"The highway to heaven"

Christ Jesus did not come telling the people of a God who demanded sacrifice for its own sake. He did not exalt suffering or vicarious abnegation in any form. On the contrary, he brought health and forgiveness in the place of disease and condemnation; he spoke of the kingdom of heaven as theirs for the seeking; he approved the lawyer's statement that to love God "with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

The original meaning of "to sacrifice" is to render sacred. When men come to consider this in its true significance, they will abandon their superstitious respect for, no less than their purposeless dread of sacrifice. The material sense of sacrifice usurped a gigantic place in the theology of the Jews; in their often extravagant exploitation of it they hoped to pacify God and their own consciences. But it fulfilled none of the requirements; it brought no sacrifice of self; it contributed nothing towards salvation. It served rather to bolster pride and self-righteousness than to exemplify those sacrifices of God which, according to the Psalmist, are a broken spirit.

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October 19, 1940
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