Note 25. Ibid., p. 265.
Note 26. Ibid., p. 267.
Note 27. Luther’s Works, Vol. XX., p. 199.
Note 28. Pfeiffer’s Augapfel, second edit., p. 1045.
Note 29. Ibid. p. 1048.
Note 30. Pfeiffer’s Aug. Appel., second edit., p. 1050.
Note 31. See the Lutheran Manual, p. 288, and Muller’s Symb. Bucher, p. 51.
Note 32. See Lutheran Manual, p. 289.
Note 33. Plea, &c., p. 15.
Note 34. Lutheran Manual, pp. 288, 289, and Muller’s Symb. pp. 51, 52, 53.
Note 35. Pfeiffer’s Augapfel, 2d ed., p. 1045.
Note 36. Mueller’s Symb. Books, pp. 248, 249.
Note 37. Koethe’s Melancthon’s Werke, Vol. i., p. 250.
Note 38. Luther’s Works, Leipsic ed., Vol. xxii., p. 338.
This rite, in any sense of the term, that can be given to it in the Augsburg Confession and other former symbols of the Lutheran church, has long since been abandoned throughout our church in Europe, excepting in that small portion of German churches, known as Old Lutherans, and among those foreigners in the west of our country, who constitute the Missouri Synod. It is historically unjust to apply the term private confession to that public confession of sins, made by the congregation collectively, as part of our preparatory exercises on sacramental occasions, and usually a misnomer to apply the name private confession, to the habit of some of our German ministers, (termed Anmeldung,) of having all communicants call on them for conversation on their spiritual state, prior to sacramental communion. Although these customs both grew out of private confession properly so called, neither of them retains its essential elements.
Let us first inquire what does the Augsburg Confession mean by the phrase Private Confession. Among the Romanists, Auricular Confession is that rite, in which every individual of both sexes must, at least once a year, appear before the priest at the confession box in the church or chapel, and confess in detail all the sins that he can recollect; after which, the priest assigns the penitent some acts of penance, and on his promising to perform them, he then, as in the stead of God, professes to forgive him his sins. The Reformers, however, distinctly rejected the necessity of the penitents enumerating his individual sins, and the propriety of the minister’s prescribing any penance to the penitent. They also distinctly made confession optional with the penitent, and the absolution dependent on his faith; and this purified rite they termed Private Confession, although in some parts of the church it was still called Auricular Confession (Ohrenbeicht). [Note 1] The manner in which this rite was performed in the Lutheran Church, is thus described by Funk in his work entitled