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the older churches, which had hitherto been exclusively devoted to proclaiming the glory of the risen Saviour. Now first, according to the chief historian4 of Christian art, the homage paid to the Virgin Mary was not to be distinguished from that rendered to the Lord of all.
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 enthroned, 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 Roman6 historians of the greatest repute have denounced as the most horribly corrupt, and the most barbarously ignorant, 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.
4 This verdict, however, as far as we * See the passages quoted from Car
ourselves hare observed, applies to the dinal Baronius, and others, in Mr.
ninth rather than to the eighth cen- Marriott's "Vestiarium Christianum,"
tury. Introduction, p. lxxxiii. Notes.
DR. LITTLEDALE ON INNOVATIONS.
Innovations: a Lecture, delivered in tlve Assembly Rooms, Liverpool, April 23rd, 1868. By Richard Frederick Littledale, LL.D., D.C.L., Priest of the Church of England. Oxford: A.R.Mowbray. London: Simphin,Marshall, and Oo. 1868.
Dr. Littledale owes hia 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 ou very well without them for three hundred years?" This enquiry Dr. Littledale resolved "some day" to answer. It took our lecturer, as he 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 tlie case against myself." (p. 4.)
Vol. 68.—No. 3SI. 6 B
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 ns presents the bond 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 12C0 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 tho school to which he belongs. He therefore announces, "a* 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 Hippolytus is, as unequivocally, the writer who attests it. They might, possibly, in the absence of any intimation to the contrary, surmise further that there was no conflicting evidence as to the use of Incense in the early ages of Christianity.
* Sou the Rov. E. B. Elliott's Hone Apocalypticaj, Vol. i. p. 401.
When, however, they are reminded of Dr. Littledale's announcement that, as a counsel retained for the defence of a particular cause, he is " in no way responsible for stating the case against himself," they will be the less surprised by the discovery of the following "facts," which somewhat detract from the value of the alleged testimony of Hippolytus; viz., (1) that the passage in question, when taken in connexion with the context, suggests the idea that Hippolytus is therein adopting the language of the Old Testament, by way of accommodation, and describing, metaphorically, those signs of general apostasy which shall characterise the last times; (2) that the passage, which occurs in cap. 34 of the Do Cons ammatione Mundi, is itself of doubtful authority; and (3) that Tertullian, and other early Christian writers, expressly deny the use of incense in their services in toto.
We have no intention of following Dr. Littledale through his defence of the twelve " Innovations" which he has selected for discussion, of which many are, in our judgment, in their own nature indifferent, and contested only by reason of their real or imaginary connection with Roman corruptions; whilst with regard to the defence of certain customs which, in the English Church, are identified exclusively with one extreme section of it, we venture to express our conviction that Dr. Littledale's friends have no great cause to congratulate themselves on the success of their champion. Lest, however, we should be deemed (not altogether, it may be, without reason) as other than impartial judges, it is but fair to Dr. Littledale, that we should give our readers some idea of the nature of the apology which he offers for " Innovations" which fall under the latter of these two categories. We observe, then, that our lecturer defends the use of lighted candles during the administration of the Holy Communion, on the ground that the Roman Catacombs being dark, the worshippers in them " must have had lights on the Altar at Mass, or they could not have seen" (p. 14); whilst " the Elevation of the Host" is, with equal confidence, ascribed to the earliest ages of Christianity, on the incontrovertible ground, that the learned lecturer "believes" that ho has already proved that ceremony to be " the antitype of the Jewish heave-offering." (p. 11.)
We refrain from further wearying our readers with this silly trifling with solemn things, the only excuse for which, on the part of the lecturer, must be sought in the manifest sincerity of his belief in the soundness of the advice which is contaiued in the following words: "Always win fools first. They talk much; and what they have once uttered, they will stick to."*
Lest, however, we should appear to evade the force of any argument in support of that class of "Innovations" which we have last noticed, for which a semblance of plausibility may be alleged, we will, at the -risk of becoming tedious, say a fewwords in reply to Dr. Littledale's defence of " Prayers for the Dead." We do so the rather, inasmuch as this practice has found, as is well known, abler defenders than Dr. Littledale; and the argument which he has urged in his Lecture, grounded upon the alleged use of such prayers in the ancient services of the Jews, has been urged much more forcibly by Mr. Plumptre, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, in an article which will be found under the head Synagogue.
Our limits will not admit of our entering upon the distinction between the belief and practice of the early Christian Church, with regard to the nature and extent of the communion which exists between the Church militant, and the Church triumphant, and the belief and practice of the Tridentine and post-Tridentine Church of Rome. "Prayer for the Dead," as Archbishop Usher well observes, in his "Answer to a Jesuit's Challenge," "as it is used in the Church of Rome, doth necessarily suppose Purgatory;" and we believe that we do Dr. Littledale no wrong when we infer, from his (almost blasphemous) assertion, that "it was kinder and more consistent to preach annihilation than to deny purgatory" (p. 35), that the "Prayer for the Dead" which he undertakes to defend is of the same description as that to which Usher alludes. Commending, then, to the perusal of those who wish to understand the difference in this respect between the creed of the early Christian Church and that of the modern Church of Rome, the chapters of Archbishop Usher's "Answer to a Jesuit," which treat respectively on "Purgatory" and "Prayer for the Dead," we proceed to observe that Dr. Littledale's argument, derived from the practice of ancient and modern Judaism, rests, as our readers will already have anticipated, on a total misconception of facts. Having first referred to 2 Maccabees xii., as a proof that prayers for the dead were used by the Jews 150 years B.c.,+ his argument is as follows: — On the opening of a Jewish Catacomb at Rome, a few years ago, inscriptions of an extremely early period, apostolic or sub-apostolic, were discovered, which consisted of prayers for the dead. "Similar prayers," the lecturer continues, "are used in the Jewish services of the present day." "So," he proceeds to argue, "our Lord and
* Short Essays, in Good Words for bees has not been proved to have been
September, 1869, p. 635. written before 70 A.c. We willingly
t Dr. Littledale ought to hare been concede, however, the probability that
aware that the second book of Maccn- it was written between 100—60 B.c.