« PredošláPokračovať »
pray to saints, without their images before us, and we invoke the assistance of the Mother of God, without the aid of a picture to enliven our devotion. Protestants take off their hats out of respect before a sinful man; they pay homage to the portrait of their sovereign, in the halls of his ambassadors, and to the empty throne in the house of peers; they rise from their seats, and stand uncovered, during the performance of music in honour of the King ; they bow the head to the altar, and to the name of Jesus, when it is pronounced; they kiss the Bible, when they have sworn by it; they decorate their Churches with images painted upon glass; they even kneel before their consecrated bread and wine, “ mere bodily elements, of earthly manufacture;"(d)--and all this without incurring the guilt of idolatry. But why similar marks of respect and veneration may not be shewn to the image of the Mother of God, or of the Prince of the Apostles, without subjecting
shew a high respect to the Ark of the Covenant, and severe punishments were inflicted upon those who either touched it, or looked upon it with irreverence or inattention. In the New Testament we are commanded to bend the knee at the name of Jesus; and why may we not pay the same mark of respect to the representation of his sufferings, without the imputation of idolatry? By both we only honour the Redeemer of Mankind.
(a) Bishop of Durham's Charge.
those who shew them, to the odious imputation of superstition and idolatry, is only conceivable to the minds of men who come forward with so groundless and uncharitable a charge. It evinces a degree of ignorance and credulity, equalled only by the want of charity which it betrays. Those who see with a superficial eye, and without a due knowledge of the circumstances, may doubtless be scandalized : the Jews were even scandalized at our Saviour, whom, in the ignorance and the blindness of their hearts, they called a drinker of wine, and the companion of publicans. Idolatry is an act of the mind, and not of the body: and it is a crying injustice to presume that a Catholic is praying to an image, because he is praying be
(e)“Were the Israelites idolaters, when they turned their eyes devoutly towards the sanctuary in which were deposited the Ark and the Cherubim? or when, in the posture of suppliants, they cast an eye of confidence and hope upon the brazen serpent? Were Joshua and all the ancients of Israel idolaters, because they religiously fell prostrate on the ground before the Ark of the Testament? Was David an idolater, when he brought back the Ark of God with all the pomp and solemnity mentioned in the Scripture?”-(Amicable Discussion, vol. ii. p. 291.)
The second council of Nice, convoked by the Empress Irene and Pope Adrian, discussed the question most maturely, and defined: “That pictures and images are set up in Churches and other places, that, at the sight of them,
But such things are stumbling-blocks to those only whose minds are darkened: that darkness may
the faithful may remember what they represent: and that the honour paid to images passes to the archetypes or things represented, so that he who reveres the image, reveres the person it represents.”—(Act VI.) It approves, consequently, of the expression of Leontius, Bishop of Napoli, in the island of Cyprus : “ When you see Christians adore the cross, know that they pay their adoration to Jesus Christ crucified, and not to the wood.” And as the word adoration is a general expression, applying to God, the angels, the person of the emperors, and their statues, to animate and even inanimate things, as wellinformed persons of all parties admit, the council distinguishes the adoration due to God alone, from that which may be rendered to other objects: it calls the first, adoration of latria, and confines it to God alone: the latter, which is paid to images, it calls salutation, and relative and inferior honour, which passes to the original; but which is ever distinct from the worship of latria, which belongs exclusively to the divine nature.”—(Ibid. p. 283.)
The term adoration is more freely used when speaking of the crucifix or the cross, because, in both cases, the reference to the Deity is immediate. The literal signification of the word is “to apply the hand to the mouth ;" it is several times used in Scripture to express either the supreme worship given to the Deity alone, or an inferior honour given to man: because it is not the action which measures the degree of honour, but the intention with which it is performed. Examples in point may be seen in the article on Adoration in the Abbé Bergier's Dictionnaire de Théologie, an excellent work of reference in all difficult and
proceed only from ignorance; that ignorance from prejudice; and that prejudice from the erroneous impressions of our youth: and however pardonable it may be in some cases, yet it becomes our bounden duty to dispel it by the light of reason, and by the more invigorated powers of the understanding. But it is always most unjust and uncharitable for persons, with minds prepared for exaggerated impressions, to pass judgment upon questions on which they are quite incompetent to decide for want of information; and still more so to publish those judgments to the world: thereby inflaming the passions of men, and giving weight to that mass of prejudice which already exists in so lamentable a degree in this country, against the most numerous, the most enlightened, but most calumniated body of Christians in the universe: and this too,
controverted questions. The term worship is used both by Protestants and by Catholics to express not only the supreme and sovereign homage due to God alone, but also the most inferior act of religious reverence, and even the most humble degree of civil dignity. In these two latter significations it is used in the marriage service, and as the title of honour for aldermen, mayors, and inferior public officers. Let not, then, offence be taken if the word worship be sometimes applied to the Virgin Mary and the saints; for whenever it is thus employed, we may rest assured that it only means that degree of reverence which may be lawfully given to creatures, in accordance with the will of the Creator.
when a little research would have exhibited these matters in their true light, and would have shewn that to be a pious practice, agreeable both to reason and revelation, which is now first of all misrepresented, and then stigmatized as superstitious and idolatrous. Itis surely beyond endurance that every thing should be calculated upon the impressions of prejudice; and that, from the most liberal and most learned, as well as from the most bigoted and most ignorant, we should hear of nothing but the absurdities and impositions of the Catholic religion.)
(1) Speaking of the conduct of the people towards a supposed miraculous image in the Pantheon, in 1817, Mr. Hobhouse, in his learned researches into the Antiquities of Rome, observes :
The veneration for a miraculous image which has lately crowded the Rotunda, has not bettered the condition of the pavement; nor does it help the general effect of the interior prospect, to be aware that we see exactly the same idolatry which was practised in the same spot sixteen centuries ago. A philosopher may smile, but a less indifferent spectator is shocked at the inexplicable credulity which stares in the stedfast faces of a hundred worshippers, seated in chairs for hours before the image, in the wish--the hope—the certainty—of some indication of omnipotence from the dirty cobweb-covered block which has been preferred into divinity.” Now, leaving the credulity to be dealt with as it
may deserve, I certainly must exonerate these individuals from the heavy charge of idolatry here brought against them.