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CHAP. made without hands (in Greek, it is a single word)," were
propagated in the camps and cities of the Eastern empire:” they were the objects of worship, and the instruments of miracles; and in the hour of danger or tumult, their venerable presence could revive the hope, rekindle the courage, or repress the fury, of the Roman legions. Of these pictures, the far greater part, the transcripts of a human pencil, could only pretend to a secondary likeness and improper title: but there were some of higher descent, who derived their resemblance from an immediate contact with the original, endowed, for that purpose, with a miraculous and prolific virtue. The most ambitious aspired from a filial to a fraternal relation with the image of Edessa; and such is the veronica of Rome, or Spain, or jerusalem, which Christ in his agony and bloody sweat applied to his face, and delivered to an holy matron. The fruitful precedent was speedily transfer. red to the Virgin Mary, and the saints and martyrs. In the church of Diospolis in Palestine, the features of the mother of God” were deeply inscribed in a marble column: the East and West have been decorated by the pencil of St. Luke; and the evangelist, who was perhaps a physician, has been forced to exercise the occupation of a painter, so profane and odious in the eyes of the primitive Christians. The Olympian Jove, created by the muse of Homer, and the chissel of Phidias, might inspire a philosophic mind with momentary devotion: but these Catholic images were faintly and flatly delineated by monkish artists in the last degeneracy of taste and genius.”
11 Aze poore thro5. See Ducange, in Gloss. Graec. et Lat. The subject is
treated with equal learning and bigotry by the Jesuit Gretser (Syntagma de Imaginibus non Manú factis, ad calcem Codini de Officiis, p. 289.330). the ass, or ra her the fox, of Ingoldstadt (See the Scaligeralia); with equal reason and wit by the protestant Beausobre, in the ironical controversy which he has spread through many volumes of the Bibliothéque Germanique (tom. xviii. p. 1:50. XX, p. 2.68. xxv, p. 1.35 xxvii. p. 85.118.xxviii. p. 1.33. xxxi. p. 111...148. xxxii. p. 75..107. xxiv. p. 67.96).
12. Theophylact Silliocatia (l. ii. c. 3. p. 34. l. iii. c. i. p. 63). celebrates the 8s avoizoy sizzowa, which he styles oxstporotato y; yet it was no more than a copy, since he adds, opzovorov to exsivoy of Pawatot (of Edessa). €227xt vszt to 2:32 row. See Pagi, tom. ii. A. D. 586, No. 11.
13 See, in the genuine or supposed works of John Damascenus, two passages on the Virgin and St. Luke, which have not been moticed by Gretser, nor conseq' ently by Beausobre (Opera Joh. Damascen. tom. i. p. 618, 631).
14 “Your scandalous figures stand quite out from the canvass: they are as “bad as a group of statues!” It was thus that the ignorance and bigotry of a Greek priest applauded the pictures of Titian, which he had ordered, and refused to accept.
The worship of images had stolen into the church by in- chAP. sensible degrees, and each petty step was pleasing to the ** superstitious mind, as productive of comfort and innocent Opposition of sin. But in the beginning of the eighth century, in the to image full magnitude of the abuse, the more timorous Greeks were *
awakened by an apprehension, that under the mask of Christianity, they had restored the religion of their fathers: they heard, with grief and impatience, the name of idolaters; the incessant charge of the Jews and Mahometans,” who derived from the Law and the Koran an immortal hatred to graven images and all the relative worship. The servitude of the Jews might curb their zeal and depreciate their authority; but the triumphant Musulmans, who reigned at Damascus, and threatened Constantinople, cast into the scale of reproach the accumulated weight of truth and victory. The cities of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, had been fortified with the images of Christ, his mother, and his saints: and each city presumed on the hope or promise of miraculous defence. In a rapid conquest of ten years, the Arabs subdued those cities and these images; and, in their opinion, the Lord of Hosts pronounced a decisive judgment between the adoration and contempt of these mute and inanimate idols. For a while Edessa had braved the Persian assaults; but the chosen city, the spouse of Christ, was involved in the common ruin; and his divine resemblance became the slave and trophy of the infidels. After a servitude of three hundred years, the Palladium was yielded to the devotion of Constantinople, for a ransom of twelve thousand pounds of silver, the redemption of two hundred Musulmans, and a perpetual truce for the territory of Edessa." In this season of distress and dismay, the eloquence of the monks was exercised in the defence of images; and they attempted to prove, that the sin and schism of the greatest part of the
15 By Cedrenus, Zonaras, Glycas, and Mamasses, the origin of the Iconoclasts is imputed to the caliph Yezid and two Jews, who promised the empire to Leo; and the reproaches of these hostile sectaries are turned into an absurd conspiracy for restoring the purity of the Christian worship (see Spanheim, Hist. Imag. c. 2).
16 See Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 267.) Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 201.) and Abulfeda (Annal. Moslem. p. 264) and the Criticisms of Pagi (tom iii. A. D. 944). The prudent Franciscan refuses to determine whether the image of Edessa now reposes at Rome or Genoa; but its repose is inglorious, and this ancient object of worship is no longer famous or fashionable.
CHAP. Orientals had forfeited the favour, and annihilated the vir** tue, of these precious symbols. But they were now opposed by the murmurs of many simple or rational Christians, who appealed to the evidence of texts, of facts, and of the primi- tive times, and secretly desired the reformation of the church. As the worship of images had never been established by any general or positive law, its progress in the Eastern empire had been retarded, or accelerated, by the differences of men and manners, the local degrees of refinement, and the personal characters of the bishops. The splendid devotion was fondly cherished by the levity of the capital, and the inventive genius of the Byzantine clergy, while the rude and remote districts of Asia were strangers to this innovation of sacred luxury. Many large congregations of Gnostics and Arians maintained, after their conversion, the simple worship which had preceded their separation; and the Armenians, the most warlike subjects of Rome, were not reconciled, in the twelfth century, to the sight of images.” These various denominations of men afforded a fund of prejudice and aversion, of small account in the villages of Anatolia or Thrace, but which, in the fortune of a soldier, a prelate, or an eunuch, might be often connected with the powers of the church and state. Leo, the Of such adventurers, the most fortunate was the emperor ... Leo the third,” who, from the mountains of Isauria, ascessors, cended the throne of the East. He was ignorant of sacred A., so and profane letters; but his education, his reason, perhaps his intercourse with the Jews and Arabs, had inspired the martial peasant with an hatred of images; and it was held to be the duty of a prince, to impose on his subjects the dictates of his own conscience. But in the outset of an un- chAP. settled reign, during ten years of toil and danger, Leo sub-. ** mitted to the meanness of hypocrisy, bowed before the idols which he despised, and satisfied the Roman pontiff with the annual professions of his orthodoxy and zeal. In the reformation of religion, his first steps were moderate and cautious: he assembled a great council of senators and bishops, and enacted with their consent, that all the images should be removed from the sanctuary and altar to a proper height in the churches, where they might be visible to the eyes, and inaccessible to the superstition, of the people. But it was impossible on either side to check the rapid though adverse impulse of veneration and abhorrence : in their lofty position, the sacred images still edified their votaries and reproached the tyrant. He was himself provoked by resistance and invective; and his own party accused him of an imperfect discharge of his duty, and urged for his imitation the example of the Jewish king, who had broken without scruple the brazen serpent of the temple. By a second edict, he proscribed the existence as well as the use of religious pictures; the churches of Constantinople and the provinces were cleansed from idolatry; the images of Christ, the Virgin, and the Saints, were demolished, or a smooth surface of plaster was spread over the walls of the edifice. The sect of the Iconoclasts was supported by the zeal and despotism of six emperors, and the East and West were involved in a noisy conflict of one hundred and twenty years. It was the design of Leo the Isaurian to pronounce the condemnation of images, as an article of faith, and by the authority of a general council: but the convocation of such an assembly was reserved for his son Constantine;” and though it is stigmatised by triumphant bigotry as a meeting of fools and atheists, their own partial and mutilated acts betray many symptoms of reason and piety. The To: debates and decrees of many provincial synods introduced constantinople, 19 some flowers of rhetoric are Svobo, rapaveolov was 20sov, and the bishops ret; Marzooperty. By Damascenus it is styled axvgos xat 29:2to: (Opera, tom. i. p. 623). o Apology for the synod of Constantinople (p. 171, &c.) is worked up with truth and ingenuity, from such materials as he could find in the Nocene Ac's (p. 1046, &c.). The witty John of Damas
17 Apoevtoto zzt Axzozvous eartzz, n &yray suzovay *pozzvyozig aro7opt to 41 Nice as, l. ii. p. 238). The Armenian churches are still content with the cross (A1 issions du Levant, tom. iii. p. 148.) but surely the superstitious Greek is unjust to the superstition of the Germans of the xiith century. 18 Our original, but not impartial, monuments of the Iconoclasts must be drawn from the Acts of the Councils, to n. viii and ix. Collect. Labbé, edit. Venet. and the historical writings of the phanes, Nicephorus, Manasses, Cedromus, Zonaras, &c. Of the modern Catholics, Baronius, Pagi, Natalis Alexander (iiist. Eccles Seculuia vii and is.) and Maimbourg (Host. des iconoclasses), have urea ed the subject with learning, pastion, and credulity. The protestant lab urs of Frederic spanheim (Historia imaginum Restituta) and James Bonage (Hist, des fg.o.es Reform.<es, tonn. ii. 1. xxiii. p. 1339 ...1065.) are cast into the Iconoclass scale. With his mutual aid, and opposite tendency, it is eas, for us to poise the balance with philosophic indifference.
cus converts forwarzoz8% into forta-zors; makes them notatoosas's, slaves of their belly, &c. Opera, tom. i. p. 306.
the summons of the general council which met in the suburbs of Constantinople, and was composed of the respectable
A. p. 2., number of three hundred and thirty-eight bishops of Europe
and Anatolia; for the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria were the slaves of the caliph, and the Roman pontiff had withdrawn the churches of Italy and the West from the communion of the Greeks. This Byzantine synod assumed the rank and powers of the seventh general council: yet even this title was a recognition of the six preceding assemblies which had laboriously built the structure of the Catholic faith. After a serious deliberation of six months, the three hundred and thirty-eight bishops pronounced and subscribed an unanimous decree, that all visible symbols of Christ, except in the Eucharist, were either blasphemous or heretical; that image worship was a corruption of Christianity and a renewal of Paganism; that all such monuments of idolatry should be broken or erazed; and that those who should refuse to deliver the objects of their private superstition, were guilty of disobedience to the authority of the church and of the emperor. In their loud and loyal acclamations, they celebrated the merits of their temporal redeemer; and to his zeal and justice they entrusted the execution of their spiritual censures. At Constantinople, as in the former councils, the will of the prince was the rule of episcopal faith; but on this occasion, I am inclined to suspect that a large majority of the prelates sacrificed their secret conscience to the temptations of hope and fear. In the long night of superstition, the Christians had wandered far away from the simplicity of the gospel: nor was it easy for them to discern the clue, and tread back the mazes, of the labyrinth. The worship of images was inseparably blended, at least to a pious fancy, with the cross, the Virgin, the Saints and their relics: the holy ground was involved in a cloud of miracles and visions; and the nerves of the mind, curiosity and scepticism, were benumbed by the habits of obedience and belief. Constantine himself is accused of indulging a royal license to doubt, or deny, or deride the mysteries of the Catholics,” but they were deeply inscribed
20 He is accused of proscribing the title of saint; styling the Virgin, mother
of Christ; tomparing her afer her delivery to an empty purse; of Arianism, Nestorianism, &c. In his defence, Spanheim (c. iv. p. 207.) is somewhat em