That Saint-worship was promoted by counterfeit writings under the name of antiquity. —That Image-worship and the idolatry of the Mass-god were advanced by the hypocrisy of liars. —This illustrated from several fabulous narrations. —A foul story made use of by the Second Council of Nice in the behalf of Image-worship.
The last particular of the hypocrisy of liars, I made to be counterfeit writings under the name of the first and best antiquity; St. Peter’s Liturgy, the Liturgy of St. James, of Matthew, of Mark, the Apostles’ Council at Antioch; foisted works under the names of Justin, Origin, Cyprian, Athanasius, and others, through which we need not doubt but the doctrine of demons was promoted, when we see some not ashamed still to maintain it by these counterfeit authorities.
Thus you see how the first-born and the most ancient part of the doctrines of demons, the deifying of saints and martyrs, was advanced by the hypocrisy of liars. The same you shall find to have been verified also in the advancing of the next-born demon changling, image-worship, and of the third, the idolatry of the mass-god; all brought in and established by the means and ways aforementioned. I need not spend time in historical allegations, they are well enough known; and —Primum in unoquoque genere est mensura
consequentium —by what I said of the first, you may judge of those which follow; yet for images, I will tell you a story or two for a taste.
Bale, our countryman, (Script. Illust. Britan. Cent. 1. c. 91, 99,) relates, that about the year 712, one Egwin of Worcester published in writing certain revelations, yea, express visions he had seen, wherein he was enjoined to set up in his diocese of Worcester the image of the blessed Virgin, for the people to worship; which Pope Constantine the First having made him confirm by oath, not only ratified by his Bull, but caused Brithwald, the Archbishop, to hold a council of the whole clergy at London, to commend them to the people.
In that idolatrous Council, the second of Nice, one of their proofs, among many other the like, for worshipping of images, is a tale (quoted out of I know not what Sophronius) of a certain recluse, who using to worship an image of the Virgin Mary holding Christ in her arms, had been a long time tempted by the Devil to fornication; whereat on a time, the old man being much aggrieved, the Devil visibly appearing, told him in plain terms, but under an oath of secrecy, that he would never cease to vex him, until he left worshipping the image of the blessed Virgin. The monk, notwithstanding the Devil had made him swear by the Most High he would tell nobody, yet acquaints one Abbot Theodore with the business, who not only allows of his perjury in revealing it, but gives him this ghostly
advice.* “It were better he frequented all the stews (brothels) in the city, than not to worship Christ and his Mother in an image.” I am afraid some of this monk’s successors still observe this wholesome counsel.
I must tell you also some of the miracles and lies for laying the foundation of transubstantiation, and thence advancing the idol of the mass. A certain monk reports that “he saw Jesus Christ in form of a child sitting upon the altar.” Another saith, yea more than one, that “Witikind, King of the Saxons, entering disguised into a church, and diligently observing the Christians’ fashion of receiving the communion, saw them put a little pretty smiling boy into their mouths.” These wonders, and other the like, of apparitions of flesh and blood, began not till about the end of the eight hundredth year. But that they may seem more ancient, Simeon Metaphrastes, hath a forged legend of Arsenius the Hermit; and somebody counterfeited the life of St. Basil, under the name of Amphilochius his companion, which now they begin to be ashamed of. And for fear the people might suspect that these were illusions, they keep you some of the flesh and blood which was transubstantiated for a monument in many churches. Beside these apparitions, to make all complete,
they tell us of “a hive of bees seen in St. Gervais’ monastery in Paris, that built a chapel of wax in honor of the host, which somebody put into their hive: and a miracle of an ass that left his provender to worship the host,” and many other the like. But I have staid too long amongst them; and, therefore, let this be the conclusion of the hypocrisy of liars, that we may pass on to what is yet behind.