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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 except 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! That 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 mig. representation of the Almighty. This is not the subject 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 reforination; but only the doing of certain ex
lernal, 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 penitent. But if the requisition be doing penance, in that case, there being something necessary which the priest prescribes, he has the poor sinner completely in his power. It makes the salvation to depend on the act of the little low priest. Do you wonder that the priests insist on the translation do penance, and forbid the people to read in a Bible which requires them to repent ?
There is a precious note in the Douay connnected with this subject, which may afford me a topic hereafter.
31. The Hardest Religion.
Among the compliments which our brethren of the Church of Rome pay to their religion, this is one. They say it is the hardest religion—that no other religion requires so much of its votary. Hence they would have it inferred that theirs must be the divine and only true religion. The yoke being so har!, and the burden so heavy, they must of course be Christ's.
I shall examine this claim to the precedence in point of difficulty. And something I am prepared to concede to the Church of Rome on this score. There is a part of her faith which I acknowledge it is exceedingly hard to receive. It requires a powerful effort doubtless to believe the doctrine of transubstantiation, viz. that the bread and wine of the sacrament are changed into
* what? The body and blood of Christ? Not that alone, but also into his soul and divinity! Yes, it is hard to believe it is so, when one sees it is not so, and linows it cannot be so. It is hard to disbelieve at will those long-tried and faithful servants, the senses; and especially that first of the five, the sight. There is difficulty in the Catholic religion truly. It puts a tremendous strain on the mind.
There is also her doctrine about the necessity of baptism to salvation, which some of us find it very hard to believe. One reason of our difficulty is that that doctrine bears so hard upon the heathen, and particularly on the immense multitude of infants who every where die without baptism. According to the doctrine of Rome, that baptism is indispensable to salvation, they are all lost just for the want of a little water! Poor things, they fare no better than the thief on the ross who died without baptism. They get no farther than Paradise the first day. It is a hard religion. This doctrine is cruelly hard upon children; as her doctrine that money, by the purchase of prayers and masses, releases souls from Purgatory, is hard upon the
poor. So much for the difficulty of her faith. But all of that is not so hard ; as for example, her doctrine of indulgences. It is never hard to be indulged. There is no hardship, but very great convenience for a delinquent sinner to have such a bank to draw upon, as the accumulated merits of the saints in by-gone ages, who did more than they needed for their own salvation, having loved God with considerably more than "all the heart, and soul, and strength, and mind!" This doctrine does not make the Roman Catholic religion a hard one-neither does the doctrine of venial sins. You know they hold that there are some sins whose