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Ecclesiæ prophetice canimus hymnos : Gaude satis, Filia Sion, etc. Eos ergo qui audent aliter et docere secundum scelestas hæreticos, et ecclesiasticas traditiones spernere, vel novitate qualibet excogitare, vel projicere aliquid ex his, quæ sunt Ecclesiæ deputata, sive evangelium, sive figuram crucis, sive imaginalem picturam, sive sanctas reliquias martyrum, aut excogitare prave, et astute subvertere quamcumque ex legitimis traditionibus, sive Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, vel etiam quasi communibus uti sacris vasis, aut venerabilibus monasteriis.
“ Postea sancta synodus exclamant : Omnes ita credimus : omnes id ipsum sapimus : omnes consentientes subscripsimus. Hæc est fides Orthodoxorum. Hæc est fides quæ orbem terrarum stabilivit : credentes in unum Deum in Trinitate, honorabiles imagines adoramus. Qui sic non habent, anathema sint. Qui sic non sentiant, procul ab Ecclesia pellantur," etc.
“ These things being so, as those who walk in the royal paths, and following the authority of our divinely inspired, holy Fathers, and the traditions of the Catholic Church, (for we know her to be of the Holy Ghost, who truly dwells within her,) we define with entire certainty and exactness, that both the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, and also the venerable and holy images, whether painted or made of mosaic work, or of any other material, are to be put in the holy churches of God, as is fitting, and in sacred vessels, on vestments, on walls, in pictures, in private houses, and by the public ways : to wit, both the image of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that of our undefiled Lady, the Mother of God, and also those of the venerable Angels, and of all saintly and excel. lent men, without exception. For, the more frequently they are looked upon by the medium of the representative images, the more readily they who contemplate these will be incited to the remembrance and love of their originals, and to kiss them, and to pay them reverential adoration : not, however, to give them the true worship of Latria, which is according to faith, and which belongs only to the Divine nature. Let the offering of incense and lights be made to these also, as well as to the figure of the life-giving cross, the holy Gospels, and the other sacred memorials, in order to pay them due honor, as was also the pious custom of the ancients. For the honor paid to the image passes to its original; and he who adores an image adores the person of him whom it represents.
“ For in this way the doctrine of our holy Fathers receives strength, that is, the tradition of the Holy Catholic Church, which, from one end of the earth to the other, receives the Gospel. Thus we follow Paul, who spoke in Christ, and the whole divine apostoli. cal college, and the pristine sanctity, holding the traditions which we have received. Hence we sing triumphal hymns of the Church, in prophetic language : - Rejoice abundantly, 0 Daughter of Sion,
&c. Those, therefore, who dare to think otherwise, and to teach according to the detestable heretics, and to despise the ecclesiastical traditions, or by any new invention to make an opinion, or to cast off any one of those things which have been committed to the Church, either the Gospel, or the figure of the cross, or the painted representation of forms, or the holy relics of martyrs, or to think erroneously, or to subvert cunningly any one of the legitimate traditions or those of the Catholic Church, or even to treat the sacred vessels and venerable monasteries as common,” &c.
“Afterwards the holy synod exclaimed: - We all believe thus: we all think the same thing : we have all subscribed, consenting. This is the faith of the Orthodox. This is the faith which has given stability to the world: believing upon one God in Trinity, we adore the venerable images. Let those who do not hold thus be anathema. Let those who do not think thus be driven from the Church,” &c.
In order to give a complete view of our subject, it would be necessary to consider the internal character of the dogma, its analogy with natural religion, and its relation to the Jewish law, as well as to the other doctrines of the Catholic faith. This part of the subject is capable of being placed in the clearest light, but it is not our intention to undertake the task of doing it at present. The best means of attaining to a satisfactory apprehension of the whole matter is the study of the Fathers of the eighth century, and the original documents of the Seventh Council.
We bave only a few observations to make upon a particular form in which the ordinary Protestant objection is sometimes put, by certain persons who profess to be guided by a Catholic spirit. It is said, with a peculiar indistinctness and evasiveness of expression quite characteristic of the mystic and rationalizing school to which we refer, that the Nicene doctrine concerning the veneration of images is contrary to the spirit of the Old Testament, in a way in which no other part of the Roman Catholic system is so. Those who make this objection ought to make a clearer and less ambiguous charge against the Catholic doctrine, or retract it entirely. Either they should say distinctly that the Roman Church has sanctioned and practises idolatry,
or abstain from an argument which derives its force and value only from the supposition that she has done so. But they perceive that, by doing either, they would leave the obscurity and vagueness which forms their only refuge, and fall into fatal dilemmas. The sin of idolatry condemned in the Old Testament consisted either in worshipping idols as hypostatically united with demons
or imaginary deities, or in worshipping these demons and false gods by the medium of their images and representations.* Unless the whole Catholic Church, then, is charged with having committed this sin of idolatry, every thing relating to it in the Old Testament is entirely irrelevant to the doctrine and practice which has prevailed in her communion. So far as the discipline of the Jewish Church is concerned, it was either similar to ours, or differed from it only by reason of the difference between the two dispensations of the old and new law. The use of sacred images, to a certain extent, was not only not forbidden, but expressly enjoined. The representation of the Lord God was indeed forbidden, because, if the Son of God was in any way, as yet, clearly revealed as a distinct person, he was known only by the great body of the faithful, in his spiritual and Divine essence. Whatever may have been the illumination of certain favored persons, it is not probable that the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation, and that Economy of Redemption which is represented in the whole visible array of rites, symbols, and images used by the Church, were distinctly and universally known among the Jewish faithful. It appears that the private manufacture and use of sacred images were regarded by the Jews as forbidden ; and this also was only a special precept of discipline. There is certainly a great difference apparent on the surface, as regards the use of images, between the Jewish and the Catholic Churches. But the peculiar discipline of the Jewish Church was based on reasons of expediency, or on the nature of the earlier dispensation ; and therefore this difference is no argument against the Catholic Church, for it is accidental, not essential; it implies no contradiction of principles, but a mere variation in their external application. Å remarkable instance of a similar contrariety between Judaism and Christianity has been adduced by Mr. Newman. Under the Jewish law, the bodies of the pious dead were treated as vile, and imparted pollution ; under the Christian law, they are honored, and impart health and grace. In the one case, Christ had not yet died and risen from the grave; but now he has done so, and this is the reason of the change. The offering of Divine worship to the body of our Lord appears also to be contrary to the Jewish law. In fact, the mystery of the Incarnation itself is the most opposed, in its external appearance, to the manifestation of God in the Old Testament, as a Pure, Spiritual, Infinite Essence, that we can conceive one part of a Divine revelation to be to another. Reason cannot reconcile them. We have, in the mystery of the Incarnation, the very source and principle of all the external changes which have been made in the Divine Economy, including that which relates to images; and this consideration dissipates all the difficulties which overshadow the subject. The great thing to be desired by one who acknowledges the Divinity of our Lord is, to discover the reason for the change of the Jewish discipline in regard to images in the grand fact of the Incarnation, and a necessary connection between the veneration paid to them and this central doctrine of the faith, by which the former shall appear to have grown out of the latter. In order to obtain clear and accurate knowledge of that mode of representing “the invisible things of God” which is agreeable to his will, and also of the nature of that perversion of his law which he condemns as idolatry, it is necessary to reason up to some first principle grounded upon the very nature and being of God, and upon the primary doctrines of the Christian faith. The question will reduce itself at last to this : “ Is it possible, and in accordance with God's will
* Bishop England has treated this question in his “ Letters to the Gospel Messenger,” and “ Controversy with the Mt. Zion Missionary," and has proved that the heathen paid the absolute worship of Latria to the idols themselves. See his Works, Vol. II. Part I.
, that he should be represented by a material image ?” The question is decided by the simple fact that God has created such an image of himself, the body of his Son. If God had made no such manifestation of himself as this, we might, in our ignorance, imagine, that the visible representation of God or of any spiritual substance is essentially impossible, and inconsistent with the true idea of divine and spiritual essence ; and that the attempt to do so would be a sin, not merely of presumption, but of atheism. But when the Incarnation is admitted, we are obliged to regard all forbidden and sinful methods of representation, in short, every thing which is included under the name of idolatry, as perversions of the Divine Economy, but not as intrinsically contrary to the Divine Essence. The sin of idolatry consists rather in the substitution of counterfeits for realities, than in the attempt at representation. Accordingly, there is a plain reason why the use of images should be restrained before the coming of Christ, and encouraged afterwards. Arnold saw this truth, and has stated it clearly and forcibly. The Fathers and Saints of the age of Iconoclasm, and the whole Council of Nice, made it one of their first principles, when, with such depth of wisdom, they elucidated and defended the Catholic doctrine.
They reason invariably from the Incarnation to the veneration of images, and illustrate their doctrine by analogies drawn from every part of the creation and revelation of God, in order 10 show that a common principle pervades all. It is a proof that the fixed and precise doctrine of the Church declared at Nice is a necessary consequence of the doctrine of the Incarnation, because the arguments by which the former was defended were actually derived from the deepest views of the latter. It may be reniarked also, in passing, that they invariably place images in the same class with other sacred things, as temples and altars, and trace the usage of the Church in regard to all to one principle, their sacredness, and consequent claim to veneration, which is differently exhibited according to the different nature and signification of the objects to which it is applied. They disregard, also, the distinction between images and symbols.
In conclusion, we simply remark, that the great difficulty and repugnance which many persons experience in regard to the Catholic custom of venerating images is purely imaginary, and is much more effectually dissipated by making the stations of the cross, kissing the feet of a crucifix, and praying before an image of Our Lady, than by all the arguments of St. Thomas, or any other profound theologian. To such persons we say, as the Greek' bishops did to the nonjurors, “Behold, you have stood in great fear, where no fear was.
ART. III.- 1. Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie. By HENRY
WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Sixth Edition. Boston:
William D. Ticknor & Co. 1848. 12mo. pp. 163. 2. Kavanagh, a Tale. By Henry Wadsworth Long
FELLOW. Boston : Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 1849. 12mo. pp. 188.
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