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had Relics provided for them. And for more plenty of Relics, some one Saint had many heads, one in one place, and another in another place. Some had six arms and twenty-six fingers. And, where our Lord bare his Cross alone, if all the pieces of the Relics thereof were gathered together, the greatest ship in England would scarcely bear them; and yet the greatest part of it, they say, doth yet remain in the hands of the Infidels ; for which they pray in their beads-bidding, that they may get
; it also into their hands, for such godly use and purpose. And not only the bones of the Saints, but every thing appertaining to them, was a holy Relic. In some places they offer a sword, in some the scabbard, in some a shoe, in some a saddle that had been set upon some holy horse, in some the coals wherewith St. Laurence was roasted ; in some places the tail of
; the ass, which our Lord Jesus Christ sate upon, to be kissed and offered unto for a Relic. For, rather than they would lack a Relic, they would offer you a horse-bone instead of a virgin's arm, or the tail of an ass, to be kissed and offered unto for Relics. O wicked, impudent, and most shameless men, the devisers of these things ! O silly, foolish, and dastardly daws, and more beastly than the ass whose tail they kissed, that believe such things.”—(Hom. on Idolatry.)
OF IMAGES, &c.
“ THAT the Images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the Saints, (1.) are to be had and retained, especially in churches, and due honor and veneration to be paid to them; not because there is believed to be any divinity or virtue in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or, because from them any thing is to be asked; or because trust is to be reposed on Images, as the heathens of old put their trust in idols; but because the honor which is exhibited to them, is referred to the prototypes which they represent ; so that through the Images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads, and lie prostrate, we adore Christ ; and pay veneration to the Saints, whose likeness the Images bear ; as is ordained by the Decrees of Councils, particularly the second Nicene." (Con. Trid. Sess. XXV.) of the Nicene Council, A. D. 787, the following is the judgment:-“As for them who say it is sufficient to have Images for the sake of exciting their livelier remembrance of the prototypes, and not for worship; as they reject one part of the truth, and admit the other, they are half bad, speakers of truth and falsehood in a breath. Alas! their madness!" “ The instructions of the Fathers, speaking with the mouth of God, have set us right. From them we have drawn and drunk the words of truth.
Following them we have expelled falsehood. Taught by them, we embrace the venerable Images. Let those who do not do so, be anathema, be cut off from God." (Labbe. Con. Tom. VII. p. 317.) The Images of Christ, and of the Virgin Mother of God, and other Saints, are to be kept and retained, especially in Churches; and due honor and veneration to be given to them; (Conc. Trid. Sess. XXV.) and “to those, who diligently teach not the whole Christ-loving people to adore and salute the venerable, and holy, and precious Images of all the Saints,-let them be anathema." (Conc. Nic. Sec.
” Labbe. Vol. VII. p. 541.)
Of the nature of the worship or adoration paid to these Images, we have the following examples. In the Roman Breviary, in Die Invent. Sanctæ Crucis, we have a Hymn in honor of the Cross, one stanza of which runs thus :
~ O Crux ave, spes lenica,
In hoc paschali gaudio,
To this hymn succeeds an address to the Cross in prose, “O Cross, more resplendent than the stars -save this present congregation assembled in thy praises. Hallelujah! hallelujah!
Of the ceremonies used on this occasion, that of the adoration of the Cross by the Priest, is the most remarkable. Having uncovered the whole of the Cross, and laid it in its place before the altar, “he takes off his shoes, and draws near to adore, thrice bowing his knees, before kissing the Cross." (2.)
The following prayer, used at the consecration of Images, is taken from the Roman Ritual, authorized by Pope Urban
VIII. “Grant, O God, that whosoever before this Image, shall diligently and humbly, upon his knees, worship and honor thy only begotten Son, or the blessed Virgin, or this glorious Apostle, Martyr, Confessor, or Virgin, (as the case may be,) that he may obtain, by his or her) merits and intercession, grace in this present life, and eternal glory hereafter." At the consecration of a Crucifix;" We beseech thee, O .
, Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, that thou wouldest vouchsafe to bless this wood of thy Cross; that it may be a healthy remedy to mankind, a strengthener of faith, and increaser of good works, a redemption of souls, a comfort, protection, and defence, against the cruelties of our enemies." (3.)
(1.) One of the most celebrated Images in Italy is that of St. Dominic, which was, as their histories testify, brought down from heaven, about two centuries ago, by the Virgin Mary in person, accompanied by Mary Magdalene, and St. Catherine. Before this glorious picture, as they affirm, “great numbers of the dead have been restored to life, and hundreds from the agonies of death; the dumb, the blind, the deaf, the lame, have been cured, and all sorts of diseases and mortal wounds miraculously healed.” All which facts are attested by public notaries, and confirmed by the relation of Cardinals, Prelates, Generals, and Priors of that order : and the certainty of them so generally believed, that, from the 9th of July to the 9th of August, the anniversary festival of the Saint, they have always counted above a hundred thousand pilgrims, and many of them of the highest quality, who come from different parts of Europe, to pay their devotions, and make their offerings to this picture.
All their apologists, indeed, declare, “that they do not ascribe these miracles to any power in the image itself, but to the power of God, who is moved to work them by the prayers and intercessions of his Saints, for the benefit of those who have sought that intercession before their pictures or images ; and in order to bear testimony to the faith and practice
of the Church in this particular article.” But how can we think it possible that the Deity can be moved to exert his power so wonderfully, for the confirmation of such ridiculous stories, of pictures and statues sent down from heaven, which, while they blasphemously impute to the workmanship of saints, or angels, or of God himself, are yet always so rudely and contemptibly performed, that a moderate artist, on earth, would be ashamed to call them his own? Or, is it at all credible, that the Saints in heaven should be as busy and ambitious as their votaries are on earth, to advance the peculiar honors of their several altars, by their continual intercessions at a throne of grace?-or that their whole care above, if they really have any which reaches to things below, should be employed, not for the general advancement of religion and piety among men, but of their own private glory and worship, in preference to all their competitors ? No; the absurdity of such notions and practices makes it necessary to believe, that they were all occasionally forged, for the support of some lucrative scheme; or to revive the expiring credit of some favorite superstition, which had been found highly beneficial to the contrivers of such forgeries. For the very effect of which they boast, as a proof of the miracle, betrays the fraud; and the multitude of pilgrims and offerings, to which they appeal, instead of demonstrating the truth of the fact, does but expose the real ground of the imposture.
“What meaneth it, that Christian men, after the use of the Gentiles' idolaters, cap and kneel before Images ? which, if they had any sense and gratitude, would kneel before men-carpenters, masons, plasterers, founders, and goldsmiths, their makers and framers; by whose means they have attained this honor, which, else, should have been evil-favored and rude lumps of clay, or plaster, pieces of timber, stone, or metal, without shape or fashion, and so without all estimation and honor; as that idol in the Pagan poet confesseth, saying, “I was once a vile block, but now I am become a God,' &c. What a fond thing is it for a man, who hath life and reason, to bow himself to a dead and insensible image, the work of his own hands! Is not this stooping and kneeling before them, adoration of them, which is forbidden so earnestly by God's word? Let such as so fall down before Images and Saints, know and confess that they exhibit that honor to dead stocks and stones, which the Saints themselves, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, would not to be given them, being alive ; which the angel of God forbiddeth to be given to him.