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son, not the nature of the agent. Under this last head the question is asked, whether the satisfaction of Christ required any agreement on God's part to accept it, or whether He was bound as a matter of justice to do so? The necessity of an agreement is denied by St. Bonaventure, Scotus, and others (among whom must be reckoned Tournely), but affirmed by Suarez, whose opinion Robbe adopts, considering it clear from Scripture (Heb. x.) that there was in fact such an agreement, and thinking further that it was requisite, because the offending parties might have been fairly called on to make satisfaction themselves. Christ was our Head by arrangement (pacto) and not, like the first Adam, by nature. He satisfied in strict justice, inasmuch as His satisfaction was adequate and more than adequate, but to accept it for us was a matter not of justice but of mercy.
And now let us give two examples, from the same century, of the hortatory and devotional rather than scientific treatment of the subject, which for that very reason will be in one sense a surer test of the habitual manner of looking at it. They will be found, like the theological treatises of Petavius and Thomassin, to bear out the remark made in an earlier chapter, that, while the scholastic formula of satisfaction was retained as one method of expressing the mystery of atonement, the idea of sacrifice was that most predominant in Catholic teaching and devotion.
My first illustration shall be taken from a Treatise on the Priesthood and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, in four
books, by Leonard de Massiot, a French Benedictine of the learned Congregation of St. Maur. The author begins by tracing out the idea and obligation of sacrifice, as the supreme act of homage to God, and as including, since the introduction of sin into the world, an additional character of reparation; and shows how both the interior and exterior sacrifice are most perfectly realised in Christ. The second book deals with the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ, in its unity, perpetuity, and continuation in the Eucharist. The whole mystical Body is offered with Him on the Cross, which is the common altar of all mankind. In the third book the effects of His sacrifice are considered, under the classification of satisfaction, merit, overcoming the power of sin and Satan, and confounding pride by humility. The last half of the book is occupied with the treatment of the Eucharist, as an abiding memorial of the benefits wrought by Christ, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, a mystery of unity, a sign of the union of the faithful, and a mystery of faith. The fourth book, which is much the longest, continues in detail the consideration of the priesthood of Christ, as communicated to His Church in the Eucharist Το return to the chapter on satisfaction. The writer relies chiefly on Anselm's argument for the impossibility of man making satisfaction for himself, and on Aquinas for the sufficiency of that wrought by Christ, as giving to God something more pleasing than what
Traité du Sacerdoce et du Sacrifice de Jésus Christ. Par L. de Massiot. Poitiers, 1708.
He had lost by sin, owing to the charity with which Christ endured the pains of His passion, the excellence of His life, and the dignity of His Person. His voluntary temporal death, it is added, was of far greater value than our eternal death could be. Our personal satisfactions are not superseded by His, but must be united with it.
Not very different is the treatment of the subject by a later author, Plowden, who, though an Englishman, was a resident in France and, like Massiot wrote his Treatise on the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ in French.' While rejecting the notion of any
absolute necessity, he dwells on the congruity of a satisfaction and reparation being made for the disorder caused by sin, either by all men in common, or by some representative of the race. He proceeds to discuss the qualities and conditions essential for a mediator, who must not only be able to pardon sin but to infuse holiness. These conditions can only be found united in the GodMan. It was fitting, again, that He should accomplish His work by sacrifice, which is the highest of all acts of satisfaction, though any, the least, intercession of His would have been sufficient, from its infinite value. The effects of His sacrifice are three-fold; to reconcile or reunite us with God, to unite us with each other by charity, and to incorporate us into the mystical body, which He offered up with his natural Body on the Cross. Plowden's work is divided into five parts. The first examines the pre-announcement of the great
| Traité du Sacrifice de Jésus Christ. Paris, 1778.
Sacrifice in the written and unwritten law, the Jewish and Heathen rituals. The second exhibits the perfect fulfilment of the sacrificial idea in the life and death of Christ. In the third is considered its perpetuation, for communicating its effects to us, in the Mass, considered chiefly as the centre of Christian worship. The fourth part insists on the reproduction of the idea in all members of the mystical body through selfsacrifice and imitation of the virtues of their Head, while the fifth carries on the idea to its final consummation in the offering up of the entire body of the elect reunited with their Head in heaven. Of the three last parts no more need be said here. In the first, the interior sacrifice of the heart, and the outward sacrifice which is its proper expression, are contrasted and explained, with constant reference to St. Augustine's City of God. The outward expression was needed for men composed of body and soul and having to live in society, even during the state of innocence; still more after the Fall, when the idea of expiation was added to that of homage, and hence animal sacrifices came into use. Those of the Jewish ritual are examined in detail. In the second part the immense superiority of Christ's sacrifice to all others is dwelt upon. It consists of the oblation of His Body, Soul, and will, that is of His whole Being, together with those of His members; of His prayers and other acts, together with theirs; and of His sufferings and death, and theirs united with His.
It will at once be seen, that with these writers--and
they are but a specimen of many more—the dominant idea, as with the Fathers, is that of Sacrifice, which comprehends more than the notion of satisfaction only, or of the payment of a debt. It includes and exhausts them, but it includes a great deal more.
We may further observe that this idea is habitually viewed in connection with its perpetuation in the Eucharist. And this suggests an aspect of the doctrine of the Atonement already more than once referred to, in the chapters on patristic teaching, and which requires distinct recognition, though a separate volume would be required for its adequate treatment. A few words must suffice here, not to prove but to indicate the inseparable union between the sacrifice of the altar and the sacrifice of the Cross.
On the last night of His earthly ministry, when the shadows of death were closing in upon the chosen few, and the dark designs of the conspirators were even now shaping themselves into act within the walls of the apostate city, Jesus, having loved His own, loved them unto the end. He was about to die. And therefore He gathered His disciples around Him in that upper room at Jerusalem, for a last farewell. “When the evening was come, He sat down with the Twelve.” He had washed their feet; He had addressed to them those words of thrilling import, which run through four chapters in the narrative of the last Evangelist; He had eaten the Paschal supper. And then, as at a marriage feast He had begun His ministry by changing water into wine, so at the feast which closed it He