Edward Elton on Images of Christ

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Edward Elton, Gods Holy Minde Touching Matters Morall: Which HIMSELF uttered in ten VVwords, or Ten Commandements, pp. 29-32 (re: the Second Commandment):

Queft. How may this [outward Idolatry, or making an image of God for religious use] appear to be finne, and a breach of Gods Commandement?

Anfw
. 1. By evidence of Scripture, which condemnes the making of any reprefentation of God, as Deut. 4.15, 15. Yee faw no Image of God but only heard a voyce; therefore it is not lawfull to make an erect any Image of the true God, Ifai. 40.18, 25. Acts 17.29. [pi]Rom[/i] I.23.

Secondly, by thefe reafons.

1. Firft, God is infinite and incomprehenfible, and therefore cannot be reprefented by an Image.

2. Secondly, it is a moft vile debafing of the Majeftie of God, to liken him to a corruptible man.

3. Thirdly, any reprefentation of God made by the hand of man, is a dead thing, and fo more bafe then the meaneft living creature; therefore God will not bee fo reprefented.

Now fome objections are to be anfwered.

Firft, the Scriptures do afcribe to God humane parts, as hands, eyes, eares, feet, and fuch like: therefore fay fome, It is lawfull fo to expreffe, and fo to refemble God.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anf
. Thus; the Scriptures in afcribing humane parts to God, fpeake metaphorically, by way of fimilitude, and ufe thofe borrowed fpeeches only for our underftanding and capacitie.

Secondly, Chrift took on him mans nature; hee became man like to us: therefore, fay fome, he may be refembled, and an Image of him may be made.

Queft. How is this to be anfwereed?

Anf
. Thus; Chrift being both God and Man, the chiefe thing that makes him Chrift, is his God-head, and that cannot be expreffed by an Image; and therefore an Image made to refemble whole Chrift, muft needs be a living Image, leaving out the chiefe part of Chrift, which is his God-head: fo that an Image made of Chrift, either feparateth his God-head from his Man-hood, or elfe it makes his God-head to bee fuch, as may be circumfcribed: both which are groffe errours; therefore there may no Image of Chrift be made.

May not Chrift as well be painted with colours, as fet before us with words in a SErmon?

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anf.
No: the one, God alloweth in his Word, namely, the defcribing of Chrift in fpeech, in the Preaching of the Word, and Adminiftration of the Sacraments, but not the other.

The Papifts object againe; They worfhip not the Image of God, or of Chrift, but God or Chrift, in, at, before, or under the Image.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anfw
. Two waies.

1. Firft, God and Chrift will not bee fo worfhipped, they have no warrant in the Word of God fo to worfhip them.

2. Secondly, God or Chrift being worfhipped in, at, before, or under an Image, a Crucifixe, Bread in the Sacrament, or fuch like, are thereby made Idols, and to thofe that fo worfhip them, are turned into Idols.

Queft. How may this appear?

Anfw
. Firft, by evidence of Scripture, as Pfal. 106. 19, 20.

Secondly, by this reafon; Thereby they bind the prefence, the grace, and operation of God and Chrift to Images; and fo make God fuch a God, and Chrift fuch a Chrift, as will bee prefent, and will heare them at Images; and fo indeed they make them Idols, and worfhipping God and Chrift in that manner, they worfhip Idoles of their own braine.

They object further, They intend not to wofhip an Idole, but only the true God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth in an Image.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anfw
. Thus; First, no intention of man makes the true worfhip of God, but only Gods will.

Secondly, the Ifraelites did thus; they intended to worfhip the true God in the Golden Calfe, Exod. 32. 5. yet that is called an Idole, Acts 7. 49. So the Ifraelites worfhipped Baal, Afteroth, Idoles fetched from the Gentiles: but their intent therein was, to worfhip the true God in thofe Idoles.

Men may bow to the Chaire of Eftate, the Letter of the Prince, without Idolatry; therefore much more to the Images of God, of Chrift, and of the Saints.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anf
. Thus; the reafon is not alike, for

1. Firft, reverence, or bowing downe to the Chaire of Eftate, or the Letter of the Prince, is meerly civill, and in civill refpects performed: but bowing to Images, is Religious.

2. Secondly, bowing to the Chaire of Eftate, or the Letter of the Prince, is according to the Princes will: but bowing to Images is not according to Gods will, but directly againft it.

Images be Lay-mens Books, and they ferve to put them in mind of God, and of Chrift, therefore they may be ufed.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anfw
. Every kind of Book is not good; there be books of Magicke, of Conjuring, and of lewd matters; and there be dangerous lying and deceiving Books; and fuch Books are Images, and therefore they may not be ufed.

Mofes caufed the Cherubims to be made over the Arke, and a Brazen Serpent for the people to look on: therefore it is lawfull now to make Images for the ufe of Religion.

Queft. How is this to be anfwered?

Anfw
. Thus; firft, the Cherubims and Brazen Serpent were no inventions of men, but were made by Gods owne commandement, and appointment.

Again, the Cherubims, and the Brazen ferpent, were made, not be adored and worfhipped; but to reprefent or fignifie fome things fit for that time, when the ceremoniall Law was in ufe; as the Cherubims ftretching out their wings, fignified, that God had his wings as it were, fpread out for the protection and fhelter of the Church at all times; and the Brazen Serpent was a type and figure of Chrift; and when it was worfhipped of the people, Hezekiah brake it downe, and is commended for it.
 
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