Изображения страниц

strongly to the legal mind of Grotius. That he does not even allude to it, is a crucial evidence of its being as yet unknown. And this is made clearer by his frequently using, and being the first to use, the word ‘satisfaction;' but always, as has been already stated, in reference to the acts of the penitent, not the work of Christ. On the other hand, in disputing with the Jews, he is careful to explain the Apostle's language,' like Justin Martyr, of the curses laid on Christ by His people, not by God. He insists that those hung on the tree are said in Deuteronomy to be cursed only on account of the sins for which they are hung there, which cannot apply to Christ, who spoke no guile and displayed all righteousness and humility.” He says, again, that Christ was made a sacrifice for all nations, being led as a sheep to the slaughter, quoting also the types of Isaac, and the scape-goat, which latter he explains in the same sense as Barnabas and Justin had done before him. Moses, stretching out his arms during the battle against Amalek, is given as a type of Christ's triumph over Satan, and also the brazen serpent. The Origenist notion of a ransom paid to Satan is perhaps hinted at when it is said, “The Lord redeemed him from the angelic powers who hold the world, the spiritual things of wickedness, the darkness of this world, from eternal judgment and perpetual death;” but it may be merely a reference to Eph. vi. 12. The bestowal of a new life and restoration of the lost image of God, through the crucifixion, is clearly laid down; “What plainer than the sacrament of this wood...... that what had perished in Adam might be restored by the tree (cross) of Christ.” His obedience, persevering to the last moment of life, is dwelt upon, and His being “the Pontiff of the uncircumcised priesthood, after the order of Melchisedec.” There is not much of special importance for our subject in the writings of Hippolytus. He speaks of Christ's priesthood and sacrifice of Himself as a sweetsmelling savour to God; of His perfect obedience and fulfilling all the righteousness of the law; of His enduring the cross by the consent (avyxopsaet) of God; of His priesthood and royalty. Two passages may be given here. The first seems to point to Irenaeus' theory; “For this cause the God of all things became man, that by suffering in passible flesh He might ransom our whole race which was sold to death; and, working marvels through the instrumentality of the flesh, by his impassible Godhead, might bring it back to His pure and blessed life from which it had fallen by obeying the Devil.” The other passage is a com

1 Gal. iii. 13.

* Tertul. Contra Judaeos 10. He elsewhere says (Contra Prair.) that the apostle would have blasphemed had he called Christ cursed in any other sense. On the other hand, Luther remarks, with characteristic bluntness, “Every one hung on the tree is cursed of God; Christ was hung on the tree; therefore Christ was cursed of God.” I do not refer to the interpretation put upon this muchcontroverted passage by Justin Martyr and Tertullian to pronounce any opinion on its exegetical correctness, but as a crucial disproof of their holding the later theory of vicarious imputation.

* Ib. 18, 14, 10. De Fuga, 12. Contr. Jud. 13. Contr. Marcion. iv. 42, v. 9. * Hippol. De Theol. et Incarn. ii.

ment on Prov. ix. 1; “He has given us His Divine Flesh and precious Blood to eat and drink, for the remission of sins.” St. Cyprian's treatment of the question follows Tertullian's more closely than that of any other writer. There is no attempt to theorize; the word satisfaction is used, as by Tertullian, of the penitent, not of Christ." The following passage expresses the writer's general view of the work of redemption; “This grace Christ imparts, this gift of His mercy. He bestows by subduing death through the triumph of the Cross, redeeming the believer by the price of His Blood, reconciling men to God the Father, giving life to the mortal by heavenly regeneration.” He speaks elsewhere of our sins being cleansed by the Blood and the sanctification of Christ, of His eternal priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, and of his earthly priests representing Him and offering a true and full sacrifice in the Church to God the Father, in allusion to Prov. ix.” He quotes Moses prevailing over Amalek as a type of our Lord's victory over Satan, and repeatedly speaks of our being redeemed and vivified by His Blood. One passage shall be quoted here from the Homily on the Cross, by Methodius, bishop of Tyre, who was martyred in the Diocletian persecution. It speaks of the victory over Satan as achieved through Christ's obedience unto death, and His arming us to overcome him in our own persons; “For this cause chiefly was the cross introduced, being set up as a trophy and terror against iniquity, that from henceforth man might be no more subject to wrath, having conquered back (divaraxataavta) what he had lost by disobedience, and having lawfully overcome the powers below and been made free of all debt by the gifts of God. For this the first-born Word of the righteous God, having armed man, in whose nature He tabernacled, put down the powers which had enslaved us, through the form of the cross, as has been said, and with outstretched hands set free man who was in the bondage of corruption.”' Before proceeding to notice the special theories of Irenaeus and Origen, the only writers of this early period who can strictly be said to have constructed any theory on the subject, we may pause to sum up briefly the main points of teaching on Christ's work of redemption to be gathered from the patristic literature of the first three centuries as a whole. And first, as to what it does not contain. There is no trace, as we have seen, of the notions of vicarious satisfaction, in the sense of our sins being imputed to Christ and His obedience imputed to us, which some of the Reformers made the very essence of Christianity; or, again, of the kindred notion that God was angry with His Son for our sakes, and inflicted on Him the punishment due to us; nor is Isaiah's prophecy interpreted

* Cypr. Ep. vii. 5. Ad Demetrium. “Tum demum per ipsum (Dominum) Deo satisfacere debemus.” * Ib. lxiii.

' Hom. de Cruce, Fragm. 1.

in this sense, as afterwards by Luther; on the contrary, there is much which expressly negatives this line of thought. There is no mention of the justice of God, in the forensic sense of the word; the Incarnation is invariably and exclusively ascribed to His love; the term satisfaction does not occur in this connection at all, and where Christ is said to suffer for us, 'nèp (not ávti) is the word always used. It is not the payment of a debt, as in St. Anselm's Cur Deus Homo, but the restoration of our fallen nature, that is prominent in the minds of these writers, as the main object of the Incarnation. They always speak, with Scripture, of our being reconciled to God, not of God being reconciled to us.

On the other hand, they are far removed from the modern Socinian or Rationalistic view, which sees in the death of Christ only an attestation of His teaching, or an exalted model of heroic virtue, or a practical evidence of the love of God. They ascribe, with one voice, a real and most vital efficacy to the sacrifice of Calvary in restoring us to life and immortality, but without attempting any precise explanation of how the result is brought about. Tertullian says that, if His death be denied, as it was implicitly by the Docetæ (for a phantasm could not really suffer) the whole work of God would be overturned, and the whole meaning and benefit of Christianity rejected. The obedience of Christ is emphatically dwelt upon, as an integral part

1 We shall find the two, however, used intercbangeably in one passage of Irenæus, as they are also by St. Paul, in Tim. ii. 6; årtidurpov Útép távtwv.

Cf. Matt. XX. 28. Mark X. 45.

2 Tert. Contr. Marcion. iii. 8.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »