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pardoned. The Montanists denied the pats don of God, or at least of the church, to all scandalous and heinous sinners.” But, those who were most noted for their rigor and severity, were the Novatians, who maintained; w that there was no mercy for him who should fall after baptism ;” that is, either that God would not pardon those who should scanda. lously sin after they'were baptized; or rather; that the church could not forgive them, and receive them into communion again, but must for ever exclude them from her society, and teave them to the judgment of God hereafter. · St. Austin observes, " that there is a threea fuld repentance to be found in the holy scriptures the first, a repentance at baptism, when all the sins of the penitent are blotted out; the second, a daily repentance, which is the continued work of every Christian: for even after he is baptized, through the temptations of the De. vil, the delusions of the world, and the infirna ities of the flesh, he will have unavoidable miscarriages and defects; of which he is con: tinually to repent, and to beg of God the pardon of them, according to the fifth petition of the Lord's prayer wherein our Saviour leacheth us to pray, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: the third a more heavy and grievous repentance, performed in the church by those who are called penitents, who having committed adul

fery, murther, sacrilege, or any other scandae lous and heinous crimes, are excluded from the sacrament of the Lord's supper, lest by eating it unworthily, they should eat and drink judgment to themselves." Under which suspension they are continued, till they have given sufficient evidences of their repen. tance; by means-whereof; they obtain a readmission to the communion of the church, and unto those rights and privileges which by their miscarriages they had forfeited and lost,

Now the two former ķinds of repentance the Novatians allowed, but absolutely dişowned the third and last, refusing to receive again into the communion of the church those who had lapsed in times of persecution, or any other sort of scandalous sinners whatsoç. ver, though they gave the most convincing proofs of their humiliation, sorrow and repentance ; which cruel and unmerciful doctrine is with good reason affirmed by Dionysi. us, bishop of Alexandria, " to be most wicked towards God, and reproachfựl to our most merciful Lord Christ Jesus, representing him, as one that is implaçable :" And, by Cyprian, to be “a çevere impiety of heretical presụmption; by which, the consolations of divine pitiy and fatherly lạnity are shut against the penitent and mourning servants of God, who knock at the church with tears, sighs and

groans; so that the wounded are not admitted to have their wounds cured; but, being left without any hope of pcace or communion, are thrown out to the rapine of wolves, and the prey of the Devil." For which reason, the said father calls Novation, who was the propagator and principal 'maintainer of these cruel and rigid notions, "an enemy of mercy, a murtherer of repentance, a doctor of pride, a corrupter of truth, and a destroyer of charity." • The natural consequences of this heresy being then so dishonorable to God, so prejua dicial to the church, so contrary to the spirit of the gospel, and so destructive to the souls of men, it is no wonder, that at the first broa. ching thereof by Montanus, or at least, at the revival of it with greater vigor and success by Noyatian, the fathers of the church ordained, that the forgiveness of sins should be constantIy repeated in the creed at baptism ; to de. clare thereby, that not only sins committed be. fore baptism were then pardoned to the duly qualified and disposed, but that also all sins perpetrated after baptism, even the most scan. dalous and notorious (the irremissible one against the Holy Ghost still excepted) were pardonable and remissible upon the renewal "of repentance and faith, both by God and the

church; that'as the former would not exclude the penitent from heaven, so'neither should

the latter seclude them from her conimunion on earth. :

Now that this article was thus assented to, in contradiction to these heretical rigors of the Montanists and Novatians, is abundantly evident from the writings of the fathers. St. Jerom observes, that the Montanists and the orthodox Christians“ disagreed in the rule of fạith, or in the creed, and particularly in the article of the forgiveness of sins, for they shụt the church doors for every fault almost; but we, (saith he,) read every day, I rather desire the repentance than the death of a sinner.”

The author of the explanation of the creed to Damasus, wrongfully supposed to be St. Jerom, imagined by Bellarmin and Launoy to be Pelagius, thus explains this clause against the forementioned severities, “ that if a man falls after baptism, we believe that he may be saved by repentance.”

But above all, St. Austin in sundry places thus interprets it, as in his Enchiridion to Lau. rentius, where, after he hath mentioned the precedent primary sense thereof, he adds this secondary one, “ that as for great sins to be remitted in the holy church, the mercy of God is not to be despaired of by those who repent according to the measure of their sin ; but, in the action of repentance, where such a crime is perpetrated, as that the conimitter


thereof is separated from the body of Christ, the measure of time is not so much to be considered as the measure of sorrow; for God despiseth not a contrite and humbled heart: but because the sorrow of one man's heart is hid from another, and cannot be known by others, except by words and other external signs, therefore times of penance are appointed by the ecclesiastical governors, that the church may be satisfied, in which their sins ate remitted.” And in another place, where he cautions "his readers particularly against those several heretics who denied the several parts of the creed, he directly levels this article against the Novatians, saying thereon, " let us not hear those who deny that the church of God can forgive all sins. And elsewhere, where he targely prosecutes this secondary explication of the article before us, "he wonders that any should be so obstinate, as to deny repentance to the lapsed, or par. don to the penitent, when it is written, re. member from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first works: and when the Lord exhorts to rise again by works, where it is written charity delivereth from death, that is, not from that death which the blood of Christ hath once extinguished, and the salutajy water of baptism, and the grace of our redecnier hath saved us from, but from that

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