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The fact, besides, that it is through death alone that a life can be offered to God—that it is only through death and surrender that full union with Him can be attained is a truth the religious value of which can never be exaggerated.
As to sacrifice for sin, we have already seen that its object was not originally the vicarious punishment of sin, but rather its effacement by means of purification and also the offering of reparation to the offended majesty of the divine being by the act of homage implied in the sacrifice. It was besides a strengthening or renewal of covenant relations in the blood of the victim.
With regard to the external ritual of sacrifice and the distinction there noticeable between the act of shedding the blood and that of pouring it out as an offering at the altar, it should always be remembered that ritual, while in origin probably purely practical, tends always, and especially in the East, to become dramatic and symbolical. Now, human ideas, particularly religious ideas, cannot, generally speaking, be fully and clearly expressed in one single action or in one moment of time. Different aspects of one and the same conception need different actions to represent and show them forth. But these different actions are all intimately connected and no one of them must be taken singly and in isolation from the others. Thus, it is not the shedding of the blood alone nor the offering of the blood alone that expresses the meaning of sacrifice-it is the shedding and the offering taken together.
Sacrifice is both the surrender of life and the oblation of life. The surrender of life does not imply its loss-on the contrary, it is its gain, for the result of the whole action is the attainment of union, oneness of life between God and His creature. The victim, and the offerer through the victim, loses his life in order that he may gain it.
From the more material point of view of 'primitive' man, the surrender of his property in sacrifice is made in order to obtain the greater benefit of the good will of the gods—the loss, even here, is gain.
1.The slaying of the victim and the offering of its blood are not two separate acte . the death is not to be regarded as a mere means of getting the blood ; the death and the offering are the giving to God of the life of the victim' (Davidson, p. 353). It was only ritually and for symbolic purposes and also, probably, for convenience' sakothat this single act was thus divided and distributed among different persons. Both priest and offerer in reality concurred in the one act of giving the life to God.' The offerer surrendered his property into the hands of the priest, and the latter presented it to God for him.
And now, to take a retrospective view of all that has been said so far, what do we find in the act of sacrifice that warrants us in ascribing to it so great an importance ! We find, to put it in a few words, an act that sums up in itself and expresses in the clearest manner the fundamental ideas of religion. Sacrifice may, in fact, be described with truth as religion in act.' It is the most striking expression that could be imagined of the homage due from the creature to his Creator—the recognition of God as the Lord of all things—and at the same time of that ineradicable yearning of the human soul for union with its Maker so beautifully expressed in the famous
in the famous words of St. Augustine : Thou hast made us for Thyself and our heart is restless till it rests in Thee.' 1
Sacrifice, as St. Augustine also tells us, 'is a visible sacrament, that is, a sacred sign of the invisible sacrifice.' This invisible sacrifice is nothing more nor less than the sacrifice of self. Not only all that he possesses, all that he makes use of, but man himself, body and soul, belongs to God. Not only the life of creatures dependent upon him and serving as the support of his own life, but that life itself is from God, and of God, and must return again to Him. External gifts and offerings alone can never effect the union that the human soul aspires to. External sacrifice is but the outward sign or sacrament of the true interior sacrifice of self that man owes his Maker. And here again sacrifice is a striking witness to the fact that this offering of self to God, and the union with Him that is its object, cannot be attained except through suffering and death. Sin has entered into the world and the wages of sin is death.' The offering and consecration of life become also its surrender and involve loss, deprivation, and suffering—without the shedding of blood' (i.e., the violent surrender of life) there is no remission.' And sin has set its mark upon every kind of sacrifice—not only upon those whose very object was to atone for sin, but even upon the holocaust and the peace-offering, for in all alike the victim must be slain and its blood shed in order that it may be 'a savour of sweetness' before the Lord.
And yet this slaying and shedding of blood was of no avail for sins that were a real offence to God and that raised a real barrier between Him and His people. The
* Confess., lib. ix. o. i.
Do Civit. Dei, l. x. c. 5.
life of irrational creatures, however physically pure and unblemished, the life of man himself, however desirous of making amends, could never render full and adequate homage, could never really atone for sin. Man sought in vain in the multitude of sacrifices and oblations to show honour to his God and satisfy for sin. Then God Himself took pity on him. God Himself provided the sacrifice that is alone acceptable, that alone atones for sin. The Eternal Son responded to the call of His Father : • Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, then said I: Behold, I come.' In His self-oblation upon the Cross Jesus Christ fulfilled in the most perfect and most literal sense all that is meant by sacrifice, while He infinitely transcended it as it existed in the religions of the world-even that of the Chosen People, for the sacrifices of the Law were but shadows of better things to come.' This Sacrifice was a true and proper sacrifice. It was not merely the moral oblation of the obedience of Christ to His Father's Will, but the oblation of His Body broken and His Blood shed : 'We are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Christ' and the Blood of Jesus Christ ... cleanseth us
‘ from all sin.'1
But human worship cannot rest content with a sacrifice once offered long ago upon Mount Calvary. The Perfect Sacrifice, the antitype of all the types of the Law, the fulfilment of all the shadows' of Paganism if it is to be real human worship, must be in some sense actual and continual. It is true that there is now oblation for sin ’ and that our Saviour 'by one oblation hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. There neither is nor can be any other sacrifice for the redemption of the world nor any other sacrifice that could add to or increase the satisfaction offered and the merits gained once for all upon the Cross. But this fact does not exclude a sacrifice by means of which those merits may be applied to the souls of individual men and the Redemption made available for all men in all ages of the world. If the Victim and the Priest of this Sacrifice are the same as in that of the Cross ; if, again, its only object is to commemorate the offering on the Cross and apply its merits to all mankind, then the fact of its constant repetition and of the external differences between it and the Sacrifice on Calvary cannot be regarded as a denial of the all-sufficiency of that supreme
1 Hebrows X. 10; 1 John i. 7.
no more an
oblation. On the contrary, it is a witness to its lasting efficacy. As far as Victim and Priest are concerned, the Sacrifice of the Mass is the same as that of the Cross, it differs only in the manner of its offering—a difference that is purely external. In the language of the schools, the two sacrifices are substantially the same though
' accidentally' they differ.
The last act of our Saviour before He went forth to * bear our sins in His Body on the Tree,' was to institute this Memorial Sacrifice the Passover of the true People of God, Memorial of the Covenant Sacrifice' of the new Law. In it the Body that was given for us and the Blood that was shed for the remission of sins are offered in a * Clean Oblation in every place from the rising of the sun even to the going down,' and the death of the Lord, as the Apostle declared, is shown forth to the world until He comes again to gather the fruits of His redeeming Sacrifice.1
BENEDICT STEUART, 0.8.B.
Malach. i. 11 ; 1 Cor. ij. 28, 86.
PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRATIC
AMERICA AND FRANCE ?
BY PROF. J. M. O'SULLIVAN, M.A., Ph.D.
An explanation of the divergent fates of the revolutionary movements in America and France must be sought elsewhere than in the promulgation of a catalogue of political first principles. Here the guilt, if guilt there be, weighs more heavily on the Americans than on the French. And we are no nearer an explanation if, from the fact that such declarations were issued, we turn to an examination of the nature and import of the principles they contained.
For in both continents an appeal was made from Convention to Nature and Reason, from the authority of the Historically Established to the Rights of Man. Hereby we are already separated by a wide gulf from English prototypes, such as Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, and the Bill of Rights. These were essentially retrospective in their outlook; they claimed or guaranteed simply what was or professed to be the confirmation or interpretation of the ancient hereditary rights of Englishmen, handed down from their forefathers. Foreign also to English Constitutional Law is the conception of the State solemnly setting limits to its powers. No shackles are placed on the sovereignty of Parliament--King, Lords, and Commons; no limits set to its legislative competency. The law knows no distinction between higher, inviolable, constitutional enactments and lower or ordinary enactments, any more than it recognizes any legislative authority superior to Parliament. Various restrictions have from time to time been imposed on the power of the Crown-generally under the pretence of restoring the ancient laws of the realm—but all such · liberties
*Cf. I. E. RROORD (June, 1917), Fifth Series, vol. ix. pp. 441 et seq.