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quoque omnes imagines e templis submovere. Videatur etiam Cassanclri consul -
tatio, sub boc titulo et JMasitis in Josuab, c. 8. Sic autem queritur Ludovicus
Vives, Comment, in lib. viii. c. ult. de Civit. Dei. Divos divasque non aliter
venersintur, quam Deum ip-sum. Non video in multis quid distrimen sit inter
eorumopiinonem de sanciij, et id quod Gentiles putabant de Diis suis. Diodorus
Siculus (lixil de Mose, imiij;iiiem statuit nullam, ideo quod non crederet Deum
bon.ini similem esse: et Dion. lib. xxxvi. Aullaui effigiem in Hiorosolymis
babuere, quod Deum crederent ut ineffabilem, ita inaspicuum auSjj.

r Consul, de Imagin. ex Origene cont. Celsum, lib. vii. versus finem.

Epist. xlix. p. 3.


senses, although they be senseless and without life, they
affect weak minds, that they seem to live and feel, especially
when the veneration of a multitude is added to it, by which
so great a worship is bestowed upon them." Here is the
danger, and how much is contributed to it in the Church of
Rome, by clothing their images in rich apparel, and by pre-
tending to make them nod their head, to twinkle the eyes,
and even to speak, the world is too much satisfied. Some
such things as these, and the superstitious talkings and act-
ings of their priests, made great impressions upon my neigh-
bours in Ireland ; and they had such a deep and religious
veneration for the image of our lady of Kilbrony, that a wor-
thy gentleman, who is now with God, and knew the deep
superstition of the poor Irish, did not distrain upon his
tenants for his rents, but carried away the image of the female
saint of Kilbrony ; and instantly the priest took care that
the tenants should redeem the lady, by a punctual and speedy
paying of their rents; for they thought themselves unblessed
as long as the image was away ; and, therefore, they speedily
fetched away their ark from the house of Obed-Edom, and
were afraid that their saint could not help them, when her
image was away. Now if St. Paul would have Christians to
abstain from " meats sacrificed to idols," to avoid the giving
offence to weak brethren, much more ought the Church to
avoid tempting all the weak people of her communion to
idolatry, by countenancing, and justifying, and imposing,
such acts, which all their heads can never learn to distinguish
from idolatry.

I end this with a memorial out of the Councils of Sens
and Mentz, who command " moneri populum, ne imagines
adorent; The preachers were commanded to admonish
the people, that they should not adore images." 4 And for
the novelty of the practice here in the British Churches, it is
evident in ecclesiastical story, that it was introduced by a
synod of London, about the year 714, under Bonifacius, the
legai e, and Bertualdus, archbishop of Dover ; and that with-
out disputation or inquiry into the lawfulness or unlawful-
ness of it, but wholly upon the account of a vision pretended
to be seen by Egwin, bishop of Worcester ; the Virgin
Mary appearing to him, and commanding that her image

C. xiv.c. 41. ap. Bellar. lib. ii. de Imag. S. S. c. 22, sect. Secunda propositio.


should be set in churches and worshipped. That Austin the
monk brought with him the banner of the cross, and the
image of Christ, Beda tells ; and from him Baronius and
Binius affirm, that before this vision of Egwin, the cross
and image of Christ were in use ; but that they were at all
worshipped or adored, Beda saith not; and there is no record,
no monument of it, before this hypochondriacal dream of
Egwin : and it further appears to be so, because Albinus or
Alcuinus, an Englishman, 11 master of Charles the Great, when
the king had sent to Offa the book of Constantinople, for
the worship of images, wrote an epistle against it, "ex auc-
toritate Divina IScripturarum mirabiliter am'rmatum;" and
brought it to the king of France in the name of our bishops
and kings, saith Hovedon.*

Of Picturing God the Father, and the Holy Trinity.

AGAINST all the authorities almost, which are or might be
brought to prove the unlawfulness of picturing God the
Father, or the Holy Trinity, the Roman doctors generally give
this one answer; that the fathers intended by their sayings,
to condemn the picturing of the Divine essence ; but con-
demn not the picturing of those symbolical shapes or forms,
in which God the Father, or the Holy Ghost, or the blessed
Trinity, is supposed to have appeared. To this I reply,
1. That no man ever intended to paint the essence of any
thing in the world. A man cannot well understand an
essence, and hath no idea of it in his mind, much less can a
painter's pencil do it. And, therefore, it is a vain and imper-
tinent discourse to prove, that they do ill, who attempt to
paint the Divine essence. y This is a subterfuge which none,
but men out of hope to defend their opinion otherwise, can
make use of. 2. To picture God the Father in such sym-
bolical forms in which he appeared, is to picture him in no
form at all ; for generally both the schools of the Jews and
Christians consent m this, that God the Father never

u A. D. circiter 792. * Aunal. part. i. sect. 7.

i Vide Plutarch, de Iside et Osir.


appeared in his person; for as St. Paul affirms, he " is the
invisible God, whom no eye hath seen or can see ;" he always
appeared by angels, or by fire, or by storm and tempest, by
a cloud, or by a still voice ; he spake by his prophets, and
at last by his Son ; but still the adorable majesty was reserved
in the secrets of his glory. 3. The Church of Rome paints
the Holy Trinity in forms and symbolical shapes, in which
she never pretends the blessed Trinity did appear, as in a face
with three noses and four eyes, one body with three heads ;
and as an old man with a great beard, and a pope's crown
upon his head, and holding the two ends of the transverse
rafter of the cross with Christ leaning on his breast, and the
Holy Spirit hovering over his head : and, therefore, they wor-
ship the images of God the Father, and the Holy Trinity,
" figures which, "as is said ofRemphan and the heathen gods
and goddesses, " themselves have made;" which therefore,
must needs be idols by their own definition of ' idolurn;'
' simulacrum rei non existentis ; ' for never was there seen any
such of the Holy Trinity in Unity, as they most impiously
represent. And if when any thing is spoken of God in
Scripture allegorically, they may of it make an image to God,
they would make many more monsters than yet they have
found out. : for as Durandus 2 well observes, " If any one shall
say, that because the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of
a dove, and the Father, in the Old Testament, under the cor-
poral forms, that therefore they may be represented by images,
we must say to this, that those corporal forms were not
assumed by the Father and the Holy Spirit; and, therefore,
a representation of them by images is not a representation of
the Divine person, but a representation of that form or shape
alone. Therefore there is no reverence due to it, as there is
none due to those forms by themselves. Neither were these
forms to represent the Divine persons, but to represent those
effects, which those Divine persons did effect." And, there-
fore, there is one thing more to be said to them that do so ;
" They have chmged the glory of the incorruptible God into
the similitude of a mortal man." a Now how will the reader
imagine that the ' Dissuasive' is confuted, and his testimonies
from antiquity answered? Why, most clearly : E. W. saith, b
that " one principle of St. John Damascen doth it, it solves all

1 In 3. Sent. dist. 9, q. 2, n. 15. Rom. i. 23. b P. 60.


that the Doctor hath or can allege in this matter." Well!
what is this principle? The words are these (and St. Austin
points at the same) ; " Quisnam est, qui invisibilis, et corpore
vacantis, ac circumscriptionis et figurse expertis, Dei simula-
crum effingere queat? Extremes itaque dementise atque im-
pietatis fuerit divinum numen fingere et figurare." This is
the principle to confute the Doctor : why, but the Doctor
thinks, that, in the world, there cannot be clearer words fur
the reproof of picturing God and the Holy Trinity. For
" to do so is madness and extreme impiety," so says Damas-
cen : But stay, says E. W., d these words of Damascen are,
" as who should say, he that goes about to express by any
image the perfect similitude of God's intrinsical perfections
or his nature" (which is immense without body or figure),
" would be both impious, and act the part of a madman."
But how shall any man know that these words of Damascen
are ' as much as to say' this meaning of E. W.? and where is
this principle, as he calls it, of Damascen, by which the Doc-
tor is so every where silenced ? Certainly E. W. is a merry
gentleman, and thinks all mankind are fools. This is the
ridiculous commentary of E. W. : but Damascen was too learn-
ed and grave a person to talk such wild stuff. And Cardinal
Cajetan gives a better account of the doctrine of Damascen :'
" The authority of Damascen in the (very) letter of it con-
demns those images (viz. of God) of folly and impiety. And
there is the same reason now concerning the Deity which
was in the old law. And it is certain, that in the old law the
images of God were forbidden." To the like purpose f is that
of the famous Germanus, who though too favourable to pic-
tures in churches for veneration, yet he is a great enemy to
all pictures of God: " Neque enim invisibilis Deitatis ima-
ginem, et similitudinem, vel schema, vel figuram aliquam
formamus," c. as who please may see in his epistle to Tho-
mas, bishop of Claudiopolis. But let us consider when God
forbade the children of Israel to make any likeness of him, did

c De Fideet Symbolo, c. vii. Damasc. lib. iv. Orthod. Fidei, c. 17.

d P. 60.

e Auctoritas Damusceni in litera damnat illas (imagines Dei) insipientia3 et
impietalis. Et eadem est ratio nunc de Deitate, quaj erat in veteri lege quoad rem
figurabilem vel noii secunduiu se. Constat autem in veteri lege imagines Dei
esse prohibitas.

f Videat (si placet) lector Lucum Fudensem adv. Albig. Error, lib. ii. c. 9.
torn. iv. Bibl. p.p. part. ii. Apud. Kicen. Synod. 11, act. 5.


he only forbid them to express by any image the perfect
similitude of his intrinsical perfections ? Had the children of
Israel leave to picture God in the form of a man walking in
Paradise? Or to paint the Holy Trinity like three men talk-
ing to Abraham ? Was it lawful for them to make an image
or picture, or (to use E. W.'s expression) " to exhibit to
their eyes those visible or circumscribed lineaments," which
any man had seen ? And when they had exhibited these
forms to the eyes, might they then have fallen down arid
worshipped those forms, which themselves exhibited to their
own and others' eyes? I omit to inquire how they can
prove that God appeared in Paradise in the form of a man,
which they can never do, unless they will use the friar's
argument; " Faciamus hominem ad similitudinern nostram,"
&c. and so make fair way for the heresy of the Anthropo-

But I pass on a little further : Did the Israelites, when
they made a molten calf, and said, " These are thy gods, O
Israel," did they imagine, that, by that image, they repre-
sented the true form, essence, or nature, of God ? Or did the
heathens ever pretend to make an image of the intrinsical
perfections of any of their ' majores' or ' minores dii,' or any of
their demons and dead heroes ? And because they neither
did nor could do that, may it therefore be concluded, that
they made no images of their gods? Certain it is, the hea-
thens have as much reason to say they did not picture their
gods, meaning their nature and essence, but, by symbolical
forms and shapes, represented those good things which they
supposed them to have done. Thus the Egyptians pictured
Joseph with a bushel upon his head, and called him their
god Serapis ; but they made no image of his essence, but
symbolically represented the benefit he did the nation by
preserving them in the seven years' famine. Thus Ceres is
painted with a hook and a sheaf of corn, Pomona with a bas-
ket of apples, Hercules with a club, and Jupiter himself with
a handful of symbolical thunderbolts ; this is that which the
popish doctors call picturing God, not in his essence, but
in history, or in symbolical shapes: for of these three ways 5

Observandum est tribus modis posse aliquid pingi. Unomodo ad exprimen-
dam perfectam similitudinern formulae, et outline reiipsius. Alter modo ad bisto-
riam aliquam oculis exbibendam. Tertio potest aliquid piugi extra Listoriam ad
explicaudam naturam rei, non per imuiediatam et propriam similitudinem, sed


of picturing God, Bellarmine says the two last are lawful.
And, therefore, the heathens not doing the first, but the
second and the third only, are just so to he excused as the
Church of Rome is. But then neither these nor those must
pretend that they do not picture God ; for whatever the
intention be, still an image of God is made: or else why do
they worship God by that which, if it be no image of God,
must, by their own doctrine, be an idol? And, therefore,
Bellarniine's distinction is very foolish, and is only crafty to
deceive; for, besides the impertinence of it in answering the
charge, only by declaring his intention as being charged
with picturing God ; he tells he did it indeed, but he meant
not to paint his nature, but his story or his symbolical sig-
nifications, which I say is impertinent, it not being inquired
with what purpose it is done, but whether or no ; and an
evil thing may be done with a good intention : besides
this, I say that Bellarmine's distinction comes just to this
issue: God may be painted or represented by an image, not
to express a perfect similitude of his form or nature, but to
express it imperfectly, or rather not to express it, but ' ad
explicandam naturarn,' to explain it, not to describe him
truly, but historically ; though that be a strange history,
that does not express truly and as it is : but here it is plainly
acknowledged, that besides the history, " the very nature of
God may be explicated by pictures" or images, provided
they be only metaphorical and mystical, as if the only reason
of the lawfulness of painting God is, because it is done
imperfectly, and unlike him ; or as if the metaphor made the
image lawful ; just as if to do Alexander honour, you should
picture him like a hear, tearing and trampling every thing ;
or, to exalt Caesar, you should hang upon a table the pictures
of a fox, and a cock, and a lion, and write under it, This is
Caius Julius Csesar. But I am ashamed of these prodigious
follies. But at last, why should it be esteemed madness and
impiety to picture the nature of God, which is invisible, and
not also be as great a madness to picture any shape of him,
which no man ever saw ? But. he that is invested with a thick
cloud, and encircled with an inaccessible glory, and never
drew aside the curtains to be seen under any representment,

analogiam, sive metapboricas, mysticasque significationes. Bellarm. tie Imug.
lib. ii. c. 8, sect. Pro Solutione. Hoc modo pingimus Deum, ibid. sect. Hoc modo.


will not suffer himself to be exposed to vulgar eyes, by
fantastical shapes, and ridiculous firms.

But it may be, the Church of Rome does not use any
such impious practice, much less own so mad a doctrine ;
for one of my adversaries says, that " the picturing the forms
or appearances of God is all that some (in their church)
allow," that is, some do, and some do not : so that it may
be only a private opinion of some doctors, and then I am
to blame to charge popery with it. To this I answer, that
Bellarmine 1 ' indeed says, " Non esse tarn certum in ecclesia
an sint facienclae imagines Dei sive Trinitatis, quam Christi et
sanctorum ;" " It is not so certain," viz. as to be an article of
faith. But yet, besides that, Bellarmine allows it, and cites
Cajetan, Catharinus, Payva, Sanders, and Thomas Waldensis,
for it ; this is a practice and doctrine brought in by an un-
proved custom of the Church; " Constatquod h?ec consuetudo
depingendi angelos et Deum, modo sub specie columbse,
modo sub figura Trinitatis, sit ubique inter catholicos recepta ;
The picturing angels, and God, sometimes under the
shape of a dove, and sometimes under the figure of the
Trinity, is every where received among the catholics," said a
great man 4 amongst them. And to what purpose they do
this, we are told by Cajetan, k speaking of images of God
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, saying, " Haec non solum
pinguntur, ut ostendantur sicut cherubim olim in templo, sed
ut adorentur; They are painted, that they may be wor-
shipped," " ut frequens mus ecclesise testatur ; This is
witnessed by the frequent use of the Church." So that this
is received every where among the catholics, and these images
are worshipped, and of this there is an ecclesiastical cus-
tom ; and I add, in their Mass-Book lately printed, these
pictures are not unfrequently seen. So that now it is neces-
sary to shew that this, besides the impiety of it, is against
the doctrine and practice of the Primitive Church, and is an
innovation in religion, a propriety of the Roman doctrine,
and of infinite danger and unsufferable impiety.

To some of these purposes the ' Dissuasive' alleged Ter-
tullian, Eusebius, arid St. Jerome; but A. L. says, 1 these

h Lib. ii. de Reliq. et Imngin. S. S. c. 8, sect. Ego dico tria.

1 Pujol, de Adorat. disp. 3, sect. 4.

k In 3. part torn. q. 25, a. 3. l P. 28.


fathers have nothing to this purpose. This is now to be
tried. These men were only named in the ' Dissuasive.'
Their words are these which follow :

1. For Tertullian : m A man would think it could not be
necessary to prove that Tertullian thought it unlawful to
picture God the Father, when he thought the whole art of
painting and ranking images to be unlawful, as I have already
proved. But, however, let us see. He is very curious that
nothing should be used by Christians, or in the service of
God, which is used on, or by, or towards, idols ; and because
they did paint and picture their idols, cast, or carve them,
therefore, nothing of that kind ought to be " in rebus Dei,"
as Tertullian's phrase is. But the sum of his discourse is
this ; " The heathens use to picture their false gods, that
indeed befits them, but, therefore, is unfit for God ; and, there-
fore, we are to flee, not only from idolatry, but from idols :
in which affair a word does change the case, and that which,
before it was said to appertain to idols, was lawful, by that
very word was made unlawful, and, therefore, much more by
a shape or figure ; and, therefore, flee from the shape of them ;
for it is an unworthy thing, that the image of the living God
should be made the image of an idol or a dead thing. For
the idols of the heathens are silver and gold, and have eyes
without sight, and noses without smell, and hands without
feeling." So far Tertullian D argues. And what can more
plainly give his sense and meaning in this article? If the
very image of an idol be unlawful, much more is it unlawful
to make an image or idol of the living God, or represent him
by a dead man.

But this argument is further and more plainly set down
by Athanasius, whose book against the Gentiles is spent in re-
proving the images of God, real or imaginary ; insomuch that
he affirms that the Gentiles dishonour even their false gods,
by making images of them, and that they might better have
passed for gods, if they had not represented them by visible
images. And, therefore, " That the religion of making images

"> !)e Cor. Mil it.

n De Cor. Milit. Johannes ' Filioli,' inquit, ' Custodite vos ah idolis/ non jnm
ab idololatria quasi ah officio, sed ah idolis, id est, abipsa effigie eorum : indignum
enim est ut imago divini, imago idoli et mortui fiat : si enim verbo nudo conditio
polluitur, ut apostolus docet, ' si quis dixerit idolothvtum est, non contigeris,'
multo magis cum habitu, et ritu, et apparatu, &.C. Quid enim tarn (lignum Deo
quam quod indignum idolo 1


of their gods, is not piety, lout impious. For to know God
we need no outward thing ; the way of truth will direct us to
him. And if any man ask which is that way, viz. to know
God, I shall say, It is the soul of a man, and that understand-
ing which is planted in us ; for by that alone God can be
seen and understood." The same father does discourse
many excellent things to this purpose ; " as that a man is the
only image of God ; Jesus Christ is the perfect image of his
glory, and he only represents his essence ; and man is made
in the likeness of God, and, therefore, he also, in a less
perfect manner, represents God : besides these, if any man
desires to see God, let him look in the book of the creature ; and
all the world is the image and lively representment of God's
power, and his wisdom, his goodness, and his bounty. But
to represent God in a carved stone, or a painted table, does
depauperate our understanding of God, and dishonours him
below the painter's art ; for it represents him lovely only by
that art, and, therefore, less than him that painted it." But
that which Athanasius adds is very material, and gives great
reason of the command, why God should severely forbid any
image of himself: " Calamitati enim et tyrannidi servientes
homines unicum illud nulli communicabile Dei, nomen
lignis lapidibusque imposuerunt ; Some, in sorrow for their
dead children, made their images and fancied that presence ;
some, desiring to please their tyrannous princes, put up their
statues, and at a distance, by a fantastical presence, flattered
them with honours. And, in process of time, these were
made gods; and the incommunicable name was given to
wood and stones." Not that the heathens thought that


image to be very God, but that they were imaginarily present
in them, and so had their name. " Hujusmodi igitur initiis
idolorum inventio, Scriptura teste, apud homines cospit ;
Thus idolatry began, saith the Scripture, and thus it was
promoted ; " and the event was, they made pitiful concep-

' Nam si, ut clicitis, literarum instar Dei praesentiam signant, atque adeo, ac
si Deum significantia, Divinis dignae censentur honoribus, certe qui ea sculpsif,
eisque effigiem dedir, multo magis hos promereb'itur honores.' Et paulo post:
' Quocirca hujusmocii religio, Deorumque fictio non pietatis est, sed iniquitatis
invectio. Veritatis via ad eum, qui verus Deus est, diriget. Ad eum vero
cognoscendum et exactissime intelligendum, nullius extra nos posits rei opera
necessariam habemus. Quod si quis interrogat qusnam ista sit ? Uniuscujusque
animam esse dixerim, atque insitam illam iutelligentiam; per ipsam euim solain
Deus hispid, et intelligi potest.' Orat. cont. Gentilei.


tions of God, they confined his presence to a statue, they
worshipped him with the, lowest way imaginable, they de-
scended from all spirituality and the noble ways of under-
standing, and made wood and stone to be as it were a body
to the Father of spirits, they gave the incommunicable name
not only to dead men, and angels, and demons, but to the
images of them ; and though it is great folly to picture angel-
ical spirits, 'and dead heroes, whom they never saw, yet, by
these steps, when they had come to picture God himself, this
was the height of the Gentile impiety, and is but too plain a
representation of the impiety practised by too many in the
Roman Church.

But as we proceed further, the case will be yet clearer.
Concerning the testimony of Eusebius, I wonder that any
writer of Roman controversies should be ignorant, and being
so, should confidently say, Eusebius had nothing to this
purpose, viz. to condemn the picturing of God, when his
words are so famous, that they are recorded in the seventh
synod ; p and the words were occasioned by a solemn mes-
sao-e sent to Eusebius by the sister of Constantius and wife

> *

of Licinins, lately turned from being pagan to be Christian,
desiring Eusebius to send her the picture of our Lord Jesus ;
to which he answers, " Quia vero de quadam imagine, quasi
Christi, scripsisti, hanc volens tibi a nobis mitti, quam dicis,
et qualem, hanc, quam perhibes, Christi imaginem ? Utrum

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