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viously rectify the greatest error of all, namely, the holding back the full extent of his Church's doctrine, while he expressly declares that he sets forth the whole. Let me therefore, in the next place, show the real state of the case, by going to what the Church of Rome admits to be the fountain head, the solemn and authoritative decrees of the General Councils-the second Council of Nice being the great authority for image worship, and the Council of Trent having pronounced its decision upon the entire subject, images, relics and all; and that too, since the Reformation. When we have learned from these the doctrine of the Roman Church, we shall be prepared to test the candour of our learned advocate, and to discuss the argument as he presents it, on the ground of Scripture and the tesmony of the fathers.
Of these two Councils, I shall first cite the Council of Trent, in the 25th session of which, (Hard. Conc. Tom. X. p. 168) after enjoining upon all bishops and priests the diligent instruction of the people in the duty of venerating and invoking the saints, and denouncing, as impious, those who deny that such supplications, "whether by the voice or by the mind," should be rendered to them, the Council proceeds to the point which more immediately concerns our present subject, in these words:
"The holy bodies also of the martyrs and others, living with Christ, are to be venerated by the faithful; for they were, when living, the members of Christ, and the temples of the Holy Ghost, and shall be raised again and glorified, and through them many favours are bestowed on man by the Almighty: so that those who affirm that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of the saints, or that it is useless for the faithful to honour these and other sacred memorials, and that it is vain to visit the sepulchres of the saints in order to ask their help, are to be altogether condemned, as the Church has already condemned, and does also now condemn them." "Moreover," continues the Council, "the images of Christ,
of the virgin, the mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained, especially in Churches, and due honour and veneration are to be rendered to them; not because it may be supposed that there is in them any divinity, or virtue, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that any thing is to be asked of them, or that confidence is to be placed in images, as was formerly the case amongst the heathen, who rested their hope on idols; but because the honour which is exhibited to them, is referred to the prototype, which they represent; so that through the images which we kiss, and before whom we uncover our heads and bow down, we adore Christ, and venerate the saints whose similitude these images do bear. The same doctrine is sanctioned by the decrees of the Councils, especially the second Council of Nice, against the opposers of images."
"Let the bishops diligently teach, that the people are to be instructed and confirmed in the assiduous commemorating and cherishing of the articles of the faith, through the mysteries of our redemption, expressed historically in pictures or other similitudes; for great benefit is received from all sacred images, not only because the people are thereby admonished of the blessings and gifts which they have received from Christ, but also, because, through the saints of God, miracles and wholesome examples are placed before the eyes of the people, in order that they may return thanks to God for them, may conduct their own lives in imitation of the lives of the saints, and may be excited to the adoration and worship of God, and the cultivation of piety. But if any one shall teach or think contrary to these decrees, let him be anathema."
In this decree of the Council of Trent, brethren, you perceive that distinct reference is made to the second Council of Nice, and therefore I shall proceed to set before you the definitive action of that celebrated Council, only premising, that it sat in A. D. 787, after the introduction of images had been for
a long time the exciting cause of the most distressing tumults and confusion; and especially after a previous Council, called by the Greek emperor, had decided against images, in the strongest and plainest terms. In this quarrel about images, the Church of Rome took one side, and the Church of Greece took the other; and the second Council of Nice was called and sustained through Roman influence.
The definitive decree of this Council is as follows: "Taught by the ancient fathers, we salute the venerable images.-Whoever does not consent herein, let him be anathema.-We salute the words of the Lord, of the prophets and apostles, by which we have learned to honour and magnify, in the first place, her who is truly and properly the mother of God, and superior to all celestial powers; and then the holy and angelic powers, and the blessed and glorious apostles, the prophets and noble martyrs who fought for Christ, and the holy and god-bearing masters, and all holy men; whose intercessions we seek, as able to render us acceptable to God the King of all, keeping his commandments, and diligent to live in virtue. And we salute also the figure of the precious and vivifying cross, and the holy relics of the saints. Moreover, we honour and salute these precious and venerable images, and honourably adore them, namely, the image of the humanity of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of our most holy and pure lady the mother of God,-and of the holy incorporeal angels, who appeared in human form to the just. In like manner also, the figures and effigies of the divine and most famous apostles and prophets, and of the martyrs and holy men, since they are able by their pictures to lead us to remember them, and draw us to the originals, and make us partakers of a certain sanctification.” (Hard. Con. Tom. 4. p. 262, & p. 266.)
"To these," therefore, "kisses and honourable adoration shall be rendered, but not that superior worship, (latria) which is according to faith, and alone becomes the divine nature.
And to these, namely, the precious figure of the vivifying cross, and to the holy gospels, and the other holy memorials, let the offering of incense and lighted candles be exhibited in their honour, according to ancient custom. For the honour of the image passes to its original, and whoever adores the image, adores in it the substance of the representation." (Ib. 455.)
"If any one does not admit the evangelical narrations made by titles or pictures, let him be anathema.”
"If any one does not kiss them, as made in the name of the Lord and his saints, let him be anathema." (Ib. 471.)
This Council, however, brethren, was not content with these decrees in favour of images, relics, and the sign of the They even went so far as to order, that no Church should be erected without some relics of the saints being deposited therein, as if the Lord could have no earthly sanctuary, separate from the bodies of the martyrs.
"Forasmuch as many of the venerable temples," saith the Council, "have been consecrated without the relics of the martyrs, we decree that relics shall be placed in them according to the accustomed rule. And if, from the present time, any bishop be found to consecrate a temple without relics, let him be deposed, as one who transgresses the ecclesiastical tradition." (Ib. 491.)
From these extracts, you may readily perceive how very much diluted and moderated is the representation of Dr. Wiseman. He says nothing of the word adore-nothing of the kiss, the uncovering of the head, and the prostration of the worshipper before the holy images-nothing of the burning of incense and lighting of candles in their honour-nothing of the decree that no Church should be consecrated unless the relics of the martyrs were placed in it; and especially nothing of the repeated anathemas pronounced against all who should presume to dissent from the doctrine. Here, therefore, we have another proof of the influence of the Reformation upon the
Church of Rome, in all those countries where it has established its Scriptural principles. Notwithstanding their confident boast of infallibility and unchangeableness, we find a manifest shrinking, in several respects, from their own standards of doctrine; and an evident effort to keep their more objectionable features in the shade. And we thank God for it, and earnestly pray that the process of amelioration may go on, until they shall openly free themselves from all that they cannot justify, and exchange the idle claim of infallibility for the substanțial benefits of truth.
But I am now, in the third place, to examine the arguments adduced by our learned author in favour of the Roman doctrine: and this, as in all other cases, involves first, the testimony of Scripture, and secondly, the testimony of the fathers.
On the subject of relics, Dr. Wiseman adduces one remarkable example from the Old Testament, and several from the New. The resurrection of the dead man, whose body was unintentionally brought in contact with the bones of the prophet Elisha, the healing of the woman who touched the hem of our Saviour's garment, the curing of the sick by the handkerchiefs and aprons brought to them from the person of St. Paul-all prove, according to the Roman doctrine, that it has pleased God to use the relics, and other things belonging to the Saviour and the saints, as instruments whereby he worked wonders; and therefore the Church of Rome believes, that what he has done once by such instrumentality he may do again; and this, our learned author seems to think, is a sufficient justification.
But nothing can be more fallacious than this reasoning, brethren, although it looks specious, and has, in fact, deluded many a weak mind. The question is not whether the Almighty has chosen to employ those various kinds of instrumentality in the working of wonders, and whether, as he has ⚫ sometimes done so, it may not please him to do it again. On