The Popish Ceremonies (including Holy Days) are proved to be Idolatrous Because They are Monuments of Past Idolatry
Copyright © 1998 Naphtali Press
The following are chapters and sections taken from George Gillespie, A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the Church of Scotland, ed. Christopher Coldwell (Dallas TX: Naphtali Press, 1993). All page references to EPC will be to that edition. One can find these sections in older editions by following the part, chapter, and section designations (e.g. 1.1.1).
EPC 3.2, 154-180.
That The Ceremonies Are Unlawful, Because They Are
Monuments Of By-Past Idolatry, Which Not Being
Necessary To Be Retained, Should Be Utterly Abolished,
Because Of Their Idolatrous Abuse: All Which Is Particularly Made Good Of Kneeling.
I have here proved the ceremonies to be superstitious; now I will prove them to be idolatrous. These are different arguments; for every idolatry is superstition, but every superstition is not idolatry, as is rightly by some distinguished. (( Synop. Pur. Theol., disp. 19, thes. 30. )) As for the idolatry of the controverted ceremonies, I will prove that they are thrice idolatrous: I. Reductivè [By conducting], because they are monuments of by-past idolatry; II. Participativè [By imparting], because they are badges of present idolatry; III. Formaliter [By form], because they are idols themselves.
I. First, then, they are idolatrous, because having been notoriously abused to idolatry heretofore, they are the detestable and accursed monuments, which give no small honor to the memory of that by-past idolatry which should lie buried in hell. Dr. Burges reckons for idolatrous all ceremonies devised and used in and to the honoring of an idol, whether properly or by interpretation such. Of which sort (he says) were all the ceremonies of the pagans, and not a few of the Papists. (( Manuduct., sect. 2, p. 38. )) If an opposite, writing against us, is forced to acknowledge this much, one may easily conjecture what enforcing reason we have to double out our point. The argument in hand I frame thus:
- All things and rites which have been notoriously abused to idolatry, if they are not such as either God or nature has made to be of a necessary use, should be utterly abolished and purged away from divine worship, in such sort that they may not be accounted nor used by us as sacred things or rites pertaining to the same.
- But the cross, surplice, kneeling in the act of receiving the communion, etc., are things and rites, etc., and are not such as either God or nature, etc.
- Therefore they should be utterly abolished, etc.
As for the proposition I shall first explain it, and then prove it. I say, all things and rites, for they are alike forbidden, as I shall show. I say, which have been notoriously abused to idolatry, because if the abuse is not known, we are blameless for retaining the things and rites which have been abused. I say, if they are not such as either God or nature has made to be of a necessary use, because if they are of a necessary use, either through God’s institution, as the sacraments, or through nature’s law, as the opening of our mouths to speak (for when I am to preach or pray publicly, nature makes it necessary that I open my mouth to speak audibly and articularly), then the abuse cannot take away the use. I say, they may not be used by us as sacred things, rites pertaining to divine worship, because without the compass of worship they may be used to a natural or civil purpose. If I could get no other meat to eat than the consecrated host, which Papists idolatrise [idolize] in the circumgestation (( Meaning to carry around; obviously a scornful remark respecting the papal practice of uplifting, displaying, and carrying the elements around to be adored by the people. )) of it, I might lawfully eat it; and if I could get no other clothes to put on than the holy garments wherein a priest has said mass, I might lawfully wear them. Things abused to idolatry are only then unlawful when they are used no otherwise than religiously, and as things sacred.
The proposition thus explained is confirmed by these five proofs:
1. God’s own precept, “Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornaments of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth, thou shalt say unto it; Get thee hence” (Isa. 30:22). The covering of the idol here spoken of, Caspar Sanctius rightly understands to be that, with which either likenesses of Gentile ceremony were put on, or gold-leaf with which images of wood were overlaid, or with which men about to sacrifice to idols were clothed; (( Com. in illum locum. quo aut induebantur simulacra Gentilico ritu, aut bracteas quibus ligneæ imagines integantur, aut quo homines idolis sacrificaturi amiciebantur. )) so that the least appurtenances [accessories] of idols are to be avoided. When the apostle Jude (Jude 23) would have us to hate garments spotted with the flesh, his meaning is, The very appearance either of evil or of sin, as he seems to hint by calling it by the name `garment,’ as our own Rollock has observed. (( Com. in 1 Thess. 5:22. detestandam esse vel superficiem ipsam mali sive peccati, quam tunicæ appellatione subinnuere videtur. )) If the very covering of an idol is forbidden, what shall be thought of other things which are not only spotted, but irrecoverably polluted with idols? Many such precepts were given to Israel, as “Ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves” (Ex. 34:13). “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver nor gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God” (Deut. 7:25, 26). Read to the same purpose, Num. 33:52; Deut. 7:5; 12:2, 3.
2. Secondly, God has not only by his precepts commanded us to abolish all the relics of idolatry, but by his promises also manifested unto us how acceptable service this should be to him. There is a command, that the Israelites should destroy the Canaanites (Num. 33:52), and destroy all the idolatrous material of those people, to which commandment, says Junius, (( Anal. in illum locum. evertantque res omnes idololatricas ipsorum cui mandato, says Junius, subjicitur sua promissio. )) he subordinates his promise, namely, that the Lord would give them the promised land, and they should dispossess the inhabitants thereof (v. 53). Yea, there is a promise of remission and reconciliation to this work: “By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up” (Isa. 27:9).
3. Thirdly, the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira are reproved for suffering the use of idolothites (Rev. 2:14-20), where the eating of things sacrificed to idols is condemned as idolatry and spiritual adultery, as Perkins notes. (( Expos. upon Rev. 2:14. )) Paybody, therefore, is greatly mistaken when he thinks that meats sacrificed to idols, being the good creatures of God, were allowed by the Lord, out of the case of scandal, notwithstanding of idolatrous pollution; for the eating of things sacrificed to idols is reproved as idolatry (Rev. 2); and the eating of such things is condemned as a fellowship with devils (1 Cor. 10:20).
Now idolatry and fellowship with devils, I suppose, are unlawful, though no scandal should follow upon them. And whereas he thinks meats sacrificed to idols to be lawful enough out of the case of scandal, for this reason, because they are the good creatures of God, he should have considered better the Apostle’s mind concerning such idolothites; which Zanchius sets down thus: It is true, in themselves these are nothing; but they are something with respect to those for whom they are sacrificed, since we unite ourselves with those for whom they are sacrificed. Who are such? The demons! (( In Præc. 2, p. 534. Verum est, per se hæc nihil sunt, sed respectu eorum quibus immolantur aliquid sunt; quia per hæc illis quibus immolantur, nos consociamur. Qui isti? Dæmones. ))
For our better understanding of this matter, we must distinguish two sorts of idolothites, both which we find [in] 1 Cor. 10. Of the one, the Apostle speaks from the 14th verse of that chapter to the 23rd; of the other, from the 23rd verse to the end. This is Beza’s distinction in his Annotations on that chapter. Of the first sort, he delivers the Apostle’s mind thus: That as Christians have their holy banquets, which are badges of their communion both with Christ and among themselves; and as the Israelites, by their sacrifices, did seal their copulation [union] in the same religion, so also idolaters, join with their idols, or rather demons, in their religious banquets. (( cum suis idolis aut potius dæmonibus, solemnibus illis epulis copulantur. )) So that this sort of idolothites were eaten in temples, and public solemn banquets, which were dedicated to the honor of idols (1 Cor. 8:10).
Cartwright shows that the Apostle is comparing the table of the Lord with the table of idolaters; (( Annot. on 1 Cor. 10:21. )) whereupon it follows, that as we use the Lord’s table religiously, so that table of idolaters of which the Apostle speaks, had state in the idolatrous worship like that feast (Num. 25:3); which was celebrated in honor of God, says Calvin. (( Com. in illum locum. quod in honorem falsorum Deorum celebrabatur. )) This first sort of idolothites Pæreus calls the sacrifices of idols; (( Anal. in 1 Cor. 10. Participare epulis idolorum, est idololatria. )) and from such, he says, the Apostle dissuades [exhorts] by this argument, to take part in the banquets of idols is idolatry.
Of the second sort of idolothites, the Apostle begins to speak in verse 23. The Corinthians moved a question, `Whether they might lawfully eat things sacrificed to idols? at private dinners, says Pæreus. (( Ibid. In privatis conviviis. )) The Apostle resolves them that in a private banquet at home, they might eat them, except it were in the case of scandal; thus Beza. (( Annot. Ibid. domi in privato convictu. )) The first sort of idolothites are meant of [in] Rev. 2, as Beza there notes; and of this sort must we understand Augustine to mean whilst he says, that it were better to die of hunger, than to eat food sacrificed to idols. (( De Bono Conjugali, cap.16. mori fame, quam idolothites vesci. )) These sorts are simply and in themselves unlawful. And if meats sacrificed to idols be so unlawful, then much more such things and rites as have not only been sacrificed and destinated to the honor of idols (for this is but one kind of idolatrous abuse), but also of a long time publicly and solemnly employed in the worshipping of idols, and deeply defiled with idolatry; much more, I say, are they unlawful to be applied to God’s most pure and holy worship, and therein used by us publicly and solemnly, so that the world may see us conforming and joining ourselves unto idolaters
4. Fourthly, I fortify my proposition by approved examples. And, first, we find that Jacob (Gen. 35:4), did not only abolish out of his house the idols, but their ear-rings also, because they were superstitionis insignia [signs of superstition], as Calvin; res ad idololatriam pertinentes [pertaining to idolatry], as Junius; monilia idolis consecrata [necklaces consecrated to idols], as Pæreus calls them; all writing upon that place. We have also the example of Elijah (1 Kings 18:30): he would by no means offer upon Baal’s altar, but would needs repair the Lord’s altar, though this should hold the people the longer in expectation. This he did, in P. Martyr’s judgment, because he thought it a great indignity to offer sacrifice to the Lord upon the altar of Baal; whereupon Martyr reprehends those who in administering the true supper of the Lord, wish to use Papist garments and apparatus. (( Com. in illum locum. uti velint Papisticis vestibus et instrumentis. )) Further, we have the example of Jehu, who is commended for the destroying of Baal out of Israel, with his image, his house, and his very vestments (2 Kings 10:22-28).
And what example more considerable than that of Hezekiah, who not only abolished such monuments of idolatry as at their first institution were but men’s invention, but broke down also the brazen serpent (though originally set up at God’s own command), when once he saw it abused to idolatry (2 Kings 18:4)? This deed of Hezekiah Pope Steven does greatly praise, (( Apud Wolphium, Com. in 2 Reg. 18:4. )) and professes that it is set before us for our imitation, that when our predecessors have wrought some things which might have been without fault in their time, and afterward they are converted into error and superstition, they may be quickly destroyed by us who come after them. Farellus says, that princes and magistrates should learn by this example of Hezekiah what they should do with those significant rites of men’s devising which have turned to superstition. (( Calv., Epist. et Resp., p. 79. )) Yea, the Bishop of Winchester acknowledges, that whatsoever is taken up at the injunction of men, when it is drawn to superstition, comes under the compass of the brazen serpent, and is to be abolished; and he excepts nothing from this example but only things of God’s own prescribing. (( Serm. on Phil. 2:10. ))
Moreover, we have the example of good Josiah (2 Kings 23), for he did not only destroy the houses, and the high places of Baal, but his vessels also, and his grove, and his altars; yea, the horses and chariots which had been given to the sun. The example also of penitent Manasseh, who not only overthrew the strange gods, but their altars too (2 Chron. 23:15). And of Moses, the man of God, who was not content to execute vengeance on the idolatrous Israelites, except he should also utterly destroy the monument of their idolatry (Ex. 32:17-20). Lastly, we have the example of Daniel, who would not defile himself with a portion of the king’s meat (Dan. 1:8); because, says Junius, (( Com. in illum locum: usum idololatricum. erant præmessa sive præmissa, quæ diis præmittebantur. )) it was converted in idolatrous use; for at the banquets of the Babylonians and other Gentiles, there were first-fruits or `advance’ offerings which were offered to the deities; they used to consecrate their meat and drink to idols, and to invocate the names of their idols upon the same, so that their meat and drink fell under the prohibition of idolothites. This is the reason which is given by the most part of the interpreters for Daniel’s fearing to pollute himself with the king’s meat and wine; and it has also the approbation of a Papist. (( G. Sanctus.Com., ibid. ))
5. Fifthly, our proposition is backed with a twofold reason, for things which have been notoriously abused to idolatry should be abolished: (1.) Quia monent [That they remind]. (2.) Quia movent [That they move]. First, then, they are monitory [admonitory], and preserve the memory of idols; monumentum [a memorial] in good things is both monimentum [record of admonition] and munimentum [fortification]; but monumentum in evil things (such as idolatry) is only monimentum, which monetmentem [warns the mind], to remember upon such things as ought not to be once named among saints, but should lie buried in the eternal darkness of silent oblivion. Those relics therefore of idolatry, by which succeeding generations, as though by a memorial, may be warned (as Wolphius rightly says), (( Com. in 2 Reg. 23:6. quibus quasi monumenti posteritas admoneatur. )) are to be quite defaced and destroyed, because they serve to honor the memory of cursed idols.
God would not have so much as the name of an idol to be remembered among his people, but commanded to destroy their names as well as themselves (Ex. 23:13; Deut. 12:3; Josh. 23:7); whereby we are admonished, as Calvin says, how detestable idolatry is before God, whose memory a repentant man wants to be erased so no trace of it may be seen afterward. (( Com. in Isa. 27:9. cujus memoriam vult penitus deleri, ne posthac ullum ejus vestigium appareat. )) Yea, he requires, that the memory be erased of all those things which were at anytime consecrated to idols. (( Calv., Com. in Ex. 23:24. eorum omnium memoriam deleri, quæ semeldicata sunt idolis. )) If Mordecai would not give his countenance (Esth. 3:2), nor do any reverence to a living monument of that nation whose name God had ordained to be blotted out from under heaven, much less should we give connivance, and far less countenance, but least of all reverence (Deut. 25:19), to the dead and dumb monuments of those idols which God has devoted to utter destruction, with all their naughty [bad, wicked] appurtenances, so that he will not have their names to be once mentioned or remembered again.
But, secondly, movent [they move] too; such idolotrous remainders move us to turn back to idolatry. For we have experience of their use, even after the superstitions might have been cast out, if there were left any reminder of them, not only would the memory of those very superstitions continue among men, but in the end to effect that they would resume that practice, says Wolphius; (( Ubi Supra. usu compertum habemus, superstitiones etiam postquam explosæ essent, si qua relicta fuissent earum monumenta, cum memoriam sui ipsarum apud homines, tum id tandem ut revocarentur obtinvisse. ut et aspirantibus ad revocandam idololatriam spes frangatur, et res novas molientibus ansa pariter ac materia præripiatur. )) who hereupon thinks it behoveful [necessary] to destroy funditus [utterly] such vestiges of superstition, for this cause, if there were no more: so that both for those aspiring to resume idolatry, hope may be diminished, and for those attempting new things the opportunity and material may be forestalled.
God would have Israel to overthrow all idolatrous monuments, lest thereby they should be snared (Dt. 7:25; 12:30). And if the law command to cover a pit, lest an ox or an ass should fall therein (Ex. 21:33), shall we suffer a pit to be open wherein the precious souls of men and women, which all the world cannot ransom, are likely to fall? Did God command to make a battlement for the roof of a house, and that for the safety of men’s bodies (Dt. 22:8), and shall we not only not put up a battlement, or object some bar for the safety of men’s souls, but also leave the way slippery and full of snares? Read we not that the Lord, who knew what was in man, and saw how propense he was to idolatry, did not only remove out of his people’s way all such things as might any way allure or induce them to idolatry (even to the cutting off the names of the idols out of the land (Zec. 13:2)), but also hedge up their way with thorns that they might not find their paths, nor overtake their idol gods, when they should seek after them (Hs. 2:6, 7)? And shall we by the very contrary course not only not hedge up the way of idolatry with thorns, which may stop and stay such as have an inclination aiming forward, but also lay before them the inciting and enticing occasions which add to their own propension, such delectation as spurs forward with a swift facility?
Thus, having both explained and confirmed the proposition of our present argument, I will make my next for the confutation of the answers which our opposites devise to elude it.
And 1., they tell us, that it is needless to abolish utterly things and rites which the Papists have abused to idolatry and superstition, and that it is enough to purge them from the abuse, and to restore them again to their right use. Hence Saravia will not have pium crucis usum [righteous use of the cross] to be abolished cum abusu [along with the abuse], but holds it enough that the abuse and superstition be taken away. (( N. Fratri et Amico, art. 17. )) Dr. Forbe’s answer is, that not only things instituted by God are not to be taken away for the abuse of them, but farther, neither must indifferent matters thoughtfully introduced by men always be done away with because of ensuing abuse. The Papists have abused temples, and places of prayer, and cathedrals, and holy vessels, and bells, and the blessing of marriage; however, thoughtful reformers have not proposed that such things must be abandoned. (( Iren., lib. 1, cap. 7, 9, 6. neque res mediæ ab hominibus prudenter introd ductæ, propter sequentem abusum semper tollendæ sunt. Abusi sunt Papistæ temp plis, et oratoriis, et cathedris, et sacris vasis, et campanis, et benedictione matrimoniali; nec tamen res istas censuerunt prudentes reformatores abjiciendas. ))
ANSWER. 1. Calvin, (( Resp. ad Versipel., p. 41-44. )) answering that which Cassander alleges out of an Italian writer, abusu non tolli bonum usum, he admits it only to be true in things which are instituted by God himself, not so in things ordained by men, for the very use of such things or rites as have no necessary use in God’s worship, and which men have devised only at their own pleasure, is taken away by idolatrous abuse. Pars tutior [The safer part] here, is to put them wholly away, and there is, by a great deal, more danger in retaining than in removing them.
2. The proofs which I have produced for the proposition about which now we debate, do not only infer that things and rites which have been notoriously abused to idolatry should be abolished, in case they be not restored to a right use, but simply and absolutely that in any wise they are to be abolished. God commanded to say to the covering, and the ornaments of idols, “Get thee hence (Isa. 30:22).” It is not enough they be purged from the abuse, but simpliciter they themselves must pack them and be gone. How did Jacob with the ear-rings of the idols; Elijah with Baal’s altar; Jehu with his vestments; Josiah with his houses; Manasseh with his altars; Moses with the golden calf; Joshua with the temples of Canaan; Hezekiah with the brazen serpent? Did they retain the things themselves, and only purge them from the abuse? Belike [Suppose], if these our opposites had been their counsellors, they had advised them to be contented with such a moderation; yet we see they were better counselled when they destroyed utterly the things themselves, whereby we know that they were of the same mind with us, and thought that things abused to idolatry, if they have no necessary use, are far better away than in place. Did Daniel refuse Bel’s meat because it was not restored to the right use? Nay, if that had been all, it might have been quickly helped, and the meat sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Finally, were the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira reproved because they did not restore things sacrificed to idols to their right use? Or, were they not rather reproved for having anything at all to do with the things themselves?
As for that which Dr. Forbes objects to us, we answer, that temples, places of prayer, chairs, vessels, and bells, are of a necessary use, by the light and guidance of nature itself; and matrimonial benediction is necessary by God’s institution (Gen. 1:28); so that all those examples do except themselves from the argument in hand. But the Doctor intends to bring those things within the category of things indifferent; (( Ubi Supra. )) and to this purpose he alleges, that it is indifferent to use this or that place for a temple, or a place of prayer; also to use these vessels, and bells, or others. And of matrimonial benediction to be performed by a pastor, he says there is nothing commanded in Scripture.
ANSWER. Though it be indifferent to choose this place, etc., also to use these vessels or other vessels, etc.; yet the Doctor, I trust, will not deny that temples, houses of prayer, vessels and bells, are of a necessary use (which exempts them from the touch of our present argument); whereas, beside that it is not necessary to kneel in the communion in this place more than in that place, neither to keep the feast of Christ’s nativity, passion, etc., upon these days more than upon other days, etc. The things themselves are not necessary in their kind; and it is not necessary to keep any festival day, nor to kneel at all in the act of receiving the communion.
There is also another respect which hinders temples, vessels, etc., from coming within the compass of this our argument, but neither does it agree to the controverted ceremonies. Temples, houses of prayer, vessels for the ministration of the sacraments, and bells, are not used by us in divine worship as things sacred, or as holier than other houses, vessels, and bells; but we use them only for natural necessity – partly for that common decency which has no less place in the actions of civil than of sacred assemblies. Yea, in some cases they may be applied to civil uses, as has been said; (( Supra, cap. 1, sect. 11. )) whereas the controverted ceremonies are respected and used as sacred rites, and as holier than any circumstance which is alike common to civil and sacred actions, neither are they used at all out of the case of worship. We see now a double respect wherefore our argument infers not the necessity of abolishing and destroying such temples, vessels, and bells, as have been abused to idolatry, viz., because it can neither be said that they are not things necessary, nor yet that they are things sacred.
Nevertheless (to add this by the way), howbeit for those reasons the retaining and using of temples which have been polluted with idols be not in itself unlawful, yet the retaining of every such temple is not ever necessary, but sometimes it is expedient, for farther extirpation of superstition, to demolish and destroy some such temples as have been horribly abused to idolatry, [as] Calvin also (( Com. in Deut. 12:2. )) and Zanchius (( In 4 Præc., col. 709. )) do plainly insinuate. Whereby I mean to defend (though not as in itself necessary, yet as expedient pro tunc [for that time]) that which the reformers of the Church of Scotland did in casting down some of those churches which had been consecrated to popish idols, and of a long time polluted with idolatrous worship. As on the one part the reformers (not without great probability) feared, that so long as these churches were not made even with the ground, the memory of that superstition, whereunto they had been employed and accustomed, should have been in them preserved, and, with some sort of respect, recognized; so, on the other part, they saw it expedient to demolish them, for strengthening the hands of such as adhered to the reformation, for putting Papists out of all hope of the re-entry of Popery, and for hedging up the way with thorns, that the idolatrously-minded might not find their paths. And since the pulling down of those churches wanted neither this happy intent nor happy event, I must say that the bitter invectives given forth against it, by some who carry a favorable eye to the pompous bravery of the Romish whore, and have deformed too much of that which was by them reformed, are to be detested by all such as wish the eternal exile of idolatrous monuments out of the Lord’s land. Yet let these Momus-like (( Momus was a Greek god of ridicule who, for his criticism of the gods, was banished from heaven; hence, someone who is hyper-critical. )) spirits understand that their censorious verdicts do also reflect upon those ancient Christians of whom we read, that with their own hands they destroyed the temples of idols; (( Magdeb., cent. 4, cap. 15, col. 1538-39. )) and upon Chrysostom, who stirred up some monks, and sent them into Phoenicia, together with workmen, and sustained them on the expenses and charges of certain godly women, that they might destroy the temples of idols, as the Magdeburgians have marked out of Theodoret. (( Cent. 5, cap. 15, col. 1511. )) Likewise upon them of the religion in France, of whom Thuanus records, that templa confractis ac disjectis statuis et altaribus, expilaverant [they had pillaged the temples, the statues and altars broken in pieces and scattered]; lastly, upon foreign divines, (( Danæus, Polit. Christ., lib. 3, p. 229; Polan., Synt. Theol., lib. 10, cap. 65. )) who teach, that not only idola [idols], but idolia [idol-temples] also, and omnia idololatria instrumenta [all idolatrous materials] should be abolished.
Moreover, what was it else but reason’s light which made Cambyses to fear that the superstition of Egypt could not be well rooted out if the temples wherein it was seated were not taken away; so that offended by the Egyptians’ superstitions, he ordered the temples of Apis and the rest of the gods to be demolished: he even sent an army to the very renowned temple of Ammon, to take it by assualt, says Justinus. (( Epist. Hist., Lib. 1. offensus superstitionibus Ægyptiorum, Apis cæterorumque Deorum ædes dirui jubet: ad Ammonis quoque nobilissimum templum expugnandum, exercitum mittit. )) And is not the danger of retaining idolatrous churches thus pointed at by P. Martyr: Curavit, etc. Jehu (he says) took care to have the temples of Baal overthrown, lest they should return any more to their wonted use. Wherefore, it appears, that many do not rightly, who, having embraced the gospel of the Son of God, yet, notwithstanding, keep still the instruments of Popery. And they have far better looked to piety who have taken care to have popish images, statues and ornaments, utterly cut off. For, as we read in the ecclesiastical histories, Constantine the Great, after he had given his name to Christ, by an edict provided and took order that the temples of the idols might be closed and shut up; but, because they did still remain, Julian the Apostate did easily open and unlock them, and thereafter did prostitute the idols of old superstition to be worshipped in them: which Theodosius, the best and commended prince, animadverting, commanded to pull them down, lest they should again any more be restored. (( Comm. in 2 Reg. 10:27. ))
But because I suppose no sober spirit will deny that sometimes, and in some cases, it may be expedient to raze and pull down some temples polluted with idols, where other temples may be had to serve sufficiently the assemblies of Christian congregations (which is all I plead for); therefore I leave this purpose and return to Dr. Forbes.
As touching matrimonial benediction, it is also exempted out of the compass of our present argument, because through divine institution it has a necessary use, as we have said. And though the Doctor, to make it appear that a pastor’s performing of the same is a thing indifferent, alleges, that in Scripture there is nothing commanded thereabout. Yet plain it is from Scripture itself, that matrimonial benediction ought to be given by a pastor; for God has commanded his ministers to bless his people (Num. 6:22-27), which by just analogy belongs to the ministers of the gospel; neither is there any ground for making herein a difference between them and the minister of the law, but we must conceive the commandment to tie both alike to the blessing of God’s people. Unto which ministerial duty of blessing, because no such limits can be set as may exclude matrimonial blessing, therefore they are bound to the performance of it also. And if farther we consider, that the duty of blessing was performed by the minister of the Lord (Heb. 7:6), even before the law of Moses, we are yet more confirmed to think, that the blessing of the people was not commanded in the law as a thing peculiar and proper to the Levitical priesthood, but as a moral and perpetual duty belonging to the Lord’s ministers for ever. Wherefore, notwithstanding of any abuse of matrimonial benediction among Papists, yet, forasmuch as it has a necessary use in the church, and may not (as the controverted ceremonies may) be well spared, it is manifest that it comes not under the respect and account of those things whereof our argument speaks.
Lastly, Whereas the Doctor would bear his reader in hand, that in the judgment of wise reformers, even such things as have been brought in use by men only, without God’s institution, are not to be ever taken away, for the abuse which follows upon them; let reformers speak for themselves: (( Calv., Res. ad Versipel., p. 413. Nos quoque priscos ritus, quibus indifferenter uti licet, quia verbo Dei consentanei sunt, non rejieimus; modo ne supers stitio et pravus abusus eos abolere cogat. )) Also we are not rejecting the ancient ceremonies, which it is permitted to practice indifferently, since they are in accordance with the word of God; but let not superstition and vicious abuse constrain us to abolish them. This was the judgment of the wisest reformers: that rights which were both ancient and lawful, and agreeable to God’s word, were notwithstanding of necessity to be abolished, because of their superstition and wicked abuse.
2. Our opposites answer us, that beside the purging of things and rites abused by idolaters from the idolatrous pollution, and the restoring of them to a right use, preaching and teaching against the superstition and abuse which has followed upon them, is another means to avoid that harm which we fear to ensue upon the retaining of them.
ANSWER. This is upon as good ground pretended for the keeping of images in churches: At inquiunt statim, docemus has imagines non esse adorandas. But they say immediately, We teach that these images are not to be worshipped. As if, in fact, says Zanchius, (( De Imagin., col. 402.Quasi vero, . . . non idem olim fecerit diligentius Deus, per Mosen et prophetas, quam nos faciamus. Cur igitur etiam volebat tolli imagi ines omnes? quia non satis est verbo docere non esse faciendum malum; sed tollenda etiam sunt malorum offendicula, irritamenta, causæ, occasiones. )) God had not once rather diligently done the same thing through Moses and the prophets, that we are doing. So then why did he even want all images abolished? Because it is not enough to teach by word that an evil thing must not be done; but the slight obstacles, the incentives, the causes, the occasions of evil doing must be abolished. It is not enough, with the scribes and Pharisees, to teach out of Moses’ chair what the people should do, but all occasions, yea, appearances of evil, are to be taken out of their sight.
Those things affect more powerfully, and affect more, which fall upon the eyes than those which fell upon the ears. And so Hezekiah had been able to warn the people not to worship the serpent, but he preferred to break it in pieces and completely remove it from visibility, says one well to this purpose. (( Tho. Naogeorgus [Kirchmeyer] in 1 Jn 5:21. Efficacius enim et plus movent, quæ in oculos quam quæ in aures incidunt. Potuerat et Hezekias populum monere, ne sepentem adorarent, sed maluit confringere et penitus e conspectu auferre; et rectius fecit. )) Experience has taught to how little purpose such admonitions do serve. Calvin, writing to the Lord Protector of England of some popish ceremonies which did still remain in that church after the reformation of the same, desires that they may be abolished, because of their former abuse, in time of Popery. For what were those ceremonies, he says, other than just so many panderings which would induce unfortunate souls to evil? etc. (( Calv., Epist. et Resp., p. 86. Quid enim, he says, illæ ceremoniæ aliudfuerunt, quam totidem lenocinia quæ miseras animas ad malum perducerent? etc. )) But because he saw that some might answer that which our Formalists answer now to us, and say, it were enough to warn and teach men that they abuse not these ceremonies, and that the abolishing of these ceremonies themselves were not necessary; therefore immediately he subjoins these words: Now if the question of caution is brought up, certainly men will be warned not to strike at them, etc. But who does not see that they are no less hardened, so that nothing can be gained by that unhappy caution. (( Jam si de cautione agitur, monebuntur homines scilicet, ne ad illas nunc impingant, etc. Quis tamen non videt obdurari ipsos nihilominus, nihil ut infelici illa cautione obtineri possit. )) Whereupon he concludes, that if such ceremonies were suffered to remain, this should be a means to nourish a greater hardness and obfirmation (( Stubbornness; Confirmed in evil. )) in evil, and a veil drawn, so that the sincere doctrine which is propounded should not be admitted as it ought to be.
In another epistle to Cranmer, (( Ibid., col. 136. ut residui maneant innumeri surculi, qui assidue pullulent. )) Archbishop of Canterbury, he complains that external superstitions were so corrected in the Church of England, that innumerable residual shoots remain, which are constantly growing. And what good, then, was done by their admonitions, whereby they did, in some sort, sned [prune; cut off] the reviving twigs of old superstition, since forasmuch as they were not wholly eradicated, they did still shoot forth again? If a man should dig a pit by the way-side, for some commodity of his own, and then admonish the travellers to take heed to themselves, if they go that way in the darkness of the night, who would hold him excusable? How then shall they be excused who dig a most dangerous pit, which is likely to ruin many souls, and yet will have us to think that they are blameless, for that they warn men to beware of it.
3. We are told that if these answers which our opposites give get no place, then shall we use nothing at all which has been used by idolaters, and by consequence, neither baptism nor the Lord’s supper. But let Zanchius answer for us, that these things are by themselves necessary, so that it is enough they be purged from the abuse. (( Com., Col. 2:17. )) And elsewhere he resolves, that things which are by themselves both good and necessary, may not for any abuse be put away. But if the matters are indifferent in their own nature and by the law of God, and thus are such as can be omitted without damage to salvation, even if they were established for good use at first; if, however, we see them afterwards turned into destructive wastefulness; piety toward God and charity toward one’s neighbor demand that they be done away with, etc. (( De Imagin., Col. 403. Si vero ressint adiaphoræ sua natura et per legem Dei,eoque tales quæ citra jacturam salutis omitti possunt, etiam si ad bonos usus initio fuerunt institutæ; si tamen postea videamus illas in abusus pernitiosos esse conversas; pietas in Deum, et charitas erga proximum, postulant ut tollantur, etc. )) He adds, for proof of that which he says, the example of Hezekiah in breaking down that brazen serpent; which example does indeed most pregnantly enforce the abolishing of all things or rites notoriously abused to idolatry when they are not of any necessary use; but it warrants not the abolishing of anything which has a necessary use, because the brazen serpent is not contained in the number of those things, which we cannot do without, says Wolphius, (( In 2 Kings 18:4. quibus carere non possumus. )) answering to the same objection which presently I have in hand. Now, that the ceremonies have not in themselves, nor by the law of God, any necessary use, and that without hazard of salvation they may be omitted, is acknowledged by Formalists themselves; wherefore I need not stay to prove it.
Besides these answers which are common in our adversaries’ mouths, some of them have other particular subterfuges, which now I am to search. We must consider, says Bishop Lindsey, (( Proc. in Perth Assembly, part 2, p. 120. )) the ceremony itself (dedicated to, and polluted with idolatry) whether it be of human or divine institution. If it be of human institution it may be removed, etc.; but if the ceremony be of divine institution, such as kneeling is – for the same is commended by God unto us in his word – then we ought to consider whether the abuse of that ceremony has proceeded from the nature of the action wherein it was used; for if it be so, it ought to be abolished, etc.; but if the abuse proceed not from the nature of the action, but from the opinion of the agent, then, the opinion being removed, the religious ceremony may be used without any profanation of idolatry. For example, the abuse of kneeling in elevation, etc., proceeds not only from the opinion of the agent, but from the nature of the action, which is idolatrous and superstitious, etc., and, therefore, both the action and gesture ought to be abolished. But the sacrament of the supper, being an action instituted by God, and kneeling being of its own nature an holy and religious ceremony, it can never receive contagion of idolatry from it, but only from the opinion of the agent: then remove the opinion, both the action itself may be rightly used, and kneeling therein, etc.
ANSWER. 1. Since he grants that a ceremony dedicated to and polluted with idolatry, may (he answers not the argument which there he propounded, except he say must) be abolished, if it be of human institution, he must grant from this ground, if there were no more, that the cross, surplice, kneeling at the communion, etc., having been so notoriously abused to idolatry, must be abolished, because they have no institution except from men only.
But 2., Why says he that kneeling is a ceremony of divine institution? which he pronounces not of kneeling, as it is actuated by some individual case, or clothed with certain particular circumstances (for he makes this kneeling whereof he speaks to be found in two most different actions, the one idolatrous, the other holy) but kneeling in the general, per se, and præcise ab omnibus circumstantiis [absolutely aside from all circumstances]. Let him now tell where kneeling thus considered is commended unto us in God’s word. He would possibly allege that place [in] Ps. 95:6, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,” which is cited in the Canon of Perth about kneeling; but I answer, whether one expounded that place with Calvin, (( Com. in illum locum. ut scilicet ante arcam fæderis populus se prosternat, quia sermo de legali cultu habetur. )) in this sense, that of course the people prostrated themselves before the ark of the covenant, as it is held to be an expression of pious worship: whereupon it should follow that it commends only kneeling to the Jews in that particular case; or whether it be taken more generally, to commend kneeling (though not as necessary, yet as laudable and beseeming) in the solemn acts of God’s immediate worship, such as that praise and thanksgiving whereof the beginning of the psalm speaks – whether, I say, it be taken in this or that sense, yet it condemns not kneeling, except in a certain kind of worship only. And as for kneeling in the general nature of it, it is not of divine institution, but in itself indifferent, even as sitting, standing, etc., all which gestures are then only made good or evil when in actu exercito [exercised act], they are actuated and individualized by particular circumstances.
3. If so be, the ceremony is abused to idolatry, it skills not how [it makes no difference]; for, as I have shown before, the reasons and proofs which I have produced for the proposition of our present argument, hold good against the retaining of anything which has been known to be abused to idolatry; and only such things as have a necessary use are to be excepted.
4. The nature of an action, wherein a ceremony is used, cannot be the cause of the abuse of that ceremony; neither can the abuse of a ceremony proceed from the nature of the action wherein it is used, as one effect from the cause; for nothing can be a sufficient cause of sin to a man, except only his own will. (( Aquin., 2, 2 an., quest. 43, art. 1. nihil potest esse homini causa sufficiens peccati, except only, propria voluntas. ))
5. The abuse of kneeling in the idolatrous action of elevation, proceeds not from the nature of the action, but from the opinion of the agent, or rather from his will; (for principium actionum humanarum [the beginning of human beings’ actions] is not opinion, but will, choosing that which opinion conceits to be chosen, or voluntas præunte luce intellectus [will with the light of the intellect preceding]). It is the will of the agent only which both makes the action of elevation to be idolatrous, and likewise kneeling in this action to receive the contagion of idolatry. For the elevation of the bread materialiter [physically] is not idolatrous (more than the lifting up of the bread among us by elders or deacons, when, in taking it off the table, or setting it on, they lift it above the heads of the communicants), but formaliter [according to set form] only, as it is elevated with a will and intention to place it in state of worship. So likewise kneeling to the bread materialiter is not idolatry (else a man were an idolater who should be against his will thrust down and held by violence kneeling on his knees when the bread is elevated), but formaliter, as it proceeds from a will and intention in men to give to the elevated bread a state in that worship, and out of that respect to kneel before it.
6. What can he gain by this device, that the abuse of kneeling in the Lord’s supper proceeded not from the nature of the action, but from the will of the agent? Can he hereupon infer, that kneeling in that action is to be retained notwithstanding of any contagion of idolatry which it has received? Nay, then, let him say that Hezekiah did not rightly in breaking down the brazen serpent, which was set up at God’s command, and the abuse whereof proceeded not from the thing itself, which had a most lawful, profitable, and holy use, but only from the perverse opinion and will of them who abused it to idolatry.
But the comparing of kneeling to the brazen serpent is very unsavory to the Bishop; and wherefore? The brazen serpent, he says, in the time it was abolished, had no use: that ceased with the virtue of the cure that the Israelites received by looking upon it; the act of kneeling continues always in a necessary use, for the better expressing of our thankfulness to God.
ANSWER. 1. Both kneeling, and all the rest of the popish ceremonies, may well be compared to the brazen serpent. And divines do commonly allege this example, as most pregnant to prove that things or rites polluted with idols, and abused to idolatry, may not be retained, if they have no necessary use; and I have cited before the Bishop of Winchester, acknowledging that this argument holds good against all things which are taken up, not at God’s prescription, but at men’s injunction. J. Rainold argues from Hezekiah’s breaking down of the brazen serpent, to the plucking down of the sign of the cross. (( Confer. with J. Hart, cap. 8, div. 4, p. 509. ))
2. Why says he that the brazen serpent, in the time it was abolished, had no use? The use of it ceased not with the cure, but it was still kept for a most pious and profitable use, even to be a monument of that mercy which the Israelites received in the wilderness, and it served for the better expressing of their thankfulness to God, which the Bishop here calls a necessary use.
3. When he says that kneeling continues always in a necessary use, we must understand him to speak of kneeling in the act of receiving the communion; else he runs at random; for it is not kneeling in the general, but kneeling in this particular case, which is compared to the brazen serpent. Now, to say that this gesture in this action is neccssary for our better expressing of our thankfulness to God, imports that the Church of Scotland, and many famous churches in Europe, for so many years have omitted that which was necessary for the better expressing of their thankfulness to God, and that they have not well enough expressed it. And, moreover, if kneeling is necessary in the Lord’s supper for our better expressing of our thankfulness to God, then it is also necessary at our own common tables. Though we are bound to be more thankful at the Lord’s table, and that because we receive a benefit of infinite more worth, yet we are bound to be tam grati [as grateful], as well thankful at our own tables, albeit not tanta gratitudine [so great a gratitude]. If, then, the same kind of thankfulness is required of us at our own tables (for increase and diminishing of degree, by more and less, does not change the kind of the thing), (( intentio et remissio graduum secundum magis et minus, non variant speciem rei )) that which is necessary for expressing of our thankfulness at the Lord’s table must be necessary also for the expressing it at our own. When I see the Bishop sitting at his table, I shall tell him that he omits the gesture which is necessary for the expressing of his thankfulness to God.
4. Did not the apostles’ receiving this sacrament from Christ himself well enough express their thankfulness to God? yet they kneeled not, but sat, as is evident, and shall be afterwards proved against them who contradict everything which crosses them.
5. God will never take a ceremony of men’s devising for a better expressing of our thankfulness than a gesture which is commended to us by the example of his own Son, and his apostles, together with the celebration of this sacrament in all points according to his institution.
6. How shall we know where we have the Bishop and his fellows? It seems they know not where they have themselves; for sometimes they tell us that it is indifferent to take the communion sitting, or standing, or passing, or kneeling; yet here the Bishop tells us that kneeling is necessary.
7. I see the Bishop perceives that no answer can take kneeling at the communion out of the compass of the brazen serpent, except to say it has a necessary use; this is the dead lift, which yet helps not, as I have shown. All things, then, which are not necessary (whereof kneeling is one), being notoriously abused to idolatry, fall under the brazen serpent.
Paybody also will here talk with us, therefore we will talk with him too. He says, that God did not absolutely condemn things abused to idolatry, and tells us of three conditions on which it was lawful to spare idolatrous appurtenances [accessories]: 1. If there were a needful use of them in God’s worship. 2. In case they were so altered and disposed, as that they tended not to the honor of the idol, and his damnable worship. 3. If they were without certain danger of ensnaring people into idolatry. (( Apol., part 3, cap. 4, sect. 15-17. ))
ANSWER. 1. Either he requires all these conditions in every idolothite and idolatrous appurtenance which may be retained, or else he thinks that any one of them suffices. If he requires all these, the last two are superfluous; for that which has a needful use in God’s worship, can neither tend to the honor of the idol, nor yet can have in it any danger of ensnaring people into idolatry. If he think any one of those conditions enough, then let us go through them: The first I admit, but it will not help his cause; for while the world stands they shall never prove that kneeling in the act of receiving the communion, and the other controverted ceremonies, have either a needful, or a profitable, or a lawful use in God’s worship. As for his second condition, it is all one with that which I have already confuted, (( Supra, sect. 9. )) namely, that things abused to idolatry may be kept, if they are purged from their abuse, and restored to the right use. But he alleges for it a passage of Parker, (( Of the Cross in Baptism, cap. 1, sect. 7, p. 10. Omnis honor idoli, cum appertissima destructione subvertatur. )) where he shows out of Augustine, that an idolothite may not be kept for private use, except, 1. Any honorary gift to an idol, if it is overthrown by the most evident destruction. 2. That not only his honor be not despoiled, but also all show thereof.
How does this place (now would I know) make anything for Paybody? Do they keep kneeling for private use? Do they destroy most openly all honor of the idol to which kneeling was dedicated? Has their kneeling not so much as any show of the breaden god’s honor? Who will say so? And if any will say it, who will believe it? Who knows not that kneeling is kept for a public, and not for a private use, and that the breaden idol receives very great show of honor from it? He was scarce of warrants when he had no better than Parker could afford him.
His third condition rests, and touching it I ask, what if those idolatrous appurtenances are not without apparent danger of ensnaring people into idolatry? Are we not commanded to abstain from all appearance of evil? Will he correct the Apostle, and teach us that we need not care for apparent, but for certain dangers? What more apparent danger of ensnaring people into idolatry than unnecessary ceremonies, which have been dedicated to and polluted with idols, and which, being retained, do both admonish us to remember upon old idolatry, and move us to return to the same, as I have before made evident? (( Supra, sect. 6. ))
Now, as for the assumption of our present argument, it cannot be but evident to any who will not harden their minds against the light of the truth, that the ceremonies in question have been most notoriously abused to idolatry and superstition, and withal, that they have no necessary use to make us retain them. I say, they have been notoriously abused to idolatry. 1. Because they have been dedicated and consecrated to the service of idols. 2. Because they have been deeply polluted, and commonly employed in idolatrous worship. For both these reasons does Zanchius condemn the surplice, (( Epist. ad Regin. Elizab. Epistolar., lib. 1, p. 112. )) and such like popish ceremonies left in England, because the whore of Rome has abused, and does yet abuse them, to attract them to whoring. For all the displays such as those, and Papist ceremonies, are nothing other than meretricious deceits, contrived to this end, that men may be attracted to spiritual prostitution. (( ad alliciendes homines ad scortandum. Sunt enim pompæ istæ omnes, et ceremoniæ Papistisæ, nihil aliud quam fuci meretricii, ad hoc excogitati, ut homines ad spiritualem scortationem alliciantur. )) O golden sentence, and worthy to be engraven with a pen of iron, and the point of a diamond! For most needful it is to consider, that those ceremonies are the very meretricious bravery and veigling [seductive] trinkets wherewith the Romish whore does faird [make-up] and paint herself, whilst she propines [proposes] to the world the cup of her fornications. This makes Zanchius to call those ceremonies the relics and symbols of popish idolatry and superstition. (( Ibid., p. 111. ))
When Queen Mary set up Popery in England, and restored all of it which King Henry had overthrown, she considered that Popery could not stand well-favoredly without the ceremonies; whereupon she ordained, (( Sleid., Com., lib. 25, p. 481. ut dies omnesfesti celebrentur, superioris ætatis ceremoniæ restituantur, pueri adultiores ante baptisati, ab episcopis confirmentur. )) that all feast days be celebrated, the ceremonies of the former age be re-established, nearly-grown boys be confirmed by bishops before being baptised. So that not in remote regions, but in his Majesty’s dominions – not in a time past memory, but about fourscore years ago – not by people’s practice only, but by the laws and edicts of the supreme magistrate, the ceremonies have been abused to the reinducing and upholding of Popery and idolatry. Both far and near, then, both long since and lately, it is more than notorious how grossly and grievously the ceremonies have been polluted with idolatry and superstition.
I cannot choose but marvel much how Paybody was not ashamed to deny that kneeling has been abused by the Papists. (( Apol., part 3, cap. 4. )) Blush, O paper, which art blotted with such a notable lie! What will not desperate impudency dare to aver [assert]? But Bishop Lindsey seems also to hold that kneeling has been abused by the Papists only in the elevation and circumgestation of the host, but not in the participation; and that Honorius did not command kneeling in the participation, but only in the elevation and circumgestation. (( Proc. in Perth Assembly, part 2, p. 118, 119. ))
ANSWER. 1. A liar should at least have a good memory. (( Saltem mendacem oportet esse memorem. )) Says not the Bishop himself elsewhere of the Papists, (( Ibid., p. 22. )) In the sacrament they kneel to the sign, whereby he would prove a disconformity between their kneeling and ours; for we kneel, he says, by the sacrament to the thing signified. Now if the Papists in the sacrament kneel to the sign, then they have idolatrously abused kneeling, even in the participation; for the Bishop dare not say that, in the elevation or circumgestation, there is either sacrament or sign.
2. Why do our divines controvert with the Papists, de adpratopme eicjarostoæ [about the adoration of the eucharist], if Papists adore it not in the participation? for the host, carried about in a box, is not the sacrament of the eucharist.
3. In the participation, Papists think that the bread is already transubstantiated into the body of Christ, by virtue of the words of consecration. Now, if in the participation they kneel to that which they falsely conceive to be the body of Christ (but is indeed corruptible bread), with an intention to give it latria or divine worship, then in the participation they abuse it to idolatry. But that is true; therefore, etc.
4. Durand shows, that though in the holidays of Easter and Pentecost, and the festivities of the blessed Virgin, and in the Lord’s day, they kneel not in the church, but only stand (because of the joy of the festivity), and at the most do but bow or incline their heads at prayer, yet in in præsentia corporis et sanguinis Christi, in presence of the bread and wine, which they think to be the body and blood of Christ, they cease not to kneel. (( Ration., lib. 5, Tit. de Prima et lib. 6, Tit. de Die Sancta Pasc. )) And how will the Bishop make their participation free of this idolatrous kneeling? The Rhemists show us, that when they are eating and drinking the body and blood of our Lord, they adore the sacrament, and, humbling themselves, they say to it, Lord, I am not worthy; God be merciful to me, a sinner. (( Annot. on Matt. 8, sect. 3; and on 1 Cor. 11, sect. 18. Domine non sum dignus, Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori. ))
5. As for that which Honorius III decreed, Dr. White calls it the adoration of the sacrament, (( Way to the Church, Answer to sect. 51. )) which, if it is so, then we must say, that he decreed adoration in the participation itself, because extra usum sacramenti [outside its use as a sacrament], the bread cannot be called a sacrament. Honorius commanded that the priest should frequently teach his people to bow down devoutly when the host is elevated in the celebration of the mass, and that they should do the same when it is carried to the sick. All this was ordained in reference to the participation. That has been established for the occasion, says Chemnitz, speaking of this decree, when certainly the bread is being consecrated and when it is taken to the sick, that it may be presented and received. (( Exam. Conc. Trit. de Euchar., can. 6, p. 86. Ad usum illa instituta sunt, says Chemnitius, speaking of this decree, quando scilicet panis consecratur, et quando ad infirmos defertur, ut exhibeatur et sumatur. )) So that that which was specially respected in the decree, was adoring in the participation.
Lastly, here we have to do with Dr. Burges, who will have us to think, that adoration in receiving the sacrament has not been idolatrously intended to the sacrament in the church of Rome, neither by decree nor custom. (( Of the Lawfulness of Kneeling, cap. 21, p. 65. )) Not by decree, because albeit Honorius appointed adoration to be used in the elevation and circumgestation, yet not in the act of receiving. And albeit the Roman ritual appoints that clergymen coming to receive the sacrament do it kneeling, yet this was done in veneration of the altar, or of that which stands thereupon, and not for adoration of the host put into their mouths. (( Ibid., p. 69. )) Not by custom; for he will not have it said, that kneeling in the time of receiving was ever in the church of Rome any rite of, or for, adoration of the sacrament, because albeit the people kneel in the act of receiving, yet I deny, he says, that they ever intended adoration of the species, at that moment of time when they took it in their mouths, but then turned themselves to God, etc.
ANSWER. 1. As for the decree of Honorius, I have already answered with Chemnitz, that it had reference specially to the receiving. 2. When clergymen are appointed in the Roman ritual to receive the sacrament at the altar kneeling, this was not for veneration of the altar, to which they did reverence at all times when they approached to it, but this was required particularly in their receiving of the sacrament, for adoration of it. Neither is there mention made of the altar as conferring anything to their kneeling in receiving the sacrament; for the sacrament was not used the more reverently because it stood upon the altar, but by the contrary, for the sacrament’s sake reverence was done to the altar, which was esteemed the seat of the body of Christ. It appears, therefore, that the altar is mentioned, not as concerning the kneeling of the clergymen in their communicating, but simply as concerning their communicating, because none but they were wont to communicate at the altar, according to that received canon, It is lawful, however, only for the ministers of the altar to go to the altar and communicate there. (( Concil. Laodicæn, can. 19. See also Conc. Tolet. 4, can. 17. Solis autem ministris altaris liceat ingredi ad altare et ibidem communicare. )) The one of the Doctor’s own conjectures is, that they kneeled for reverence of that which stood upon the altar; but I would know what that was which, standing upon the altar, made them to kneel in the participation, if it was not the host itself?
Now, whereas he denies, as touching custom, that people did ever intend the adoration of the species, I answer: 1. How knows he what people in the Roman church did intend in their minds? 2. What warrant has he for this, that they did not in the participation adore the host, which was then put into their mouth? 3. Though this which he says were true, he gains nothing by it; for put the case, they did not intend the adoration of the species [visible form], dare he say, that they intended not the adoration of that which was under the species? I trow [trust] not. Now, that which was under the species, though in their conceit it was Christ’s body, yet it was indeed bread; so that, in the very participation, they were worshipping the bread. But 4., what needs any more? He makes himself a liar, and says plainly, that after transubstantiation was embraced, and when all the substance of the visible creature was held to be gone, they did intend the adoration of the invisible things, as if there had been now no substance of any creature left therein, whereby he destroys all which he has said of their not intending the adoration of the species. (( Ubi Supra, p. 71. ))
Last of all, for the other part of my assumption, that the ceremonies have no necessary use in God’s worship, I need no other proof than the common by-word of Formalists, which says they are things indifferent. Yet the Bishop of Edinburgh and Paybody have turned their tongues bravely, and chosen rather to say anything against us than nothing. (( Ubi Supra, p. 118. )) They spare not to answer, that kneeling has a necessary use. They are most certainly speaking of kneeling in the act of receiving the communion; for they and their opposites, in those places, are disputing of no other kneeling but this only. Now we may easily perceive they are in an evil taking, when they are driven to such an unadvised and desperate answer. For 1., if kneeling in the act of receiving the Lord’s supper is necessary, why have [they] themselves too written so much for the indifferency of it? O desultorious [shifting] levity that knows not where to hold itself! 2. If it is necessary, what makes it to be so? What law? What example? What reason? 3. If it is necessary, not only many reformed churches, and many ancient too, but Christ himself and his apostles have, in this sacrament, omitted something that was necessary. 4. If it is necessary, why do many of their own disciples take the communion sitting, in places where sitting is used?
What need I to say more? In the first part of this dispute I have proved that the ceremonies are not necessary, in respect of the church’s ordinance; howbeit it it were answered in this place, that they are in this respect necessary, it helps not, since the argument proceeds against all things notoriously abused to idolatry, which neither God nor nature has made necessary. And for any necessity of the ceremonies in themselves, either our opposites must repudiate what has unadvisedly fallen from their pens hereabout, or else forsake their beaten ground of indifferency, and say plainly that the ceremonies are urged by them, to be observed with an opinion of necessity, as worship of God, and as things in themselves necessary. Look to yourselves, O Formalists, for you stand here upon such slippery places, that you cannot hold both your feet.