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4. Elaboration of Dogma.
The theological conflicts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as they were fought out between the dialecticians and their opponents, do not belong to the history of dogma. This science has to confine itself to showing what position dogma asserted in connection with the revival and the crises of theology, what enrichments it received, and how far the Scholastic activity (or the theological systematising) already influenced it. As to the first of these questions, the statement may be quite brief: dogma, as it was fixed by the Councils, as it had been described by Augustine and Gregory I.,6767So far as there was at all a single authoritative book here, it was Augustine’s Enchiridion. But it is characteristic that Abelard, in his systematic work, already added the Sacraments to faith and love. was the presupposition of all theological thought, and was held inviolate. Isolated exceptions were without any importance. The dialectic experiments on dogma were always based on the traditional view of it. As regards the third question, an influence on dogma of Scholastic activity and systematic theology can already be pointed to in the twelfth century; but the influence was still so much in its beginnings that it is better to treat it first in connection with the thirteenth century.6868The doctrine of the sacraments is chiefly thought of here. And so there remains only the question as to the “enrichments.” Strictly speaking, this question also would have to be answered in the negative,6969Almost everything that Bach has set forth in the second volume of his work on the history of dogma in the Middle Ages, including the “history of Adoptianism in the twelfth century” and the “systematic polemic against the dialecticians” (p. 390 ff.; Gerhoch against the German Adoptians, p. 475 ff.), belongs simply to the history of theology, and has no significance for the history of dogma. were it not that in the Berengarian controversy a movement presents itself, in which a dogma that had still always been the subject of dispute, attained a relatively complete form, and had not Anselm set up a doctrine of satisfaction, which, indeed, was a product of purely private work, and found few adherents, too, in the period that followed, but which brought before the Church a dogmatic problem that was hitherto unsolved, nay, 46had scarcely ever been touched as yet, but which was not again to pass out of view. In what follows, therefore, we have to treat of these two movements.
A. The Berengarian Controversy.
Besides its dogmatic, this controversy7070Besides Lessing’s well-known work and Vischer, De sacra cœna adv. Lanfrancum lib. posterior, 1834; also the Acts of the Roman Council (Mansi XIX., p. 761 ff.), see Sudendorf, Berengarius, 1850; Schnitzer, Berengar v. Tours, sein Leben u. s. Lehre, 1890; Bach I., pp. 364-451; Reuter I., p. 91 ff., Dieckhoff, Die Abendmahlslehre im Reform.-Zeitalter I., p. 44 ff. has a philosophic7171Here, for the first time, the categories “subjectum,” “quod in subjecto,” “de subjecto,” the distinction of “esse” from “secundum quod esse,” in short, the dialectic manipulations of the notion of substance (according to Porphyry, Boethius, etc.) were applied to a dogma in the West. interest, and an interest also in connection with Church politics.7272The outward political side of the controversy has been thoroughly treated by Schwane (Studien zur Gesch. des 2. Abendmahlsstreits, 1887, see Loofs, Gött. Gel.-Anz., 1888, No. 15), who follows Sudendorf. On the antagonism to Berengar, see the accounts of Schnitzer, l.c. p. 246 ff. The last of these interests may be left quite out of view here; the second is closely connected with the first. From the place which the dogma of the Eucharist held in the theory and practice of the Church, the criticism of it was a criticism of the reigning Church doctrine as a whole. When the youthful science, represented and led by Berengar of Tours, began at this point, charged the accepted view with error, and applied the scientific doctrine of method to the dogma of the Eucharist, expression was given to the thought, that there may not be a resting satisfied with mere Church tradition, with what is held as valid to-day. But this thought was not expressed in the name of a negative “illuminism,”7373Reuter’s judgment is, I., p. 97: “Thus the second controversy on the Eucharist became what the first was not, a struggle as to the supreme criteria of religious truth, a conflict of the tendency of negative ‘illuminism,’ directly with the authoritative ecclesiasticism of the time, indirectly with the Christianity of positive revelation.” This is to me utterly unintelligible. Even the most deeply convinced Romish theologian will hesitate to endorse this opinion. but, on the contrary rather, that the true tradition of the Church might be delivered from the embraces of a bad routine, that the spirit of the doctrine 47might be protected against a coarse and superstitious realism, that the λογικὴ λατρεία (reasonable service) might be maintained against a barbarian craving for mysteries, and that the mystery of faith might not be profaned. But combined with this interest, which was by no means merely pretended, there was the pleasure in thinking, and the daring reliance on dialectics as on “reason” in general. As theologians, Berengar and his followers were Augustinians, but, at the same time, Berengar had an enjoyment in criticism as such, and a confidence in “science,” that were not Augustinian.
Berengar, Director of the Cathedral School in Tours, from about 1040 Archdeacon in Angers (ob. 1088), had instituted studies on the doctrine of the Eucharist, searched through the Church Fathers, occupied himself with the first Eucharist controversy, and rejected7474See on this Reuter I., p. 95, “Paschasius ineptus ille monachus Corbeiensis.” Berengar is correct in seeing contradictions in Paschasius. The book of Ratramnus was then regarded as a work of John Scotus, and was condemned as such at Vercelli in 1050. the doctrine of Paschasius, long before a controversy developed itself. In the doctrine as it prevailed at the time he saw apostacy from the Church Fathers and unreason; for he saw in it only the view, that after the consecration bread and wine have disappeared, and in place of them there exist the real flesh and blood of Christ in so sensibly palpable a form that they are present as pieces (portions) of His bloody body. He was right; so the widely prevailing superstition taught;7575The confession of faith which was forced upon him in 1059 (composed by Cardinal Humbert), also contained the coarse view. Even Bach I., p. 366, n. 4, declares the confession “at least objectionable.” In Lanfranc de corp. et sang. dom. 2 (Migne CL.) the words occur: “panem et vinum quæ in altari ponuntur post consecrationem non solum sacramentum sed etiam verum corpus et sanguinem J. Christi esse et sensualiter, non solum in sacramento sed et in veritate, manibus sacerdotum tractari et frangi et fidelium dentibus atteri.” The most characteristic thing is that those who were quite logical declared even the word “sacrament” to be unsatisfactory: “The Eucharist is the mystery (sacramentum) in which there is no mystery, but all takes place vere et sensualiter.” That is the fundamental thought of Berengar’s opponents. That this was a falling away from tradition stands beyond doubt. But the traditional theologians, as is well known, are most fanatical, when to the old beaten track which they call tradition, or to their fancies, which, from their lack of understanding, they surround with the halo of the venerable, there is opposed the truth that has the protection of the true tradition. yet 48Paschasius had certainly taken also a more spiritual view of the change, and among the authoritative churchmen of that period such a “conversion” was not taught by all the more prominent.7676The controversy is also so uninspiring, because, as usual, the opponents exaggerated. Berengar proceeded as if he had only the view against him that parts of the bloody body of Christ are chewed by the teeth, while his adversaries asserted that according to him the elements were empty symbols. He had at any rate more right on his side in his description; yet not only Fulbert (Bach I., p. 365), but some also who were later, did not think of a spatial extension of the body of Christ in the converted elements. By means of a letter to Lanfranc, Berengar himself opened the controversy.7777See Mansi T. XIX., p. 768. We have his doctrine fully stated for us for the first time in his work de sacra cœna. adv. Lanfrancum (ab. 1073; anything earlier is almost entirely lost). His leading idea was to introduce reason into the Church doctrine, or, more correctly, to bring to light by means of reason the reason that lies in the divine doctrines of the Church. Dialectics, the science which had always differentiated, is nowhere more in its proper place than where there is a question about two objects, which, in one respect, are one, and in another respect are different. Thus the two-nature doctrine is very peculiarly its province; and so also is the doctrine of the Eucharist, with its earthly elements and its heavenly gift.7878Of course the chief arguments of Berengar are derived from Scripture and tradition. To them he attaches decisive weight. The distinction that already prejudges everything, between the sensible, the visible, and the sacrament, the invisible — Berengar had made it the basis of his doctrine and the starting-point of his dialectic, as long as he could think — originates with Augustine. With the dialectic there mingle the beginnings of a more independent, a critical view of history. Yet Berengar meddles with no decree of any Council. Only, the decrees connected with his subject are ridiculed by him. Berengar showed that the doctrine of the bodily transmutation was absurd (“ineptia”), and went directly in the face of the old traditions, as well as of reason, which we must make use of as reasonable beings created in the image of God.7979See Vischer, p. 600: “maximi plane cordis est, per omnia ad dialecticam confugere, quia confugere ad eam ad rationem est confugere, quo qui non confugit, cum secundum rationem sit factus ad imaginem dei, suum honorem reliquit nec potest renovari de die in diem ad imaginem dei.” He accordingly adopted the standpoint of Scotus (Ratramnus), as he understood it. He taught that the words are to be understood tropically; but he held this interpretation 49with much greater firmness than his predecessor, and gave it an exclusiveness of which his predecessor had not thought; Christ is spoken of under many symbols, hence the bread is also a symbol;80801Berengar compares the description of Christ as a lion, lamb, corner-stone. Scripture teaches that, till His return, Christ remains in heaven;8181P. 199: “constabit, eum qui opinetur, Christi corpus cœlo devocatum adesse sensualiter in altari, ipsum se dejicere, quod vecordium est, dum confirmat se manu frangere, dente atterere Christi corpus, quod tamen ipsum negare non possit impossibile esse et incorruptibile.” a piece of bread is not capable of taking into itself the body born of the Virgin, and yet it is a question about the whole Christ;8282The last point was for Berengar of the greatest weight. He always regards his opponents as assuming that there are “portiunculæ” of the body of Christ on the altar, and objects to this, (1) that it is a question of the whole body (see pp. 148, 199 f.); (2) that the body of Christ is not something “corruptible,” which can be touched, broken, and bitten. Then, again, the bread is not capable of affording room for such a body, and then the “sensualiter” is above all objected to. The incorruptibility and uniqueness of the body of Christ are the presuppositions of his dialectic. A body so constituted cannot become sensible, and it cannot be at the same time in a thousand places. The expedient also of supposing a creating-anew of the body of Christ is effectively refuted by him; this would involve us in the thought of two bodies. a destruction of the subject (the elements) involves the destruction of all essential attributes of the elements, for concretely (in concreto) these cannot be distinguished from the subject itself (Nominalist tendency).8383Here Berengar emphasised the correct logical reflection, “quod in subjecto erat superesse quacunque ratione non potest corrupto subjecto” (p. 93), i.e., when the substance is destroyed, the essential attributes (taste, colour, form) cannot remain behind; or p. 59: “non potest res ulla aliquid esse, si desinat ipsum esse.” Even Protestant historians will take no account of such reasons. Yet the tropical view, as he did not stand by it, was not equivalent for Berengar to the symbolical. This latter view rather he explicitly rejected, in so far as he followed the old tradition, and recognised two things in the Eucharist, sign and sacrament. The elements become sacrament through consecration, and this implies that they now include something objectively holy. A “conversio” takes place; but for Berengar this expression has certainly an unusual sense.8484It most be assumed that it rests on accommodation; for although there answers to the sacrament a res sacramenti, which is created by the consecration, yet it is certainly not a question of transmutation. Nor did the old tradition furnish this term. In substance Berengar is a correct Augustinian; hence it is unnecessary to quote further passages. The proper expression for what Berengar means would be a divine “auctio” in the elements, and so also he has expressed himself, p. 98. On the other hand, it is said, p. 125: “per consecrationem altaris fiunt panis et vinum sacramenta religionis, non ut desinat esse quæ fuerant, sed ut sint quæ erant et in aliud commutentur.” It is meant to suggest that the 50 elements remain what they are, but at the same time become the body of Christ. They become in a certain respect something different, i.e., there is now added to the visible a second element, which is real, but invisible. The consecrated elements remain in one respect what they are, but in another respect they become the sacraments, i.e., as the visible, temporal, and mutable subjects, they become the guarantees (pignora, figuræ, signa) of the reception of the whole heavenly Christ by the believer. While the mouth therefore receives the “sacrament,” the truly genuine Christian receives by discernment (“in cognitione”), and into his heart that which the sacramental elements represent, namely, Christ as food, the power of the heavenly Christ. Hence the enjoyment and the effect of the Eucharist are spiritual: the inner man (so it depends on faith, in addition to the consecration) receives the true body of Christ, and appropriates the death of the crucified Christ through believing remembrance).8585“Christi corpus totum constat accipi ab interiore homine, fidelium corde, non ore” (p. 148). At the same time also a memorial feast: “spiritualis comestio, quæ fit in mente.”
Augustine would have had nothing to object to this doctrine of the Eucharist, even though some dialectic arguments and devices in it had surprised him. But the men of the period were shocked, both at the result, and partly also at the course of thought that led to this result. At Rome and Vercelli (1050), in Berengar’s absence, the doctrine was condemned, on the ground of the letter to Lanfranc. Nine years later, after it had become artificially mixed up in France with ecclesiastico-political questions, but had thereby become for the time more tolerable for Rome, and after its author had suffered much from slander and imprisonment, Berengar was compelled to subscribe at Rome, under Nicolas II., a formula of faith, which made it clear that his worst fears with regard to the tyranny of superstition in the Church were not exaggerated.8686v. above p. 47, note 2. Having returned to France, he kept in retirement at first; but subsequently he 51could have no rest. He came to the front again with his doctrine, for which he had influential supporters in Rome itself, and a new, heated literary controversy was the result. During its course the most important writings on both sides were produced. Gregory VII. treated the controversy in a dilatory way, and with much indulgence towards Berengar, who was personally known to him: in all ages Rome has been clever enough not to be hasty in making heretics, and a Pope who, in ruling the world, must so often wink at things, knows also how to exercise patience and forbearance, especially when personal sympathy is not wanting.8787On the interesting relation of Berengar to the Curia and Gregory VII., see Reuter I., p. 116 ff., 120 ff. But in the end Gregory was compelled, in order not to shake his own authority, to force Berengar, at the Synod of 1079, to recognise the transmutation doctrine.8888The formula (in Lanfranc, c. 2) was milder than that of 1059, but yet sufficiently plain: “Ego Berengarius corde credo et ore confiteor panem et vinum quæ ponuntur in altari per mysterium sacræ orationis et verba nostri redemptoris substantialiter converta in veram et propriam et vivicatricem carnem et sanguinem J. Christi et post consecrationem esse verum corpus Christi, quod natum est de virgine . . .et quod sedet ad dexteram patris . . .non tantum per signum et virtutem sacramenti sed in proprietate naturæ et veritate substantiæ.” For a second time Berengar outwardly submitted; the Pope was satisfied with the form; but with this the cause which the broken scholar represented became lost.
The transmutation theory of Paschasius — the term transubstantiation was apparently first used casually by Hildebert of Tours (beginning of twelfth century) in his 93rd Sermon (Migne CLXXI., p. 776), and therefore already existed8989In his two treatises (of date 1157) against the followers of Soterichos, in whose opinion the mass was not offered to the Son, but only to the Father and Spirit, Nicolas of Methone used the expression μεταστοιχείωσις, see Hefele V.2, p. 568. These treatises were published by Dimitracopulos in the year 1865 (see Reusch, Theol. Lit.-Blatt, 1866, No. 11). — was further developed by the opponents of Berengar.9090 Yet everything acquired settled form only in the thirteenth century: the questions resulting from the new doctrine are innumerable. First, the mystery was conceived of still more sensuously, at least by some (manducatio infidelium);9191Lanfranc, 1.c. c. 20: even sinners and the unworthy receive the true body of Christ. Only in this respect did Lanfranc develop the doctrine beyond Paschasius. secondly, there was a beginning, 52though with caution, to apply to dogma the “science” that was discredited in the opponent. The crude conceptions (which embraced the total conversion) were put aside, and an attempt was made to unite the older deliverances of tradition with the new transmutation doctrine, as also to adapt the Augustinian terminology, by means of dialectic distinctions, to the still coarsely realistic view of the object.9292There was an aiming above all at recognising the whole Christ as present in the host, at reconciling the Augustinian, as well as the older rich and manifold conception of the Eucharist as a whole, with the transmutation doctrine, at rationalising the relation of element to verum corpus Christi by dialectic distinctions of accident and substance, at reconciling the presence of Christ in heaven with the sacramental presence, and at not forgetting, too, in these speculations the Church as corpus Christi. Note here as specially important the treatise de corp. et sang. Christi veritate in eucharistia, by Guitmund of Aversa (Migne CXLIX.), who certainly learned from Berengar. For the theories of other opponents of Berengar (Lanfranc, Adelmann of Brixen, Hugo of Langres, Durandus of Troaune, Alger of Lüttich, Abelard [he taught differently from Berengar, see Deutsch, l.c. pp. 401 f., 405 ff.], Walter of St. Victor, Honorius of Autun, etc.), see in Bach p. 382 ff. On the German theologians who occupied themselves with the doctrine of the Eucharist, see ibid., p. 399 ff. (the Reichersberg theologians, Gerhoch, Rupert of Deutz; in the last named there is a peculiar, spiritualistic consubstantiation doctrine). Guitmund attributed the whole Christ to every particle, and thereby led on to the new view, first expressed by Anselm, that the whole Christ is container) in one form (ep. IV., 107); “in acceptione sanguinis totum Christum deum et hominem et in acceptione corporis similiter totem accipimus.” In this the dogmatic basis was laid for withholding the cup, which afterwards became the rule. There is interest connected with the timid attempts that were made to teach also a “certain” incorruptibility of the accidents of the converted substances (these terms are now used even by the orthodox). Yet appearance witnessed against this assumption, and there was not yet resolution enough to adopt the doctrine that even here the empirical misleads. That Lutheran theologians take sides with Berengar’s opponents (Thomasius-Seeberg, p. 48: “really religious position as opposed to the rationalising misinterpretation of this man,” cf. Reuter), although their final argument was the omnipotence of God, belongs to the peculiarities of the Romantic theology of the nineteenth century. Thomasius (p. 49) is specially delighted with the timid anticipations of the doctrine of the ubiquity of the substance of the body of the heavenly Christ in Alger (de sacram. corp. et sang. domini I., 11-16), whereby the difficulties which attach to the idea of the creatio of the Eucharistic body are to be set aside (Bach. I., p. 389 ff.): “Christ can be corporeally present wherever he wills.” For the rest (see Lanfranc), there was as yet no more declared than that with the body exalted to the right hand of God the Eucharistic body is identical, and yet not identical. How necessary here, therefore, was the so much despised dialectic of Berengar! The struggle of Berengar, therefore, did not continue altogether without fruit; but the fruit consisted essentially in this, that science was left quite free, 53because it was gradually seen that in face of the gravity of the problems the simplicity of faith was powerless. At the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) the mediæval doctrine of the Supper was solemnly framed as dogma in the famous confession of faith, which, previous to the Tridentine confession, was the most influential symbol (after the Niceno-Constantinopolitan; see Mansi XXII., p. 982; Hefele V.2, p. 878 ff.; and the Corpus juris canonici, where the topic finds a place under X. I: de summa trinitate [I. 1]). What is important here is (1) that the doctrine of the Eucharist is immediately attached to the confession of the Trinity and Incarnation. In this way it is represented even in the symbol as having a most intimate relation to these doctrines, as, indeed, forming with them a unity; i.e., the state of things was now created that was disastrous even for the history of the Reformation: the real presence obtained the same value as the Trinity and the two-nature doctrine, so that every one was regarded as an ecclesiastical anarchist who called it in question. This valuation certainly corresponds with the development of the doctrine of the Eucharist, inasmuch as the Eucharist appears as the continuously present, earthly incorporation of the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation, but it robs the Gospel of its spiritual character. (2) Transubstantiation was now expressly taught; the words run: “moreover there is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one whatever can be saved, in which Jesus Christ is at once priest and sacrifice, whose body and blood are truly (veraciter) contained in the sacrifice of the altar under the appearances of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood by divine power, so that for the effecting of the mystery of unity (ad perficiendum mysterium unitatis) we receive of His what He received of ours (here the conjunction with the Christology is manifest). And this sacrament especially (hoc utique sacramentum) no one can administer but the priest who has been duly ordained according to the Church authority (secundum claves ecclesiæ) which Jesus Christ Himself gave to the Apostles and their successors.” The symbol then immediately continues: “But the sacrament of baptism, which is consecrated in water on invoking the undivided Trinity, avails for salvation both to 54infants and adults, by whomsoever it is duly administered in the forms of the Church (in forma ecclesiæ). And if after receiving baptism any one shall have fallen into sin, he can always be restored (reparari) through true penitence.” Thus this line of development also is completed, and at the same time the related one (see Vol. V., p. 325), according to which every Christian must make confession of his sins before the parish priest (parochus). It is laid down in the twenty-first chapter: “Every believer, of either sex, after arriving at the years of discretion, must by himself (solus) faithfully confess all his sins, at least once a year, to his own priest, and must study to carry out to the best of his ability the repentance enjoined upon him, receiving reverently, at least at Easter, the sacrament of the Eucharist.” The novelty in the symbol — the direct attachment of the Eucharist dogma to the Trinity and Christology — is the most distinctive and boldest act of the Middle Ages. Compared with this immense innovation, the addition of the “filioque” weighs very lightly. But on the other hand, the symbol certainly shows also very plainly how the old dogmatic tradition still dominated everything, for it contains nothing of the specific Augustinian-Western propositions about sin, original sin, grace, and justification. “Dogma,” in the strict sense of the word, consists of the Trinity, Christology, the doctrine of the Eucharist, the doctrine of Baptism, and of the Sacrament of Penance. All else is at the most dogma of the second order. This state of things also was of the greatest weight for the history of the Reformation; the doctrines of the Trinity, of Christ and of the Sacraments (i.e., the doctrine of the three Sacraments, Baptism, Penance, Eucharist) constitute Catholic Christianity — nothing else.
B. Anselm’s Doctrine of Satisfaction, and the Doctrines of Atonement of the Theologians of the Twelfth Century.9393See Baur, Lehre von der Versöhnung; Hasse, Anselm, 1853; Ritschl, Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung 2 Aufl. I., p. 31 ff.
Ever since the days when an attempt was made to punish, without decimating the Church, the great apostasy occasioned by the Decian persecution, the positions were held as valid, that 55God’s mercy is unlimited, even as regards the baptised, but that only a satisfactio, consisting of legitimate penance (pœnitentia legitima), can move the offended God to regard the sinner again with favour. Since that time these ideas had obtained the widest circulation,9494See the confidence in the unlimited mercy of God on the part of the Carlovingian theologians, especially Alcuin (Hauck, K.-Deutschlands II., p. 136 f.). united themselves at a later period with Germanic ideas, and dominated the whole penitential system of the Church.9595See Vol. V., p. 323 ff. Connected with this system stood the conception of “merits,” i.e., of such supererogatory acts as establish a claim to reward, when no guilt exists to be expiated. Through this idea a calculation of the value of particular deeds was introduced, and of these calculations the whole ethical system was full. Whether an act was obligatory, or abundans, or superabundans, whether, under given circumstances, it was compensatory (satisfactory), or meritorious, had to be established in each particular case, so that each one might know how his account stood with heaven. The Augustinian conception of prevenient grace freely bestowed (gratia gratis data præveniens), which had been generally accepted, wrought no change on this view, but only made it more complicated.
Yet neither by Gregory the Great, nor by any theologian of the Carlovingian period, was this view applied to the work of Christ. Frequent reference, it is true, was already made to the “copiousness of the value of the mystery of the passion” (pretü copiositas mysterii passionis; see the fourth chapter of the Synod of Chiersey); but a theory had not been framed, because there was no reflection at all on the nature, the specific worth, and the effect of the redemption contained in the suffering and death of Christ. The Fathers, Augustine included, had handed down nothing certain on this. The only view taken by the Greeks was that the reign of death was broken by the cross and resurrection of Christ, or that mankind were thereby bought off, or cunningly wrested, from the devil. All that they said of the sacrifice in the suffering was quite vague. Only Athanasius spoke with noteworthy clearness of the penal suffering which Christ took from us and laid upon Himself. But, from the days 56of Paul, all of them testified that Christ died for us, and delivered us from the power of the devil. That was felt and proclaimed as the great act of redemption. Ambrose and Augustine had then emphasised the position that Christ is Mediator as man, and had given many instructions about particular points; but the question why that Man, who was at the same time God, was obliged to suffer and die, was dealt with by pointing to His example, or by reciting biblical texts about ransom, sacrifice, and such like, without the necessity of the death here coming clearly to view.9696The necessity resulted, no doubt, when the right of the devil over mankind was thought of. Beyond this, it may be said that we have in one respect an anticipation of the Anselmic representation in the sermon composed about 500 by a contemporary of Faustus of Reji: Why Christ redeemed mankind from the power of the devil, not through the use of His divine might, but by becoming man, fulfilling the law, suffering and dying. (Caspari, Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten, 1890, pp. 202 ff. 411 ff.). The whole view of redemption, it is true, is still given here under the scheme of redemption from the devil, but the mode of redemption is dominated by the thought that “deus est rationis atque justitiæ et auctor et exactor.” Something similar is also to be found in some homilies of Faustus (see Caspari, 1.c. p. 418 ff.). But Augustine certainly had laid the foundation for a new and vigorous apprehension of the significance of Christ’s work, by emphasising so strongly the gravity of sin, and by representing the relation between God and man under the scheme of sin and grace.
At this point Anselm came in. The importance of his doctrine of satisfaction, as developed in Book H. of his “Cur deus homo,”9797Edit. II., by Fritzsche, 1886. composed as a dialogue, lies in this, that he made use of all the factors of the Augustinian theology, so far as they came into consideration here, but that at the same time he was the first of all to frame a theory, both of the necessity of the appearing of the God-man, and of the necessity of His death. This he did by making the principles of the practice of penance the fundamental scheme of religion in general.9898Cremer (die Wurzeln des Anselm’schen Satisfactionsbegriff, in den Stud. und Krit. 1880, p. 7 ff.) has endeavoured to show that the fundamental thesis of Anselm’s satisfaction theory (I. 13: “necesse est, ut aut ablatus honor solvatur aut pœna sequatur.Edit. II., by Fritzsche, 1886. I. 15: “necesse est, ut omne peccatum satisfactio aut pœna sequatur”) is of Germanic origin. The correspondence is no doubt easily proved, but the Roman law also knows of this alternative in the case of private offences, and there can be no doubt that the Church, in its ordinances of penance, had acted on the principle, “aut pœnitentia legitima (satisfactio congrua) aut mors acterna,” long ere it learned to know Germanic law. In Tertullian, certainly, there still prevails another idea, when (de pudic. 2) he says: “omne delictum aut venia dispungit aut pœna”; but the fatal turn of thought is already anticipated, when he forthwith adds: “venia ex castigatione, pœna ex damnatione.” — Thus I had written in the first edition; since then, Cremer has again described his standpoint in the Stud. u. Krit., 1893 (pp. 316-345). I must adhere to the position that it is not necessary for understanding Anselm to have recourse to the Germanic notion of satisfaction, since the material in hand, of which we have to take account, is quite sufficiently given in the prevailing practice and theory of penance. These go back in the West to the time of Cyprian, or say of Tertullian (see Wirth, Der Verdienstbegriff bei Tertullian, 1892; see also Tertullian’s notion of “compensatio,” cf. Apolog. 50: “veniam dei compensatione sanguinis expedire”), and developed themselves everywhere in the same way. It may be enough to point to Sulpitius Severus (Dial. II. 10), who was certainly not affected by Germanic influence: “fornicatio deputatur ad pœnam, nisi satisfactione purgatur.” That is surely clearly enough the Anselmic scheme. (See other passages in Karl Müller, Abhandl. f. Weizsäcker, 1892, p. 290 f.: God is satisfied with a lesser performance; this appears sometimes as mutatio of, sometimes as compensatio for, the eternal penalty.) Nor is it advisable here, or in Tertullian, to speak of “compensating penalty” (“Ersatzstrafe”) as distinct from “compensation for injury” (“Schadenersatz”), for these notions cannot at all be strictly kept apart everywhere. “The sacrifices that are well-pleasing to God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.” From this passage and similar ones, from the consensus gentium also, which may very well be appealed to here, and finally from the rule, well-known even to the Romans, as to every other nation, that private injuries are cancelled by indemnifications which restore to the injured party his honour, it is quite sufficiently explained, how in the gemitus, lamentationes, humiliationes, etc., there should both be recognised mortificationes temporales, and also something seen which changes the feeling of the angry God and makes Him again gracious. That is compensation for injury as regards the honour of God (because voluntary self-humiliation), for in the normal relationship one is not obliged in such a way to testify his subjection (therefore it is also a “merit” — i.e., something which God gladly sees and prizes — when in this condition one nevertheless offers those performances, and under certain circumstances a saint can also offer them for a sinner). But it can also be described as compensating penalty, for the satisfaction, it is true, and even the Anselmic is no exception, is in no sense endurance of deserved penalty, but it is a performance, which to the performer is painful and arduous. In Roman public law the pœna is certainly the satisfactio — that has not been disputed — but, so far as I know, in the penitential discipline of the ancient Church the satisfactio was never thought of purely in the forms of Roman law (against Cremer, p. 316), but was always the evasion of penalty by acts which were at once (as castigatio) compensating penalties and (as surplus exercise of lowly submission to God) compensations for injury. It may be that to the man of the ancient world the compensating penalty was more distinctly present than the compensation for injury, although all public penal procedure has developed itself from compensating performances, and the consciousness of this has never disappeared (even “pœna” is originally “ransom”). But when Cremer asserts: “The term and conception ‘penance’ (Busse), in the penal law and current language of the Romish Church, springs from the satisfactio of German law,” that is an error which prejudices all his further exposition (see also Loots, Dogmengesch.3, p. 273 f.). At the same time it may be held by way of reservation that the transfusion of the penance discipline of the Church with Germanic ideas strengthened the theory, and gave a casuistic tinge and externality to the practice (Weregild, instead of, and in addition to, cor humiliatum and lamentationes). So also the peculiar expression Anselm gives to the notion “honour” of God is perhaps due to Germanic influence, although one must look very closely to discover a shade of difference on this point between Anselm’s God and the injured and wrathful God of Tertullian. Why then (according to Tertullian) is God injured by sins? Because the obedience is withheld which is due to His commands. When Cremer asserts (p. 329) that in the ancient penance discipline, the satisfactio congrua (“congrua” — that is, determined by the penance regulations; the expression can be pointed out already in the fourth century) was as much penalty as the mors æterna, that is certainly a wonderful statement. When, finally (p. 326), he throws on me the burden of proving that the Roman law, in the case of private injuries, recognises the alternative: “aut pœna aut satisfactio,” I grant that I expressed myself too strongly, and in a way not incapable of being misunderstood. The law, so far as it was publicly administered and codified, may no longer recognise this principle; but a jurist like Tertullian shows that the scheme must have been a familiar one, and how can we think of the settlement of private wrongs at all otherwise than by supposing that a satisfactio is rendered to the injured? The “necessity” 57was understood by Anselm in the sense of the strictest reasonableness, i.e., his aim is to show that even if we knew nothing of Christ, and such an One had never existed, reason would have 58to confess that men can only be saved if a God-man appears and dies for them.100100 Augustine already propounded the question of the absolute necessity of redemption by means of the incarnation and death of the Logos, but answered it in the negative. He saw in this means not the only, though certainly the worthiest, way. Jews and pagans must be constrained to acknowledge this necessity. They, and unbelieving Christians, must see that it is unreason to assert that God could also have redeemed us by another person (whether man or angel), or that He could have redeemed us by a mere determination of His will;101101 I. 1. they must perceive that the mercy of God does not suffer wrong through the death on the cross, and that it is not unworthy of God that Christ should have stooped to abasement and taken upon Himself the uttermost suffering. No doubt it holds good that we first believe and then see.102102 “I. 2: Sicut rectus ordo exigit, ut profunda christianæ fidei prius credamus, quam ea præsumamus ratione discutere.” But though the attempt may fail — faith, of course, would remain unshaken — we 59must advance to the knowledge of what we believe, and in this case a perfect reasonable knowledge is possible.
At the outset Anselm rejects three ideas, one as insufficient, the others as erroneous. It is not sufficient to justify redemption through the death on the cross by emphasising the “conveniens,” i.e., the correspondence of the person and work of Christ with the person and fall of Adam; that is an asthetic view, which is correct, but which proves nothing until the “necessarium” is established.103103I. 3, 4: “. . .Multa alia, quæ studiose considerata inenarrabilem quandam nostræ redemptionis hoc modo procuratæ pulchritudinem (see Augustine) ostendunt . . .sed si non est aliquid solidum super quod sedeant, non videntur infidelibus sufficere.” It is erroneous to think that a man could have redeemed us; for we should then become the servants of him who should have delivered us from eternal death. But in that way our original dignity would not be restored, in virtue of which we were like the angels and servants of God alone.104104I. 5, It is erroneous, finally, to think that by redemption legal claims of the devil upon us had to be wiped out; for although by reason of our sins we have justly come under the devil’s power, yet the devil does not rule justly, but rather unjustly. He has obtained no claim upon us, and over against God he has absolutely no right.105105I. 6, 7. Before Anselm begins his process of proof, he further endeavours — the arrangement is extremely unskilful — to refute the objection that the suffering and death of a God-man, just because he is man, are without effect, because every man is bound to be obedient unto death. He rejects this view, which is only apparently supported by passages of Scripture that teach that the death of Christ was obligatory, because it was fulfilment of the divine will; a sinless man, rather — and the God-man was such — was only under obligation to observe justitia and veritas (righteousness and truth), but not to die, for death follows only upon sin.106106I. 8-10. In the 2nd Book this decisive point is repeatedly treated very fully in c. 10, 11 and 16, 18. Having now cleared the path for himself, he goes on to put the question thus: Assuming that we knew nothing whatever of the God‑man 60man and His action, what must take place, if men, who are created for blessedness in the world beyond, but who can attain to this blessedness only as sinless, have all become sinners? The most natural answer is (for it has already been said in I. 4, that it would not become God not to carry out His plan): sins must be forgiven. But how must that be done? What is foriveness of sin? What range has it? In order to answer this question, we must first ask, What is sin? With this the development begins.107107In the course of it (I. 16-18) the Augustinian theologoumenon, that the men destined to salvation take the place of the fallen angels, fills a large space. But it is in no way connected with the doctrine of satisfaction. Anselm differs from Augustine in this, that he thinks that the number of saved men is greater than that of the fallen angels; from the beginning God had in view the numerus beatorum as consisting of angels and men. Otherwise the creation of men would be simply a consequence of the fall among the angels, and there would result the inconveniens that we men should have to rejoice over this fall. This correction of the Augustinian doctrine does all honour to Anselm’s heart; but as the doctrine has its point in the equally great number of the fallen angels and saved men, it is really cancelled by Anselm. Yet he was himself not quite sure of his case. See I. 18, p. 37.
Every rational creature owes to God entire subjection to His will. That is the only honour which God demands. He who pays it is righteous; he who pays it not, sins; sin, indeed, is nothing else than the dishonouring of God by withholding from Him His own.108108I. 11: “non est aliud peccare quam non reddere deo debitum . . . debitum est subjectum esse voluntate deo . . .hæc est justitia sive rectitudo voluntatis, quæ justos facit sive rectos corde, i.e., voluntate, hic est solus et totus honor quem debemus deo . . .hunc honorem debitum qui deo non reddit, aufert deo quod suum est et deum exhonorat, et hoc est peccare.” This robbery God cannot tolerate; He must defend His honour. He must therefore demand that man restore it to Him, and, indeed, “for the insult inflicted, that he restore more than he took away”; otherwise he continues “in culpa” (under guilt).109109I. II: “non sufficit solummodo reddere quod ablatum est, sed pro contumelia illata plus debet reddere, quam abstulit, sicut enim qui lædit salutem alterius, non sufficit si salutem restituit, nisi pro illata doloris injuria recompenset aliquid, ita qui honorem alicujus violat, non sufficit honorem reddere, si non secundum exhonorationis factam molestiam aliquid, quod placeat illi quem exhonoravit, restituit. Hoc quoque attendendum, quod cum aliquis quod injuste abstulit solvit, hoc debet dare, quod ab illo non posset exigi, si alienum non rapuisset.” Every sinner, therefore, must furnish a satisfaction.110110I. 11 fin. God cannot dispense with this; for that would 61be equivalent to the impunity of sin, and would violate the divine honour. But the impunity of sin would be equivalent to God’s ceasing to be the controller of sin (ordinator peccatorum); He would let something disorderly pass in His kingdom (“aliquid inordinatum in suo regno dimittere.”) Right and wrong also would then become the same; the latter, indeed, would have the advantage, because, as unrepented of and unpunished, it would be subject to no law. No doubt we men are enjoined simply to forgive those who sin against us. But that is said to us, that we may not encroach upon the prerogative of God: “for it belongs to no one but Him to take vengeance.” Nor may we appeal against this to the omnipotence and goodness of God, and say that all that God does is good, even when He simply forgives sin therefore; for God’s power and goodness are determined by His will (“it is not to be so understood that if God wills something improper [inconveniens], it is right because He wills it; for it does not follow that if God wills to lie, it is right to lie”); hence, as God wills to do nothing wrong or disorderly (inordinate), the absolving without penalty of a sinner who does not restore to Him what he has robbed Him of, is not within the scope of the freedom or the goodness or the will of God.111111I. 12. The supreme righteousness, therefore, which is nothing else than God Himself, requires restitution or — this turn of thought appears first here — penalty.112112I. 13, see above, p. 56, note 3. Even the latter, that is to say, as deprivation of salvation (damnation), restores the divine honour, in as much as by it “man unwillingly pays back of his own what he took away .. . as man by sinning seized what is God’s, so God by punishing takes away what is man’s.”113113I. 14: “deum impossibile est honorem suum perdere: aut enim peccator sponte solvit quod debet aut deus ab invito accipit.” Even by penalty the beauty and order of the universe are maintained, which must never be shaken (of the honour of God in itself it holds good that it cannot be shaken; “for to Himself He is the incorruptible and in no way mutable honour. . . . No one can honour or dishonour God so far as He is in Himself.”)114114I. 15. But it is “extremely 62alien to God “that He should abandon His costliest work, the rational creature (creatura rationabilis), to complete ruin.115115In II. 4, it is said indeed (cf. I. 4): “Si nihil pretiosius agnoscimr deus fecisse quam rationalem naturam ad gaudendum de se, valde alienum est ab eo, ut ullam rationalem naturam penitus perire sinat.” I. 25, p. 52. But as, on the other hand, He cannot associate sinful men with the holy angels, satisfaction must come in (“hold this most firmly, because without satisfaction, i.e., without spontaneous payment of the debt, God cannot allow sin to pass with impunity”).116116I. 19. The objection that we are directed to pray to God for forgiveness, which would surely be unmeaning if only satisfaction were of any avail, is met by saying that the prayer for forgiveness is itself a part of the satisfaction.117117I. 19: The Interlocutor says: “Quid est, quod dicimus deo: dimitte nobis debita nostra, et omnis gens orat deum quem credit, ut dimittat sibi peccata? Si enim solvimus quod debemus, cur oramus ut dimittat? Numquid deus injustus est, ut iterum exigat quod solutum est? Si autem non solvimus, cur frustra oramus, ut faciat quod, quia non convenit, facere non potest?” To this Anselm replies: “Qui non solvit, frustra dicit: dimitte; qui autem solvit, supplicat, quoniam hoc ipsum pertinet ad solutionem ut supplicet; nam deus nulli quicquam debet, sed omnis creatura illi debet; et ideo non expedit homini, ut agat cum deo, quemadmodum par cum pari.” Unfortunately Anselm has forgotten this last thought in his exposition elsewhere. Now the satisfaction is subject to the twofold rule, that it must be, first, restitution, and secondly, smart-money (Schmerzensgeld).118118See above, p. 60, note 3. But what can man give to God which he was not already required to give Him in any case, since entire surrender is included in obligatory obedience? “If I owe Him myself and all I can do — even when I sin not, that I do not sin (so there is no thought here of supererogatory deeds), I have nothing that I can render back (reddam) for my sin.” The objection: “if I consider reasons (rationes), I do not see how I can be saved, but if I fall back upon my faith, then in Christian faith which worketh by love [hope that my salvation is possible,” is repelled; for here it is just a question of reason.119119 I. 20. Man can therefore do nothing. And how much he would have to do! “Thou hast not yet considered of what gravity thy sin is.” Even the smallest disobedience entails an infinite guilt (even to gain the whole world one may not commit 63the smallest sin) for the guilt is to be measured by the God who is despised.120120See the exposition in I. 21. Because every sin is committed contra voluntatem dei, it is greater than the value of the world — infinitely great. Further (I. 22), because man in paradise preferred the devil to God, it is “contra honorem dei, ut homo reconcilietur illi cum calumnia hujus contumeliæ deo irrogatæ, nisi prius honoraverit deum vincendo diabolum, sicut inhonoravit ilium victus a diabolo.” But how can he do that? Man has therefore to furnish an infinitely great satisfaction, since it is already an established rule, that God’s honour does not permit of man’s receiving salvation, “if he does not restore to God all he has taken from Rim, so that as God has lost by him, He may also recover by him.”121121I. 23. The incapacity of human nature to furnish satisfaction can make no change on this law, which follows from the honour of God122122I. 24. So therefore there remains only one solution, if the “convenientia” (the befitting) requires redemption123123I. 4, and the strongest passage, I. 25: “Si deo inconveniens est, hominem cum aliqua macula perducere ad hoc, ad quod ilium sine omni macula facit, ne aut boni incepti pænitere aut propositum implere non posse videatur: multo magis propter eandem inconvenientiam impossibile est nullum hominem ad hoc provehi, ad quo factus est.” In II. 4, 5, it is said, indeed, that while God “nihil facit necessitate, quia nullo modo cogitur aut prohibetur facere aliquid,” yet an inner self-willed necessity exists for God’s carrying out His work: “necesse est, ut bonitas dei propter immutabilitatem suam perficiat de homine quod incepit, quamvis totum sit gratia bonum quod facit.” — namely, the God-man. There must be someone “who shall pay to God for the sin of man something greater than all that is, apart from God . . .it is necessary, therefore, that he who shall be able to give of his own to God something that shall surpass all that is under God, shall be greater than all that is not God . . .but there is nothing above all that is not God, save God. . .No one, therefore, is able to make this satisfaction save God.” Again, “nor must that satisfaction be made by anyone save man, otherwise man does not satisfy.” Conclusion: “If, therefore, as is certain (sicut constat), it is necessary that that heavenly State be made perfect from men, and this cannot be unless there is made the aforesaid satisfaction, which no one can make save God, and no one owes save man, it is necessary that the God-man shall make it.”124124II. 6.64
This God-man must possess the two natures unchanged (otherwise he would be either only God or only man), unmingled, too (otherwise he would be neither God nor man), but also unseparated (otherwise no work having unity is effected); therefore he must possess them “entire in one person” (integras in una persona).125125II. 7. The God must have derived the human nature from Adam and Eve, but from a virgin,126126II. 8: The former, because the descendants of Adam must make satisfaction; the latter, because of the four ways in which God can create man (from man and woman [the rule], neither from man nor woman [Adam], from man alone [Eve], from woman alone), the fourth had not yet occurred. But that it must he a virgin, if it was to be a woman, “non opus est disputare.” Here is a piece of Schoiasticsm in the strictest sense of the term, and this kind of proof is continued in the following chapter, where it is shown that it had to be the second person of the Trinity who became man, because otherwise the predicates in the Trinity would have been destroyed, and for other equally cogent reasons (“duo nepotes essent in trinitate, quia, si pater incarnatus esset, esset nepos parentum virginis per hominem assumptum, et verbum cum nihil habeat de homine, nepos tamen esset virginis, quia filii ejus erit filius” II. 9). Here, besides, there is a working everywhere with “mundius,” “honestius,” in short, with relative notions. and he must as man have surrendered this nature to death voluntarily. His dying was really free, for he was sinless.127127The prolix demonstration here in II. 10, 11 and 16 ff. shows that Anselm did not understand how to make this point quite “rational.” If the supposed God-man now surrenders his life voluntarily to God, the satisfaction sought for is obtained. It must be his life; for only this he is not under obligation to offer to God; all that he could give of his own, it behoved him in some way or other to offer to God. “Let us see if, perhaps, this giving of his life, or parting with his soul, or surrender of himself to death, is for the honour of God. For God will not require it from him as a debt, because, as there shall be no sin in him, he shall not owe it to die . . .if man has had a sweet experience in sinning, is it not fitting that he should have a hard experience in satisfying? And if he has been so easily prevailed upon by the devil to dishonour God by sinning that nothing could be easier, is it not just that, in satisfying for sin, he should overcome the devil to the honour of God with a measure of difficulty that could not be exceeded? Is it not becoming (dignum) that as he who by sinning so denied himself to God that he could not deny himself 65in a greater degree, should by satisfying so give himself to God that he could not give himself in a greater degree? . . .But there is nothing harder or more difficult that a man can suffer for the honour of God spontaneously and not of debt than death, and in no way can man give himself more fully to God than when he surrenders himself to death for His honour.” Hence the man sought for must be one who does not die “of necessity,” because he is almighty, nor “of debt,” because he is sinless, who therefore can die “of free choice because it will be necessary” (ex libera voluntate quia necessarium erit.)128128II. 11. In II. 12, 13 further allied questions are discussed. The God-man was not “miser,” although he took the incommoda on himself; he was omniscient, because otherwise he would not have been perfectly good (!). The worth of such a life as a satisfaction is infinite. Because the smallest violation of this life has an infinitely negative worth, the voluntary surrender of it has an infinitely positive worth. Because sins are as hate-worthy as they are bad, so that life also is as love-worthy as it is good. Hence the acceptance of the death (acceptio mortis) of such a God-man is an infinite good for God (!), which far surpasses the loss by sin.129129II. 14: “Si omne bonum tam bonum est, quam mala est ejus destructio (!), plus est bonum incomparabiliter quam sint ea peccata mala, quæ sine æstimatione superat ejus interremptio . . .tantum bonum tam amabile potest sufficere ad solvendum quod debetur pro peccatis totius mundi, immo plus potest in infinitum (II. 17 fin.: plus in infinitum. II. 20: “pretium majus omni debito”) . . .si ergo dare vitam est mortem accipere (!), sicut datio hujus vitæ prævalet omnibus hominum peccatis, ita et acceptio mortis.” The question is next discussed, whether the death of Christ can be of advantage even to His enemies who crucified Him (II. 15: the question is answered affirmatively; for they acted in ignorance), then how Christ could be sinless (II. 16), for although He was conceived “absque carnalis delectationis peccato” — the sexual appetite is, after Augustine, original sin — yet Mary was not sinless. This question is discussed with much prolixity. Anselm was apparently at a loss for a rational solution. In the end, though with uncertainty, he offers the explanation, that in prospect of the future effect of the work of Christ, Mary was purified from her sins before her birth, i.e., God purified her. After this the question of the voluntariness of the death of Christ is again discussed; for if Mary was only purified in view of His death, while He needed a purified mother, it was necessary that He should die. This question again occupies a very large space, and is only solved by a subtle dialectic, which in the end cannot do without the support of the proposition, “ad hoc valuit in Christo diversitas naturarum . . .ut quod opus erat fieri ad hominum restaurationem si humana non posset natura, faceret divina, et si divinæ minime conveniret, exhiberet humana” (II. 17, p. 85). But the giving of life (datio vitæ) 66can only have taken place “to the honour of God;” for another spirit and purpose cannot be discovered. To this there is to be added, no doubt, the further design of setting us an example, so that by no sufferings we might let ourselves be drawn aside from the righteousness which is due to God. Others, it is true, have given us such an example; but his is the most powerful, for he suffered without being obliged to suffer.130130This thought is dropped into the course of the discussion, II. 18. Once again it is asked, by way of objection, whether he was not really obliged, because the creature “owes all to God, what he is, and what he knows, and what he can do.” As the answer, there suddenly appears the doctrine of surplus merit. When God leaves us free to offer Him something smaller or greater, a reward is the result if we give the greater, “because we give spontaneously what is our own.” When this is applied to the God-man, the conclusion follows that his dying was necessary, because he willed it, but at the same time was not necessary, because God did not demand it. His death therefore is voluntary.131131II. 18. Now at length can the long-looked-for solution be given.132132II. 19: “intueamur nunc prout possumus, quanta inde ratione sequatur humana salvatio.” The Interlocutor: “ad hoc tendit cor meum.” It follows in a surprising form, and, above all, with strange brevity: the God-man acts for himself, by no means as the representative of mankind. But the Father must recompense him for that.133133II. 19: “eum autem qui tantum donum sponte dat deo, sine retributione debere esse non judicabis . . .alioquin aut injustus (!) videretur esse si nollet, aut impotens si non posset.” But nothing, again, can be given to the Son, since he has all. Yet it would be outrageous to assume that the whole action of the Son should remain without effect. Hence it is necessary that it should be for the advantage of another, and if that is willed by the Son, the Father cannot object, otherwise He would be unjust. “But to whom more fittingly (convenientius) shall he impart the fruit and recompence of his death than to those for whose salvation, as true reason (ratio veritatis) has taught us, he made himself man, and to whom, as we have said, he gave in dying the example of dying for righteousness’ sake? In vain surely shall they be imitators of him, if they are not to be partakers 67of his merit. Or whom shall he more justly make heirs of that which is due to him, but which he does not need, and of the superabundance of his plenitude (exundatiæ suæ plenitudinis) than his own parents and brethren, whom he looks on, burdened in their poverty with so many and so great debts, and languishing in the depths of misery, that what they owe for their sin may be remitted to them, and what, by reason of their sin, they lack, may be given to them?”134134II. 19, p. 93 sq. God accordingly now rejects no one who comes to Him in the name of this God-man, on condition that he comes as it befits him, i.e., that he so approaches Him, and so lives, as Holy Scripture directs.135135II. 19. The divine mercy, therefore, has not been made void by the death on the cross — so it would seem when sin and the divine righteousness are contemplated — but it appears rather as inconceivably great, and at the same time as in perfect harmony with righteousness. God’s word, indeed, to the sinner is: “Take mine only-begotten Son and give him for thyself,” and the Son’s word is: “Take me and redeem thyself.”136136II. 20. Only the wicked angels cannot be redeemed. Not as if the “price of His death would not be availing through its magnitude for all sins of men and angels”; but the condition of the angels (they are not descended from one angel, and fell without a tempter) excludes redemption.137137II. 21. Anselm concludes with the lofty consciousness that “by the solution of one question” he has shown to be reasonable “all that is contained in the New and Old Testaments.”138138II. 22.
Because it really is what Anselm, in the last sentence, has asserted, namely, a (new) construction of the whole of dogma from the point of view of sin and redemption, and because in this construction the disjecta membra of the Augustinian Mediæval view of Christianity were for the first time knit together into a unity, this representation deserves a searching criticism. Standing on the shoulders of Augustine, but eliminating the “patristic,” i.e., the Greek elements of his mode of thought, Anselm has, by his book, “Cur deus homo,” placed 68himself, as distinctively a dogmatic theologian, side by side with the Fathers of Greek dogma (Irenæus, Athanasius, and Origen). With the outline which John of Damascus had furnished another outline is now associated, which certainly, and not to its advantage, is still dependent on the old, but yet is evidently dominated by another principle. Anselm’s representation, however, also deserves special consideration because it has given the impulse to permanent treatment of the subject, and because it is still regarded in our own day — and by evangelical theologians, too — as essentially a model.
First of all, as against misunderstandings, it must be stated what Anselm’s theory is not, and is not meant to be. It is (1) no doctrine of reconciliation in the sense of showing how the opposition of will between God and sinful humanity is removed; it is (2) no theory of penal suffering, for Christ does not suffer penalty; the point rather at which penalty is inflicted is never reached, for God declares Himself satisfied with Christ’s spontaneous acceptio mortis; just for this reason it is (3) no theory of vicarious representation in the strict sense of the term, for Christ does not suffer penalty in our stead, but rather provides a benefit, the value of which is not measured by the greatness of sin and sin’s penalty, but by the value of His life, and which God accepts, as it weighs more for Him than the loss which He has suffered through sin (between sin, therefore, and the value of the life of Christ there exists only an external relation; both are infinite, but the latter is more infinite; hence it more than satisfies God);139139The theory of a vicarious penal suffering is to he found, along with the theory of ransom of men from the devil, in Athanasius, see Vol. III. p. 308 of this work. it is, finally (4), not a theory which guarantees to the individual that he really becomes saved; it aims rather at only showing for all the possibility of their being saved; whether they shall be saved depends “on the measure in which men come to partake of so great grace, and on the degree in which they live under it,” i.e., on how they fulfil the commandments of holy scripture (II. 19, p. 94).
From this consideration of what the Anselmic theory is not and does not offer, it already appears how inadequate it is. Above all, its unevangelical character shows itself in the 4th 69point. The entire ancient world, indeed, and, as Anselm shows, the mediæval world as well, rested satisfied with the doctrine of redemption, as demonstrating the possibility of the redemption of the individual from sin; but as this “possibility” can afford no comfort whatever to any distressed conscience, as it only satisfies the understanding, it is a worthless substitute for a real doctrine of redemption — Luther would say it is of the devil. If it cannot be shown from the person of Christ that we really are redeemed, if the certainty of salvation (certitudo salutis) is not derived therefrom, nothing is gained; all, rather, is lost, when we rest satisfied with such a doctrine, and append to it, as Anselm does, the conclusion, “If thou fulfillest the commands of Scripture, then the great provision of the God-man has an effect for thee.” For Anselm, the question of personal certitude of salvation, the fundamental question of religion, is simply not yet raised at all. He is an old-world, a mediæval, in a word, a Catholic Christian, inasmuch as he is satisfied with having made out that in virtue of Christ’s provision some certainly from the “mass of perdition” can be saved, and in fact shall be saved, because they live piously. But a second point is to be noted here. With every effort to express it as strongly as possible, the gravity of sin (pondus peccati) is not treated with sufficient earnestness if the thought of penalty, and therefore also of vicarious penal suffering, is entirely eliminated. In the idea that sin can be compensated for by something else than penalty there lies an underestimate of its gravity that is extremely objectionable. A recognition of the deep proposition that the innocent suffers for the guilty, that the penalty lies upon him, that we might have peace, is not to be found in the Anselmic theory. It does not appear even in the statement, prompted by warm feeling, II. 20: “Accept mine only-begotten and give Him for thyself.” “Take Me and redeem thyself,” for nothing is said of a penal suffering (just as little in the equally warm line of exposition II. 16, pp. 77 sq.).
But before entering upon the objections to the theory, let us indicate its excellences. These are not small: (1) It must be held as greatly to the credit of Anselm that he laid hold of the problem at all, and made it the centre for a survey of faith; (2) 70that he so apprehended it that redemption from guilt is the question dealt with (the Greeks had always thought primarily of redemption from the consequences of sin, liability to death); (3) it is to be specially noted that he conceived of guilt exclusively as guilt before God (disobedience), and entirely set aside the traditional doctrine (see even Augustine) that in redemption (by means of the crucifixion of the God-man) the question is about satisfying the devil;140140Whether indeed what Anselm offered as a substitute was in every respect better, or was not rather worse, will appear below. (4) that he discarded a merely esthetic, or an externally historical, grounding of the death on the Cross (Christ did not die because it was prophesied, nor because the accomplishment of redemption had to correspond in its particulars with the history of Adam and the fall); (5) it is a point of much importance that Anselm made earnest efforts to prove the moral necessity of this precise mode of redemption.141141A noteworthy passage already in Tertullian (de jejun. 3): “homo per eandem materiam causæ deo satisfacere debet, per quam offenderat.” That which he calls “reason” (ratio) is, at least in many lines of proof, nothing but the strict moral imperative, and is accordingly entirely admissible here, and he expressly refuses to lay at the basis of his investigation the conception of an unrestricted divine arbitrariness; with deeper insight and more courage than Augustine, he rather assumes everywhere that God’s omnipotence is in inner subjection to His holy will. What, in his judgment, makes it possible to reflect rightly on God’s arrangements is just our title to feel assured that the supreme righteousness and the supreme mercy, which He is Himself, can be understood by us as righteousness and mercy. Finally (6), according to Anselm, Jesus Christ, in His historic person and through His death, is for us the redemption. The grace of God is nothing but the redeeming work of Christ, i.e., the thought of grace is now for the first time entirely dissociated from that of nature and located in history, i.e., is connected solely with the person of Christ.
But contrasted with these excellences there are so many defects that this theory is entirely untenable. To a great extent these defects lie so much on the surface, and do such 71violence, equally to reason and to morality (not to speak of the attack on the gospel), that if the present-day theology stood under normal conditions not a word would have to be lost upon them. But as the current theology stands under the dominating influence of traditional faith and Romanticism, and discards all the criteria of gospel, morality, logic, and culture, when it sees the “necessity of the possibility” of the traditional objects of its faith in some way justified, some discussion will here be in its right place. Besides what has been already noted above, the following things fall to be observed:
First, the theory contains a series of imperfections, or, say contradictions; for (1) the necessarium is to be strictly carried through, yet at important points Anselm does not get beyond the conveniens, above all at the most important point, that it is just to men that the merit of Christ is imparted (II. 19, pp. 93 fin.). Moreover, that God accepts the death of the God-man for the wrong done to Him is not based on strict necessity, for the sin of men, and the nature of the satisfaction of Christ, have nothing inwardly in common;142142The keen criticism which the present-day Catholics apply to Anselm’s theory (see Schwane, pp. 296 ff.) rests, on the contrary, on the strong Scotist antipathy to unconditional necessity. (2) the satisfaction theory must be brought to a point in a way that is foreign to it, that it may be proved to have any effect at all. That is to say, the theory itself, strictly taken, only goes so far as to show that God’s injured honour is vindicated and men take an example from the death of Christ to adhere steadfastly to righteousness, even under the severest sufferings. But how can they take an example? Will the example, then, have the power to incite to earnest imitation? Will they not rather go on sinning? Yet the whole provision, according to Anselm, avails only for those who regulate their life according to Holy Scripture. So the provision will be a failure! Anselm certainly felt this, and therefore passed quite beyond his theory by asserting that God sees occasion for His rewarding the voluntary action of the God-man, and for His conferring this reward on men, by reckoning to them as the kinsmen of Christ the merit of Christ, without which they shall be quite unable to become imitators of 72Christ. This turn of thought does all honour to Anselm’s piety; but it destroys his doctrine of satisfaction; for if Christ’s suffering establishes merit, it does not contain strict reparation; but if it contains satisfaction, it establishes no merit. Nor does Anselm speak here of a surplus merit, but he suddenly regards the whole work of Christ as merit; but then it is not satisfaction. Further, when men suddenly come to be considered as kinsmen of Jesus, the question arises as to why this standpoint — that Christ is to be regarded as the head of elect humanity — was not asserted at the beginning of the inquiry. (3) The way in which the conceptions of the righteousness and honour of God are treated is full of contradictions. On the one hand righteousness, it is maintained, finds expression in penalty as much as in the positive attainment of salvation as an end; on the other hand righteousness requires that this end be reached. In keeping with this is the way the conception of honour is dealt with; indeed, three conceptions are here presupposed. First of all, it must be held entirely impossible for God to receive personal wrong; His honour can suffer absolutely no injury (I., 15: “By nothing can the honour of God, so far as it is concerned, be increased or diminished; since for itself it is the same incorruptible and absolutely immutable honour”). Then it is asserted that His honour, certainly, can be injured, but that it can likewise be restored, either by penalty (damnation of the human race) or by satisfaction. Lastly, it is asserted that the honour of God cannot tolerate the destruction of His world-plan, which culminates in the salvation of the reasonable creature, that, accordingly, God must forego penalty, bring about the salvation of the creature, and therefore choose satisfaction. (4) While in general the idea is always carried through, that on account of His honour God cannot simply pardon men, the turn of thought occurs in c. 19, p. 41, that God cannot do so on man’s account, because a man polluted by sin, even though he were restored to paradise, would not be as he was before the fall. Yet this important turn of thought is not wrought out to a further issue. (5) It is asserted of God that He stands above all change of human conditions, and supports all things by His holy omnipotence; hence the rule holds good (l.c.): “it is not 73for man to transact with God as an equal with an equal.” Yet this rule is contravened by the whole exposition, which proceeds on the principle (I. 23, p. 47): “Man never should, and never can, receive from God what God has proposed to give him, unless he restores to God all that he took from Him, so that as God has lost by him, He shall also recover by him.” This principle places God and man entirely on the same footing as injured and injurer. God is wronged as a man is wronged. But if it is said, that in point of fact, as moral beings, they would stand on the same footing, yet this correct observation must not alter the fundamental relationship, that God is the Lord and man His creature. (6) The assumption that Christ’s death was voluntary, in the sense that He could also have declined death, cannot be carried through without contradiction, and yet, as Anselm knew very well, everything in his theory depends on this point. First of all, Anselm can only set aside by clumsy sophisms the Bible passages that assert that death was included in the obedience of Christ, and that He drank the cup in trembling fulfilment of the will of the Father. Secondly, when the subject itself is dealt with, it cannot be proved that the obedience of Christ did not extend to the suffering of death, for as it was — according to Anselm — the man Christ that suffered, death is also included in what He owed to God, since man, even apart from sin, owes himself entirely to God. The action, moreover, which Christ offered up when He died “to the honour of God” was not objective; it was personal. But — again according to Anselm — man is under obligation to direct all personal action “to the honour of God.”143143See Ritschl 1.c. I., pp, 44 f.
Second, the old ecclesiastical material with which Anselm works is not adapted to the new purposes for which he employs it. From the time of Athanasius, and even earlier, the doctrine of the two natures was so understood as to imply that the God-Logos is the subject, and that He takes human nature into the unity of His divine being. This idea alone suits the purpose which the Greeks had in view, namely, to explain the reality of the conquest of death, and the deification of our nature. From this as a starting-point, Athanasius developed in detail a multitude 74of points of view, this among the rest, that by His dying — which was possible to Him through the human nature — the God-Logos bore the penalty, and expelled death from human nature. But Anselm wished to trace back everything to satisfaction, and he adhered strictly to the correct theory of Ambrose and Augustine, that it was the man Jesus who died, and that it is He therefore who is our mediator. At the same time, however, the impossibility of reconciling this view with the doctrine of the two natures now at last found definite expression in him; for where the subject of the redeeming personality is regarded, not as the God-Logos, but as, with Anselm, the man, there is a cancelling, not, indeed, of the Godhead of Christ, but certainly of the two-nature doctrine. The term, “the Godhead of Christ,” occurs in Anselm, within the lines of the strict theory, only as a determination of the value of the human person in his action.144144See Ritschl I., pp. 43 f. Christ appears as the man, whose life has an infinite value. That that is something quite different from the second person of the Godhead is obvious.145145Hence also the feeling in relation to Christ is quite different among the Latins from what it is among the Greeks. The latter look for the most part to the God in Christ, the former to the man. Ritschl has (p. 47) pointed out the remarkable, though by no means solitary, passage in Anselm’s Meditations (12): “Certe nescio, quia non plene comprehendere valeo, unde hoc est, quod longe dulcior es in corde diligentis te in eo quad caro es, quam in eo quod verbum: dulcior in eo, quod humilis, quam in eo quod sublimis . . . Hæc omnia (the human) formant et adaugent magis ac magis exsultationem, fiduciam et consolationem, amorem ac desiderium.” When Anselm now continues to use the two-nature doctrine as a hallowed tradition, a quite Nestorian diremption of the person is the result (see I. 9, 10), such as had regularly occurred in the West from the time of Augustine, when there was an attempt to work out one’s own Christology as a doctrine of redemption, and yet a refusal to relinquish that doctrine of natures. But further, the two-nature doctrine still appears welcome on this ground also, namely, that by means of it every difficulty whatever which the theory of redemption offers can be got quit of; for as everything conceivable can be distributed between the predicates, “human and divine natures,” one finds himself herewith equal to any difficulty, and can suppress every doubt, and excuse all indolence of thought. 75Anselm confessed that himself in a naïve way (c. 17, p. 85): “What does not answer to the man in Christ must be transferred to the God, what does not suit the God must be applied to the man.” In this way the earnest Greek speculation, which always stood for the unity of the God-man, was discarded; and thus it continued to be in the West. Among those who to-day interject in discussion the “Godhead” of Christ, how many reflect that the term obliges them to prove the divine-human unity, and that, if they imagine they may disregard this obligation, an Athanasius and the Fathers of dogma would despise them as empty talkers or as heretics? These men knew full well that the mere term, “the divinity of Christ,” affirms simply nothing, is heretical, indeed, because the God-manhood must be proved. But to those in the West that no longer occurs; for they neither can, nor will, prove it, by employing the means of the Greeks; nay, they follow quite a different scheme in the doctrine of redemption: Christ is the man whose action has an infinite value. If, then, the term, “doctrine of two-natures,” continues in use, then among those who really reflect on Christ as Redeemer it is deprived of its meaning through the Western conception of it. Hence it is only used still in the service of “conservative interests,” or to secure an authorised exemption from all energetic reflection on Christ as Redeemer by means of the convenient formula; this He did as God, and that as man.
Third, besides what has been set forth up to this point, there is still a series of the gravest objections to be urged against the whole character of the Anselmic doctrine. Let us only briefly indicate them: (1) In many passages, and these, too, the most important, Anselm proceeds according to a logic by which already everything can be proved. The gravest malpractices of Scholasticism already betray themselves in him; the self-restraint of the ancient thinkers, modest as was the expression given to it by the Fathers, is wanting to him. (2) Everything is conceived of quite abstractly, very much in the way in which a clever child thinks and speaks of such things, This theory manages to describe the work of redemption by Jesus Christ without adducing a single saying of His (what is brought forward does not serve to elucidate, but consists in the explaining 76away of important passages of Scripture). Anselm holds it as superfluous to accentuate any one personal feature in the picture of Christ; the sinless man with the infinitely valuable life is enough. The death of Christ is entirely severed from His life-work on earth, and isolated. This God-man need not have preached, and founded a kingdom, and gathered disciples; he only required to die. (3) There is no reference to the eternal election of the Christian community, or the reference is only feeble (see I. 16, and in connection with Mary). As the Kingdom of God is not spoken of, so neither is the Church, and its eternal existence in the view of God. The category of the inner moral necessity of the good and holy even for God is consistently confounded with that of reason (ratio), by means of which, it is represented, one can constrain even a heathen to believe in the God-man, the result being that the mystery of faith is profaned. (4) Sin is conceived of certainly as guilt before God; but this guilt is not the want of trust (faith) in Him, but is conceived of as a personal injury. How any one pleases to deal with personal injuries is a matter for himself; on the other hand, the guilt which is want of child-like fear and love, and which destroys God’s world, must be wiped out, whether it be in wrath or in love. Anselm fails to see that. (5) And this brings us to the worst thing in Anselm’s theory: the mythological conception of God as the mighty private man, who is incensed at the injury done to His honour and does not forego His wrath till He has received an at least adequately great equivalent; the quite Gnostic antagonism between justice and goodness, the Father being the just one, and the Son the good; the frightful idea (as compared with which the views of the lathers and the Gnostics are far to be preferred) that mankind are delivered from the wrathful God;146146 Very correct statement by Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alex., p. 290: “It was reserved for Anselm, centuries afterwards, to array the justice against the goodness of God, and thus to complete the resemblance of Christianity to its ancient deadly foe” (namely, Gnosticism). Only, Gnosticism distinguished between the just God (the demiurge) and the good God as two hostile deities. But the old patristic theory was that by His death Christ has redeemed men from the devil. If we isolate the death from the life of Christ, this is in fact the best theory, for it brings no discord into the deity. It was no doubt a step of progress on Anselm’s part that he wished to carry through the thought that God is at the same time holy and merciful. But this thought cannot be carried through by means of the death of Christ as isolated, and thought of as satisfaction, if this is held as satisfaction to God Himself. So it is always better to let the satisfaction be paid to the devil, because even on that assumption the idea of righteousness is satisfied — in a mythological way, no doubt (the right view would be, that justice must he done to evil, namely by penalty) — without Christ the merciful and God the wrathful being brought into conflict, while Christ is nevertheless regarded as Himself God. That the latter is an impracticable thought was clearly seen, moreover, by Augustine, after he had weighed its possibility. Bigg points to de trinit. XIII. 11: “Sed quid est justificati in sanguine ipsius? Quæ vis est sanguinis hujus, obsecro, ut in eo justificentur credentes? Et quid est reconciliati per mortem filii ejus? Itane vero, cum irasceretur nobis deus pater, vidit mortem filii sui pro nobis et placatus est nobis?” This cannot be; “for omnia simul et pater et filius et amborum spiritus pariter et concorditer operantur.” He therefore rejects the Anselmic theory in anticipation. This theory can only be explained from the fact that the thought of God as the Father who is nigh to us had fallen into the background in the Middle Ages, and the old view of the Trinity as unity was no longer held. Here too, therefore, the ancient traditional dogma was discarded, the term Trinity retained. 77 the illusory performance between Father and Son, while the Son is one with the Father; the illusory performance of the Son with Himself, for according to Anselm the Son offers Him-self to Himself (II. 18: “filius ad honorem suum seipsum sibi obtulit”);147147In Constantinople the Synods from the year 1156 f. decided, that the mass is offered also to the Son, as He is at the same time the offerer and the offered, and the Trinity admits of no diremption. See Hefele V.2, p. 567. the blasphemous idea that the Son’s giving of life (datio vitæ) is for God, as acceptance of death (acceptio mortis), a benefit; the dreadful thought that God is superior to man, as having the prerogative of not being able to forgive from love, a payment always being needed by Him (I. 12); the vitiated conception of our prayer to God for forgiveness, that it is a part of our satisfaction, but can never in itself have the effect of forgiveness (I. 19: “qui non solvit, frustra dicit: dimitte”). If it is now added that, as has been shown above, there is proved by all this only the possibility of our being saved, that the thought of the penalty of sin is eliminated (and therefore the righteousness of God too laxly conceived of), that here no innocent one suffers penalty for the guilty, and that, in the effect upon us, only the feeble thought of example comes clearly to view, then we must say, that in spite of Anselm’s good intentions, and in spite of some correct perceptions, no theory so bad had 78ever before his day been given out as ecclesiastical. But perhaps no one can frame a better, who isolates the death of Christ from His life, and wishes to see in this death something else than the consummation of the “service” which He rendered throughout His life.148148That Anselm himself, however, has, in other writings, carried through other thoughts with regard to redemption has been shown by Ritschl, l.c. I., pp. 46 f., 109. He surrendered himself to the certainty of grace even without such calculations, on the other hand emphasised more strongly the conception of merit.
In its complete form Anselm’s theory exercised little influence. The conception, which he only touched on, of the “meritoriousness” of the work of Christ, very rapidly came to the front, and made his satisfaction theory — which, moreover, conflicted with the Augustinian tradition — without effect. Added to this was the fact that interest in the proof of our reconciliation to God was not satisfied by Him. At this point Abelard intervened, without giving, certainly, a connected and exact development of the doctrine.149149See Ritschl, l.c. I., pp. 48 ff.; Schwane, pp. 304 ff.; Deutsch, Abälard, pp. 336 ff.; Seeberg in the “Mittheil. u. Nachricht. f. die ev. K. in Russland,” 1888, March-April. Also Reuter in his 1st, and especially Bach in his 2nd, vol., pp. 68 f., 77 f., 88 ff. After rejecting still more decidedly than Anselm the relation of the death on the Cross to the devil, he sets out from the fundamental thought of the love of God, and at the same time makes it clear to himself that sin has separated men from God, that it is a question therefore of bringing them back to God, and of again imparting to them trust in God. Further, he keeps it before him that the fruit of redemption relates to the chosen, with regard to whom God’s disposition did not first need to be changed. Accordingly, the incarnation and death of the Son of God can be conceived of only as an act of love, and even the righteousness of God must be so defined that it is subordinated to love, or, say, is identical with it. It was not required then that Christ should first assuage the wrath of God. It is as easy for God to forgive sin as it was for Him to bring into existence a sinless man, who united himself to Christ. But in order really to win us for Himself, Christ has given us the highest proof of love, which kindles our cold hearts and leads us back to the trust and love of God. Further (the reflections do not 79stand in a strict order) in this deed of Christ in dying on the Cross God beholds us, that is, He forgives us our sins, in so far as He reckons to us the merit of Christ, because Christ stands before God as the head of humanity; He likewise lets the merit of the perfect righteousness of Christ fall to our advantage; for in the obedience of Christ God is satisfied. Finally, Christ goes on working continuously for us, for inasmuch as He prays for us unceasingly to the Father, it is in keeping with the righteousness of God to reckon to us this merit. But by Christ’s “merit” Abelard never understands “a sum of distinct actions; the fulness of love to God dwelling in Christ is His merit.” “Thus it is in will, not in works, which are common to the good and evil, that all merit consists.150150So a disciple of Abelard, who hit upon his meaning; see Seeberg, p. 7, and Deutsch, p. 378 ff. There is therefore here nothing objective and nothing magical. Even the death on the Cross is not estimated as an objective deed, but belongs entirely — as a chief part — to the evidences of the love of Christ which He exhibited from the beginning. Christ’s merit is His service of love; but love calls forth responsive love, and he who loves (because Christ has first loved him) has forgiveness of sins granted him, nay, in the interchange of love which springs from Christ there lies the forgiveness of sins itself.151151I do not transcribe here the passages, for in their isolation they do not give a true view. There fall to he considered more particularly several passages from the Exposit. ep. Rom. (especially on chap. III. 22 ff., V. 12 ff.), from the Sermons V., X., XII., theolog. christ. IV., and the Dialogue. How much Abelard’s whole Christology and doctrine of redemption are dominated by the thought of love and counter love, how entirely love is “merit,” could not be ascertained from separate quotations.
Abelard has furnished no strict proof for the necessity of the death on the Cross; his propositions, moreover, are inadequate, because he has not clearly perceived that that love is the highest, is indeed alone effectual, which, by taking the penalty upon itself, reveals at the same time the greatness of the absolution and the greatness of the cancelled guilt. He did not perceive that the sinner cannot be otherwise delivered from guilt than by experiencing and seeing the penalty of guilt. But he had too keen a sense of the love of his God, and of the oneness of God 80and Christ, to entertain the Gnostic thought that God needs a sacrifice or an equivalent, or that for Him Christ’s death is a benefit. And he knew himself so intimately united to Christ in living fellowship that it was he who first introduced again into the doctrine of redemption the apostolic thought of the perpetual intercession of Christ for us, and on the other hand saw also in the earthly life of Christ, not one proof of love — the death — but a continuous stream of love, in which the “work” of Christ also, namely His “ merit,” i.e., the operation of His loving will, is included.152152Deutsch says very correctly, p. 382: “Accordingly the ultimate and deepest thought of Abelard is this, that reconciliation rests on personal fellowship with Christ. It is He who, by perfectly fulfilling the will of God as man, realised the divine destination of humanity, in this sense satisfied God, and thereby opened again to mankind the closed gates of paradise. He who belongs to Him has through Him the forgiveness of sins, and with Him access to God, but at the same time also the power of the new life, in which he fulfils the commands of God from love; and so far as this fulfilment is still imperfect the righteousness of God comes in to complete it.” On the other hand Reuter (I., p. 243) has given this perverted view of Abelard’s doctrine: “For one who wrought reconciliation, there was substituted one who proclaimed that God was already reconciled [but according to Abelard Christ is no “proclaimer,” and God is not reconciled, if we are not]; instead of a passion of the Son, who alone opens again the way to the Father [but that is just Abelard’s meaning], a martyrdom with psychological efficacy was held up to view [the word “psychological” is here meant to create an impression of the profane, but we have surely only the choice between this and physico-chemical]; instead of change of disposition on God’s part, change of disposition on man’s was spoken of.” [Is God love or is He of alienated mood? Is it not the penalty for man that as a sinner he must think of a God of terror, and can anything greater take place in heaven or earth than when a man’s feelings are revolutionised, i.e., when his fear of a God of terror is transformed into trust and love? If it were possible to bring home to the sinner the thought of the loving God, in whom he can have confidence, while he feels himself guilty, then certainly Christ would have died in vain; but that is a contradictio in adjecto.] Even Seeberg, in spite of all his efforts to be impartial, has made a nationalistic caricature of Abelard’s doctrine, and in keeping with this has much bepraised sayings of Bernard, some of which are to he found also in Abelard, some of which Abelard has happily set aside (the justa potestas diaboli). That which we really miss in Abelard — that Christ bore our penalty — is also wanting in Bernard, and the “example” of Christ is much more incautiously emphasised by the latter than by the former, who always thinks of the power of love that proceeds from Christ. But Bernard, it is alleged, stands much higher than Abelard, because he can give a more lyrical expression to the impassioned love to Christ, while Abelard thinks only of the doctrine and the example (!), and because, it is asserted, something “objective” is to be found in him which is supposed to be wanting in Abelard. Even according to Seeberg, indeed, this “objective” is quite falsely defined by Bernard, but that is of no consequence, if only there is “something” there. When will there be a getting rid in Protestantism of this “something,” which at best only establishes the possibility of redemption; and when will there be a distinguishing between a vicarious penal suffering and a satisfaction demanded by God?81
The polemic against Abelard directed itself also against his theory of redemption; but it was contested essentially from the basis of the Augustinian theory of redemption (vanquishment of the claim of the devil), while there was no following of Anselm.153153See Bach II., pp. 88-122. Besides Bernard, William of St. Thierry specially comes into view here. At the same time all were increasingly at one in this, that the point of view of merit must be applied, and that Christ must be contemplated as Redeemer in the light of His human quality. With this understanding also the Lombard drew up his connected account of the opinions of the Fathers in his doctrinal compendium. As in the case of Augustine, the “man” (homo) in Christ takes the prominent place, as the moral personality chosen and sustained by God, and the whole life of Christ is understood from this point of view.154154Sentent. lib. III., dist. 18, 19. At the same time, in order to understand the peculiar nature of redemption, all points of view were combined that were furnished by the past: obedience, redemption from the devil, death and penalty, but, above all, the merit of death, then also sacrifice. With Augustine, the strict necessity of this precise means (death on the Cross) is rejected; with him and the other Fathers, the buying off of the devil (including deception) is asserted. With Abelard, the death is viewed as a proof of love, which awakens counter love; with him Christ is regarded as the representative of humanity before God; with Augustine, the necessity for a reconciliation of God through the death of Christ is rejected (God loves even His enemies; He has loved us beforehand from eternity, and we are reconciled, not with the wrathful, but with the loving God); finally, a penal value in the death of Christ is asserted, in the sense that by it the eternal penalty is remitted (see Athanasius), the temporal penalty in future (after death) falls away. On the other hand the Anselmic theory is not mentioned at all.155155Ritschl I., p. 56 f. The Lombard shows therefore 82 that the patristic tradition still continued to be the only subject of doctrine, and that it was only with an effort that what was new asserted itself against it. Yet the whole undertaking to give a combined and connected view was itself new (on which account the Lombard was regarded with much distrust as an Abelardian)156156This was not without ground; for apart from the objective redemption which consists in deliverance from the fetters of the devil (yet even to this a subjective turn is given, see Sentent. III. Dist. 19 A: “si ergo recte fidei intuitu in ilium respicimus qui pro nobis pependit in ligno, a vinculis diaboli solvimur, i.e., a peccatis, et ita a diabolo liberamur, ut nec post hanc vitam in nobis inveniat quod puniat. Morte quippe sua, uno verissimo sacrificio, quidquid culparum erat, unde nos diabolus ad luenda supplicia detinebat, Christus exstinxit, ut in hac vita tentando nobis non prævaleat”) the Lombard knows only of a subjective redemption; l.c. “quo modo a peccatis per Christi mortem soluti sumus? Quia per ejus mortem, ut ait apostolus, commendatur nobis caritas dei, i.e., apparet eximia et commendabilis caritas dei erga nos in hoc, quod filium suum tradidit in mortem pro nobis peccatoribus. Exhibita autem tantæ erga nos dilectionis arrha, et nos movemur accendimurque ad diligendum deum, qui pro nobis tanta fecit, et per hoc justificamur, i.e., soluti a peccatis justi efficimur. Mors ergo Christi nos justificat, dum per eam caritas excitatur in cordibus nostris.” Yet along with this the other turn of thought is found: “dicimur quoque et aliter per mortem Christi justificati, quia per fidem mortis ejus a peccatis mundamur.” But his thought is not further followed out; on the contrary, it is said again Dist. 19 F: “reconciliati sumus deo, ut ait apostolus, per mortem christi. Quod non sic intelligendum est quasi nos sic reconciliaverit Christus, ut inciperet amare quos oderat, sicut reconciliatur inimicus inimico, ut deinde sint amici qui ante se oderant, sed jam nos diligenti deo reconciliati sumus; non enim ex quo ei reconciliati sumus per sanguinem filii nos coepit diligere, sed ante mundum, priusquam nos aliquid essemus. Quomodo ergo nos diligenti deo sumus reconciliati? Propter peccatum cum eo habebamus inimicitias, qui habebat erga nos caritatem, etiam cum inimicitias exercebamus adversus eum operando iniquitatem. Ita ergo inimici eramus deo, sicut justitiæ sunt inimica peccata et ideo dimissis peccatis tales inimicitiæ finiuntur, et reconciliamur justo quos ipse justificat. Christus ergo dicitur mediator, eo quod medius inter deum et homines ipsos reconciliat deo.” But here again another thought comes in, when the Lombard immediately continues: “reconciliat autem dum offendicula hominum tollit ab oculis dei, id est dum peccata delet quibus deus offendebatur et nos inimici ejus eramus.” The prevading thought of the awakening of counter love, which the Lombard took over from Abelard, is already to be found in Augustine; see e.g., de catech. rud. 4: “Nulla est major ad amorem invitatio, quam prævenire amando, et nimis durus est animus, qui dilectionem si nolebat impendere, nolit rependere.”
Not till the thirteenth century did the new dogmatic impulses of the eleventh and twelfth centuries take their place with equal rights, materially, though not formally, alongside the mass of traditional patristic tenets. By the latter, which were represented partly by a voluminous exegetical tradition, and partly 83by theological positions no longer understood in their original connection, the trivial spirit of mediæval theology was fostered, which mingled in a marvellous way with its energy and with its juristic acuteness. The statement of the thesis in scholastic science was invariably lofty and great; “but by its love for details even heaven was dragged down.” From the scientific standpoint, and from the standpoint of “juristic thinking,” we cannot find fault, certainly, with this spirit; for does not science require that the problems be thought out to their ultimate consequences? The error lay simply in the premises, and in the idea that that thinking was thinking about religion. But even that idea it was necessary then to entertain, for religion was of course contemplation!
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