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“ From this place, until the section His auctoritatibus, he allegeth for the other part, that sin is not forgiven unto such as are of years, without confession of the mouth, which yet is false :” saith he. But this free dealing of his did so displease friar Manrique, who by the command of Pius Quintus set out a censure upon the glosses of the canon law, that he gave direction these words, " which yet is false," should be clean blotted out; which direction of his notwithstanding, the Roman correctors under Gregory XIII. did not follow : but, letting the words still stand, give them a check only with this marginal annotation. “Nay' it is most true, that without confession, in desire at least, the sin is not forgiven."
In like manner, where the same Semeca holdeth it to be the better opinion, that confession was “ ordained by a certain tradition of the universal Church, rather than by the authority of the New or Old Testament;" and inferreth thereupon, that it is necessary among the Latins, but “not among the Greeks, because that tradition did not spread to them ;" friar Manrique commandeth all that passage to be blotted out. But the Roman correctors clap this note upon the margin for an antidote: "Nay", confession was ordained by our Lord, and by God's law is necessary to all that fall into mortal sin after baptism, as well Greeks as Latins:" and for this they quote only the fourteenth session of the council of Trent; where that opinion is accursed in us, which was held two or three hundred years ago by the men of their own religion: among whom Michael" of Bononia, who was prior general of the order of the Carmelites in the days of pope Urban the sixth, doth conclude strongly out of their own received grounds, " that confession is not necessary for the obtaining of the pardon of our sin :" and Panormitan, the great canonist, professeth that the opinion of Semeca doth much please him, which referreth the original of confession to a general tradition of the Church; “ because* (saith he) there is not any clear authority, which sheweth that God or Christ did clearly ordain that confession should be made unto a priest." Yea, "ally the canonists, following their first interpreter, say that confession was brought in only by the law of the Church," and not. by any divine precept: if we will believe Maldonat ; who addeth notwithstanding, that “this? opinion is either already sufficiently declared by the Church to be heresy, or that the Church should do well if it did declare it to be heresy.”
9 Ab hoc loco usque ad sec. His auctoritatib. pro alia parte allegat, quod scilicet adulto peccatum non dimittitur fine oris confessione. quod tamen falsum
Gloss. r Imo verissimum, sine confessione in voto non dimitti peccatum. Rom. correct. ibid. in marg.
& Melius dicitur eam institutam fuisse a quadam universalis Ecclesiæ traditione, potius quam ex novi vel veteris testamenti auctoritate. Gloss. de pænitent. init. distinct. 5. in pænitentia.
Ergo necessaria est confessio in mortalibus apud nos, apud Græcos non : quia non emanavit apud illos traditio talis. Ibid.
u Imo confessio est instituta a Domino, et est omnibus post baptismum lapsis in mortale peccatum, tam Græcis quam Latinis, jure divino necessaria. Rom. correct. ibid. in marg.
And we find indeed, that in the year of our Lord 1479, which was thirty-four years after the death of Panormitan, by a special commission, directed from pope Sixtus the fourth unto Alfonsus Carillus archbishop of Toledo, one Petrus Oxomensis, professor of divinity in the university of Salamanca, was driven to abjure this conclusion, which he had before delivered as agreeable to the common opinion of the doctors, “ that confession of sins in particular was grounded upon some statute of the universal Church, and not upon divine right:" and when learned men for all this would not take warning, but would needs be meddling again, with that which the popish clergy could not endure should be touched, as Johannes de Selva, among others, in the end of his treatise De jurejurando, Erasmus in divers of his works, and Beatus Rhenanus in his argument upon Tertullian's book De pænitentia: the fathers of Trent, within seventy-two years after that, conspired together to stop all men's mouths with an anathema', that should deny sacramental confession to be of divine institution, or to be necessary unto salvation. And so we are come to an end of that point.
* Michael Angrianus in Psal. 29.
* Multum mihi placet illa opinio ; quia non est aliqua authoritas aperta, quæ innuat Deum seu Christum aperte instituisse confessionem fiendam sacerdoti. Panorm. in 5. decretal. de pænit. et remiss. cap. 12. Omnis utriusque. sec. 18.
y Omnes juris pontificii periti, secuti primum suum interpretem, dicunt, confessionem tantum esse introductam jure ecclesiastico. Maldon. disp. de sacrament. tom. 2. de confess. orig. cap. 2.
z Sed tamen hæc opinio aut jam declarata est satis tanquam hæresis ab Ecclesia ; aut faceret Ecclesia operæ pretium, si declararet esse hæresim. Id. ib. de præcepto confess. cap. 3.
a Quod confessio de peccatis in specie fuerit ex aliquo statuto universalis Ecclesiæ, non de jure divino. Congregat. Complutens. sub Alfonso Carillo : apud Carranzam in summa concil. sub Sixto IV.
THE PRIEST'S POWER
From confession we are now to proceed unto absolutior : which it were pity this man should receive, before he made confession of the open wrong he hath here done, in charging us to deny that priests have power to forgive sins; whereas the very formal words, which our Church requireth to be used in the ordination of a minister, are these : "Whose* sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained." And therefore, if this be all the matter, the fathers and we shall agree well enough: howsoever this make-bait would fain put friends together by the ears, where there is no occasion at all of quarrel. For we acknowledge most willingly, that the principal part of the priest's ministry is exercised in the matter of forgiveness of sins: the question only is of the manner how this part of their function is executed by them, and of the bounds and limits thereof, which the pope and his clergy, for their own advantage, have enlarged beyond all measure of truth and reason.
That we may therefore give unto the priest the things that are the priest's, and to God the things that are God's; and not communicate unto any creature the power
that properly belongeth to the Creator, who “ willo not give his glory unto another:" we must in the first place lay this down for a sure ground, that to forgive sins properly, directly and absolutely, is a privilege only appertaining unto the Most High. “I'," saith he of himself, “ even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
· The form of ordering of priests.
b Isai. chap. 48. ver. 11.
66 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity ?” saith the prophet Micahd; which in effect is the same with that of the Scribes, “Who can forgive sins, but God alone ?" And therefore, when David saith unto God, “ Thou' forgavest the iniquity of my sin ;" Gregory, surnamed the Great, the first bishop of Rome of that name, thought this to be a sound paraphrase of his words ; “ Thous, who alone sparest, who alone forgivest sins. For who can forgive sins, but God alone ?" He did not imagine that he had committed any great error in subscribing thus simply unto that sentence of the Scribes; and little dreamed, that any petty doctors afterwards would arise in Rome or Rhemes, who would tell us a fair tale : that “ the faithless Jews thought as heretics now-a-days, that to forgive sins was so proper to God, that it could not be communicated unto man;" and that “true believers refer this to the increase of God's honour, which miscreant Jews and heretics do account blasphemy against God, and injurious to his majesty:" whereas in truth the faithlessness of the Jews consisted in the application of this sentence against our Saviour Christ, whom they did not acknowledge to be God; as the senselessness of these Romanists, in denying of the axiom itself.
But the world is come unto a good pass, when we must be accounted heretics now-a-days, and consorted with miscreant Jews, for holding the self-same thing that the fathers of the ancient Church delivered as a most certain truth, whensoever they had any occasion to treat of this
c Isai. chap. 43. ver. 25.
d chap. 7. ver. 18. e Mark, chap. 2. ver. 7. and Luke, chap. 5. ver. 21. f Psalm 32. ver. 5.
& Tu, qui solus parcis, qui solus peccata dimittis. Quis enim potest peccata dimittere, nisi solus Deus ? Gregor. exposit. 2. Psalmi pænitential.
b Rhemists, annot. in Matt. chap. 9. ver. 5. i Rich. Hopkins, in the memorial of a christian life, pag. 179. edit. ann. 1612.