The Old Testament depicts the history of the people as a series of acts of apostasy alternating with subsequent penitence and return to Yahweh, and the question whether this gives effect to actual conditions depends upon the precise character of the elements of Yahweh worship brought by the Israelites into Palestine.
Chap. xx.) the whole of his teaching, outside the preaching of penitence, was summed up in these maxims: - " Clerks who have estates, bishops who hold fiefs, monks who possess property, cannot be saved."
The existence of feelings of remorse and penitence testify to the presence in the individual of motives to good conduct which, if acted upon and allowed full scope and development, may produce a complete change of character.
Fergus, lord of Galloway, a celebrated church-builder of the 12th century, had his principal seat on Palace Isle in a lake called after him Loch Fergus, near St Mary's Isle, where he erected the priory de Trayle, in token of his penitence for rebellion against David I.
This formal and regulated " penitence " was extended from apostasy to other grave - or, as they were subsequently called, " deadly " - sins; while for minor offences all Christians were called upon to express contrition by fasting and abstinence from ordinarily permitted pleasures, as well as verbally in public and private devotions.