Project Canterbury









Images introduced into that Church;





"The leaders of this people cause them to err,
And they that are led of them are destroyed."--ISAIAH.




Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

To the Hon. JOHN DUER, LL. D., one of the Justices of the Superior Court of the City of New-York:

Dear Sir,--A very painful estrangement, as you are aware, has existed for a considerable length of time past between the Rector of Christ Church, New-Brighton, and myself, originating ostensibly, in my opposition to the attempt to dispose of the free pews for purposes of revenue, which was resented by the Rector and his friends and connections in the Vestry as a personal affront to both of them; and, as such, held to afford just cause for recrimination and retaliatory measures. The object and result of one of these measures, being nothing less than the exclusion of myself and family from the church, is the subject of the following correspondence.

Subsequent proceedings, the management of "unfriends," and incautiousness or inconsiderateness of language on one side or the other, have widened the breach apparently beyond the power of reparation, unless some person of sufficient weight and influence with all the parties should deem the occasion a suitable one for interference and amicable adjustment.

At a comparatively early stage of the difficulty, in reply to the suggestion from a personal friend of the Rector, that our differences should be referred to the arbitration of mutual friends, I at once stated that I was "willing to submit the whole case, both as to the legal question involved in the attempted conversion of the free pews, and, also, as to our personal and social relations, to Judge Duer, having perfect confidence in his independence and integrity of character, notwithstanding his near relationship to the Rector; and that I would be bound by his decision, whatever it might be."

However much the lapse of time and change of circumstances [3/4] may tend to render intervention less available now than at the period referred to, no change has occurred in my sentiments on this point; and I therefore willingly avail myself of the opportunity presented by my submitting this branch of the subject for your consideration, to reiterate the assurance of the continued high regard and esteem with which I have the Honor to subscribe myself, dear sir,

Your obedient, humble servant,
New-York, 1st February, 1857.


Mr. WOTHERSPOON to the Rev. PIERRE P. IRVING, Rector of Christ Church,
New-Brighton, 12th February, 1856.

Dear Sir,--Within the last few days I have been informed by a mutual friend, a member of the Vestry, that the plan of the windows for the transept of our church had been seen and approved of by you before the order for their manufacture was given to the glass-stainer. I beg to assure you that if I had been aware of this fact I would not have taken the liberty of submitting to you the proposition for their removal, communicated in my note of the 12th November; [* See Appendix, p. 37.] my only apology for so doing resting on the belief, which I really entertained, that they must necessarily have been set up without your knowledge and in opposition to your views and wishes.

It has been further stated to me that you have expressed surprise that I could find cause for offence in the pictures and emblems with which the windows are decorated; and likewise that in the Vestry, and, as I understand it, in your presence, doubts had been thrown upon my sincerity in this matter; that is to say, as to whether I held such conscientious convictions respecting them as to call for so decided an expression of opinion as that of withdrawing with my family from the church.

Combining all this with the fact of the frequent occupancy of your pulpit by gentlemen of the highest type of Ecclesiology, and of the most distinguished attainments in Tractarianism, [5/6] I cannot fail to perceive that a great change has taken place in your feelings and sentiments on these points since our first acquaintance; but whatever change may have taken place in your views, you surely ought not to entertain any doubt with respect to the permanence of mine. On a previous and not very remote occasion you have reprehended my "immovable adherence to opinions once formed," as obscuring all the good qualities for which--antithetically and somewhat hyperbolically--you at the same time give me credit; you were aware that I objected to the use of the sign of the cross in baptism, and that I had never allowed it to be applied in that rite to any of my own children; you could scarcely have forgotten the story so facetiously told at my expense, in connection with the ecclesiastical proceedings against yourself and your church in 1850, in the editorial columns of the Churchman, touching the "eleven crosses" which were alleged to have exorcised me out of the church of your quondam antagonist, Dr. Winslow. The story itself, as might be supposed from the source from which it sprung, was, of course, a sheer fabrication from beginning to end, but it serves, at any rate, to show that my opinions on such matters were decided and notorious. You were also, I believe, acquainted with the part which I took in exposing the audacious proceeding of the present Popish Archbishop of New-York, in heading a religious procession through our streets of New-Brighton, such as was never before, within my knowledge, in our day, exhibited in any Protestant country. [* See Extract from Journal of Commerce, &c., page 27.] You might, therefore, have felt assured that I would not forfeit my pledge to leave the church, should I ever find myself powerless to resist the intrusion into it of Puseyite doctrines, or idolatrous embellishments.

To prevent any further misapprehension on this score, I humbly beseech you to listen with patience to my apology or argument in behalf of the course which I have pursued, which, I trust, will serve to remove from your mind any doubts which may still harbor there, and to absolve me from [6/7] all suspicion of being actuated by other motives than those which are herein alleged and set forth.

I object to and protest against your introduction of the images above referred to into our church on four distinct grounds:

1st. Because it is in violation of the agreement or understanding on which you accepted the charge of the church or cure of souls in this village.

2d. Because it is opposed to reason and common sense.

3d. Because it is in violation of the law of the church.

4th. Because it is in violation of the law of God.

The first topic has been already discussed and disposed of in our previous correspondence; [* Appendix page 35.] the second objection, therefore, immediately presents itself for consideration.

You see a personal affront to yourself in the terms in which, on a former occasion, I stigmatized what I deemed the bad taste evinced in the coloring of the windows; and you have designated as intemperate the language which I have applied to these images; but you cannot fail to perceive, and admit, that no personal offence could be intended in censuring, in a strictly private and confidential communication, that which I supposed you objected to as strongly as I did myself; and you must consider that in calling your images "idols," I but use the language of the Bible itself. With the Bible and common sense for my guides, I still cannot otherwise regard than as impious and absurd, such representations as these, and so regarding them, I shall never cease to testify openly against them and their like, as I have frequently been called upon to do from my youth up until now. Whether I err in calling your images "idols," or in denouncing their juxtaposition as "absurd and blasphemous," can best be ascertained from a description of the appearance which they present.

To a certain extent the designs in both the transept windows [7/8] are of the same import, in each case the intention being apparently to convey the idea of the descent of the Holy Ghost on our Saviour, although in the place of the adjuncts of the Jordan and the Baptist, fancy sketches are supplied. On the one window, the pretended Jesus, in highly colored garments, something like those in which I have seen popish priests and bishops attired, is represented as consecrating the sacramental elements, holding the paten with the bread in one hand, whilst the other is raised over the chalice on the table before him, as in the act of blessing. On the other window he appears with two sizeable children standing beside him, the one arm round the waist of one of them, and the other hand held over the head of the other. In each case, to represent the Holy Ghost, a white pigeon, such as is frequently served up at our tables, is made to appear as if descending on the head of the glazed Redeemer, [* These pictures are said to be copies of I know not what famous German painter, and this is seriously alleged as a sufficient justification for placing them where they are. It is not uncommon, in these days of idolatry and hero-worship, to meet with people who declaim against the narrow-minded bigotry of those who refuse to accept the dicta or productions of painters, sculptors and musicians as authority in religious matters, notwithstanding that with all these classes infidelity is the rule, and respect for religion the exception.] the pigeons on either side being flanked by gaudily ornamented crosses. [* The following extract from a recent publication furnishes an analogous, if not a parallel case, to the representation of the descent of the Holy Ghost in our church: "The pious farces performed all over Europe in the thirteenth century are acted still in the churches at Friburg. At the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a radiant wooden pigeon, descends from the roof upon the canons, who hold a wax candle in their hands, the emblem of the gift of tongues which was conferred upon the Apostles."]

A large portion of your congregation necessarily, in the course of the service, assume the posture of adoration towards these images, and when they are ejaculating such sentences as "O, Christ, hear us," "Lord, have mercy upon us," "Christ, have mercy upon us," or when they are giving utterance to the more solemn adjuration, "O, God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy upon us," it is difficult to divest the mind of the feeling that their thoughts, as well [8/9] as their attitude, are directed towards the idols which have been set up in the sanctuary.

Then again, my friend, when you are discoursing, as you frequently do, so feelingly and so impressively on the great change by which "our vile body shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body," do you mean to refer us to the likeness which you have thus placed constantly before our eyes as indicating the nature of that change? I know not how it may strike others, but to my mind there is something awful and horrible in such daring attempts to pourtray the lineaments of Him whose second coming shall be

"In the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory; descending with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God,"

And whose appearance and its effect are thus described:

"I saw one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him," says John, "I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

Is there not, likewise, absurdity as well as blasphemy involved in that fantastical attempt to delineate the descent of the Holy Ghost on our Saviour at the time of his baptism by John? A separate account of this transaction is given by each of the four evangelists. Three of them concur, in stating that the Holy Ghost was seen descending as a dove descends; and although the fourth describes him as descending "in bodily shape," as a dove descends, still it is surely a species of "mad idolatry" [* "Tis mad idolatry....To make the service greater than the God"....Shakespeare.] to form a graven image or a painting [9/10] of a pigeon, and call it by the name of the Holy Spirit of God. Whatever appearance was visible on the occasion referred to was alone witnessed by our Saviour, according to three of the evangelists, or by Himself and John the Baptist, as related by the fourth; and sure I am that no mortal man has ever had any license to re-produce its likeness or similitude from either of these witnesses. [* From the beginning to the end of the Bible no example can be found of prayer or praise addressed to the Holy Ghost as a separate person or distinct emanation of the Godhead, or indeed in any form whatever. It is further a suggestive fact, that in no single instance did the Apostles themselves use the formula prescribed in Matthew xxviii. 19, or baptize otherwise than in the name of the Lord Jesus alone.]

But of all forms of idolatry the most revolting and brutalizing is the adoration of the cross. To attach to the figure of a disgusting implement of torture the idea of sanctity in any degree; to substitute its worship for that of the great God, only shows to what a depth of degradation the human intellect is capable of descending.

From the earliest ages this image has been used as the emblem of rapine and of cruelty; and the associations connected with it were of such a nature as to render even the very mention of its name abhorrent to the minds of the more enlightened amongst the ancient heathens. Thus, Cicero speaks of it as a thing "most foul and brutal," (crudelissimum et teterrimum,) and "to be removed from the eyes, from the ears, yea, from the very thoughts of men," (ab oculis, auribusque, et omni cogitatione hominum, removendum esse.) It is called the "accursed tree," "the infamous wood," ten thousand times more infamous, more accursed, since having been used as the means of inflicting the cruel pangs of a shameful death on the Saviour of mankind. If the barren fig tree was adjudged worthy of a bitter curse because its fruit was not ready when required, merely to allay Christ's hunger, how much more must that tree be held accursed which presented itself prepared for the rending asunder of his soul and body in death. But if, as some vainly hold, for this very reason the cross is to be accounted worthy of veneration and praise, [10/11] then with what heavenly honors should the arch-traitor Judas be crowned; for his was the active principle, the intelligent mind which brought about the infamous punishment of which this stauros, this wooden God, was only the inanimate, unconscious instrument. It truly needs must be that the Son of Man should suffer death, but woe to that man and to all the accessories by whom and whereby that death was achieved.

Ever since the sixth century the cross has been, and continues to be, the ensign and symbol of persecution and bloodshed for conscience sake. Such was the use to which it was applied in the wars against the Infidels; and such it was when raised as the standard of the crusades which the popes caused to be preached for the extermination of the Albigenses and Waldenses, when its followers carried havoc and devastation through the plains of Languedoc and the vallies of Piedmont, subjecting to fire and the sword the peaceful inhabitants, whose greatest crimes consisted in rejecting the images of the cross and Virgin Mary, [* See note, page 29, Crusades against the Albigenses, &c.] as well as all the other abominations of the heathenish church of Rome. Whether planted in the East or in the West, the same results have always followed its portentous advent. What countless multitudes of human lives have been sacrificed at its altars, let India and America alike proclaim. The records of Goa and Mexico, equally with those of Lisbon and Madrid, bear the bloody impress of the Inquisition. Saints and martyrs, in all ages of that church, have sealed with their blood their testimony against this hideous idolatry; [* Note, p. 30, Persecutions for the Cross.] and if at the present day we who yet resist it are enabled to do so with impunity, it is not owing to any change in the feelings or inclinations of the idolatrous priesthood, but solely to the beneficence of a protecting providence, which has placed us in a position of such strength and security as to be impregnable to any assaults, spiritual or temporal, which they may direct against us.

As in the first ages of Christianity the test by which the disciples were tried was the worship of the images of the [11/12] gods, and the adoration of the statues of living emperors, those who refused compliance being subjected to the most cruel deaths, so in later days the followers of Christ have had the alternative presented to them of the worship of the cross and images of deceased saints, with adoration of living popes, or else of perishing by a miserable death at the stake. The analogy is further rendered complete by the fact that under both systems confession was attempted to be extorted by the application of the most excruciating tortures; tortures whose origin surpasses the limits of human ingenuity, and which could only have been devised by the promptings of fiends of hell.

The religious character attributed to the cross, like all the other image worship of the papists, is derived directly from the paganism of antiquity. So far back as the times of the Egyptians we find a place assigned to the cross in their sacred rites; and with the Romans it was used, mounted on a globe, as an emblem of victory and universal dominion, just as in our day it is so used, alike in Spain and in Russia, to denote the union of pontifical domination and autocratic despotism.

The folly of the venerators of this polluted emblem, who designate themselves "servants of the cross," just as the members of the vehmegericht called themselves "servants of the cord and dagger," is fitly shown in the familiar and contemptuous uses to which it is put. Made of gold, and of silver, and of precious stones, it serves to ornament their persons; of it they form hilts to their swords and heads to their lances; it is used in the shape of decorations as a reward to soldiers and commanders for their success in destroying life and laying waste fertile lands; they religiously--nay, I will not desecrate the word--they superstitiously swallow it in the form of hot cross buns, not knowing that in this they are only following the pagan customs of two or three thousand years ago; [* See note, p. 32, Hot Cross Buns.] they emblazon it on their prayer books and even on their bibles; and, to cap the climax, they have promoted it to the "Calendar of the Saints"--witness the Protestant Chapel of [12/13] Saint Cross, at Oxford, and the Protestant Episcopal churches of the Holy Cross, here and elsewhere in these United States.

Many persons imagine crucifixion to have been directly, and in itself, a species of capital punishment, and view the cross in the same light as the hangman's halter or the headsman's axe. This is, however, a very erroneous notion. The cross was no more the instrument of death than was the recess in which the victim of monastic vengeance was wont to be walled up, or the chair to which the culprit, sentenced in our day to the garrote, is fastened down. The criminal was securely affixed to the cross, and, as a general rule, no violence was subsequently inflicted upon him; but he was left there to perish by slow degrees of hunger and thirst, his sufferings being greatly aggravated by the unnatural posture in which he was suspended. [* See note, page 32, Sufferings on the Cross.] Picture to yourself, then, this horrid machine, besmeared with the blood of suffering saints, still reeking with the foulness engendered by their festering remains; listen to the agonizing groans of the poor victim, sweltering under the scorching rays of the meridian sun, without one drop of water to cool the burning temples, or moisten the parched and swollen tongue, during the long, long days, and longer nights, which pass in slow succession ere life becomes extinct; the eyes, meanwhile, plucked out by "birds obscene," and the quivering flesh torn, piecemeal from their limbs by "hyenas vile;" and then behold that "tender and delicate woman, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot to the ground for tenderness and delicateness," [*4 Deut. xxviii. 56.] behold her, I say, handling, fondling, and placing on her bosom, or suspending from her ears the image of that frightful engine of cruelty, the very thought of which makes the strongest minds shrink from the contemplation of its horrors in terror and disgust; and then say whether I am wrong in attributing such proceedings to a heart devoid of sensibility, or to a confusion of ideas nearly approaching aberration of mind.

[14] From the frequency of the punishment, and the varied nature of the sufferings endured on the cross, both the name of the thing itself and the mode of punishment were in common use--"familiar as household words"--amongst the ancients, to denote pains and punishments, trouble, sorrow and grief of every kind and in every degree. "The verb cruciare," says one of the most erudite biblical scholars of modern times, "was used for all sorts of sufferings and pains of body and mind," and in this sense we find it in Plautus, nearly three hundred, and in Terence, nearly two hundred years before Christ; and so in the New Testament, "to crucify" is everywhere used to signify the infliction of pain, the practice of self-denial, &c. "Pains, punishments, afflictions, sorrows," &c., he goes on to say, "were called crosses," and so we find the term used by Cicero, "Qude crux huic fugitivo potest satis supplicii afferre." What cross--what form of punishment--can inflict sufficient chastisement upon this vagabond? And, again: "Cross is taken for the whole of Christ's sufferings from his birth to his death, but especially those upon the tree." Christ himself says, "If any man will be my disciple let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." He is not to take up Christ's cross, but his own, and that "daily;" and the Apostle Paul synonymously has the following expressions: "Whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;" and "that we must, through great tribulation, enter the kingdom of Christ." In another passage Paul construes "cross" as equivalent to "reproach;" for, referring to the account given by the Evangelist John, that "Christ, bearing his cross, went forth into a place called Golgotha," he says, "Jesus, also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate; let us go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."

This explanation suffices to show how great is their mistake who refer that saying of the Apostle, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," to the material cross on which Christ died. With as much [14/15] propriety might they allege that he intended in another place to represent Christ as literally nailing to the wooden cross the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, and which he had blotted out. Salvation to mankind, through the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, is "the gospel which was before preached to Abraham," and which is now preached to us; and it is one thing to glory, as Paul did, in the sufferings and death of Christ, and quite another thing to glorify the material cross, "the accursed tree;" to attribute, in short, to a piece of rotten wood [* "Miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who called them gods, which are the work of men's hands, gold and silver. Again, one preparing himself to sail, and about to pass through the raging waves, calleth upon a piece of wood more rotten, than the vessel that carrieth him."--Wisdom of Solomon.] the merits of the blessed Redeemer.

Neither in the writings of Paul, nor in those of the other Apostles, can any warrant be found for assuming the image or sign of the cross as the badge or emblem of Christianity; neither is there reason to believe that any such practice obtained before the close of the third century. In the times of the Apostles there were no images in churches, because no Christian churches were then in existence; [* See note, page 33, Isidore of Pelusium.] and there are no traces of signs, emblems or images amongst Christians; no test of this kind referred to in the various Roman persecutions, as long as the Hebrew converts were the teachers of Christianity; nor were such things heard of till after the time of Constantine the Great, [* Constantine the Great was a pagan emperor, and Pontifex Maximus, when from motives of policy he adopted the cross as the standard for his armies; and there is too much reason for believing that a pagan he remained to the end of his life, the fabulous appearance of the sign of the cross in the heavens, and his calling and presiding over general councils to the contrary notwithstanding.] since when, the good seed, being sown on pagan soil, the wheat and the tares have continued to grow up together, so that at the present day that may be said even of many so called Protestants and Protestant churches, which is related of the nations in Samaria:

"They feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children and their children's children; as did their fathers, so do they unto this day."

[16] That the law of the Church of England, in regard to such matters as those now under consideration, is binding and obligatory on the consciences and practice of the ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is, I believe, universally admitted by the ecclesiastical authorities. The following extract from the Ratification of the Book of Common Prayer shows what were the understanding and intentions of the founders of this church. After stating the general grounds on which they had acted in regard to the changes introduced into the liturgy, they thus proceed: "It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and amendments. They will appear, and, it is to be hoped, the reasons of them also, upon a comparison of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In which it will also appear that this church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline or worship, or further than local circumstances require."

In commenting upon this passage, Judge Hoffman, in his "Treatise on the law of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States," quotes approvingly Thomas Addis Emmet, (in re Cave Jones,) to the following effect: "In organizing and becoming members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, no one considered himself as becoming a member of a new religion, or as adopting a different form or rules of ecclesiastical government, excepting in so far as depended upon the connection in England between Church and State, and the regulations in that country produced by the king's being the head of the church. These were all necessarily rejected as being inapplicable to our situation; but in every other respect, the rules and laws of our mother church, where they can be applied, are the common law of our religious association." Judge Hoffman, himself, thus concludes his labored argument: "When, then, we find our church declaring, in one of its most solemn acts, that all which is not of doctrine is of discipline; that she meant not to depart from the Church of England in doctrine or discipline, further than local circumstances required; when we find that the body of [16/17] ecclesiastical law was an undoubted part of discipline in that church and in the colonial church; when we find no discrimination made between what kind of discipline is binding and what is annulled, the conclusion seems irresistible, that this law, with necessary modifications, retained the same authority after the Revolution which it possessed before." The Judge then afterwards states the result in these propositions:

1. The English canon law governs, unless it is inconsistent with, or superseded by a positive institution of our own.

2. Unless it is at variance with any civil law or doctrine of the State, either recognised by the church, or not opposed to her principles.

3. Unless it is inconsistent with, or inapplicable to that position in which the church in these States is placed.

Now, that the introduction of these images is contrary to the law of the Church of England is so plain that any elaborate argument in support of this proposition would be a mere waste of words. One great object of the English Reformation was avowedly the removal from the church of all images, crosses, shrines, candlesticks, &c., by which they were at that time desecrated; and of this the "Injunctions" of King Edward the Sixth, and the "Proclamation" of Queen Elizabeth, afford ample proof. But in addition to these, the recent decisions in the Consistory Court and the Court of Arches, in England, are quite conclusive on the subject. Both Dr. Lushington and Sir H. Jenner Fust pronounced the crosses, credence-tables, altars and altar-cloths to be "wholly illegal;" and Dr. Lushington assigns his reasons for ordering their removal from the respective churches in the following decided terms: "Having declared these matters to be illegal, I apprehend that no alternative is left to a judge but to cause that which is illegal to be removed. It would be contrary to all sound reason for a judge to be called upon to pronounce his judicial opinion that things are contrary to law, and at the same time to leave them to continue in defiance of the law." The following, therefore, is the decree of the court: "As to St. Paul's, that a faculty do issue to the incumbent and both the churchwardens to remove the credence table [17/18] and the cross on or near to the communion-table; to take away all the cloths at present used in the church for covering the communion-table during divine service, and to substitute one only covering, for such purpose, of silk or other decent stuff. With respect to St. Barnabas, that a monition do issue to the churchwardens to remove the present structure of stone used as a communion-table, and to substitute therefore a movable table of wood; to remove the credence-table; to remove the cross on the chancel-screen, and that on or near the present structure used as a communion-table; to take away all the cloths at present used in the church for covering the structure used as a communion-table during divine service, and to substitute one only covering, for such purpose, of silk or other decent stuff; and further, to remove any cover used at the time of the ministration of the sacrament, worked or embroidered with lace, or otherwise ornamented, and to substitute a fair white linen cloth, without lace or embroidery or other ornament, to cover the communion-table at the time of the ministration of the sacrament, and to cause the Ten Commandments to be set up in the east end of the church, in compliance with the terms of the Canon."

The inquiry whether the introduction of images into your church is or is not in violation of the law of God, resolves itself into the simple question of Bible or no Bible. The gentleman who styles himself "Senior warden" [* See note p. 34, Churchwardens.] of your church, at whose only bidding these idols were introduced, and by whose only influence their removal is now prevented, utterly repudiates, I believe, the divine authority of the Bible. He opines that there are a great many very good things in it, well worthy of attention, but that its precepts are not to be regarded as laws binding upon the conscience and conduct of intelligent, enlightened men. I, on the contrary, have been brought up from my earliest youth in an unhesitating, unquestioning, unwavering belief, which has "grown with my growth and strengthened with my strength," in the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures as the only rule of faith, [18/19] doctrine and practice for Christian men. I regard the Bible as the expression of the very mind of God; consequently, then, as between the exemplary gentleman referred to, and myself, there can be on this head no argument or agreement, seeing that we have no common point of departure. But with regard to you the case is very different. Equally with myself you admit, and, as in duty and by your profession bound, you are ready, on all occasions, to uphold the divine authority of Holy Writ. You concur with me in adopting this language of the great African Bishop of the fifth century: [* Augustin, of Hippo]

"I confess to you that I have learned to regard all the sacred writings with such reverence and honor that none of those by whom they were composed have, according to my most firm belief, erred in any thing." And again, "For my part, firmly relying upon the unerring veracity of Holy Scripture, I shall always read the sacred record as verified by the highest testimony of heavenly authority."

Your faith is exemplified even in the seal and motto of the particular church entrusted to your care. The open Bible, with the injunction, "SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES," standing out
on it in bold relief, alike avouch the sacred volume to be the foundation on which you build, and certify your willingness to have your doctrines and practice tested by that standard.

Judged, then, by that standard, there is at once an end of the case; for the Bible everywhere denounces the making of images, and the worshipping of them, as the most heinous of all transgressions against the Divine Majesty; to be visited with condign punishment here, and eternal perdition here after. It is the unpardonable sin which shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. It is asserted in the Bible--and every day's experience even in this, our renowned nineteenth century, verifies the truth of the assertion [* This may be truly called the age of hero worship and idolatry, witness, amongst other instances, the divine honors openly paid to the statues of Washington and Franklin, at their recent so-called "inauguration." Such folly was rebuked by an enlightened heathen, nearly two thousand years ago; for we read [19/20] of the Emperor Trajan that "he refused the statues which the flattery of favorites wished to erect to him; and he ridiculed the follies of an enlightened nation that could pay adoration to pieces of cold, inanimate marble." O for a Paul to declare to our benighted idolaters THE UNKNOWN GOD, whom so many of them ignorantly worship!]--that it is the temptation to which, above all others, frail man is most prone to yield; and it is, therefore, that which he is most frequently and most earnestly warned and entreated to guard against. God Almighty himself descended from heaven to proclaim his abhorrence of this fearful transgression. It forms the subject of the first two, the chief of the commandments of the "fiery law," [* "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them." Deut. xxxiii. 2.] delivered from Mount Sinai; and to show the pre-eminence of the injunction, Moses, immediately after receiving the law, is again commanded to repeat it separately:

"Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven; ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold."

The worshipping of idols by "the world before the flood" was one great cause of the overflowing of the earth by the waters of the deluge; [* Joshua, xxiv. 2] and it is the sole ground alleged for the extermination of the idolatrous nations of the promised land, and the transfer of their possessions to the Israelites. But notwithstanding all the admonitions of Moses and the prophets, notwithstanding the examples of the destruction of the old world, and of the judgments inflicted upon the idolatrous nations which have perished since the flood, the vision of John is still in our day in process of fulfilment:

"The rest of the men which were not killed by the plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk." [* Rev. xxiii. 9, 20]

Ships are known by their flag, and soldiers by their colors; [20/21] if then, the captain of a man-of-war should hoist the "death's head," or if the commander of a body of forces should adopt the ensign of revolt, it would be in vain for them to plead that in themselves these insignia meant nothing, and that no one had a right to impute to them any sinister designs in unfolding them to the breeze. Lawful traders and good men and true would still give them a wide berth, and keep them at a respectful distance; they would be claimed as allies by the respective classes whose symbols they had displayed; even if circumstances should prevent their proceeding to overt acts, they would scarcely escape the penalties awarded to pirates and rebels; and their followers would, in all probability, participate in the fate of their leaders.

Now, in the domain known under the name of New-Brighton, in which our church edifice is situated, there are only at present two other places of worship. Due east from us lies the popish temple, crowned outside and crowded inside with images of the cross, of all qualities and dimensions; whilst towards the south you will find the Unitarian meeting house, surmounted by a single towering golden cross, doubtless placed there as indicating both the nature and the unity of the worship within, and affording, in connection with the display on the popish battlements, a curious illustration of the principle, that "extremes meet." These adverse factions are united only by one common feeling--hostility to the cause of their and your Lord and Master, as exemplified by their common emblem. How, then, can you escape the imputation of being joined in the same enterprise with them, when you hoist the same flag, and enrol yourself under the same banner? Or how can you inveigh against idolatry, with the very idols themselves staring you in the face in your own church? Again, the first beginning of evil with those who of late years have so much troubled the peace of the church, has been the introduction of just such pictures and emblems as now deform our building and pollute our services,--their appearance in Tractarian churches being the invariable precursor or concomitant of defection from constituted authority, and of deviation from Scripture truth.

[22] You may, as captain or commander, hoist the black flag, the bloody cross, the true death's head of the papistical pontificate; or spread out the flaunting symbols of a degraded, apostatizing Christian ministry, but I, for one, will not follow your leading. So long as you serve and maintain the cause of the Great King, whose soldiers and servants we proclaim ourselves to be, so long will I follow you, even, if needs be, to the death; but I will not consent to be betrayed into open defiance, or implicit repudiation of his authority and laws.

You may say, as in the case supposed above, that these things in themselves are nothing; but I say, and the Bible says, that they are pregnant with fearful consequences to the souls, both of minister and people, as must always necessarily be the case where God's laws are wantonly and openly infringed. You may allege that they are not images at all, but only pictures; but I say, again, that you can adduce no principle on their behalf which would not justify the placing of a crucifix on your communion table during the administration of the sacrament; and, further, that as you full well know, the fanciful distinction which obtains in the iconoclastic Greek Church between pictures and images, finds no countenance or warranty in Scripture. Listen to God's words to Ezekiel:

"Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see GREATER ABOMINATIONS. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall; and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door; and he said unto me, Go in and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold, every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, POURTRAYED UPON THE WALL ROUND ABOUT. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, with every man his censer in his hands; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark--every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth."

[23] Hear, also, the wisdom of Solomon:

"For neither did the mischievous invention of men deceive us, nor an image spotted with divers colors, the painter's fruitless labor, the sight whereof enticeth fools to lust after it; and so they desire the form of a dead image that hath no breath. Both they that make them, they that desire them, and they that worship them, are lovers of evil things, and are worthy to have such things to trust upon."

You may, perhaps, be disposed to urge that the images in our church are not intended to be worshipped; but all experience will prove to you that such things cannot be, and never have been introduced into churches without at once attracting a certain degree of veneration or adoration from some portion of the people; and that all the preaching in the world will not prevent the infection from spreading, till the whole body, minister and people alike, becomes one mass of corruption. Do you wish to ascertain how such things are regarded in your own church? Suggest to some of the sensitive minds amongst your congregation that if you wanted glass to stop up a rat-hole you would sooner, for that purpose, use the image of the cross, or the head of the Christ from your painted windows, than common broken bottles; or rather do not put yourself forward, but be an unseen spectator whilst some one, of whom they do not stand in awe, makes the suggestion; then witness the involuntary shudder, the amazement and indignation, expressed not alone in looks, and define if you can, otherwise than by reverence and veneration, the feelings from which they spring. I cannot help believing that a solemn responsibility attaches to those pastors who thus lay snares to lead astray their poor deluded flock. If there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth; if he who converts a man from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death and hide a multitude of his own sins, what shall his reward be who wantonly or heedlessly, by his influence, shuts the gates of heaven upon his poor forsaken sheep, and drowns hundreds of unwary souls in the depths of eternal woe!

"When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because thou hast [23/24] not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which be hath done shall not be remembered; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND."

You may think to overwhelm me with the weight of authority of your own and other great names ministering in the temple, and claiming to be ambassadors for Christ; you may refer me to popes, princes, potentates and powers, to men of learning, to men of religion, to men of renown; you may even come down to evangelical churchmen of the present day, your Eastburns, your Tyngs, your Bedells, [* See note page 34, Bishop Eastburn &c.] and prove that you have the authority and example of all these different classes for introducing idolatrous embellishments into your church; but all this will avail nothing, unless you can prove the Bible to be a lie, which you must do before you can justify their and your proceedings. It is not for want of equal weight of authority that I do not contest this point; for besides the testimony of the early fathers,--those who flourished before the dark cloud of paganism had overshadowed the church,--we have on our side a multitude of witnesses who have testified against this unhallowed practice, comprising, amongst others, the authors of the English Reformation and their successors, down to the Whites, and Hobarts, and Meads [* See note page 34, Bishop White &c.] of our own times and our own church; but it is because that "GOD HATH SAID," is with me an all-sufficient authority; none other can I recognise; none other will I acknowledge. Hear God by the mouth of his prophet, Isaiah:

"I am the Lord; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as my messenger, that I have sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, or blind as the Lord's servant? They have not known nor understood, for he hath shut their eyes that they cannot see, and their hearts that they cannot understand. He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?'"

The conclusion at which I have arrived, after long and [24/25] careful consideration of the whole subject, and in which I should rejoice to find you of one accord with myself, is this: that it is our solemn duty, as Christian men, rigidly to exclude from our religious services and churches, as being plainly and imperatively forbidden by God's holy law and commandments, all images, emblems, symbols, rites, forms, ceremonies and observances, of what nature and kind soever, which have been or are admitted, practised or followed in idolatrous, pagan or popish worship; all crosses, images of saints, pictures or similitudes of gods or heavenly bodies; all decking and ornamenting of churches after the fashion of the heathens; all the paraphernalia of shrines, and screens, and painted cloths, and greens, and flowers, and other fruits of frenzy, folly and fatuity.

Conscientiously entertaining the views herein set forth; profoundly impressed with the conviction, based, as I think I have shown, on conclusive evidence, that the introduction of these idols into our church was in violation of your personal obligations; that it is repugnant to sound reason and common sense; that it is in contravention of the law of the church, and in open defiance of the law of God; and with my personal antecedents, such as you have known them, it was manifestly impossible for me to continue to worship in the church while they remained there present. There can be no doubt that the sole object in suggesting the bringing in of these images was the exclusion of myself and family from the church, and I cannot but regard it as unkind and cruel in the extreme, that you should have given your countenance to the scheme. Before consenting to it, you should at least have asked yourself what was to become of us with the doors of our own church closed against us, and with no other place of worship of our own communion within our reach. Your acquiescence in this condition of affairs would seem to indicate one of two things:--either that, in your estimation, the salvation of souls is of no account, or else that the ordinances of religion are not necessary elements for attaining that end.

This communication was commenced at the date it bears; but I have delayed closing it, in the hope that on your return [25/26] from your protracted absence in Europe, you might so far relent as to cause the removal of these images, and thus re-open to us the doors of our own church; and this, even if entertaining yourself no conscientious scruples concerning them, yet still, on the principle laid down by the Apostle Paul, and acted upon by Bishop Hobart. Paul would "eat no flesh offered to idols while the world standeth, lest he should make his brother to offend;" and the good bishop would not allow a cross in a church of his consecration, lest it might hurt the feelings of some one of the congregation. I have only now to add, in conclusion, that the same kind feelings towards you which have in former times prompted our exertions and services on your behalf still exist, and that we shall be but too happy to be furnished with opportunities of again rendering them available for your benefit.

Believe me, dear sir, with much respect, your true friend, sincere well-wisher and obedient servant,

1st February, 1857.

[27] NOTES.

No. 1. (Page 6.)
From the Journal of Commerce, 21st February, 1848.

FUNERAL OBSEQUIES OF FATHER MURPHY.--The funeral of this Roman Catholic priest, who died of ship-fever at Quarantine, on Staten Island, on Friday the 12th instant, was attended with much pomp and circumstance. A procession was formed at his late residence, and moved through one of the principal thoroughfares of the Island, to the church situated at a short distance. It was headed by a man with a black cross, elevated on a pole, as a standard. Behind him followed about forty priests arrayed in their canonicals, white togas, caps, &c., with slew and solemn tread. Then came our very Rev'd Bishop Hughes, decked in gorgeous purple robes, and crowned with the mitre. Next was a corps of physicians and others connected with the marine medical department of the Island, between whom and the miscellaneous train of friends and spectators who brought up the rear, was borne, on the shoulders of a number of men, a richly-dressed coffin, inclosing the remains of the deceased. As the procession moved on, the white robes, crucifixes and trappings glistening under the clear sunshine of the day, chaunts and anthems were shouted by the priests. Having reached the church, the appropriate ceremonies were performed, the body was entombed in one of its vaults, and the assembly dispersed.

In reference to the above facts a correspondent writes as follows:

For the Journal of Commerce.

Bishop Hughes has the reputation of never appearing in public, either in person or through the press, without a motive. Now I should like to ascertain what motive impelled him yesterday to head a procession of priests, they in full dress, he in his most fantastic robes and crowned with a mitre, through the principal thoroughfare in Staten Island, singing or chaunting with all their might. Is it that be thinks the feelings of Protestants can be more safely outraged there than in the City of New-York? Or was this merely a good opportunity of introducing the small end of the wedge; and are we, in this Protestant country, to be hereafter favored with the full expansion of Popish mummery, and compelled, as in Popish lands, to make obeisance to and worship crosses and crucifixes, and such other images as Bishop Hughes and his priests may take a fancy to parade through our streets.

New-York, 16th February, 1848. G. W.

[28] From the Courier and Enquirer, 22d February, 1848.

INTOLERANCE.--A Roman Catholic priest, named Murphy, having died at Staten Island of fever, caught in his attendance at the dying beds of the sick poor in the Quarantine Hospital, he was buried on Friday last with all the imposing ceremonies of the church to which, in life, he belonged. By reason, indeed, of the self-sacrificing devotion to duty, which led to his death, it is quite possible, as indeed it would be quite natural and proper, that more than ordinary pains were taken by his co-religionists to mark their sense of the value of such a life, and their admiration of such a death.

The Bishop of that church and a large number of his clergy attended the funeral in their robes and with all ceremony, and as the procession passed to the burial ground, the chaunts of that church were uttered in the face of heaven.

This solemn ceremonial is related by a correspondent of the Journal of Commerce in language that implies reproach, and it is actually described as an "outrage on the feelings of the Protestants!" Can such bitter, narrow, un-American bigotry, find response in any Christian heart? What feelings, entitled to respect, could be outraged by such a display in honor of a soldier of the cross who had died faithfully at his post? If a man die in battle, amid havoc and carnage, and with all the fierce passions of his nature in full play, he is, and it is right that he should be, honored as a martyr to duty and to country, and no one finds fault, no one is "outraged" in his feelings.

But if a soldier of the cross, striving, it may be, under a different banner, but still in the same cause with ourselves, shall fall, not fighting but praying, not to gain a name among men, but to save, if it may be, a soul unto God; if such a man be committed, earth to earth, with all the august and cherished ceremonies of the church for which he died, forthwith we hear the Journal of Commerce commenting upon such obsequies as "outrage" to Protestant feelings, and permitting the question, illiberal and absurd, to be seriously put in its columns, whether with "the full expansion of Popish mummery," as this decorous writer terms the solemn burial service of the Roman Catholic Church, "in this Protestant country we are to be compelled, as in Popish lands, to make obeisance to and worship crosses and crucifixes?"

He who could, on such an occasion, state such a question, is, or we much misjudge his case, in bondage to a fanatical spirit, more prejudicial to society and to all good ends, than any respect paid to the symbols of an ancient religion can ever be.

For the Journal of Commerce.

The Courier yesterday favored us with a homily on intolerance, highly instructive and edifying. For my share in the castigation administered by your more enlightened contemporary, I am evidently indebted to my being found in bad company; for disgust and indignation at the perusal of your "intolerant," "un-American," " narrow-minded" and " bigoted" remarks, appear to have so overpowered his faculties as to have rendered him incapable of distinguishing one set of words from another, when he reached the communication appended to your article.

For instance; the Courier represents me as applying to the "solemn burial service of the Roman Catholic Church," [28/29] the epithet of "full expansion of Popish mummery," when, with as much propriety, he might have represented me as saying that Bishop Hughes was unable to take care of himself without the patronizing aid of the Courier and Enquirer.

"Evil communications corrupt good manners;" and your liberal-minded contemporary well knows the influence of bad example. He will, therefore, doubtless make all due allowance for my intolerance and bigotry, when he knows that I have spent long years in Popish lands.

One word more. A Roman Catholic priest, named Smith, died of fever, caught at Staten Island, in his attendance at the dying bed of the other priest, Mr. Murphy. He was buried in New-York. There was the usual funeral procession from the house to the Cathedral, but none of the pomp or circumstance which attended Mr. Murphy's at Staten Island, no long array of priests, no gigantic cross, no Bishop, no chaunt.

23d February, 1848. G. W.


No. 6. (Page 11.)

Hallam, in his History of the Middle Ages, after describing the spread of the tenets of the Albigenses through Languedoc, and the preliminary proceedings by the pope against Count Raymond, of Toulouse, thus continues: "Innocent published a crusade both against the count and his subjects, calling upon the king of France and the nobility of that kingdom to take up the cross, with all the indulgencies usually held out as allurements to religious warfare. A prodigious number of knights undertook this enterprise, led partly by ecclesiastics and partly by some of the first barons of France. It was prosecuted with every atrocious barbarity which superstition, the mother of crime, could inspire. Languedoc, a country for that age flourishing and civilized, was laid waste by these desolators; her cities burned; her inhabitants swept away by fire and the sword. And this was to punish a fanaticism ten thousand times more innocent than their own; and errors which, according to the worst imputations, left the laws of unity and the peace of social life unimpaired." Other historians, after stating that the Waldenses "rejected images, crosses, relics, legends, traditions, auricular confessions, indulgencies, absolutions, clerical celibacy, orders, titles, tithes, vestments, monkery, masses and prayers for the dead, purgatory, invocation of saints and of the Virgin Mary, holy water, festivals, processions, pilgrimages, vigils, lent, pretended miracles, exorcisms, consecrations, confirmations, extreme unction, canonization and the like," add as follows: "It is now generally acknowledged that the Waldenses were the witnesses for the truth in the dark ages, and that they gave the first impulse to a reform of the whole Christian Church, so called. For bearing this noble testimony before the Church of Rome, these pious people were for many centuries the subjects of a most cruel persecution; and in the thirteenth century, the pope instituted a crusade against them, and they were persecuted with a fury perfectly diabolical."

Again, "they, i.e., the Albigenses, were for the most part men who were disgusted with the doctrines and ceremonies of human invention, and desirous of [29/30] returning to the apostolic doctrines and practice. They refused to worship the Virgin Mary and the cross, which was sufficient to procure for them, in those days, the name of Atheists." Milner thus sums up the character of these "Cathari," or Puritans and Protestants of the twelfth century: "They were plain, unassuming, harmless Christians, condemning, by their doctrine and manners, the whole apparatus of the reigning idolatry and superstition; placing true religion in the faith and love of Christ, and retaining a supreme regard for the Divine word." They may be said to have been born and nurtured in blood--Constantine Sylvanus, one of the founders of the sect, a pious, humble Christian, having been stoned to death in the seventh century. Such were the people whose wrongs and sufferings aroused the wrathful indignation of Milton:

"Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones,
Forget not."


No. 7. (Page 11.)

Thomas Hawkes, who was burned in 1555, thus answered Bishop Bonner, when he said to him, "You speak of idols, and you know not what they mean."

HAWKES. "God hath taught us what they are; for whatever is made, graven or devised by man's hand, contrary to God's word, the same is an idol."
Dr. CHEDSEY. "What are those that ye are so offended with?"
HAWKES. "The cross of wood, silver, copper or gold," &c.
BONNER. "What say ye to that?"
HAWKES. "I say it is an idol. What say you to it?"
BONNER. "I say every idol is an image, but every image is not an idol."
HAWKES. "Have not your images feet and go not, eyes and see not, ears and hear not, hands and feel not, mouths and speak not? and even so have your idols."
CHEDSEY. "God forbid, says St. Paul, that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
HAWKES. "If the cross were such a profit to us, why did not Christ's disciples take it up and set it on a pole, and carry it in procession, with a salutation?"
CHEDSEY. "It was taken up."
HAWKES. "Who took it up? Helen, as you say, for she sent a piece of it to a monastery where I was with the visitors when that house was suppressed, and the piece of the holy cross (which the monks had in such estimation, and had robbed many a soul, committing idolatry to it) was called for, when it was proved it was but a piece of a lath, covered over with copper, double gilded, as if it had been clean gold."
CHEDSEY. "It is a pity that thou shouldst live, or any such as thou art."

Then being exhorted by the bishop, with many fair words, to return again to the bosom of the mother church, "No my lord," said he, "that I will not; for if I had a hundred bodies, I would suffer them all to be torn in pieces rather than I [30/31] will abjure or recant." And so was this blessed martyr for Christ led away to the place appointed for the slaughter.

About the beginning of September 1556, William Allen, a laboring man, was burned in Walsingham. He being brought before the bishop and asked why he was imprisoned, answered, that he was put in prison because he would not follow the cross, saying, that he would never go in procession. Then being commanded, by the bishop, to return again to the Catholic Church, he answered that he would turn to the Catholic Church, but not to the Romish Church; and said, that if he saw the king and queen and all others follow the cross or kneel down to the cross, he would not. For which, sentence of condemnation was given against him, to be burned. He manifested such constancy at his martyrdom, and had such credit with the justices, by reason of his upright and well-tried conversation among them that he was suffered to go untied to his suffering, and there being fastened with a chain, stood quietly, without shrinking, till he died.

Sir William Sautre, priest, was burned at the stake, in the year 1400, for holding and preaching the following "conclusions," viz.:

1st. That he will not worship the cross on which Christ suffered, but only Christ that suffered on the cross.
2d. That he would sooner worship a temporal king than a wooden cross.
3d. That he would rather worship the bodies of the saints than the very cross of Christ on which he hung, if it were before him.
4th. That he would rather worship a man truly contrite than the cross of Christ.

The following is an extract from the examination of Lord Cobham, in 1413, respecting the worship of images. Friar Palmer said, "Sir, will you worship the cross of Christ that he died upon?"
"Where is it?" said Lord Cobham.
"Suppose it were here," said the friar.
"This is indeed a wise man," said Lord Cobham, "to ask me such a question, when he knows not where the thing is! But what worship shall I do to it."
One of the clergy answered, "Such worship as Paul speaketh of, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord."
"This," said Lord Cobham, and spread his arms abroad, "this is a cross, and better than your cross of wood, as it is created of God, and not made by man; yet will I not seek to have it worshipped."
"Sir," said the bishop of London, "you know that Christ died upon a material cross."
"Yea," replied Lord Cobham, "and I know, also, that our salvation came not by the material cross, but by him alone that died thereon. And well I know that holy Saint Paul rejoiced in no other cross, but in Christ's death and suffering only; and his own suffering like, persecution with him, for the self-same truth that Christ had suffered for before."

The sequel to this examination is thus related: "His death was not long delayed; he was dragged upon a hurdle, with insult and barbarity, to St. Giles's Fields, and there hung alive in chains upon a gallows; and a fire being kindled beneath, he was burned slowly to death."

[32] Claudius Monerius, burned at Lyons, in 1551, to the question put to him by the judge, "Are not images to be had?" thus answered: "The nature of man is so prone to idolatry, ever occupied by those things which lie before his eyes, rather than those which are not seen; images, therefore, are not to be set before Christians. You know nothing is to be adored but that which is not seen with eyes, that is, God alone, who is a spirit, and him we must worship only in spirit and in truth."

Francis, Count Gamba, a Lombard of the Protestant persuasion, and a martyr of the sixteenth century. At the place of execution a monk presented a cross to him, to whom he said, "My mind is so full of the real merits and goodness of Christ, that I want not a piece of senseless stick to put me in mind of him." For this expression his tongue was bored through, after which be was burnt to death.

In like manner, Claude Hottinger, in 1523, one of the Swiss reformers, for assisting in the destruction of the crucifix of Stadelhofen, at Zurich, was condemned to be beheaded. A monk then presented a crucifix to his lips, but he put it away, saying: "It is in the heart that we must receive Jesus Christ." On reaching the place where he was to die, he raised his hands to heaven, exclaiming: "Into thy hands, O my Redeemer, I commit my spirit!" In another minute his head rolled upon the scaffold. History furnishes a countless number of examples of holy men thus dying for the truth.


No. 8. (Page 12.)

"Hot cross buns" are in England so intimately associated with our observance of Good Friday, that we do not attach to them higher antiquity. But the cross has been used as a sacred symbol from the earliest times of the ancient Egyptians, and the word bun is derived from the early Greeks. It was a sacred cake, marked with the cross, as depicted in Greek sculptures and paintings. Winkelman also relates the discovery of two perfect buns at Herculaneum; each was marked with a cross, within which were four other lines. Heyschius describes the boun as a kind of cake with a representation of two horns. It is mentioned in the same terms by Julius Pollux. Diogenes Laertius describes "a sacred libra" called a boun; and Cecrops is said to have first offered up this sweet bread made of flour and honey. Descending to the early Catholic times, we find that buns were the Eulogize, or consecrated loaves, made from the dough whence the Host itself was taken, and given by the priests to the people; they were marked with the cross as our Good Friday buns are. "Formerly, in England, the superstitious preserved Good Friday buns from year to year, from the belief of their efficacy in the cure of diseases."


No. 9. (Page 13.)

The suffering endured by a person subjected to the punishment of the cross is thus described: "The position of the body is unnatural, the arms being extended [32/33] back and almost immovable. In case of the least motion, an extremely painful sensation is experienced in the hands and feet, which are pierced with nails, and in the back, which is lacerated with stripes. The nails, being driven through the parts of the hands and feet which abound in nerves and tendons, create the most exquisite agony. The exposure of so many wounds to the open air brings on an inflammation, which every moment increases the poignancy of the suffering. The blood-vessels of the head become pressed and swollen, which of course causes pain and a redness of the face. The blood of the lungs is unable to obtain a free circulation. The general obstruction extends its effects to the heart, and the consequence is an internal excitement, and exertion, and anxiety, which are more intolerable than the anguish of death itself. All the large vessels about the heart, and all the veins and arteries in that part of the system, on account of the accumulation and pressure of blood, are the source of inexpressible misery. The degree of anguish is gradual in its increase; and the person crucified is able to live under it commonly till the third, and sometimes till the seventh day."--G. G. Richter.


No. 10. (Page 15.)

The following Epistle from Isidore of Pelusium, one of the most distinguished fathers of the church, who flourished in the early part of the fifth century, affords negative but conclusive proof that up to that time there were no images in Christian churches:


I wish Eusebius would learn, as he is set over the church at Pelusium, what a church really is. For it is most absurd, and of the worst consequence, that without this knowledge he should imagine himself qualified to be a bishop. Now, that a church is properly an assembly of holy men, having a sound faith, and the correctest moral discipline, is the view entertained of it by all wise men. From the want of well understanding this Eusebius, is doing what must tend to overturn the true church, and give scandal to many. He is busy, it is true, about the building of the temple, but at the same time he is despoiling it of its great ornament, by expelling from it zealous and serious men. No one is ignorant of the pains he takes to decorate the building with variegated marble; but if he well understood that the church is one thing and the structure of the church another; that the one is composed of holy and harmless spirits, while wood and stone are the materials of the other, I think he would desist from his hostility to the one, while he is bestowing superfluous ornament on the other. For it was not to contemplate walls, but living souls, that the King of Heaven visited us here below. But if he still declares himself ignorant of what I mean, though it be as clear as the light to all who are not in a state of most gross insensibility, I will try to make myself understood by examples. As the altar is one thing, and the sacrifice another; as the censer is one thing, and the incense another; as the council chamber is one thing, and the council another, the one signifying the place of assembling, the other the persons meeting for consultation, to whom are committed questions of public danger and safety, the same is the difference between the temple and the church. But if he professes not to understand even this, let him be told, for his better information, [33/34] that in the days of the apostles, when the church abounded in spiritual graces, and shone forth in all the lustre of its discipline, there were no Christian temples at all. But in our times, unnecessary ornaments are bestowed on our temples, while the church is mocked by neglect, to use no stronger terms. Now if the choice lay with me, I would certainly choose rather to live in times in which the temples were not thus expensively adorned, but the church was encircled with divine and heavenly graces, than in times when the fabrics themselves are adorned with all kinds of marble, and the church left naked and destitute of spiritual graces.


No. 11. (Page 18.)

Neither the rules of the church nor the law of the State countenance the assumption of supremacy or priority by one churchwarden over the other. In their official capacity the one is the equal of the other in every point of view. At vestry meetings, when there is no rector, and both churchwardens are present, it is enacted that one of them shall be called to the chair "by a majority of voices of those present," and without the observance of this form, no business can be legally transacted at such meetings. The reference to the "Senior Warden" in the office of Institution is not the only error or inconsistency which it contains.


No. 12. (Page 24.)

The Church of the Ascension, in the City of New-York, built under the inspection of its then Rector, the present Bishop of Massachusetts, and having for its present Rector the Rev. Dr. Bedell, has a large cross in the chancel window, directly over the communion-table, and is ornamented with grotesque carved images, intended to represent the heads of the apostles. St. George's Church, built under the superintendence of its Rector, the Rev. Dr. Tyng, is said to be ornamented inside and out with crosses, painted windows and other idolatrous paraphernalia.


No. 13. (Page 24.)

Bishop White bore frequent and emphatic testimony against the superstitious practices now so much in vogue. Bishop Hobart absolutely refused to consecrate a church in which a cross had been set up, till it was removed. Of Bishop Mead's sentiments it is enough to say that he has been lately the subject of denunciations in both Popish and Puseyite journals, for having, as they allege, "ordered the trefoil ends of the seats in the Theological Seminary's Chapel of his diocese to be cut off, because they resembled the cross."


THE following communication, addressed to the editors of the Protestant Churchman at its date, will serve as an introduction to the correspondence referred to at Page 7:


Not many months have elapsed since you congratulated yourselves and your readers on the decadency of Tractarian principles, as evidenced by the dissolution of the Ecclesiological Society. Your paeans, however, appear to have been chanted out of time, for it would seem as if the dissolution of that society had been rather the result of the accomplishment of the objects for which it was instituted, than of any want of success attending its efforts. For, look around, and what do you behold? Everywhere the introduction of altars and credence-tables, crosses, and emblems of the most obnoxious character, as objects of religious veneration, into the churches, as well those of so-called evangelical ministers, as those of the highest type of Puseyism.

I am entitled to speak feelingly on this subject, for I have been turned out of my own church by the action of my own clergyman in this behalf; and, with my family, virtually deprived of all opportunity of habitually and regularly attending public worship, as I shall proceed to show.

The French proverb says, "Dans les royaumes des aveugles les borgnes sont rois;" and on this principle it so happened that in the country village in which I reside, I found myself, a few years since, in the foremost rank, as it were, although elsewhere very little known, and where known of very small account. There was no Episcopal--in fact no Protestant--place of worship within ordinary walking distance at any season, or in any way accessible in winter; and at the request of some of my neighbors, urged literally, with tears in their [35/36] eyes, I undertook to do what I could to supply the deficiency, on the understanding that I could only be concerned in building up a church to be conducted on sound evangelical principles--"low church," if you please--which indeed they themselves all were forward to stipulate for. It is not necessary to enter here upon the details of what followed; suffice it to say, that in the first instance the whole moral and pecuniary responsibility rested on my shoulders. I provided and furnished a temporary place of worship and engaged a minister; and in due time, by the concurrence and assistance of others, a church edifice was built and a Vestry elected. The rest is explained in the annexed correspondence, which would never have taken place if I had known what I have only learned a day or two since, that the plan of the windows, crosses, emblems and all, were submitted to the Rector before being placed in the hands of the glass-stainer, and fully approved of by him. Alas! How changed!

I confess that I am at a loss what to do, or where to apply for relief. Occasional attendance at a place of worship is all that I can now accomplish, and this is so foreign to the habits of a long life, and to what I conceive to be due to my family, that I cannot quietly submit to such a state of things.

The Rector, I understand, expresses surprise that any one should take offence at such harmless things as crosses, pictures, representing Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, &c.! (the limner who designed the pictures has unaccountably omitted the portrait of the Father but still, admitting the futility of my objections, he could not help knowing that after what had passed on the occasion of the original establishment of the church, I could not continue to worship there a single day after these things were set up, without forfeiting whatever I possessed of self-respect and consistency of character. Three months ago I should have felt warranted in saying the same of him.

I might, possibly, without laying myself open to the charge of inconsistency, even attend public worship in another church where such things were exhibited, as being no affair of mine; but I could not in my own. To me an idol truly is nothing in the world, whether made of stone, or wood, or painted glass; but when such things are set up in my own church, in direct violation of solemn pledges on the part of myself and others, including the Rector himself, and with the conscience that they are idols, and as such presented and assumed to be objects of veneration--to what extent matters not--I cannot pretend ignorance of the fact.

[37] In my next communication I will endeavor to explain to my very amiable but self-deluded friend the Rector, the grounds of my opposition to idol worship in any form, even when yet, as in his case, not fully developed.

I remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant,
G.W. January 10, 1856.


November 12th, 1855.

Dear Sir,

Without deeming it necessary to recapitulate here all the particular circumstances under which you accepted my invitation, assented to and confirmed by the subsequently elected Vestry, to officiate at New-Brighton, I must beg to remind you, that there was a perfect understanding on both sides, that your ministrations were to be conducted on evangelical principles, and that you were, in an especial manner, pledged to resist all the innovations and practices by the introduction of which the Tractarian or Romanist party had so much disturbed the peace of the church. In particular, there was a positive agreement, to which you were a party that no crosses or other emblems should be allowed either inside or outside of the new church which it was in contemplation to erect. So fully was the binding obligation of this agreement recognised, that when it was discovered that, by some inadvertence, an ornament somewhat in the form of a cross had been elevated on the top of the porch, and something of a similar appearance inserted in the window behind the chancel, they were immediately removed and other ornaments substituted in their place. Now, I wish further to remind you, that these crosses were not removed at my request; for their appearance was so fanciful that I entertained and expressed doubts whether they were intended for crosses at all; but this fact being asserted and admitted by other parties, their removal followed as a matter of course, consequent upon the agreement above referred to.

I must therefore believe, that the flashy, flaring, vulgar windows, with their blasphemously absurd emblems and pictures, which have been recently set up in the transept, have been placed there without your previous knowledge or approbation; and that, consequently, it must be your wish to have them immediately removed. To enable you to carry [37/38] into effect this laudable desire, and to prevent any cavilling on the score of expense on the part of the Vestry, I authorize you to have the objectionable emblems and pictures removed, or even to have the whole of the windows replaced by others more in keeping with the modest appearance and pretensions of our little church, at my sole individual expense.

Believe me, dear sir,
Yours, very truly and respectfully,


Monday, 17th November 1855.

Dear Sir,

I received your note of Monday last on Wednesday evening, on my return to the Island, after an absence. I have deferred a reply till I could have time to consider what is my duty in the case.

I write now to say, that I shall submit the matter to the Vestry without delay, as I am advised that they only have control in it.

I regret exceedingly the tone of your communication. Had it been a temperate statement of your views and wishes, I am certain that it would have received from the Vestry a ready and considerate attention. Indeed, I think I am warranted in the opinion, that at this very time there was a kindly disposition towards yourself prevailing in the Vestry, which would have secured for it peculiarly considerate attention. But it can hardly be expected that I shall be able to induce men to listen with patience to objections and propositions when so presented.

I am your friend,


New-Brighton, 20th November, 1855.

Dear Sir,

From the tenor of your note of yesterday, it would appear that you have not done me the honor to read throughout my communication to you of the 12th inst. At all events, your [38/39] singular misapprehension of its purport can scarcely be accounted for on any other supposition.

In that communication I referred to the circumstances under which you accepted the call to New-Brighton, and also to other subsequent occurrences, as affording evidence that the painted windows recently set up in the transept of your church must have been placed there without your previous knowledge or approbation, and that the emblems and pictures which they contained must be exceedingly offensive to your feelings. Therefore, on your account alone, and without the slightest reference to my own views or wishes on the subject, I authorized you to have the windows removed at my individual expense.

It was unnecessary for me to apply to you to take any steps in the matter on my behalf. Our vacant pews will doubtless have suggested to you that we have availed ourselves of a more direct and simple, though distressing expedient, than that of an application to the Vestry, to relieve ourselves from the imputation of worshipping in a temple of idols.

If you will have the condescension again to examine my note, you will find that it conveys to you no authority to apply to the Vestry, or to take any other steps, with reference to the objectionable representations in question, as for me, or on my behalf. It seems that I have been mistaken in supposing that the introduction of these things into your church must be offensive to your feelings, however much at variance with your former professions and principles; and I can only therefore regret, and humbly apologize for the offence which I have unintentionally given by my well-meant offer to furnish the necessary funds for your benefit.

Believe me, dear sir, with great respect,
Yours, very faithfully,

Here Mr. Wotherspoon supposed the affair would rest, but notwithstanding the disclaimer in this last letter, Mr. Irving at once submitted the correspondence to the Vestry with, as is understood, an expression of his opinion that no alteration should be made in the windows unless the letters were formally withdrawn. Several propositions to this effect were made to Mr. Wotherspoon by members of the congregation, and even by some of the Vestry, all of which he declined to [39/40] entertain, for reasons stated at the time.

[*Extract from a letter addressed by Mr. Wotherspoon to a member of the Vestry.--"It does seem to me to be a remarkable thing that Mr. Irving should have felt justified in laying before the Vestry, as from your remarks I understand he has done, a private, confidential communication, after he had been expressly informed, in reply to a note from himself on this very point, that he was not to consider himself at liberty to make any such use of it, or to make any application whatever to the Vestry for me, in my name, or as in my behalf, touching the matter of which it treats.

"Out of my own family I have never made any remark to any one on the subject of the windows excepting in reply to observations volunteered by other parties. I have made no complaint, no remonstrance against them to Mr. Irving, or to any one else connected with the church; nor have I ever entertained the insane idea that any application from me for the removal of the obnoxious emblems, even if backed by the wishes of the whole congregation, and the minister to boot, would meet with acceptance from the Vestry under its present leadership. No one can doubt my anxious desire that the windows should be changed; and I understand that nearly the whole congregation, and, with one exception, all the members even of the Vestry, are of the same mind. This being so, and being well known to the Vestry to be so, as I am assured is the case, how presumptuous it would have been deemed in me to make, or allow to be made, any application on this behalf for myself individually, as if no one else were entitled to be considered in the matter. Of course, if I could have supposed that their removal would have been consented to as a concession to myself individually, no personal feeling would have prevented my making a direct application for that purpose to the Vestry."]

Subsequently a mutual friend assured Mr. Wotherspoon that if he would simply repeat in writing what he had already said verbally, that the emblems and devices were the sole cause of his withdrawing, with his family, from the church, he was authorized by members of the Vestry to say that the windows would be immediately removed. The result will be gathered from the following correspondence:

New-Brighton, May 9th, 1856.

Dear Sir,

I am directed to communicate to you the following extract from the minutes of Christ Church Vestry, at a meeting held on the evening of the 7th inst.

The Rector having communicated the following letter, addressed to him by Mr. Wotherspoon:

Dear Sir,
At the suggestion of a mutual friend, a member of the church but not of the Vestry, I beg to say to you, and through [40/41] you to the Vestry, that I entertain conscientious objections to the introduction of the emblems and pictures in the transept windows, and that this is the cause of the absence of myself and family from the church services.

Yours, very respectfully,
New-Brighton, 31st March, 1856.
Rev. P. P. IRVING.

It was, on due motion, unanimously

Resolved, That whereas Mr. Wotherspoon addressed to the Rector two other letters, bearing upon the same subject, which letters, having been laid before the Vestry, were deemed by that body objectionable and offensive, Mr. Wotherspoon be invited to recall the same.

Resolved, That on such withdrawal, by Mr. Wotherspoon, Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Robinson be appointed a committee, with power to effect such alterations as, in their judgment, should satisfy the conscientious scruples which Mr. Wotherspoon entertains.

Very respectfully yours,
Clerk of Christ Church Vestry.



Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your note of this date, and although under other circumstances I might demur to the right of the Vestry to take cognizance of any letters which it may suit me to address to Mr. Irving or to any one else, I am not disposed, in the present instance, to allow a point of etiquette to overrule a point of principle. I am not very sure whether I rightly understand it to be the intention of the Vestry that the pictures and emblems shall be entirely removed from the transept windows, on the withdrawal of the letters referred to, the resolutions not being very clear or explicit on this point; but if I am right in giving this construction to them, I have only, then, further to say that you may consider the letters as withdrawn.

Yours, very faithfully,
New-Brighton, 9th May, 1856.


Dear Sir,

Your note to Mr. Kunhardt was handed to me at a very late hour last night, and I read it very hurriedly, and this morning handed it to Mr. Routh, who has just returned it to me.

Upon reading it again, it occurs to me that I ought to say to you, that I do not understand the resolutions which have been communicated to you as declaring, "that the pictures and emblems shall be entirely removed from the transept windows, on the withdrawal of the letters referred to."

The resolution by which Mr. Pendleton and myself were empowered to act, in the event of the withdrawal of the letters, only authorizes us to make such alterations as should satisfy your conscientious scruples.

I present this, because your withdrawal of the letters seems to depend upon a construction of the resolutions of which I do not think they admit.

I am, with much respect, &c., &c.,
May 10th, 1856.



"I will tell you frankly, what I told Mr. Pendleton, when we were discussing our probable course, in case we should become authorized to act. Sir, said I, if Mr. Wotherspoon declares honestly that each and every of these ornaments is conscientiously offensive to him, I shall believe him, and shall vote for their removal. But I must with equal frankness add to you, that if I knew that such removal involved the alienation of Mr. Pendleton, whose claims I consider paramount, I should not feel justified in sacrificing that gentleman."
May 17th, 1856.

"The Vestry appointed a committee, with authority to make such alterations in the windows as should satisfy your conscientious scruples, and as could be made with a due regard to the feelings and opinions of others.

"The proceedings of the Vestry are not exclusively based upon, and did not have reference to the terms of your communication of the 30th March. The terms were not considered. [42/43] The simple fact of your having made a communication about the windows was the ground of their action.

"The Vestry do not appoint a committee with express reference to the terms of said communication, to effect alterations, &c., nor is it made a condition of the alterations, that your letters to Mr. Irving should be withdrawn, but this is made a condition of any consideration of your application and, lastly,

"It in no case becomes imperative upon, but only discretionary with, the committee to make such alterations."
21st May, 1856.


Mr. WOTHERSPOON to Mr. KUNHARDT, Clerk of the Vestry.
New-Brighton, 7th June, 1856.

Dear Sir,

I deem it incumbent on me to acquaint you for the information of the Vestry, that I have received from Mr. Robinson, on behalf of the committee of which he is a member, three several letters which he has addressed to me with reference to my note to you of the 9th ult., apparently for the purpose of communicating to me the reasons for the decision which the committee have adopted, and which, as I understand it, is this: That they will not in any event, or under any circumstances, consent to any alterations in the transept windows.

Mr. Robinson, it is true, in the first instance, takes exception to the terms in which my withdrawal of certain letters to Mr. Irving was expressed, as being conditional, and therefore inoperative, and advances this as a reason for the non-fulfilment by the committee of the duty so clearly imposed upon them by the resolutions of the Vestry: but he afterwards abandons this ground, or at any rate nullifies it, by the arguments upon which he ultimately rests as justifying the action, or rather the non-action of the committee, and likewise by his admission that my "conscientious scruples," as placed on record in the minutes of the proceedings of the Vestry, in his judgment cannot and ought not to be satisfied with any thing short of the entire removal of all the pictures and emblems; and that in my position, he himself would not and could not be satisfied with less.

There is an apparent inconsistency--which is adverted to in my note to you of the 9th May--between the preamble and the last resolution of the Vestry; for, whereas the former recites and admits my conscientious objections to all the emblems and pictures, [43/44] the latter refers and submits the extent of the alterations which should satisfy my conscience to the judgment of the committee. This inconsistency, however, is relieved by the admission already referred to, that in the judgment of the committee, nothing short of the entire removal of the emblems and pictures "should satisfy the conscientious scruples of Mr. Wotherspoon."

The case as between the Vestry and the committee may be thus summed up: On the one hand, the committee, on the withdrawal of certain letters by Mr. Wotherspoon, (which withdrawal you have been already, and again are now hereby authorized to make,) are directed, unconditionally, "to effect" certain alterations, which alterations the committee admit must, in their judgment, necessarily embrace the removal of all the emblems and pictures; whilst, on the other hand, Mr. Robinson, for the committee, alleges, that they are not bound by the plain language of the resolutions, inasmuch as he knows that it was the intention of the Vestry that it should be left entirely at the discretion of the committee whether any alterations whatever should be made; and that they are therefore in the sound exercise of that discretion in deciding to effect no alterations whatever, even assuming the absolute and unconditional withdrawal of the letters to Mr. Irving.

The course of the committee in addressing me at all in relation to these matters is, I think, irregular and unusual. The decision of the committee, and the grounds on which it is based, are properly matters to be submitted to the consideration of the Vestry, but they are matters in regard to which I have no right to interfere. I am not, I have not been, and I do not intend to be an applicant to the Vestry for any change or alteration whatever in the transept windows. No proposition to this effect has been submitted or authorized by me, and no intimation has ever been given by or for me that I was open to any negotiation on the subject, or that I expected or wished the Vestry to take any steps whatever on my account or for my satisfaction. I therefore so much the more appreciate the kind intentions which prompted the unsolicited effort to meet the views which might not unnaturally be supposed to be implied by the terms of my communication to them of the 31st March.

Believe me, dear Sir,
Yours, very faithfully,

New-Brighton-, June 10, 1856.

Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 7th inst., which I shall lay before the Vestry of Christ Church at their next meeting.

With much regard,
Dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Clerk of C. C. Vestry.

No further action has been had in the premises, but Mr. Wotherspoon has been informed that the Vestry allege, in reply to remonstrances from some of the congregation against the continued exclusion of his family from the church, that they have been always willing to remove the windows, and that if Mr. Wotherspoon had really wished to return to the church he could have had the windows changed long ago!!!

The whole of the correspondence has been submitted to the gentleman at whose instance the note of the 31st March, 1856, incorporated in the resolutions of the Vestry, was written. He admits that the terms are precisely as dictated by him; and he re-affirms his statement that he was fully warranted in assuring Mr. Wotherspoon that the transmission of that note, "pur et simple," would be deemed quite satisfactory to the Vestry, and would lead to the Immediate removal of the windows, without any further communication to or from Mr. Wotherspoon.

For the private ear of the Editors of the Protestant Churchman.

In acknowledging the communication to the Protestant Churchman, (see Appendix, page 35, ante,) the editors expressed their willingness to publish it, provided the name of the author were furnished as a guarantee for the statement of facts. This was immediately done, but whether the name did not meet the implied condition of responsibility, or whether influenced by the fact that their own churches were contaminated by the abominations referred to, certain it is that they eventually declined to insert it; substituting in its place a homily, in the shape of a lengthy editorial article, deprecating and denouncing the publication by laymen in newspapers, pamphlets, &c., of any difficulties or disputes between clergymen and themselves; claiming, in short, perfect immunity for the cloth, in all controversies where a clergyman is on one side and a layman on the other, without reference to the merits of the case. From the tenor of some of the arguments one would be led to suppose, that when a man assumes the sacred office he necessarily divests himself of all manly attributes, and becomes assimilated with, and entitled to, the privileges and immunities of the weaker sex; and yet, if the truth be told, it must be acknowledged that in their contests with laymen, clergymen wield swords, which, although perchance, (as says St. Jerome,) "smeared with honey," are, nevertheless, double-edged and trenchant. It is equally certain that in nine out of ten of such cases clergymen are the assailants, although prompt enough to encase themselves in the panoply of their "sacred character" if their attacks be repelled with a proper spirit.

With many of the views expressed in the article referred to, every right-minded man will agree; but there are some which appear to be erroneous, and, indeed, indefensible. The following extract could only have been penned under the influence of some unaccountable hallucination: "Let the church and the laity remember that this reputation of the ministry is in their hands, and a treasure of exceeding delicacy as well as worth. Let them remember that the minister of Christ has no common protection against injuries and slanders. He cannot fight, or flog, or shoot his adversaries, however bitter they may be. And there is, therefore, a [46/47] miserable cowardice in assaults upon the character of a man who is known to be tied and restrained from all ability at common self-vindication." This would seem to imply that, in the opinion of the Rev. Editors of the Protestant Churchman, a course of conduct may be lawful for a Christian layman which it would be unlawful for a Christian minister to pursue; but no such doctrine is found in the Bible. According to the doctrine of Christ, it is no more lawful for a layman than for a minister to fight, flog or shoot his adversaries, or to do any act whatever to avenge himself for injuries committed against him; and it therefore follows that the above extract is a mere lapse of the pen, which will be, doubtless, corrected in due season.

The ripe experience of the Rev. Editors must have taught them that the maxim, "To spare evil-doers is to punish the good"--(Bonis nocet, guisquis perpercerit malis)--may sometimes apply in the case of a clergyman as well as in that of a layman; and that on the ground of high principle alone it may become the duty of either clergyman or layman to expose error and to denounce wrong. Let the layman, however, well consider before he engages in a contest with a clergyman, what it is which he is about to undertake. His cause may be that of divine truth and justice; it may be the cause of the weak against the strong; of the poor against the rich; his motives may be pure and disinterested as heaven itself; transparent as the noon-tide sun; but let him understand that unless he is inwardly fortified by an entire reliance on the divine promise, that to the advocate of truth against error, words and wisdom shall be vouchsafed to enable him to overcome all his adversaries, he had better at once yield the point, as, otherwise, resting solely on his own power of endurance, and on the justice of his cause, he will inevitably be run down at last; and he may find too late that the proverb quoted by John Russ: "If you have offended a clerk, kill him, else you never will have peace with him," (Si offenderis clericum, interfice eum; alias nunquam habebis pacem cum illo,) is not less applicable now than it was in the olden time.

The, disadvantages under which the layman labors who ventures upon a contest with a clergyman are so obvious and manifold, that no one will undertake so ungracious a task, excepting as a matter of conscience, or imperative necessity. For injury or injustice, for the grossest calumnies, for the vindictive deprivation of religious ordinances, the layman, as against the clergyman, by the laws of the church, can have no redress through the ecclesiastical authority; complaints by an individual layman being expressly declared to be inadmissible. If defamatory articles are published against him, [47/48] he will find himself excluded from the privilege of reply in the church journals, by the "esprit du corps," so frankly admitted by the Rev. Editors of the Protestant Churchman; and in the secular prints, because "the subject is not suited for our columns;" although, out of deference to the clerical character, they may have given a place to the original attack; if he retorts by a pamphlet, then he will be taunted with "miserable cowardice" for attacking a man who is tied down from all ability at common self-vindication.

That this is no imaginary picture, too many know to their cost--the author of these pages amongst the number. Some eight years ago he contributed a certain sum of money towards the building of the New-Brighton Church on the express condition that one-fourth of the pews should be reserved as free seats for ever. The fact of this contract having been entered into, and its conditions, have never been the subject of dispute; and yet no sooner did the Rector and Vestry obtain possession of the title-deeds, than they proceeded to disfranchise the free pews, by renting them and offering them for sale. They were repeatedly notified that legal measures would be instituted against them if they persisted in this course, but without effect; and to give a color to their proceedings, a release from the grantors of the land was obtained through the urgent representations and personal influence of the Rector. The result to the church, after a vexatious and protracted lawsuit, was a perpetual injunction restraining and prohibiting the Vestry from using the free pews, excepting as provided for in the original agreement. To the author of this communication, the plaintiff in the case, the result has been for a period of years a series of attacks and petty annoyances on the part of the Rector and Vestry. He has been the subject of defamatory resolutions by the Vestry, published in both secular and religious journals, and again in a pamphlet issued under their patronage and sanction, in the name of the senior warden, known to them to be his bitter personal enemy, and with whom he has declined all personal and social intercourse for many years past--a pamphlet remarkable only for the entire untruthfulness, the ludicrous absurdity, and the self-contradiction of its statements. The author has further been represented by both Rector and Vestrymen as a litigious, obstinate person, actuated solely by a feeling of hostility to clergymen in general, and not in any way, as he pretends, governed by principle. His character has been put upon record, UNDER THE HAND OF THE RECTOR and the seal of the church, as a man DEVOID OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRITY AND TRUTH; and finally, as will be readily understood by those [48/49] who know how, in a small community, the influence of the social relations of the family and connections of the only clergyman belonging to it can be made available to render a residence there undesirable and uncomfortable to an obnoxious member of his church, it is no longer a question that if he and his aged partner wish to spend their, at best, few remaining years in peace, and in the enjoyment of their accustomed religious privileges, they must abandon their own and their children's home, and seek a refuge where the "odium theologicum" cannot reach them.

It is respectfully submitted to the Reverend Editors of the Protestant Churchman, to decide whether, under the circumstances of the case as stated, the publication of this present pamphlet is or is not "a miserable cowardice," and whether or not it is lawful or allowable for a man who is already counted amongst the "oldest inhabitants" of the place where he resides, and with his children and grandchildren settled and growing up around him--whether it is lawful for such a man, so situated, to take any measures whatever for the protection of his character when so assailed, as has been set forth; and to assist the editors in arriving at a just conclusion, the following documents are respectfully tendered for their consideration:

Mr. ROUTH, Churchwarden, to Mr. WOTHERSPOON.
New-York, 6th April, 1855.

Dear Sir,

I am exceedingly sorry that you should have thought it necessary to send me your pamphlet, though still more so that it ever saw the light. I feel called on to enter a solemn protest against the contents, particularly the injustice towards Mr. Irving.



New-Brighton, 7th April, 1855.

Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your note of yesterday.

My pamphlet is based upon an avowed rupture with the Vestry; I could not therefore hope that it would be favored with the approbation of any of the members of that body, [49/50] and if distributed at all, I do not see how I could, with propriety, omit sending a copy to each of them.

From the apparently concerted action of yourself and the other connections of the Rector and Vestry, I am led to the conclusion that a new issue is to be substituted for the question of the free pews, viz., "injustice to Mr. Irving." I do not, however, believe that either you or any one else has, or can obtain Mr. Irving's authority to enter upon the discussion of his personal relations with me; and, least of all, that you can procure his consent to charge me with a disregard for his feelings, or a neglect or omission to do every thing in my power to contribute to his personal comfort during the six years that he has been on the Island.

My pamphlet, as I most conscientiously and firmly believe, does not contain a single sentence which is not in strict accordance with the truth. If in any thing it can be shown to be otherwise, I will thankfully and humbly acknowledge the fault, and make needful reparation for it. If, however, the case be as I state, then you solemnly protest against the truth; and you must excuse me, if I add that it is rather too much, after I have been driven to the wall by the proceedings of Mr. Irving for the last four years, and when forced to turn round in self-defence, I say it is rather too much to be met by the cry of injustice to him. You yourself were present on one occasion, and can judge of the cruel wound then inflicted--cruel only with reference to the circumstances which preceded, and the hand which struck the blow. That wound is not yet healed up; it has been followed by others still more cruel and unkind.

There is undoubtedly a question between Mr. Irving and myself as to injustice and injured feelings. God forbid that my worst enemy should suffer the anguish which his proceedings have inflicted upon myself and those near and dear to me! Unless forced, however, into the discussion of that question by Mr. Irving himself; I intend to leave it where it now is, with the HIGH ARBITER, who shall judge between him and me.

It has not been without great pain that I have felt myself compelled to brave the disapprobation of yourself and other friends with whom it must always be my desire to cultivate friendly relations; the pain has been greatly increased by the manner in which this disapprobation has been manifested by some of my immediate neighbors, already referred to in connection with yourself.

[51] I am willing to sacrifice much for peace, anything in fact short of self-respect; and would even now gladly avail thyself of any opening which might be found for an amicable settlement of all difficulties and the restoration of friendly intercourse. Two incurable diseases--threescore years, and an affection of the heart--premonish me "as much as lieth in me, to live peaceably with all men;" but I cannot consent to cultivate peace by the sacrifice of principle.

Believe me, dear sir, with great regard,
Yours, very faithfully,


Rev. PIERRE P. IRVING to Mr. ROUTH. Extract.
"Tuesday, 10th April, 1855.

"My dear Friend,

"Mr. Robinson showed me last evening Mr. Wotherspoon's letter to you, dated 7th inst. It is absolutely impossible for me to express the feelings of wonder and grief with which its perusal has filled me. Indeed, my first emotions were such that I could but pace the room in perfect bewilderment and incredulity. That Mr. Wotherspoon had been dissatisfied with my course I knew, and deeply regretted; but that he should have continued for years so constant an attendant upon my ministry, and have received so often the Holy Communion at my hands, and have manifested so much desire to promote my temporal comfort, and yet all the while have harbored such suspicions--have deemed me so unworthy a member of the sacred profession--I confess is almost beyond belief. Were it not under his own hand I could not credit it; and my grief is quite equal to the wonder. For, before God, I can say, my dear friend, that notwithstanding all that has occurred, my feelings towards him are those of yearning regard, and towards his family of the most affectionate character. I lament their misapprehensions of my feelings as a great and sore evil. Mr. Wotherspoon is perfectly right in saying that my consent can never be obtained to a charge against him of a neglect to contribute to my personal comfort, for on all sides witnesses would rise up to my frequent expression of what had been done for me and mine by him and his family, and I have no other testimony to bear now."

Three days after the date of the letter from which the above extract is taken, and in admirable consistency with its tenor, [51/52] the Vestry passed and published, in the manner already described, the following, amongst other kindred resolutions:

"Resolved, That the whole course of the Rector, in reference to the annoyance and persecution to which this church has been subjected (i. e., by Mr. Wotherspoon) for the last two years, has been such as to command our unqualified approval."

These defamatory resolutions were communicated to Mr. Wotherspoon by one of the churchwardens, with an implied threat that they would be published unless he made some "conciliatory overtures," with a view to prevent this result. "Conciliatory overtures" were subsequently explained by the Rector to mean "retractation"--of the truth of course, as he expressly admitted that Mr. Wotherspoon was actuated by conscientious motives throughout.


New-Brighton, 12th May, 1855.

Dear Sir,

I beg very respectfully to solicit your attention to a matter which appears to me to be entitled to your serious consideration.

In your letter of the 10th April, to Mr. Routh, you allege that you had been deterred from communicating with me in regard to some unexplained circumstances, by "a dread of being drawn into a personal controversy, as other clergymen had been;" and in a pamphlet just published with your sanction, the same view is more fully expressed; for, after stating that it is generally understood that I had quarrelled with the Episcopal churches, or their ministers, on each side of me, and had therefore left them, it is added in a note:

"It is a significant fact that with four out of five Episcopal clergymen, who are now, or have been lately, living on Staten Island, Mr. Wotherspoon has opened an uncomfortable correspondence. [* During the period of time indicated in the above extract, upwards of twenty Episcopal clergymen were "then, or had been lately, living on Staten Island."--G. W.]

It is unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the gravity of [52/53] charges like these preferred by a Minister of the Gospel against one of his parishioners; and although it is, I admit, rather a bold undertaking to engage to prove the negative of charges couched in such general terms, I believe that it is in my power to do so, and to convince you that you have made them under mistaken impressions as to the facts.

(1.) I have never in my life had a quarrel or controversy with any clergyman whose parishioner I was. Even with regard to the Rev. Dr. Winslow, I had ceased for upwards of a year to belong to his congregation before the Belmont House Church was organized; and so far from having any quarrel or controversy with him, our social intercourse was kept up, and our personal relations maintained on the most friendly footing during the whole interval. But, independently of this, I do not think your remarks can have reference to his case, for the following reasons:

When Dr. Winslow interfered to prevent the services at the Belmont House, I instantly dropped my individual undertaking, and never afterwards resumed it. The sole question was one of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, between Dr. Winslow and the Rector of St. Andrew's, and, as such, was taken up by the latter. At the same time, however, that Dr. Winslow notified you in person, under the threat of ecclesiastical proceedings, to desist from officiating at New-Brighton, he addressed a letter to me, suggesting arrangements as to the "temporalities"--to which I replied, declining to be the medium of communication between him and "others interested for a Church at New-Brighton" and naturally complaining of his proceedings in interfering to prevent the preaching of the Gospel to a large congregation, not one member of which was in any way connected with his church. The contest, or controversy, or whatever other name it may be called by, was, as I have stated, taken up by Dr. Moore, you yourself being afterwards a party concerned; and the terms in which you expressed yourself, both verbally and in writing, to Dr. Winslow, far exceeded in intensity of reprehension any thing which had fallen from me. I therefore repeat, that I think you cannot have intended to adduce this case as evidence of a quarrelsome disposition on my part towards clergymen in general.

(2.) I was induced to join the Elliottville Church, in part under a pledge from the Rector, as to afternoon services, which he refused to redeem. His decision appeared to me so incredible that I did not feel satisfied with the verbal notification of it through one of the trustees; and I therefore addressed [53/54] a note to him, which led to some further correspondence on both sides, which I inclose for your satisfaction, and in which I think it will be hard to find any evidence of unfriendly feeling on either part. How this matter should have come to your knowledge it is difficult to imagine; for I have never supposed that Mr. Bartow or his friends would look upon it as redounding to his credit, or likely to add to his usefulness; and I have no recollection of ever having shown it excepting to Mr. Comstock, on his demand that I should either let him see it, or accede to a stipulation that Mr. Bartow should be the minister of our new church; and also to one other party, not a resident of the Island, at his own earnest request, in the hope of inducing me to return to Mr. Bartow's church, which idea he at once abandoned, exonerating me from all blame--a conclusion in which I am inclined to hope you yourself will concur.

(3.) The third case is one which, even at this remote period, I cannot recall to mind without very painful emotions. My sister-in-law, Mrs. M., (the mother of the boys whom you have seen at my house, and of their sister, who lives with us,) to whom we were all most tenderly attached, was in her last illness, when one afternoon my wife and myself called to see her. We found her in a state of great mental and bodily excitement, from which it required all our soothing cares to restore her, occasioned by a visit from the Rev. Edward N. Mead, then Rector of St. Clement's Church, from which I had quietly and unobtrusively removed to St. Bartholomew's some time before. The letter which I addressed to the Rev. gentleman on that occasion speaks for itself. If you think it deserving of blame, so be it; but I confess I have ever since retained an invincible repugnance to remain in any church of which he may happen to be the officiating minister.

I solemnly repeat the assurance, that excepting as is stated above, I have never had a difficulty of any kind with any clergyman in the whole course of my life. Beyond this I have no remark or suggestion to offer.

Believe me, dear sir, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
The Rev. P. P. IRVING.

The inclosures referred to in the above letter were returned unread, in fact unopened, as will appear from the following extracts:

[55] The Rev. Mr. IRVING to Mr. WOTIIERSPOON. Extract.
Monday, May 21st,

"Dear Sir:

"On reaching the Missionary Rooms on Friday, at noon, I found on my table your communication of the 12th inst., with its inclosures. It had been left by Boyd's post on the preceding day, during my absence. My duties have prevented my replying until now.

"The only responsibility I have connected with the answer to your publication, attaches to the note in the Appendix, which appears under my name or rather title.

"As to the paragraph in my letter to Mr. Routh of 10th April, I was afterwards sorry that I had made the remark, lest it might lessen my prospect of obtaining a friendly and dispassionate hearing from you. Still it was an exact description of what had been for a long time my frame of mind with respect to this difficulty between yourself and the Vestry, a dread of being drawn into a personal controversy, as other clergymen had been. The other clergymen in my thoughts were those to whom you refer; when, however, I adverted to these circumstances, I did not refer to you as a parishioner of these clergymen, nor did I design to make any charge, since the cases were quite as familiar to others [* The italics in this sentence are Mr. Irving's. How "cases" which never had any existence could be "familiar" either to the Rector or to others, must be left for him to explain.] as they were to myself. To account for my not having sought personal conference with you, I simply mentioned as one of the reasons, viz., an apprehension that this might only involve me in a personal and unpleasant discussion.

"Upon consideration it appears to me that it is neither necessary nor wise for me to open the parcel of letters which you have sent me. Justice to you does not, I think, require it. Admitting that the perusal of them might prove that on certain occasions these clergymen had fallen short of discharging their duty, it would but prove that they are frail and fallible men, just as I feel myself to be, and as I have found all others to be with whom I have come in contact.

"Further, I do not think it would be wise in me to examine these papers. It would very probably involve me in other difficulties; and besides, I have neither the time nor the health to pursue any such inquiry.

[56] "I Must, therefore, respectfully return the letters without having read them. For the same reason I feel it to be all-important for me to avoid any further correspondence in relation to this controversy."

The following extract affords a fair specimen of the feeling which pervaded the correspondence with the Rev. Mr. Bartow:

The Rev. Mr. BARTOW to Mr. WOTHERSPOON. Extract.
"Elliotville, Dec. 22d, 1848.

"My dear Sir:

"It is peculiarly gratifying to me to observe in your letter just received another evidence of your friendly interest in the success of our little church in this place. Any course of measures for an infant parish which aims at its independence over other parishes, puts its pulpit where it of right belongs, under the control of its pastor, and gives its members the full benefit of the services in their integrity, is right in principle, and must be agreeable to that pastor who has the true interests of the church at heart.

The spirit of mutual concession and mutual forbearance, in which at first the Committee was formed, (of which I am told you are not a member by your own declinature, hereafter, I sincerely trust, to be remedied,) is the only spirit which can cherish and preserve it."

It will be seen, from the above letter and from that which follows, that the only two "cases" upon which Mr. Irving's charge is founded occurred, the one eleven years, and the other seven years, prior to the date of his letter. His knowledge of the "case" of the Rev. Mr. Mead was doubtless derived from that worthy gentleman himself during his residence at New-Brighton in 1854-5.


26 Amity Place,
Friday, 23d Feb
. 1844.

Dear Sir,

I have learned, with very sincere regret, that in the interview which you had yesterday with my sister-in-law, Mrs. M., [56/57] you allowed yourself to say that you were not surprised at my leaving your church, as you had always considered me a Presbyterian, and, likewise, because you were aware that I did not approve of many of the forms of the church.

For upwards of thirty years I have been a constant attendant on the worship of the Church of England and of the United States. For nearly twenty years of this period, as you yourself know, I have been a regular communicant of the Episcopal Church in this city; and during the last ten years, as is equally within your own personal knowledge, I have been a communicant of the church of which you are now the Rector. In that church my children have been baptized and brought up, and in that church you yourself have presented them to the bishop in the rite of confirmation. With your late respected predecessor, Dr. Bayard, I was on terms of cordial and affectionate intercourse, and on more than one occasion was I solicited by him to become a member of his Vestry. On what ground, then, can you justify such a frivolous charge against me, as my reason for leaving your church? Are the "forms of the church" different in St. Bartholomew's from what they are at St. Clement's? Or is the Rector of St. Bartholomew's a Presbyterian?

I delayed leaving St. Clement's, long after I had arrived at the conviction that it was my duty to take that step. I then gave notice, six months beforehand, of my intention to give up my pew, for the express purpose of enabling you to require my reasons for leaving your church. Had you thought proper to do so, I beg to assure you that you would not have been left in doubt respecting them. And I may be permitted to express the opinion, that it would have been quite as appropriate and becoming to have done so, as to make the dissatisfaction or misconduct of your congregation, and especially of those so nearly connected with her, the subject of discussion, with a person whose frame of body and mind rather required the soothing balm of religious consolation, than to be agitated by the reprehension of theological errors.

Believe me, dear sir,
Yours, very faithfully,


(My attention was recently, by a newspaper paragraph, directed to the preaching against idolatry, contained in the Book of Homilies of the Church of England. These homilies were set forth and appointed to be read in churches, by the Ecclesiastical authority in England, upwards of three hundred years ago. They were subsequently recognised and confirmed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, and they have been in like manner adopted and acknowledged in the Articles of Religion of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, as truly setting forth the faith and doctrine of that church. It has afforded me inexpressible satisfaction to find that my imperfect views, derived from the simple reading of Holy Scripture, are identical with those expressed by the pious and learned authors of the English Reformation. The following disconnected extracts, long as they are, will amply repay perusal, although, to feel the full force of the doctrine which they inculcate, they should be read in connection with what precedes and follows in the original text: G. W.)

Contrary to the most manifest doctrine of the Scriptures, and contrary to the usage of the primitive church, which was most pure and uncorrupt, and contrary to the sentences and judgments of the most ancient, learned and godly doctors of the church, the corruption of these latter days hath brought into the church infinite multitudes of images, and the same decked with gold and silver, painted with colors, set them with stone and pearl, clothed them with silks and precious vestures, fancying untruly that to be the chief decking and adorning of the temple or house of God, and that all people should be more moved to the due reverence of the same, if [58/59] all corners thereof were glorious and glistening with gold and precious stones. Whereas, indeed, they, by the said images and such glorious decking of the temple, have nothing at all profited such as were wise and of understanding, but have hereby greatly hurt the simple and unwise, occasioning them thereby to commit most horrible idolatry. And covetous persons, by the same occasion, seeming to worship, and peradventure worshipping indeed, not only the images but also the matter of them, gold and silver, as that vice is of all others, in the Scriptures, peculiarly called idolatry or worshipping of images.

But lest any should take occasion, by the way, of doubting by words or names, it is thought good here to note first of all, that although in common speech we use to call the likeness or similitudes of men or other things, images not idols; yet the Scriptures use the said two words (idols and images) indifferently for one thing always. They be words of divers tongues and sounds, but one in sense and signification in the Scriptures.

And Tertullian, a most ancient doctor, and well-learned in both the tongues, Greek and Latin, interpreting this place, in St. John, "beware of idols," that is to say, saith Tertullian, of the images themselves--the Latin words which he useth, be effigies and imago, to say an image. And therefore it skilleth not, whether in this process we use the one term or the other, or both together, seeing they both (though not in common English speech, yet in Scripture) signify one thing. And though some, to blind men's eyes, have heretofore craftily gone about to make them to be taken for words of divers signification in matters of religion, and have therefore usually named the likeness or similitude of a thing set up amongst the heathen, in their temples or other places, to be worshipped, an idol; but the like similitude with us, set up in church, the place of worshipping, they call an image, as though these two words (idol and image) in Scripture, did differ in propriety and sense, which (as is aforesaid) differ only in sound and language, and in meaning be indeed all one, specially in the Scriptures and matters of religion. And our images also have been, and be, and, if they be publicly suffered in churches and temples, ever will be also worshipped, and so idolatry committed to them. Wherefore our images in temples and churches be indeed none other but idols, as unto the which idolatry hath been, is, and ever will be committed.

And first of all, the Scriptures of the Old Testament, condemning and abhorring as well all idolatry or worshipping of [59/60] images, as also the very idols or images themselves, specially in temples, are so many and plentiful, that it were almost an infinite work, and to be contained in no small volume, to record all the places concerning the same. For when God had chosen to himself a peculiar and special people from amongst all other nations that knew not God, but worshipped idols and false gods, he gave unto them certain ordinances and laws to be kept and observed of his said people. But concerning none other matter did he give either more, or more earnest and express laws to his said people, than those that concerned the true worshipping of him, and the avoiding and fleeing of idols and images, and idolatry; for that both the said idolatry is most repugnant to the right worshipping of him and his true glory, above all other vices, and that he knew the proneness and inclination of man's corrupt kind and nature to that most odious and abominable vice.

Therefore, God by his word, as he forbiddeth any idols or images to be made or set up, so doth he command such as we find made and set up to be pulled down, broken and destroyed.

And if any, contrary to the commandment of the Lord, will needs set up such altars or images, or suffer them undestroyed amongst them, the Lord himself threateneth that he will come himself and pull them down.

And as concerning images already set up, thus saith the Lord, in Deuteronomy: Overturn their altars, and break them to pieces; cut down their groves, and burn their images, for thou art an holy people unto the Lord. And the same is repeated more vehemently again in the twelfth chapter of the same book. Here note what the people of God ought to do to images where they find them. But lest any private persons, upon color of destroying images, should make any stir or disturbance in the commonwealth, it must always be remembered that the redress of such enormities pertaineth to the magistrates, and such as be in authority only, and not to private persons.

So that if either the multitude or the plainness of the places might make us to understand, or the earnest charge that God giveth in the said places move us to regard, or the horrible plagues, punishments and dreadful destruction threatened to such worshippers of images or idols, setters up or maintainers of them, might engender any fear in our hearts, we would at once leave and forsake this wickedness, being in the Lord's sight so great an offence and abomination.

And likewise the said idols or images, and worshipping of [60/61] them, are, in the Scriptures of the New Testament, by the spirit of God much abhorred and detested.

St. Paul warneth us to flee from the worshipping of them, if we be wise; that is to say, if we care for health, and fear destruction, if we regard the kingdom of God and life everlasting, and dread the wrath of God and everlasting damnation. For it is not possible that we should be worshippers of images and the true servants of God also, as St. Paul teacheth, affirming expressly that there can be no more consent or agreement between the temple of God (which all true Christians be) and images, than between righteousness and unrighteousness, between light and darkness, between the faithful and the unfaithful, or between Christ and the devil. Which place enforceth both that we should not worship images, and that we should not have images in the temple, for fear and occasion of worshipping them, though they be of themselves things indifferent.

Therefore, above all things, if we take ourselves to be Christians indeed, (as we be named,) let us credit the word, obey the law, and follow the doctrine and example of our Saviour and Master, Christ, repelling Satan's suggestion to idolatry and worshipping of images, according to the truth alleged and taught out of the Testament and gospel of our said heavenly doctor and schoolmaster, Jesus Christ, who is God, to be blessed forever. Amen.

The second part of the Homily against Peril of Idolatry.

You have heard, well beloved, in the first part of this homily, the doctrine of the word of God against idols and images, against idolatry and worshipping of images, taken out of the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New, and confirmed by the examples as well of the apostles as of our Saviour, Christ himself. Now, although our Saviour Christ taketh not nor needeth not any testimony of men, and that which is once confirmed by the certainty of his eternal truth, hath no more need of the confirmation of man's doctrine and writings than the bright sun at noon-tide hath need of the light of a little candle, to put away darkness and to increase his light; yet, for your further contentation, it shall, in this second part, be declared that this truth and doctrine, concerning the forbidding of images, and worshipping of them, taken out of the Holy Scriptures, as well of the Old Testament as the New, was believed and taught of the old holy fathers and most ancient learned doctors, and received in the old primitive church--[61/62] which was most uncorrupt and pure. And this declaration shall be made out of the said holy doctors' own writings, and out of the ancient histories, ecclesiastical, to the same belonging.

Tertullian, who lived about one hundred and threescore years after the death of our Saviour Christ, doth, most sharply and vehemently, write and inveigh against images or idols; and upon St. John's words, the first epistle and fifth chapter, saith thus--St. John, (saith he,) deeply considering the matter saith: "My little children, keep yourselves from images or idols." He saith not now, keep yourselves from idolatry, as it were from the service and worshipping of them, but from the images or idols themselves, that is, from the very shape and likeness of them; for it were an unworthy thing that the image of the living God should become the image of a dead idol. Do you not think those persons which place images and idols in churches and temples, yea, shrine them even over the Lord's table, even as it were of purpose to the worshipping and honoring off them, take good heed to either St. John's counsel, or Tertullian's? For so to place images and idols, is it to keep themselves from them, or else to receive and embrace them? Lactantius, likewise, an old and learned writer, in his book of the Origin of Error, hath these words: "There is no doubt but that no religion is in that place wheresoever any image is; for if religion stand in godly things, (and there is no godliness but in heavenly things,) then be images without religion." These be Lactantius's words, who was above thirteen hundred years ago, and within three hundred years of our Saviour Christ.

Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamine, in Cyprus, a very holy and learned man, who lived in Theodosius', the emperor's time, about three hundred and ninety years after our Saviour Christ's ascension, writeth thus to John, patriarch of Jerusalem: "I entered (saith Epiphanius) into a certain church to pray; I found there a linen cloth hanging in the church door, painted, and having in it the image of Christ, as it were, or of some other saint; (for I remember not well whose image it was;) therefore, when I did see the image of a man hanging in the church of Christ, contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, I did tear it; and gave counsel to the keepers of the church that they should wind a poor man that was dead, in the same cloth, and so bury him." And afterwards the same Epiphanius, sending another unpainted cloth for that painted one which he had torn, to the said patriarch, writeth thus: "I pray you, will the elders of that place to receive this cloth which I have sent by this bearer, [62/63] and command them, that from henceforth no such painted cloths, contrary to our religion, be hanged in the church of Christ. For it becometh, your goodness rather to have this care, that you take away such scrupulosity, which, is unfitting for the church of Christ, and offensive to the people committed to your charge." And this epistle, as worthy to be read of many, did St. Jerome himself translate into the Latin tongue.

Thus, you see what authority St. Jerome giveth unto the holy and learned Bishop Epiphanius, whose judgment of images in churches and temples, then beginning, by stealth, to creep in, is worthy to be noted. First. He judged it contrary to the Christian religion and the authority of the Scriptures to have any images in Christ's church. Secondly. He rejected not only carved, graven and molten images, but also painted images out of Christ's church. Thirdly. That he regarded not whether it were the image of Christ, or of any other saint but, being an image, would not suffer it in the church. Fourthly. That he did not only remove it out of the church, but, with a vehement zeal, tare it in sunder and exhorted that a corpse should be wrapped and buried in it, judging it meet for nothing but to rot in the earth--following herein the example of the good King Ezechias, who brake the brazen serpent to pieces, and burned it to ashes, for that idolatry was committed to it. Last of all, that Epiphanius thinketh it the duty of vigilant bishops to be careful that no images be permitted in the church, for that they be occasion of scruple and offence to the people committed to their charge. Now, whereas, neither St. Jerome, who did translate the same epistle, nor the authors of that most ancient history ecclesiastical, Tripartite, (who do most highly commend Epiphanius,) nor any other godly or learned bishop at that time, or shortly after, have written any thing against Epiphanius' judgment concerning images, it is an evident proof, that in those days, which were about four hundred years after our Saviour Christ, there were no images publicly used and received in the church of Christ--which was then much less corrupt and more pure than now it is.

If Epiphanius' judgment against images is not to be admitted--for that he was born of a Jew, an enemy to images, which be God's enemies, converted to Christ's religion--much more doth it follow that the opinion of all the rabblement of the Popish church, maintaining images, ought to be esteemed of small or no authority; for that it is no marvel that they, which have, from their childhood, been brought up amongst images and idols, and have drunk in idolatry almost with [63/64] their mother's milk, hold with images and idols, and speak and write for them. But, indeed, it would not be so much marked, whether he were of a Jew or a Gentile, converted unto Christ's religion, that writeth, as how agreeable or contrary to God's word he doth write, and so to credit or discredit him.

Some of the Christians in old time, which were converted from worshipping of idols and false gods, unto the true living God, and to our Saviour Jesus Christ, did of a certain blind zeal (as men long accustomed to images) paint or carve images of our Saviour, Christ, his mother Mary, and of the apostles, thinking that this was a point of gratitude and kindness towards those by whom they had received the true knowledge of God and the doctrine of the gospel. But these pictures or images came not yet into churches, nor were not yet worshipped of a long time after. And lest you should think that I do say this of mine own head only, without authority, I allege for me, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, and the most ancient author of the ecclesiastical history, who lived about the three hundred and thirtieth year of our Lord, in Constantinus Magnus' days, and his son Constantinus, emperors, in the seventh book of his history ecclesiastical, the fourteenth chapter, and St. Jerome upon the tenth chapter of the prophet Jeremy, who both expressly say: "That the errors of images (for so St. Jerome calleth it) hath come in and passed to the Christians from the Gentiles, by an heathenish use and custom." Where, note ye, that both St. Jerome and he agreeth herein, that these images came in amongst Christian men by such as were Gentiles, and accustomed to idols, and being converted to the faith of Christ, retained yet some remnants of Gentility not thoroughly purged, for St. Jerome calleth it an error manifestly.

In the time of Theodosius and Marcian, emperors, who reigned about the year of our Lord 460, and 1100 years ago, when the people of the city of Nola once a year did celebrate the birthday of St. Felix in the temple, and used to banquet there sumptuously, Pontius Paulinus, bishop of Nola, caused the walls of the temple to be painted with stories taken out of the Old Testament, that the people beholding and considering those pictures might the better abstain from too much surfeiting and riot. And about the same time Aurelius Prudentius, a very learned and Christian poet, declareth how he did see painted in a church the history of the passion of St. Cassian, a schoolmaster and martyr, whom his own scholars, at the commandment of the tyrant, tormented with [64/65] the pricking or stabbing in of their pointels or brazen pens into his body, and so by a thousand wounds or more, (as saith Prudentius,) most cruelly slew him. And these were the first paintings in churches that were notable of antiquity. And so by this example came in painting, and afterwards images of timber and stone, and other matter, into the churches of Christians. Now, and ye well consider this beginning, men are not so ready to worship a picture on a wall or in a window, as an embossed and gilt image, set with pearl and stone. And a process of a story, painted with the gestures and actions of many persons, and commonly the sum of the story written withal, hath another use in it, than one dumb idol or image standing by itself. But from learning by painted stories, it came by little and little to idolatry. Which, when godly men (as well emperors and learned bishops as others) perceived, they commanded that such pictures, images or idols, should be used no more. And I will, for a declaration thereof, begin with the decree of the ancient Christian emperors, Valens and Theodosius II., who reigned about four hundred years after our Saviour Christ's ascension, who forbade that any images should be made or painted privately, for certain it is, that there was none in temples publicly in their time: "Whereas we have a diligent care to maintain the religion of God above in all things, we will grant to no man to set forth, grave, carve or paint the image of our Saviour Christ, in colors, stone, or any other matter; but in whatsoever place it shall be found, we command that it be taken away, and that all such as shall attempt anything contrary to our decrees or commandment herein, shall be most sharply punished." Here you see what Christian princes of most ancient times decreed against images, which then began to creep in amongst the Christians. For it is certain, that by the space of three hundred years and more, after the death of our Saviour Christ, and before these godly emperors reigned, there were no images publicly in churches or temples. How would the idolaters glory if they had so much antiquity and authority for them, as is here against them!

Now, shortly after these days, the Goths, Vandals, Huns and other barbarous and wicked nations, burst into Italy and all parts of the west countries of Europe, with huge and mighty armies, spoiled all places, destroyed cities and burned libraries, so that learning and true religion went to wrack, and decayed incredibly. And so the bishops of those latter days, being of less learning, and in the midst of the wars, taking less heed also than did the bishops afore, by ignorance [65/66] of God's word, and negligence of bishops, and specially barbarous princes, not rightly instructed in true religion, bearing the rule, images came into the Church of Christ, in the said west parts where these barbarous people ruled, not now in painted cloths only, but embossed in stone, timber, metal and other like matter, and were not only set up, but began to be worshipped also. And therefore Serenus, bishop of Massile, the head town of Galia Narbonensis, (now called the Province,) a godly and learned man, who was about six hundred years after our Saviour Christ, seeing the people, by occasion of images, fall to most abominable idolatry, brake to pieces all the images of Christ and saints, which were in that city.

Thus you understand, well-beloved in our Saviour Christ, by the judgment of the old, learned and godly doctors of the church, and by ancient histories ecclesiastical, agreeing to the verity of God's word, alleged out of the Old Testament and the New, that images and image-worshipping were in the primitive church (which was most pure and uncorrupt) abhorred and detested, as abominable and contrary to true Christian religion. And that when images began to creep into the church, they were not only spoken and written against by godly and learned bishops, doctors and clerks, but also condemned by whole councils of bishops and learned men assembled together; yea, the said images, by many Christian emperors and bishops, were defaced, broken and destroyed, and that above seven hundred, and eight hundred years ago, and that therefore it is not of late days, (as some would bear you in hand,) that images and image-worshipping have been spoken and written against. Finally, you have heard what mischief and misery hath, by the occasion of the said images, fallen upon whole Christendom, besides the loss of infinite souls, which is most horrible of all. Wherefore, let us beseech God, that we, being warned by his holy word, forbidding all idolatry, and by the writing of old godly doctors and ecclesiastical histories, written and preserved by God's ordinance for our admonition and warning, may flee from all idolatry, and so escape the horrible punishment and plagues, as well worldly as everlasting, threatened for the same, which God, our Heavenly Father, grant us, for our only Saviour and Mediator, Jesus Christ's sake, Amen.

The Third Part of the Homily against Peril of Idolatry.

It remaineth, that such reasons as be made for the maintenance of images, and excessive painting, gilding and decking, [66/67] as well as of them as of the temples or churches, also be answered and confuted, partly by application of some places before alleged to their reasons, and partly by otherwise answering the same. And first this is to be replied out of God's word, that the images of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, either severally or the images of the Trinity, which we had in every church, be by the Scriptures expressly and directly forbidden and condemned, as appeareth by these places: The Lord spake unto you out of the middle of fire; you heard the voice or sound of his words, but you did see no form or shape at all, lest peradventure you, being deceived, should make to yourself any graven image or likeness; and so forth, as is at large rehearsed in the first part of this treatise against images. And St. Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, evidently teacheth the same, that no similitude can be made unto God, in gold, silver, stone or any other matter. By these and many other places of Scripture it is evident that no image either ought to be or can be made unto God. For how can God, a most pure spirit, whom man never saw, be expressed by a gross, bodily and visible similitude? And, therefore, St. Paul saith, that such as have framed any similitude or image of God, like a mortal man, or any other likeness, in timber, stone or other matter, have changed his truth into a lie. For they both thought it to be no longer that which it was, a stock or a stone, and took it to be that which it was not, as God, or an image of God. Therefore, an image of God is not only a lie, but a double lie also. But the devil is a liar, and the father of lies; wherefore the lying images, which be made of God, to his great dishonor, and horrible danger of his people, came from the devil. Now, concerning their objection, that an image of Christ may be made, the answer is easy; for in God's word and religion, it is not only required whether a thing may be done or no; but also, whether it be lawful and agreeable to God's word to be done or no. Wherefore, to reply, that images of Christ may be made, except withal it be proved that it is lawful for them to be made, is, rather than to hold one's peace, to say somewhat; but nothing to the purpose. And yet it appeareth that no image can be made of Christ but a lying image, (as the Scripture peculiarly calleth images lies,) for Christ is God and man. Seeing, therefore, that for the Godhead, which is the most excellent part, no images can be made, it is falsely called the image of Christ. Wherefore, images of Christ be not only defects, but also lies. Furthermore, no true image can be made of Christ's body, for it is unknown now of what [67/68] form and countenance he was. And there be in Greece and at Rome, and in other places, divers images of Christ, and none of them like to other; and yet every of them affirmeth that theirs is the true and lively image of Christ, which cannot possibly be. Wherefore, as soon as an image of Christ is made, by-and-by is a lie made of him, which by God's word is forbidden. Wherefore, seeing that religion ought to be grounded upon truth, images, which cannot be without lies, ought not to be made, or put to any use of religion, or to be placed in churches and temples, places peculiarly appointed to true religion and service of God. And thus much that no true image of God, our Saviour Christ, or his saints can be made. And now if it should be admitted and granted that an image of Christ could truly be made, yet it is unlawful that it should be made, yea, or that the image of any saint should be made, specially to be set up in temples, to the great and unavoidable danger of idolatry, as hereafter shall be proved. We are not so superstitious or scrupulous that we do abhor either flowers wrought in carpets, hangings, and other arras; either images of princes, printed or stamped in their coins, which, when Christ did see in a Roman coin, we read not that he reprehended it; neither do we condemn the arts of painting and image-making, as wicked of themselves. But we would admit and grant them that images used for no religion or superstition rather, we mean images of none worshipped, nor in danger to be worshipped of any, may be suffered. But images placed publicly in temples cannot possibly be without danger of worshipping and idolatry, wherefore, they are not publicly to be had or suffered in temples and churches. Where they say that images, so they be not worshipped, as things indifferent, may be tolerable in temples and churches, we infer and say for the adversative, that all our images of God, our Saviour Christ, and his saints, publicly set up in temples and churches, places peculiarly appointed to the true worshipping of God, be not things indifferent, nor tolerable, but against God's law and commandment, taking their own interpretation and exposition of it.

First, for that all images, so set up publicly, have been worshipped of the unlearned and simple sort shortly after they have been publicly so set up, and in conclusion, of the wise and learned also.

Secondly, for that they are worshipped in sundry places now in our time also.

And, thirdly, for that it is impossible that images of God, Christ or his saints, can be suffered (specially in temples and [68/69] churches) any while or space, without worshipping of them; and that idolatry, which is most abominable before God, cannot possibly be escaped and avoided, without the abolishing and destruction of images and pictures in temples and churches, an inseparable accident, (as they term it;) so that images in churches and idolatry go always both together, and that, therefore, the one cannot be avoided, except the other, specially in all public places, be destroyed. Wherefore, to make images, and publicly to set them up in the temples and churches, places appointed peculiarly to the service of God, is to make images to the use of religion, and not only against this precept, Thou shalt make no manner of images; but against this, also, Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them. For they being set up, have been, be, and ever will be worshipped. And the full proof of that which in the beginning of the first part of this treaty was touched, is here to be made and performed, to wit; that our images and idols of the Gentiles be all one, as well in the things themselves, as also in that our images have been before, be now, and ever will be worshipped, in like form and manner, as the idols of the Gentiles were worshipped, so long as they be suffered in churches and temples. Whereupon, it followeth, that our images in churches have been, be, and ever will be, none other but abominable idols, and be therefore no things indifferent.

Our image-worshippers give both names of God and the saints, and also the honor due to God, to their images, even as did the Gentiles' idolaters to their idols. What should it mean, that they, according as did the Gentiles' idolaters, light candles at noon-time or at midnight, before them, but therewith to honor them? For other use is there none in so doing. For in the day it needeth not, but was ever a proverb of foolishness, to light a candle at noon-time. And in the night it availeth not to light a candle before the blind, and God hath neither use nor honor thereof. And concerning this candle lighting, it is notable that Lactantius, above a thousand years ago, hath written after this manner: If they would behold the heavenly light of the sun, then should they perceive that God hath no need of their candles, who for the use of man hath made so goodly a light. And whereas, in so little a circle of the sun, which for the great distance seemeth to be no greater than a man's head, there is so great brightness that the sight of man's eye is not able to behold it, but if one steadfastly look upon it awhile, his eyes will be dulled and [69/70] blinded with darkness; how great light, how great clearness may we think to be with God, with whom is no night nor darkness? And so forth. And by-and-by he saith: Seemeth he therefore to be in his right mind, who offereth up to the Giver of Light the light of a wax candle for a gift. He requireth another light of us, which is not smoky, but bright and clear, even the light of the mind and understanding.

Do not all stories ecclesiastical declare, that our holy martyrs, rather than they would bow and kneel, or offer up one crum of incense before an image or idol, have suffered a thousand kinds of most horrible and dreadful death?

I will, out of God's word, make this general argument against all such makers, setters-up and maintainers of images in public places. And first of all I will begin with the words of our Saviour Christ. Woe be to that man by whom an offence is given. Woe be to him that offendeth one of these little ones, or weak ones. Better were it for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the middle of the sea, and drowned, than he should offend one of these little ones, or weak ones. And in Deuteronomy, God himself denounceth him accursed, that maketh the blind to wander in his way. And in Leviticus, Thou shalt not lay a stumbling block or stone before the blind. But images in churches and temples have been, and be, and (as afterward shall be proved) ever will be, offences and stumbling-blocks, specially to the weak, simple and blind common people, deceiving their hearts by the cunning of the artificer, (as the Scripture expressly, in sundry places, doth testify,) and so bringing them to idolatry. Therefore, woe be to the erecter, setter-up and maintainer of images in churches and temples, FOR A GREATER PENALTY REMAINETH FOR HIM THAN THE DEATH OF THE BODY.

Wherefore I make a general conclusion of all that I have hitherto said: if the stumbling-blocks and poisons of men's souls, by setting-up of images, will be many, yea, infinite, if they be suffered, and the warnings of the same stumbling-blocks, and remedies for the said poisons, by preaching be few, as is already declared; if the stumbling-blocks be easy to be laid, the poisons soon provided, and the warnings and remedies hard to know or come by; if the stumbling-blocks lie continually in the way, and poison be ready at hand everywhere, and warnings and remedies but seldom given; and if all men be more ready of themselves to stumble and be offended, than to be warned, all men more ready to drink of the poison than to taste of the remedy, and so, in fine, the poison continually and deeply drunk of many, the remedy [70/71] seldom and faintly tasted of a few; how can it be but that infinite of the weak and infirm shall be offended, infinite by ruin shall break their necks, infinite by deadly venom be poisoned in their souls? And how is the charity of God, or love of our neighbor in our hearts then, if, when we may remove such dangerous stumbling-blocks, such pestilent poisons, we will not remove them? What shall I say of them which will lay stumbling-blocks where before there was none, and set snares for the feet, nay, for the souls of weak and simple ones, and work the danger of their everlasting destruction, for whom our Saviour Christ shed his most precious blood, when better it were that the arts of painting, plastering, carving, graving and founding, had never been found nor used, than one of them, whose souls in the sight of God are so precious, should, by occasion of image or picture, perish and be lost.

To conclude, it appeareth evidently by all stories and writings, and experience in times past, that neither preaching, neither writing, neither the consent of the learned, nor authority of the godly, nor the decrees of councils, neither the laws of princes, nor extreme punishments of the offenders in that behalf, nor any other remedy or means, can help against idolatry, if images be suffered publicly. And it is truly said, that times past are schoolmasters of wisdom to us that follow and live after. Therefore, if in times past the most virtuous and best learned, the most diligent, also, and in number almost infinite, ancient fathers, bishops and doctors, with their writing, preaching, industry, earnestness, authority, assemblies and councils, could do nothing against images and idolatry, to images once set up; what can we, neither in learning, nor holiness of life, neither in diligence, neither authority, to be compared with them, but men in contempt, and of no estimation, (as the world goes now,) a few also in number, in so great a multitude and malice of men; what can we do, I say, or bring to the pass, to the stay of idolatry or worshipping of images, if they be allowed to stand publicly in temples and churches? And if so many, so mighty emperors, by so severe laws and proclamations, so rigorous and extreme punishments and executions, could not stay the people from setting up and worshipping of images; what will ensue, think you, when man shall commend them as necessary books of the laymen?

Let us, therefore, of the latter days learn this lesson of the experience of ancient antiquity, that idolatry cannot possibly be separated from images any long time; but that as an [71/72] unseparable accident, or as a shadow followeth the body, when the sun shineth; so idolatry followeth and cleaveth to the public having of images in temples and churches. And finally, as idolatry is to be abhorred and avoided, so are images (which cannot be long without idolatry) to be put away and destroyed.

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