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to deny that worship is expressly ordered by the Church of Rome, to images;—the highest worship, which they call latria, to the images of Christ and the cross; and to the images of the saints, the worship which they call dulia; namely, the same sort of worship which they render to the saints themselves. What that is, we saw sufficiently, brethren, in our last lecture.
Having thus disposed of the other authorities of our learned advocate, I have next to set before you the testimony of the fathers, which will satisfy you that an ample number of witnesses may be appealed to, in proof that these doctrines could never have been approved by the primitive Church.
Thus, for example, Lactantius writes, A. D. 320: "There is no religion wherever there is an image. For if religion consists in divine things, and there is nothing divine but in heavenly things; images, therefore, are without religion, for there can be nothing heavenly in that which is earthly." (Finch, 232.)
About a century earlier, the celebrated Origen saith: "Who in his senses would not smile to see a man, after his brilliant and philosophical disputations upon God, or upon the gods, turn his eyes to statues, and either offer prayers to them, or endeavour by contemplating them, as some conspicuous sign, to raise his mind to the conception of the intelligent Deity." (Ib. 188.)
And again: "Christians and Jews," saith Origen, “refrain from these on account of that precept of the law, 'Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' Also upon account of that commandment, 'Thou shalt have none other gods but me; thou shalt not make to thyself an image, or the likeness of those things that are in heaven or on earth;' which so prohibits to us altars and images, that we ought to die rather than contaminate our faith to God with such impieties." (Ib.)
And again: "The images that are to be dedicated to God, are not the works of artists, but what are wrought and formed within us by the Word of God, namely, virtues in imitation of HIM who was the first-born of every creature.” (Ib.)
The next testimony, brethren, is taken from the Council of Eliberis in Spain, held about the year 300, which resolved as follows:
"It seemed good to us that pictures ought not to be in the Churches, lest that which is worshipped or adored, be painted upon the walls." (Ib. 256.)
Again, the eminent Epiphanius, A. D. 366, writes thus, in a letter which Jerome translated, and doubtless, therefore, fully approved. Speaking of his visit to a certain Church: "I found there," saith he, "a veil hanging at the door of the Church, dyed and painted, and having the image as it were of Christ or of some saint; for I do not rightly recollect whose image it When, therefore, I saw, that contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, the image of a man was hung up in the Church of Christ, I cut it, and counselled the guardians of the place that they should rather use it as a winding sheet for some poor man's burial." (Ib. 244.)
In like maner, St. Augustin saith: "This is the chief cause of this mad impiety, that a figure resembling a living form operates more forcibly upon the feelings of these wretched men, than its being manifest that it is not living, and therefore that it ought to be despised by the living.” (Ib. 158.)
Lastly, St. Ambrose, the preceptor of Augustin, saith, "Rachel hid the sacred images, signifying the Church, or prudence, because the Church knows nothing of these empty ideas and vain figures of images, but acknowledges the true substance of the Trinity." (Tom. I. p. 429. § 27.)
We see here, brethren, sufficient proof, that the worship of images was a complete innovation upon the early and purer doctrine of the primitive Church, although, after many violen
struggles, it finally gained the ascendency, and was established about 700 years after the sacrifice of the Redeemer, in the second Council of Nice, whose decrees have been cited.
The other corruption, respecting the worship of relics and the cross, appears to have had its first rise in the veneration with which the martyrs were regarded. It became a custom for Christians to hold a yearly service at their tombs or sepulchres, on the day of their martyrdom, which was called their birth-day, (natalitia) because it was believed that they then entered into heavenly glory. When the Gospel of Christ became the established religion of the Roman empire, Churches were built over these tombs or sepulchres wherever it was convenient; and where it was not, the remains of the martyrs were transferred to the altar of the new edifice, and their day was kept with more pomp and solemnity than ever; discourses being pronounced annually in their praise, which led to a very pernicious display of laudatory exaggeration. From praying for them, the Church next began to pray to them; and as the influence of superstition, once excited and approved, never fails to increase with vast rapidity, the reports of miracles performed by their means, and the rivalry between the altars of different Churches, produced a constant effort to exalt the value of relics and the merits of the saints, until it reached the highest extravagance. The extent to which it is carried in Roman Catholic countries, even at this day, must be witnessed before it can be believed; but a few extracts from the Breviary and other books of authority, may give you some idea of it.
Thus, in the lesson appointed to be read on the Festival of St. Isidore, we find the following passage: "His body, which was at first laid, according to his own injunctions, between his brother Leander and his sister Florentine, was afterwards translated to Leon by Ferdinand I., king of Castile and Leon, who purchased it at a great price from Henetus, the Saracen, then reigning in Seville. A temple was forthwith built in his
honour, and there, distinguished by his miracles, he is venerated by the people with great devotion." (Finch, Supplement, p. 196.)
Of St. Ubald, the same infallible authority relates, that "his body, which remains uncorrupted after so many ages, is honoured with the great veneration of the faithful in his country, which he has more than once delivered from imminent danger." (Ib. 196.)
Of St. Januarius, the Breviary declares as follows: "The Neapolitans, admonished by the Lord, carried away the body of St. Januarius, which being first conveyed to Benevento, thence to the monastery of the Virgin's Mount, and lastly transferred to Naples, and placed in the principal Church, was renowned for many miracles. But the miracle which is chiefly to be commemorated is, that it formerly extinguished volumes of flames breaking forth from Mount Vesuvius, and diffusing the fear of devastation not only in the neighbourhood but even in distant regions. This also is remarkable, that his blood, which is preserved coagulated in a glass vial, when it is placed in sight of the head of the same martyr, is even at the present day seen to liquefy and boil in a wonderful manner, as if it were only recently shed.' (Ib. 200.)
Of St. Francis Xavier, the same Breviary saith, that "his body, twice covered over with quick-lime for several months, but quite uncorrupted, exuded sweet odour and blood; and when it was carried to the Malaccas, it immediately extinguished a fierce pestilence." (Ib. 202.)
Of St. Peter Chrysologus, we read, that "his sacred body is even to this day religiously venerated, but one of his arms, being ornamented with gold and gems, and carried to Ravenna, is venerated in the Ursian Church.” (Ib.)
And of St. Andrew Corsini it is said, in the same book, that "his body reposes at Florence in the Church of his order, and is reverenced with the greatest veneration of the citizens, to
whom, more than once, it has been a protection in imminent danger." (Ib. 204.)
These few specimens, brethren, are taken from the standard devotional book of the Church of Rome, called the Breviary; and show distinctly the religious veneration rendered, and the extraordinary miracles attributed to the relics of the saints. The wonderful appearances related of images, pictures, crosses, &c., would quite exceed my limits and your patience. But it is necessary to add, that the intelligence of the age has made no difference in these superstitions, wherever the authority of Rome is supreme. Thus, for example, since the year 1790, publications have been made of the miraculous image of the virgin at Ancona, opening and shutting its eyes on public occasions. In consideration of which miracle, the pope instituted a pious fraternity in honour of the image, under the name of the sons and daughters of Mary. The opening, and shutting, and turning of the eyes of the image, still continuing, at intervals, for some years, Pius VII., in person, crowned the miraculous image on the 13th of May, 1814, fixed the annual feast in its honour for the second Sunday of the same month, and attached to it the power of a plenary indulgence. (Philpot's Let. to Butler, Supp. 402, 3.)
At Torricella, about the same time, we are gravely assured that a torrent of tears was shed by a wooden image of the virgin. And at Ancona, a picture representing St. Anne teaching the virgin Mary to read, was seen to be animated, so that the two faces turned their eyes towards the spectators. (Ib. p. 411.) But at Mercatello, a still more wonderful occurrence was said to have taken place. "A very ancient picture of the virgin and child was there, on an altar in the Collegiate Church; when it was observed that the countenance assumed a brilliant tint, the eyes became lively, and the features, which had become almost effaced, again became distinctly visible. The countenance of the infant Jesus, which