« PreviousContinue »
with oil in the name of the Lord,” that is, doing what the apostles are represented by Mark as having done; and doing it, as appears from the next verse, with the same end in view, viz. healing. Now, what authority for the sacrament of extreme unction is there here? Here is indeed an anointing with oil by an ecclesiascic. But who does not see in how many particulars, and how widely this anointing differs from the extreme unction of the Catholics? Their anointing proceeds on the supposition that the person is going to die; and could his recovery be foreseen, it would be omitted. But the anointing practised by the apostles and elders of the church was in order to the recovery of the person, and was in every case connected with his recovery. Their anointing was the attendant and token of a miraculous cure. It held precisely the same place with Christ's making clay of spittle, and anointing therewith the eyes of the blind man; or with Naaman's being directed to go and wash seven times in Jordan. It was, like each of these, an external, and in itself inefficacious sign of a miraculous recovery; and even now there is no objection to the use of the sign, if the thing signified is to be expected. Let the priests anoint with abundance of oil all their sick, if they can accompany that unction with such a prayer of faith as shall save the sick. But if the miraculous recoveries have ceased, let there be a doing away of the sign. As soon as any sign becomes insignificant, let it cease to be used. Extreme unction is now a sign of nothing. There was no use in going down into the pool of Bethesda after the angel had ceased to pay his periodical visit to it. So in this case, there being now no healing, there need be, and there should be, no anointing.
How the priests now differ in their use of the oil from those whose successors they pretend to be! The apostles and elders anointed persons with a view to their living; but the priests with a view to their dying. The former would not anoint, if they foresaw the person was to die; the latter will not, if they foresee that he is to live. How at odds they are! How Scripture and tradition do quarrel! And the worst of it is, there is no such thing as bringing about a reconciliation between them,
Among the doctrines of the Catholic church, I am at a loss whether to give the palm to this or to purgatory. Purgatory teaches the doctrine of salvation by fire. Extreme unction, the doctrine of salvation by oil. There does not seem to be much Christianity in either. Extreme unction is, however, the smoothest doctrine. Decidedly so. Jesus Christ came by water and blood. The salvation he proclaims is by these; and the sacraments he instituted, are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These signify something: the first, regeneration; the second, the propitiation made for our sins.
30. Doing Penance.
Insufferable! What? Why, that the Catholic translators of the Bible should render the Greek word, which signifies repentance, (metanoia,) by the phrase doing penance! I would not willingly be uncharitable, imputing a bad motive where a good one might have
been present. But I must say that I know not how to reconcile this rendering of metanoia with their integrity as translators. I cannot help believing that they knew better. Could they have supposed that they were selecting the most judicious method of conveying the mind of the Spirit as expressed in that word, when they concluded on rendering it doing penance? Why, in the name of common sense, did they use two English words (coining one of them moreover for the occasion) to convey the meaning of one Greek word? Was there any necessity for it? Was there no single English word that would express the sense ? There was repentance, the word adopted by the translators of the common English Bible. What objection lay to the use of that? Why was that passed by; and especially why was it passed by in order to give a preference to such a phrase as doing penance ? If they had disliked repentance, they might with more propriety have employed the word reformation. It would seem as if they were anxious to avoid the use of any word which expressed or implied either sorrow or amendment, and therefore they fixed on the phrase doing penance. I am mistaken if these translators have not a heavy account to give. This single rendering, if it were the only exceptionable one, would be as a millstone about the neck of that translation. Just think of the false impression, and that on a point of the highest moment, made on the minds of so many millions by this one egregiously erroneous version.
Contemplate the state of the case. God, in prospect of the judgment day, and by the terror of it, commands all men every where to do a certain thing, Acts, 17: 30, 31; and Christ says, that excepi they
do it, they shall perish. Luke, 13:3. This thing God expresses by the Greek terin metanoia. But all do not understand Greek. Wherefore, for the admonition and instruction of those Catholics who read only the English language, and who cannot be persuaded of the sin of reading the Bible, it becomes necessary to render that word into English. Certain persons undertake to do it, that is, to interpret the mind of God as expressed by metanoia. And what do they make it out to mean? Hear, hear! Doing penance! Thal is it, they say.
“Do the penance which your priest appoints, after you have made your confession to him and that is all.” It is no such thing. This is a mis representation of the Almighty. This is not the sub. ject of the command and warning to which reference has been made. And to suppose that it is on account of this that angels rejoice, i. e. when a sinner does penance, is truly farcical.
O what a translation ! “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that does penance.” Truly angels must be casily made to rejoice, if this be the case! How it sounds! How offensive to the very ear, and how much more to the enlightened judgment, is this rendering! “God commands all to do penance. Except ye do penance, ye shall all likewise perish. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance !” Shocking! Away with such a translation from the earth. The Douay Bible is not God's Bible; for it purposely misrepresents him in a main point, viz: on the article of repentance. Here is a translation of metanoia implying no sorrow for sin, no change of mind, (which the word literally signifies,) nor any moral reformation ; but only the doing of certain ex
ternal, and generally puerile' things prescribed by a priest; all which may be done without any internal exercise-without any emotion of any kind. The word, according to the Catholics, makes no requisition on the heart whatever. And truly, a man may be a good Catholic without ever feeling any thing, unless it be the bodily pain of self-inflicted penance.
And every one knows that thinking is not necessary to constitute a good Catholic. Wherefore a man may be a good Catholic without either thinking or feeling, that is, without any exercise of either mind or heart. All that seems requisite is mechanical action. Maelzel, the constructor of automatons, could almost make one. Is this uncharitable? It is true, and ought to be said. It ought to be known and proclaimed that the religion of the church of Rome overlooks the reason, conscience, and heart of man, addressing no appeal to them, and indeed making no use of them. Is it then the religion of the Holy Ghost? Is this the Christianity of Christ? It cannot be.
I ought perhaps to say that I find, in one place in the Douay Testament, the Greek metanoeite translated correctly, repent. It occurs in Mark 1: 15. Whether it was done in a moment of relenting, or through inadvertence, I cannot say. It was never - repeated that I can find. · Perhaps the translators had to do penance for presuming to render the word in that one case correctly.
Do you not see what a difference it makes to the priests, if you give it out that repentance is the requisition? Then a sinner will be saved if he repent, irrespective of the priest. The great High Priest that is passed into the heavens will see to the case of every true