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ance,”* Rom. xi. The same inference they make elsewhere, from St. Luke i. 75, where Christ is said “to deliver us from our enemies, that we might serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life;" and from God's "smiting his enemies in the hinder parts, and putting them to a perpetual shame,” Psalm lxxviii. 66.1 To all which I answer, if this did secure the whole Church from a possibility of relapsing into idolatry, it doth not secure one corrupt part of it. And though Christ hath done his part completely, yet this will not prove that all men shall always do their parts. For at this rate of arguing, no single person or number of men could possibly fall into any sins or false opinions. And thus we may prove none, who are redeemed by Christ, can become heretics, apostates, drunkards, or whoremongers ; nor can I see how they are more secured from idolatry than from any other error or crime.
To conclude : it is very visible all along, that they have no mind their doctrine should be tried by Scripture, as believing it was not on their side: for they obliged Basilius, when he made his recantation, to anathematize those who say, “they will not receive any doctrine upon the bare authority of Fathers and Councils, unless it be plainly taught in the Old and New Testament.”I Which wise and orthodox resolution we are taught by many holy Fathers, who charge us to believe nothing in matters of faith but what may be proved out of holy Scripture. Yet these gentlemen call this, taking up the words of Eutyches and Dioscorus. However, this is a tacit confession Scripture is against them; and therefore they are the first Council “ which expressly accursed all that reject ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten.” And when they are pinched with objections from the holy text, they fly out into a long harangue against Scripture, crying out, “That all the patrons of heresy take occasion for their errors from the divinely inspired Scriptures.”|| But we may well except the patrons of image-worship; for they have used all the shifts imaginable, and yet cannot find any one place of Scripture to graft their error upon, and therefore they fly to universal traditions ; which how rarely they make out, shall be examined in the next chapter.
* Act. 6.
402. E. 403. A. # Act. 1. p. 58. A. || Act. 6. p. 463. C. D.
+ Act. 7. p. 587. C.
Of their Proofs from Antiquity and Tradition.
The Scriptures cited in this Council were only to flourish with ; for the main ground they go upon is tradition. And though they often affirm this practice of image-worship came down to them from the preaching of the Apostles, yet they · grant it is not in any of their writings : for they say the making of images was delivered to them from the Apostles by an unwritten tradition.* And elsewhere they brag this doctrine and practice had continued almost eight hundred years ;t that is, from the time of Christ and his Apostles. But there is no proof of this offered in all the Council
, except this, “That we may know it by the old pictures to be seen in churches." I Now can any man in his wits believe there were any churches then standing, or any pictures made in them, which remained in the year 787, that had been built or painted in the Apostles' days ; especially if it be remembered that Christianity was persecuted for three hundred years together. So that if we will take their word for it (who have given such specimens of their integrity, chap. iii.), we may believe it if we please ; and knowing they cannot prove it, they would have us take it on trust, telling us it is really an ancient ecclesiastical tradition ; but withal charging us, “not to search too narrowly ; nor inquire too busily into this pious custom and ancient law;”S and a very little search will shew the weakness of this pretence. For in the next place it is affirmed, - That all the six
preceding Councils had established the adoration of images."| Yet afterwards Pope Gregory confesses, there is no more in those Councils about this matter, than about eating bread and drinking water.” And it is certain there was not one word about images in five of those General Councils, because these zealots for them do not cite one word out of them for any use of images, no not when they were urged to do it. And for that canon of the sixth Council (mentioned before) it was not made a full hundred years before this Nicene Council; and it only gives licence to picture our Saviour for the time to come in a human form, who before was wont to be represented by a lamb,
all the means
e dirett le panni imagined to grant the
in the no
* Act. 6. p. 451. C.
of Act. 8. p. 617. D. I Act. 6. p. 403. E.
Act. 6. p. 539. A. || Ep. Gregorii, p. 10. D. Act. 6. p. 431. C. | Ep. Gregor. p. 27. D.
and this only for memory sake, but not a syllable of any adoration ;* which really disproves their pretence of all the six General Councils, and shews that the very picturing of Christ in human form was a late thing; and that the adoring that picture or image was never decreed in any one of the six Councils. And this is plainly owned by the Patriarch Germanus, who in his original epistle saith, “The General Councils everywhere received, had made canons about many things of less moment than images ; and it is not (saith he) probable they would have left this point undiscussed and undetermined, if the adoring images had led to that idolatry which is condemned in Scripture.”+ Now it is enough to answer this weak insinuation to say, “What was not practised, could not be condemned.” But my main business is to observe, that a patron of image-worship grants these Councils said nothing of adoring images ; which shews the failing of their pretended tradition : and it is very plain that this passage was against the sense of the Roman Church, and therefore both the Latin versions labour to corrupt it. Anastasius translates it most falsely thus : “The General Councils
every where received, which have laid down rules in several chapters concerning images,"I &c. And the old Latin version with less sincerity still saith, “That though in these General Councils many canons were made for images, yet none appeared for abrogating them."'S Both which translations contradict the Greek of Germanus's epistle, and the truth also ; and the attempt of the translators to corrupt this place, declares that the Roman Church hath long since had the art of making old authors speak their own sense ; but still it is plain that image-worship was not established by all or any of these six General Councils.
Again, we may be confident that they have no good proofs from
genuine antiquity, because they fly to fabulous narrations and spurious tracts for evidence of this pretended tradition.
So Pope Gregory cites the Epistle of Abgarus to our Saviour, || which was condemned as fabulous and apocryphal by his predecessor Pope Gelasius, in a Council at Rome, 1 and is rejected at this day by most of the learned writers of that Church. The Council also cites a canon of a Council held by the Apostles at Antioch ; in which, “lest the faithful should err any more about idols, they appoint them to make
* Act. 4. p. 234. A.
+ Act. 4. p. 306. D. Ibid. in versione Latin.
§ Versio antiq. p. 779. C. || Ep. Greg. p. 14. B. Conc. 1. Rom. sub Gelasio, (vol. 4. p. 1265.]
the statue of our Lord Jesus Christ, both God and man Which Council and canon are of their own devising, and attested by no credible author. Pope Adrian cites a notorious fable of the images of the Apostles shewed to Constantine the Great by Pope Sylvester, who had fled to Mount Soracte for fear of Constantine's persecution, and was now pretended to be called back from thence. Yet it is most certain there was no persecution at all in the time of Sylvester; for Constantine was become a professed Christian in the time of Miltiades, his predecessor ; whom the Emperor had constituted the judge of Cæcilianus' cause, I and (as Romish authors affirm) he had given that Lateran palace, and divers noble gifts to Rome, in the days of this Miltiades. $ How then can it be likely Constantine should afterwards turn persecutor again in the days of Sylvester? or need a new miracle to convert him? But the story served the present turn, and so it was all one whether it were true or false. Again, the Council produces a relation of the bleeding of an image of our Saviour, and the conversion of many Jews thereupon, which they father upon Athanasius the Great.|| But the whole passage is proved fabulous by a learned author of ours, T and Nannius, a doctor of Louvain, who first digested Athanasius's works into tomes, put this among
the spurious pieces. Yea, Bellarmine himself affirms this sermon was not the work of the famous Athanasius, but of a much later author : "For,” saith he, “Sigebert, in his Chronicle, relates this miracle as done but in the year 766, that is only twenty years before this Council of Nice.”** And the whole story smells so strong of the legend, that we may well believe there never was any such thing. But it was a late invention of the image-worshippers to countenance their doctrine, and by the inventors published under a great name to gain credit to it. There are many more passages cited as testimonies of antiquity, which are most incredible fables, worthy of derision rather than a serious confutation. Such are those legends quoted out of Sophronius of Jerusalem, who died about the year 636, about which time the sixth General Council complains, that “ many
That those de for immer
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uncil at ho arned Water ta Cound? st the tibi them to s
* Act. 3. [Ib. vol. 7.] p. 63. C.
† Act. 2. p. 102. E. # Optat. Milev. 1. 1. [ut supra, p. 24.] etc. Euseb. Hist. 1. 10. c. 5. [p. 391. Par. 1659.]
Binii not. in Vit. Miltiadas, tom. 1. par. 2. p. 209. A. | Act. 4. p. 218. B.
Riveti Critic. Sacr. 1. 3. c. 6. (p. 1105. col. 1. Roterod. 1652.] ** Bellarm. de Script. Eccles. in Athan. p. 52.
P. 179. C.
had filled up the lives of the martyrs with feigned stories ;"* of which kind we may well reckon that ridiculous tale concerning a certain hermit, who sware to the devil not to reveal his advice, which was, not to worship any more an image which he kept in his cell.† But yet afterwards he informs his confessor what counsel the devil had given him, who gravely and piously declares, that “the hermit had better go into every bawdy-house in the city, than neglect to worship the images of Christ and the blessed Virgin."I Which excellent divinity and rare history pleased the Fathers of this Council so well, that they cite it again in the next act, § and make many notable remarks upon it, as a famous evidence of the agreement of the Fathers concerning image-worship;ll whereas the most of these relations are but about one hundred or one hundred and fifty years older than this Council ; and so cannot make out a tradition, which they pretend had continued for near eight hundred years; being rather the dreams of superstitious monks, and apocryphal as well as ridiculous fables, | than the testimonies of
any eminent or genuine Fathers. As for the places they cite out of approved authors, either they are only about the use of pictures for ornament and history, or they are nothing at all to the purpose, and none of them are sufficient to prove a tradition down from the Apostles' times. For St. Chrysostom lived near four hundred years after Christ ; and he only saith (if the sermon be his), “that some people, out of their affection to their bishop Meletius, procured his picture, and hung it up to keep him in their memory.' But he speaks of no adoration paid either to this picture, or to that of the angel destroying the Assyrians in their tents; he calls it, indeed, a pious representation, and saith, he was pleased with it.tt So Gregory Nyssen was much affected with a picture of Abraham's offering up son Isaac. 11 And no doubt many Protestants are much pleased with good pictures of Scripture-history, and yet never intend to worship or adore them : for they grant with St. Cyril, that “it is lawful to describe any historical passage in Scripture in a picture."$$ But what is all this to their purpose? They tell us that Gre
* Conc. 6. Constant. Can. 63. [vol. 6. p.
1172.] + V. Treatise of the Fallibility of the Roman Church, pref. p. 5, 6. I Act. 4. p. 250. D. E.
§ Act. 5. p. 382. A. || Act. 4. p. 254. B. and Act. 5. p. 383. C. ( Epist. Adriani ad Carol. M. p. 939. D.
** Act. 4. tt Ibid. p. 202. C. #1 Ibid. p. 206. B. $$ Ibid. p. 206. B.
p. 202. A.