Confession is the acknowledgment of sin (or one's sinfulness) or wrongs done. It is a religious practice in a number of faith traditions. In law, a confession is a statement by a suspect in crime which is adverse to that person. Some authorities narrowly define a confession as "a statement admitting or acknowledging all facts necessary for conviction of a crime".
- The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
- Augustine of Hippo, reported in Henry Southgate, Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1862), p. 671.
- The Lord anciently enjoined the people of Israel that they should repeat the words after the priest, and make public confession of their iniquities in the temple; because he foresaw that this was a necessary help to enable each one to form a just idea of himself. And it is proper that by confession of our misery, we should manifest the mercy of our God both among ourselves and before the whole world. It is proper that this mode of confession should both be ordinary in the Church, and also be specially employed on extraordinary occasions, when the people in common happen to have fallen into any fault. Of this latter description we have an example in the solemn confession which the whole people made under the authority and guidance of Ezra and Nehemiah (Neh. 1:6, 7). ... And it matters not though in one assembly it may sometimes happen that a few are innocent, seeing that the members of a languid and sickly body cannot boast of soundness. Nay, it is scarcely possible that these few have not contracted some taint, and so bear part of the blame.
- One thing they specially commend, that the blush of shame in the penitent is a severe punishment, which makes him more cautious for the future, and anticipates divine punishment, by his punishing himself. As if a man was not sufficiently humbled with shame when brought under the cognizance of God at his supreme tribunal. Admirable proficiency—if we cease to sin because we are ashamed to make one man acquainted with it, and blush not at having God as the witness of our evil conscience!
- A confession is wholly and incontestably voluntary only if a guilty person gives himself up to the law and becomes his own accuser.
- Robert H. Jackson, Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143, 161 (1944).
- If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
- Robert H. Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).
- Confess and be hanged.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act IV, scene 2.
- He's half absolved, who has confessed.
- Matthew Prior, Alma (c. 1715-1717), Canto 2, line 22.
- Open Confession is good for the Soul.
- Scottish proverb reported in James Kelly, A Complete Collection of Scotish Proverbs (1721), p. 270.
- Nor do we find him forward to be sounded
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession
Of his true state.
- Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come.
- Confess thee freely of thy sin;
For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal.
- I own the soft impeachment.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals (1775), Act V, scene 3.
- Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
- Proximum ab innocentia tenet locum verecunda peccati confessio.
- Translation: Confession of our faults is the next thing to innocence.
- Publius Syrus, Sententiae (c. 43 B.C.), Maxim 1060.
- There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
- Daniel Webster, Argument on the murder of Captain White (April 6, 1830).
- Confess debt, and beg days.
Confessing a fault makes half amends for it.
- William Winstanley, New Help to Discourse (ed. 1721), p. 134.