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worshipfut place, and so earnestly look on it, and conceive that [which] it signifieth, as we kneel and creep before it, whilst it lieth there, and whilst that remembrance is in exercise with which cross nevertheless the sexton, when he goeth for a cross, will not be afraid to be homely, and holdeth it under his gown whilst he drinketh a pot of ale: a point of homeliness that might be left, but yet it declareth that he esteemed no divinity in the image. But ever since I was born, a poor parishioner, a layman, durst be so bold at a shift (if he were also churchwarden), to sell to the use of the church at length, and his own in the mean time, the silver cross on Easter Monday, that was creeped unto on Good Friday.
In specialties there have been special abuses; but, generally, images have been taken for images, with an office to signify a holy remembrance of Christ and his saints. And as the sound of speech uttered by a lively image, and representing to the understanding, by the sense of hearing, godly matter, doth stir up the mind, and therewith the body, to consent in outward gesture of worshipful regard to that sound: so doth the object of the image, by the sight, work like effect in man within and without; wherein is verily worshipped that we understand, and yet reverence and worship also shewed to that whereby we attain that understanding, and is to us in the place of an instrument; so as it hath no worship of itself, but remaineth in its nature of stone or timber, silver, copper, or gold. But when it is in office, and worketh a godly remembrance in us by representation of the thing signified unto us, then we use it worshipfully and honourably, as many do the priest at mass, whom they little regard all the day after.
And me thinketh ever, that like as it is an over gross error to take an image for God, or to worship it with godly honour, so to grant that we may not have images of Christ, and that we may do no worship before them, or not use them worshipfully, it is inexplicable. For it is one kind of worship, to place them worshipfully; so as if a man place an image in the church, or hang it about his neck (as all use to do the image of the cross, and the knights of the order of St George), this is some piece of worship. And if we may
not contemn the images of Christ and his saints, when we have them (for that were villany), nor neglect them (for that were to have them without use, which were inconvenient, quia nec natura nec arte quicquam fit frustra,) we must have them in estimation and reputation; which is not without some honour and worship; and at the least in the place where we conveniently use them (as in the church), as where they serve us rather than we them. And because their service is worshipful, they be so regarded accordingly for that time of service, and therefore they be called venerabiles imagines, and be worshipfully ordered; before whom we kneel, and bow, and cense, not at that the images be, but at that the images signify, which in our kneeling, bowing, and censing we acknowledge to understand and read in that fashion of contracted writing, wherein is wrapped up a great many of sentences, suddenly opened with one sudden sight, to him that hath been exercised in reading of them.
And me seemeth, after the faith of Christ received and known, and thoroughly purged from heresies, if by chance there were offered a choice, either to retain painting and graving and forbear writing, or, choosing writing, to forbear both the other gifts; it would be a problem, seeing if graving were taken away we could have no printing. And therefore they that press so much the words of Non facies tibi sculptile, ever, me thinketh, they condemn printed books; the original whereof is of graving to make matrices literarum. Sed hoc est furiosum, et sunt tamen qui putant palmarium. And therefore now it is Englished, "Thou shalt make no graven images, lest thou worship them :" which, I hear, is newly written in the new church, I know not the name, but not far from the Old Jewry'.
But to the matter of images, wherein I have discoursed at large, I think, if ye consider (as I doubt not but that ye will) the doctrine set forth by our late sovereign lord, ye shall in the matter see the truth set forth by such as had that committed unto them under his highness, amongst whom I was not, nor was I privy unto it till it was done. And yet the clause in the book, for discussion of "the Lord," and "our Lord," hath made many think otherwise. But I [ Probably St Stephen's, Coleman Street. ED.]
take our Lord to witness, I was not; and that declaration of our Lord" was his highness's own device, ex se. For he saw the fond Englishing of "the Lord" dissevered in speech, whom our Lord had congregated. And this I add, lest, giving authority to that book, I should seem to vaunt myself.
Now will I speak somewhat of holy water', wherein I send unto you the four and thirtieth chapter in the ninth book of the History Tripartite, where Marcellus the bishop bade Equitius his deacon to cast abroad water, by him first hallowed, wherewith to drive away the devil. And it is noted how the devil could not abide the virtue of the water, but vanished away. And for my part, it seemeth the history may be true; for we be assured by Scripture, that in the name of God the church is able and strong to cast out devils, according to the gospel, In nomine meo dæmonia ejicient, &c. so as if the water were away, by only calling on the name of God, that mastery may be wrought. And the virtue of the effect being only attributed to the name of God, the question should be only, whether the creature of water may have the office to convey the effect of the holiness of the invocation of God's name. And first, in Christ the skirt of his garment had such an office to minister health to the woman, and spittle and clay to the blind; and St Peter's shadow, and St Paul's handkerchiefs.
And, leaving old stories, here at home the special gift of curation, ministered by the kings of this realm (not of their own strength. but by invocation of the name of God), hath been used to be distributed in rings of gold and silver. And I think effectually therein the metal hath only an office, and the strength is in the name of God, wherein all is wrought. And Eliseus put his staff in like office. And why the whole church might not put water in like office, to convey abroad the invocation of God's name, there is no scripture to the contrary: but there is scripture, how other
1 'Holy water.' Consecration of water and salt to sanctify the people, is attributed to Alexander I. but for what credit is to be given to those decrees, falsely fathered upon those ancient bishops, read Sleidan, lib. ii. de Monach. In nomine meo,' &c. If the name of Christ only do and can serve to cast out devils, what should water do, where Christ only may and should serve to work that mastery? Fox.
inferior creatures have been promoted to like dignity; and much scripture, how water hath been used in like and greater service. And the story I send unto you sheweth how water hath been used in the same service, to drive away devils. In which matter if any shall say, he believeth not the story, and he is not bound to believe it, being no scripture; that man is not to be reasoned with, for the effect of the king's cramp rings. And yet, for such effect as they have wrought, when I was in France, I have been myself much honoured; and of all sorts entreated to have them, with offer of as much for them, as they were double worth.
Some will say, "What are rings to holy water?" Marry thus I say, If the metal of gold and silver may do service to carry abroad the invocation of the name of God effectually for one purpose, water may also serve to carry abroad the invocation of the name of God, wherewith to drive away devils. Hereto will be said, Non valet argumentum a posse ad esse: but the story saith, "The water did that service;" and other strangers say and affirm by experience, "The king's majesty's rings have done the service." And our late master continued all his life the exercise of that gift of God, and used silver and gold to do that service, to carry abroad the strength of the invocation of the name of God by him; and he used it amongst us that served him in it, when he had thoroughly heard and seen what might be said in the matter: and yet he had no scripture especially for it, that spake of rings of silver or gold, no more than is for the ashes ministered a little before ye last preached. And as our young sovereign lord hath received them reverently, so I trust he shall be advertised, ne negligat gratiam Dei in dono curationum, but follow his father therein; also not doubting but God will hear him, as he hath heard his father and other his progenitors, kings of this realm; to whose dignity God addeth this prerogative, as he doth also to inferior ministers of his church, in the effect of their prayer, when it pleaseth him. A man might find some youngling, percase, that would say, how worldly, wily, witty bishops perchance. have inveigled simple kings heretofore, and, to confirm their blessings, have also devised how kings should bless also, and so have authority to maintain where truth failed; and I have
had it objected to me, that I used to prove one piece of mine argument ever by a king, as when I reasoned thus: If ye allow nothing but scripture, what say you to the king's rings? but they be allowed; ergo, somewhat is to be allowed besides scripture. And another: If images be forbidden, why doth the king wear St George on his breast? But he weareth St George on his breast: ergo, images be not forbidden. If saints be not to be worshipped, why keep we St George's feast? But we keep St George's feast: ergo, &c. And in this matter of holy water, if the strength of the invocation of the name of God, to drive away the devils, cannot be distributed by water, why can it be distributed in silver to drive away diseases, and the dangerous disease of the falling evil? But the rings hallowed by the holy church may do so: ergo, the water hallowed by the church may do like service.
These were sore arguments in his time, and I trust be also yet; and may be conveniently used, to such as would never make an end of talk, but rake up every thing that their dull sight cannot penetrate, wherein me thought ye spake effectually, when ye said, "Men must receive the determination of the particular church, and obey where God's law repugneth not expressly." And in this effect to drive away devils, that prayer and invocation of the church may do it, scripture maintaineth evidently; and the same scripture doth authorise us so to pray, and encourageth us to it so as if, in discussion of holy water, we attribute all the effect of the holiness which proceedeth from God by invocation of the church, and take water only for a servant to carry abroad holiness, there can be no superstition, where men regard only prayer, which scripture authoriseth. And if we shall say that the water cannot do such service, we shall be convinced, in that it doth a greater service in our baptism by God's special ordinance so as we cannot say, that water cannot, or is not apt to do this service; only the stay is, to have a precise place in the New Testament, to say, "Use water thus in this service, as we do in holy water;" which me thinketh needed not, where all is ordered to be well used by us: and when the whole church agreed upon such a use, or any particular church, or the common