"Nor have I so read or interpreted Holy Writ, as to understand that the disclosure of human thoughts and deeds, then to be made, is intended as a part of the retribution"
Refusal of Confession (1879-85)
Public DomainRefusal of Confession (1879-85) - Credit: Ilya Yefimovich Repin

Though this line of interpretation serves Dimmesdale’s desire to keep his own sins from public view, scripture is in fact unequivocal about the necessity of confession. 1 John 1:8-9: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Similarly, James 5:16 urges, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”