(The Second Commandment, p. 64.)
Tertullian's teaching agrees with that of Clement of Alexandria 1 and with all the Primitive Fathers. But compare the Trent Catechism, (chapter ii., quest. 17.)--"Nor let any one suppose that this commandment prohibits the arts of painting, modelling or sculpture, for, in the Scriptures we are informed that God himself commanded images of cherubim, and also of the brazen serpent, to be made, etc." So far, the comparison is important, because while our author limits any inference from this instance as an exception, this Catechism turns it into a rule: and so far, we are only looking at the matter with reference to Art. But, the Catechism, (quest. xxiii. xxiv.), goes on to teach that images of the Saints, etc. ought to be made and honoured "as a holy practice." It affirms, also, that it is a practice which has been attended with the greatest advantage to the faithful: which admits of a doubt, especially when the honour thus mentioned is everywhere turned into worship, precisely like that offered to the Brazen Serpent, when the People "burned incense to it," and often much more. But even this is not my point; for that Catechism, with what verity need not be argued, affirms, also, that this doctrine "derives confirmation from the monuments of the Apostolic age, the general Councils of the Church, and the writings of so many most holy and learned Fathers, who are of one accord upon the subject." Doubtless they are "of one accord," but all the other way.
See vol. II., p. 186, this series. ↩