Wisdom of Sirach 21:1

My son, have you sinned? do so no more, but ask pardon for your former sins.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We know that repentance over one"s sins renews a person, making him better, but it will result in nothing more if it does not result in works of mercy. Truth testifies the same thing through the mouth of John when against those who were approaching him he said, "Generation of vipers! Who made you to believe that you could escape from the coming wrath? Produce fruit therefore in keeping with repentance, and do not say to yourselves, "We are descendants of Abraham," because I assure you that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees, ready to cut; every tree that does not yield good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." This is the fruit about which he had said in the preceding phrase, "Produce fruits in keeping with repentance." Anyone who does not produce such fruits has no reason to believe that an unfruitful penance will merit the forgiveness of sins. And what these fruits are, the same John indicates, becaus...

Fulgentius of Ruspe

AD 533
Penance can be useful to every person in this life. Whenever one does it, however evil he was, however burdened with years of life, if with all his heart he has renounced the sins of his past and poured out tears in the presence of God, not only for the body but also for the soul, and he has taken care to wash the stains of his evil works with good works, he will receive the forgiveness of all his sins. This, in fact, is what the Lord promises to us with the words of the prophet, saying, "If you will be converted and weep, you will be saved." Elsewhere it is also said, "My child, have you sinned? Sin no more, but ask forgiveness for your previous sins so that they may be forgiven." Prayer for sins would not have been commanded of the sinner if forgiveness of sins would not have to be granted to the one praying. But penance is fruitful for the sinner if it takes place in the catholic church; to the church, God in the person of Peter granted the power to bind and to loose, saying, "Whate...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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