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Closely connected with the sacrificial idea, and in fact its necessary condition, has been the belief in the inherent sinfulness, the germinal and universal corruption of the human spirit. That is not a belief peculiar to Christianity alone. It is the attestation of all human consciousness when confronting its own guilt, and seeking the cause of its wretchedness. It is at the root of all religions. It is in the earliest Vedas of Brahminism. It is in Buddhism - a religion seemingly without a God, but not without the conceptions of sacrifice and original sin. It is in that most Pelagian of all beliefs which ever rose to the dignity of a popular faith, the religion of Greece. “In the assertion of Original Sin," as Coleridge has truly said, “the Greek Mythology rose and set."

We have spoken above of universal corruption and human guilt as if they were interchangeable terms ; but in this we are not thinking vaguely and carelessly. Religion has always made this conversion. Universal corruption is individual guilt. Religion has intuitively felt that if the great flood of the world's · evil which has been gathering through the ages and into which

we all are submerged, is regarded merely as a mass of external circumstances, entirely outside our individual responsibility, then the sense of guilt will be reduced quite to the vanishing point. Every individual transgression has so plainly its origin in the mass of external circumstances, inherited tendencies, social contact and the mere accidents of existence that the transgressor will almost inevitably look upon himself as the victim of an evil universe, rather than as a sinner standing before a righteous God. And so religion, with a deep, sacred instinct, has always persisted in regarding this world-evil as somehow mysteriously interlocked with our individual responsibility, as something that blackens our vices, and casts its shadow even upon our virtues.

But theology, in its efforts to put this religious intuition into some logical form, has been driven to strange devices. Many a theory has been laboriously devised to explain how a human soul could be made morally responsible for what happened ages ago, and has been entailed upon it by accidents of

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birth and social position. Of these theories, perhaps none are more satisfactory - and certainly none could be less so — than the bald, pre-eminently orthodox doctrine that God has chosen, by an act of divine sovereignty, to arbitrarily place a responsibility where it does not naturally belong. But the theology of Universalism should not go halting here, as have other less fortunate forms of doctrine. For in its crowning conception of the unity, the spiritual solidarity of the race — now unfolding, but to be fully realized only in the times to come — it carries a solution of this hard problem of Original Sin, and satisfies the intuitions of religion without shocking the reason or the moral sense.

How, then, does this conversion of the terms “ organic corruption" and " original sinfulness” become rational and permissable? How does the accumulated evil of all human life become a ground of personal guilt in the individual ? How can we be made responsible for something antecedent to all our conscious willing, for the moral scrofula in our blood, for the miasma of spiritual disease that lies around all life, and which every human soul is compelled to breathe. In seeking to answer this question, let us have the aid of an illustration drawn from our own national history.

This nation, until a few years ago, was guilty of the crime of slave-holding. It was a wrong forced upon us by past generations. Very few of us were personally participant in the slave-holding act. And yet what citizen could hold himself aloof from any responsibility for the national crime ? You and I may have held no slaves, we may have protested against the wicked thing, we may have been willing to do what we could for its overthrow ; but in spite of all this, because we were bound in the solidarity of the national life, because we were sharers in its common rights and privileges, we were participant in its common crime. And each and all of us were thus held guilty in the sight of God and our own quickened consciences.

And so it is, in no figurative, illustrative sense, but exactly and literally, in regard to the accumulated guilt of the world,

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the common original sin of mankind. Before any act of voluntary transgression, from the very hour that we became consciously participant in the privileges, the prerogatives, the reciprocal aids and social advantages of corporate humanity we became sharers in that vast accumulation of guilt which has been rolling up from the days of Adam to the present hour. There can indeed, as is so often glibly asserted, be no individual guilt without a free act of the individual will. But antecedent to all special volitions is our volition, our persistent, conscious predetermination to live - to preserve our self-hood amidst its human environment - to share the rights and privileges of common humanity. That predetermination is in fact the necessary ground of all special volitions, of all desires which reach beyond the merely physical cravings of infancy. And out of that original volition comes, as we have seen, our original sin, our personal responsibility for the common guilt of all mankind.

All this may seem a somewhat lengthy digression from our proper subject. But in reality it leads us to a comprehension of the sacrificial idea in its most primitive and essential form.

Our guilt, as we have seen, is something more than our responsibility for our special and occasional acts of transgression. It runs deeper, and filters through our whole nature. In the fulness of its meaning it is our participation in the common guilt of mankind brought about by our participation in the common life. Absolution from that guilt, then, can come only by withdrawal from the common life ; just as one could be absolved from the guilt of a slave-holding nation only by yielding up its citizenship, and placing himself under some other allegiance. In the place of the primary volition to share, there must come a volition to renounce a broken, contrite, self-surrendering movement of the whole soul. And in this spirit of withdrawal and renunciation, this yielding up of the inmost life, this self-surrendering movement of the soul, lies the very essence of that sacrificial idea which is enfolded more or less obscurely in the altar rites and scenes of all religions.

To prove this in regard to the Pagan religions, all of which



have their deepest meaning hidden under a debris of materialistic corruptions and popular superstitions, would be a work of long, patient investigation demanding far more space than can here be granted. We confine ourselves, therefore, to the religion of Judea, the study of which forms the indispensable in: troduction to our special theme. We have to show, then,

, that the essential, ever-present purpose of the Jewish sacrifice was to bring the soul into that yielding, withdrawal, and selfsurrender which is the only possible absolution for human guilt.

First of all, we note that the Jewish sacrifice was an offering of blood. “ Without shedding of blood there is no remission” is the first principle of the Israelitish cultus, and to evade its explicit meaning demands a more consummate ingenuity than we have yet seen employed upon the subject. So at the very out-start of the biblical history, the story of Cain and Abel proclaims the superiority of bloody offerings as one of the elementary truths of religion. But let us be careful to remember that Judaism never fell into the assumption that the mere bloody offering was, per se, pleasing to God, or would tend to soften His wrath. How indignantly the Prophets protest against the idea that there could be anything specially pleasing to God in the blood of the slain animal, or the smoke of its burning is a commonplace of biblical learning. But it is not so often noted that

· the same protest is enfolded in the first rites of the Jewish ceremonial itself. For, just as the people laid their hands upon the head of the Levite in order to make him their representative before God, so the worshipper laid his hands upon the head of the slain victim in order to make it his own representative, that thus the departing life of the victim might symbolize the soul's surrender of itself unto God. The blood and the smoke were by themselves nothing; they were valuable only as representative of the spiritual purpose of the worshipper. That laying on of hands was the very heart of the Jewish sacrifice. It spiritualized the whole transaction, and swept it clear of all unworthy meanings.

So, everywhere the Jewish sacrifice centres about this solemn suggestion of blood and death. At that climax of the Jewish cultus, the great day of atonement, everything turns upon the death of the High Priest, dying within the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people. It is not indeed a literal death; for, that would subvert the whole purpose of the Jewish sacrifice. It is not a mere physical change but a spiritual one, a complete transition of the soul from one state into another, that is demanded of him who seeks absolution for his guilt. And here seems a proper place to protest against what is just now a very popular misconception of the sacrificial idea. There is a common tendency to put upon the spiritual a pale and shadowy meaning, to regard it as a sort of poetic and figurative transformation of the natural. In this way Dr. Bushnell and others have founded the so-called moral theory of the atonement, wherein the spiritual sacrifice is conceived of as a feeling of sympathy which causes us to be pained at the sight of the distress of others, and to exert ourselves for its alleviation. But this poetic and figurative self-sacrifice is very far removed from our conception here of the soul's sacrifice and surrender of self. That is no state of moral activity, but one of pure passiveness. No outburst of moral energy can avail in that supreme, awful moment when the soul seeks absolution from its guilt. In that moment of the soul's sacrifice, it lies prostrate, passive; its natural energies are suspended ; it is stirred only by the sense of its own guilt; it is anxious only for the pardoning grace of God. And this state of pure passiveness, of dying unto the world and utter yielding of the spirit unto God is the sacrificial death which Judaism had in view in that crowning scene of its worship where the High Priest withdraws himself from the outer world into the thick darkness of the Holy of Holies, in order to die for the sins of the people.

We notice, in the second place, the exclusively ceremonial character of the offences which the Jewish sacrifice was designed to expiate. These ceremonial offences which assume such an immense, overshadowing importance in the Jewish as

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