Jeremy Taylor.

The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) online

. (page 15 of 50)
Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 15 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


symbolical confession of their not being ashamed, but of
their glorying in the real cross of Christ : but they never
worshipped the material cross, or the figure of it, as appears
by St. Cyril's owning all the objections, excepting this only,
of which he neither confessed the fact, nor offered any justi-
fication of it, when it was objected, but professed a doc-
trine, with which such practice was inconsistent. And the
like is to be said of some other of the fathers, who speak
with great affections and veneration of the cross, meaning to
exalt the passion of Christ; and, in the sense of St. Paul, to
glory in the cross of Christ, not meaning the material cross,
much less the image of it, which we blame in the Church of
Rome : and this very sense we have expressed in St. Am-
brose : " Sapienter Helena egit, quce crucem in capite regum
levavit, ut Christi crux in regibus adoretur; The figure
of the material cross was, by Helena, placed upon the heads
of kings, that the cross of Christ in kings might be adored:"
How so ? He answers, " Non insolentia ista sed pietas est, cum
defertur sacrae redemption! ; It is to the holy redemption,
not to the cross materially taken ; this were insolent, but the
other is piety. " p In the same manner also St. Chrysostom
is, by the Roman doctors, and particularly by Gretser and
E.VV.,' 1 urged for the worshipping Christ's cross. But the book
' de Cruce et Latrone,' whence the words are cited ; "Gretser
and Possevine suspect it to be a spurious issue of some un-
known person : it wants a father ; and sometimes it goes to
St. Austin, and is crowded into his sermons ' de Tempore :' r

Nemo antem ignorat nulli prorsus naturae, praelerquam Dei, adorationem a
scripturis contribui Thesaur, lib. ii. c. 1. et alibi. Una natura est deitatis quam
solummodo adorare oportet.

P Orat. de Obitu Theodos. 1 E. W. p. 57. r Serm. xxx.



138 OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.

but I shall not trouble my discourse any furtber with such
counterfeit ware. What St. Chrysostom's doctrine was in the
matter of images, is plain enough in his indubitate works, as
is, and shall be, remarked in their several places.

The famous testimony of Epiphanius, against the very
use of images in churches, being urged in the ' Dissuasive' as
an irrefragable argument that the Roman doctrine is not pri-
mitive or catholic, the contra-scribers say nothing ; but that
"when St. Jerome translated that epistle of St. Epiphanius,
it appears not that this story was in that epistle that St. Je-
rome translated ; which is a great argument that that story
was foisted into that epistle after St. Jerome's time." 8 A likely
matter ! but spoken upon light grounds. ' It appears not,'
saith the objector, ' that this story was in it then.' To whom
does it not appear ? To Bellarmine indeed it did not, nor to
this objector who writes after him. Alan Cope denied that
Epiphanius ever wrote any such epistle at all, or that St.
Jerome ever translated any such ; but Bellarmine, being
ashamed of such unreasonable boldness, found out this more
gentle answer, which here we have from our objector : well !
but now the case is thus ; that this story was put in the epistle ?
by some iconoclast, is vehemently suspected by Bellarmine
and Baronius. But this epistle vehemently burns their fingers,
and the live coal sticks close to them, and they can never
shake it off. For, 1 . who should add this story to this epistle,
not any of the reformed doctors ; for before Luther's time
many ages, this epistle with this story was known, and con-
fessed, and quoted, in the manuscript copies of divers nations.

2. This epistle was quoted, and set down as now it is, with this
story by Charles the Great above eight hundred years ago.

3. And a little after by the fathers in the Council of Paris ; only
they call the author John, bishop of Constantinople, instead
of Jerusalem. 3. Sirmondus, 1 the Jesuit, cites this epistle as
the genuine work of Epiphanius. 5. Marianus Victor, and
Dionysius Petavius, a Jesuit, of great and deserved fame for
learning, in their editions of Epiphanius, have published this
whole epistle ; and have made no note, given no censure,
upon this story. 6. Before them Thomas Waldensis" and
since him Alphonsus a Castro, acknowledge this whole

A. L. ' Sirmond. Not. in Concil. Norbon. c. 13, lib. i. Concil. Gal.

u Tom. iii. lit. 19, c. 157, et apud Bellarm. lib. ii. de Imag. c. 9.



OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES. 139

epistle as the proper issue of Epiphanius. 7. Who can be
supposed to have put in this story ? The iconoclasts ? Not the
Greeks, because, if they had, they would have made use of
it for their advantage, which they never did in any of their
disputations against images; insomuch that Bellarmine x
makes advantage of it, because they never objected it. Not
the Latins that wrote against images ; for though they were
against the worship of images, yet they were not iconoclasts :
indeed Claudius Taurinensis was, but he could not put this
story in, for before his time it was in, as appears in the book of
Charles the Great before quoted. These things put together,
are more than sufficient to prove that this story was written
by Epiphanius, and the whole epistle was translated by St.
Jerome, as himself y testifies. But after all this, if there was
any foul play in this whole affair, the cozenage lies on the
other side ; for some or other have destroyed the Greek ori-
ginal of Epiphanius, and only the Latin copies remain; and
in all of them of Epiphanius's works, this story still remains.
But how the Greek came to be lost, though it be uncertain,
yet we have great cause to suspect the Greeks to be the au-
thors of the loss : and the cause of this suspicion is the com-
mand made by the bishops in the seventh council, 2 that all
writings against images should be brought in to the bishop
of Constantinople, there to be laid up with the books of
other heretics. It is most likely here it might go away :
but, however, the good providence of God hath kept this
record to reprove the follies of the Roman Church in this
particular.

The authority of St. Austin, reprehending the worship of
images, was urged from several places of his writings cited
in the margent. In his first book ' de Moribus Ecclesiae,' he
hath these words, which I have now set down in the mar-
gent ; in which, describing among other things the difference
between superstition and true religion, he presses it on to
issue : " Tell not me of the professors of the Christian name.
Follow not the troops of the unskilful, who in true religion
itself either are superstitious, or so given to lusts, that they
have forgotten what they have promised to God. I know
that there are many worshippers of sepulchres and pictures;
I know that there are many who live luxuriously over [the

* Lib. ii. de Imag. c. 9, sect. Secundo quia baeretici.

i In Epist. 61. 101, ad Pammach. * Sjn. vii. act. 8, can. 9.



140 OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.

graves of] the dead." a That St. Austin reckons these that
are worshippers of pictures, among the superstitious and the
vicious, is plain, and forbids us to follow such superstitious
persons. But see what follows : " But how vain, how hurtful,
how sacrilegious, they are, I have purposed to shew in an-
other volume.'' b Then addressing himself to the Manichees,
who, upon the occasion of these evil and superstitious prac-
tices of some catholic, did reproach the catholic Church, he
says, " Now I admonish you that at length you will give
over the reproaching the catholic Church, by reproaching
the manners of these men (viz. worshippers of pictures, and
sepulchres, and livers riotously over the dead), whom she
herself condemns, and whom as evil sons she endeavours to
correct." By these words now cited, it appears plainly, that
St. Austin affirms, that those few Christians, who in his time
did worship pictures, were not only superstitious, but con-
demned by the Church. This the ' Letter-writer' denies St.
Austin to have said ; but that he did say so, we have his
own words for witness. Yea, but, 2. ' St. Austin did not
speak of worshippers of pictures alone:' What then? Nei-
ther did he of them alone say they were superstitious, and
their actions vain, hurtful, and sacrilegious. But does it
follow that therefore he does not say so at all of these, be-
cause he says it of the others too ? ' But, 3. Neither doth he
formally call them superstitious;' I know not what this
offer of an answer means : certain it is, when St. Austin had
complained that many Christians were superstitious, his first
instance is of them that worship pictures and graves. But
I perceive this gentleman found himself pinched beyond re-
medy, and like a man fastened by his thumbs at the whipping-
post, he writhes his back and shrinks from the blow, though
he knows he cannot get loose.

* Jam videbitis quid inter ostentationem et sinceritatem postremo quid inter
superstitionis Sirenas et portum religionis intersit. Nolite mihi colligere profes-
sores nominis Cbristiani, nee professionis sure vim aut scientes aut exhibentes.
Nolite consectari turbas imperitorum, qui vel iu ipsii vera religione superstitiosi
sunt, vel ita libidinibus dediti, ut obliti sint quid promiserint Deo. Novi multos
esse sepulchrorum et picturarum adoratores, novi multos esse qui luxuriosissime
super mortuos vivant. C. 34.

b Sed et ilia quam vana sint, quAm noxia, quam sacrilega, quemadmodum a
magna parte vestrum, atque adeo pene ab omnibus vobis non observentur, alio
volumine ostendere institui. Nunc vos illud admoneo, ut aliquando ecclesiae
catholics maledicere desinatis, vituperando mores bominum quos et ipsa con-
demnat, et quos quotidio tanquam malos filios corrigere studet.



OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES. 141

In the margent of the ' Dissuasive,' there were two other
testimonies of St. Austin pointed at ; but the ' Letter' d says
that, in these, St. Austin hath not a word to any such pur-
pose : that is now to be tried. The purpose for which they
were brought, is to reprove the doctrine and practice of the
Church of Rome in the matter of images : it was not in-
tended that all these places should all speak or prove the
same particular ; but that which was affirmed in the text, being
sufficiently verified by the first quotation in the margent, the
other two are fully pertinent to the main inquiry, and to the
condemnation of the Roman doctrine, as the first was of the
Roman practice. The words are these : " Neither is it to be
thought, that God is circumscribed in a human shape, that
they who think of him, should fancy a right or a left side ;
nor that because the Father is said to sit, is it to be supposed,
that he does it with bended knees, lest we fall into that
sacrilege, for which the apostle execrates them that change
the glory of the incorruptible God into the similitude of
a corruptible man. For, for a Christian to place such an
image to God in the church is wickedness, but much more
wicked is it to place it in our heart." So St. Austin. Now
this testimony had been more properly made use of in the
next section, as more relating to the proper matter of it, as
being a direct condemnation of the picturing of God ; but
here it serves without any sensible error, and wherever it is,
it throws a stone at them, and hits them. But of this more
in the sequel.

But the third testimony 8 (however it pleases A. L. to deny
it) does speak home to this part of the question, and con-
demns the Roman hypothesis: the words are these; "See
that ye forget not the testimony of your God which he
wrote, or that ye make shapes and images : " but it adds also,
saying, ' Your God is a consuming fire, and a zealous God.'
These woj'ds from the Scripture, Adimantus propounded ;
" Yet remember not only there, but also here concerning the
zeal of God, he so blames the Scriptures, that he adds that
which is commanded by our Lord God in those books, con-
cerning the not worshipping of images ; as if for nothing
else he reprehends that zeal of God, but only because by

c De Fide et Sjmb. c. vii. cont. Adimant. c. xiii. d P. 27.

e Cont. Adimant. c. xiii.



142 OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.

that very zeal we are forbidden to worship images. There-
fore he would seem to favour images, which therefore they
do that they might reconcile the good-will of the Pagans to
their miserable and mad sect ; " meaning, the sect of the
Manichees, who to comply with the Pagans, did retain the
worship of images. And now the three testimonies are verified ;
and though this was an unnecessary trouble to me, and I
fear it may be so to my reader, yet the Church of Rome hath
got no advantage but this, that in St. Austin's sense, that
which the Romanists do now, the Manichees did then ; only
these did it to comply with the heathens, and those out of
direct and mere superstition. But to clear this point in St.
Austin's doctrine, the reader may please to read his nine-
teenth book against Faustus the Manichee, chap. 18, and the
119th epistle against him, chap. 12, where he affirms that the
Christians observe that, which the Jews did in this, viz. that
which was written, ' Hear, O Israel, The Lord thy God is one
God, thou shalt not make an idol to thee, and such-like
things : ' and in the latter place, he affirms that the second
commandment is moral, viz. that all of the decalogue are
so, but only the fourth. I add a third as pregnant as any of
the rest : for in his first book ' de Consensu Evangelistarum,'
speaking of some who had fallen into error upon occasion of
the pictures of St. Peter and St. Paul, he says, " Sic nempe
errare merueruht, qui Christum et apostolos ejus non in
sanctis codicibus sed in pictis parietibus quaesiverunt."

The Council of Eliberis is of great concern in this ques-
tion, and does great effort to the Roman practices. E. W. f
takes notice of it, and his best answer to it is, that it hath
often been answered already. He says true ; it hath been
answered both often and many ways. The council was, in the
year 305, of nineteen bishops, who in the thirty-sixth canon
decreed this ; " Placuit picturas in ecclesiis esse non de-
bere, It hath pleased us that pictures ought not. to be in
churches ;" that is the decree ; the reason they give is, " ne
quod colitur et adoratur, in parietibus depingatur, lest
that which is worshipped, be painted on the walls." So that
there are two propositions; 1. Pictures ought not to be in
churches. 2. That which is worshipped, ought not to be
painted upon walls. E. W. g hath a very learned note upon

f P. 57 f Ibid.



OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES. 143

this canon. " Mark, first the council supposeth worship and
adoration due to pictures, ' ne quod colitur et adoratur.'" By
which ' mark,' E. W. confesses, that pictures are the object of
his adoration, and that the council took no care and made
no provision for the honour of God (who is and ought to be
worshipped and adored in churches, ' et illi soli servies'), but
only were good husbands for the pictures for fear, 1. they
should be spoiled by the moisture of the walls, or, 2. defaced
by the heathen ; the first of these is Bellarmine's, the latter
is Perron's answer : but too childish to need a severer con-
sideration. But how easy had it been for them to have com-
manded, that all their pictures should have been in frames,
upon boards or cloth, as it is in many churches in Rome, and
other places. 2. Why should the bishops forbid pictures to
be in churches? for fear of spoiling one kind of them, they
might have permitted others, though not these. 3. Why
should any man be so vain as to think, that in that age, in
which the Christians were in perpetual disputes against the
heathens for worshipping pictures and images, they should
be so curious to preserve their pictures, and reserve them
for adoration ? 4. But then to make pictures to be the sub-
ject of that caution, " ne quod colitur et adoratur," and not
to suppose God and his Christ to be the subject of it, is so
unlike the religion of Christians, the piety of those ages, the
economy of the Church, and the analogy of the command-
ment, that it betrays a refractory and heretical spirit in him
that shall so perversely invent an unreasonable commentary,
rather than yield to so pregnant and easy testimony. But
some are wiser, and consider that the council takes not care
that pictures be not spoiled, but ' that they be not in the
churches :' and that what is adorable, ' be not there painted,'
and not, ' be not there spoiled.' The not painting them is
the utmost of their design, not the preserving them ; for we
see vast numbers of them every where painted on walls, and
preserved well enough, and easily repaired upon decay, there-
fore this is too childish ; to blot them out for fear they be
spoiled, and not to bring them into churches for fear they be
taken out. Agobardus, bishop of Lyons, above eight hun-
dred years since, cited this canon in a book of his which he
wrote ' de Picturis et Imaginibus,' which was published by
Papirius Massonus ; and thus illustrates it : " Recte (saith



144 OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.

he) nimirum ob hujusmodi evacuandam superstitionem ab
orthodoxis patribus definittim est ' picturas in ecclesia fieri
non debere ; nee quod colitur et adoratur, in parietibus de-
pingatur;'" where first he expressly affirms these fathers in
this canon to have intended only rooting up this superstition,
not the ridiculous preserving the pictures. So it was under-
stood then. But then, 2. Agobardus reads it " nee," not " ne
quod colitur;" which reading makes the latter part of the
canon, to be part of the sanction, and no reason of the former
decree ; ' Pictures must not be made in churches ; neither
ought that to be painted upon walls, which is worshipped
and adored.' This was the doctrine and sentiment of the wise
and good men above eight hundred years since. By which
also the unreasonable supposition of Baronius, that the canon
is not genuine, is plainly confuted ; this canon not being
only in all copies of that council, but owned for such by
Agobardus so many ages before Baronius, and so many ages
after the council. And he is yet further reproved by Cardinal
Perron, who tells a story, that in Granada, in memory of this
council, they use frames for pictures, and paint none upon
the wall at this day. It seems they in Granada are taught
to understand that canon according unto the sense of the
patrons of images, and to mistake the plain meaning of the
council For the council did not forbid only to paint upon
the walls, for that, according to the common reading, is but
accidental to the decree ; but the council commanded that
no picture should be in churches. Now then let this canon
be confronted with the Council of Trent, " sess. 25, decret.
de S. S. Invoc." " Imaginis Christi, Deiparaj Virginis, et
aliorum sanctorum, in templis prsesertim, habendas et reti-
nendas; that the images of Christ, and of the Virgin mother
of God, and of other saints be had and kept especially in
churches :" and in the world there cannot be a greater con-
tradiction between two, than there is between Eliberis and
Trent, the old and the new Church : for the new Church not
only commands pictures and images to be kept in churches,
but paints them upon walls, and neither fears thieves nor
moisture. There are divers other little answers amongst the
Roman doctors to this uneasy objection ; but they are only
such as venture at the telling the secret reasons why the
council so decreed; as Alan Cope saith, it was so decreed,



OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES. 145

lest the Christians should take them for gods, or lest the
heathens should think the Christians worshipped them : so
Sanders. But it matters not for what reason they decreed ;
only if either of these say true, then Bellarmine and Perron
are false in their conjectures of the reason. But it matters
not ; for suppose all these reasons were concentred in the
decree, yet the decree itself is not observed at this day in the
Roman Church, but a doctrine and practice quite contrary
introduced. And therefore my opinion is, that Melchior
Canus answers best : " Aut nimis duras aut parum rationi
consentaneas a conciliis provincialibus interdum editas, non
est negandum. Qualis ilia non impudenter modo, verum
etiam impie, a Concilio Elibertino de tollendis imaginibus." h
By tliis we may see, not only how irreverently the Roman
doctors use the fathers, when they are not for their turns ;
but we may also perceive, how the canon condemns the
Roman doctrine and practice in the matter of images.

The next inquiry is concerning matter of history, relating
to the second synod of Nice in the East, and that of Frank-
fort in the West. In the ' Dissuasive' it was said, that Ed-

* O

nardus, Hincmarus, Aventinus, Sec., affirmed, l.That the bi-
shops assembled at Frankfort, and condemned the synod of
Nice. 2. That they commanded it should not be called a
general council. 3. They published a book under the name
of the emperor, confuting that unchristian assembly. These
things were said out of these authors, not supposing that
every thing of this should be proved from every one of them,
but the whole of it by its several parts from all these put
together.

1, That the bishops of Frankfort^ condemned the synod
of Nice or the seventh general. Whether the * Dissuasive'
hath said this truly out of the authors quoted by him, we
need no further proof, but the confession of Bellarmine.
" Auctores antiqui omiies conveniunt in hoc, quod in Conci-
lio Francofordiensi sit reprobata synodus VII., quae decreve-
rat imagines adorandas. Ita Hincmarus, Aimonius, Rhegino,
Ado, et alii passim decent." ' So that if the objector blames
the ' Dissuasive' for alleging these authorities, let him first
blame Bellarmine, who confesses that to be true, which the

h Loc.Theol. lib v. c. 4.

1 Lib. ii. de Imagin. c. 11, sect. Secundo quia.
VOL. XI. L



146 OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.

' Dissuasive' here affirms. Now, that by the seventh synod Bel-
larmine means the second Nicene, appears by his own words
in the same chapter: " Videtur igitur mini in synodo Franco-
fordiensi vere reprobatam Nicsenam II. synodum ; sed per
errorem, et materialiter," k &c. And Bellarmine was in the
right ; not only those which the ' Dissuasive' quoted, but ' all
the ancient writers,' saith Bellarmine. So the author of the
Life of Charles the Great, speaking of the Council of Frank-
fort ; "Their Queen Fastrada died. ' Pseudosynodus Grseco-
rum, quam falso septimam vocabant pro imaginibus, rejecta
est a pontificibus.' " The same is affirmed by the annals of
the Franks ;' by Adhelmus Benedictinus in his annals, in the
same year ; by Hincmarus Rhemensis" 1 in an epistle to Hinc-
marus his nephew ; by Strabus the monk of Fulda, Rhegino
Prumiensis, Urspergensis, and Hermanus Contractus, in their
annals and chronicles of the year 794. By Ado Viennensis ; n
" Sed pseudosynodus, quam septimam Grseci appellant, pro
adorandis imaginibus, abdicata penitus." The same is affirm-
ed by the annals of Eginardus ; and by Aimonius ;P and
Aventinus. I could reckon many more, if more were neces-
sary, but these are they whom the ' Dissuasive' quoted, and
some more ; against this truth nothing material can be said,
only that Hincmarus and Aimonius (which are two whom the
* Dissuasive' quotes) do not say that the synod of Frankfort
rejected the second Nicene, but the synod of Constantino-
ple. But to this Bellarmine himself answers, that it is true
they do so, but it is by mistake ; and that they meant the
council which was kept at Nice : so that the * Dissuasive' is
justified by his greatest adversary. But David Blondel an-
swers this objection, by saying, that Constantinople being
the head of the Eastern empire, these authors used the name
of the imperial city for the provinces under it : which answer
though it be ingenious, yet I rather believe that the error
came first from the Council of Frankfort, who called it the
synod at Constantinople, and that after it, these authors
took it up ; but that error was not great, but always excusa-
ble, if not warrantable ; because the second Nicene Council
was first appointed to be at Constantinople, but by reason of

k Sect. Neque obstat. ' Ad annum 794.

m Opusc. 55, n. cap. xx. n Chron. aetat. 6, ad annum Christieundemet792.

Ad eund. annum. P Lib. iv. c. 85.



OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES. 147

the tumults of the people, was translated to Nice. But to
proceed ; that Blondel (whom the ' Dissuasive' also quotes)
saith, the synod of Frankfort abrogated the seventh synod,
the objector confesses, and adds, that it confuted the Feli-



Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 15 of 50)