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which they think there is properly honoured the archetype of all such statues---the image of the invisible God. Then he compares such images, with those made by Phidias and other celebrated
statuaries: and he goes on, to ground the statues contended for, on where it is said..." I will walk among you, and be your God, and ye shall be my people;"* and on another passage to the same effect.
Arnobius wrote in the third century. In his work against the Gentiles, he states the defence which they made for their images, as follows...“ The ancients were not ignorant that they (the images] had nothing in them of deity, nor of sense: but because of the untamed and unknowing vulgar, who are the greater number of the people, they were made with design, and for a good purpose; that by a certain appearance of deity presented to them, their roughness might be laid under the restraint of fear; and that conceiving of them. selves as acting under the presence of the gods, they might lay aside wicked deeds, and, by a change of manners, betake themselves to the duties of life. Nei. ther for any other reason, were venerable appearances sought for them in gold and silver; that there should be supposed a certain efficacy in the very ornaments, which should not only strike the sense of sight, but also overpower the mind by their magnificence.” Every one may perceive an agreement of this, with the usual defence of images under the gospel. But the father goes on to express the unsoundness of the defence; without the least appearance of his being privy to the common distinction in latter times, between a worship which is absolute, and another which is only relative.
The last mentioned author wrote towards the close of the third century. Very soon after his day, we have a passage in the history of Eusebius, which shows that it must have been late in the fourth century, before images were introduced into the Churches. Eusebius relatest that the woman mentioned in the eighth chap
* Lev. xxvi. 12.
† Lib. 7. Cap. 17.
ter of Matthew as healed by Christ, was of the Gentile city of Paneas—that in memory of the cure, there was still to be seen in the said city, opposite to the door of the house wherein the woman had lived, a statue of her, kneeling before another statue, representing her benefactor. Eusebius, after relating this, remarks, that such commemoration was not singular among the heathen; and that he had himself seen graven among them the pictures of Peter, and of Paul, and of Christ himself. If this historian, who was far advanced into the fourth century, knew of no such custom, even out of Churches, except among the heathen; it cannot be supposed, that he knew of any images within the Churches-much less of their being worshipped.
The above and the like documents prove, that in the estimation of the primitive Church, no more is necessary to the sin of the worship in question, than its being offered through the medium of an image. Doubtless, the impropriety is aggravated by its being presented to an unlawful object of worship; as to the Virgin Mary, and to the saints. Although the invocation of the latter is merely the asking of an interest in their prayers; yet it presumes attributes, of which we have no reason to suppose them possessed. To the Virgin, a higher species of worship is professedly given, although not thought to amount to that which is paid to God. In the gospel, there is nothing to countenance it beyond what we read in the hymn called “The Magnificat”-“Behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.” It would surely be profane, to detract from the honour anticipated in these words: but when will-worship challenges to this blessed person a devotion due to the godhead only; it cannot be unlaw. ful to call to mind what the great Author of our religion, as if to guard against such extravagance, said in answer to the exclamation" Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the paps which thou hast
sucked.”* His answer is—“Yea, rather blessed are they, who hear the word of God and keep it.”
It ought not to escape notice, how much this un. sanctioned worship of the blessed Virgin is aggravated, by its being offered to her as translated to heaven: a novelty, which intruded into the Church during the dark ages; there being no mention of any such matter in any genuine production of the primitive Church, under the utmost latitude of construction ever given to the expression. The affirmed fact was at last founded on a palpable fable; and yet gave occasion to a festival and a corresponding service. The train of errours did not end here: for after awhile, there arose those who conceived it a still higher exercise of devotion, to contemplate the blessed Virgin as not born under original sin. In Spain, where the controversy ran high, the state was convulsed by it. At the council of Trent, there was a hard struggle to obtain its unqualified approbation of the new doctrine; which, with that sanction, would have been promulgated under the penalty of damnation. But the council went no further, than to express the decree concerning original sin, in terms which left the controversy concerning the blessed Virgin not absolutely decided; yet so far countenanced, as that a festival was afterwards instituted by papal authority, for the celebration of what is called "The immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary.” All these things were the genuine fruits of a devotion, which began in the adoration of a picture. It ought to be an awful caution against will-worship, in its commencement: but it would be a perverted use of this instruction, to apply it to rules for the decent conducting of worship, confessedly agreeable to the gospel.+
* Luke, xi. 27.
+ Within the last century, a Jesuit of eminence in his order -Gabriel Malagrida-conceived of it as an act of piety, to claim freedom from original sin, in favour of the mother of the blessed Virgin. It is easy to perceive, that under some
On this subject, there is a material consideration resulting from those assurances both in the Old Testament and in the New, which respect the conversion of the Jews, as preparatory to the entire conversion of the Gentiles. Whoever considers the repugnancy of the former to every species of the worship in question, the strong ground which they have for it in their scriptures, and their confirmation in it by a national character, remaining precisely the same from the period of their captivity in Babylon; will perceive it to be to the last degree improbable, that Christianity, with this clog to it, will ever be reconciled to their understandings, or made welcome to their affections. And this is a sentiment, giving countenance to those interpreta. tions of the yet unfulfilled prophecies, which contemplate as cotemporaneous and connected events, the conversion of the Jews, and the downfal of the authorities by which image worship is sustained.
To return to the point which gave occasion to the present dissertation—the division of the decalogue. Let the code be divided as it may, all creature worship is therein prohibited. Still the prohibition is the more pointed, according to the Protestant arrangement; which was also that of the Jewish Church, as may be learned from Josephus.* This circumstances of time and place, such a project would have been sufficient to force the question into the counsels of princes, and to make it fruitful of controversy among theologians. In the circumstances which existed, it was convenient to bring it under the head of heresy: there being some difficulty, as to either proving or the manner of trying for another crime, of which the party stood accused that of treason. This man had written a book, in favour of the opi. nion supported by him. It is difficult to imagine what were his'arguments, unless they were precisely such as were ad. yanced on the other subject honour supposed to be done to the blessed Virgin, and through her, to her adorable Son: for as to any authority of scripture or of the fathers, the sub. jects are alike barren.
Antig. lib. iii. cap, 5.
is of far higher authority, than what is sometimes quoted from Clement of Alexandria, in favour of the arrangement of the Church of Rome; even if the opinion of this father were expressly in her favour; which, however, does not appear to be the fact. The truth is, Clement, in his Pædagogue, divided the commandments very carelessly, be. sides infusing some whimsical matters into his remarks on them. Under his second, he includes what is proper to the second, and also what is proper to the third. He numbers' the fourth as the third, giving none which he calls the fourth. The two forms agree as to the fifth. He has nothing answering to that, which is here esteemed the sixth, but says—"Next follows that concerning adultery:" that concerning murder being passed over. Then follows that concerning theft. He has nothing concerning false witness. Finally, what completely shows how irrelevant his authority is to the other side, he concludes thus" The tenth is concerning all covetous desires."
OF THE LORD'S PRAYER, AS A FORM.* It has been shown, in the lecture, that in both of the places of scripture in which the Lord's Prayer has been introduced-which are Matt. vi. 9. and the following verse, and Luke, xxi. 2. and following—the strict and literal injunction concerning it, extends to the establishing of it as a form. The ob. ject at present, is merely to sustain the sentiment;
* See Lecture IV.