And, O foremost of kings, yonder is Vitasta, the sacred stream that absolveth men from all sins. The water of this stream is extremely cool and limpid, and it is largely used by the great sages. O prince, behold the holy rivers Jala and Upajala, on either side of the Yamuna. By performing a sacrifice here, king Usinara surpassed in greatness Indra himself.

"'Then I turned to my guide and said: How lovely is honesty! and truly from what a labour it absolveth men! for here I see every man keepeth in his mind his own debts, and not the debts of others, so that time is not spent in paying of small sums, neither in the keeping of account of such; but he that buyeth counteth up, and doubtless when the day of reckoning arrives, each cometh and casteth the money he oweth into the merchant's coffer, and both are satisfied.

He, and He alone, pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, that is, look to Him and unfeignedly believe His holy Gospel.

"'Then I turned to my guide and said: How lovely is honesty! and truly from what a labour it absolveth men! for here I see every man keepeth in his mind his own debts, and not the debts of others, so that time is not spent in paying of small sums, neither in the keeping of account of such; but he that buyeth counteth up, and doubtless when the day of reckoning arrives, each cometh and casteth the money he oweth into the merchant's coffer, and both are satisfied.

Oh, no," said Luther, "but I conclude thus: God himself preacheth, threateneth, reproveth, affrighteth, comforteth, absolveth, administereth the sacraments, etc. As our Saviour Christ saith, 'Whoso heareth you, heareth me; and what ye loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, etc. Likewise, 'It is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."

And all these wise ones having so received instruction revealed unto us, who are of all evil-doers worst, the true way, the refuge of His divine promise that absolveth all the sins of men.

You say, It is a man that preacheth, that reproveth, that absolveth, comforteth, etc., and that the Holy Ghost worketh; you say, likewise, the Minister baptiseth, absolveth, and administereth the sacraments, but it is God that cleanseth the hearts, and forgiveth sins, etc.

I think, O prince, that thou hast heard something about that man of meditations, Bhrigutunga. There, O king, before thee is that lofty peak. And, O foremost of kings, yonder is Vitasta, the sacred stream that absolveth men from all sins. The water of this stream is extremely cool and limpid, and it is largely used by the great sages.

Also, when he may lawfully performe, and doth not, it is not the Invalidity of the Covenant, that absolveth him, but the Sentence of the Soveraign. Otherwise, whensoever a man lawfully promiseth, he unlawfully breaketh: But when the Soveraign, who is the Actor, acquitteth him, then he is acquitted by him that exorted the promise, as by the Author of such absolution.

The canon law itself hath some vestiges of the ancient order: it ordaineth, that when a bishop either excommunicateth or absolveth any man, twelve of the clergy be present, and concur with him.