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which is an expression used in Scripture to signify them that die in the Lord, and is not used to signify the death of them that perish from the presence of the Lord. These persons died in the state of grace and repentance, but yet died in their sin; chastised for their lesser sins, but so that their souls were saved. This is that which Clemens Alexandrinus affirms of sins committed after our illumination, rà di Tiyivóμενα ἐκκαθαίρεται, ‘These sins must be purged with a παίδευσις,
'with the chastisements of sons.' The result of this consideration is that which St. Peter advises, "that we pass the time of our sojourning here in fear:" for no man ought to walk confidently, who knows that even the most laudable life hath in it evil enough to be smarted for with a severe calamity.
52. VII. The most trifling actions, the daily incursions of sins, though of the least malignity, yet if they be neglected, combine and knit together, till by their multitude they grow insupportable; this caution I learn from Cæsarius Arelatensis. "Et hoc considerate, fratres, quia etiamsi capitalia crimina non subreperent, ipsa minuta peccata quæ (quod pejus est) aut non attendimus, aut certè pro nihilo computamus, si simul omnia congregentur, nescio quæ bonorum operum abundantia illis præponderare sufficiat ;"" Although capital sins invade you not, yet if your minutes, your small sins, which either we do not consider at all, or value not at all, be combined, or gathered into one heap, I know not what multitude of good works will suffice to weigh them down." For little sins are like the sand, and when they become a heap are heavy as lead; and “ heavy as lead; and " a leaking ship may as certainly perish with the little inlets of water as with a mighty wave";" for of many drops a river is made; and therefore," ipsa minuta vel levia non contemnantur. Illa enim quæ humanæ fragilitati quamvis parva tamen crebra subrepunt, quasi collecta contra nos fuerint, ita nos gravabunt sicut unum aliquod grande peccatum ";""Let no little sins be despised, for even those smallest things which creep upon us by our natural weakness, yet when they are gathered together against us, stand on a heap, and like an army
• Stromat. 4.
f Hom. 13.
St. August. epist. 108. ad Seleu. lib. 50. hom. 42.
b Idem. tract. 1. in ep. Johan, Levia multa faciunt unum grande.
of flies can destroy us as well as any one deadly enemy, "Quæ quamvis singula non lethali vulnere ferire sentiantur, sicut homicidium, et adulterium, vel cætera hujusmodi, tamen omnia simul congregata velut scabies, quo plura sunt, necant, et nostrum decus ita exterminant, ut à filii sponsi, speciosi formâ præ filiis hominum, castissimis amplexibus separent, nisi medicamento quotidianæ pœnitentiæ dissecentur:” “ Indeed, we do not feel every one of them strike so home and deadly, as murder and adultery do; yet when they are united, they are like a scab, they kill with their multitude, and so destroy our internal beauty, that they separate us from the purest embraces of the Bridegroom, unless they be scattered with the medicine of a daily repentance." For he that does these little sins often, and repents not of them, nor strives against them, either loves them directly or by interpretation.
53. VIII. Let no man, when he is tempted to as in, go then to take measures of it; because it being his own case he is an unequal and incompetent judge; his temptation is his prejudice and his bribe, and it is ten to one but he will suck in the poison, by his making himself believe that the potion is not deadly. Examine not the particular measures unless the sin be indeed by its disreputation great; then examine as much as you please, provided you go not about to lessen it. It is enough it is a sin, condemned by the laws of God, and that death and damnation are its wages.
54. IX. When the mischief is done, then you may, in the first days of your shame and sorrow for it, with more safety, take its measures. For immediately after acting, sin does to most men appear in all its ugliness and deformity: and if in the days of your temptation you did lessen the measure of your sin, yet in the days of your sorrow, do not shorten the measures of repentance. Every sin is deadly enough; and no repentance or godly sorrow can be too great for that which hath deserved the eternal wrath of God.
55. X. I end these advices with the meditation of St. Jerome." Si ira et sermonis injuria, atque interdum jocus, judicio, conciliòque, atque Gehennæ ignibus delegatur, quid merebitur turpium rerum appetitio, et avaritia quæ est radix omnium malorum?"" If anger, and injurious words, and
1 Lib. 50. hom, 80. c. 8.
sometimes a foolish jest, are sentenced to capital and supreme punishments, what punishment shall the lustful and the covetous have?"—And what will be the event of all our souls, who reckon those injurious or angry words of calling “fool,” or sot' amongst the smallest, and those which are indeed less we do not observe at all? For who is there amongst us almost, who calls himself to an account for trifling words, loose laughter, the smallest beginnings of intemperance, careless spending too great portions of our time in trifling visits and courtships, balls, revellings, fantastic dressings, sleepiness, idleness, and useless conversation, neglecting our times of prayer frequently, or causelessly, slighting religion and religious persons, siding with factions indifferently, forgetting our former obligations upon trifling regards, vain thoughts, wanderings and weariness at our devotion, love of praise, laying little plots and snares to be commended ; high opinion of ourselves, resolutions to excuse all, and never to confess an error; going to church for vain purposes, itching ears, love of flattery, and thousands more? The very kinds of them put together are a heap; and therefore, the so frequent and almost infinite repetition of the acts of all those are, as David's expression is, without hyperbole, more than the hairs upon our head;' they are like the number of the sands upon the sea-shore for multitude.
What Repentance is necessary for the smaller or more
56. I. UPON supposition of the premises; since these smaller sins are of the same nature, and the same guilt, and the same enmity against God, and consigned to the same evil portion that other sins are, they are to be washed off with the same repentance also as others. Christ's blood is the lavatory, and faith and repentance are the two hands that wash ourselves white from the greatest and the least stains: and since they are by the impenitent to be paid for in the same fearful prisons of darkness, by the same remedies and instruments the intolerable sentence can only be prevented.
The same ingredients, but a less quantity possibly may make the medicine. Cæsarius, bishop of Arles, who spake many excellent things in this article, says, that for these smaller sins a private repentance is proportionable : " Si levia fortasse sunt delicta, v. g. si homo vel in sermone, vel in aliquâ reprehensibili voluntate; si in oculo peccavit, aut corde; verborum et cogitationum maculæ quotidianâ oratione curandæ, et privatâ compunctione terendæ sunt :"" The sins of the eye, and the sins of the heart, and the offences of the tongue, are to be cured by secret contrition and compunction and a daily prayer."-But St. Cyprian commends many whose conscience being of a tender complexion, they would even for the thoughts of their heart do public penance. His words are these ';" multos timoratæ conscientiæ, quamvis nullo sacrificii aut libelli facinore constricti essent, quoniam tamen de hoc vel cogitaverunt, hoc ipsum apud sacerdotes Dei dolenter et simpliciter confitentes exomologesin conscientiæ fecisse, animi sui pondus exposuisse, salutarem medelam parvis licet et modicis vulneribus exquirentes ;" "Because they had but thought of complying with idolaters, they sadly and ingenuously came to the ministers of holy things, God's priests, confessing the secret turpitude of their conscience, laying aside the weight that pressed their spirit, and seeking remedy even for their smallest wounds."-And, indeed, we find that among the ancients " there was no other difference in assignation of repentance to the several degrees of sin, but only by public, and private: capital sins they would have submitted to public judgment; but the lesser evils to be mourned for in private of this I shall give account in the chapter of ecclesiastical repentance. In the meantime their general rule was, that because the lesser sins came in by a daily incursion, therefore they were to be cut off by a daily repentance; which, because it was daily, could not be so intense and signally punitive as the sharper repentances for the seldom-returning sins; yet as the sins were daily, but of less malice, so their repentance must be daily, but of less affliction. "Medicamento quotidianæ pœnitentiæ dissecentur;" that was St. Austin's rule". Those evils, that happen every day, must be cried out against every day.
1 De Lapsis.
* Hom. 1.
Vide St. Aug. lib. 83. q. 26. et. Cæsar. Arelat. hom. 1.
57. II. Every action of repentance, every good work done for the love of God, and in the state of grace, and designed, and particularly applied, to the interscission of the smallest unavoidable sins, is, through the efficacy of Christ's death, and in the virtue of repentance, operative towards the expiation or pardon of them. For a man cannot do all the particulars of repentance for every sin; but, out of the general hatred of sin, picks out some special instances, and apportions them to his special sins; as to acts of uncleanness he opposes acts of severity, to intemperance he opposes fasting. But then, as he rests not here, but goes on to the consummation of repentance in his whole life: so it must be in the more venial sins. A less instance of express anger is graciously accepted, if it be done in the state of grace, and in the virtue of repentance; but then the pardon is to be completed in the pursuance and integrity of that grace, in the sums total. For no man can say that so much sorrow, or such a degree of repentance, is enough to any sin he hath done and yet a man cannot apportion to every sin large portions of special sorrow, it must therefore be done all his life-time; and the little portions must be made up by the whole grace and state of repentance. One instance is enough particularly to express the anger, or to apply the grace, of repentance to any single sin which is not among the capitals; but no one instance is enough to extinguish it. For sin is not pardoned in an instant (as I shall afterward discourse), neither is the remedy of a natural and a just proportion to the sin. Therefore, when many of the ancient doctors apply to venial sins special remedies, by way of expiation, or deprecation, such as are, "beating the breast, saying the Lord's prayer, alms, communicating, confessing," and some others; the doctrine of such remedies is not true, if it be understood that those particulars are just physically or meritoriously proportioned to the sin. No one of these alone is a cure or expiation of the past sin; but every one of these in the virtue of repentance is effective to its part of the work, that is, he that repents and forsakes them as he can, shall be accepted,
• Ecclesia Romana alia excogitavit facilè, quorum nonnulla declinant aperte nimis ad superstitionem:
Confiteor, tundo, conspergor, conteror, oro,