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the word aμerapeλntos comes to signify steady, immutable, irrevocable. This is evidently the meaning of it in that expression, Αμεταμελητα τα χαρισματα και ή κλησις του Θεου, Rom. xi. 29, which our translators render, "the gifts and callings of God are without repentance;" more appositely and perspicuously, are irrevocable. For this reason the word μeraμeλoμaι is used when the sentence relates to the constancy or immutability of God. Thus, Ωμοσε Κύριος και ου μεταμεληθησεται, Heb. vii. 21, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent," that is, alter his purpose.
The word auɛravonrov, on the contrary, including somewhat of the sense of its primitive, expresses not, as the other, unchanged or unchangeable, but unreformed, unreformable, impenitent. The apostle says, addressing himself to the obstinate infidel, kara τηv σκληροτητα σου και αμετανοητον καρδιαν, “ After thy hardness and impenitent," or irreclaimable, "heart," Rom. ii. 5. The word auɛravoηros, in the New Testament style, ought analogically to express a wretched state, as it signifies the want of that uɛravola, μετανοια, which the gospel every-where represents as the indispensable duty of the lapsed, and therefore as essential to their becoming Christians; but the term aueraμɛλntov is nowise fitted to this end, as it expresses only the absence of that μeraμedea, which is nowhere represented as a virtue or required as a duty, and which may be good, bad, or indifferent, according to its object. Thus I have shown, that on every pertinent occasion the distinction is sacredly observed by the penmen of the New Testament, and that the very few instances in which it may appear otherwise at first glance, are found to be no exceptions when attentively examined.
10. Having now ascertained the distinction, it may be asked, how the words ought to be discriminated in a translation? In my opinion, μɛravoEw, in most cases, particularly where it is expressed as a command or mentioned as a duty, should be rendered by the English verb reform; μɛтavola, by reformation; and that μεταμελομαι ought to be translated repent. Μεταμελεια is defined by Phavorinus δυσαρεστησις επι πεπραγμενοις, dissatisfaction with one's self for what one has done, which exactly hits the meaning of the word repentance; whereas μɛTavola is defined yvηola año πταισματων επι το εναντιον αγαθον επιστροφη, and ἡ προς το κρειτTOV ETTιOTρoÓN, a genuine correction of faults, and a change from worse to better. We cannot more exactly define the word reformation. It may be said, that, in using the terms repent and repentance, as our translators have done, for both the original terms, there is no risk of any dangerous error; because, in the theological definitions of repentance given by almost all parties, such a reformation of the disposition is included as will infallibly produce a reformation of conduct. This, however, does not satisfy. Our Lord and his apostles accommodated themselves in their style to the people whom they addressed, by employing words according to the received and vulgar idiom, and not according to the tech
nical use of any learned doctors. It was not to such that this doctrine was revealed, but to those who, in respect of acquired knowledge, were babes, Matt. xi. 25. The learned use is known, comparatively, but to few; and it is certain that with us, according to the common acceptation of the words, a man may be said just as properly to repent of a good as of a bad action. A covetous man will repent of the alms which a sudden fit of pity may have induced him to bestow. Besides, it is but too evident that a man may often justly be said to repent, who never reforms. In neither of these ways do I find the word μɛravoεw ever used.
I have another objection to the word repent. It unavoidably appears to lay the principal stress on the sorrow or remorse which it implies for former misconduct. Now this appears a secondary matter at the most, and not to be the idea suggested by the Greek verb. The primary object is a real change of conduct. The apostle expressly distinguishes it from sorrow in a passage lately quoted, representing it as what the sorrow, if of a godly sort, terminates in or produces: 'Η κατα Θεον λυπη μετανοιαν κατεργαζεται, rendered in the common version, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance." Now if he did not mean to say that the thing was caused by itself, or that repentance worketh repentance, (and who will charge him with this absurdity ?) ἡ κατα Θέον λυπη is one thing, and μέτανοια is another. But it is certain that our word repentance implies no more in common use, even in its best sense, than ǹ karа Оɛov λvπη, and often not so much. It is consequently not a just interpretation of the Greek word μετανοια, which is not ἡ κατα Θεον λύπη, but its certain consequence. Grief or remorse, compared with this, is but an accidental circumstance. Who had more grief than Judas, whom it drove to despondency and self-destruction? To him the Evangelist applies very properly the term μɛraueλnes, which we as properly translate repented. He was in the highest degree dissatisfied with himself. But, to show that a great deal more is necessary in the Christian, neither our Lord himself, as we have seen, nor his forerunner John, nor his apostles and ministers who followed, ever expressed themselves in this manner, when recommending to their hearers the great duties of Christianity. They never called out to the people μεταμελεσθε, but always μετανοειτε. If they were so attentive to this distinction, in order to prevent men, in so important an article, from placing their duty in a barren remorse, however violent, we ought not surely to express this capital precept of our religion by a term that is just as well adapted to the case of Judas as to that of Peter. For the Greek word μɛraμɛλoμai, though carefully avoided by the inspired writers in expressing our duty, is fully equivalent to the English word repent.
11. I shall now, ere I conclude this subject, consider briefly in what manner some of the principal translators have rendered the words in question into other languages. I shall begin with
the Syriac, being the most respectable on the score of antiquity of all we are acquainted with. In this venerable version, which has served as a model to interpreters in the east, in like manner as the Vulgate has served to those in the west, the distinction is uniformly preserved. Mɛravoɛv is rendered a thub, to reform, to return to God, to amend one's life; μeravoia, nan thebutha, reformation; μɛraμeλɛodaι is rendered on thua, to repent, to be sorry for what one has done. Nor are these Syriac words ever confounded as synonymous, except in the Apocalypse, which, though now added in the printed editions, is no part of that ancient translation, but was made many centuries after.
The second place in point of antiquity is no doubt due to the Vulgate, where I acknowledge there is no distinction made. The usual term for μετανοια is panitentia, for μετανοεω and μεταμελοpa, indiscriminately, pœnitentiam ago, pœnitentiam habeo, pœniteo, or me pœnitet. These can hardly be said to express more than the English words repentance and repent. Meтavoιav aμɛтauɛλnrov is not improperly rendered pœnitentiam stabilem, agreeably to an acceptation of the term above taken notice of.
Beza, one of the most noted, and by Protestants most imitated of all the Latin translators since the Reformation, has carefully observed the distinction wherever it was of consequence; for, as I remarked, there are a few cases in which either term might have been used in the original, and concerning which a translator must be directed by the idiom of the tongue in which he writes. The same distinction had been made before, though not with perfect uniformity, by the translators of Zuric. Beza's word for μεтavoεw is resipisco, and for uɛTavola, resipiscentia. To this last term he was led both by analogy and (if not by classical authority) by the authority of early ecclesiastical writers, which in the translation of holy writ is authority sufficient. These words have this advantage of pœnitere and pœnitentia, that they always denote a change of some continuance, and a change to the better. For μεταμελομαι his word is ponitere. Thus μεταμεληθεις, spoken of Judas, is pœnitens: MeTavolav auɛтaμɛλntov, resipiscentiam cujus nunquam pœniteat, in which the force of both words is very well expressed. So is also αμετανοητον καρδιαν, cor quod resipiscere nescit. Erasmus, one of the earliest translators on the Romish side, uses both resipisco and pænitentiam ago, but with no discrimination. They are not only both employed in rendering the same word uɛravoew, but even when the scope is the same. Thus μεTAVOITE, in the imperative, is at one time resipiscite, at another pænitentiam agite: so that his only view seems to have been to diversify his style.
Castalio, one of the most eminent Latin Protestant translators, has been sensible of the distinction, and careful to preserve it in his version. But as his great aim was to give a classical air to the books of Scripture, in order to engage readers of taste who
affected an elegant and copious diction, he has disfigured, with his adventitious ornaments, the native simplicity which so remarkably distinguishes the sacred penmen, and is in fact one of their greatest ornaments. We can more easily bear rusticity than affectation, especially on the most serious and important subjects. Among other arts by which Castalio has endeavoured to recommend his work, one is a studied variety in the phrases, that the ear may not be tired by too frequent recurrence to the same sounds. The words under consideration afford a strong example. The verb μɛravow is translated by him, I know not how many different ways. It is se corrigere, vitam corrigere, redire ad frugem, redire ad sanitatem, reverti ad sanitatem: when the vices which we are required to amend are mentioned, the phrase is, desciscere a sua pravitate, desistere a turpitudine, desistere a suis operibus, impudicitia sua recedere, sua homicidia, &c. omittere. MeTavola partakes of the like variety. It is emendata vita, vitæ emendatio, correcta vita, vitæ correctio, morum correctio, correcti mores, corrigenda vita, sanitas, pœnitentia; and in the oblique cases, frugem and bonam frugem. For μeraμeλoμai I only find the two words pœnitere and mutare sententiam. Merαvolav aμεтaμελnTov is not badly rendered "vita correctionem nunquam pœnitendam, aμeraμeλnтa xapioμara, munera irrevocabilia, and αμετανοητος καρδια, deploratus animus.
Diodati, the Italian translator, in every case of moment, renders the verb μɛravov, ravedersi, which in the Vocabolario della Crusca is explained resipiscere, ad mentis sanitatem redire; but for the noun μετανοια hé always uses penitenza, and for μεταμελοpai, very properly pentirsi. The Geneva French translates μeraVOEw, s'amender, μeraμɛλoμat, se repentir, and μeтavola, repentance. In both these versions they use, in rendering μetavolav αμεταμελητον, the same paronomasia which is in the common English version. Diodati has penitenza della quale huom non si pente. The Geneva French has repentance dont on ne se repent. The other passages also above quoted from the original, they translate in nearly the same manner. Luther, in his German translation, has generally distinguished the two verbs, rendering μετανοειν, busse thun, and μɛraμɛdɛadai, reuen or gereuen.
I SHALL give, as another example of words supposed to be synonymous, the terms ayios and booç. The former is, if I mistake not, uniformly rendered in the New Testament holy, or, when used substantively in the plural, saints. The latter, except in one instance, is always rendered by the same term, not only in
the English Bible, but in most modern translations. Yet that these two Greek words are altogether equivalent, there is, in my opinion, good reason to doubt. Both belong to the second class of words which I explained in a former Dissertation. They relate to manners, and are therefore not so easily defined. Nor are such words in one language ever found exactly to tally with those of another. There are, however, certain means by which the true signification may in most cases be very nearly, if not entirely reached. I shall, therefore, first mention my reasons for thinking that the two words ȧyios and óotos, in the New Testament, are not synonymous, and then endeavour to ascertain the precise meaning of each.
2. That there is a real difference in signification between the two Greek words; notwithstanding their affinity, my first reason for thinking is, because in the Septuagint, which is the foundation of the Hellenistic idiom, one of them is that by which one Hebrew word, and the other that by which another, not at all synonymous, is commonly translated. 'Aytoç is the word used for p kadosh, sanctus, holy, dolos for Ton chasid, benignus, gracious.
3. My second reason is, because the words have been understood by the ancient Greek translators to be so distinct in signification, that not in one single instance is the Hebrew word kadosh rendered by the Greek órios, or chasid by ayos. What gives additional weight to this reason is the consideration, that both words frequently occur; and that the Greek translators, though they have not been uniform in rendering either, but have adopted different words on different occasions for translating each, have, nevertheless, not in a single instance adopted any of those terms for rendering one of these Hebrew words, which they had adopted for rendering the other. Few words occur oftener than kadosh. But, though it is beyond comparison oftenest translated άyoç, it is not so always. In one place it is rendered KaSapoç, mundus, clean; the verb kadash, the etymon, is rendered dotalev, glorificare, to glorify, avaßißaleiv, ascendere, facere, to cause to ascend, kadaρilev, purgare, to cleanse, ayvilav, purificare, to purify, as well as ayaev and kadayıalɛiv, santificare, to hallow, to sanctify; but not once by bolos, or any of its conjugates. On the other hand, chasid is rendered ελεημων and πολυέλεος, misericors, merciful, evλaßns, pius, devout, and by some other words, but not once by ayos, or by any of its conjugates, or by any of the terms employed in rendering kadosh; a certain sign that, to the old Greek translators, several other words appeared to have more coincidence with either, than these had with each other.
4. The third reason which inclines me to think that the two words are not synonymous is, because I find, on examining and comparing, that there is a considerable difference in the applica
* Diss. II. sect. 4.