the like, can never make the Action either absolutely Gratetull
, or truly Commendable; because a true, sincere Heart goeth not entirely along with it; the Action is 2 Tim. 3. s. but specious Hypocrisy with God and Man; as one is a meer Form of Godliness,
fo is the other a meer shadow of Friendship, without the Power of either.
But I find in the Latin Church when the Penance is enjoin'd by the Priest, ic Rubric. Ed. must be accepted by the Penitent before he can be Absolved; and hence it
may Busenb.Medui. be pleaded that it is not, opus operatum, his meer doing the Deed, for his con1. 6. c. 1.d.4. senr, Will, and Heart go along with the Performance, and that makes the Pe
nance satisfactory. It is very true, (as I have been fufficiently informed a. mongst them, that there is indeed a Bargain or an Agreement always made between the Priest and the Penitent about the Penance. If the Penitenc faith it is too sharp or severe, the Priest must lessen it and come to his Terms. If for a great fault in a Lady or Person of Quality, the whole hundred and nineteenth Plalm was enjoin'd to be gotten by heart, it will be well at last, if all be compounded for the next Pfalm, or perhaps only the hundred and seventeenth. At first a whole Corona (or Braceler ) of Ave. Mary's aod Pater Noster's is en. join'd to be entirely said over cwice every day for such a time; but it is well if at last they agrce for a single Rosary or Decimal to be faid once a day, or once a week. A hemping Shirt is hardly accepted iostead of Sackcloath, and Flannel instead of Haircloath. Procuring some Masses for the Soul (f 3 Man bafely Murderd, Su'l punto d' honore, upon pretence of saving ones I.v. nour, or Poison’d, per sicurar la riputanza, to avoid some Shame and Difgrace; To Eat only a little Polenta, or Farro, or Tisana with Poica, (suppose a little of our Flummery or Gruel) once in one day in the week through all the whole Lent; These and many such other Mortifications (which I could honest
ly name) have been agreed upon, as substantial Penances for the most notoriColloq. Exorc. ous Sins; The great Erasmus facetiously inculcates to us this known Truth;
Only three Pater Nosters hastily hurried over were counted fufficient Satisfaction for thrice repeating of one foul At of Uncleanness; and he knew well the common Practice in his Days, which I fear is not yet much amended. A Penitent must accept of some Penance; he cannot refule all under a Mortal Sin, and the Priest (I suppose for his Honour ) must enjoin him fome, if he coofesses himself a Sinner; and so this agreement makes the Penance at last a free Deed, and on that account you may be iure, it is SatisfaEtory coough.
Why thould I mention here the pretended Penitents prevarications and cheats of Penance, (done litterally after any Fashion,) enough to fulfill the Priest's
Injunction. The Sinner who was order'd to go a Mile with Pease in his Shoes T. p. 274. under his Feet, thought he had well performed his Task, though he had boyl'd
them very tender at first before he used them; let this pass for a meer figment, I could instance in many very true Stories to the same purpose; One I cannot omit; A young ingenious Gentleman of my Acquaintance and partly under my
3. art. I.
care, was two often Guilty of Drinking too much; his Ghostly Father enjoin'd T. p. 274. him never more (for a whole Year) to drink a glass of pure Wine but only what was inixt with Water ; he observed it punctually for a while; bur being one day very much urged by his Companions, and he standing stifly upon his Injunction, one that fat by dipt his Finger in Water and let a drop or two fall into his brimmer of Wine, and said, come drink it off, for I will now swear it is not a Glass of pure. So the poor Lad fell to his Wine and Penance thus qualified, but soon after lost his Life by this plausible Intemperance. I will yet add one more of another Person, of a good family and once my Neighbour. He had a very strict severe Father after the Flesh, whose Confessor I knew very well to be a cunning Man; The young Man suspected that, notwithstanding the Seal of Confeßion, whatsoever he confessed to him went roundly to his carnal Father, and he fear’d by this, that he might in time loose his favour and be disinherited; wherefore he fell upon this project. I had seen bim very naughty in two or three vile Practices, and betwixt Jest and Earnest, I said to him, O brave Youth, how will you do to keep these Pranks from your Father's
confess them to N. N. they will soon come round to the old Gentlemap; Oh, quoth he I have a trick for that, I have an honest old Priest in a corner, and to him I always go first and take off the Cream, and then I go to N. N. and tell him that since my last Confession I have done nothing but a few Piccadillos which I have ready to confess to him; and so I am reprcfented to my old Dadde, as White and as Innocent as a Lamb. And this
Busenb. Medul. very Practice is with a little limitation allowed to be a a good entire Con. 1. 6. traét. 4. d. fession by the Jesuits.
I know the common answer to these and the like objections is this, that they are purely against the Abuses and not against the Constitution of the Romilh Church; and the best thing may be Abused, and yet in it self be a facred Sanction. But I rejoin that as their Constitution it felf or order, of Confession, Penance, Satisfaction and Absolution, now stand; it is impossible to prevent, or to take away such Abuses, without reforming and new modelling, or quite taking away their whole Constitution; so long as Men are Men, there will infallibly fall out these vile extravagances from it.
Io our Repentance it is the inward Affection and Sincerity of the Heart only, (as it is in all our other Duties to God) which recommends us to his Mercy and Forgiveness, as well as to his Favour and Love; and not any out- T. p. 278. ward performance, unless it springs purely and Originally from that alone and is fanctified by it. It was nothing but this which Justified the poor Publicad, Luk. 18. 9, 12. before the Proud rich Pharisee, who trusted in himself and boasted in his 13. outward Deeds, Fasting, and paying of Tithes. The Publican was in his Heart to truly humble, and had such Sense of his unworthiness, as he would not lift up so much as his Eyes to Heaven; The fmiting of his Breast was in it self a vain thing, for who cannot at any time and place do that? But as it rose purely from the Anguish of his wounded Heart, it was a most acceptable circumstance. It was the free and generous Heart, that gave the poor Widows two Mites more value in the Eyes of God, then all the Offer- Luk. 21. 3. ings of the other Rich Men, who brought their Gifts to the Treasury. It was like the poor Persian's offering to Artaxerxes; when he law all other Men Ælian Var hifi. bringing their prelents to him, he ran to the River, and brought as much . 1. Co 32. Water as he could hold in the hollow of both his hands, and offering it to him, he said, O King, I could not let you pass without my Present, and therefore I thus honour you, onte aj © TO WSéxw, at the first opportunity and in the best manner that I can. The reward shews how justly the Prince valued this humble and homely, but Hearty present above all, tô Trávu Todua TEM @v, the richest things which he received; for besides his perpetual Favour, hc gave him, a rich Persian Robe, a Golden Bowl and a Thousand pieces of Gold. Surely the King could not fet such a price upon this little Water, meerly as fuch, for the whole River was his own; but he eleem'd the Deed,
Luk. 6. c. 8. 15.
2 Sam. 23. 17.
T; P. 275. because it came from the rich Treasury of an honest and good Heart. And
we cannot wonder at this temporal Reward, when God himself aífurcs us, Mark. 9. 41. that a cup of cold Water given in the same manner, freely, in Christ's name,
and for his sake to a Disciple, shall not loose, (that is, thall certainly have) & Reward in Heaven. And hence only it was, thar David called the Water, which three of his Worthies fercht him from the Well of Bethlehem, their Blood; because they bravely and frankly hazarded their very Lives for it. More instances of such a Hearty performance of Repentance or Duty will be needless as they may be endless, therefore I will now a little consider and compare the nature of what is voluntary Penance and what is enjoin'd. We must needs grant that what is Voluntary, (as in the Greeks freely desiring their Canon) springs from a living Root, as rcal Sorrow for what is past, and a hearty Defire and Resolution of amendment; and therefore all future A&s of Mortification, and Charity, and Love and Duty both to God and Man, flow freely from the fame divine Fountain; and are therefore all Matters
of Thought, Judgineot, serious Deliberation and free Choice; Whereas what a T. p. 276. Latin Priest enjoins, is originally, Matter only of his own Judgment and
private thought, and is quite external and foreign from the inward Morion of the Sinner; and is most commonly thwarting and contrary to his' defire, as by their Higling and Bargaining, (which I have hinted, ) appear; And those
are counted most Meritorious, which bring most Trouble and Pain. And therepart 2. c s.fore let the enjoin'd Penance be what it will, it cannot go down to well, or be . 74 58.
perform’d with that inward Peace, Comfort, Joy, Earpeltness and Zeal, as if it was undergone by the proper and inward Motion, Desire, and choice of
the Penitent. Bellarmine needed not to have taken fuch pains to prove that ut fupra. c. 4
Deeds of Mortification, though they are commanded by God, may yet be truly called Voluntary when done by us; for we must all lay unless we do every Duty with a free Heart and perfect Will, (which is by Choice and Voluntarily) we by no means fulfill his Command.' But the Case is far otherwise in the Matter of Penance enjoin'd or Commanded by a Priest to a
Penitent, and that which is Voluntarily taken upon himself. God commands Joel 2. 12. us to Afflict our selves and to turn to him with Fasting, Weeping, Mourning Pl. 5o. 15. and Praying in General; But as he leaves the doing or not doing of this
Command to our Choice; So he leaves the particular Manner, Measure, Time, Place, and every circumstance of them, to our free Choice allo and Determination, according to our own Disposition, Inclination, or Zeal; our present Affection, Opportunity, Discretion, Strength and Ability. But the Injunction or Command of a Priest ties me down positively to every one of these Circumstances; and the Canon or Decree of the Church does the same. Whereas only Counsels, Advices, Exhortations, Perswalions or Preaching, (in Chryfoftom's way) had still left me at liberty Voluntarily to determine my self, who (when all is done) best understand my present Constitution and Condition, and therefore know what best suits with it towards the Effecting of my Cure. It is impossible that enjoinid Penance can affect my Mind like what is Voluntary and Deliberate. The Greeks Canon prescribe fuch or such a number of Proftrations in an hour; the Sioner performs them with all the Expedition he can, that he may punctually keep his Score or Reckoning and the Time; and his Mind is more intent upon that then upon his Sins. He must fay, xúgue eménoor, Lord have Mercy upon me, thus or thus many times, in a certain time. It is scandalous to hear how they hurry them over in their publick Offices, and without doubt they make quicker dispatches in Private; One Serious, Distinct, Deliberate, Hearty, Lord have Mercy upon me, faid with Attention; or the poor Publican's, God be Mercifull to me a Sinner, more worth then a thousand of them. The like must be said of the enjoin'd Penances amopgst the Papifts. Such numerous Aves, Pater nosters, Credo's, Psalms, peculiar Prayers to be repeated in a day, must be mumbled over in fuch halte, as they can never consult with any true Devotion. Let any Man repeat,
Our Father. &c.
never so carefully half a dozen time together; and see T. p. 276. whether his Devotion will, or can be so intense at the last as it was at the first; and therefore it is no wonder to me, that these enjoind Devotions, foon dwindled into, opus operatum, only doing the meer Deed, without any application of the Mind, or cleansing of the Heart. How is a Man Mortified by being commanded not to Eat Flesh, if he Surfeits on Fish or on any thing else? Whereas, if reflecting upon the Nate of my Body and Mind, I with my self find what is amiss and resolve to amend it; surely I can moderate and stint my Appetite by Eating and Drinking but little and feldom, ( let my Victuals be what they will) and I can best judge, my felf, what will bring my Body into Subjection to my Mind. The same may be said of all other Penances enjoin'd in either of these great Churches; what a Man doth, Sponte, Freely, on his own inward Motion in this Cafe, may be the real Fruits and Effects of his own Sorrow and Repentance; what is enjoin'd, is plainly the commandment of Man. The first is purely his own Deed and matter of his own Choice; the other is a Creature and meer Imposition of another Man; Though I should confent to it (as Papists are obliged to accept what is enjoin'd) it would be but with a willing unwillingness; I could not be said to undertake it, Sponte, purely of my own accord. Bellarmine himself at last there clearly owns as much. Sponte suâ excludit peculiare facerdotis imperium, to do a thing purely of ones own accord, excludes, or is inconsistent with, the peculiar Injunction of a Priest; as likewise it excludes any certain, determinate, kind or Measure of works particularly prescribed either by Scripture or the Church. As suppose the Scripture, or the Canon or the Priest enjoin you to give your self precisely just 40 Stripes so soon as you rise out of your bed; you are bound to give just so many, neither more nor less, at that very time; you may content to do it, but it cannot be faid that you do it, Sponte, of your own free Choice and good Will; there will be some inward Drawback, or Reluctancy mixt with it. But now it seems to me very Remarkable, that whilst the Cardinal hath argued so earnestly for spontaneous Penance, and given scveral Instances out of the Scripture for it, as in Job, David, and Niniveh, and might have added many more; he hath not produced to much as one for Penance enjoin'd by a Priest; though that is his next bold Assertion; and he hath only whifled about it, but left it without the least Shadow of a solid proof. He faith, Omnipo par erat ut Deus mandaret, it was very fitting that God Should Command his Ministers to impose such Penance, but thews us not one fyllable or thadow of any such Command; and therefore it remains only as a Command, or Order, of the Conclave. Enjoin'd Penance will be but as a Schoolboy's Task, very Irksome and Cross to his Inclination and Humour; and there will be, instead of a Delight and Chearfulness in it, a constant longing that
To this purpose I meet with an amazing Truth in one of the Latin's publick Books, which I will crave leave here to ser down. We are there told, that St. Ambrose took a great deal of care and pains to make Men part 2. c.5. Contrite, or broken Hearted; it seems that Men even then were very back-po V. 259: Si ward and hard to submit and be brought to what Penance was enjoind. Verum poftea tantum de veteris disciplinæ severitate remissum est, atque ita Charitas refrixit, ut jam plerique ex fidelibus ad peccatorum veniam impetrandam, nullum intimum animi dolorem, atque genitum Cordis necessarium patent, fed illud fatis esse arbitrentur, fi fpeciem tantùm dolentis habeant; But since his time so much of the antient severity and Discipline hath been remitted, and Charity, or divine Love, hath grown so cold, that now, (since the Council of Trent,) most of the Faithfull think that inward grief of Mind, and Groaning of the Heart, is not at all necessary to the obtaining Pardon for our Sins, but they count that to be enough, or Satisfaction, if they have only the outward jhew of Grieving, or Mourning. For my part I must think no Man can give a better or a truer account of the present Condition of the Romish Church chen This. Therefore it must needs be a most shamefull Addi
ir was over.
68. A. 55. Po 2416
T. p. 276. tion to their former impudent Assertion, that God was 1100 fully Satisfied by
the Death of Christ for all our Debts to his Justice, to fay, that these Lame, Trifling, Delusory, Ridiculous Performances at the word of a Priell, are able to discharge them. Constant Confession of our Sins, and daily and humbly Acknowledging of our unworthiness to God; Contrition and forrow of Heart; Fervent Prayer and Ejaculations; Sighing, Groading, Lamenting and Weeping; are all assuredly Fruits meet for Repentance, and are as certainly acceptable Sacrifices to. God from a true Penitent. Can a Priest (as I have faid) make or create these in a Sinner by enjoining him to do thein, or to do
any outward thing in order to them? Whereas by Expoftulations, by Advising, Exhorring, Instructing, Admonishing of him, and Praying with him and for him, call which, as I have often taid, are the true Duty of a Confessor and are all but Preach.
ing still,) he may by God's blesling cherish and quicken some living Bild of T. D. 297. Repentance in him, so that it will by degrees Sprout and at last bring forth
the true and meet Fruit of it. But only Enjoining any outward Action or Deed, (which can be, and too too often is, perform’d without this, Punctum
Saliens, inward living Principle,) is purely expecting Fruit froin meer Chaf Mat. 13. 8. instead of good Seed; whereas the other way of treatment, is as Seed fown
and Springing up in an honest and good Heart, which will bring forth Fruit, (answerable to the Soil, ) from thirty, to fifty, and to a hundred Fold. Therefore as for outward Penances I will here tay no more of them.
But since the Romish Doctrine of Satisfaction fcems to be grounded upon
this first Assertion, that although God in Mercy hath in Baptism quite freed Pænit. 1. 4. c.us from, Culpa, all our Guilt, get, Pena, the Punishment remains fiill
due to satisfy God's Justice; Let us a little consider the weight of this nice Distinction or Scholastick subtlety. I learn’d at School, Culpam Pæna promic
comes, Punishment follows Gilt, as an Inseparable Companion, or rather to Horat. Carm. Our purpole, Punishment always supposes Guilt foregoing. If then God hath
quite taken away our Guilt, how can any Punishment (as due only from it) still remain ? It would be unjust, if we should now be punished for that Guilt which is quite abolished. To fay Punishment may be forgiven though the Guilt remain, seems to have good fense in it; for the Deed, which rendred me Guilty, being once done, cannot be undone; therefore that Blot may remain, though the Punishment, to which that Deed made me obnoxious, is for ever remitted. For a Prince to say to a Robber or Murderer, you deserve to be hanged, but I will spare your Life; I will forgive your 'Punishment, though your Desert, your Guilt still remains; this is lotelligible and Practicable enough; But to say to him, I freely forgive you all
Guilt or Fault, but you shall be hanged, or branded, or whipt or some ways “Punished for all that; How to call this a full and absolute Pardon, I confels I cannot understand. The Prince is in the first case truly Mercifull, but in this last, he is but a meer specious deceiver. Therefore to me this Scholastick Criticisin seems not only in it self very Absurd, (invented purely to hook in and fupport that vain Doctrine of Supererrogation and Satisfaction) but it is quite foreign to the new Covenant of the Golpel. For in it God on his part obligeth himself by his faithfull Promise absolutely to Pardou and Forgive all past Sins, upon this one Condition to be perform’d on our part, if we hall truly Repent of them and do so 10 more; what is past is past, upon the per
formance of this single Condition; and for the future we are to lead a vew Life T. p. 278. according to God's Commandments; and all this is accounted by God not as a
Satisfaction to his Justice for our Sins past, (for Satisfaction for them was fully made before) but as the common Duty of every good Christian. Every one of us, as such, are obliged, to Fast, to Pray, to give Alms, to forgive our Enemies, to Feed the Hungry, and to do all other Acts of Mercy, and Pity
and brotherly Love; to abstain from all Evil and to do whatsoever is Good; Mat. 23. 23. cípecially all the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy, and
1. 4. 5.