Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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holden at Frankfort by the authority of Charles the Qreat^ had a par-



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409 A viKDiGATioN eip TSi ^jmnoffmstom on fiat lux.

tjcobr adtnaikt^e both over tlia trnpHMS tmi thepatiiMrDli of Confl^ufi^
(bople. Tb»6il0b9m6mpmbM^glhe^grM4^
inteiBtme divimoni, md proio^d on aU mA&& bjr iba flfMoaoens^ tbe eat-
-gsem b^gan to oBtotajn floioa b^es of relitf from ibePreiudi in tbo
w^ whose power wm thengrowii veiy grmi; md to that end $c&r
9itad a manriage for Im mn milk tbe daughter of Ohadee the Gseai,
ead m^poged tk^A ehe might be bebed (bareb by the mediaJtion of
H^driaay-^tbe bishops of Bome hi^dog no email band in tbe promo*
tion of (he attempt of PeiHu and CWiee tbe Gmat for the crown of
Fiwee,andaAierweirdfer(hei(K)i¥iiieetof B^ And,

besides, ahe was a woman hsKAdlf seaioufllj adcHetol to tbat hind of
superstition which Hadiian hfA espeueed, lie hainiig m tbe time ef
Leo her bushaod kept her hMges in ptiirate, oontmyimte what abe
bad solemnly swam mito her &^er, m OredimMs relator in his aimakL
Ae for ThaoMMM, bs wee, oontrary to all eecl e O i agtiori. canons, of a
mere layman^at ^mee, '^per saltum/' mode patriarch of Constantinople;
which Hadrian, upon his fin^t having of, greatly exelaimed agak»t^
and refused to roQeive him into the aoeietf of patriarchs upon faia
s^ftding of his aigpykotm^ epiade^ This is fully dedaned in tba
^istle of Hadrian, evtant {ntiie eeto of U^ ooun<^ But yet after^
wd, bethinking himself hnw use&l this mm might be unto hm
dedgn in getting the wonbip of ima^ inUblisfaed in the east, he
dedares that if he will use means to get the ^be^resy/'aa he called it,
of the image-oppoasm extirpated, and tiieir "renemtion established, he
would consent to lus cieetion and oonseer9tion, or else not Finding
bow the matter was like to go with him,ithis Ifly-pstnardi undertakes
the work, ^nod effectually prosecutes it in this synod, aaaembkd at
Nice by the authority of Isene the empress jmd her son Qonstantinei
But by the way, wh» the council was assembled, he omitted not the
opportunity of improring his own interest, getting himaelf styled
Oecumenical or Unireisal Patriarch; wfakh Anastasins Bibhodie-
oarius, in his dedication of his trandation of the Acts <^ this Cottr-
vention unto John YIIL, bewails, and aaeribes it unto the flattery of
tbe Greeks. The frauds, forgeries, and follies of this coundl, and
%noranoe and dotage of the Others of it, have been euffieiaitiy by
others discovered Our present conoenDtvient is only to inquireyv*-
first, What thsy tiomght concerning imag8rw(»ahip ; and, secondly, Horn
they proved what they taught; seeing unto th^ we are sent by the
Tridentine decree to be instructed in yo;inr £uth in tiiis saatter.

First, They make the haviig «nd use of images in the worship of
Qod of indiq>en8able necessity; so that they anathematize and caat
out of the communion of the diurch all that reftiae to receive and use
them according to their prescript Tea^ they proceed so far in their
apprd[>ation of tbe confeosiQn of Theodosius, the hisbop of Ammoiia^.



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THBWOS8HIPOTWA.(!BEL 431

$B to deiumucB an anathema against them that do but doubt of their
.reo^tioD ; Tuft ib^if iC#Xov i^^m^/ rj)y AftiyoMnr nmi f^ii i» '4^9; oyCMXo^oDtfi
irpptfKtnffJi' nk^tfMrrdU^ilx^va; d^hfM (ao he <doaeth his oodMion, whidi
they all approYo as ortiiodox);-«^' Anathema to ihem that are am-
biguous or donbtfiil in their minds, and do jMt oonfess witii ihek
h^urts'^ (<< esc animo'^ ^ that sacred images are to be worshipped;''
■:vb€arein they, and you inth them, add schism to their idolatry, caat*
jng out of the churches those who ^end neither agafaist the gospel
nor the deteonnination of any geneial ooimcil of old; makii^ the rule
of your communion to oonsiBt in a sonry piece cS will-worsUp of your
4»wn invention; which douUes Iha crime of your superstiticm, and
^ys an mtolenble entanglement upon the oonseiencee of men whidi
are persuaded firom the Scripture that they shall be accursed of God
if they do jEeoeive images into his worship, after the manner of your
{macciptiiML t

fieoondly, Thqrafifarm, a hmidred times over, tiiat^ images are rdl*
giowiy to be adored and worshipped;^' diait is, with divine worship.
So, in the eoii£aesion of the same Tbeedosius: 'Ofj^\»yii xai ^wrrihfuu

Xft(mS, (and «o of the rest);^^^ I confess, consent unto, reeeive, em-
faraoe or sahite, I wossb^ or adore, the image of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and of the blessed Virgin, and of the apostles and martyra''
The same is affinned in the epistle of Hadrian, recited in the second
act of the synod, which they jJl approve, and afiredi enrse all them
thait dogmatize or teach any thii^ against that wordiip of image&
And Gregory the monk, no small man amongst them, affirms that
he hoped by his eonfession of this doctrine he believed, he *^ should
dUain the iiorgivepess d his stns,'^ act S. And John, who fiikely
preteaded himself to be delegated ftom the oriwital patriardis, when
he was sent only by a few ignorant mos3kB ef Palestine, prefers
inoMges shove the word itoelf, act 4: 'A^n /(m/^omt if dkStf rou X^u* —
^ An image is greater than the wonl"' And again, 'i^p^ww/Mu^t at
Hfiuw tixSm rS titayyikkf — ^* HonomaUe images are equivalent to tfaa
gospel"' And they prove the worship ihey intend to be divine by
thw wise explication of that text^ ''The Lord thy Ood shak thou
wxMTship, and him (mly shalt thou mrref* ^Erl pk9 rtZ Xmrptimg rpo*

:^ttrff^p U oid«/4M(*-*^' Unto the wcnrds^ ^Ibouchak serve," ' (yidy* is
aibjoined; but not unto the word ' worship:' so that it is lawM to
i^onhip Qmages), but not to serve tbeoL^ A wise busbess! but it
difloovess sufficLoody what is the worship which tliey ascribe unto
linages, even tjbe same that is giv^ onto God; for, if we may be-
lieve them, other things are not exduded from oommunion with God
i|i thifl matter of wonhip and adoration. Whonoe the council of



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432 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIMADVKBSIOHS ON FIAT LUX.

Frankfort doth expressly charge them that they taught that images
were to be adored with the honour due to God, act 4. And so
much weight do they lay upon this devotion, that they approve the
counsel given by Theodorus the abbot unto the monk whom the
devil vexed with temptations for worshipping the image of Christ;
who told him that '' He had better resort to all the stews in the town
than cease worshipping of Christ in his image;'' — ^ufifipn 0*0/ /lij xara-
X/Tf?k f/( ri)y T^X/y ra{fTriv 9ropviTov ilg 3 /Jkii f/tflX^f];, x. r. X. It seems it was
uncleanness that the devil tempted him unto, as well knowing that
spiritual and coiporeal fornication commonly go together.

Thirdly, In every session they instance in some particulars
wherein the adoration of images which they professed did consist;
as, in particular, in religious saluting of them, kissing of them, bouh
ing before them, and so adoring of them. To this purpose their
words are very express. Now all these were ever esteemed tokens,
pledges, and expressions of religious or divine worship, and were the
very ways whereby the heathen of old expressed their veneration of
their images and idols. Job, intimating the way whereby they wor-
shipped the sun, moon, and host of heaven, — ^which crime he denies
himself to be guilty of, — tells us, *' that when he considered the sun
and the moon, his heart did not seduce him that he should put his
hand to his mouth;'' that is, to salute them: '^For this," saith he,
" had been to deny God above," Job xxxL 26-28. As Catulus, —

M Constiteram, exorientem atuoram forte salutani^

Quum sobito a 18bt& BoscIub exoritur." Cio. N. J>., L 28.

He stood saluting or worshipping the rising sun. And that also was
their meaning in kissing of them, or kissing their hands in saluting
of them. Ho& xiiL 2, *' Let them kiss the calves;" that is, worship
them, express their religious adoration of them, by that outward sign.
As Cicero, in Verr. vL 43 : " Herculis simulacrum non solum venerari,
sed etiam osculari sohti fuerunt" So Minutius Felix tells us that
his companion Caecilius coming where the image of Serapis was set
up, " admovit manum ori et osculum labris pressit," — ''put his hand
to his mouth and kissed it," as worshipping of it And for creeping^
kneeling, or bowing, it is so certain an evidence of divine worship,-
that all worship, both false and idolatrous or true, is oftentimes ex-
pressed thereby. So the worshipping of Baal is called, " Bowing the
knee to Baal" They that bowed the knee unto him or his image,
in their so doing worshipped him, 1 Kings xix. 18; Bom. xi. 4. And
where God promiseth to bring all nations to the worship of himself
he says, " They shall bow the knee to him," Bom. xiv. 11. So that*
these are all expressions of religious worship ; and they are all accursed
over and over by the council, who do not by these means express
their worship of images. This is the doctrine, this is the practice^



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THE WORSHIP OP IMIGIS. 4^3

-which the TrideDti&e daoree i^roves of, and sends us io leam of the
second synod c^Nice. And this they expreoB, in most places, in those
very terms that were used by the Pagans in the worship of their idols;
making, indeed, no distinction, but that whereas the Pagans wor-
shipped the images of Jupiter and Minerva, and the like, they in the
like manner worshipped the images of Christ and his apostles. And
therefore in the Indies, the Catholic Spaniards took away the semes,
•or unages of their idols, that the poor natives had before, and gave
them the images of Christ and his mother in their stead

This being the doctrine of the oouncil, it may not be amiss to
consider a little how they proved and confirmed it Two things they
principally insisted on: — h Testimoniee of Scripture; 2. Mirad$9.
Some sayings also they produced out of some ancient writers of ih»
church, but all of them either perverted or forged. The Scripturee
they infflsted on were all of them gathered together in the epistle
of Pope Hadrian, whidi was solemnly assented unto by the whole
council And they were these: — ''Qod made man of the dust of
the earth, after his own image," Gren. i ''Abel, by his own choice,
offered a sacrifice unto Qod of the firstlings of his flock," Oen. iv.
'' Adam, of his own mind, called all the beasts of iktb field by tiieir
proper names^" Gen. iL " I^oah, of his own accord, built an altar
unto the Lord," Gen. viiL '' Abraham, of his own free will, erected
an altar to the glory of God," Gen. xii. ^' Jacob, having seen in his
sleep the angels of God ascending and descending by the ladder, set
up the stone on which his head lay for a pillar," Gen. xxviiL ; and
again, " He worshipped on the top of his sta£^" Gen. xlvil SI. " Moses
made the brazen serpent and the cherubims." Isaiah saith, ''In
those days there shall be an altar unto the Lord, and it shall be for
a sign and a testimony," chap. xiz. David the psalmist says, " Con*
fession and beauty are before him;" and again, " Lord, I hiskve loved
the beauty of thine house;" and again, " Thy &ce. Lord, will I
seek," Pa xzvL; and again, " The rich among the people shall bow
themselves before thy fece," Pa xliv.; and again, " The light of thy
countenance is signed or lifted up upon us," Pa iv.^ " Si hoc non sit
testimoniorum satis^ ego neecio quid sit satia" He must be very ro-
fractory, and deserve a world of anathematisms, that is not convinced
by all these testimonies that images ought to be worshipped. But,
" Quod non dant proceree, dabit histrio;" — " If the Scripture will
not do it, miracles shall" Of these we have an endless number
heaped up by the good fethers, to prove their doctrine and justify
their practice. The worst is, that Tharasius almost qwils the market,
by acknowledging that the images in their days would work none of
the miracles they talked of,^so that they had them all upon hear-say.
^ Thete numenils are aooording to the Douay Teraion — ^Bd

VOL. XIV. 28



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^1$ A VINDICATIOK 07 THE AKDCADYIBSIONB ON FIAT LUX.

/Act 4y *AXXi, saith he, /t^^r/c tihrp rhos Inxtv al raf fifiTif dxSn^ o&
rA d)|/ti%( roTg itwi^oit ou roTg ^itnlmct' — " But if any should say,
' Why do our images work no miracles?' to tiiem we answer, ^ Be-
cause/ as the apostle saith, ^ signs are for wnbelieverSy not for them
that believed" And yet the misadventure of it is, that the most
of the miracles which they report and build their futh upon were
wrought as by, so amongst, their chiefest believers. And what were
the miracles themselves they boasted of? Such a heap of trash, such
A fSardel of lies, as the like were scarce ever heaped together, unless
it were in the golden l^nd Hadrian insists on the leprosy and
cure of Constantino, — as loud a lie as any in the Talmud or Alkoran.
Theodoras of Myra tells us of a deacon that '^ dreamed he saw one
in his sleep whom he took to be St Nicholas,'" act 4. Another tells
us a tale of one that ''stradc a nail in the forehead of an image, and
was troubled with a pain in his head until it was pulled out" An-
other dreamed " that the blessed Virgin brought Cosma and Damiana
to him, and commanded them to cure him of his distemper." One
man's daughter, another's wife, is helped by those image& And they
all consent in the story of the image of Christ, made without hands
or human help, by God alone (eio^Hc), that he sent to Abgarus^
king of the Edessenes, — as bellowing a lie as any in the herd. So
trae was it^ that the council of Frankfort affirmed of this idolatrous
conventicle, that they endeavoured to confirm their superstition by
feigned wonders and old wives' tales.

1. Sir, this is the doctrine, this the confirmation of it, which we
are directed unto and enjoined to embrace by your Tridentine de-
cree. This is that, yea, and more also, as you will hear by-and-by,
that you are bound to maintain and make good, if you intend to say
any Uiing to the purpose about figures or images; for you must not
think, by your sleight flourishes, to blind the eyes of men in these
days, as you have done formerly. Own your own doctrine and prac-
tice, or renounce it This tergiversation is shamefiiL And you will
yet find yourself farther pressed with the doctrine of chiefest pillars
of your church, and the public practice of it; for though this super-
stitious conventicle at Nice departed firom the faith of the ancient
diurch, and was quickly reproved and convinced of folly by persons
of more learning, sobriety, and modesty than themselves, in the veiy
age wherein they lived, yet it rose not up unto the half of the ab<v-
minations in the filth and guilt whereof your church hath since rolled
itself And yet, because I presume you are well pleased with these
Nicenians, who gave so great a lift to the setting up of your idols^
X shall give you a brief account, both what was the judgment and
practice of them that went before them in this matter, as also of
some that followed after them, with joint consent detesting your folly



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THE WOBSmP OF IMAGES. 435

and superstitioiL You tell us somewhere in your " Fiat,** that the x
primitive Christians had the picture or half-portraiture of Christ upon \
their altars. I suppose you did not invent it yoursell I wish you ^
had told us of the legend that suggested it unto you; for you seem,
in point of story, to be conversant in such learned authors as few can
trace you in. If you please to have a little patience, I shall mind
you of some that give us anoth^ account of things in those days.

(1.) Some there are of the first Christians who give us an account
of the whole warship of Oody with the manner and form of it which
was observed in their assemblies in their days. So doth Justin
Martyr in his Apologies, Tertullian in his, Origen against Celsus,
with some othera Now, in none of these is there any one word con-
cerning images, their use, or their worship in the service of God,
although they descend to describe veiy minute particulars and cir-
cumstances of their way and proceeding.

(2.) Some there are who give an account of the persecutions of
several churches^ with the outrages of the Pagans against their as-
semblies, the Scriptures, all the ordinances and worship (as do those
golden fragments of the first and best antiquity, the epistles of the
churches of Yienne and Lyons to the parishes of Asia; of the church
of Smyrna about the martyrdom of Polycarpus^ preserved and re-
corded by Eusebius), and yet make no mention cf euiy figures, pic-
tures, or images of Christ, the blessed Yirgin, or his apostles, or of
any rage of their adversaries against them, or of any q)ite done unto
them; which they would not have omitted had there been any such
in use amongst them.

(3.) There are, besides these, some imquestionable remnants of the
conceptions that the wisest and soberest of the heathen had concern-
ing the Christians and their worship, — as in the epistles of Pliny about
their assemblies, and the rescript of Trajan, as also in Ludan's Philo-
patris,^ — ^in none of which is any intimation of the Nioene images or
their adoration. It may be you will undervalue this consideration,
because built upon testimony negatively, when it doth not follow
that because such and such mentioned them not, therefore they were
not then in use or being; but, sir, an argument taken fix)m the
absolute silence of all approved authors, concerning any thing of im-
portance supposed to be or happen in their days, and who would
have had just occasion to make mention of it had any such thing
then been " in rerum natiura,'' is as great an evidence, and of as Ml
a certainty, as the monuments of times are capable o£ Is it possible
for any rational man to conceive, that if there had been such a use
and veneration of images in the primitive churches as is now in the
Roman, or that the reception and veneration of them was made the
' See note, toL Tiii p. 641«



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43d A VINDICATION OF THE ANIXADVfiftSIOKS ON FIAT LUX.

^' teasera'^ of church commutiion^ to it is by the Kicend conventicle,
that all the first writers of Christianitj, treating expressly and por-^
posely of the assemblies of the Christians^ and the wonship of Qod in
them, with the manner and circumstanoes thereof, would have been
ntterly silent of them ? or that those who set down and committed
to record all the particularities of the Pagans' rage in scattering their
assemblies, would not drop one -word of any ind%nity showed to any
of their sacred images, when they pass not by their wrath against
their houses, goods, and cattle ? Such things are fond to imagina

(4.) Many of the ancients do note it as an ahommati&n in some
of the first heretics^ that they had introduced the use of images into
their worship, with the adoration of thein. Theodoret Hseret sub.
lib. L, tells us that Simon Magus gave his own image and that of
Selene to be worshipped by his foUowem And Irenieus, lib. L
cap. 23, that the followers of Basilides used images and invocations:
and cap. 24, that the Qnostics had images, botib painted ones and
carved, and that of Ohrist, which they said was made origmally by
Pontius Pilate ; and this they adored And so doth Epiphanius also^
tom. il lib. 1, Hser. 27. Carpocrates proouredthe images of Christ
and Paul to be made, and adored them; and the like is recorded of
others. Now, do you think they would have observed and reproved
this practice as an abomination in the heretics, if there had been any
thing in the church's usage that might give countenance thereunto f
or, at least, that they would not have distinguished between that
abuse of images which they condemned in the heretics and that use
which was retained and approved among themselves ? But they are
Utterly silent as unto any .such matter, contenting themselves to re-
port and reprove the superstition and idolatry of the heretics in their
adoration of them. But this is not aU.

(5.) They positively deny that they had any images, or made any
use of them, and defend themselves against the charge of the Pagans
against them for professing an imageless religion. Clemens Alexand^
Strom, lib. vl, plainly and openly confesseth and testifieth that
Christians had no images in the world; and in his AdhortaL ad Oent.
he positively asserts that the arts of painting and carving, as to any
religious use, were forbidden to Christians; and that in the worship
of God they had no sensible image made of any sensible matter, be-
cause they worshipped God with the understanding. What was the
judgment of Tertullian is known fix)m his book, De Idololatria; from
whence if we should transcribe what is argumentative against image-
worship, very little would be remaining. But of all the ancients
Origen doth most clearly manifest what was the doctrine and prac^
tice of the church of God in his days; as in other places, so in his
seventh book against Celsus Jie directly handles this matter. Celsus



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THE W0B8HIP OF IMAGES. 437

cbarged the Christiana that they made im of no images in the wor*
ship of God, telling them that therein they were like the Pendane^
Scythians, Numidians, and Seres ; all which impious nations hated all
images, as the Tmrks do at this day. To which disooursa of bis, Ori<*
gen, returning answer, grants that the Chiistians had no images i^
tiieir sacred worship, no more than had the barbarous nations menr
tioned by Oelsus; but withal adds the difikrence ihaJt was between
those and these, and tells you that their abstinence from imsge-wovr
ship was on various aooounts. And after he hath showed wherefore
those nations receired them not, he adds, '* That Christians and Jews
abstained from all sacred use of images, because af Qod'u oommand»
^ Thou fiiialt fear' (as he reads the text) * the Lord thy God, and him
only shalt thou serve;' and, * Thou shalt not make to thyself any
graven image, nor the likeness of any thing thai is in heaven aboves,
or in the earth beneath:'" and adds, that they were so &r frt)m pr»y>-
ing to the images^ as the Pagans did, thait, saiib he, oi rt/if^fkn t&
AydX/ukara (a thing expressly commanded in theNicene opnvwticla);
r^'' We do not give any honour at all to images^ lest we should giv^
count^anoe to the error of ignonmt people, that there were some*
what of Divinity in them/' with very much more to the same pur<>
pose, expressly condemning all the use of images in the w<;^rsbip o|
God, and op^y testifying that there was no such usage among th#
Christians in those days heard of in the world. Amobius or Minur
tius Felix aoknowledgeth the same: *^ Graces neo colimus nee optik
mus;"— ** We do no more worship crosses than desire th^n;^ and
grants that Christians had *' nuUa nota simulachra>" because no image
could be made to or of Him whom alone they worshipped. What
was the judgment of the Eliberine council I have before told you.
Laotantius, in his Institut ad Constant, lib. iL, by a heqppy antidpc^
tion, answers all the arguments that you use to tius day in defoioe of
your image-worship, and concludes peremptorily, that ** where thei^
are any images, there is no religion;" showing how porv^fse a thing
it is that the image of a dead man should be worshipped by a living
image of God. The time would fail me to relate the words of I!use-
bius, Athanasius, Hilarius, Ambrosius, Cyrillus, Chrysostom, EfMr
phanius, Jerome, Austin, and others, to the same purposes J cannot
but think that it is fully erident, to any one that consults antiquity^
that the image use and worship, winch is become the ^ tesiera'' of
your churdi communion, by your espousing the canons and deter"
minations of the second Nicene 83rnod, was in part utterly unknown
unto, and in part expressly condemned by, the whole primitive church
for six hundred years after Christ; and that you have plainly, l>y
your Tridentine decree and Nicene anathematisms, cut off youreelves
froqi the communion oi the catholic church of Christy and ill pwrti-



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438 A YINDIGATION OF THE AKDCADVEBSIOKB ON FIAT LX7X.

cular assemblies that worship him in sincmty, for the epsuod of some
hundreds of years in the world.

Thus things went in the church of God before your Nicene con-
vention. How did they succeed afterward? Did image-worsh^ pre-
sently preyail upon their determinations? or was that then the fedth
of the generality of the church of Christ which was declared by iiie
fathers of that convention? Nothing less. No sooner was the rumour



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 53 of 67)