The Nestorians and their Rituals/Volume 2/Chapter 20

CHAPTER XX.

OF SIN AFTER BAPTISM.

"Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism, After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the Grace of God, we may rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent."—Article XVI.

§ 1. "O Thou King of kings, if thou hast imposed upon Thy servants, that they should forgive those who sin against them, and who afterwards repent, to the extent of seventy times seven times, how much more does it accord with Thy justice to forgive not seventy times only, but seven thousand times seventy thousand times, those who come to Thine House in order to receive Thy forgiveness, and who cry aloud unto Thee, young and old, and in every tongue ascribe praise unto Thee, both now and for ever and ever." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for the fourth Sunday in Lent.

§ 2. "Our help is from God, Who in mercy chastises us all. And since it is He Who gives us life, let us never despair of the salvation of our souls; but let us cry out and say, Keep us, O Lord, in Thy mercy, and have mercy upon us." From the Kdham oo d'Wathâr, in the service for Thursday evening.

§ 3. "When I recalled to mind and thought upon the sins which I had committed, fear and trembling took possession of my soul; and when I had well nigh fallen into despair, I remembered that the way of repentance was not yet cut off, nor denied me, and that hope, by which we are saved, still remained unto me. Therefore, O Thou righteous Judge, who art suffering and of tender compassion, have pity upon me." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for the third Sunday in Lent.

§ 4. "The multitude of my sins had driven me to the brink of despair, and I was bereft of all consolation; but I called to mind and remembered Him who promised when He said, 'Ask and pray of Him who giveth freely, for He can heal every secret disease.' Therefore, with a broken spirit I beseech Thee, who only art the lover of mankind, to have mercy upon me." From the Khudhra ut supra.

REMARKS.

I have not been able to discover any passages in the rituals bearing upon the sin against the Holy Ghost; but enough is contained in the quotations already adduced, together with the above extracts, to show that according to the Nestorian doctrine, repentance is to be denied to none, i. e. to no Christian men. The service books of the Nestorians, like our own, are designed for the use of such as are baptized, and consequently the pardon so largely offered in them to the penitent believers in Christ can only have reference to sin after Baptism. If any further proof were necessary to establish this point, the following extract from the Sinhadòs amply supplies the deficiency: "If a bishop, priest, or deacon, does not receive back one who turns from his sin, but contemns him, let such an one be excommunicated, because he thereby despises Christ, Who has said 'that there is joy in heaven over one who repents.'" Canon L.