Monday, February 19, 2024

"How rich God is in mercy..."

In 1944 Sheed & Ward, a Catholic house, published The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated by Ronald Knox. Knox was a very interesting person. He was Catholic chaplain at the University of Oxford in the 1920s and '30s. He was a classical scholar, broadcaster, apologist, and author of several mysteries, a founding member of the Detection Club. C.S. Lewis called him "the wittiest man in Europe." I recently got a copy of his New Testament translation. This is from his version of the second chapter of Ephesians:
HE found you dead men; such were your transgressions, such were the sinful ways you lived in. That was when you followed the fashion of this world, when you owned a prince whose domain is in the lower air, that spirit whose influence is still at work among the unbelievers. We too, all of us, were once of their company; our life was bounded by natural appetites, and we did what corrupt nature or our own calculation would have us do, with God's displeasure for our birthright, like other men. How rich God is in mercy, with what an excess of love he loved us! Our sins had made dead men of us, and he, in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too; it is his grace that has saved you; raised us up too, enthroned us too above the heavens, in Christ Jesus. He would have all future ages see, in that clemency which he shewed us in Christ Jesus, the surpassing richness of his grace. Yes, it was grace that saved you, with faith for its instrument; it did not come from yourselves, it was God's gift, not from any action of yours, or there would be room for pride. No, we are his design; God has created us in Christ Jesus, pledged to such good actions as he has prepared beforehand, to be the employment of our lives.
Ronald Knox, The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Sheed & Ward, 1944.

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