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transmuted, by a signal miracle, the shadow to the substance, the figures of the law into the realities of the Atoning Sacrifice. He sanctified Himself. He offered the great Eucharistic intercession (John xvii.), which embraced all future ages and contained in germ all possible liturgies of Christendom. He rehearsed before the Twelve in mystery that Sacrifice which on the morrow was to be offered in tears and blood. He took of the pure wheat flour which is given for man's nourishment, and the fruit of the vine which maketh glad his heart, and consecrated them to be for all time the symbols, the vehicle, the transparent veils, of that sacred Flesh and that redeeming Blood which He had assumed in the Conception and was to offer on the Cross. What He did then His Church was to continue always, till He should return again, for a memorial of Him. As every Christian prayer must be offered in His Name, so all Christian worship must be centred in the one great act which perpetuates for ever the new rite of that last Paschal Supper, not in empty sign but in spirit and in truth. From the rising to the setting sun, wherever His Name is known among the Gentiles, He has bidden that pure oblation to be laid continually on His altar. The Incarnation and the Passion are no mere incidents of bygone history, but a presence of abiding power. The Blood that flowed on Calvary flows indeed no more, but the Lamb slain before the worlds were made is offered still, Himself the Victim, Priest, and Shrine. And through the might of that Atonement, the Sacrifice
one and indivisible pleaded on ten thousand altars, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, is the Church's prayer fulfilled; Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem."
I proceed to give some notice of German Catholic divines in the present century, who are now stepping into the place occupied before the French Revolution by the doctors of the Sorbonne. In 1807, Klüpfel and Dobmayer published dogmatic works in Latin. They agree in regarding the Atonement as a mystery, which we cannot explain on antecedent grounds of reason and must therefore be content to accept as a revealed fact: Consultius igitur ducimus rem arguere ez eventu. The Son of God has made satisfaction, inasmuch as He has done all that was necessary for our eternal welfare, for removing sin and its consequences, and re-establishing the kingdom of God. In what sense this satisfaction was necessary we cannot know, but we must infer from the event that there are reasons why it was so. Dobmayer adds, that the Atonement must not be regarded as a punishment inflicted on Christ, but as an act done by Him for the benefit of the human race; not as a substitute for our personal service, but as a supplement of our weakness and encouragement to our energy. A more famous name is that of Klee, who wrote thirty years later, in German,
See Note I. at the end of the Chapter, “On the Connection between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Eucharist."
Klüpfel, Instit. Theol. Dogmat. Wien, 1807. Dobmayer, Systema Theol. Cathol. Sulsbach, 1807.
on Catholic doctrine.' He understands by the satisfaction of Christ, that, through His bodily death, He has removed the grounds of our spiritual death and softened (gemildert) its consequences, as to intention and efficacy for all, and actually for those who are so united with Him as to be able to appropriate His sufferings. We cannot say that He has formally endured our punishment, as such, for it is impossible for the innocent to be justly punished; nor materially, for He was not made subject to spiritual death, as neither to ignorance or evil desire. Neither, again, has He in such sense suffered in our place, and by substitution, as that by His satisfaction all our debt and sin is in fact remitted. Bodily death, the sorrows of life, ignorance and concupiscence remain, and we are then first released from our debt, when we have fulfilled all the conditions requisite for partaking of the benefits of the redemption wrought for us. This satisfaction of Christ is in itself superabundant, for, while sin is finite, the acts of the God-Man, as proceeding from His Person, not from His finite human nature, are infinite. Another Catholic writer of the same date, Brenner, also protests against the notion of substituted punishment, as hard and unreasonable and inconsistent with the nature of God. We cannot pass over in silence a still greater name, that of Günther; but with his philosophical system, which is said to be very obscurely expressed, I have no acquaintance, nor indeed would this be the place for examining it if I
had. I shall content myself with giving, as simply as I can, his account of the Atonement. We shall have occasion presently to notice the writings of Pabst, who, if he represents the same theological school, is at least a much clearer and more intelligible exponent of its principles. Günther's system implies, if I understand him rightly, the Scotist idea of the Incarnation being decreed before the prevision of the Fall. Its primary object is the infusion of divine life into man, or his regeneration to eternal life. The death of Christ is “not the moving but the mediating cause" of redemption; or, in other words, God is not gracious to us because Christ died, but Christ died for us because God is gracious. The juristic view of vicarious satisfaction is rejected, on the ground that justice requires the punishment of the guilty, and can least of all be satisfied by the supreme injustice of punishing the innocent instead. That would be a direct contradiction. Some other explanation must therefore be found for the Sacrifice of the death of Christ. God will only forgive sin to those who are willing to be reformed; but for this man needs a practical proclamation of the heinousness of sin, which is given, as in a picture, by the death of Christ. But the ground of sin lies not only in ignorance or unbelief, but in the infirmity of a perverted will, and the work of redemption, therefore, must be something beyond a mere outward exhibition; it must consist in the real communication and im
Günther, Die Incarnationstheorie. Wien, 1829. His Philosophical Works were placed on the Roman Index.
planting of a new nature, to reunite the soul with God. The redeeming power must, then, be sought in the life of Christ, but it can only be imparted through His death. The Son of God took, in His Incarnation, a human body under the conditions of fallen nature transmitted from Adam, though without sin. This body of death He offered up to God, pouring out the earthly blood and animal soul or life;' and thus He satisfied justice and opened the hands of love. The necessity for His death does not rest on any attribute of the Divine nature, for God is Love, but on some quality of human nature, which as yet we cannot fully comprehend but which is indicated by the statement of Scripture, that “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” for the soul is in the blood and the blood is that which atones for the soul. It is clear that this theory lays a special stress on the Incarnation, and views the death of Christ chiefly as a channel for conveying the benefits of the Incarnation to us, but the precise meaning of the latter portion of it I do not profess to understand. We
We may compare with it the following considerations of the philosopher Baader on the nature of human sinfulness. The soul of man, subjected through the Fall to the bondage of matter, can only through the medium of matter be restored to the freedom of spiritual life. But the blood, as the special organ of animal life, is also the organ of sin.
| This may remind the reader of some similar expressions of Origen's, previously referred to.
? Baader, Vorlesungen über eine kunftige Theorie des Opfers oder Kultus. Münster, 1837.