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this proposition, that an act of humility would have procured our pardon, as well as that an act of contrition will do it: because of the words of David, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart; and will save such as be of an humble spirit"." Salvation is as much promised to humility alone, as to contrition alone; that is, to neither separately, but in the conjunction with other parts of duty.

62. V. Contrition is either taken in its proper specific signification, and so it is but a part of repentance; and then who can say that it shall be sufficient to a full and final pardon? Repentance alone is not sufficient; there must be faith, and hope, and charity; therefore much less shall a part be sufficient, when the whole is not. But if contrition be taken in a sense comprehending more than itself, then I demand how much shall it involve? That it does include in it an act of the divine love, and a purpose to confess, and a resolution to amend, is affirmed. So far is well. But why thus far and no further? Why shall not contrition, when it is taken fora sufficient disposition to pardon and salvation, signify as much as repentance does; and repentance signify the whole duty of a converted sinner? Unless it does, repentance itself, that is, as it is one single grace, cannot suffice, as I have proved but now: and therefore how shall contrition alone, much less, an act of contrition alone, do it? For my part, I should be very glad it were so, if God so pleased; for I have as much need of mercy as any man, and have as little reason to be confident of the perfection of my repentance, as any returning sinner in the world. But I would not willingly deceive myself, nor others, and therefore I must take the surest course, and follow his measures who hath described the lines and limits of his own mercy. But it is remarkable that the manner of the Scripture is to include the consequents in the antecedents. "He that is of God, heareth God's word:" that is, not only hears, but keeps it. For, 'not the hearer, but the doer, is blessed.' So St. John in the Revelation; "Blessed are they that are called to the marriage of the Lamb." They which are called are blessed; that is, they which being called, come, and come worthily, having on the wedding-garment. For without this, the meaning of the Spirit is not full. For


many are called, but few are chosen." And thus also it is

h Psal. xxxiv. 17.

John, viii. 47.

Apoc. xix. 9.

in the present instance: God will not despise the contrite heart; that is, the heart which, being bruised with sorrow, returns to duty, and lives in holiness; for in order to holiness, contrition was accepted.

But one thing I shall remark before I leave this. In the definition of contrition, all the schools of theology in the world that I know of, put 'the love of God.' Contrition is not only sorrow, but a love of God too. Now this doctrine, if they themselves would give men leave rightly to understand it, is not only an excellent doctrine, but will also do the whole business of this great question. Without contrition our sins cannot be pardoned. It is not contrition, unless the love of God be in it. Add then but these-Our love to God does not consist in an act of intuition or contemplation, nor yet directly and merely of passion; but it consists in obedience. 'If ye love me, keep my commandments:-that is our love of God. So that contrition is a detestation of our past sin, and a consequent obedience to the divine commandments: only as the aversion hath been, so must be the conversion; it was not one act of disobedience only which the habitual sinner is to be contrite for, but many; and therefore so must his contrition be, a lasting hatred against sin, and an habitual love, that is, an habitual obedience to the divine commandment.

63. VI. But now to the instances of David and the prodigal, and the sudden pronunciation of their pardon, there is something particular to be said. The parable of the prodigal can prove nothing but God's readiness to receive every returning sinner: but neither the measures nor the times of pardon are there described. As for David, his pardon was pronounced suddenly, but it was but a piece of pardon; the sentence of death, which by Moses's law he incurred, that only was remitted: but after this pardon, David repented bitterly in sackcloth and ashes, he fasted and prayed, he lived holily and wisely, he made amends as he could; and yet the child died that was born to him, his son and subjects rebelled, his concubines were dishonoured in the face of the sun, and the sword never departed from his house. 2. But to both these and all other instances that are or can be of the like nature, I answer, that there is no doubt but God's pardon is as early and speedy as the beginnings of our repentance;

but then it is such a pardon as is proportionable to the repentance, a beginning pardon, to a beginning repentance. It is one degree of pardon to be admitted to repentance: to have more grace given, to have hopes of final absolution, to be continued in the work of the Lord, to be helped in the mortification of our sins, to be invited forwards, and comforted, and defended, and blessed, still are further progressions of it, and answer to the several parts and perseverance of repentance. And in this sense those sayings of the old doctors are true, but in no other that I know of. To this purpose they are excellent words which were spoken by St. Austin; "Nunquam Deus spernit pœnitentiam, si ei sincerè et simplicitèr offeratur; suscipit, libenter accipit, amplectitur omnia, quatenus eum ad priorem statum revocet:""God never does despise repentance that is sincerely offered to him; he takes all, he embraces all, that he may bring the man to his former state'.”


64. Obj. 5. But against this doctrine are pretended some sentences of the fathers, expressly affirming, that a sinner, returning to God, in any instant, may be pardoned; even in the last moment of his life, when it is certain nothing can be done, but single acts of contrition or something like it. Thus the author of the book De Coena Domini,' attributed to St. Cyprian; "Sed et in eodem articulo temporis cum jam anima festinat ad exitum, et egrediens ad labia exspirantis emerserit, pœnitentiam clementissimi Dei benignitas non aspernatur : nec serum est quod verum, nec irremissibile quod voluntarium, et quæcunque necessitas cogat ad pœnitudinem, nec quantitas criminis, nec brevitas temporis, nec horæ extremitas, nec vitæ enormitas, si vera contritio, si pura fuerit voluptatum mutatio, excludit à veniâ, sed in amplitudine sinus sui mater caritas prodigos suscipit revertentes, et velit nolit Novatus hæreticus, omni tempore Dei gratia recipit pœnitentes." Truly this is expressly against the severity of the former doctrine; and if St. Cyprian had been the author of this book, I should have confessed him to be an adversary in this question. For this author affirms, that then when "the soul is expiring, God rejects not the contrition of him who but then returns: though the man be compelled to repentance, though the time be short, and the iniquity was long and great, yet

1 Serm. 181. de Tempore, c. 16.

in the last hour, if he be truly contrite, God will not refuse him." To this I say, that he that said these words, was one that lived not very long since"; then when discipline was broken, and piety was lost, and charity was waxen cold; and since the man's authority is nothing, I need say no more, but that I have been reproving this opinion all this while. But there are words in St. Cyprian's book to Demetrianus, which are confessedly his, and yet seem to promise pardon to dying penitents. "Nec quisquam aut peccatis retardetur aut annis, quo minus veniat ad consequendam salutem. In isto adhuc mundo manenti pœnitentia nulla sera est. Patet ad indulgentiam Dei aditus, et quærentibus atque intelligentibus veritatem facilis accessus est. Tu sub ipso licet exitu et vitæ temporalis occasu pro delictis roges et Deum qui unus et verus est, confessione et fide agnitionis ejus implores. Venia confitenti datur, et credenti indulgentia salutaris de Divinâ pietate conceditur, et ad immortalitatem sub ipsâ morte transitur." These words are indeed very expressly affirmative of the efficacy of a very late, even of a death-bed repentance, if it should so happen. But the consideration of the person wholly alters the case, and makes it inapplicable to the case of dying Christians. For Demetrianus was then a pagan, and a cruel persecutor of Christians. "Nec saltem contentus es dolorum nostrorum compendio, et simplici ac veloci brevitate pœnarum: admoves laniandis corporibus longa tormenta. Innoxios, justos, Deo caros domo privas, patrimonio spolias, catenis premis, carcere includis, bestiis, gladio, ignibus punis." This man St. Cyprian, according to the Christian charity, which teaches to pray for our persecutors, and to love our enemies, exhorts passionately to believe in Christ, to become a Christian, and though he was very old, yet to repent even then would not be too late. "Hujus sacramento et signo censeamur; Hunc (si fieri potest) sequamur omnes :" "Let us all follow Christ; let us all be consigned with his sign and his sacrament."-Now there is no peradventure, but new-converted persons, heathens newly giving up their names to Christ and being baptized, if they die in an hour, and were baptized half an hour after they believe in Christ, are heirs of salvation. And it was impossible to be otherwise; for when the heathen world was

m Arnoldus Abbas.

to be converted, and the Gospel preached to all persons, old men, and dying men, it must either be effective to them also of all the promises, or by nothing could they be called to the religion. They who were not Christians, were not to be judged by the laws of Christ. But yet Christians are; and that is a full account of this particular, since the laws of our religion require of us a holy life; but the religion could demand of strangers nothing but to believe, and at first promise to obey, and then to do it accordingly, if they shall live. Now to do this, was never too late; and this is all which is affirmed by St. Cyprian.

65. St. Jerome" affirmed, "Nunquam sera est conversio; latro de cruce transit ad Paradisum." And St. Austin"; "De nullo desperandum est, quamdiu patientia Dei ad pœnitentiam adducit:"-and again; " De quocunque pessimo in hâc vitâ constituto utique non est desperandum. Nec pro illo imprudenter oratur, de quo non desperatur." Concerning the words of St. Jerome, the same answer will serve which I gave to the words of St. Cyprian; because his instance is of the thief upon the cross, who then came first to Christ: and his case was as if a heathen were new converted to Christianity. "Baptizatus ad horam securus hinc exit," was the rule of the church P. But God requires more holiness of Christians than he did of strangers; and therefore he also expects a longer and more laborious repentance. But of this I have given account in the case of Demetrianus. St. Austin's words press not at all all that he says is this, "We must despair of no man, so long as the mercy of God leadeth him to repentance." It is true, we must not absolutely despair; but neither must we presume without a warrant: nay, hope as long as God calls effectually. But when the severity of God cuts him off from repentance, by allowing him no time, or not time enough, to finish what is required, the case is wholly differing.

But St. Chrysostom speaks words which are not easy to be reconciled to the former doctrine. The words of St. Chrysostom are these: "Take heed of saying, that there is a place of pardon only for them that have sinned but little. For if you please suppose any one abounding with all malicious

" Epist. ad Letam, et ad Paulum et Sabissianum.

• Serm. 11. de Verb. Dom. et serm. 58. de Tempore.

P Vide Hist. of the Life of the Holy Jesus, part. 2. disc. 9.
Ad Theodorum Lapsum.

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