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Guevara on the Veneration of Images

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1850

ART. II. — Dissertatio Hlistorico-Dogmtica de Sacrarum Imaginum Cultu Religioso Quatuor Epochis complectens Dogma et Disciplinam Ecclesitu super Sanctus Imagines. Auctore ABB, IOSEPHO GUEVEUA, Hispano. Fulginiae. 1789.

IT is our object, not so much to review the able and learned treatise, the title of which we have prefixed to this article, as to arrange in an independent essay some facts, authorities, and arguments in support of the Catholic doctrine respecting the veneration of images. We shall, however, have occasion to borrow largely from the rich stores of the Abbate Guevara, and we therefore, in the outset, acknowledge our obligations to him for the chief portion of our materials.
Our design leads us to present our subject, first in an historical light, leaving the consideration of the difficulties usually brought up from the Old Testament for after consideration. In the treatise of the Abbate Guevara, the history of Christian sacred images is divided into four epochs :— 1. From the death of our Lord to the conversion of Constantine ; 2. From the reign of Constantine to that of Leo the Isaurian ; 3. From the time of the Emperor Leo to that of the Second Nicene, or Seventh Oecumenical Council ; and 4. From the Second Council of Nice to the Council of Trent. During the first period, says our learned author,—

" AliquoD sanctae imagines fuere in usu, eosque religioso cultu, clam, ut ita loquor, timore et tyrannorum persecutione cogentibus, Christifideles prosequebantur." " Some sacred images were made use of, and the faithful of Christ honored them with religious veneration, privately so to speak, through the compulsion of fear and of tlie persecution of tyrants."
" In sccunda, serenitatis aurora Ecclesia? oborta, sine ullo timore, in templis haberi cceptum ; ipseque pius Constantinus mullas colori-bus effigiatus, auro argentoque cculatas fusilesque, qua late ejus im-pcrium porrigebatur, collocnri jussit, maximaChristiani orbislaetitia." " In the second, the dawn of peace having arisen upon the Church, they began to be placed, without the least fear, in the temples ; and the pious Constantine himself commanded many, both images painted with various colors, and such as were formed from silver and gold, and also sculptures, to be erected, throughout the whole wide extent of his dominions, to the extreme joy of the Christian world."

" In tertia, Leo Isauricus," etc. " In the third, Leo the Isaurian," and other persecutors.

" In quarta, cullus rcstitutus." " In the fourth, the religious honor of images restored."
Again, our author says of the first epoch : —

" IVima cpocha, frequenter adoralioni publicco non exposilas, ob cnusam persecutionum. Ileligio enim sancta, qua nititur pru-denti discretione, quibusdam non obligatoriis, ne sibi ipsi ofiiciat, laudabiliter desciscit, tempos expectans opportunius." " During the first epoch, holy images were not frequently exposed for public veneration,*(footnote: * We use the term " veneration," instead of literally translating the Latin word by "adoration," because experience has taugt us that some of our antagonists will persist in giving to our words a. meaning which they arc never intended to have.) on account of the persecutions. For our holy religion, with that prudent discretion which she practises, laudably, at times, abstains from some things not of obligation, in order to avoid incurring an injury, awaiting, meanwhile, a more favorable opportunity."
It appears from this, that the period between the First and Second Nicene Councils, that is, between the fourth and eighth centuries, was the one in which the use of sacred images, and the doctrine concerning the veneration due to them, were universally confirmed and recognized ; and that the Church based her practice and teaching upon a tradition received from the preceding ages, and handed down from the very days of the Apostles, — which will become clear as we proceed. In the words of our author : —

" Dogma Catholicum in quacumque materiec, ab initio fuit semper idem, semper invariabiliter est idem, et semper immutabile ubique terrarum permanebit. ' Verbum enim Domini permanet in aHernum. Cesium et terra pertransibunt; verba enim Domini non prrcteribunt.' Tamen, dogma non semper ecque manifesturn,nequo omnibus pari claritatis splendore proditum. Ecclesia, qure laudabili pollet discretionis dono, prudentfir judicarit,non omnia ab initio cum proventu declaranda, sed, dato tempore, et circumstantiis convenien-tibus, qua? occulta manebant, et quasi in abscondito latebant, educere in lucem ad populorum instructionem." "The Catholic dogma, in regard to every subject whatsoever, has been always the same, from the beginning, remains always unchangeably the same, and will always continue, in every part of the world, immutable. For, 'The word of the Lord remains for ever. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord shall not pass away.' Nevertheless, a dogma is not always equally manifest, or brought before the minds of all with an equally brilliant light.    The Church, who possesses an admirable gift of discretion, has prudently judged that she would not declare all things, explicitly, from the beginning, but, at a given time, and in suitable circumstances, would bring into the light some things which were hitherto in concealment, and covered with a certain obscurity." *(footnote: * The reader can hardly need to be admonished, that here is nothing resembling- Mr. Newman's doctrine of development. The doctrine is from the beginning1, but is not always and everywhere declared with equal distinctness.)

Let us first examine the few remaining monuments of the primitive tradition, from which the Church of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries derived her doctrine. These are the image of Edessa, the Veronica, the image of Paneas, the images found in the cemeteries, and a number of passages from the Fathers.

1. The image of Edessa. The story of the letter of King Abgarus to our Saviour, and our Saviour's reply, accompanied by a miraculous image of himself, is well known. The letters attributed to Christ and Abgarus are universally regarded as apocryphal ; this, however, does not prove that the story itself is false. It can be traced to a very early period, and, although we cannot tell exactly what was the true history on which it is founded, yet it seems clear that there was one, and the whole matter, obscure as it is, illustrates the belief and temper of the Ante-Nicene period. The Greek Menology contains a festival called " Commemoratio Imaginis non ma-nufactae D. D. N. S. J. C. ex urbe Edessae egressse, et in hanc uvbern regiam et a Deo servatam, deportatae." " The Commemoration of the Image not made by hands of the Lord our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, brought from the city Edessa, and transported to this royal city, by God protected." The history was, moreover, examined and approved by the Second Nicene Council.    St. John Damascen says : —

" Cum Abgarus Edesste rex, eo nomine pictorem misisset, ut Domini imaginem exprimeret, neque id pictor, ob splendorem ex ipsius vultu manantem consequi potuisset. Dominum ipsum divinse suce ac vivificae faciei pallium admovisse, imaginemque suam ei impressisse, se que illud ad Abgarum, ut ipsius cupiditati satisfaceret, misisse, ferunt." " They say, that when Abgarus, king of Edessa, had sent a painter for the purpose of taking the likeness of our Lord, and the painter was unable to do it, on account of the splendor which was emanating from his countenance, the Lord himself
applied a cloth to his divine find life-giving face, impressed his likeness upon it, and sent it to Abgarus, in order to satisfy his desire."

Pope Adrian says the same in his letter to the Council, and Gregory II. in his letter to the Greek emperor, Leo the Isaurian. It is to be particularly noted, also, that this story was not questioned by the Iconoclasts.

Ascending higher, we have the testimony of Eusebius, who had seen and examined the historical records of Edessa. This shows that the credit of the tradition was established at Edessa, before the fourth century, and throws it back indefinitely into primitive antiquity. Spondanus, moreover, asserts, from Eva-grius, — who cites as his authority Procopius's History of the Persian Wars, where the passage cannot now be found, but from which it may have been lost,— that the statue of Christ was placed over the gate of the city, having the inscription, " O God Christ, he who hopes in thee shall never fall from his hope." He also says, that " the Saviour's protection rendered the attempts of the enemy useless," and that when " this report was spread far and wide," Chosroes, king of the Persians, having heard of it, attacked and besieged the city, but was driven off with signal loss. An image which had been kept at Edessa from time immemorial was translated to Constantinople in the tenth century, as being this miraculous image ; and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, emperor of Constantinople, in a public oration, declared that the translation had been attended with numerous miracles, such as the blind regaining sight, the lame leaping up, the diseased, palsied, and infirm being restored to health and soundness.

Whatever doubt may hang over this story of the miraculous image of Edessa, this much is clear, — that an image to which this miraculous history traditionally belonged was preserved at Edessa from a time indefinitely earlier than the era of Eusebius (320); and that such was the temper of the Church at the time of his writing, that the narrative which he took from the Edessan annals found instant and universal credit.

2. The Veronica. This is the Vera Icon, or true likeness, impressed by our Lord upon the handkerchief of a pious woman, who assisted him on the way to the place of crucifixion, and who is thence called St. Veronica.

The Bollandists, who were the most learned and judicious critics that could be selected from the Society of Jesus, say that the tradition respecting the Veronica is undoubted among the orthodox, " indubitatani apuol orthodoxos" (Feb. 4). The testimony of St. Methodius is claimed by some as proving that this Veronica was sent to Rome in the days of Tiberius, who, being afflicted with leprosy, had sent to Jerusalem to pray our Saviour to come and heal him ; he having heard of our Lord's miracles, but not of his death. The passage cited as from St. Methodius reads thus : —

" Qua? dum nuncios convenisset, et itn esse, atque se habere per omnia evidentissime asseruit, Romam ab ipsis delata est, atque in priBsentiam principis adducta, speciem divinae tcstificationisostendit, et virtutem perfect! medieaminis gratia Christi mirabiliter eftecit." " Who, when she had come before the ambassadors, and had most clearly, by all means, proved that the thing was so, and that what was reported was really true, was brought by them to Rome, and being led into the presence of the prince, exhibited the appearance of the divine testimony, and wonderfully exerted the virtue of a perfect cure, by the grace of Christ."

The only reason for doubling the genuineness of this extract is, that Marianus Schotus, a writer of the eleventh century, from whom it is taken, is in some things unworthy of credit. Tillemont and others are of opinion that it is a genuine quotation from St. Methodius, Bishop of Tyre and martyr ; and if so, it proves the translation of the Veronica to Rome in the reign of Tiberius. F. Honoratus a Sancta Maria, whom Burnet has so highly lauded for his learning and philosophical judgment, considers it doubtful whether this translation took place at this period or later ; but this learned father and Bxovius consider it as certain, from unquestionable documents, that the public religious ceremonies in honor of the sacred Veronica date, at latest, from the fourth century. The office of the Veronica has been attributed to St. Ambrose, in support of which the fact is adduced that the church of Milan alone has retained it, all other churches of Italy having conformed to the Roman rite. In the year 705, Pope John VII. erected a shrine for this image, the walls of which were decorated with magnificent pictures in tessellated work, representing scenes in the life of Christ, and the pavement of which was also of tessellated marble. There is extant an ancient Gradual, which was used, according to the testimony of Grimaldus, one of the officers of Pope John V1L, on Christmas eve, when it was customary to offer special prayers and chant the Te Deum before this shrine. The linen cloth which was wrapped around our Saviour's body is also preserved, having on it the impression of his sacred form.

3.  The image of Paneas.    This was a statue erected at Paneas, or Csesarea-Philippi, by the woman who was healed of
an issue of blood by our Saviour. The history of this image comes to us on the authority of Eusebius and Sozomen, corroborated by Theophylact, the Second Council of Nice, and universal tradition. The following is the narrative of Eusebius (Hist., Lib. VII. c. 14): —

" Sed quoniam in mentionem hujus civitatis incidi, operas pretium arbitror, historian) hoc loco chare, qua3 digna plane videtur, quam memoriae ad posterilatem commendemus. Mulierem illam sangui-nis profluvio afilictatam, quam sanctorum evangeliorum testimonio, a Salvatore nostro morbi remedium invenisse cognovimus, ex ea civitate oriundam, illiusque domum ibi ostendi, et admirabilia qurcdam Salvatoris, in earn beneficii monumenta, et quasi trophsca ad hoc tempus duraro memorant. Pro foribus enim domus illius oeneam mulieris effigiem genibus (lexis et manibus instar suppli-canlis in anteriorem partem intensis, super editum lapidem colloca-tam. Huic e regione erectam imaginem ex eadem materia confla-tam, vestitu ad talos demisso decenter ornatam et manum mulieri porrigentem: ad cujus pcdes in ipsa basi, peregrinam quamdam et inusitatam herbam enasci, quam quidem ut ad amei vestitus fimbriam excrcverit, morbi cujusque generis medicandan vim et facultatem. Hanc statuam effigiem Jesu exprimere dicunt, quam ad nostram usque fctatem manentem ipsi ad earn civitatem profecti, oculis cer-nebamus." " But since 1 have fallen upon mentioning this city, I think it worth my while to relate here an historical fact, which seems evidently worthy that we should make provision for keeping up the memory of it for posterity. They relate, that the woman afflicted by a bloody flux, whom we know from the testimony of the holy Gospels to have found a remedy of her disease from our Saviour, was a native of that city, and that her house is now shown there, and that some memorable monuments of our Saviour's benefit to her, and, as it were, trophies, remain even to the present time. For there is, before the doors of that house, a kneeling statue of the woman, made of brass, with the hands stretched out in front, in the manner of a suppliant, and placed on a high pedestal of stone. Near to this, an image made of the same material is erected, covered with drapery reaching to the feet, in a comely manner, and extending its hand to the woman : at the feet of which, and from out of the pedestal itself, an exotic and unusual herb springs up, which, moreover, when it has grown up as high as the edge of the brazen garment, has the virtue and power of healing every kind of disease. They say that this statue represents the figure of Jesus, and this same statue, which remains even to our age, we ourselves saw, with our own eyes, when we went to that city."
Sozomen testifies that the Emperor Julian removed this statue and put his own in its place, which was struck by lightning, the head and neck being thrown violently on the ground, and only the blackened body remaining when he wrote. The fragments of the image of Christ, which was broken in pieces by the heathen, were carefully gathered up by the Christians and preserved in the churches. One remark of Eusebius, which follows his narrative, is particularly worthy of notice: —

" Nee plane mirum eos, qui ex Gentilibus prognati, a Salvatore, dum inter homines vivebat, beneficiis affecti fuissent, ita fecisse : cum et nos, Petri et Pauli Apostolorum, etChristi etiam ipsiua, imagines in picturis colorum varietate expressas conservatasque aspex-erimus." " Nor, indeed, is it strange that those persons of Gentile origin, who had received blessings from the Saviour while he was living among men, should have done this; since even we have seen likenesses of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and also of Christ himself, painted in pictures with various colors, and carefully preserved."
This passage alone sustains the proposition of our author in its full extent. Observe, Eusebius adduces these images and pictures which had been preserved from a period long anterior to the Nicene era, to prove that images of our Saviour were made, " dum inter viventes agebat," " while he was acting among the living" ; and thus traces back the history of sacred images to the " cunabula Ecclesia3," " the cradle of the Church."

A canon of the Council of Antioch, so called, — that is, one of the Apostolical canons, which was produced at the Second Council of Nice, — is available in proof of the prevailing belief of the early period when those spurious canons were compiled, concerning the doctrine of the Apostles. It reads thus : —

" Ne decipiantur Salvati ob idola; sed pingant ex opposito divinam, humanamque manufactam, impermixtamque effigiem Dei veri et Salvatoyis D. N. J. C.: ipsiusque servorum, contra idola et Judrcos ; neque errant in idolis, nee similes sint Judasis." " Let not the faithful be deceived in respect to idols; but, in opposition to them, let them paint the image of the divine person, also made human without any mixture, of the true God and Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ; and also of his servants, against idols and the Jews ; and let them neither err in idols, or become similar to the Jews."

Baronius and Benedict XIV. are of the opinion, that the cross was placed over altars from the time of the Apostles.

4. As to ancient images and pictures found in the cemeteries, and preserved at Home, although we intended to touch upon
this port of our subject when we began, we must content ourselves with referring our readers to Dr. Wiseman's Letters to Mr. Poynder, and other works which contain the requisite information.

5. We come now to cite some passages from the Fathers, as evidences of the Catholic tradition respecting holy images. St. Paulinus of Nola (353-431) and Prudentius speak of an ancient image of Abraham which they had seen. St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Chrysostom also say, that for a long time Christians had worn rings having images of Christ and the saints upon them. Tertullian (De Pudicit., c. vii.) testifies, that in his time, (end of the second and beginning of the third century,) Christ was engraved on the chalices, as the Good Shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders. " Ubi est ovis perdita, a Domino requisite!, et humeris ipsius revecta ? Procedant ipscs picturm calicum vcslrorum," etc. " Where is the lost sheep, sought by the Lord, and brought back on his shoulders ? Let the very pictures on your chalices come forward," &c. And, o. 10 : — " Patrocinabitur Pastor, quern in calice depingitis." " The Shepherd, to whom you represent on the chalice, will patronize us." Eusebius and Sozomen, cited above, also properly come in under this head.

The greater number of testimonies belong to the second epoch, between the First and Second Councils of iNice. Some already cited belong also to that epoch, but all bear witness to the doctrine and usage of the first. Before the time of Constantine, we can find but a few faint traces remaining, to tell us what was the doctrine and practice of Christians concerning sacred images ; but, though few and faint, they are satisfactory, illustrated as they are by the clear light of the subsequent epoch. " This epoch," says Guevara, "is properly to be commenced from the year 312, in which Heaven, by the miraculous appearance of the cross, gave a brilliant precedent (praeluxit) to the public use of sacred images in the Church. From that time, sacred images were publicly set up, Constantine himself, by the pious instinct of the Deity, laudably directing, and admonishing others by letters which he despatched, to imitate the same holy example You might say, indeed, that God wished to teach the Christian people, by the miraculous exhibition of the cross, how consistent is the use of sacred forms." This last sentence conveys an excellent thought; and evidently, as the general and public use of images, and their solemn veneration, are to be traced to the time of Constantine, as their chief promoter, and as lie was moved in what he did by the miraculous vision of the cross, that vision is a divine sanction of the whole doctrine and practice, in this respect, of the epoch we are considering.

The following is a description of some of the images erected by this religious prince: —

" In the reservoir of the baptistery which is called the Constantinian, he placed a lamb of the purest, gold, of 170 pounds' weight. On the left of the lamb, a John the Baptist, of silver, holding the following written label : — ' Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit pcccata rmindi.' In the Constantinian Basilica he made a silver shrine, having in front of it our Saviour sitting on a seat or throne, the whole weighing 120 pounds, and the twelve Apostles, each five feet high and weighing 90 pounds, with crowns of the purest silver, which weighed 140 pounds ; and four silver angels, each five feet high, and weighing 115 pounds, with gems of Alabanda." "Since the pious Constantine was persuaded that all the happiness of himself and of his empire was to be attributed to the holy and venerable cross, and to the Saviour Jesus Christ, he constructed images of Christ and the cross in as great numbers as possible. In Constantinople, in the Mediterranean Forum, there was a very large fountain, constructed with wonderful art, whose summit an image of the Good Shepherd beautifully decorated. And there also you might see the memorable history of Daniel unharmed among the lions, represented in brass. In the greater palace, a cross was placed, wrought in with precious stones of extraordinary size."

The author of an Ode on the Passion, ascribed to Lactantius, thus alludes to the crucifixes which were placed, from this period, in the churches: —

" Quisquis tides, mediique subis ad liininn Templi Siste purum.    Insonteniqiio tuo procriuiine pussum Iie.spice inei me corde, uiiirno, me in pectore serva. Ille ego, qui cusua hominuin misenitus ucerbos, Hue veni," etc.
"You, who the threshold of my Temple's nuve approach, Stop for a lime, and me behold, the guiltless One, For your crimes suffering : let your heart and mind and soul Retain me ; I am He, who, pitying man's deep woes, Have hither come," &c.
St. Paulinus thus describes the images with which the apsis of the church was adorned in the fourth and fifth centuries: —
" Pleno coruscat Trinitas niystcrio, Stat Christus, Agno vox Patris intonat; Et per Columbnin Spiritus Sanctus fluit. Crucuni, corona lucido cingit globo, Cui coronas sunt corona Apostoli."

" Tlio Trinity in full, mysterious splendor shines : Christ stands, and over tliu Lamb thunders the Father's voice, While in a dove-like shape the Holy Ghost rides down. A crown with lucid circle binds a cross, The Twelve Apostles crown the crown itself."

" Cerne coronatam Domini super atria Christi Stare crucom, duro spoiidentem celsa labore Prajmiu.    Tollo crueem qui vis auferrc coronam."

" See crowned, above the courts of Christ our Lord, a cross Erected; pledge of high reward for lubor hard; Take up the cross, brave soul, that would the crown possess."

Prudentius also gives a description of the image of the martyr Cassian, in his Hymn on Saints Cassian and Hippolytus: —

" Ercxi ad cculuin facieni, stetit obvia contra, Fucis coloruin pictu imago martyris, Plagos mire gorens, totos laeerata per artus, Ruptam minutis priEl'erens punctis cutein. Innumeri circuin pueri, (lniserubile dietu,) Confossa parvis — membra ligebant — stylis."

" Lifting my eyes, I saw before me stand, VVitli various colors drawn, a martyr's form, Wounded in wondrous sort, the limbs all torn, And skin with smallest punctures thickly pierced; While numerous throngs of children, (sad to tell,) Through his stabbed members thrust their little styles."

St. Basil exclaims, in his Oration on St. Barlaam : —

" Surgite nunc athleticorum gestorum prasstantissimi pictores: mutilatce, hujus ducis, imagini, artis vestrce ornamenta conferte, et obscurius a me designatum victorern, laureatum industrial vestrre coloribus illustrate. Discedam victus a vobis prasclarorum martyris facinorum pictura. Tali hodie parta vobis per vestram dexteritatem victoria, superatus gaudeam. Manum videam, cum igne pugnan-tem, accuratius a vobis delineatam : in vestra tabella pugilem aspi-
ciam, elegantius descriptutn Qui nimmo, in eadem tabula, pracsens Christus appingatur."

" Arise, now, you most skilful painters of athletic exploits; cover the mutilated figure of this leader with the ornaments of your art, and decorate with the colors of your industry him, who has been more dimly drawn by me, as a laurelled victor. I will depart, vanquished by you in depicting the brilliant deeds of the martyr. Your skill having this day obtained for you so great a victory, I will rejoice in my own defeat. I can see the hand battling with the fire, more correctly delineated by you : in your picture, I can behold the combatant more elegantly represented Yes, even let
Christ be painted with him in the same picture."

Theodoret has a most explicit and satisfactory passage in his History of St. Simeon Stylites: —

" Aiunt Ronuc, fuisse cum ab omnium ore celebratum, ut in omnibus oflicinarum voslibulis, ct porticibus, ei parvasposuerint imagines, hinc sibi presidium et"

" They say at Home, that he was famous by the common speech of all, so that in all the vestibules of their offices, and in their porticos, they erected little images to him, tints securing to themselves protection and patronage."

The following passage, quoted by Cardinal Gotti and others from a supposed fragment of an Epistle of St. Basil to Julian the Apostate, is given up by Tillemont. It was read at the Second Nicene Council, and is, at least, good testimony of the belief of the age preceding that Council. According to the Latin version it reads : —

" Characteres imaginum illorum (sc. sanctorum), honoro et palam adoro. EIoc enim nobis traditum a sanctis Apostolis non est prohibendum ; sed in omnibus ecclesiis nostris eorum historias erigimus." " The forms of the images of these persons (i. e. the saints), honor and openly adore. For this, which was handed down to us by the holy Apostles, is not to be forbidden ; but in all our churches we erect the memorials of these men."

We come now to the epoch of the Second Nicene Council. A perusal of any minute and accurate account of the Iconoclastic heresy, and of this Council which condemned it, such, for instance, as that of Henrion in his admirable Ecclesiastical History, is sufficient to decide the question we are treating of for any one who respects Catholic antiquity.
The Iconoclastic doctrine was a new opinion, in opposition to the universal practice of the Church, based on a tradition reaching back into Catholic antiquity, and having no source short of the Apostles.

" If this ancient custom" writes St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, " leads us to idolatry, why has it not been abolished in  several ecumenical councils which have been held since the persecutions ? This kind of religious observance is not concentrated in a small number of cities, or in those which are the least considerable; it is the custom of almost all countries, and, certainly, of the first and most illustrious churches." To the Emperor Leo he said, — " Remember, my lord, I conjure you, what you have promised at your coronation, and that you have called God to witness, that you would change nothing in the tradition of the Church." Again : — "It is impossible for me to change any thing without, an oecumenical council which may explain the tradition."

Pope Gregory II. thus expostulates with Leo : —

" You have gone on so well for ten years, who has stopped you at this point, and caused you to make such a deadly fall ? Who has drawn you aside from the path marked out by the Fathers and the six general councils ? "
St. John Damascene writes : —

" Either honor no material thing, or refrain from introducing absurd innovations in the usages established by our fathers. Many councils have been held; whence comes it that none of them has condemned the worship which we practise from all antiquity ? " *(footnote: * Henrion, Vol. III. Lib. XXIII.)

The authors and advocates of the heresy were the basest of men. Xenajas, a Persian refugee slave, who was surreptitiously made bishop without having been baptized, called by Nicephorus " peridoneus Satanac minister" (" a most fit minister of Satan"); Leo the Isaurian ; Constantine Copronymus ; Anaslasius, the intruded Patriarch of Constantinople, " venalis religionis, quandoque orthodoxus, quandoque heterodoxus,  pro temporis
opportunitate, vecors, et duplici corde et aspectu "

(one whose religion was for sale, sometimes orthodox, sometimes heterodox, according to the convenience of the time, slothful, and hypocritical both in his heart and in his looks); his successor, Constantine, " vir impius et impurus, dignus talis praedecessoris successor " (an impious and impure man, worthy to succeed such a predecessor); —these, and similar men, were the founders and promoters of Iconoclasm. On the other hand, as soon as the heresy was avowed, all the saints, doctors, and illustrious prelates, — the Popes Gregory and Adrian, Saints Germanus and Ignatius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, St. John Damascene, St. Theodore the Studite, St. Stephen the Younger, a martyr honored by miracles, and others, — pronounced with one voice that it was contrary to the ancient faith and tradition of the Church. After several turbulent assemblies of the Iconoclasts, a lawful council was assembled by the Pope's letters missive, at which the whole Eastern Church, including the three ancient patriarchates, was represented ; as also the West, in the persons of the Roman legates. The patrons of Iconoclasm were deposed and anathematized, and many of them, among whom the most distinguished were the Bishops of Ancyra, Myra, and Amoria, were reconciled, on their solemn recantation. After careful deliberation, and an examination of Scripture, tradition, and the Fathers, a decree was made, defining the doctrine of the Catholic Church, that a relative worship is due to holy images ; and this decree, after a temporary opposition in France and Germany, based only upon an error of fact and a misapprehension, was universally received, after a time triumphed completely, even in the East, and has remained firm and immovable to this day. The Second Council of Nice did not experience one fourth part of the opposition which the First Council of Nice and the Council of Chalcedon encountered. Whatever obscurity or scantiness of written tradition during the first centuries, in relation to images, there may be, it is undeniable that the judgment of this Council proves, that the living tradition which the Church enunciated by its mouth had existed in her bosom from the beginning. The Fathers of the Council, apart from their divine infallibility, were competent judges in this matter ; we are not.

The very language of the Council may perhaps be more convincing and persuasive than any thing we can say in its defence.

" His ita se habentibus, regia quasi euntcs seroita, sequentes di-vinilus inspiratum sanctorum Patrum nostrorum magisterium et CatholicBe traditiones Ecclesia3, (nam Spiritus Sancti hanc esse novimus, qui nimirum in ipsa habetur,) definimus in omni certi-tudine et diligentia ; sicut figuram pretiosce, et vivifies; crucis, ita venerabiles ac sanctus imagines proponendas, tam de co-loribus ct tuxillis, quam ex alia materia, congruenter in sanctis Dei ecclesiis, et sacris vasis ac vestibus, et in parietibus, ac in tabellis, domibus ac viis; tam videlicit Imaginem Dei et Salva-toris Nostri J. C. quam Intemeratsc Dominos NostroB, Sanctoe Dei Genitricis, honorabiliumque Angelorum, et omnium sanctorum simul et almorum virorum. Quanto enim frequentius per imaginalem formationem videntur, tanto qui has contemplantur, alacrius erigun-tur ad primitivorum eorum memoriam et desiderium, et ad osculum, et ad honorarium his adorationcm tribuendam : non tamen veram Latriam, quoe secundum Fidem est, quscquesolum Divinam naturam decet, impertiendam. Ita, et istis, sicut figuroe vivificse crucis, et sanctis evangeliis, et reliquis sacratis monumentis, incensorum et luminum oblatio ad harum honorem efficiendum exhibeatur, quem-admodum ct antiquis pin) consuetudinis erat. Imaginis enim honor ad primitivum transit : et qui adorat imaginem adorat in ea depicti subsistentiam (i. e. personam).

"Sic enim robur obtinet sanctorum Patrum nostrorum doctrina, id est traditio Sanctoe CatholicoR Ecclesiee, qure a finibus usque ad fines terra suscipit evangelium. Sic Paulum,qui in Christo locutus est, et omnem divinum, apostolicum cajtum, et pristinam sanctitatem se-quemur, tenentes traditiones quas accepimus,     Hinc triumphales Ecclesioe prophetice canimus hymnos : Gaude salts, Filia Sion,
etc. Eos ergo qui audcnt aliter et docere secundum scelestas IIBD-
reticos, et ecclesiaslicas traditiones spernere, vel novitate qualibet
excogitare, vel projicere aliquid ex his, quce sunt Ecclesise dcputata,
sive evangelium, sive figuram crucis, sive imaginalem picturam,
sive sanctas reliquias martyrum, aut excogitare prave, et astute
subvertcre quamcumque ex legitimis traditionibus, sive Ecclesia)
Catholica3, vel etiam quasi communibus uti sacris vasis, aut venerabilibus monasteriis 

" Posted sancta synodus exclamant : — Omnes ita credimus : omnes id ipsum sapimus : omnes consentientes subscvipsimus. Hrec est fides Orthodoxorum. Ilasc est fides qua3 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 pellanlur," 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 excellent 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 apostolical 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, O 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 have 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.*(footnote: # 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.)

 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. A 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, 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 to 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 remarked 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."