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though the expression of his repentance be applied to his fault but in one or more of these single instances; because all good works done in the faith of Christ, have an efficacy towards the extinction of those sins which cannot be avoided by any moral diligence; there is no other thing on our parts which can be done, and if that which is unavoidable, were also irremediable, our condition would be intolerable and desperate. To the sense of this advice we have the words of St. Gregory: "Si quis ergo peccata sua tecta esse desiderat, Deo ea per vocem confessionis ostendat," &c. "If any man desires to have his sins covered, let him first open them to God in confession : but there are some sins, which, so long as we live in this world, can hardly, or indeed not at all be wholly avoided by perfect men. For holy men have something in this life, which they ought to cover; for it is altogether impossible that they should never sin in word or thought. Therefore, the men of God do study to cover the faults of their eyes or tongue with good deeds, they study to overpower the number of their idle words with the weight of good works. But how can it be that the faults of good men should be covered, when all things are naked to the eyes of God? but only because that which is covered is put under, something is brought over it: our sins are covered when we bring over them the cover of good works."-But Cæsarius, the bishop, is more punctual, and descends to particulars. For having given this general rule, "Illa parva vel quotidiana peccata bonis operibus redimere non desistant," "Let them not cease to redeem or expiate their daily and small faults with good works;" he adds, "But I desire more fully to insinuate to you, with what works small sins are taken off. So often as we visit the sick, go (in charity) to them that are in prison, reconcile variances, keep the fasts of the church, wash the feet of strangers, repair to the vigils and watches of the church, give alms to passing beggars, forgive our enemies when they ask pardon :" "istis enim operibus et his similibus minuta peccata quotidiè redimuntur;" "with these and the like works the minute or smaller sins are daily redeemed or taken off."

58. III. There is in prayer a particular efficacy, and it is of proper use and application in the case of the more venial and unavoidable sins, rather this than any other alone, espe

cially being helped by charity, that is, alms and forgiveness. Because the greatest number of venial sins come in (as I shall afterward demonstrate) upon the stock of ignorance, or, which is all one, imperfect notices and acts of understanding; and therefore, have not any thing in the natural parts and instances of repentance, so fit to expiate or to cure them. But because they are beyond human care, they are to be cured by the divine grace, and this is to be obtained by prayer. And this St. Clement advised in his epistle. 'Eτείνατε τὰς χεῖρας ὑμῶν πρὸς τὸν αὐτοκράτορα θεὸν, ἱκετεύοντες αὐτὸν ἵλεων γίνεσθαι, εἴ τι ἄκοντες ἡμάρτετε. “ Lift up your eyes to God Almighty, praying him to be merciful to you, if you have unwillingly fallen into error." And to the same purpose are the words of St. Austin: "Propter levia, sine quibus esse non possumus, oratio inventa:" "For those lighter sins, without which we cannot be, prayer is invented as a remedy."

59. IV. Perpetually watch, and perpetually resolve against them, as against any, never indulging to thyself leave to proceed in one. Let this care be constant and indefatigable, and leave the success to God. For in this there is a great difference between capital or deadly, and the more venial sins. For he that repents of great sins, does so resolve against them, that he ought really to believe that he shall never return to them again. No drunkard is truly to be esteemed a penitent, but he that in consideration of himself, his purpose, his reasons, and all his circumstances, is by the grace of God confident that he shall never be drunk again. The reason is plain: for if he thinks that for all his resolution and repentance the case may happen, or will return, in which he shall be tempted above his strength, that is, above the efficacy of his resolution, then he hath not resolved against the sin in all its forms or instances: but he hath left some roots of bitterness which may spring up and defile him; he hath left some weak places, some parts unfortified, and does secretly purpose to give up his fort, if he be assaulted. by some sort of enemies. He is not resolved to resist the importunity of a friend or a prevailing person, a prince, his laudlord, or his master; that for the present he thinks impossible, and therefore, owes his spiritual life to chance, or to

P Chap. of sins of infirmity.

9 De Symb. ad Catech. lib. 1. c. 6. et lib. 50. Homil. 28.

the mercies of his enemy, who may have it for asking: but if he thinks it possible to resist any temptation, and resolves to do it if it be possible, the natural consequent of that is, that he thinks he shall never fall again into it. But if beforehand he thinks he shall relapse, he is then but an imperfect resolver, but a half-faced penitent. But this is not so in the case of smaller sins coming by ignorance or surprise, by inadvertency and imperfect notices, by the unavoidable weakness and imperfect condition of mankind. For he who in these resolves the strongest, knows that he shall not be innocent but that he shall feel his weakness in the same or in other instances; and that this shall be his condition as long as he lives, that he shall always need to pray, "Forgive me my trespasses:" and even his not knowing concerning all actions, and all words, and all thoughts, whether they be sins or no, is a certain betraying him into a necessity of doing something for the pardon of which Christ died, for the preventing of which a mighty care is necessary, in the suffering of which he ought to be humbled, and for the pardon of which he ought for ever to pray. And therefore, St.Chrysostom upon those words of St. Paul; "I am conscious in nothing," that is, I do not know of any failing in my ministry; saith, Kaì Tí dýπOTE; 'what then?' he is not hereby justified, örɩ ovνέβαινεν ἡμαρτῆσθαι μὲν αὐτῷ τινὰ ἁμαρτήματα, καὶ μὴ αὐτὸν εἰδέναι ταῦτα ἁμαρτήματα, “ because some sins might adhere to him, he not knowing that they were sins."-"Ab occultis meis munda me, Domine," was an excellent prayer of David; "Cleanse me, O Lord, from my secret faults." "Hoc dicit, nequid fortè per ignorantiam deliquisset," saith St. Jerome; "he prayed so, lest peradventure he should have sinned ignorantly."—But of this I shall give a farther account in describing the measures of 'sins of infirmity.' For the present, although this resolution against all, is ineffective as to a perfect immunity from small offences, yet it is accepted as really done, because it is done as it can possibly.

60. V. Let no man rely upon the catalogues which are sometimes given, and think that such things which the doctors have called venial sins, may with more facility be admitted, and with smaller portions of care be regarded, or with a slighter repentance washed off. For besides that some have called perjuries, anger, envy, injurious words, by lighter

names and titles of a little reproof, and, having lived in wicked times, were betrayed into easier sentences of those sins which they saw all mankind almost to practise, which was the case of some of the doctors who lived in the time of those wars which broke the Roman empire; besides this, I say, venial sins can rather be described', than enumerated. For none are so in their nature, but all that are so, are so by accident; and, according as sins tend to excuse, so they put on their degrees of veniality. No sin is absolutely venial, but in comparison with others: neither is any sin at all times and to all persons alike vènial. And therefore, let no man venture upon it upon any mistaken confidence: they that think sins are venial in their own nature, cannot agree which are venial and which are not; and therefore, nothing is in this case so certain, as that all doctrine which does in any sense represent sins as harmless or tame serpents, is infinitely dangerous; and there is no safety, but by striving against all beforehand, and repenting of all as there is need.

61. I sum up these questions and these advices with the saying of Josephus: Τὸ γὰρ ἐπὶ μικροῖς καὶ μεγάλοις παρανομεῖν ioodúvaμóv kori. "It is as damnable to indulge leave to ourselves to sin little sins as great ones:" a man may be choked with a raisin, as well as with great morsels of flesh; and a small leak in a ship, if it be neglected, will as certainly sink her as if she sprung a plank. Death is the wages of all; and damnation is the portion of the impenitent, whatever was the instance of their sin. Though there are degrees of punishment, yet there is no difference of state, as to this particular: and therefore, we are tied to repent of all, and to dash the little Babylonians against the stones, against the rock that was smitten for us. For by the blood of Jesus, and the tears of repentance, and the watchfulness of a diligent, careful person, many of them shall be prevented, and all shall be pardoned.

A Psalm to be frequently used in our Repentance for our
daily Sins.

Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy: rejoice the soul of thy servant; for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

See chap. 7. of sins of infirmity.

* Εἰς τοὺς Μακκαρπους.

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee: teach me thy way, O Lord, I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name.

Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly.

How much less on them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? Doth not their excellency which is in them, go away? They die even without wisdom.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them, there is great reward.

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Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from my secret faults: keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity and seek after leasing? But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly, for himself: the Lord will hear, when I call unto him.

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice: O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint.

If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? But there is mercy with thee, therefore shalt thou be feared.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips take from me the way of lying; and cause thou me to make much of thy law.

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, long-suffering, and of great goodness: he will not alway be chiding, neither keepeth he his anger for ever.

Yea, like as a father pitieth his own children, even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear him. For he knoweth whereof we are made: he remembereth that we are but dust.

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