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founded on the holiness of Yahweh and of His covenant people Ye shall be holy unto Me, because I the Lord am holy.' 1 The Hebrew word 'kipper,' translated' atonement or expiation,' is interpreted by most modern scholars as meaning ritual purgation' or purification, being derived from a Babylonian ritual term. In the Roman religion the word 'expiare' means to render 'pius,' to restore to a state pleasing to the divinity, the prefix 'ex' being simply intensive, as in exsecrare.' In the Greek religion, too, the idea of purification-Catharsisseems to have been prominent, and so in practically all other religions. The effect of sin was to render the sinner impure or unclean' in God's sight. By means of sacrifice, and especially by means of the blood of the victim, this uncleanness could be removed. Blood was at all times a fluid of mysterious potency, and being the life itself of the victim, was able, if properly employed, to give new life and new strength to those in need of it. This efficacy was increased tenfold when the blood had been offered and consecrated in sacrifice.4

In the ethnic religions, especially in Asiatic and in later Greek religion, the blood was physically applied to the worshippers. In certain sacrifices, the Taurobolium,' for instance-a rite of Asiatic origin, in connexion with the cultus of the goddess Cybele, introduced into Greecea veritable bath or baptism of blood was indulged in. From this baptism the worshipper arose renatus in aeternum. Among the Jews this was rarely done. Apart from one or two instances, which imply quite special circumstances, the blood was applied not to the person of the offerer, but to the altar of holocausts or of incense, or it was sprinkled in the Holy Place, before the veil-on the Day of Atonement, within the Holy of Holies itself. In the Old Law even the material objects used in divine worship were rendered unclean' by the sins of the Covenant People and required purifying before the service of Yahweh could be fittingly carried on. This purification

1 Levit. xx. 26; Davidson, p. 326.

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2 Hastings, Encycl., vol. v., art. Expiation and Atonement' (Hebrew),

p. 654, § 2.

8 Ibid. (Roman), p. 666.

Ibid. (Hebrew), p. 657, § 12.

• Revue d'histoire et de littérature religieuses, 1901, 'Le Taurobole et le culte de Bellone,' p. 97, F. Cumont.

• Levit. xiv. 1-7; 13, 14.

seems to have been regarded as equivalent to a personal application of the blood to the offerers. It was, as it were, a witness to the removal of sin. Perhaps, also, we may regard it as a witness to the powerlessness of the blood of calves and of goats' to purify from the stain of sin— a witness to that Precious Blood which alone cleanses the conscience from dead works to serve the living God.'1 The application of the blood may also be regarded as a renewal of the Covenant between Israel and the God of Israel, or rather as a witness to the continuance of that Covenant, endangered by ritual or unwitting' fault. This seems specially the case on the Day of Atonement, when the sacrificial blood was sprinkled before the Ark which contained the tables of the Covenant."

This application of the blood took place, in the ritual of the Old Testament, in the sin and trespass offerings alone. In other sacrifices the blood was merely 'poured round about' the altar as an offering to God.3

Besides this idea of purification there existed also that of making reparation or amends to the deity for the offence committed against him. It is the blood of the sacrifice that atones in virtue of the life '-not only as a purifying fluid but as being the most pleasing offering that could be presented. The offering of life to the Lord of life is the most sublime act of homage that can be made by man and this act of homage makes amends to the dignity of God outraged by sin. As a result of this reparation offered, man was reconciled-made 'at-one" with God. Atonement, in the original sense of the word, was effected. From this point of view, also, expiatory sacrifice was a renewal of the Covenant in the blood of the victim.1 In the religions of Paganism, where views of the divine nature and of the significance of sacrifice and sin were not so elevated as in Israel, the idea seems rather to have been to appease or placate or even to forestall by this act of homage the anger of an usually capricious deity. The idea of atonement' or reconciliation was either nonexistent or at least of secondary importance. Satisfaction, or the suffering of punishment, was not, as we have seen,

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1 Hebrews ix. 12-15; Hastings, Encycl. of Religion and Ethics, vol. v., Expiation and Atonement' (Hebrew), p. 657, n. 13.

Rule, op. cit., ch. xxii. p. 242.

Levit. i. 5; iii. 13.

Jewish Encycl., vol. ii., art. 'Atonement,' p. 275.


originally connected with sacrifice for sin. But we find this idea separated in the Mosaic Law and in the ritual of Paganism, from that of sacrifice, united with it in that striking passage of the 'Proto-Evangelist' Isaias, concerning the suffering servant of the Lord' who was * wounded for our iniquities and bruised for our sins,' and who, at the same time, laid down his life for sin'according to the Hebrew, 'offered his life as a guiltoffering' (Asham).1

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In the Sacrifice of the Cross, Jesus Christ, the true Servant of the Lord,' by the offering of His most pure life, made fullest amends to God and by the suffering of death underwent, in the name of all mankind, the supreme penalty for sin. This Sacrifice, unlike those of the Jewish Law that removed mere ritual impurity, avails for the removal of every kind of sin. The Blood of this Victim truly atones in virtue of the life-the life of God Incarnate-and in this Blood the souls of all men are cleansed that all may be in very truth renati in aeternum. idea of a ransom or redemption price,' offered by the sinner to buy back as it were his life from God, also enters in. The Precious Blood of Christ is the 'Price of our Redemption '-Jesus Himself is our 'Redeemer,' Who has bought back our lives with His own Blood.


The custom, in the Mosaic Law, of the offerer laying hands upon the head of the Victim in all sacrifices seems to point to the idea of substitution.


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According to Dr. Driver, quoting Ewald, the practice * symbolized the transference of all the feelings which must fill the worshipper at such a moment on to the creature whose blood is about to be spilt and, as it were, go before God for him.' In expiatory sacrifice there was, as we have seen, no question of vicarious punishment, the victim could not, therefore, have been a substitute in that capacity. We may believe that it was one in the same sense as were all sacrificial victimseven in the most primitive form of sacrifice. The life of the victim is offered, in all sacrifice, for that of the offerer -even though he himself does not consciously formulate the intention of so offering it-for his own life depends upon and belongs to the deity as much as that of the creature

1 Isaias liii. 5, 10.

Cf. p. 17.

Different Conceptions of Priesthood and Sacrifice, pp. 39, 40. Edit. by W. Sanday; Oxford, 1900.

he sacrifices. The recognition of this fact is owing in a special manner in the case of sin, which always implies a kind of independence of God or a defiance of His power.

The sin-offering, properly so called, is probably of comparatively late introduction in the history of sacrifice, being due to the development of ethical ideas and of the conception of the divine nature. It is also due no doubt in large part to religious or merely superstitious scruple.1

Vicarious substitution appears more clearly in the case of the scapegoat upon which the high priest, on the Day of Atonement, laid his hands while confessing over it the sins of the people and praying that they would light on his head.' Clearer still does it appear in the prophecy of the 'suffering servant of the Lord,' already referred to, upon whom the Lord hath laid the iniquity of us all and who hath borne the sins of many and hath prayed for (Hebrew, "made atonement for ") the transgressors.

The ritual of sacrifice, as prescribed in historical religions and especially in the religion of Israel, is of great assistance in throwing light on its nature and significance. But its importance is sometimes exaggerated. As carried out in most religions, we find a certain distinction in the ritual between the act of shedding the victim's blood and that of pouring it out at the altar. The former is usually the duty of the offerer who brings the sacrifice, or of a lay official specially appointed for the purpose. The latter is always reserved to the priest. It is round this distinction that discussion chiefly centres in the attempt to arrive at the exact significance of the element of destruction, death, or immolation in sacrifice.

To put the case in a few words: Is it the death of the victim, the destruction of the offerings, that is the principal object of sacrifice, or is it the oblation made to God of the victim's life or of the offerings that is chiefly intended? Those who maintain the former regard sacrifice as the supreme witness, first to the divine power over life and death, secondly to the need of expiation and satisfaction

1 Lagrange, pp. 273, 274.

Levit. xvi. 21.

• Isaias liii. 6, 12. The scapegoat, driven alive into the wilderness, bearing the sins of the people, symbolized also the complete removal of sin, that was the desired effect of the sacrifices offered on this solemn day. This effect was, however, only to be perfectly realized in the offering of the Lamb of God that 'taketh away'-in the truest, most literal sense the sin of the world.'

• In the Roman religion, this official was known as the Popa or Victimarius.

for sin of which death is the punishment. Those who uphold the latter consider that the object of sacrifice is the recognition of God as the Lord and Master of life and the true proprietor of all nature-a recognition effected by the complete surrender of the victim's life or of the material offering to Him. The death of the first and the destruction of the second are but the means-and the most effective means of obtaining this end.

Both these views are right-or rather each expresses one aspect of the whole conception. They need but to be combined and harmonized in order to give an adequate idea of the whole truth. Sacrifice is something more than a simple oblation-it is not merely the consecration or dedication of some object to the service of the deity, like the votive offering preserved in the temple or hung up on the sacred tree. Death and destruction in sacrifice are again not only a means of handing over the oblation more completely to God, or an expression of self-deprivation and surrender on the part of the offerer. They imply all this, but they are also intended as a recognition of the fact that the deity alone has full proprietary rights over life and over all concerned with life-that he alone has the right to slay and to destroy. As we have already seen, men in order to live are obliged themselves to take life, to destroy and to consume the goods that nature provides for them. Sacrifice ensures them the necessary permission to exercise what is ultimately a divine prerogative. This, however, is not its whole object. It is but the negative aspect. The recognition of the divine rights over nature and over life and death, and of the consequent entire dependence of mankind on the deity, leads to the desire to keep, so to speak, on good terms with so powerful a being. The offering of the victim's life in the blood or of the oblations mounting to heaven in the smoke of the altar fire as a savour of sweetness,' to use the Scriptural expression, becomes a constant means of communication and of union between man and his God. The final end and object of sacrifice, whatever its primary purpose, whether to offer an act of homage or to make expiation for sin, is the union of mankind with the being they worship. This union effected or symbolized in the offering and partaking of the sacrifice gives us its positive aspect, and this aspect is the most important. The real importance of the negative aspect must not, however, be minimized.

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