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hem of his garment. For she said to herself: If I only touch the hem of his garment, I shall be cured. And Jesus turning back, and seeing her, said : Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And from that time the woman was cured. Matt. ix. 20, 21, &c.
Here a miracle is wrought in favour of a woman for devoutly touching a relic, to wit, the hem of our Saviour's garment; at the same time he expressly commends her faith for so doing. Now it is impossible that Christ, who is truth itself, should work a miracle in favour of an error, or that he should commend a person's faith, if it were vain and superstitious, and not true faith. Then the faith which Roman Catholics have in holy relics is true faith.
2. “ And Elisha died, and they buried him, and the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass as they were burying a man, that behold, they spied a band of men.
And they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings xiii
. 20, 21. Does not God then work miracles by the relics and dead bodies of the saints ? But this text needs no comment: it is, I hope, sufficiently clear of itself to open
eyes of Protestants, and make them sensible of their folly in laughing at the saints' relics.
3. “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. Insomuch, that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches; that, at the least, the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” Acts v. 14, 15.
The holy Scripture here remarks, that the primitive Christians had a singular veneration for the very shadow of St. Peter's body: may not Roman Catholics then, without superstition or idolatry, have as much veneration for the body itself of St. Peter, now his soul is in glory, as those primitive Christians bad for the shadow of it?
4. “ And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons; and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts xix. 11, 12.
When God works miracles at the shrines of the saints, either by their dead bodies, in the cure of diseases, in the resurrection of the dead, &c., as he did at the sepulchre of the prophet Elizeus; or when he works a miracle in their dead bodies, by preserving them uncorrupted, we Catholics think such miracles to be a divine attestation of their sanctity; and any part or particle of the saint's body, or what has touched the body, we esteem a relic. Now, whether those handkerchiefs and aprons which had touched the body of St. Paul, mentioned in the text now cited, were not of this kind, and how far such relics may have a virtue against diseases and evil spirits, let the plain words of the text inform Protestants. And withal, let them consider well, whether their holy religion, which teaches them to scoff at the relics of saints, does, in this particular, agree with the written word of God?
POINT XII. Many Protestants hold, That it is not lawful to have graven images or pictures of Christ, or of the
saints and angels, in our churches ; all Protestants maintain, that to have a veneration for such holy images for the sake of the originals thereby represented, is absolutely unlawful: nay, that such veneration of holy images is idolatry.
Contrary to the Bible :
1. “ And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold: of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat." Exod. xxv. 18.
2. “And within the oracle, he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.” 1 Kings vi. 23.
3. “And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims," &c. Ver. 29.
4. “ All this the Lord made me understand in writing, by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern." 1 Chron. xxviii. 19.
These texts, which inform us that there were holy images (and that by a pattern from God himself) as well in the Mosaic tabernacle as in Solomon's temple, are a sufficient justification of Roman Catholics retaining and keeping holy images in their churches, oratories, and houses ; which pious practice, we see, is clearly grounded on the written word of God.
From the same texts we may gather, that these words : “ Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing, that is in heaven above, or, in the earth beneath, or, in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down nor worship them :” (Exod. xx. 4.) in their true meaning, did only forbid the making and worshipping of idols, or images of false gods, such as were adored at that time by the heathen ; but the
use of holy images was not forbidden, otherwise the carved cherubims had never been set
in the very temple of God by his own command.
The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church concerning holy images consists in two points, and is fully expressed in these words of the Council of Trent, Sess. xxv. De Invocat., &c.
First, “That the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of other saints, are to be kept, especially in Churches."
Secondly, “ That due honour and veneration is to be given them."
As to the first point: that holy images may be kept, especially in churches; this, from the written word, is already fully proved.
As to the second point: That due honour and veneration is to be given them, will be no hard task to demonstrate; since all sides allow, that persons may be affronted or honoured in their images, and that the honour or affront which is done to images redounds naturally to the originals which are represented by them. For an image has no meaning except in relation to its original, consequently, any honour or respect which is shewn to an image, does not stop at the image, but is referred to the original to which it relates, and is therefore by Catholics called a relative honour. For instance, when we treat an image of our Saviour Christ with due respect, our thoughts do not stop at the image but go higher; for no sooner have we His image before our eyes, but we have the thought and imagination of Him in our mind; and to Him the honour is done.
When the primitive Christians, as is related in the Acts (Acts v. 15), brought their sick into the
streets, that the shadow of St. Peter as he walked through Jerusalem might fall upon them, did the honour and respect they shewed stop at his shadow, at his image and likeness, or was it referred to his person ? And when we shew the like respect and veneration to his picture, is this any more idolatry in us than it was in them? Let Protestants consider well whether this
thing, which they so loudly condemn, is not daily done by themselves without reflection: mere natural reason teaching them to honour the originals in their images. For when they erect statues to the memory of their kings and great men who have done services to their country, and procure the pictures of their ancestors to be made and kept with honour and respect, I suppose they do not pretend that the honour is done to those inanimate figures, but to those who are thereby represented; so that their true meaning is to honour those persons in their images. Now if natural reason has taught all men, even Protestants, to honour great and illustrious persons in their images, why may not we shew this mark of honour and respect to Christ and his saints; why may not we honour Christ in his image as well as they their earthly kings? Let them give a good reason if they can. In the mean time let them know that no divine honour is by us given either to images or to any creature, but to God alone. Let them know this from the express decree of our seventh General Council, held anno Domini 787, and long ago received by both the Greek and Latin Church, where we are taught, “That to the figure of the holy cross, as also to other images of Christ, and to those of our Lady his mother, and of angels and