Yet reason taught that the blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sins, and that purification of the body was not a proper substitute for that cleansing of the heart and spirit which the holiness of God demanded. The philosopher Plato once conjectured that, if a perfect man came into the world, he would be crucified l : yet he did not see how such a man could possibly exist, or how his death could in any way deliver men from sin and draw them to God. We mention these matters as instances of a few slight shadows, as it were, cast beforehand on men's minds by the first faint gleam which heralded the rising of the Sun of Righteousness. The shadows could not give men light, yet they were signs of the coming dawn, harbingers of the advent of the light of the world.

In none of the religions of the heathen world was there to be found any but a very uncertain hope rather than an expectation of a longed for saviour, though their religious books and the writings of their sages bore testimony to the fact of man's sinfulness, helplessness and misery, and of his deep need of help from God. The Prophets of Israel alone, through divine inspiration, foresaw and foretold the coming of Him who would save His people from their sins. And, the Gospel reveals to us how those wonderful prophecies were fulfilled and the Path of Life open to men to walk in. Only from the Gospels and the letters of the

1 De Republica, lib. ii, cap. v



Apostles do we learn at what cost the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed our souls, and how in His life and death and resurrection God's ineffable love and His infinite mercy and perfect justice were clearly set forth, so that all men who would might know God's truth, and that the truth might make them pure and free.

But, before we turn to the Gospel to learn the way of salvation, we propose first to treat of a few other matters which must be known ere it is possible to understand how salvation can in any way be attainable.

From the holy Scriptures, as we have already pointed out, it is very evident that in God's sight all men are sinners, since every person has cherished evil thoughts and desires in his heart, and has outwardly sinned too by committing improper acts and by neglecting and disobeying God's commandments. In fact every one of us has committed innumerable sins and is bound with evil chains which he has thus forged for himself. Besides this we learn from those holy books that sin is the worst of evils, that it is an opposition to God, and is so contrary to His holy nature and so vile and hateful in His sight that a man while stained and defiled with sin can never be acceptable to God, and can never be admitted to His presence and favour. The guilt and leprosy of sin, unless in some way it can be got rid of, must eternally separate the sinner from God, and must