« AnteriorContinuar »
ornaments of buildings, or of books, or chambers, or gardens, is not unlawful. 3. As the word 'image' is taken in general for signs, there is no question but they are frequently to be used; as all a man's words are the images, that is, the signifiers of his mind: and all a man's writings are the same made visible. It is therefore a blind, confounding error of some now among us (otherwise very sober, good men) who accuse all forms of prayer, and of preaching as sinful, because (say they) they are idols, or images of prayer and of preaching; they are neither engraven nor painted images of any creature; but all words are or should be signs of the speaker's mind. And if you will 'secundum quid' call only the inward desires by the name of prayer, then the words are the signs of such prayer. But because prayer in the full sense is desire expressed, therefore the expressions are not the signs of such prayer, but part of the prayer itself, as the body is of the man: nor is a form, that is fore-conceived or premeditated words (whether in mind or writing) any more an image of prayer, than extemporate prayer is. All words are signs, but never the more for being premeditated or written. And according to this opinion, all books are sinful images, and all sermon-notes, and the printing of the Bible itself, and all pious letters of one friend to another, and all catechisms: strangers will hardly believe, that so monstrous an opinion as this, should in these very instances be maintained, by men otherwise so understanding and truly godly, and every way blameless, as have and do maintain it at this
day- 4. The making and using of the image of Christ, as born, living, preaching, walking, dying (a crucifix), rising, ascending, is not unlawful in itself, though any of the forementioned accidents may make it so in such cases. As Christ was man like one of us, so he may be pictured as a man. Object. 'His Divine nature and human soul are Christ, and these cannot be pictured; therefore an image of Christ cannot be made.' Answ. It is not the name, but the thing which I speak of: choose whether you will call it an image of Christ,' secundum corpus,' or an image of Christ's body. You cannot picture the soul of a man, and yet you may draw the picture of a man's body. 5. It is a great part of a believer's work, to have Christ's image very much upon his imagination and so upon his mind". As if he saw him in the manger, in his temptations, in his preaching, in his praying, watching, fasting, weeping, doing good, as crowned with thorns, as crucified, &c., that a crucified Saviour being still as it were before our eyes, we may remember the price of our redemption, and the example which we have to imitate; and that we are not to live like a Dives or a Caesar, but like the servants of a crucified Christ. A crucifix well befitteth the imagination and mind of a believer. 6. It is a great part of true godliness, to see God's image in the glass of the creation; to love and honour his image on his saints, and all the impressions of his power, wisdom and goodness on all his works; and to love and honour him as appearing in themy.
7. It is lawful on just occasion, to make the image of fire or light as signifying the inaccessible light in which God is said to dwell, and the glory in which he will appear to the blessed in heavenz. For by many such resemblances the Scripture setteth these forth, in Rev. i. xxi. xxii, &c. And Moses saw God's back parts, viz. a created glory. 8. It is lawful to represent an angel on just occasions, in such a likeness as angels have assumed in apparitions; or as they are described in Ezekiel or elsewhere in Scripture, so be it we take it not for an image of their true spiritual nature, but an improper representation of them, like a metaphor in speech ».
9. It is lawful (seasonably and in fit circumstances) to use images, 1. For memory. 2. For clearer apprehension. 3. For more passionate affection, even in religious cases; which is commonly called the historical use of them. For these ends the Geneva Bible, and some other, have the Scripture histories in printed images; to shew the Papists that it is not all images, or all use of them, that they were against. And so men were wont to picture Dives in his feasting, with Lazarus in rags, over their tables, to mind them of the sinfulness of sensuality. And so the sacred histories are ordinarily painted, as useful ornaments of rooms,"which may profit the spectators. 10. Thus it is lawful to honour the memory of learned, great and virtuous persons, saints and martyrs, by keeping their images; and by the beholding of them to be remembered of our duty, and excited to imitation of themb. 11. It is lawful to use hieroglyphics, or images expressing virtues and vices, as men commonly make images to decipher prudence, temperance, charity, fortitude, justice. &c. and envy, sloth, pride, lust, &c. As they do of the five senses, and the four seasons of the year, and the several parts of man's age, and the several ranks and qualities of persons, &c. 12. Thus it is lawful to represent the devil, and idols, when it tendeth but to make them odious. For as we must not take their names into our mouths0, that is, when it tendeth to honour them, or tempt men to it; and yet may name them as Elias did in scorn, or as the prophets did by reproof of sin; so is it also in making representations of them. Even as a drunkard may be painted in his filth and folly to bring shame and odium on the sin. 13. It is lawful to use hieroglyphics instead of letters, in teaching children, or in letters to friends; or to make images to stand as characters instead of words, and so to use them even about sacred things. 14. As it is lawful to use arbitrary professing signs even about holy things, which signify no more than words, and have by nature or custom an aptitude to such a use; while it is extended no farther, than to open our own minds; so it may be lawful to use such a characteristical or hieroglyphical image to that end, when it hath the same aptitude, but not otherwise. As a circular figure or ring being a hieroglyphic of perpetuity, and so of constancy, is used as a significant profession of constancy in marriage; and so the receiving of each other's picture, might be used. And so in
* Rom. viii. 29. Rev. i. 12.. &c. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Col. i. 15. Phil. iii. 8—lO. &c
i 1 Cor. xi. 7. 2 Cor. iii. 18. Col. iii. 10.
> Exod. xxv. 18,19. xxxvii. 8, 9.
» 1 Kings vi. 24—27. Ezek. x. 2. 4. 7.9. t*. 1 Kings vii. 29. 36. viii. 6. 7. lSani. iv. 4. 2 Kings xix. 15. Psal. Ixxx. 1. xcix. 1. Isa. vi. 2. 6.
covenanting, or taking an oath, the professing sign is left to the custom of the country; whether we signify our consent by gesture, words, action, writing. And as it is lawful to make an image on a seal which hath a sacred signification, (as a flaming heart on an altar, a Bible, a praying saint, &c.) as well as to write a religious motto on a seal; so is it lawful to put this seal to a subscribed covenant with God and his church, or our king and country, when we have a lawful call to seal such a covenantd. But if law or custom would make such a seal, to be the common badge or symbol of the Christian religion, I think it would become unlawful. As the crucifix for ought I know might thus have been arbitrarily used as a seal, or as a transient, arbitrary professing sign, as the cross was by the ancients at the beginning. If any man had scorned me for believing in a crucified Christ, I know not but I might have made a crucifix by art, act or gesture, to tell him that I am not ashamed of Christ; as well as I may tell him so by word of mouth. But if men's institution or custom, shall make this a symbol or badge of a Christian, and twist it in baptism, or adjoin it, as a dedicating sign, and as the common professing symbol that every baptized person must use, to signify and declare that he is not ashamed of Christ crucified, but believeth in him, and will manfully fight under his banner against the flesh, the world, and the devil to the death: though he call it but a professing sign, and say, he doth but signify his own mind, and not God's act and grace; I should wish him to distinguish between a private or arbitrary act of profession, and a common public badge and professing symbol of our religion; and tell him that I think the instituting of the latter belongs to God alone; and that he hath made two sacraments to that end; which sacraments are essentially such symbols and badges of our profession, and are dedicating signs on the receiver's part; and that Christ crucified is the chief grace or mercy given to the church, and his sacrifice is his own act: and therefore objectively, the grace, and act of God also, is here signified; and therefore on two accounts set together, I fear this use of the crucifix is a sin: 1. As it is an image, (though it should be transient) used
* Nch. ix. 38. Esth. viii. «.
as a medium in God's worship, and so forbidden in the second commandment, (for it is not a mere circumstance of worship, but an outward act of worship). 2. Because it is a new human sacrament, or hath too much of the essence of a sacrament, and so it is an usurpation of his prerogative that made the sacraments: for as I said, itbelongeth to the king to make the common badge or symbol of his own subjects, or any order honoured by him. And the general giveth out his own colours; and though one may arbitrarily wear another colour, yet if any shall give out common colours to his army, regiment or troop beside his own, to be the symbol or badge of his soldiers, I think he would take it for too much boldness. Yet if only an inferior captain gave but subordinate colours, not to notify a soldier of the army as such, but to distinguish his troop from the rest, it were not so much as the other: so if a bishop or ruler did but make such a symbol by which the Christians of his charge might be discerned from all others, and not as a badge of Christianity itself, though I know no reason for such distinction, and it may be faulty otherwise, yet would it not be this usurping of sacramental institution, which now I speak of. All professing signs are not symbols of Christianity. Christ hath done his own work well already; his colours, sacraments or symbols are sufficient; we need not devise more, and accuse his institutions of insufficiency; nor make more work for ourselves in religion, when we leave undone so much that he hath made us. 15. All abuse of images will not warrant us to separate from the church which abuseth them; nor is all such abuse, idolatry. If the church or our rulers will against our will place images inconveniently in churches, we may lawfully be there, so that they be not symbols of idol worship, or of a religion or worship so sinful in the substance, as that God will not accept it; and so be it we make no sinful use of those inconvenient images ourselves. Though mere temptation and scandal make them sinful in those that so abuse them, and set them up; yet he that is not the author of that temptation or scandal, may not forsake God's worship, because that such things are present, nor is to be interpreted a consenter to them, while he cometh only about lawful worship.