True Catholic and apostolic faith maintain'd in the Church of England by Andrew Sall ... ; being a reply to several books published under the names of J.E., N.N. and J.S. against his declaration for the Church of England, and against the motives for his separation from the Roman Church, declared in a printed sermon which he preached in Dublin.
Sall, Andrew, 1612-1682.
Page  148

CHAP. XXIII. Mr. I. S. his defence of the Romish Worship of I∣mages from the guilt of Idolatry confuted. The miserable condition of the Vulgar, and unhappy exgagement of the Learned among Romanists, touching the Worship of Images discovered.

YOU pretend, tho it be Idolatry, to adore an Image as a God, yet not so, to adore God in an Image. To which, I say first, that very ma∣ny of your best Authors, such as are Alensis, Al∣bert, Bonaventure, Abulensis, Soto, and others rela∣ted and followed by Vascuez, in 3. p. disp. 104. c. 2. do affirm, that God, did not only forbid in the second Commandment that which was un∣lawful by the Law of Nature, as the worship of an image for God, but the worshiping the true God by any Similitude.

You will not be engaged in defending the co∣herence of their doctrine herein, with saying, that the same Precept of not adoring God by an Image, should not oblige Christians; neither in∣deed is it easie to find the coherence of it. Cer∣tainly you will never find that God did dispense in the foresaid Law with Christians: neither can any reason be imagined why such a practice should be lawful in one time, and not in ano∣ther? Why Jews should be further from Idola∣try then Christians? This to have bin the sin of the Jews in the worship of the golden Calf, Page  149which was so offensive to God, I mean, that they did adore it as an Image of God, and not believing it was a real God, is most apparent by the words of the Context, These be thy Gods, Oh Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Egypt, Exod. XXXII. 4. Who can believe that men not altoge∣ther destitute of common sense, would seriously judg that Images made before themselves of their own gold, should be a real God? In what sense or reason could they say it was he that brought them out of the Land of Egypt, which was don long before that Calf was made? If you say that Aaron declared that Calf to be a God, saying, These are thy Gods, or, this is thy God, as you have in the ninth of Nehemiah, the plural being taken for the singular in the former place by a He∣braism: I answer, it was a tropical Expression, as you are wont to say, where Images are of the A∣postles, This is St. Peter, and this is St. Paul, meaning the Images of St. Peter, or St. Paul. And as you say, in your Processions of holy Friday, of the Cross you bear in your hand, and raise up to be adored by the people, bowing upon their knees, Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pepen∣dit, Behold the timber of the Cross upon which was fixed the Saviour of the world. Surely you are not so senseless as to think these words should be verified in a literal sense, of the Cross you bear in your hand, but rather in a tropical, relating to the Cross whereon our Saviour was really fixed. In the like sense you are to conceive Aaron did speak of the golden Calf, (if you will not make him quite senseless) when he said, This is thy God, oh Israel, which brought thee out of the Page  150Land of Egypt, which is to say, This is a Type or Image of thy God who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt: and under that notion the people did adore it. And all this while I hope you will not pretend to absolve them from the guilt of I∣dolatry, for which they were so severely punish∣ed by God; as we read in the 32. ch. of Exdus. Therefore Idolatry is not only to adore an Image as God, but also to adore God in an Image.

If we will give credit to Pagans, touching their belief, they will tell us, they were never so blind as to think the Statues they adored were Gods, Nemo unquam tam fatuus fuit, saies Cicero, qui saxum & lapidem Jovem esse credidit. None ever was so void of sense as to say that a stone should be Jupiter. Neither could such a belief consist with what is generally supposed by them, that their Gods are in heaven. So the Inhabitants of Lystra, when they saw Paul and Barnabas heal one that was a Creeple from his birth, said, The Gods are come down to us in the likeness of men, Act. XIV. 11. And if even Pagans thought it a stu∣pidity unbecoming men of common sense, to con∣ceive a stock or stone to be a God, less ought we to imagine, that the Israelites with so much ad∣vantage of instruction should be so brutish. Their guilt therefore was not to believe the gol∣den Calf was a God, but to attempt the worship∣ing of God by an Image, which is your guilt.

You conclude that to worship the Image of Christ and his Saints, cannot be called Idolatry. For an Idol (say you) is a representation of a Deity that has no being, but Christ and his Saints ave a being, &c. If you speak of the subject of Page  151Idolatrous worship tending to something created, it is true that it looks upon a Deity that hath no being. But if you believe S. Paul, the real object of their worship was the true God which he preached, Whom you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17.23. and notwithstanding he rebuked them for Idolaters; therefore Idolatry is not only a worship dedicated to false Gods, but also a worship of the true God by a way prohibited.

But how will this your discourse reach to save from Idolatry the worship given to Images of Saints, that have in them no Divinity real or ap∣prehended? Is it because they have a being op∣posite to a Chimera or nothing? then the ado∣rers of Mars and Apollo in their Statues, (and so of other Idols) were no Idolaters. Those Sta∣tues or Idols were representations of men (whe∣ther living or dead, is not material) not Chime∣rical, but such as had a real being. Read the origin of Idolatry described in the 14. Chapter of Wisdom from the 12. verse: you shall find it begun by making Images of men absent or dead to honor their memory. Besides your supposi∣tion is clear contrary to what Gods Command∣ment against the worship of Images supposes, Thu shalt not make unto the any graven Image, or any likness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, &c. Exod. 20.4. Images of things are prohibited to be worship∣ped, and of things really being in the Heaven or upon Earth.

But as you hope to be saved, will you lay a∣side prejudices and subtilties a while, and speak Page  152once sincerely: what it it that makes you so eager for the worship of Images? is it any di∣vine precept that moves or forces to it? we ne∣ver heard you talk of any such precept, and there is at least a very probable assurance of a precept of God extant, prohibiting under terrible pe∣nalty such a worship. There is moreover a cer∣tain danger of occasioning, in the ruder sort, a downright gross Idolatry, by an absolute direct worship of the Images you set up to be wor∣shipped, without those distinctions and precisions wherewith you pretend to justify your practice. Of which Ludovicus Vives gives this testimony; *Divos divasque non alitèr venerantur quam Deum ipsum, nec video in multis quod discrimen sit inter eo∣rum opinionem de Sanctis, & id quod Gentiles pu tabant de Diis suis. They worship holy Men and Women no otherwise then God himself; nei∣ther do I see in many things wherein their o∣pinion touching Saints differs from that of Pa∣gans, concerning their Gods. Polydor Virgil speaks to the same purpose in these words, Multi sut saltem rudiores qui ligneas, saxeas, marmoreas, aeneas, item in parietibus pictas Ima∣gines colunt, non ut figuras, sed perinde quasi ipsae sensum aliquem habeant, quique eis magis fidunt quam Christo ipsi, aut aliis Divis quibus dicati fuerunt. In the Church of Rome there are many who worship Images of stocks, stones, brass, or painted on Walls, not as figures, but even as if they had some sense in them, and who put more trust in them then in Christ himself, or in the Saints to whom they are dedicated.

Page  153

This being so, what prudence can it be to ex∣pose your own Salvation and the Salvation of o∣thers unto a certain danger, by practicing a wor∣ship at least very probably prohibited by God under pain of damnation? This is the unhappy condition you are in, and our great advantage of you in our debates, that if you are in an error, as very probably you seem to be, you are liable to damnation: not so we, tho you should be in the right; for on our part there is no trans∣gression of any divine precept, & consequently no fear of damnation in not worshipping an Image. In the same case you are in your worship of the Eucharist. If Christ be not there after the man∣ner you pretend, you are damnable Idolaters, as many of your own Authors do, and any that is rational must needs, confess. But on what∣soever side the truth be in that controversy, our practice is free from danger of sinning by not paying the worship of Latria to the Eucharist, whereas no precept of God forces us to give it such worship. This with the like advantages, which we have of you in all other points con∣troverted, made me chuse the way of the Church of England as surer to salvation then yours.

What profit do you expect by the worship of Images? I understand what profit may be in the use of devout Images (if separated from the worship) that they may be a Book to the ruder sort, for raising their minds unto heavenly things. But this benefit is not so great, nor the hope of getting Heaven this way so warrantable: as the danger of losing it by unlawful worship, as im∣minent. While the use of Images was harmless Page  154and beneficial, it was justly retained. It were insolence in a member of any Church or Con∣gregation, to oppose a custom or use introduced in it, while indifferent and not opposite to a higher Law. But if that use did run to an abuse and transgression of Gods Commandments, then it is to be reformed or rejected. This is what happen'd in the case of the brazen Serpent, as before related. And this is the case of the Re∣formed Churches with Images. While and where pious and innocent use was made of them, they permitted them, and so they do yet. But when they saw the abuse of unlawful worship given to them, they removed them from the eies of the Vulgar, apt to commit those abuses in places of worship.

Now we have seen how far this kind of abuse hath grown with your people both Learned and Vulgar. As for the latter, reflect upon what we have related out of Vives and Polydor. Add to it the testimony of George Cassander, a man re∣nowned for his calm and even temper as well as for his learning, and who by both might have contributed to the peace and unity of Christian Churches, if the unflexible pride of the Court of Rome would suffer any limit to be put to its Ambition. Of the worship of Images he speaks thus, Manifestius est quam ut multis verbis ex∣plicari dbet, Imaginum & Simulachrorum cultum multum invaluisse, & affectioni seu potius supersti∣tioni populi plus satis indultum esse, ita ut ad sum∣mam adorationem quae vel à Paganis suis Simulachris exhiberi consuevit, &c.

It is more clear then needs *Page  155many words to declare it, that the worship of Images and Statues is gon too far, and too much liberty given to the devotion or rather superstition of the people, so as it came to the very height of worship, which even Pagans do give to their Idols.

And truly it is a deplorable thing what Hie∣rom L Lamasa, as an eye-witness of it relates to have happened among the people of Asturias, Cantabria, and Gallicia, no small Provinces of Spain, viz. that they were so addicted to their worm eaen and deformed Images, that when the Bishops commanded new and handsomer I∣mages to be set up in their rooms, the poor people cried for their old; would not look up to their new, as if they did not represent the same thing; or really, as we may probably guess of their blindness, that they did conceive some peculiar numen or divine virtue to dwell in those old stumps of their former acquaintance, which the do not expect to find in those new and neater Images. And thus goes the matter with the vul∣gar sort of the people.

But in my opinion it goes even far worse with the more learned of you. And certainly such were Aquinas, Alexander Alensis, Bonaventure, Alber∣tus ••agaus, Cjetan, Capreolus, and others quo∣ted by bAorius, where he says it to be the opi∣nion received by the common consent of Divines, Tha the Imae of Christ is to be adored with the Page  156worship of Latria, even the very same where∣with Christ himself is to be worshipped. And so respectively of the Images of other Saints, that they are to be worshipped with the same kind of worship that is due to the Prototype. Neither in∣deed do they say herein more then the Council of Trent doth teach them to say. For, in the De∣cree above mentioned touching the worship of Images, it gives such a reason of it, as declares the said worship to be measured by the quality of the Prototype. Quoniam honos qui iis exhibe∣tur refertur ad prototypa, quae illae repraesentant; ità ut per Imagines, quas osculamur & coram qui∣bus caput aperimus, & procumbimus, Christum a∣doremus, & sanctos, quorum illae similitudinem gerunt, veneremur. The honor which we give to Images, says the Council, is related to the Prototypes, which they do represent; so as that by the Images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our head, and bow down, we adore Christ, and worship the Saints, whose likeness they bear. Whence follows what the forementioned Di∣vines said, That the worship of Images being to be measured by the Quality of their Prototypes, the worship of Latria is due to the Image of Christ; that being the worship which is due to himself. And by your denial of this to be the doctrine of your Church Mr. I. S. you will more easily perswade us that you begin to grow asham'd of your doctrine, as well you may, then that you understand the Tenets of the Roman Church better then Azorius did, or those other Divines of greatest eminency among you, by him quoted.

Page  157

This being so, consider the miserable condi∣tion of your doctrine, how well you can desend it from the infamous note of Idolatry. If you be∣lieve the best Interpreters touching the proper signification of the word Idolum, you shall find them say it signifies no more then Imago. So that an Image adored or worshipped is in propriety of speech an Idol worshipped; and consequently a worship of Latria given to an Image, or Idl, (for they are the same) is in all propriety of speech Idololatria. Therefore according to the do∣ctrine of the Council of Trent, and your Divines forementioned, by the worship of Latria given by you to the Image of Christ you commit for∣mal Idolatry. I wish with all my heart you did not, and that no Argument of mine nor of any other could prove you guilty of this horrid crime.

By this you see how the Council of Trent, and the most eminent of your Schole-men do coun∣tenance the stupid error of the vulgar among ou, & even exceed it. It is plain they deliver in formal terms what I am certain would be a horror to the meaner Capacities, if these did apprehend the sinful absurdity of it. And your pretensin to more prudence in not terming your worship La∣tria doth not heal the wound, nor so much as cover it from any clear sighted-eies. The real guilt consists in worshipping Images against the Ordinance of God; give that worship what name you please.

If I do say your people do pray to Images of wood or stone, and therein do practice that great folly, of which the Wise man accuses the Ido∣later, that he is not ashamed to speak to that which Page  158hath no life. For health he calls upon that which is weak, for life prays to that which is dead. Wisdom. 13.17. if I do say moreover that your Church teacheth them to do so: certainly you will say it is a great calumny. But then tell me, I pray, whose words are these you speak to the Cross in the procession of good Friday?

O Crux! ave spes unica,
Hoc Passionis tempore,
Auge piis justitiam,
Reisque dona veniam.

Hail ô Cross! our only hope, in this time of Passion, give increase of grace to the godly, and pardon to sin∣ners. If you tell me these are the words of the Church (which you will not deny) but spoken to Christ, not to the Cross, Azorius gainsays you; for he declares that by those words the Church speaks to the Cross, Ecclesia cum Cru∣cem veneratur & colit, eam salutat & alloquitur cum ait, O Crux ave, &c. The Church (says he) adoring the Cross salutes it, and speaks to it, saying, Hail ô Cross, &c. And is not this to speak to that which hath no life? &c. Thus your people do, and which is worse, thus your Church teaches them to do. And thus we see your Church and People do what all Idolaters do to their Idols.