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ground, the people may indeed continue to reverence his majesty when they see him in person, but to his standards, or his arms, they will cease to pay the least respect. Yet when the Emperor's money, bearing his image, was shewn to Christ, he did not say that the piece was coined in violation of the second commandment: he treated Cæsar's image with civility, and enjoined, that the money should be duly applied to the imperial use. There is, indeed, no Scripture reproving truth, but all Scripture reproves falsehood. False books, false images, and false men, are all pernicious and contemptible. It is a terrible thing, that a prejudice against images should trouble any man's head, for I have known some, vexed with that devil, wondrously obstinate ; and if such people can obtain a little help from any that can spell some Latin, their madness is more difficult of cure, than ever was that of the Jews; and they slander whatever is said to them for their relief. If, therefore, it were certified to me, that there are many of that sort with you, I would not irritate them by fruitless preaching, but make suit for a reformation to my Lord Protector. But if you, and the mayor think other modes likely to avail, I would gladly advise upon them with you : since I take the matter to which this relates to be such an enterprise against Christ's religion, as that no man instigated by the devil can excogitate a greater'."
* Foxe, 1219.
This letter was soon followed by a visit made to Portsmouth by the Bishop, in person. He was there received with all the respect due to his exalted station, entertained in Vaughan's own house, and allowed an opportunity of addressing the soldiers in the garrison S: but it does not appear that he ventured upon advocating from the pulpit, before the townspeople at large, the cause of images. He however wrote upon the subject to the Protector, and Vaughan did the same, enclosing with his letter that which he had previously received from the Bishop of Winchester. Somerset, addressing the prelate, thus answered both these communications.
“ From two sensible and learned letters written by your Lordship, one to Master Vaughan, the other to myself, I perceive, that you are very earnest against innovation, as likely to endanger the public peace; but you should consider that the very cry which you raise upon this subject is not unlikely to produce the anticipated evil. As to images, the order made in the late king's time for the removal of such as had been abused to idolatry, has been evaded in many places by the culpable connivance of individuals. This neglect has proved a fruitful source of contention, and although it is not desired to remove images altogether, yet it were better to do so than to let any stand which may provoke the wrath of God, and furnish occasion for the controversies of rival preachers.
Bishop Gardiner to the Protector ; dated June 6. Ibid. 1224.
In the last reign, when Scripture bred dissension, it was taken away from the generality of men. Images, however,'the kind of books most liable to abuse, were left in great numbers; thus more honour was shewn to the doubtful teaching of images, than to the sincere Word of God; and people were left with temptations before their eyes, but not allowed the means of accurately learning their duty. To guard against the return of so great an evil, it seems to me, that great diligence ought to be employed in removing all images which have been abused; since the interest of some priests, the ignorance of the laity, and the proneness of man to idolatry, are very likely to revive these abuses. Those who think it terrible and detestable to destroy images, because they have led to idolatry, should recollect what has been done with books containing God's undoubted Word, which have been burnt and defaced, because the translation did not give satisfaction. Images, it is said, are great letters, fit for the reading of ignorant people : big however as they are, many have been known to read them amiss, and therefore, belike, God, fearing that the Jews would become evil readers of them, forbade them to that nation altogether. Nor is it any marvel, that in reading them the lay people should often be deceived, since your Lordship hath read St. George on horseback on the great seal; when, as an inscription in no very small letters testifieth, the figure is that of the King's Highness in armour. This perhaps is not the only error caused
by images respecting St. George, for some men seeing that his existence cannot be proved from authentic history, have thought that his name and legend were originally invented to render venerable the statues of Perseus or Bellerophon. The same reason has caused a belief that Polyphemus, Hercules, or some other colossus of ancient mythology, was the origin of St. Christopher. Such misapprehensions being likely to flow from images it need not be regretted, that the more ignorant among men should have little or no opportunity to read such deceitful books, but it is a great hardship, that all who cannot read Greek, and Latin, should be restrained from searching for the truth in God's undoubted Word. Your Lordship's distinction between true and false images is not easy to understand; because, if no images be false which represent things either past or present, then the images of heathen gods ought not to have been destroyed, since these, according to the opinions of many learned men, represent persons who once lived upon the earth.
the earth. But if that
!" The polytheism of the Pagan nations was no other than this, the worshipping, besides one Supreme God, of other created beings, as the ministers of his providence, and as middles or mediators' betwixt him and men." (Cudworth’s Intellectual System, Lond. 1678. p. 468.) Paganism and Popery, therefore, with respect to inferior mediators, stand upon precisely the same grounds. The better informed Pagans addressed the spirits of their early progenitors, supposed to be in heaven, for their intercession with the Supreme Being. The more discerning Papists do the same by the spirits of real or pretended saints. Ignorant Pagans, probably treated Jupiter as the Supreme Be.
be a false image which has been abused to idolatry, and the brasen serpent, though a type of Christ, when thus abused, was so treated, then may the images of Christ, our Lady, or the Apostles be false images. Many of these have notoriously been thus abused, and should, therefore, have been removed by your Lordship, long ago; which duty having been neglected, it is no matter of complaint, that others, not so properly called upon to fulfil it, have taken it in hand.
Notwithstanding this rebuff, Bishop Gardiner did not cease to importune the Protector. Bale had published an account of Luther's Christianlike decease, and some observations upon Anne Askew's case, which the Romanists could hardly help feeling to be one of the foulest blots upon their reputation. Inferior wits also attacked in popular rhymes some of the superstitions of Popery. One of these pieces ridiculed compulsory fish-eating, and after detailing the burial of Lent, added that Stephen Stockfish was bequeathed to Stephen Gardiner. Upon these subjects the Bishop of Winchester wrote to Somerset again. He declared, that the same man could not represent as saints both Luther and Anne Askew, without committing a gross inconsistency, since the one believed in the corporal presence, the other ing himself, and ignorant Papists virtually treat the Virgin, or some other departed spirit, in the same manner. It is also wore thy of remark, that Pagans assigned for the invocation of their gods, the same reasons that Papists do for the invocation of their saints." See Cudworth, ubi supra.
• Foxe, 1220.