« PreviousContinue »
Mofes or of Christ, and call them Means of Grace to us, because so ufed by them.
But as to the Reliques in your Church, many of them have been notoriously. Dete &ed, and it has been found out, That the dead Bodies of Malefactors have been taken for the Reliques of Saints, and great Miracles said to be done by them. The same Religue of such a Saint, the Head or Finger is thewn in several Places, and each Contend that theirs is the Right, and each have Min racles avouched for them. Many Instances of this, with Youchers undeniable, you will find in The Devotions of the Roman Church.. How then can you Worship such Reliques in Fairba without which it is a Sin!
(35.) But not only the Saints, and their Reliques, but their Images are with you made a distinct Means of Grace ; for in the Consecration of the Image of a Saint, it is said, That whoever shall Worship sych a Saint, coram hac Imagine, before this Image, may obtain so and so, for which End the image is Blessed and Sanctified. So that it is not enough to Worship the Saint, but if I do it before Such, a Consecrated Image, I fall obtain more Grace than otherwise. This makes the Image it self a Means of Grace, for there is Vertue. there. Why else would it not do as well to Pray, and not before such an Image? Why else indeed are such Images fo formally Confecrated, if there be no Vertue in the Consecra
tion ? And why do Men go Pilgrimages, or fend Vows to Loretto, or any other distant Place, if they think ther is no Vertue in the Image there, more than in Forty of the same fort which they may have at Home? And the Saint Represented by the Image is as near them in the one place as in the other; ther must be then fome Vertue Communicated to one Image more than to another,
L. Then you are against any Piętures or l. mages of the Saints, or paying any Honour to the Holy Men departed.
G. No, My Lord, We are not so Stingy, We scruple not. Pictures for Ornament, but not for Worship, or for Worshipping before them, as you speak.' And we Honour the Saints departed, as far as we think Lawful, and, as we are verily* Persuaded, as far as they Desire ; since according to St. Augu Ain's Rule before mentioned, if they Accepted our Adoration, it would prove them to be Evil Spirits. And then you are to Confider, that instead of Intercefors, as you hope for by your Worlhip of them, they will vindicate themselves, and become your Accusers. But in our Honour of them, we first take Care not to specify any particular Person as a Saint, but who is so Recorded in Holy Scripture ; for we underland not Canonizations by Men who know not the Heart; in the next place, we limit the Honour we pay them by the Rule of God's Commandments, which we suppose moft Pleasing to them. We keep
particular Holy Days for the Apostles, St. Joba Baptist, St. Stephen, &c. We bless God for them, commemorate their Vertues, and pray that we may follow their good Examples. We have One Day for All the Saints in General, and another for St. Michael and all Angels. Thus we Honour them, and for this we bear the Reproach of our four Diflenters, as if we were too much Inclining to Popery. You think we give too little Honour to the Saints, and they think wegive too much! But we hope we keep the Mean. We abstain from the Pictures or Images of the Saints in our Churches, because they have been abused to Superftition, and to avoid Offence. But in Places not De dicated to Worship, as in private Houses, we think them got Unlawful, more than the Picture of any Good Man.
Epiphanius was very zealous against having them brought into Churches, and tells fobr, Bifhop of Jerusalem, in a Letter translated by St. Jerom, that finding a Linnen Cloth hung up in a Church Door, (it is likely to keep out the Wind) whereon was a Pi&ture of Christ, or of fome Saint, he Tore it, and Ordered a dead Corps to be Buried in it. And he Lamented the Superftition he saw coming, by these Pia Etures and Images then beginning to Creep into the Church.
The Abuse of things, tho otherwise Law. ful, which are not Instituted by God for Standing Means of Grace, as Baptism and the Lord's Supper, may jaftly take away the Use of them. Thus the Brazer Serpent was appointed by God as a Means of Grace for Miraculous Curès in the Wilderness, and was Preferved until the
Days of Hezekiah, but when 2 Kin. xviii. 4.
they burned Incense to it, it became an Idol, was broke to pieces and calIed by a Contemptible Name Nehushtan, that is, A Bit of Brass. How much more Reason is there to Remove the Piętures and Images of Saints (which God never 'Appointed) out of our Churches, when we see Incense burned to them, and they Worshipped in your Churches, as Means of Grace.' And yet there is no Evil in the Pictures themselves.
(36) But there is One Picture I think has Evil in it, and is Unlawful any where; and
yet it is seen in your Churches, and cominonly over the Altar, that is, the Picture or Image of God the Father, like an Old Man, &c. We are forbid to Make it, and then we cannot Worship it.
See how positively God forbids it, Deut. iv.
Take good beed unto your selves, for
ye faw no manner of Similitude (that is of God in the Day that the Lord spake unto you-lest ye Corrupt your selves, and make you a graven Image, the Similitude of any Figure, the Likeness
of Male or Female, &c. And again, Rom. 1. 23. They changed the Glory of the Uncorruptible God into an Image made like to Corruptible Man, &c.
L. Both these Texrs are Quoted and Anfwered in our Catechism ad Parochos, upon the
First Commandment, and the Answer is this, (b) That the Sin here forbidden is to Paint or Carve Imaginem Divinitatis
, A Picture or Image of the Divinity, or of the Divine Nature.
G. Pray, My Lord, did you ever know a Painter or Statuary who Attempted to draw a Picture or make an Image of a Thought, or of a Soul?
L. No, for they cannot be seen. Piltures and Images are made for the Eye. How then can a Likeness or Similitude be drawn of what is Invisible
G. And is not the Great God more Invisible, and the Divine Nature much more Incomprebenfible even to our Thoughts or Imagination? How then can it be Represented to our Eye ? I dare say, there never was a Man lince Adam who would own any such thing, or ever had so foolilh a Thought. No, but when they drew any Picture or Similitude of God, it was only meant to Express some of His Attributes or Perfe&tions ; as by Fire His Purity, by a Giant with Many Hands His Power, with Many Eyes His Providence, &c. And so you own that by an Old Man you only mean to Express His Antiquity. And will not this Excuse the Heathen, as well as you? See the same Excuse made by Maximus Tyrius, Disert. 38. Whether Statues were to be made for the Gods ? But here you would put an Imposible Meaning upon the Pro
(a) De Cultu & Invocatione Sanctorum. Sect. xxxiv. xxxv.