« Prev An Objection Anticipated Before the Discussion… Next »

Chapter III.—An Objection Anticipated Before the Discussion Above Promised is Commenced.

But before doing this, I will make short work with an answer which meets us from the opposite side, in reference to that species of repentance which we are just defining as being without pardon.  “Why, if,” say they, “there is a repentance which lacks pardon, it immediately follows that such repentance must withal be wholly unpractised by you.  For nothing is to be done in vain.  Now repentance will be practised in vain, if it is without pardon.  But all repentance is to be practised.  Therefore let (us allow that) all obtains pardon, that it may not be practised in vain; because it will not be to be practised, if it be practised in vain.  Now, in vain it is practised, if it shall lack pardon.”  Justly, then, do they allege (this argument) against us; since they have usurpingly kept in their own power the fruit of this as of other repentance—that is, pardon; for, so far as they are concerned, at whose hands (repentance) obtains man’s peace, (it is in vain).  As regards us, however, who remember that the Lord alone concedes (the pardon of) sins, (and of course of mortal ones,) it will not be practised in vain.  For (the repentance) being referred back to the Lord, and thenceforward lying prostrate before Him, will by this very fact the rather avail to win pardon, that it gains it by entreaty from God alone, that it believes not that man’s peace is adequate to its guilt, that as far as regards the Church it prefers the blush of shame to the privilege of communion.  For before her doors it stands, and by the example of its own stigma admonishes all others, and calls at the same time to its own aid the brethren’s tears, and returns with an even richer merchandise—their compassion, namely—than their communion.  And if it reaps not the harvest of peace here, yet it sows the seed of it with the Lord; nor does it lose, but prepares, its fruit.  It will not fail of emolument if it do not fail in duty.  Thus, neither is such repentance vain, nor such discipline harsh.  Both honour God.  The former, by laying no flattering unction to itself, will more readily win success; the latter, by assuming nothing to itself, will more fully aid.

« Prev An Objection Anticipated Before the Discussion… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |