Gemma Animae (29-30): On Sacrifices

Ch. 29

On the Seven Sacrifices of the Law

Now seven sacrifices were offered by the ancients according to the Law, which MannaChristians imitate to this day, for the rite of the Synagogue passed over into the religion of the Church, and the sacrifices of a carnal people were changed into a spiritual observance. Now the sacrifices are these: sacrifice by the Law, voluntary, for sin, for thanksgiving, gifts, vows, holocausts. He offered the sacrifice of the Law who offered one tenth or the first-fruits or whatever the Law prescribed. He offered a voluntary sacrifice who of his own will offered something to God out of his possessions. He offered a sacrifice for sin who offered a goat when the commandments of the law were transgressed. He offered a thanksgiving sacrifice who offered to God a victory gift. He offered gifts who donated something for the decoration of the temple. He offered vows who vowed anything to God amidst the danger of war, and afterwards fulfilled it. He offered holocausts who burned a lamb entire on the altar. For holocaustum means burned entirely.

Noah burning offerings on an altar to the Lord (Gerard Hoet, 1728)

Ch. 30

On the Sacrifice of Christians

In the same way Christians offer the sacrifice of the law when they give the tenth part of their wealth to God. They offer the voluntary sacrifice when they bestow on the servants of God something of their wealth. They offer the sacrifice for sin when, as a penance enjoined by the priests, they pay something to the religious or to the poor. They offer the thanksgiving sacrifice when they offer something in return for some dignity or any other grace received from God. They offer gifts when they contribute something to the building of churches or their decoration. They offer vows when they swear something in war, or shipwreck, or any other danger, which they offer to God and the saints upon their liberation from danger. They offer holocausts when they leave the world and distribute all their possessions to the poor or bestow it upon monasteries. The people offer these sacrifices.  Now the priests and ministers offer bread and wine according to Christ’s institution.


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