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shadows of it. This is that second principle, above spoken of, which I have called the Sacramental. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,” is an enunciation of the principle;—or, the declaration of the Apostle of the Gentiles, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” Thus outward rites, which are but worthless in themselves, lose their own character and become Sacraments under the gospel; circumcision, as St. Paul says, is carnal and has come to an end, yet Baptism is a perpetual ordinance, as being grafted upon a system which is grace and truth. Elsewhere, he parallels, while he contrasts, “the cup of the Lord” and “the cup of devils,” in this respect, that to partake of either is to hold communion with the source from which it comes; and he adds presently, that we have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” So again he says, no one is justified by the works of the Law; while both St. Paul implies, and St. James declares, that Christians are justified by works of the Spirit. Again he contrasts the exercises of the intellect as exhibited by heathen and Christian. “Howbeit," he says, after condemning heathen wisdom, “we speak wisdom among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world;" and it is plain that no where need we look for more glowing eloquence, more distinct profession of reasoning, more careful assertion of principles, than are to be found in the Apostle's writings.
In like manner when the Jewish exorcists attempted to “call over them which had evil spirits the Name of the Lord Jesus," the evil spirit professed not to know them, and inflicted on them a bodily injury; on the other hand, the occasion of this attempt of theirs was a stupendous instance or type, in the person of St. Paul, of the very principle I am illustrating. “God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” The grace given him was communicable, diffusive; an influence, as enthusiasm may be, or moral habits and principles, or tastes, or knowledge.
Parallel instances occur of the operation of this principle in the history of the Church, as soon as the Apostles were taken from it. St. Paul denounces distinctions in meat and drink, the observance of Sabbaths and holydays, and of ordinances, and the worship of Angels; yet Christians, from the first, were rigid in their stated fastings, venerated, as St. Justin tells us, the Angelic intelligences, and established the observance of the Lord's day as soon as persecution ceased.
In like manner Celsus objects that Christians did not "endure the sight of temples, altars, and statues;" Porphyry, that “they blame the rites of worship, victims, and frankincense;" the heathen disputant in Minucius asks, “Why have Christians no altars, no temples, no conspicuous images ?” and “no sacrifices;" and yet it is plain from Tertullian that Christians had altars of their own, and sacrifices and priests. And that they had churches is again and again proved by Eusebius who had seen " the houses of prayer levelled” in the Dioclesian persecution; from the history too of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, nay from Clement. Again, St. Justin and Minucius speak of the form of the Cross in terms of reverence, quite inconsistent with the doctrine that external emblems of religion may not be venerated. Tertullian speaks of Christians signing themselves with it whatever they set about, whether they walk, eat, or lie down to sleep. In Eusebius's
Infra. p. 377, &c. 2 Orig. c. Cels. vii. 63, viii. 17, (vid. not. Bened. in loc.) August. Ep. 102, 16; Minuc. F. 10, and 32; Tertull. de Orab. fin. ad Uxor. i. fin. Euseb. Ilist. viii. 2; Clem. Strom. vii. 6, p. 846.
life of Constantine, the figure of the Cross holds a most conspicuous place; the Emperor sees it in the sky and is converted; he places it upon his standards; he places it in his own hand when he puts up his statue; wherever the Cross is displayed in his battles, he conquers; he appoints fifty men to carry it; he engraves it on his soldiers' arms; and Licinius dreads its power. Shortly after, Julian plainly accuses Christians of worshipping the wood of the Cross, though they refused to worship the ancile. In a later age the worship of images was introduced.1
The principle of the distinction, on which these observances were pious in Christianity and superstitious in paganism, is implied in such passages of Tertullian, Lactantius, and others, as speak of evil spirits lurking under the pagan statues. It is intimated also by Origen, who, after saying that Scripture so strongly " forbids temples, altars, and images," that Christians are ready to go to death, if necessary, rather than pollute their notion of the God of all by any such transgression," assigns as a reason “that, as far as possible, they might not fall into the notion that images were gods." St. Augustine, in replying to Porphyry, is more express; “ Those,” he says, “who are acquainted with Old and New Testament do not blame in the pagan religion the erection of temples or institution of priesthoods, but that these are done to idols and devils. . . True religion blames in their superstitions, not so much their sacrificing, for the ancient saints sacrificed to the True God, as their sacrificing to false gods.”? To Faustus the Manichee he answers, “We have some things in common with the gentiles, but our purpose is different."3 And St. Jerome asks Vigilantius, who made objections to lights and oil, “Because we once worshipped idols, is that a reason why we should not worship God, for fear of seem
| Tertull. de Cor. 3 ; Just. Apol. i. 55 ; Minuc. F. 29; Julian ap, Cyr. vi. p. 194, Spanh.
2 Epp. 102, 18. 3 Contr. Faust, 20, 23.
ing to address him with an honour like that which was paid to idols and then was detestable, whereas this is paid to Martyrs and therefore to be received ?”1
Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and to transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship to an evangelical use, and feeling also that these usages had originally come from primitive revelations and from the instinct of nature, though they had been corrupted; and that they must invent what they needed, if they did not use what they found; and that they had moreover with them the very archetypes, of which paganism attempted the shadows; the rulers of the Church from early times were prepared, should the occasion arise, to adopt, or imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus supplies the first instance on record of this economy. He was the Apostle of Pontus, which since Pliny's time seems to have fallen back into heathenism, and one of his methods for governing an untoward population is thus related by St. Gregory of Nyssa. To Returning," he says, “from the city, and revisiting its environs, he increased the devotion of the people everywhere by instituting festive meetings in honour of those who had fought for the faith. The bodies of the Martyrs were distributed in different places, and the people assembled and made merry, as the year came round, holding festival in their honour. This indeed was a proof of his great wisdom ... for, perceiving that the childish and untrained populace were retained in their idolatrous error by sensual indulgences, in order that what was of first importance should at any rate be secured to them, viz. that they should look to God in place of their vain rites, he allowed them to be merry and solace themselves at the monuments of the holy Martyrs, as if their behaviour would in time undergo a spontaneous change into greater seriousness and strictness, and faith would lead them to it; which has actually been the happy issue in that population, all sensual gratification having turned into a spiritual form of rejoicing."1 There is no reason to suppose that the license here spoken of passed the limits of harmless though rude festivity; for it is observable that the same reason, the need of holydays for the multitude, is assigned by Origen, St. Gregory's master, to explain the establishment of the Lord's Day also, and the Paschal and the Pentecostal festivals, which have never been viewed as unlawful compliances; and, moreover, the people were eventually reclaimed from their gross habits by his indulgent policy, a successful issue which could not have followed an accommodation to what was sinful.
| Lact ii. 15, 16; Tertull. Sput. 12; Origen, c. Cels. vii. 64-66; August. Ep. 102, 18; Contr. Faust. xx. 23; Hirom. c. Vigil. 8.
The example set by St. Gregory in an age of persecution was impetuously-followed when a time of peace succeeded. In the course of the fourth century two movements or developments spread over the face of Christendom, with a rapidity characteristic of the Church; the one ascetic, the other ritual or ceremonial. We are told in various ways by Eusebius,” that Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own. It is not necessary to go into a subject which the diligence of Protestant writers has made familiar to most of us. The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields; sacerdotal vestments,
| Vit. Thaum. c. 27. ?V. Const. iii. 1, iv. 23, &c.