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Anathema. The word anathema is of Greek origin, and exists in that language in two forms, distinguished by a very trifling difference of spelling, but very distinct in use. Both are derived from a verb meaning to set aside, and in one form the word is used to denote something precious, set aside for the service of God, such as the gifts with which the Temple in Jerusalem was adorned (Luke xxi. 5; see also II. Mach. ix. 16). But the word occurs also in another form, and is employed to signify a penal setting aside, whether of a thing which has been used as the instrument of wickedness, or of a person who has lost his social rights by crime. It occurs in both senses, in a verse of Deuteronomy (vii. 26). St. Paul uses the word more than once to signify that a person is not worthy to be admitted into the society of Christians (I. Cor. xvi. 22 ; Galat. i. 8, 9). In the language of the Church the phrase, "Let him be anathema," is used in the same manner as by St. Paul, and is a form of assigning the penalty of excommunication for an offense; when used, as it often is, to enforce definitions of faith, it means no more than this; but sometimes an Anathema seems to mean an excommunication pronounced against an offender with solemn and impressive ceremonies, which, however, do not alter the nature of the punishment. No anathema or other act of human judge can take away the grace of God from the soul, if by any error the judgment has been pronounced against an innocent man. In one place (I. Cor. xvi. 22) St. Paul adds to the word Anathema, "Maranatha," and the same is sometimes done by councils of particular Churches, but the usage has not passed into the general Canon Law. It has been supposed, but wrongly, that the addition of this word signifies that the censure will never be relaxed. Maranatha is in truth an Aramaic word, belonging to a language familiar to St. Paul and most of his readers. It means the Lord is at hand, and has the same force as when this expression is used in its Greek form (Phil. iv. 5). The phrase enhances the force of that to which it is appended, by solemnly reminding the reader that Christ will come again, to judge the world.