« ElőzőTovább »
ing at the feet of this “ Queen of Heaven," and embracing them in an attitude of adoration.
And thus, by successive steps, such as have now been placed before our readers, the contradiction is made complete, between the teaching of Holy Scripture and that of mediæval Rome. In Holy Scripture we are told, and in the earlier pictures of the Catacombs we are again and again reminded, how the Magi, divinely guided, came where were the young Child and His mother; and how, so coming, they fell down and worshipped Him. In this crowning monument of Roman superstition, we see two? Popes represented as coming, like those Magi, into that holy presence, and they, so coming, fall down and worship her.
Fifteenth Century. One example must suffice, out of the many to which we might refer, in connection with our present subject, in the fifteenth ceutury. It will bring before us, at a single glance, (and a single glance upon a subject so repulsive is all that we will venture upon,) the horrible depravity which, in the very centre of Roman Christendom, and on the very throne, as Romanists hold, of St. Peter, could coexist with extravagant devotion to the so-called “honours of Mary.” We will not trust ourselves to use words of our own here, but will rather quote the description of one who writes simply as an historian of art :-“ One of the frescoes in the Vatican represents Giulia Farnese in the character of the Madonna, and Pope Alexander VI. (the infamous Borgia) kneeling at her feet in the character of a votary.” The same writer goes on to say, “ Under the influence of the Medici, the churches of Florence were filled with pictures of the Virgin, in which the only thing aimed at was an alluring, and even meretricious beauty. Savonarola thundered from his pulpit, in the garden of S. Marco, against these impieties. He exclaimed against the profaneness of those who represented the meek mother of Christ in gorgeous apparel, with head unveiled, and under the features of women too well and publicly known. He emphatically declared, that if painters knew, as well as he did, the influence of such pictures in perverting simple minds, they would hold their own works in horror and detestation. Savonarola yielded to none in orthodox reverence for the Madonna ; but he desired that she should be represented in an orthodox manner. He perished at the
anists holman Christendible depravite pulsive is all tiglance,
? Our readers will ask how two Popes come to be represented as each having the “square nimbus," indicating that the person represented was then living. The answer is suggested in what we have above stated, therein following Papebrochius (Acta Sanctorum, Maius,
Propylæum, p. 320). The mosaic is also figured in Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, tom, č. p. 417. Our own representation is reproduced, by photography, from a drawing in the collection of Pope Clement XI.
escotein family."> ready occupiedetailed inferene
2.spoak in set beforace all det so much
stake, but not till after he had made a bonfire in the Piazza at Florence of the offensive effigies; he perished-persecuted to death by the Borgia family.)3
This historical survey has already occupied so much of our space, that we must omit from this place all detailed inference from the various facts already set before our readers. But those facts are such as to speak in great measure for themselves. And we may perhaps best serve the purpose we have in view, by confining ourselves to a brief summary of that, which, in greater detail, and with all necessary references to authorities, has now been brought under review.
1. First four Centuries.—Of all the pictures in the Catacombs, the date of which can be referred with any probability to the first four centuries of our era, there is not one, in which the Virgin Mary is certainly represented, which is not purely Scriptural in its character. Even if (which is doubtful) some of the figures known as “ Oranti” had reference to her, these figures precisely resemble others in which ordinary persons, recently deceased, were represented; whether men or women. Christian art, at this time, to use Dr. Northcote's expression, was kept strictly within the limits of the canonical books of Holy Scripture.
2. Fifth and Sixth Centuries. In the more public monuments of Rome and Ravenna, which date from 400 to 600 A.D., there is nothing inconsistent with those earlier pictures of the Catacombs. On the contrary, in the one monument of them all which was evidently intended formally to embody the faith of the Church, as proclaimed in the Council of Ephesus just previously, the natural arrangement of the scene, in the Adoration of the Magi, is purposely departed from, in such a way as to mark that the Virgin Mary, however near to our Lord in respect of His incarnation, had no place upon the throne which belongs to Him and to Him alone.
In less important works of art, such as might be dictated rather by private fancy than by the deliberate judgment of the chief representatives of the Church, we find at this time, in one or two instances here and there, traces of legendary fables concerning the Virgin Mary.
3. Seventh and Eighth Centuries.- Side by side with convincing proofs of a rapidly progressing barbarism in Italy at this time, we find now, even in public monuments, figures of saints, and of the Virgin Mary, intruded into those portions of the older churches, which had hitherto been exclusively devoted to proclaiming the glory of the risen Saviour. Now first, according to the chief historian 4 of Christian art, the homage paid to the Virgin Mary was not to be distinguished from that ren. dered to the Lord of all.
3 Jameson's Legends of the Madonna, 2nd Edition (Longmans, 1857), Introduction, p. xxxi. The whole passage is well worth consulting, as showing, by the evidence of art, that of which there is abundant evidence in literature, how
baneful was the fruit of the classical revival, where there was no better Christianity to deal with it than that which prevailed in Italy in the fifteenth century.
4. Ninth and later Centuries. In the ninth century, for the first time-a period of the greatest barbarism in Italy, though of a brief revival, under the auspices of Charlemagne, in France and parts of Germany—there appear upon the walls of churches, at Capua and at Rome, representations of the Virgin Mary en. throned, and in all the splendours of royal estate, in dress of purple and gold, a golden crown upon her head, and scarlet shoes upon her feet.
Now for the first time is the apocryphal legend of the Assumption embodied in representation upon the same walls.
And from this ninth century onwards, in an age which Romans historians of the greatest repute have denounced as the most horribly corrupt, and the most barbarously igvorant, of all which a Roman annalist has, with shame and confusion of face, to describe,-in this age we find one step of advance after another made in the exaltation of the Virgin to heavenly and divine honours. And the whole series culminates in mosaics such as those of the twelfth century, in which the worship, that of old had been offered to God alone, is diverted from our Lord to be bestowed upon Mary; or, worse yet, in a picture yet 300 years later in date, in which, upon the walls of the Vatican Palace itself, and by the orders of a Pope, the worship of Christendom is embodied under the guise of an Alexander Borgia kneeling as a votary at the feet of a Giulia Farnese.
Contrast these with the beautiful and purely Scriptural picture, which De Rossi, in common with ourselves, places first in the whole series of these monuments (supra, p. 831), and the reader will be able to judge of the gulf which separates the Marian Rome, of the twelfth and of the fifteenth centuries, from the Christian Rome of the second.
orrupt, an has, with share estep of advent
4 This verdict, however, as far as we ourselves have observed, applies to the ninth rather than to the eighth century.
5 See the passages quoted from Cardinal Baronius, and others, in Mr. Marriott's “Vestiarium Christian um," Introduction, p. lxxxiii. Notes.
DR. LITTLEDALE ON INNOVATIONS. Innovations : a Lecture, delivered in the Assembly Rooms, Li
verpool, April 23rd, 1868. By Richard Frederick Littledale, LL.D., D.C.L., Priest of the Church of England. Oxford ; 4. R. Mowbray. London : Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 1868.
DR. LITTLEDALE owes his readers no apology for the somewhat unusual appendage to his name and degrees, of “Priest of the Church of England.” In sad and sober earnest, we are constrained to express our conviction that, unless we have grievously misunderstood the aim and object of his Lecture, the writer can remain in communion with the Reformed Church of England only on those principles on which others, in past times, adopted the same course, viz., because they found that they could do more harm to the common foe whilst fighting under her colours than under their own. • We are aware that this is a grave accusation to prefer against the productions of any member of the English Church—a graver accusation still, when alleged against the writings of one of her ministers. There are times, however, when it becomes a duty to abandon all reserve, and whilst scrupulously abstaining, as far as in us lies, from recourse to personalities, to repel, with becoming gravity and severity, attacks which would have proved harmless, had they proceeded from the camp of an open foe, but which are likely to do mischief when they emanate from the house of professed friends.
It would be alike unfair to Dr. Littledale and to his critics, were we to abstain from all notice of the circumstances under which this Lecture was delivered, and of the character in which the Lecturer avowedly appears before the public.
He tells us, in the commencement, that “a couple of years ago” the following enquiry was proposed to a friend : “ Why should all these newfangled ways of teaching and of conducting Church services be introduced, seeing that we got on very well without them for three hundred years ?” This enquiry Dr. Littledale resolved "some day” to answer. It took our lecturer, as be informs his audience, " ten years' steady and hard thinking to solve the problem to his own satisfaction;" and having, at length, accomplished his self-prescribed task, he appeared in the Assembly Rooms at Liverpool, in a capacity which we should shrink from representing in other than his own words. “I discharge,” writes Dr. Littledale, “the function of a counsel, bound indeed to allege no falsehood for my clients nor against their opponents, but in no way responsible for stating the case against myself.” (p. 4.)
Vol. 68.-10. 384.
It is no part of our business to reconcile the apparent discrepancies in Dr. Littledale's statement. We are anxious, however, to draw the attention of our readers to two points contained or involved in it. (1) Whether the lecture before us presents the bona fide results of “ ten years'” hard study, or of “ two;" or whether, by some extraordinary effort, Dr. Littledale has succeeded in condensing within the shorter period the results of labour and research which had previously occupied the longer ; in any case, we are entitled to expect that the arguments used in this Lecture shall be the best which the lecturer could adduce, and that the facts asserted in it shall be such as will bear the test of examination.
But (2), Dr. Littledale not only announces in his introductory remarks what his readers may reasonably expect to find in his Lecture; but further, he sounds a note of warning, which the Lecture itself more than justifies, as to what his readers may not expect to find in it. In other words, Dr. Littledale plainly proclaims that this object is not truth, but a party victory. He appears before his hearers not to disclose the plain and unvarnished results of his laborious investigations, but only to tell them what he has discovered therein which makes for his own side, and to repress all that is adverse.
Our readers will be prepared to believe that in this respect, at least, the lecturer has been faithful to his pledge. A single illustration, however, will serve at once to show that we have not misrepresented his intention, and that he has not broken faith with his audience.
We select for this purpose Dr. Littledale's defence of Innovation number x., viz. the use of Incense in the Services of the Christian Church, With exemplary candour, Dr. Littledale adduces the evidence of Dr. Hook, to the effect that Incense was unknown in the Christian Church previously to the time of Gregory the Great, who, as the lecturer continues, died in 604 A.D. When we recall to mind, however, that this date synchronizes, within a couple of years, with the supposed commencement of the 1260 years—in other words, with that development of the spirit of Antichrist which was foreseen and predicted by this very Gregory*—we can scarcely wonder at Dr. Littledale's anxiety to ascribe an earlier epoch to this cherished innovation of the school to which he belongs. He therefore announces, “ as a fact," that Incense “is mentioned by St. Hippolytus, who died A.D. 230.” (p. 13.) Dr. Littledale's readers might probably infer from this statement that the actual use of Incense, as a part of Christian worship, previously to the year 230 A.D., is “the fact” unequivocally attested; and further, that Hippo