On the Prohibition of Idol Worship


On the Prohibition of Idol Worship

Consider first, that the making or worshipping of any idol is also forbidden by this divine commandment, by which name is understood any image or other thing that is set up to be served or honoured as God, or with any part of divine honour. Because our God is a jealous God, and will not allow his honour to be given to any other. As to that kind of idolatry which consists in the setting up of stocks and stones, there is no great danger of Christians incurring any such guilt as this: because, as it was long ago foretold by the prophets, (Isaia ii. 18, & c.,) that kind of idol worship has for many ages been abolished in all nations where Christianity has been preached by the apostles and their successors, the pastors and teachers of the Catholic church. The idols that are more to be apprehended in these our days are of another kind, viz., those of wicked imaginations, errors, and heresies; framed not by the hands, but by the heads of proud, self-conceited men, deluded themselves, and seeking to delude as many others as they can, with the inventions of their own brain or the suggestions of Satan, which they set up and worship for divine truths, and father upon the word of God, in spite of the church of God and its authority, so strongly established and recommended by that divine word. Ah! Christians, beware of ever making to yourselves or bowing down yourselves to any such idols as these. But let the truth of God, promised you by the church of God, be ever the object and rule of your faith and worship.

Consider 2ndly,
the danger of another kind of idols, formed not by the brain, but by the disorderly affections of the heart, which too many, who call themselves Christians, daily prefer before the living God, and set up in opposition to him in his very sanctuary, that is in the temple of their own souls, which at their baptism was consecrated to God. 'Tis the case of all the proud and ambitions, who make idols of their worldly honours: 'tis the case of all the worshippers of Mammon, the great god of worldlings, and of all the lovers of pleasure more than of God. All these in the language of St. Paul are idolaters, because they all 'worship and serve the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed for ever,' Rom. i. 25. And thou, my soul, hast thou no share in this kind of idolatry? Are there no idols of this sort set up in thy inward house, to confront the living God? Is there no predominant passion or affection there which takes the place of God, by drawing thee to offend him? Alas, how often have the very meanest of worldly toys and vanities been preferred by thee before him! And as to that idol self, the continual object of the worship of self-love and self-will, art thou not daily sacrificing thy God and all things else to this insatiable monster? 'Tis well if thou art not.

Consider 3rdly
, that not only direct idolatry, but also all superstition, is forbidden by the first commandment. of this crime all those, in the first place, are highly guilty who seek any knowledge or cure, help or assistance, from the enemy of God and man, by making use of any such instruments or means as can have no effect of their own nature, or any otherwise than by his interposition. For in all these cases, there is a correspondence kept up, and a secret compact made with Satan or his agents, and consequently a high treason committed against the divine majesty. 2ndly, the guilt of superstition is likewise incurred by the observance of lucky and unlucky days, omens, dreams, & c. For all these are relics of paganism, and serve for nothing but to delude the soul, and lay her open to Satan; to take off her dependence from her God and his divine providence, and to transfer her faith to lying vanities and inventions of the devil. 3rdly, the guilt of superstition is also incurred by corrupting the truth of God's worship, by placing religion in certain empty things that have no tendency to his divine service, or to his greater glory, or by flattering one's self or others with an assurance of obtaining miraculous favours or salvation by the use or practice of any such things without any manner of warrant either of the word of God, or of the church of God. O beware, my soul of any such errors!

to renounce in practice every branch of idol worship and superstition. Cast out of the house of God which is within thee, every idol of the head and of the heart, and let the Lord Jesus reign without any rival in all the powers of thy soul. Have nothing to do with his enemy, nor with any of his inventions, nor suffer his worship to be vitiated with any mixture of falsehood and lies.