Probably Pitt did say something of the kind attributed to him, though even this is by no means certain in view of Johnson's repentant admission that he had often invented not merely the form, but the substance of entire debates.
From a remission of penance it was extended, in the 13th century, to a release from the temporal punishment exacted by God, whether in this life or in purgatory, from the repentant sinner.
When they asked for a sign from heaven, He would give them no more than the sign of Jonah, explaining that the repentant Ninevites should condemn the present generation: so, too, should the queen of Sheba; for that which they were now rejecting was more than Jonah and more than Solomon.
It was thought only right that there should be some uniformity in dealing with repentant sinners, and books appeared giving lists of sins and what were supposed to be suitable satisfactions.
But as a rule the repentant underwent baptism in the name of Christ Jesus, and washed away their sins before hands were laid upon them unto reception of the Spirit.
The idea of re-birth was in the air; it was the very keynote of all the solemn initiations and mysteries - Mythraic, Orphic, Eleusinian - through which repentant pagans secured pardon and eternal bliss.