NEVER, for a single instant, ought we to make light of that craving for pardon, that sense of an infinite burden of evil already committed, which has given rise to every confessional and penance that has existed, or does exist, in the world. There are some who would persuade us, that, to dwell on that which has been, is a mere device of priestcraft; that, provided we can do the right thing now, we may be well content, whatever we may have to reproach ourselves with in the years that are gone by. To them the prayer of the Psalmist, "Remember not the sins of my youth," seems to be the utterance of a vain and self-tormenting superstition. Dear brethren! do not let us delude ourselves with these half-truths, which sound so exceedingly plausible, which prove, in experience, so utterly worthless. We do feel the sins of our youth, we are assaulted every day and hour by thoughts, words, acts, which we have left years behind us. And, oh! are we not deeply and awfully aware that recollections which we would give world" to preserve, recollections of forms and faces, an(l loving words. spoken, and loving acts done, may pass away from us, almost, it would seem, into utter darkness while words and acts, that we should like to bury thousands of fathoms deep, survive and reappear at men's feasts--at God's Feast--to make the present and the future dark alike?
But now, if only there was a voice to say to us, "God hath set forth His Son to be a propitiation, through faith in His Blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of the sins that are past;" if God could be declared to us as the Propitiator--as the Being, Who puts away sins because He is righteous, because He would not have us tied and yoked to evil, because He would make us His free and true servants; if, instead of this declaration being merely made in words, the fact of Christ's death could be proclaimed, as the sure declaration of God's righteousness in the forgiveness of sins; how should we feel that neither suicide nor atheism was the refuge from the past, but faith in Him Who knows it all, Who is, and was, and is to come,--faith in Him, as manifested in the Sacrifice of His Son,--faith in Him, as desiring to make us partakers of His own righteous Mind! How naturally would this faith find its full expression in confession to Him, Who so thoroughly understands the length and breadth of the evil, Who sees it not, as man sees it, through the blundering, stammering phrases of the penitent, and Who so much more desires the deliverance and reformation of the offender, than he has even yet learned to desire it! How cheerfully should we, holding fast this faith in such a Being, accept His punishments, of whatever kind they be,--as the tokens that He is educating, disciplining, purifying, the child whom He has adopted!--Sermons on Sacrifice, pp. 156-160.