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feel the evil that is past, as that he may avoid it for the time to come ; and they are called by the name, “Satisfaction,” because this obedience of the penitent, in voluntarily chastising himself, is agreeable to God, and mitigates or removes the temporal punishment which should otherwise be expected at the hands of God.
This whole institution, it can not be denied, is worthy of Divine wisdom; and if, in the Christian religion, there be any ordinance singularly excellent, and worthy of admiration, it is this, which even the Chinese and Japanese admired; for the necessity of confessing at once deters many, especially those who are not yet obdurate, from sinning and administers great comfort to the fallen ; insomuch that I believe a pious, grave, and prudent confessor to be a powerful instrument in the hands of God for the salvation of souls; for his counsel is of great avail in assisting us to govern our passions ; to discover our vices; avoid occasions of sin; to make restitution and reparation for injury; to dissipate doubts; to raise up the broken spirit; and, in one word, to remove, or mitigate, all the evils of the soul. And if, in human things, there is scarce anything better than a faithful friend, what must it be, when that friend is bound, by the inviolable religious obligation of a Divine sacra
ment, to hold faith with us, and assist us in difficulties? And although of old when the fervor of piety was more warm, public confession and penance were in use among Christians, nevertheless, in order to consult our weakness, it hath pleased God to declare by the Church, that private confession to a priest is sufficient for the faithful; an obligation of silence being further attached, in order that the confession may be more thoroughly freed from the influence of human respect. GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNITZ,
THE INVOCATION OF THE SAINTS.
It is certain that angel-guardians are assigned to us by God. Now the Scripture compares the saints to angels, and calls them “equal to angels." That the saints have some concern in human affairs appears to be conveyed by the talking of Moses and Elias with Christ”; and that even particular events come to the knowledge of the saints and angels, (whether it be in the mirror of the divine vision, or by the natural clearness and wide-ranging powers of vision, possessed by the glorified minds,) is insinuated in Christ's declaration, that there is “joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance.” Further, that God, in consideration of the saints, even after their death, grants favors to men, (although it is only through Christ that the saints, whether of the Old or of the New Testament, possess their dignity,) is indicated by the prayers found in the Scripture: “Remember, O Lord, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thy servants": a form not very different from that which the Church commonly employs : “Grant, O Lord, that we may be assisted by the merits and intercession of Thy saints"; that is, “Regard their labors, which by Thy gift they have borne for Thy name; hear their prayers, to which Thine only-begotten Son hath given efficacy and value.”
Seeing, therefore, that the blessed souls, in their present state, are much more intimately present in all our affairs, and see all things more nearly than while they lived on earth, (for men are only acquainted with the few which occur in their sight, or are reported to them by others, seeing that their charity, or desire for aiding us is more ardent; seeing, in fine, that their prayers are more efficacious than those which they offered formerly in this life, that it is certain that God has granted many favors even to the intercession of the living, and that we look for great advantages from the union of the prayers of our brethren with our own; I do not perceive how it can be made a crime to invoke a blessed soul, or a holy angel, and to beg his intercession or his assistance, according as the life and history of the martyr, or other circumstances appear to suggest; especially if this worship is considered but as a slender accessory of that supreme worship which is immediately directed to God alone; and if, whatever may be its character, it is offered for the sake of testifying our reverence and humility toward God, and our affection for God's servants, and springs from that pious solicitude which prompts us in proportion to the lowly sense we entertain of our own unworthiness to desire to unite the prayers of other pious persons, and, above all those of the Blessed, with our own. And trus when it is analyzed, this very accessory of worship terminates with God himself; to whose