Book: THE OBEDIENCE OF A CHRISTIAN MAN & How Christian Rulers Ought to Govern

CONTRITION and repentance are both one, and nothing else but a sorrowful and a mourning heart. And because that God hath promised mercy unto a contrite heart, that is, to a sorrowful and repenting heart, they, to beguile God’s word and to stablish their wicked tradition, have reigned that new word attrition, saying, ‘Thou canst not know whether thy sorrow or repentance be contrition or attrition, except thou be shriven. When thou art shriven, then it is true contrition.’ O foxy Pharisee! that is thy leaven, of which Christ so diligently bade us beware, Matthew 16; and the very prophecy of Peter, “Through covetousness with feigned words shall they make merchandise of you.” 2 Peter 2. With such glosses corrupt they God’s word, to sit in the consciences of the people, to lead them captive, and to make a prey of them; buying and selling their sins, to satisfy their unsatiable covetousness. Nevertheless the truth is, when any man hath trespassed against God, if he repent and [ac]knowledge his trespass, God promiseth him forgiveness without ear-shrift.

If he that hath offended his neighbor repent and [ac]knowledge his fault, asking forgiveness if his neighbor forgive him, God forgiveth him also by his holy promise. Matthew 18. Likewise, if he that sinneth openly, when he is openly rebuked, repent and turn, then if the congregation forgive him, God forgiveth him: and so forth whosoever repenteth, and, when he is rebuked, [ac]knowledgeth his fault, is forgiven.

He also that doubteth, or hath his conscience tangled, ought to open his mind unto some faithful brother that is learned, and he shall give him faithful counsel to help him withal.

To whom a man trespasseth, unto him he ought to confess. But to confess myself unto thee, O antichrist, whom I have not offended, am I not bound.

They of the old law had no confession in the ear. Neither the apostles, nor they that followed marty hundred years after, knew of any such whispering.

Whereby then was their attrition turned into contrition? Yea, why are we, which Christ came to loose, more bound than the Jews? Yea, and why are we more bound without scripture? For Christ came not to make us more bound; but to loose us, and to make a thousand things no sin which before were sin, and are now become sin again. He left none other law with us, but the law of love. tie loosed us not from Moses to bind us unto antichrist’s ear. God hath not tied Christ unto antichrist’s car, neither hath poured all his mercy in thither; for it hath no record in the old Testament, that antichrist’s ear should be Propitiatorium, that is to wit, God’s mercystool, and that God should creep into so narrow a hole, so that he could no where else be found. Neither did God write his laws, neither yet his holy promises, in antichrist’s ear; but hath grayed [engraven] them with his holy Spirit in the hearts of them that believe, that they might have them always ready at hand to be saved thereby.