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good thing shall ever be wanting in thine house from my God: yea, and if any other, imitating thee, shall in like manner celebrate

my

memorial, he shall receive an everlasting gift from my God, and a blessing all the days of his life.

When he comes to suffer, he makes him pray to God thus :-“ Hear me, thy servant; and whosoever shall have recourse to this thine altar, (he means himself,) and whosoever shall have swallowed a bone or prickle, or be vexed with any disease, or be in affliction or necessity of persecution, grant, Lord, to every one his heart's desire, as thou art gracious and merciful; for thou art to be glorified now and evermore.

When he had thus prayed, (saith he,) Christ descended from heaven as a cloud, and overshadowed him; and our Saviour said unto him, O

my beloved champion, I will not only do this, but that also which thou didst request for the widow; and I will bless also every house which shall celebrate thy memory, and I will fill their store-houses with all good things, for this thy glorious confession and thy faith which thou hast in me.

Saint Catharine, whom he calls Æcatharina, a martyr of Alexandria, under Maximianus, he makes to pray thus at her martyrdom :-“Grant unto those, O Lord, who through me shall call upon thy holy name, such their requests as are profitable for them; that in all things thy wondrous works may be praised now and evermore.”

But, above all the rest, Marina's prayer, whom we Latins call Saint Margaret, is complete and for the purpose. She suffered under Diocletian, and thus she prayed, if you dare believe Simeon :—“And now, O Lord, my God, whosoever for thy sake shall worship this tabernacle of my body, which hath fought for thee, and whosoever shall build an oratory in the name of thy handmaid, and shall therein offer unto thee spiritual sacrifices, oblations, and prayers, and all those who shall faithfully * describe this my conflict of martyrdom, and

* O happy Simeon !

ever.

shall read and remember the name of thy handmaid, give unto them, Most Holy Lord, who art a lover of the good and a friend of souls, remission of sins; and grant them propitiation and mercy, according to the measure of their faith ; and let not the revenging hand come near them, nor the evil of famine, nor the curse of pestilence, nor any grievous scourge; nor let any other incurable destruction, either of body or soul, betide them. And to all those who shall in faith and truth adhere to my house (her oratory or chapel) or unto my name, and shall unto thee, O Lord, offer glory, and praise, and a sacrifice in remembrance of thine handmaid, and shall ask salvation and mercy through me; grant them, () Lord, abundant store of all good things : for thou alone art good and gracious, and the giver of all good things for ever and

Amen.” While she was thus praying with herself, (saith Simeon) behold there was a great earthquake, &c. yea, and the Lord himself, with an host and multitude of holy angels standing by her, in such sort as was perceptible to the understanding, said, “Be of good cheer, Marina, and fear not, for I have heard thy prayers, and have fulfilled, and will in due time fulfil, whatsoever thou hast asked, even as thou hast asked it.

Thus saith Simeon, who nevertheless, in the very entrance to this his tale of Marina, or Margaret, complains much, forsooth, that not a few of these narrations of the acts of martyrs were at the beginning forged, yea, profaned (as he saith more truly than he was aware of) *“ with the most evident doctrines of demons.” Besides, he calls I know not what narration of this virgin's martyrdom, in that sort corrupted, tdictio demoniaca : but for his ownl part, he would reject all counterfeit fables, and tell us nothing but the very truth. Which how honestly he has performed, and what touchstone he used, let the reader

* Evidentissimis demoniorum doctrinis.

+ A demon story.

judge. * Baronius, 1 am sure, is quite ashamed of him ; who, though he can be sometimes content to trade with not much better ware, yet this of Simeon's, he supposes, will need very much washing and cleansing before it be merchantable.

CHAP. V.

AN USEFUL DIGRESSION CONCERNING THE TIME WHEN SI

MEON METAPHRASTES LIVED, AND THE OCCASION OF HIS WRITING. THAT HIS LIVING WITHIN THE TIME OF THE GREAT OPPOSITION AGAINST SAINT-WORSHIP MOVED HIM TO DEVISE SUCH STORIES AS MADE FOR THE CREDIT AND ADVANTAGE OF THAT CAUSE THEN IN DANGER. A BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT (EVEN OUT OF THE RECORDS LEFT BY THE ADVERSARIES) OF THE GREAT OPPOSITION IN THE GREEK AND EASTERN CHURCHES AGAINST WORSHIPPING OF IMAGES AND OF SAINTS: WHEN IT BEGAN, HOW LONG IT LASTED, AND UNDER WHAT EMPERORS. OF THE GREAT COUNCIL HELD AT CONSTANTINOPLE UNDER CONSTANTINUS COPRONYMUS AGAINST IDOLATRY. AN ATTEMPT TO FOIST IN TWO CANONS IN FAVOUR OF SAINT-WORSHIP FRUSTRATED. SEVERAL SLANDERS AND CALUMNIES FASTENED UPON THE COUNCIL AND THE EMPEROR BY THE IDOLATROUS FACTION. THE ORIGINAL OF THESE SLANDERS: THAT THEY WERE NOTORIOUS LIES, PROVED FROM THE DECREES OF THE COUNCIL.

BUT for the better understanding of this mystery of iniquity, and what necessity there was of such desperate shifts when time was; ye shall know that this superstitious Simeon lived towards the end of that time of great and long opposition against idolatry in the Greek and Eastern Churches, by divers Emperors with the greatest part of their Bishops, Peers, and People, lasting from about the year of our Lord 720 till after 840, that is 120 years ; which was not against images only, though they bare the name; but the worship of saints and their reliques ; the state whereof it shall not be amiss to represent out of such records of antiquity, as our adversaries themselves have been pleased to leave us; if it be but for their sake who so often ask us whether there were ever any of our religion before Luther. Let us, therefore, hear what writers of their own sect, such as then lived and were eye witnesses, will tell us.

* In notis ad martyrologium Romanuin. Jul. 13.

Leo Isaurus (saith Theophanes, Miscell. lib, 21, cap. 23.) erred not only about the respective adoration of venerable images, but about the intercession of the most chaste Mother of God, and all the Saints, whose reliques also the most wicked man abominated like unto his masters the Mahumetans.

This was the first of those Emperors; the next was Constantinus, whom they surnamed Copronymus, of whom the same author speaks as followeth : “ This pernicious (saith he), inhumane, and barbarous Emperor, abusing his authority tyrannically, and not using it lawfully, at the very beginning made an Apostasy from God and his undefiled Mother and all his Saints."

Again, lib. 22, cap. 42. upon the twenty-sixth year of his reign :

He shewed himself wicked, beyond the frenzy of the Mahumetans, to all that were Orthodox (so he calls idolators,) under his Empire, Bishops, Monks, Laymen and other his subjects; every where, as well by writing as by speech, banishing, as unprofitable, the intercessions of the holy Virgin and Mother of God and of all the Saints, (through which all succour is conveyed unto us) and causing their holy Reliques to be rejected and despised : and if the Reliques of any notable Saint, sovereign both to body and soul, were known to lie anywhere, and were, as the manner is, honoured by those which were religious ; presently he threatened such as these with death, as wicked doers, or else with proscriptions, banishment, and torture. As for the Reliques acceptable to God, and esteemed by

the possessors as a treasure, they were taken from them from thence forward to be made hateful things.

Again, cap. 48, of the next year:

If any one getting a fall, or being in pain, chanced to utter the usual language of Christians, saying, O Mother of God, help me; or were found keeping Vigils, &c., he was adjudged as the Emperor's enemy, and styled immemorabilis, unworthy of memory: This was a title of infamy.

Again cap. 54, Anno regni 31.

If one were found to have a Relique but to keep, (that is, though he worshipped it not,) yet nevertheless did Lichanodraco (the Emperor's President) burn it, and punish him that had it as a wicked doer. Thus far Theophanes.

Hear now what the Author of the Acts of Monk Stephen, whom the same Emperor made one of their Martyrs for patronizing Idols, can tell us : hear what, he saith of the great Council of Constantinople, held in this Emperor's reign against Images.

O Christ how should I not admire thy lenity!—To that height did those most impudent tongues yet further break out, that they were not afraid to utter that monstrous and impious speech, viz. That the very Virgin-Mother of God herself was now after her death unavailable, and no use to be made of her, nor could she help or protect any

one.

The same Author thus deplores the state of those times, abusing the words of Psalm 79.

O God, the heathen are come into thine Inheritance; thy holy Temple have they defiled, and made Jerusalem an heap of stones: the dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat to the fowls of the air, and the flesh of thy Saints unto the beasts of the earth; that is, (saith he) the venerable and sacred Reliques of the Martyrs,* which they cast partly into the fire, partly into the water,

* Quas partim igni, partim mari, partim denique (ô facinus orbi universo damnum serens !) præcipitiis tradiderunt;

D

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