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For if it was, he cannot be pardoned unless he renew it; and
if it was not, let him take heed : for to confess the same
things twice, and twice to be absolved, it may be, is not
lawful ; and against it Cajetan, after the scholastical man-
ner, brings divers reasons. But suppose the penitent at
peace for this, then there are very many cases, in which con-
fession is to be repeated ; and though it was done before,
yet it must be done over again. As if there be no manner
of contrition, without doubt it must be iterated; but there
are many cases concerning contrition : and if it be at all,
though imperfect, it is not to be iterated. But what is, and
what is not contrition; what is perfect, and what is imper-
fect ; which is the first degree that makes the confession
valid, can never be told. But then there is some comfort to
be had ; for, the sacrament of penance may be true, and
yet without form or life, at the same time.P And there
are divers cases, in which true confession, that is but materi-
ally half, may be reduced to that which is but formally half:
and if there be but a propinquity of the mind to a carelessness
concerning the integrity of confession ; the man cannot
be sure, that things go well with him. And sometimes it
happens that the Church is satisfied, when God is not satis-
fied, as in the case of the ' informis confessio ; ' and then the

Quzest. quodlibet. qusst. 6. de Confess. P Cajetan. summ. r. Confessio.



IMPOSED UPON CONSCIENCES. 39

man is absolved, but his sin is not pardoned ; and yet, be-
cause he thinks it is, his soul is cozened. And yet this is
but the beginning of scruples. For, suppose the penitent
hath done his duty, examined himself strictly, repented
sadly, confessed fully, and is absolved formally ; yet all this
may come to nothing, by reason that there may be some in-
validity in the ordination of the priest, by crime, by irregu-
larity, by direct deficiency of something in the whole suc-
cession and ordination ; or, it may be, he hath not ordinary, or
delegate jurisdiction ; for, it is not enough that he is a priest,
unless he have another authority, says Cajetan ; q besides his
order, he must have jurisdiction, which is carefully to be
inquired after, by reason of the infinite number of friars, that
take upon them to hear confessions ; or if he have both, yet
the use of his power may be interverted or suspended for the
time, and then his absolution is worth nothing. But here
there is some remedy made to the poor distracted penitent;
for by the constitution of the Council of Constance, under
Pope Martin the Fifth, though the priest be excommunicate,
the confession is not to be iterated : but then this also ends
in scruples; for this constitution itself does not holtl, if the
excommunication be for the notorious smiting of a clergy-
man ; or if it be not, yet if the excommunication be de-
nounced, be it for what it will, his absolution is void : and
therefore the penitent should do well to look about him ;
especially since, after all this, there may be innumerable de-
ficiencies ; yea, some even for want of skill and knowledge in
the confessor ; and when that happens, when the confession
is to be iterated, there are no certain rules, but it must be left
to the opinion of another confessor. And when he comes, the
poor penitent, it may be, is no surer of him than of the other;
for if he have no will to absolve the penitent, let him dissem-
ble it as he list, the absolution was but jocular, or pretended,
or never intended ; or, it may be, he is secretly an atheist,
and laughs at the penitent himself too, for acting, as he
thinks, such a troublesome, theatrical nothing ; and then the
man's sins cannot be pardoned. And, is there no remedy for
all this evil ? It is true the cases are sad and dangerous, but
the Church of Rome hath (such is her prudence and indul-
gence) found out as much relief as the wit of man can possibly

i Summ. verb. Absolutio.



40 AURICULAR CONFESSION

invent. For though there may be thus many, and many more
deficiencies ; yet there are some extraordinary ways to make
it up as well as it can. For, to prevent all the contingent
mischiefs, let the penitent be as wise as he can, and choose his
man upon whom these defailances may not be observed ; for
a man in necessity, as in danger of death, may be absolved
by any one that is a priest ; but yet, if the penitent escape
the sickness, or that danger, he must go to him again, or to
somebody else ; by which it appears, that his affair was left
but imperfect. But some persons have liberty by reason of
their dignity, and some by reason of their condition, as being
pilgrims or wanderers ; and they have greater freedom, and
cannot easily fall into many nullities ; or they may have an
explicit, or an implicit license : but then they must take
heed : for, besides many of the precedent dangers, they must
know that the license extends only to the paschal confes-
sions, or the usual ; but not the extraordinary or emergent :
and moreover, they can go but to the appointed confessors,
in the places where they are present ; and because under
these there is the same danger, as in all that went before,
the little more certainty which I hoped for in some few cases,
comes to nothing. But I go about to reckon the sands on
the shore. I shall therefore sum this up with the words of a
famous preacher, reported by Beatus Rhenanus r to have made
this observation, that " Thomas Aquinas and Scotus, men
too subtle, have made confession to be such, that, according
to their doctrines it is impossible to confess ; " and that the
consciences of penitents, which should be extricated and
eased, are, by this means, catch ed in a snare, and put to
torments, said Cassander ; s so that although confession to a
priest, prudently managed, without scruple, upon the case of
a grieved and an unquiet conscience, and in order to counsel
and the perfections of repentance, may be of excellent use ;
yet to enjoin it in all cases, to make it necessary to salva-
tion, when God hath not made it so ; to exact an enume-
ration of all our sins in all cases, and of all persons ; to clog
it with so many questions and innumerable inextricable diffi-
culties, and all this, besides the evil manage and conduct of

r Praefat. in lib. Tertul. de Pceniten.

Consult, art. 11, videatur etiam Johannes de Sylva in fine Tractat. de Jure-
jurando.



IMPOSED UPON CONSCIENCES. 41

it, is the rack of consciences, the slavery of the Church, the
evil snare of the simple, and the artifice of the crafty : it was,
or might have been, as the brazen serpent, a memorial of duty,
but now it is ' Nehushtan,' ' ses eorum ; ' something of their
own framing.

And this will yet further appear in this, that there is no
ecclesiastical tradition of the necessity of confessing all our
sins to a priest in order to pardon. That it was not the esta-
blished doctrine of the Latin Church, I have already proved
in the beginning of this section; the case is notorious; and
the original law of this we find in Platina, in the life of Pope
Zephyrinus. " Idem prseterea instituit, ut omnes Christian!,
annos pubertatis attingentes, singulis annis, in solenni die
pasehae, publice communicarent. Quod quidem institutum
Innocentius Tertius deinceps non ad communionem solum,
verum etiam ad confessionem delictorum traduxit." Platina
was the pope's secretary, and well understood the interests
of that church, and was sufficiently versed in the records and
monuments of the popes ; and tells, that as Zephyrinus com-
manded the eucharist to be taken at Easter, so Innocent III.
commanded confession of sins. Before this, there was no com-
mand, no decree of any council or pope enjoined it: only in
the Council of Cabaillon, 1 it was declared to be profitable, that
penance should be enjoined to the penitent by the priest after
confession made to him. But there was no command for it ;
and in the second Council of Cabaillon," it was but a disputed
case, whether they ought to confess to God alone, or also to
the priest. Some said one, and some said another, " quod
utrumque non sine magno fructu intra sanctam fit ecclesiam." x
And Theodulfus, bishop of Orleans, tells the particulars :
" The confession we make to the priests, gives us this help,
that having received his salutary counsel, by the most whole-
some duties of repentance, or by mutual prayers, we wash
away the stains of our sins. But the confession we make to
God alone, avails us in this, because by how much we are
mindful of our sins, by so much the Lord forgets them ; and
on tbe contrary, by how much we forget them, by so much
the Lord remembers them, according to the saying of the
Prophet, ' and I will remember thy sins.'" But the fathers of
the council gave a good account of these particulars also.

1 Can. 8. u Can. 33. * In torn. ii. Concil. Gallic, c. 30, p. 219.



42 AURICULAR CONFESSION

" Confessio itaque, quee Deo fit, purgat peccata : ea vero quse
sacerdoti fit, docet, qualiter ipsa purgenttir peccata : Deus
enim, salutis et sanitatis auctor et largitor, plerunque bane
prsebet suae potentiae invisibili adrninistratione/ plerunque
inedicorum operatione:" which words are an excellent declar-
ation of the advantages of confession to a priest, but a full ar-
gument that it is not necessary, or that, without it, pardon of
sins is not to be obtained. Gratian quoting the words, cites
Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury ; but falsely : for it is in the
second Council of Cabaillou, and not in Theodore's Penitential.
But I will not trouble the reader further, in the matter of the
Latin Church ; in which it is evident, by what hath been al-
ready said, there was concerning this no apostolical tradition.
How it was in the Greek Church, is only to be inquired.
Now we might make as quick an end of this also, if we
might be permitted to take Semeca's word, 2 the gloss of the
canon law ; which affirms that, " Confession of deadly sins
is not necessary among the Greeks, because no such tradi-
tion hath descended unto them." This acknowledgment and
report of the Greeks, not esteeming confession to a priest to
be necessary, is not only in the gloss above cited : but in
Gratian 3 himself, and in the more ancient collection of ca-
nons by Burchard, and Ivo Carnotensis. Bellarmine fancies
that these words "ut Grseci" are crept into the text of Gra-
tian out of the margent. Well! suppose that; but then
how came they into the elder collections of Burchard and
Ivo? That is not to be told; but creep in they did, some
way or other; because they are not in the Capitular of The-
odore, archbishop of Canterbury ; and yet from thence this
canon was taken ; and that Capitular was taken from the
second Council of Cabaillon ; in which also, there are no
such words extant; so the cardinal. 1 * In which Bellarmine
betrays his carelessness or his ignorance very greatly.

1. Because there is no such thing extant in the world, that
any man knows and tells of, as the Capitular of Theodore.

2. He indeed made a Penitential, a copy of which is in Bene't-
college library in Cambridge, from whence I have received
some extracts, by the favour and industry of my friends ; and

7 Sola Contritione, ait glossa, ibid, et habetur de Poenit. dist. 1, c. Quidam
Deo. * De Poenit. dist. 5, c. in Poenit.

De Poeuit. dist. 1, c. Quidam Deo. b De Poenit. lib. iii. c. 5.



IMPOSED UPON CONSCIENCES. 43

another copy of it is in Sir Robert Cotton's library. 3. True
it is, there is in that Penitential no such words as " ut Graeci,'
but a direct affirmation, " Confessionem suam Deo soli, si
necesse est, licebit agere." 4. That Theodore should take
this chapter out of the second Council of Cabaillon, is an
intolerable piece of ignorance or negligence in so great a
scholar as Bellarmine ; when it is notorious, that the council
was after Theodore, above one hundred and twenty years.
5. But then lastly, because Theodore, though he sat in the seat
of Canterbury, yet was a Greek born ; his words are a good
record of the opinion of the Greeks, that " Confession of sin,
is, if there be need, to be made to God alone." But this I shall
prove with firmer testimonies ; not many, but pregnant, clear,
and undeniable.

St. Gregory Nyssen c observed, that the ancient fathers
before him, in their public discipline, did take no notice of
the sins of covetousness, that is, left them without public
penance, otherwise than it was ordered in other sins; and,
therefore, he interposes his judgment thus : " But concerning
these things, because this is pretermitted by the fathers, I do
think it sufficient to cure the affections of covetousness with
the public word of doctrine, or instruction, curing the dis-
eases, as it were, of repletion by the word." That is plainly
thus : the sins of covetousness had no canonical penances
imposed upon them : and therefore many persons thought
but little of them : therefore, to cure this evil, let this sin
be reproved in public sermons, though there be no imposition
of public penances. So that here is a remedy without pe-
nances, a cure without confession, a public sermon instead of
a public or private judicatory.

But the fact of Nectarius, in abrogating the public peni-
tentiary priest upon the occasion of a scandal, does bear
much weight in this question. I shall not repeat the story ;
who please, may read it in Socrates, Sozomen, Epiphanius,
Cassiodore, and Nicephorus ; d and it is known every where.
Only they who are pinched by it, endeavour to confound it,
as Waldensis and Camus : some by denying it, as Latinus
Latinius ; others by disputing concerning every thing in it ;

c Ejiist. Canon, ad Letorum.

d Ilelect. de Poenit. part v. sect. Ad sextum, p. 31, edit. Salmanticae, 1563,
per Mutthiam Gartium.



44 AURICULAR CONFESSION

some saying, that Nectarius abrogated sacramental confes-
sion ; others, that he abrogated the public only, so very many
say : and a third sort, who yet speak with most probability,
that he only took away the office of the public penitentiary,
which was instituted in the time of Decius, and left things
as that decree found them ; that is, that those who had sin-
ned those sins, which were noted in the penitential canons,
should confess them to the bishop, or in the face of the Church,
and submit themselves to the canonical penances. This
passed into the office of the public penitentiary ; and that into
nothing in the Greek Church. But there is nothing of this,
that I insist upon ; but I put the stress of this question upon
the product of this. For Eudsemon 6 gave counsel to Nec-
tarius and he followed it, that he took away the penitentiary
priest, " ut liberam daret potestatem, uti pro sua quisque con-
scientia ad mysteria participanda accederet." So Socrates
and Sozomen to the same purpose : " Ut unicuique liberum
permitteret, prout sibi ipse conscius esset et confideret, ad
mysteriorum communionem accedere, pcenitentiarium ilium
presbyterum exauctoravit." Now if Nectarius, by this decree,
took away sacramental confession, as the Roman doctors
call it, then it is a clear case the Greek Church did not
believe it necessary ; if it was only the public confession they
abolished, then, for aught appears, there was no other at that
time; I mean, none commanded, none under any law, or
under any necessity : but whatever it was that was abolished,
private confession did not, by any decree, succeed in the
place of it ; but every man was left to his liberty and the dic-
tates of his own conscience, and according to his own per-
suasion, to his fears, or his confidence, so to come and par-
take of the Divine mysteries. All which is a plain demon-
stration, that they understood nothing of the necessity of
confession to a priest of all their sins, before they came to
the holy sacrament.

And in pursuance of this, are those many exhortations
and discourses of St. Chrysostom, who, succeeding Nectarius,
by his public doctrine could best inform us how they un-
derstood the consequence of that decree, and of this whole
question. The sum of whose doctrine is this : It is not ne-
cessary to have your sins revealed, or brought in public, not

e Lib. v. c. 19, Eccl. Hist. lib. vii. c. 16.



IMPOSED UPON CONSCIENCES. 45

only in the congregation, but not to any one, but to God
alone. " Make a scrutiny, and pass a judgment on your
sins inwardly in your conscience, none being present but
God alone, that seeth all things." f And again : " Declare
unto God alone thy sin, saying, Against thee only have I sin-
ned and done evil in thy sight; and thy sin is forgiven thee.
I do not say, Tell to thy fellow-servant, who upbraids thee,
but tell them to God who heals thy sins." 8 And, that after
the abolition of the penitentiary priest nothing was surro-
gated in his stead, but pious homilies and public exhorta-
tions, we learn from those words of his ; " We do not bring
the sinners into the midst, and publish their sins ; but having
propounded the common doctrine to all, we leave it to the
conscience of the auditors, that out of those things, which
are spoken, every one may find a medicine fitted for his
wound." h "Let the discussion of thy sins be in the ac-
counts of thy conscience; let the judgment be passed with-
out a witness : let God alone see thee confessing ; God who

o

upbraids not thy sins, but out of this confession blots them
out." " Hast thou sinned? enter into the church, say unto
God, I have sinned. I exact nothing of thee, but that alone."
The same he says in many other places:' now against so
many, so clear, and dogmatical testimonies, it will be to no
purpose to say, that St. Chrysostom only spake against the
penitentiary priest set over the public penitents ; and this he
did in pursuance of his predecessor's act. For, besides that
some of these homilies were written before St. Chrysostom
was bishop, viz. his one-and-twenty homilies to the people
of Antioch, and the fourth homily of Lazarus which was
preached at Antioch before he came to Constantinople,
when he was but a priest under Flavianus his bishop ; and his
homilies on St. Matthew ; besides this, it is plain that he
not only speaks against the public judicial penance and con-
fession ; but against all, except that alone which is made to
God ; allowing the sufficiency of this for pardon, and

1 Homil. Ivi. sive liii. de Poenit. torn. i.

f Homil. ix. de Poeuit. sive homil. lix. Lomil. ii. in Psal. 1. bomil. Quod peccata
non sint evulgnnda. Vide tom. Ivii.

h Homil. de Poenit. et Confessione, homil. 58, tom. v. ; homil. 68, tom. v.

1 Homil. xxxi. in Ep. ad Hebr. ; homil. xx. in Matt ; bomil. xxviii. in 1 Cor. ;
bomil. xxi. ad Pop. Antiocb. t!s aSf/zurz;, homil. iv . de Lazaro.



46 AURICULAR CONFESSION

disallowing the necessity of all other. To these things Bellar-
rnine, Perron, Petrus de Soto, Vasquez, Valentia, and others,
strive to find out answers ; but they neither agree together,
neither do their answers fit the testimonies ; as is evident to
them, that compare the one and the other, the chief of which
I have remarked, in passing by. The best answers that can
be given, are those which Latinus Latinius and Petavius
give; k the first affirming, that these homilies, 1. are not St.
Chrysostom's : or, 2. that they are corrupted by heretics ;
and the latter confessing they are his, but blames St. Chry-
sostom for preaching such things. And to these answers I
hope I shall not need to make any reply. To the two first
of Latinus, Vasquez hath answered perfectly; and to that of
Petavius, there needs none ; Petavius, instead of answering,
making himself a judge of St. Chrysostom. I suppose if
we had done so in any question against them, they would
have taken it in great scorn and indignation ; and, therefore,
we choose to follow St. Chrysostom, rather than Master
Petavius.

I do not deny, but the Roman doctors do bring many
sayings of the Greek and Latin fathers, shewing the useful-
ness of confession to a priest, and exhorting and pressing
men to it : but their arts are notorious, and evident ; and
what, according to the discipline of the Church at that time,
they spake in behalf of the exomologesis, or public discipline,
that these doctors translate to the private confession ; and
yet whatever we bring out of antiquity against the necessity
of confession to a priest, that they will resolvedly understand
only of the public. But, besides what hath been said to every
of the particulars, I shall conclude this point with the say-
ings of some eminent men of their own, who have made the
same observation. " In hoc labuntur theologi quidam pariim
attenti, quod, qua3 veteres illi de hujusmodi publica et gene-
ral! confessione, qua? nihil aliud erat quam signis quibusdam
etpiaminibus ab episcopo indictis, se peccatorem, et bonorum
communione indignum agnoscere, trahunt ad hanc occultam
et longe diversi generis : " so Erasmus. 1 And B. Rhenanus
says, " Let no man wonder that Tertullian speaks nothing of



k In 3. part. Tho. toin. iv. q. 90, a. 1, dub. 3, n. 31.

1 lu S. Hieron. Epist. ad Oceanum, sive Epitaph. Fabiolae.



IMPOSED UPON CONSCIENCES. 47

the secret or clancular confession of sins ; which, so far as
we conjecture, was bred out of the (old) exomologesis, by the
unconstrained piety of men. For we do not find it at all
commanded of old."" 1

The conclusion of these premises is this, that the old
ecclesiastic discipline being passed into desuetude and inde-
votion, the Latin Church especially kept up some little
broken planks of it ; which, so long as charity and devotion
were warm, and secular interest had not turned religion into
arts, did, in some good measure, supply the want of the old
better discipline ; but when it had degenerated into little
forms, and yet was found to serve great ends of power,
wealth, and ambition, it passed into new doctrines, and is
now bold to pretend to Divine institution, though it be no-
thing but the commandment of men, a snare of consciences,
and a ministry of human policy ; false in the proposition,
and intolerable in the conclusion.

There are divers other instances reducible to this charge,
and especially the prohibition of priests' marriage, and the
abstinence from flesh at certain times ; which are grown up
from human ordinances to be established doctrines, that is,
to be urged with greater severity than the laws of God ; in-
somuch that the Church of Rome permits concubinate and
stews at the same time, when she will not permit chaste mar-
riages to her clergy. And for abstinence from flesh at times
appointed, " veluti parricida pene dixerim rapitur ad suppli-
cium, qui pro piscium carnibus gustarit carnes suillas." But
I shall not now insist upon these ; having so many other
things to say, and especially, having already in another
place" verified this charge against them in these instances.
I shall only name one testimony of their own, which is a
pregnant mother of many instances : and it is in their own
canon law: " They that voluntarily violate the canons,
are heavily judged by the holy fathers, and are damned by
the Holy Ghost, by whose instinct they were dicta ted . p
For they do not incongruously seem to blaspheme the Holy
Ghost." And a little after : " Such a presumption is mani-
festly one of the kinds of them, that blaspheme against the

01 Praefat. in lib. Tertnl. de Poeiiit.

n Rule of Conscience, lib. iii. c. 4, rules 13, 19, and 20.

Caus. 2.5, q. 1, c. Yiolatores Canonum. P Dicati pro dicta'i.



48 OF INDULGENCES.

Holy Ghost." Now if the laws of their church, which are
discordant enough, and many times of themselves too blain-
able, q be yet by them accounted so sacred, that it is taught
to be a sin against the Holy Ghost, willingly to break them ;
in the world there cannot be a greater verification of this
charge upon them : it being confessed on all hands, that,
not every man who voluntarily violates a divine command-
ment, does blaspheme the Holy Ghost.



BOOK II.

SECTION I. Of Indulgences.

ONE of the great instances to prove the Roman religion
to be new, not primitive, not apostolic, is the foolish and
unjustifiable doctrine of indulgences. This point I have
already handled ; so fully and so without contradiction from
the Roman doctors (except that they have causelessly snarled
at some of the testimonies), that, for aught yet appears, that
discourse may remain a sufficient reproof of the Church of
Rome until the day of their reformation, The first testimony
I brought, is the confession of a party ; for I affirmed that
Bishop Fisher, of Rochester, did confess, " that, in the be-



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