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was far from meeting with universal acceptance. Ambrose of Milan patronised it: but, as the bishop remarks, it is too true, that already, even in his time, some insensates, under a pretext since developed at the reformation, refused to submit to this ministration of the priests. Their refusal, it seems, was grounded upon a deference to the supreme majesty of God, who (as they imagined) could alone pardon sins; and, according to the bishop, they were fully confuted by Ambrose: but they do not appear to have been themselves convinced by that learned prelate's argument.* They conceived, I apprehend, that absolution, pronounced by a priest, was only conditional and declarative: conditional, as the bishop himself seems to admit; declarative, as the church of England additionally inclines to conjecture. Hence, if sacerdotal absolution could be procured only on the rack of auricular confession, they ventured to think, that the absolution of God, after such a confession to the Lord as Tertullian defines primitive

*Discuss. Amic. vol. ii. p. 187. The bishop, I regret to observe, condescends to make, as it were, a Scriptural doctrine, that strange distinction between repentance and doing penance, which is one of the many unaccountable delights of the Latin church.

Repentance, he tells us, is the principle of the reformation: but this is not sufficient: we must also confess and do penance. Now I beg to ask, Where is there a single passage in the whole New Testament, which enjoins the performance of a Latin penance as necessary to eternal salvation?

An uneducated Romanist will tell us, that penance is enjoined again and again in Holy Scripture; but the bishop of Aire is not an uneducated Romanist. He knows perfectly well, that the expressions penance and to do penance, which perpetually occur in the Romish versions of the New Testament, do not exhibit the true idea of the original words μετάνοια and μετανοεῖν. Those words, from the very necessity of their etymology, relate, not to the outward austerities which the Latin church enjoins under the name of penance, but purely and exclusively to that moral change of mind which we denominate repentance.

By this lamentable, and (I fear) systematic, mistranslation of the Greek original, thousands and millions may have been seduced into a scheme of mere unauthorized and mis-deemed meritorious will-worship.

confession to have been, might peradventure be equally beneficial and efficacious.*


Exomologesis est, qua delictum Domino nostrum confitemur, non quidem ut ignaro; sed quatenus satisfactio confessione disponitur, confessione pœnitentia nascitur, pœnitentia Deus mitigatur.-Tertull. de Pœnit. § ix. p. 483.


The Difficulties of Romanism in regard to the Doctrine of Satisfaction.

THE Romish doctrine of satisfaction is stated by the bishop of Aire in manner following:

We are all sinful creatures; and we might justly have been devoted to endless punishment. But Christ laid down his life for us upon the cross; and, through the alone meritorious efficacy of his death and sufferings, we are exempted from the dreadful penalty of everlasting woe. Yet, although the Saviour, by the infinite value of his blood, might no doubt have delivered us both from eternal punishment and from transitory punishment; in matter of fact, it has pleased him to deliver us only from the former. The latter, as justly due to our sins, he has left us still to undergo. Whence, consequently, we must undergo it, either in the present world, or in the next world, or jointly in both worlds. Now the undergoing of this transitory punishment is what the Latin church denominates a making of satisfaction to the justice of God.*

The moral efficacy, then, of Christ's death, so far as I can understand the bishop's statement, may be thus briefly specified. Our Lord's meritorious passion on the cross delivers us, indeed, from the eternal punishment of sin: but it does not avail to deliver us from its temporal punishment.

* Discuss. Amic. Lett. xii.

I. I wish that his lordship had been a little more explicit, in defining the precise idea which he would attach to the word satisfaction. Had he done that, some degree of trouble might have been saved.

If, by the word satisfaction, he means only to describe an undoubted fact, which presents itself daily before our eyes; certainly the most hardy disputant would not incline to controvert his statement.

In the course of God's moral government, as we all know, effect is so suspended upon cause, that vice perpetually receives a temporal punishment. The deepest repentance and the most exalted piety of later life will not restore a constitution destroyed by early depravity, Pardon, indeed, through Christ, is accorded to the penitent sinner: but he is not, on that account, exempted from temporal punishment. To the hour of his death he pays the penalty of his longforsaken and long-abhorred transgressions.

Now, if this naked matter of fact be all that the bishop would express by the word satisfaction; or if he would include in the idea punishments of sin, like that of David, sent specially, and not in the mere way of cause and effect, from God, I apprehend, that, throughout all the protestant churches, he would not find a single opponent.

From much eloquent declamation, employed by the bishop in this precise line of argument, I had begun to hope, that one at least of our differences had originated from simple misapprehension: but my hope became more and more faint, as I advanced in my perusal of his lordship's discussion.

Instead of viewing temporal punishment, either as a righteous retribution, or as a fatherly chastisement-the only two modes in which I can find it represented throughout Holy Scripture-the bishop, not content with gratuitously carrying it into the next world, seems evidently to consider it in the light of a meritorious expiation made on our part, when we either devoutly submit to it as sent from

God, or when we freely and artificially inflict it upon ourselves. I may be mistaken; and I hope that I am mistaken in my estimate of his lordship's theory: but, from his occasional intimations, though he never explicitly defines the word satisfaction, I find it difficult to form any other conclusion.*

In my fear that I am not mistaken, I am painfully confirmed by yet another mode in which the bishop seems inclined to view the Latin doctrine of satisfaction.

It is not always, he apprehends, that a man makes satisfaction to the justice of God by temporal suffering: much also, he conceives, may be done in that way by what he denominates satisfactory works; such as, agreeably to his own express enumeration of them, abstinence, and fasting, and the care of widows and orphans, and alms giving, and the visitation of the sick; works, he observes, which in the Latin church are reckoned among the most important satisfactions.t

The excellence, and (under one aspect) the necessity, of these good deeds, we of the reformed churches most fully allow, but this is not precisely the question. The bishop clearly deems them meritorious: for, unless that be the case, I perceive not how they can make an expiatory satisfaction to God for our transgressions. Now it is under this precise idea of their alleged meritoriousness, that the language and doctrine of our Latin brethren are thought by us to be objectionable. We acknowledge, says the accurate Hooker, A DUTIFUL NECESSITY of doing well: but THE MERITORIOUS DIGNITY of doing well

* I give the bishop's own words. Satisfaire, autant qu'il est en nous, à la justice, de son Père.-Discuss. Amic. vol. ii. p. 211. Parce que nous sommes hors d'état d'acquitter la dette entière, serions nous dispensés de faire quelques efforts pour entrer en paiement suivant nos facultés et nos moyens?-Ibid. p. 216. L'obligation de satisfaire et apaiser le ciel par des œuvres expiatoires. -Ibid. p. 221.

†Discuss. Amic. vol. ii. p. 222.

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