« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Again, from God's commanding Moses to make two cherubims over the mercy-seat (though he expressly forbid the Jews to worship the likeness of any thing in heaven above; and though these cherubims never were worshipped, nor so much as seen by that people, being behind a vail in the most holy place), Pope Adrian infers, Christians may make and adore images,* though they have no command, as Moses had, to make them; and though they are forbidden, as well as the Jews were, to worship them. The logic of which inference is very notable : and yet this topping proof of Scripture is cited over and over in many places of this eminent Council.f The rest of his proofs from Scripture are these : “ Honour and majesty are in his presence,” Psal. xcvi. 6. “Thy face will I seek,” Psal. xxvi. 8. “The rich among the people shall entreat thy favour, or pray before thy face," Psal. xlv. 12. And “ Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, Psal. iv. 6. All which places he most impertinently applies to the worship paid to the images of God and Christ; whereas they are spoken by David, with respect to the Jewish way of worshipping God in the temple, the place of his especial presence : so that they who came thither, are said to be before God, or by an Hebraism, before his face. But it is well known that no image of God, nor shape, was ever set up there: so that if coming to a temple to worship God, without an image or visible representation, be the same thing with coming to a church to worship God with and by images ; then this infallible interpreter of Scripture is a good expositor of all these places.
A little after, John, the Eastern legate, grossly abuseth that excellent prophecy of our Saviour's incarnation : truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other," Psal. lxxxv. 10, by applying it to the agreement between Adrian and Tarasius, and the embraces which justice (that is, the Roman Church) gave the Empress Irene (that is peace );Ş the wit of which flattering allusion will not excuse the blasphemy of the application.
In the fourth action, the whole Council makes a great show of proving their doctrine by Scripture: and yet they can find nothing there, but first, the command to Moses to make the two cherubims :// which we have shewed is not at all to the * Act. 2. p. 107. D.
+ Act. 4. p. 198. B. C. et alibi passim. #. Act. 2. p. 110. B. C. $ Act. 2. p. 130. A. B. || Act. 4. p. 198. B.
purpose. Secondly, they tell us, “ Moses heard a voice from between the cherubims, when he went to consult the Lord,” Numb. vii. 89. But did Moses worship the cherubims? or do they hear the voice of the Lord from their dumb images ? If not, why do they cite this place ? Thirdly, but they say, “ Ezekiel had a vision of a temple adorned with cherubims and palm-trees,” Ezek. xl. 1. If any real consequence can be drawn from this imaginary temple, it is only this, “that churches may be adorned" but how doth this prove that images are to be adored ? The former we grant; but it is the latter which they were to prove, and should have shewed us that Ezekiel kneeled to, kissed and prayed to those cherubims and palm-trees, and they had said something. Fourthly, they give us St. Paul's description of the old tabernacle, “ in which were the cherubims of glory, and the mercy-seat,” Heb. ix, reasoning from thence, “that as the Old Testament had cherubims over the mercy-seat ; so that under the New Testament there must be images of Christ over the altar."* I reply; if it were so, still we might argue, “ that as in the Old Testament they did not adore those cherubims; so under the New we must not adore these images." But indeed there is no consequence can be drawn from what was in the old tabernacle, to what must be in Christian churches; for then we must have bloody sacrifices, and many other abrogated rites. And St. Paul in that very place affirms, “those were figures for the time present, ver. 9, imposed on them until the time of reformation,” ver. 10. Yea, his argument supposes a mighty difference betwixt their carnal and our spiritual worship : so that this proof also is wholly impertinent. And can they imagine such thin and insignificant inferences as these should balance a plain command of the moral law; which expressly charges us to make no image of any thing to worship it? That golden wedge will weigh down all their consequences, if they could rake together ten times as many abused places as they have here done.
Who can sufficiently admire the deep reach of Theodosius, a bishop in this Council, who proves the worship of images by that place of St. Paul, Rom. xv. 4: “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning ;''+ for he notably observes," that holy and venerable images, and pictures as well as material writing, are for our learning.” But
* Ibid. p. 199. A. B.
+ Act. p. 4. 214. A.
doth St. Paul bid us adore these old writings ? doth he enjoin us to offer incense, gifts, and prayers to them ? No doubt, common writings, such as Livy and Tacitus, were written for our learning ; and so are the old carvings upon Roman arches, and the pictures of profane history ; but I hope it doth not follow we are therefore to venerate or worship these. As for the historical use of pictures, we do not deny it: but we cannot allow that was any part of the Apostle's meaning here, where he speaks of Old Testament examples, which God left in writing, not in painting or in carved work; and he took writing to be the far better way to instruct us.
Leontius Cyprius, who lived not above 200 years before this Council, is cited here with applause : where he adds a long passage (as it were in Scripture), to the history of Joseph's coat being brought to Jacob, saying, “He kissed it with tears, and laid it on his eyes ;” not loving or honouring the garment, but Joseph by it: whence he would prove we must shew the love and honour we have for Christ and the martyrs, unto their images.* To which it suffices to answer here, that this author hath forgot that woe in the Revelation pronounced against all that shall add to the words of God's book, Rev. xxii. 18, there being not one word of this in the original, nor in any authentic version; and for the argument, we shall meet with it afterwards.
The ingenuity of Tarasius is very visible in citing a place where Jeremiah was complaining of the Jews for worshipping idols, calling it, "forsaking God, the fountain of living waters, and hewing out unto themselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water,” Jer. xi. [ii.] 13. And this he makes a prophecy of those Christians, who would not adore any images.t But Theodoret doubtless is a better interpreter, who tells us, images may well be compared to cisterns, being made with hands; and to broken cisterns, because as they have no good in themselves, so they can neither hold nor convey it to others. And would any leave a fountain that always had, and even sent out water in abundance, for these broken cisterns ? I And so also doth Optatus Milevitanus expound the place :wherefore this will prove a prophecy of these image-worshippers, who leave the spiritual worship of God, and worship the work of their own hands, and the patriarch is caught in his own net.
ershipit LIANCES płacris
Trending of images er things
* Act. 4. p. 238. C. D.
of Act. 5. p. 347. C. Theodoret. in locum. (vol. 2. p. 413. Hal. 1770.] § Optat. Miley. lib. 4. p. 81. [p. 77. Par. 1702.]
That Christian, * who is brought in disputing with a Jew that was very much scandalized at their images, seems to be hard put to it: for when the Jew urges him with the second commandment, expressly forbidding to make any image or likeness of any thing to worship it: the Christian is forced to alter the words of the law, and say, “It only forbids us to worship any new god, and the likeness of any thing as God:”+ which addition of his own to God's law shews, that they will alter Scripture rather than change their opinion. Yea, afterwards the Council wonders anybody will apply words to the Christians, which were spoken so long ago to the Jews; I which is no less than abrogating the moral law.
In the next action, these Fathers produce two places of Scripture to prove, that looking upon images is as ancient in the Church, and as useful as hearing the Gospel. The first is, “Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance comely,” Cantic. ï. 14. Which is so ridiculous, that it needs no confutation; only we may note, these are the words of Christ to the Church, whom he calls his dove ; see ver. 10. And therefore are by no means to be applied as a speech of the Church's to Christ; and it is a bold thing to suppose we see Christ's face as plainly in an image, as we hear his words when the Gospel is read. Their second proof is, “Like as we have heard, so have we seen,” Ps. xlviii. 7.9 And truly this may be a proof of anything that can be heard and seen; it may prove a fly as useful as a learned oration : but the meaning of the place is quite another thing: for God's people say, “ As they had heard of his promises to defend his Church, so they had seen him defend it,” as appears by the next words, “in the city of our God: God upholdeth the same for ever.”
But doubtless we may both hear and see what admirable sense a Pope and Council can find in holy Scripture, by their rare exposition of this place.
If the holy text will not justify the doctrines, they have a curious art of enlarging it for they tell us, “The saints departed know that, according to the Apostle, they are dissolved, and are with Christ, and intercede for us ;” and they cite for this, Phil. 1. 23. || by which an unwary reader might think
* V. Treatise of Fallibility, c. 3. p. 39, &c. c. 5. p. 67. + Act. 5. p. 355. C.
# Act. 6. p. 467. E. ♡ Act. 6. p. 407. B.
|| Act. 6. p. 462. D.
that St. Paul there maintained the invocation of saints, the grand pillar of image-worship. But if we consider the place, the Apostle confutes the very intercession of the saints there. For St. Paul (who doubtless was a saint) could have wished to be in heaven, but only that he saw he could do his Philippians more good by staying upon earth ; and because he preferred their profit before his own pleasure, he was content to live with them still : which shews that the Apostle knew nothing of his being to be a mediator or intercessor for them in heaven ; for if he had, he could not have affirmed it was better for them that he should continue in this mortal state.
The next instance shews their diligence in reading Scripture; for they cite an obvious place of St. Peter, 2 Epist. iii. 16, in
“The unlearned and unstable wrest the Scriptures according to their own lusts." Whereas St. Peter's
wrest, as they do also other Scriptures, to their own destruction."* Yet, as they have cited the place, it plainly belongs to them, rather than their adversaries; for they have given very many instances of their wresting Scripture to make it serve their lust of promoting imageworship.
It seems to argue they had no great share of modesty in that they account themselves that Church of Christ of which St. Paul speaks, Ephes. v. 27, "which was the spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle.”+ But besides their many evident spots or wrinkles, sufficient to confute this vain application, St. Augustine informs us, “that the Church without spot or wrinkle, is not to be understood as if it were so now, but that it is now preparing, that it may be so against it is to appear in glory;"I and (I doubt not) he will be thought a better interpreter of this place than they.
But there is nothing backed with more proofs from Scripture than a peculiar notion of theirs, which is as weak as their testimonies for it are impertinent, viz. that after Christ had once redeemed Christians from idolatry, it was impossible that they should ever relapse into that crime ; which they would collect from God's promising the Jews “to blot out the names of idols from under heaven,” Zech. xiii. ; which promise was actually performed to that people after their captivity; and from God's kingdom being an everlasting kingdom,” Psalm cxlv; and his “gifts and calling being without repent* Act. 6. p. 463. D.
+ Act. 7. p. 551. E. † Aug. Retract. lib. 2. cap. 18. (vol. 1. p. 48. Par. 1679.]