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were latent in his soul, for religion, even in its lowest forms, is always something more than a system of expedients for avoiding taboo and the religious sentiment is not made up of fear of the divine alone. Nothing in reality is more false than the old adage, primos in orbe terrarum timor fecit deos. It was not only to avoid the anger of the gods that men offered sacrifice, but to win their favour and protection as well. This is clear from the history of sacrifice and of religion in general. Religion is not a one-sided affair. It consists essentially in mutual relations between men and their gods of dependence and respect, on the one hand, and of protection and favour on the other. These mutual relations find their outward expression in sacrifice. When anything disturbs or threatens to disturb these relations, religion provides the means of restoring harmony, and that means, again, is sacrifice.

Originally, no doubt, sacrifice was of irregular occurrence, offered whenever there was need of food, and especially of animal food. In the historical religions it has become part of an organized system of worship and is divided into many different forms. First, there is the sacrifice in which the victim was entirely surrendered to the deity-the holocaust or whole burnt-offering of the Mosaic Law. Again, there is the sacrifice in which only the blood and certain special portions of the body were presented to him, the rest being divided between priests and people and eaten in a kind of sacramental feast-the peace-offering of Leviticus. Then there are sacrifices offered in expiation of sin and to purify its effects-in the Levitical system such sacrifices had their own special ritual and formed a distinct class apart, which was not the case in other religions.

Sacrifice is thus no longer primarily a means of removing 'taboo' or the necessary preliminary to a feast: it is an act of worship in the fullest sense, and an expression of the various aspects of the religious sentiment in man. A survival of the earlier conception is still, however, recognizable in certain parts of Holy Scripture and in the practice of modern Arabs already referred to on page 6.

In Leviticus the slaughter of animals for food is still sacrificial. No domestic animal may be killed except at the door of the tabernacle and unless it is first offered as a sacrifice. In the case of wild animals, the pouring out of the blood upon the ground sufficed. Anyone who 'by

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hunting or fowling' should take a wild beast or bird which it is lawful to eat' must first pour out its blood and cover it with earth.' In Deuteronomy, the slaying of animals for food is no longer sacrificial, but the blood is still to be poured out upon the earth as water.'1

It is impossible to say in what order the various kinds of sacrifice came into being. But it certainly seems probable that in the offering of first lings, and in the type of sacrifice known in the Levitical system as the peaceoffering, we have its earliest form. The other forms may be regarded as the result of a gradual break-up of an original simple conception into its various aspects. The holocaust emphasized the fundamental idea that everything belongs to the deity and must be rendered to him again.

The sin and trespass (or guilt) offering was due to the scruple felt by sinful man at the idea of approaching a holy God in an unfit condition. In the ethnic religions it was rather the desire to avert the possible anger of a more or less capricious deity by the offering of rich or pleasing sacrifices. We do not find in these religions the clear-cut, systematic classification of the Mosaic Law, and the sin and trespass-offerings, with their own special ritual, which are peculiar to the Levitical system and are not found elsewhere. Expiatory sacrifice in the ethnic religions normally took the form of a whole burnt-offering.

Finally, in the peace-offering itself, with its sacramental meal in which the offerers feasted before God, or with the gods, we have the idea of union and fellowship between gods and men-an idea which lies at the very root of sacrifice and of religion itself. It is this latter class of sacrifice that, as already remarked, approaches more nearly to its earliest form, and that contains, in reality, the full conception. The victim is offered to the deity as his own possession. Its life is surrendered to him in the blood, as to the lord of life. Since the victim thus belongs in reality to him—a fact attested by the offering of the blood-since, notwithstanding, he allows his worshippers free use of his property, to partake of the victim's flesh is to partake of the divine bounty-to sit at the table of God. In the East and among all primitive

1 Levit. xvii. 3-5; 13, 14; Deut. xii. 23, 24.

2 Old Testament Institutions: their Origin and Development, by the Rev. U. Z. Rule, ch. xxi. pp. 232, 233; London, 1910.

races the sharing of a meal is a sign of friendship, its safeguard and its pledge.

It is possible that in the Hebrew Passover, as celebrated in the desert, we have a true picture of sacrifice in its primitive simplicity. There is the shedding and outpouring of blood, followed by the joyful feast. This sacrifice is not offered by the Levitical priests but by the head of each family. The blood is not poured out at the door of the tabernacle, at the altar of holocausts, but at the door of the family tent or house. No part of the victim's body is burnt upon the altar as God's portion,' nor is it shared with the priests, but all is eaten by the offerersthe whole is offered to God and the whole is received from Him again. If anything remains over after the feast it is to be burnt, but not as a religious rite. The Passover is sacrifice reduced to its simplest expression.


Sacrifice, though primarily the recognition of the supreme dignity and power of the deity, is in this way also the expression of man's desire to have communion with him. The divine being is not merely a dread lord and master to be reverenced in fear and trembling by his human slaves. He is also the father and protector of his people, interested in them and able and willing to have intercourse with them-nay, even himself demanding such intercourse.

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The significance of sacrifice, says a modern writer on the subject, lies in the fact that by its means men everywhere have sought to establish, renew, and maintain communion with their gods.' He adds the important statement that such communion is the essential function of religion.' It is not only, however, in the sacrificial banquet that union between man and his gods is effected or symbolized. The blood-rite itself is a means to this end. Primarily, as we have seen, this rite signifies the offering and surrender of life to those who have a special right to it. But it also signifies oneness of life between the offerer and, those to whom he offers-it is the means of attaining a kind of mystical blood-relationship. From this point of view, sacrifice is a 'Blood-Covenant' between man and his god. The blood-covenant is a very old and very widespread custom. It is found in the East and among various savage tribes, even at the present day. It consisted usually in shedding and mingling together the

1 Jevons, op. cit. ch. ii. p. 21.

blood of two persons, thus offering their lives to one another in pledge of undying union and fidelity. By means of this covenant the two parties became of one blood' and the tie between them was regarded as closer and more sacred even than that of actual blood-relationship.1

The same custom is found in religion-but here the blood employed is usually that of a substitute victim, representing the life both of God and man. Connected in all probability with this custom is the practice of ritual incision and mutilation, and the personal shedding of blood in honour of the gods, and perhaps the rite of circumcision also.

Whether this idea of the blood-covenant was present in the earliest sacrifices or whether it is a later development, it is impossible to say. It is at any rate extremely ancient and has been from very early times intimately connected with sacrifice.

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The religion of Israel, for instance, was founded entirely on the covenant between Yahweh and His people, and the whole sacrificial system rested upon the Covenant Sacrifice' with which His official worship was inaugurated. We read that in this sacrifice Moses took half of the blood and put it into bowls: and the rest he poured upon the altar. and he took the blood that was in the bowls and sprinkled it upon the people '-the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that Moses also sprinkled the blood upon the Book of the Covenant.' The blood, thus divided between God and the people, symbolized the union of life and interests between them effected by the solemn contract thus entered upon, while the book sprinkled with the covenant blood was to be a lasting witness to it. The covenant rites were concluded by a feast in the presence of Yahweh, in which probably the flesh of the victims offered by the young men of Israel' was eaten. The sacrificial banquet was the final ratification of the covenant and a further symbol of its effects. This again brings us back to the primitive conception.

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So far we have been considering sacrifice offered on the basis of good relations existing between God and man.

1 The Blood-Covenant, by H. Clay Trumbull, pp. 4 et seq., and 203, 204 ; Philadelphia, 1898.

Lagrange, pp. 260, 243-246.

Exod. xxiv. 6, 8; Heb. ix. 19, 20.
Trumbull, op. cit. passim.

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But these good relations were sometimes at least in danger of being disturbed or even of actually coming to an end. If the cause of this disturbance was some ritual uncleanness' or some moral fault committed unwittingly' or inadvertently, the danger might be avoided and peace restored by the offering of piacular sacrifice. For deliberate or high-handed sin there was no sacrificial atonement, either in the religion of Israel or in the ethnic religions. The Israelite who thus offended was cut off' from the Covenant People. The pagan was 'impius' in the sight of gods and men. But although no ritual expiation was possible for such sins, all possibility of pardon was not denied to the penitent sinner-in the religion of Israel, at least. There, forgiveness might be obtained either by undergoing punishment (vicarious or otherwise) or by the offering of a redemption price.' Or again, God might, in His mercy, Himself atone for' or forgive the offender. For the pagan, nothing remained but to suffer the punishment imposed by the gods. To get at the exact idea underlying ritual or sacrificial atonement is no easy matter: The traditional explanation has been that the death of the victim was a poena vicaria for the sin of the offerer. But, according to Dr. Davidson, whose words we quote, this does not seem to have been the original notion. It did become attached to sacrifice in later Jewish and in Christian thought, but it cannot be found in the Levitical Law or in the general Old Testament conception of sacrifice, nor in that of the other religions of the world. The sins for which sacrifice might be offered were not, as a fact, such as deserved death. In the passage from Leviticus already quoted on page 7, we are told that the blood atones in virtue of the life.' It is life, not death, that atones for sin, but exactly how it does so we are not informed. The principal idea underlying ritual expiation, both in Israel and in the ethnic religions, seems to have been that of purification from sin, which was regarded as 'uncleanness or defilement, whether moral, ritual, or merely physical. Such defilement was displeasing to the deity and must be removed if his anger is to be avoided. Among the Israelites ritual atonement was

1 Davidson, pp. 316-318, passim.

Hastings, Encycl., vol. v., art. 'Expiation and Atonement,' pp. 652 and 653 (Greek), and 668 (Roman).

•Davidson, p. 350, etc.


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