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will not suffer himself to be exposed to vulgar eyes, by fantastical shapes, and ridiculous forms.
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 indeed says, "Non esse tam certum in ecclesia an sint faciendæ 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 unproved custom of the church; "Constat quod hæc consuetudo depingendi angelos et Deum, modo sub specie Columbæ, 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 everywhere received among the Catholics," said a great mani amongst them. And to what purpose they do this, we are told by Cajetank, speaking of images of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, saying, "Hæc non solum pinguntur, ut ostendantur sicut cherubim olim in templo, sed ut adorentur:" "They are painted, that they may be worshipped," "ut frequens usus ecclesiæ testatur:" "This is witnessed by the frequent use of the church."-So that this is received everywhere among the Catholics, and these images are worshipped, and of this there is an ecclesiastical custom; and I add, in their mass-book lately printed, these pictures are not unfrequently seen. So that now it is necessary 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 Tertullian, Eusebius, and St. Jerome; but A. L. says', these
h Lib. 2. de Reliq. et Imagin. S. S. cap. 8. sect. Ego dico tria.
In 3. part. tom. q. 25. a. 3.
! 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": A man would think it could not be necessary to prove that Tertullian thought it unlawful to pic ture God the Father, when he thought the whole art of painting and making 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 therefore 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 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 reproving 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
m De Corona Milit.
De Cor. Milit. Johannes Filioli' inquit, Custodite vos ab idolis,' non jam ab idololatria quasi ab officio, sed ab idolis, id est, ab ipsâ 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 idolothytum est, non contigeris,' multo magis cum habitu, et ritu, et apparatu, &c. Quid enim tam dignum Deo quàm quod indignum idolo ?
of their gods, is not piety, but 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 understanding 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 cœpit," "Thus idolatry began, saith the Scripture, and thus it was promoted;" and the event was, they made pitiful concep
• Nam si, ut dicitis, literarum instar Dei præsentiam signant, atque adeò, ac si Deum significantia, Divinis dignæ censentur honoribus, certè qui ea sculpsit, eisque effigiem dedit, multo magis hos promerebatur honores.' Et paulò post: Quocirca hujusmodi religio, Deorumque fictio non pietatis est, sed iniquitatis invectio. Veritatis via ad eum, qui verus Deus est, diriget. Ad eum verò cognoscendum et exactissimè intelligendum, nullius extra nos positæ rei opem necessariam habemus. Quod si quis interrogat quænam ista sit? Uniuscujusque animam esse dixerim, atque insitam illam intelligentiam; per ipsam enim solam Deus inspici, et intelligi potest.' Orat. contr. Gentiles.
tions of God, they confined his presence to a statue, they worshipped him with the lowest way imaginable, they descended from all spirituality and the noble ways of understanding, 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 angelical 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"; and the words were occasioned by a solemn message sent to Eusebius by the sister of Constantius and wife of Licinius, 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 à nobis mitti, quam dicis, et qualem, hanc, quam perhibes, Christi imaginem? Utrum veram et incommutabilem, et natura characteres suos portantem? An istam, quam propter nos suscepit, servi formæ schemate circumamictus? Sed de forma quidem Dei nec ipse arbitror te quærere semel ab ipso edoctam, quoniam neque patrem quis novit nisi filius, neque ipsum filium novit quis aliquando digne, nisi solus pater qui eum genuit." And a little after;" Quis ergo hujusmodi dignitatis et gloriæ vibrantes et præfulgentes splendores exarare potuisset, mortuis et inanimatis coloribus et scripturis umbraticis?" And then speaking of the glory of Christ in Mount Tabor, he proceeds; "Ergo si tunc incarnata ejus forma tantam virtutem sortita est ab inhabitante in se divinitate mutata, quid oportet dicere cum mortalitate exutus, et corruptione ablutus, speciem servilis formæ in gloriam Domini et Dei commutavit?" Where besides that Eusebius thinks it unlawful to
Synod. 7. act. 6.
make a picture of Christ, and therefore consequently, much more to make a picture of God; he also tells Constantia, he supposes she did not offer at any desire of that. Well, for these three of the fathers we are all well enough; but for the rest, the objector says, that they speak only against representing God as in his own essence, shape, or form." To this I answer, that God hath no shape or form; and therefore these fathers could not speak against making images of a thing that was not; and as for the images of his essence, no Christian, no heathen, ever pretended to it; and no man or beast can be pictured so; no painter can paint an essence. And therefore although this distinction was lately made in the Roman schools, yet the fathers knew nothing of it, and the Roman doctors can make nothing of it, for the reasons now told. But the gentleman saith, that' some of their church allow only and practise the picturing those forms wherein God hath appeared.' It is very well they do no more; but I pray, in what forms did God the Father ever appear, or the holy and mysterious Trinity? Or suppose they had, does it follow they may be painted? We saw but now out of Eusebius, that it was not esteemed lawful to picture Christ, though he did appear in a human body; and although it is supposed that the Holy Ghost did appear in the shape of a dove, yet it is forbidden by the sixth general council to paint Christ like a lamb, or the Holy Spirit like a dove. Add to this, where did ever the holy and blessed Trinity appear like three faces joined in one, or like an old man with Christ, crucified, leaning on his breast, and a dove hovering over them? and yet however the objector is pleased to mince the matter, yet the doing this is " ubique inter Catholicos recepta:" and that not only to be seen, but to be adored, as I proved a little above by testimonies of their own.
The next charge is concerning St. Jerome, that he says no such thing; which matter will soon be at an end, if we see the commentary' he makes on these words of Isaiah, “Cui ergo similem fecisti Deum ?" "To whom do you liken God?" Or "what image will ye make for him, who is a spirit, and
q Concil. Constantinop. can. 82.
In cap. xl. Isai. Aut quam imaginem ponetis ei, qui spiritus est, et in omnibus est, et ubique discurrit, et terram quasi pugillo continet? Simulque irridet stultitiam nationum, quod artifex sive faber ærarius, aut aurifex aut argentarius Deum sibi faciat.