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Confession

Early Church Fathers Quotes on Confession

The Didache

In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. –The Didache

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. –The Didache

Clement of Rome

For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest [to all]. For they went down alive into Hades, and death swallowed them up. – First Epistle to the Corinthians

Shepherd of Hermas

Whereupon the old woman approached, accompanied by six young men whom I had also seen before; and she stood behind me, and listened to me, as I prayed and confessed my sins to the Lord. And touching me she said, “Hermas, cease praying continually for your sins; pray for righteousness, that you may have a portion of it immediately in your house.” – Book I: Visions

Clement of Alexandria

For not only must the idols which he formerly held as gods, but the works also of his former life, be abandoned by him who has been “born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,” but in the Spirit; which consists in repenting by not giving way to the same fault. For frequent repentance and readiness to change easily from want of training, is the practice of sin again. The frequent asking of forgiveness, then, for those things in which we often transgress, is the semblance of repentance, not repentance itself. “But the righteousness of the blameless cuts straight paths,” says the Scripture. – The Stromata, or Miscellanies — Book II

Cyprian

Confession is the beginning of glory, not the full desert of the crown; nor does it perfect our praise, but it initiates our dignity; and since it is written, He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved, Matthew 10:22 whatever has been before the end is a step by which we ascend to the summit of salvation, not a terminus wherein the full result of the ascent is already gained. He is a confessor; but after confession his peril is greater, because the adversary is more provoked. He is a confessor; for this cause he ought the more to stand on the side of the Lord’s Gospel, since he has by the Gospel attained glory from the Lord. For the Lord says, To whom much is given, of him much shall be required; and to whom more dignity is ascribed, of him more service is exacted. Luke 12:48 Let no one perish by the example of a confessor; let no one learn injustice, let no one learn arrogance, let no one learn treachery, from the manners of a confessor. He is a confessor, let him be lowly and quiet; let him be in his doings modest with discipline, so that he who is called a confessor of Christ may imitate Christ whom he confesses. – Treatises of Cyprian – Treatise 1

 

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