Imagens das páginas

perors, even when religion was already much corrupted. “The Christian emperors strictly prohibited their Pagan subjects to light up candles, offer incense, or hang up garlands to senseless images, for these were then reckoned the notorious acts of genuine Paganism. Yet now we see all those very acts performed every day in Popish countries, to the images of the Popish saints. In a word, since there never was an image in the temple of the true God in any age of the world, yet a perpetual use of them in all the temples of the heathens, it is in vain to dispute about their origin. The thing is evident to a demonstration. They must necessarily be derived to the present Romans, from those who always used, and not from those who always detested them,--that is, from their Pagan, not their Christian ancestors.” One of the remarkable features of the idolatry of the Church of Rome, consists in the deification of the Virgin Mary, who is not only saluted with titles as august as those of the goddesses of the Pagans, such as Deipara, Regina coelorum, et Domina Angelorum, &c. but who has the expressions peculiar to the Saviour applied to herself, so that she is called the gate of salvation; and it is asserted there is no one “who can be saved, O most holy Virgin, but through thee.” The Saviour is represented as ready to destroy the world with his just vengeance, but Mary, by her interposition and

intercession, averts his deserved wrath. On the high altar of the church of the Recollèts, at Ghent, there is a picture of Rubens, thus described by Sir Joshua Reynolds:—“Christ, with Jupiter's thunder and lightning in his hand, denouncing vengeance on a wicked world, represented by a globe lying on the ground with a serpent twined round it; this globe St. Francis appears to be covering and defending with his mantle. The Virgin is holding Christ's hand, and showing her breasts, implying, as I suppose, the right she has to intercede and have an interest with him whom she suckled.” In this and in other instances, frequent amongst the Papists, Christ ceases entirely to be the Saviour of the world, and his place is supplied in their deluded imagination, either by the deified Virgin or some favourite saint. The conformity of the Papists to the Pagans is very observable in the holy water, which the Papists themselves derive from the Pagan temples, and the lighting up lamps, which the Christian Father Lactantius derides as the folly of the heathens. “They light up candles to God,” says Lactantius, “as if he lived in the dark; and do they not deserve to pass for madmen who offer lamps to the Author and Giver of light?” With respect to votive offerings, Polydore Virgil, after having described this practice of the ancients, “ in the same manner,” says he, “do we now offer up in our churches little images of wax, and as oft as any part of the body is hurt, —as the hand or foot, we presently make a vow to God, or one of his saints, to whom, on our recovery, we make an offering of that hand or foot in wax ; which custom is now come to that extravagance, that we do the same thing for our cattle which we do for ourselves, and make offering for our oxen, horses, sheep; where a scrupulous man will question whether in this we imitate the religion or the superstition of our ancestors.” But it is not only in particular rites, but in the whole form of worship, that the resemblance between the idolatry of ancient and modern Rome consists. The dedications on the outside of the Popish church are copied from the inscriptions on the heathen temples; in the interior there are the same riches and offerings, there are similar idols, and indeed often the same idols, for the ancient statues were not unfrequently christened, that the Papists might worship them without scruple. And these idols are drest in the same richly-wrought garments as those of the Pagans. In the famed treasury of Loretto, says Middleton, “one part consists, as it did likewise amongst the heathens, of a wardrobe; for the very idols, as Tertullian observes, used to be drest out in curious robes of the choicest stuffs and fashions. While they were showing us, therefore, the great variety of rich habits with which that treasury abounds,--some covered with precious stones, others more curiously embroidered by such a queen or princess, for the use of the miraculous image, I could not help recollecting the picture which old Homer draws of Queen Hecuba of Troy prostrating herself before the miraculous image of Pallas, with a present of the richest and best-wrought gown that she was mistress of:— “A gown she chose, the best and noblest far, Sparkling with rich embroidery like a star.”

The mention of Loretto puts me in mind of the surprise that I was in at the first sight of the holy image, for its face is as black as a negro's, so that one would take it rather for the representation of a Proserpine, or infernal deity, than what they impiously style it, of the Queen of Heaven. But I soon recollected that this very circumstance of its complexion made it but resemble the more exactly the old idols of Paganism, which are described to be black with the perpetual smoke of lamps and incense. When a man is once engaged in reflections of this kind, imagining himself in some heathen temple, and expecting, as it were, some sacrifice or other piece of Paganism to ensue, he will not be long in suspense before he sees the finishing act and last scene of genuine idolatry, in crowds of bigot votaries, prostrating themselves before some image of wood or stone, and paying divine honours to an idol of their own erecting. Should they squabble with us here about the meaning of the word idol, St. Jerome has determined it to the very case in question, telling us, that by idols are to be understood the images of the dead. Idola intelligimus imagines mortuorum. And the worshippers of such images are used always in the style of the Fathers, as synonymous and equivalent to heathens or Pagans.” The exact nature of Popery, and whence it derives its origin, seem very clearly pointed out in the above extracts. One more may be added, in relation to the Pope. “In their very priesthood they have contrived, one would think, to keep up as near a resemblance as they could to that of Pagan Rome; and the sovereign pontifex, instead of deriving his succession from St. Peter, may, with more reason and a much better plea, style himself the successor of the Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest of old Rome, whose authority and dignity was the greatest in the republic, and who was looked upon as the arbiter or judge of all things, civil as well as sacred, human as well as divine; whose power, established almost with the foundation of the city, was an omen, (says Polydore Virgil) and sure presage of that priestly majesty by which Rome was once again to reign as universally as it had done before by the force of its arms. But of all the sovereign pontiffs of Pagan Rome, it is very remarkable that Caligula was the first who ever offered

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