When they could not devise any other expedient, many philosophers set their hope upon this theory. But there is cause to doubt the correctness and efficacy of this supposed remedy for sin, since, although repentance and returning to God are acceptable to Him, and the resolution not to do anything evil is good and pleasing in His sight, yet these things cannot be an expiation for sin. For it is a man's duty to condemn and abstain from sin during his whole life, from the beginning to the end of it, and not merely after sinning and repenting. If, therefore, a man, having been convinced of his sinfulness and become ashamed of his sins, were to repent of them, and were also firmly to resolve that he would never again be guilty of such conduct, and if we suppose that afterwards he never commits a sin, nevertheless he has done nothing great, nor has he performed any work of merit or anything beyond what was incumbent upon him. Hence it is evident that repentance and conversion to God are necessary duties and cannot, therefore, be such a requital or work of merit as to become an expiation for sin in the sight of the just and holy God. As, if through his indolence or carelessness or misconduct, a man is wounded or otherwise injured, or incurs an illness, his injury or suffering or loss is not undone or overcome or recovered from through repentance and regret, just in the same Way the wickedness and sin, or wrong and oppression, which a man has perpetrated, can


not be undone or pardoned merely through regret and repentance, Even, in the eyes of an earthly judge and ruler, a thief or a malefactor will not, by repentance and resolve not to offend again, deserve to escape due punishment. Besides this, man's conscience too teaches every one who pays attention to it that repentance and reformation of conduct cannot be an expiation for sin, and that sin will not be forgiven through these things alone. Hence it is that men do not in general content themselves therewith, but to comfort their hearts are always seeking something else besides, in order to make expiation for their sins. In addition to repentance, therefore, men turn to offerings, sacrifices, alms giving, pilgrimages, austerities, etc., and take refuge in them, in order that by these means they may quiet their consciences, and may obtain peace of heart and forgiveness of sin. Regarding these matters, however, we hope to speak more fully in the next section.

It is deserving of notice that not without good cause and deep wisdom, God has placed in every man's mind the feeling that requital and punishment of some kind are in the very nature of things required by offences even against men. When this idea has been carried too far it has led men to think that it is their duty to exact revenge for any injury done to them. This, of course, is wrong, as we learn from many passages in holy Scripture. But the truth that underlies it is that wrong doing