Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Johnathan Edwards on external and imaginary ideas of Christ hanging on the cross

The external idea a man has now of Christ hanging on the cross, and shedding his blood, is no better in itself, than the external idea that the Jews his enemies had, who stood round his cross, and saw this with their bodily eyes. The imaginary idea which men have now of an external brightness and glory of God, is no better than the idea the wicked congregation in the wilderness had of the external glory of the Lord at mount Sinai, when they saw it with bodily eyes; or any better than that idea which millions of cursed reprobates will have of the external glory of Christ at the day of judgment, who shall see and have a very lively idea of ten thousand times greater external glory of Christ, than ever yet was conceived in any man’s imagination. Is the image of Christ which men conceive in their imaginations, in its own nature, of any superior kind to the idea the papists conceive of Christ, by the beautiful and affecting images of him which they see in their churches? Are the affections they have, if built primarily on such imaginations, any better than the affections raised in ignorant people, by the sight of those images, which oftentimes are very great; especially when these images, through the craft of the priests, are made to move, speak, weep, and the like? Merely the way of persons receiving these imaginary ideas, does not alter the nature of the ideas themselves that are received: let them be received in what way they will, they are still but external ideas, or ideas of outward appearances, and so are not spiritual.
~Johnathan Edwards, Religious Affections

A receiving a divine, invisible Saviour, that offers to save us by infinite power, wisdom, and mercy, and by very mysterious, supernatural works, is properly faith.
~Johnathan Edwards, REMARKS

Selections from the Unpublished Writings of Jonathan Edwards, of America

The following quote is from Jonathan Edward's annotations on passages of Scripture, which was published in Selections from the Unpublished Writings of Jonathan Edwards, of America (pages 84-85) (and can be read here thanks to Google Book Search):
53. Exod. xx. 3-7.] The three first commandments. The first commandment respects the object of worship; and especially forbids those things in worship that are against God the Father. The second commandment respects the means of worship; and especially forbids those things in worship that are against God the Son, that is should not be by other lords and mediators instead of Christ, the Lord our God, who is, as it were, the husband of His people, and is a jealous God, a jealous husband, that will not bear spiritual adultery. This commandment forbids our making use of other images in our worshipping God besides Christ, who is "the image of the invisble God, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person," by which image alone God makes known Himself and sets forth Himself, and shews His glory as the fit object of our worship; for we behold "the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The Heathen had images that they might have something present with them as representatives of the Deity that was absent; but Christ only is our Immanuel or "God with us." The third commandment forbids those things in worship that are especially against the Holy Ghost, even the unholy manner of worship. We ought, when we come to God to worship Him, to come by the Son, that we may come by right means; and we ought to come by the Holy Spirit, that we may worship with a right spirit and in a holy manner. These sins against the Holy Spirit are represented as peculiarly exposing persons to Divine vengeance without forgiveness, agreeable to what we are taught in the New Testament.
54. Exod. xx 4-"Any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above"]-i.e., the likeness of sun, moon, or stars, or any bird; [or "that is in the earth beneath"]-i.e., of any man, woman, beast, or creeping thing; [or "that is in the water under the earth"]-i.e. any fish. This interpretation is evident from Deut. iv 16-18. That the second commandment has respect to worshipping the true God by images see Deut. v. 7, 8.
Also,
73. Deut. v. 7, 8.] That this first commandment has respect to worshipping other gods ; but the second has respect to worshipping the true God by images, is confirmed by chap. iv. 16-18. The people were in danger of representing God by some image of bird or beast, or some other animal, because the Egyptians, that were a neighbouring nation, and a people among whom they had dwelt, represented all invisible things by images or hieroglyphics.

The Church-warder and domestic magazine and the Second Commandment

From The Church-warder and domestic magazine:

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT.

The end and design of the Commandments were to establish the principles of true religion, to be a rule for our obedience and for the practice of righteousness. The first commandment plainly reveals and determines the object of religion and of our worship, the eternal, immense, and all perfect Jehovah, whose glorious majesty no man can see and live. It is therefore utterly impossible to form any image that can represent His Person; and that no such fancy might ever enter into the imagination of man. He has at no time shown Himself: "Take good heed," says Moses, "unto yourselves for ye saw no manner of Similitude on the day that the Lord spake to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire; lest ye corrupt and make you a graven, image." St. Paul also, when he dexterously took advantage of the Athenians having greeted an altar to The Unknown God to preach to them the gospel, warned them that "the Lord of heaven and earth dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is He worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. . . . Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now [He] commandeth all men everywhere to repent."

The Second Commandment relates to and limits the manner of worship, and of the exercise and expression of it, that is, by images. But this the Church of Rome has hid from the eyes of her people by expunging God's second commandment; but as her people might hear that He had given ten commandments, that Church has divided the tenth into two, both to keep up the number and to delude the people with lying wonders. For this division she gives the following reason, "Because as the sixth command, which forbids the outward crime of adultery, is different from the seventh, which forbids to steal our neighbour's goods; so in like manner the ninth, which forbids the sin of desiring our neighbour's wife, is properly divided from the tenth, in which we are forbidden to covet his goods." [An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, &c., composed in 1549, by Rev. Henry Tuberville, D.D. of the English College of Douay: now revised by the Right Rev. James Doyle, D.D.,&c. Dublin: Coyne, 1828.]

But God Himself has strictly forbidden us to make any figure or representation either of Himself or of any created being, so as to worship either Himself by it or to bow down before it.

Our resemblance to God is not in our corporeal bodies but in our spiritual and rational faculties. How impious therefore must it be to represent His infinite perfections in the likeness of human flesh? Yet in the National Gallery there is a picture which is intended to represent the Trinity, in which God the Father is painted as a bald and grey-headed old man, who is looking down from the clouds on the other two persons, who are represented by a child and a dove. The idea itself is not new, for it is a copy from a painting that the Papists have cherished for centuries; and it is put up in the National Gallery in anticipation of their restoration to their former tyranny. And Dr. Tuberville [Catechism, p. 52.] justifies the practice of "painting God the Father as an old man;" "Because," he says, "He appeared to the prophet Daniel in the shape of an old man." They now everywhere offensively obtrude their idolatrous gear in order to accustom Protestant eyes and ears to their demonolertrous modes of worship. It is utterly unlawful to make any picture or representation of God the Father; and it is a national sin to suffer such a picture to be exhibited in a public and national institution. It is not altogether correct to make pictures of God the Son, even for ornament, because we can only at best paint from imagination, and then only His human appearance, His divine nature having been as invisible to His disciples as the soul of one man is to another: Besides His humanity is only adorable on account of his personal union with the divine nature, which cannot be expressed in a picture. A cross is a remembrance of our Saviour's passion, and is put ny St. Paul for the whole of the Christian faith. But a crucifix is a graven image, and as such is worshipped, not only by the ignorant multitude but by the Offices of the Papal Church. Upon Good Friday it is first veiled and then uncovered by degrees; and as each part is discovered, the priest says, "Behold the wood of the cross," and the people answer, "Let us worship," then both priest and people prostrate themselves and pay their adoration to the cross. Dr. Tuberville justifies this idolatry; and James Naclantus, bishop of Clugium, in an exposition of the epistle to the Romans, says, "That the faithful ought not only to worship before an image (as some perhaps out of caution speak), but to worship the Image itself without any scruple at all; and with the same sort of worship as the prototype or whom it represents." Without doubt this is the idolatry and superstition which constitutes the great predicted Roman apostacy, and is comprehended in the direct and formal charge of the Holy Spirit of rank and inveterate idolatry against the Western Church [Rev. ix. 20, 21]. And our own homilist says that, "being blinded by the bewitching of images, as blind guides of the blind, fell both into the pit of damnable idolatry."

There is therefore no doubt about the gross heathenish idolatry with which the Holy Spirit accuses the Roman Church, and of their daily practice and justification of it. But whosoever, says Christ, shall break the least of the commandments and shall teach men so shall be unworthy to be reckoned one of the members of His kingdom or one of the branches of His Catholic Church [St. Mat. v. 19]. Although we Protestants are not guilty of the same species of idolatry as the Papists are, and although, as a Church, we are altogether purged from every species of it, yet many individuals among us are unable as individuals to cast the first stone at the mother of harlots.

In St. Paul's judgment covetousness is idolatry, and likewise in our Saviour's, who warned his disciples to take heed and beware of covetousness. Although we do not, like the Papists, place our confidence in the Blessed Virgin, or on any of the saints who have been the lights of the world in their several generations; yet many, perhaps most, of us are too apt to place our hope and trust in the gold and silver of which images are made. Love, hope, trust, and confidence are those parts of internal worship which God requires from us, but which if we pay to riches and honours, we are as truly guilty of idolatry as if we fell down before an image of the Virgin and pray:—"O holy and glorious Virgin Mary, I commit my soul and body to thy blessed trust this night and for ever: especially in the hour of death, I commend to thy merciful charity all my hope and consolation, all my distress and misery, my life, and the end thereof; that by thy holy intercession, all my works may be directed according to the will of thy blessed Son."

St. Paul exhorts us to let our conversation be without covetousness, and to be content with such things as we have. It is therefore evident that we are guilty of this sin when we are discontented with our present enjoyments, and impatiently desire to have those things which we cannot lawfully obtain. Again he asserts that "they that will be rich [or are bent upon growing rich] fall into temptation [to forget God] and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts [by using unlawful means] which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the [inordinate] love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred [or have been seduced] from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows" even in this life. Under the inordinate love and eager pursuit of money, men will commit any sin in order to amass that wealth which they cannot carry with them to the grave. Each of the commandments of the second table of the Law is daily broken for the "love of money." Hence, in the Primitive Church, it was considered that covetousness comprehended all other sins; and even a heathen orator has decided that "there is no duty so holy or solemn, which covetousness will not impair and violate."

Although A Man possess all other virtues, yet if he be guilty of the idolatry of covetousness he cannot have treasure in heaven. "How hardly," said Christ, "shall they that have riches [that is, put their whole trust and confidence in them,] enter into the kingdom of God. ... It is easier for a camel lor perhaps for a cable] to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [trusting in and loving his riches] to enter into the kingdom of God." And St. Paul most decidedly says that "no covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." He means a man of such inordinate desires as a worshipper of graven images must be, can never be a true disciple of Christ, because although his lips may address God, yet his heart is worshipping mammon. St. James also pronounces a woe against those who have placed their whole affection upon wealth, and have heaped up treasure. And Christ himself says we cannot serve God and mammon.

All inordinate affection is another branch of this species of idolatry; and the apostle exhorts us to mortify, to resist, and to suppress every motion towards it. In our baptismal vows also we engage to crucify the fleshly inclinations with the affections and lusts. We may place our inordinate affection upon our husband or our wife, as the case may be, or on our sons or daughters, upon any person of the opposite sex for whom we may have conceived either a lawful or an unlawful attachment; upon favourite animals, dogs, cats, or horses, or, in short, upon any sublunary object.

Although we certainly eschew idols and are taught to abhor them, yet we may and most likely do commit sacrilege, and what may be called Heart-idolatry. We rob God of the honour and worship due unto Him, by covetous desires and inordinate affection for temporal objects. Whilst therefore we be careful not to split upon the Scylla of image-worship, let us also strive with more decided care not to be swallowed up in the Charybdis of covetousness and inordinate affections, which are also idolatry. Although this species of idolatry be alone practised by members of the Protestant Church, yet the Papists are equally guilty of this as of the other species of the same sin. May He therefore unto whom all hearts be open, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love Him and worthily magnify His holy name.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

John Woolley on the Second Commandment forbidding images of our Lord Jesus Christ

From A Catechetical and Practical Exposition of the Decalogue by John Woolley (rector of Athelhampton):

Q. May not our Lord Jesus Christ be represented by an image or picture?

A. He may not; for He is God Almighty, Infinite, and Eternal, of one substance with the Father.

Q. It is true that in respect of His Divine nature He is of one substance with the Father, but He is also man: may not an image or picture of His human nature be made?

A. By no means; because the two natures are inseparable, and His personality belongs properly and originally to His Divine nature; so that His human nature or substance without the Divine essence is not a person: whereas His Divine nature or essence constituted His individuality before His incarnation. Therefore, a picture of Christ must be either a picture of God or of no person whatever. And as the idea of personality is inseparably connected with every image or picture of the human form, every picture or image of Christ's human nature must be a picture or image of God; and to deny this is to maintain the heresy of Nestorius: therefore, it is contrary to this commandment to make or use a picture or image of our Lord God Jesus Christ.

Q. Have not Christians made images of God?

A. (1) In the first ages of the Christian Church no image or picture of Christ was made by orthodox Christians; and until the second or third century no picture or image was allowed to be placed in Churches, lest that which was worshipped should be painted upon the walls. (2) At length pictures were introduced for the sake of ornament; but this use of them was at first generally condemned. (3) When they began to be used religiously, great and general opposition was made to the use of them, which by degrees became weaker and weaker, till the worship of them became general. Pictures and images of God the Son were made and adored; afterwards, pictures of God the Father and of the Holy Spirit were made. Each Divine Person thus represented had His own peculiar features and characteristics. The Father was represented as an old man, the Son as a man of mature age, and the Holy Ghost as a youth. And those features and characteristics, presumptuously ascribed to the unchangeable God varied at different times, according to the caprice of the age and the skill of the artist!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

J. Vernon McGee on Pictures of Jesus and Idolatry

McGee on Deuteronomy 4:12,
The Lord Jesus stated it very clearly: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). People were never to have any likeness of God whatsoever. The Lord Jesus became a man, but the Bible does not give us any physical description of Him. Now you will probably think I am picayunish, if you haven't already come to that conclusion, but I do not believe in pictures of Jesus. I know that many lovely people feel that a picture of Jesus helps them to worship Him. Let me tell you what was said by an old Scottish commentator: "Men never paint a picture of Jesus until they have lost the presence of Him in their hearts." We need Him in our hearts today, not in color on a canvas. These are tremendous and eternal truths which God is giving us in this chapter. The instructions which were given to Israel in that day are great principles for us to carry over for ourselves today, because truth is eternal.
Download the audio of McGee's commentary on Deuteronomy 4:12-29 here.

The Scottish commentator McGee has in mind is Thomas Carlyle, who turned from the faith; Carlyle's observation is still perceptive though. From a footnote from a biography on Thomas Carlyle by John Morrow (Hambledon & London, 2006):
After viewing Holman Hunt's Life of Christ, Carlyle commented that he disliked 'all pictures of Christ: you will find that men never thought of painting Christ till they began to lose the impression of him in their hearts'; The Life of Thomas Carlyle (1881), p. 15.
Carlyle on the face of Christ as 'The Light of the World' by Holman Hunt (The London Quarterly and Holborn Review, Volume 105, p. 218):
Thomas Carlyle expressed his views with his usual frankness. 'You call that thing, I ween, a picture of Jesus Christ. It is a poor misshaped presentation of the noblest, the brotherliest, and the most heroic-minded Being that ever walked God's earth. Do you suppose that Jesus ever walked about bedizened in priestly robes and a crown, and with yon jewels on His breast, and a gilt aureole round His head? Ne'er crown nor pontifical robe did the world e'er give to such as Him.' Carlyle said he had a screen at home on which he had put the best portraits he could find of 'all the men that ever were on earth who have helped to make us something better than wild beasts of rapine and havoc; but that grandest of all beings, that Jesus of heavenly omens, I have no means whatever of raising up to my sight with any accredited form.'
McGee on Isaiah 40:18 (he uses Carlyle's observation again),
You and I know very little. All we know is what He has revealed in the Word of God, and I don't think He has told us everything. To begin with, we can't even comprehend what He has told us.

Isaiah is contrasting God to idols. "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" Look around you at the pictures of Him. Personally, I don't care for any pictures of Jesus because they are not pictures of Jesus. I don't become very popular when I say this. Stores that sell such pictures and people who are rather sentimental think I am terrible. But, my friend, we don't need pictures of Him. I agree with the old Scottish philosopher who said years ago, "Men never thought of painting a picture of Jesus until they had lost His presence in their hearts."
Download the audio of McGee's commentary on Isaiah 40:12-26 here.

McGee's sermon "What Does God Look Like?" (a slightly different text of the same sermon is available here) uses Carlyle's name this time. Also, McGee is quite clear in his denunciation of purported pictures of Christ, which, as McGee explains, is something hard to hear for modern "Protestants". Below is my transcript of the audio from the sermon:
May I say to you, God's warning is repeated again and again to His own people and He forbids us today to make an image. That is the thing that Paul said to the Athenians: God is not like these things made of silver and gold; He doesn't look like that at all. God is Spirit. God is Spirit and any likeness or representation of Him is wrong, whether it be a totem pole, an idol of Baal, or a statue of Zeus, or a sitting Buddha, or icons, or a plaster-of-paris saint. Those things are wrong! God says, "Make nothing that represents God."

Nineteen-hundred years ago God broke through into human history; He took upon Himself human flesh. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father."

Have you noticed? I cannot find in any one of the Gospels that there was born to Mary a nine-pound baby boy with blue eyes and light hair or brown eyes and dark hair. I can't find it. Pictures of Christ are not accurate. Oh, I know, Sallman's Head of Christ is a beautiful thing, the only thing is Christ didn't look like that.

Thomas Carlyle, that Scottish philosopher, said when men lose the image of Christ on their hearts, they start painting His picture! I'm sorry today—I'm not really being ugly. Now, I know that this won't go over with a great many people—especially if you run a Gospel bookstore—you won't like me now. I think it's wrong to use pictures of Christ today. "Oh," somebody says, "But, you know, I have a little altar and I've put a picture of Jesus up there, and I like to go and bow down before it." You're nothing in the world but an idolater. "Oh, yeah, but, I need that to help me." If you know Him as Saviour, you do not need that to help you. Now, I know that's not popular today. I was interested back at Winona Lake—I watched the bookstore there—I watched them 'cause they was selling my books. And I watch people, when they came in—you think they bought my books? Well they bought 'em—they bought all they had there. But the thing was that they bought twice as many of these little plaster-of-paris pictures of Christ. Some of them had mottos on them—some didn't. "But, oh, you've just gotta have a picture of Jesus!" How did He look? Would you tell me?

Isn't it interesting that nothing that was physical that was connected with Him has survived? God saw to that! I just well get it all off my chest this morning. Let me say something else. Somebody told me, said, you know, said "I went to Palestine and I went down there to the Garden Tomb, and it was so wonderful, I just got down on my knees and had a wonderful prayer." You mean you had to make a trip to Palestine to have a wonderful prayer? Now how do you know that's the spot? I'm not willing to take the word of another Church that 'here's where He was crucified' and 'here's where He was buried'—I don't think they know. The Lord got rid of all of that stuff! And I'm waiting today for a personally conducted tour! And my Lord is going to take me over there someday! And He says "Here McGee is where I was crucified! And here is where I was buried!" I'm waiting for that tour. I've lost your friendship now, haven't I?

Well, somebody needs to say these things today. We're developing a group of Protestants today that are running around looking for sacred spots and pictures and that sort of thing. Have you lost the Saviour?! Why do you have to have these things today? God is Spirit!
McGee on Romans 1:21-23,
Actually, idolatry is a cartoon of God; it is a slander and a slur against Him. Personally, I do not like to see pictures of Jesus, as Paul said that we know Him no longer after the flesh (see 2 Corinthians 5:16). He is the glorified Christ. He is not that picture you have hanging on your wall, my friend. If He came into your room, you would fall on your face before Him. He is the glorified Christ today. Don't slur our God by having a picture of Him!
Download the audio of McGee's commentary on Romans 1:21-23 here.

McGee against the effeminate Jesus of the Liberals (my transcription from his sermon The Eyes of Jesus):
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and he began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And he would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

He said this temple. We gave it to you in order that the nations of the world might come here and worship God. And what have you done? You've made it a regular counting house, you've made it a marketplace, you've made it a bazaar—that place that should be holy. And He drove 'em out. Why do you think they got out? Don't give me the ole' adage that they got out because of the fact that He said for them to get out. My beloved, they didn't leave their place of business that easy. They got out because, when they looked at Him, they knew He could put 'em out. And He could. And He did. O, if you could only have seen His eyes. May I say to you, He had eyes of compassion for the sinner. But I tell you He had eyes of condemnation for that which was phony and that which was false and that which was sham. And I think when we see this it will deliver us from thinking of Him in terms of weakness. Many pictures today reveal Jesus as rather effeminate. And the liberals today have touched up the picture. They've made him a real sissy. If I may use the common colloquialism of the street—I say to you this morning He was no milquetoast—He was no first century Ghandi. These pictures today and the way the liberal speaks of Him drips with honey and saccharin sweetness. And may I say to you, that kind of cheap sentimentality it's shabby, it's shoddy, it's shaggy, it's shallow, it's shifty, it's sloppy, it's slobbery, it's slimy, it's shady, and it's sickly. And if there are any other adjectives you can put them with it too, because I want to tell you—this One had eyes that could burn with anger for that which was wrong. We need that today. In Matthew 23, the harshest language that's recorded in the Bible is our Lord's condemnation of the religious rulers:

Ye Pharisees! Ye Scribes! Ye Hypocrites! Ye blind leaders of the blind! Ye generation of vipers! You make the outside of the cup clean, but inside you haven't even washed it. You're like a sepulcher white-stone and monument on the outside, but inside dead man's bones.

May I say, those are fightin' words! And you may be sure the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Scribes just didn't like it. Fact of the matter is, they finally nailed Him to the cross, because they did not like that. But may I say that even the glorified Saviour—and this is the thing that's the carryover—He still has eyes that are like a flame of fire. And when John who had reclined upon His bosom, John who had been so familiar with Him, John saw the glorified Christ on the Isle of Patmos. And among the tremendous pictures that we have of Him, one is His head and his hairs were white like wool—as white as snow—and His eyes were as a flame of fire. That's the picture of Him. His eyes are as a flame of fire. And you know where that picture is? That is the picture of Him walking among the lampstands—walking in the Church today. We got a lot of believers today that think—that is if they are believers—think they're getting by with it. My friend, you're getting by with nothing! He sees you! My God seeth me. And He sees you. And His eyes are as a flame of fire. When He's speaking to that church in Thyatira that had departed from Him in Revelation 2:18, He says:

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

That's His picture today. That doesn't end it all. That's for the saved, if you please. He intends to judge His own—not for salvation, but He intends to judge His own. Paul was disturbed about it. Very few believers are disturbed today. Paul says:

I'm afraid that when I preach to others I might be disapproved and, therefore, I discipline myself.

How many Christians make it a real business? It's a sideline with us today! If we feel just right and if the weather is just right, we'll go to church. But we never make a sacrifice for Him! I tell you, He sees you today! You think He is dead? O, what a surprise you gonna' have someday, when you're brought into His presence.
From McGee's book Love, Liberation & the Law:
Is God being unfair? Will He punish the children of sinning parents? Dr. G. Campbell Morgan gives a fine interpretation of this:
To pass on to children a wrong conception of God . . . is the most awful thing a man can do . . . When a man puts something, as the object of his worship, in the place of God, he passes on the same practice to his offspring. What a terrible heritage he is thus handing down to the child!
But notice the gracious promise standing side by side with the warning: . . . "Showing mercy unto a thousand generations of them that love Me, and keep My commandments."... Here is a remarkable comparison-God visits the iniquity to the third and fourth generation; but He shows mercy unto the thousandth generation! If a man will commit to his posterity a worship which is true, strong, whole-hearted, and pure, and will sweep away all that interferes between himself and God, he is more likely to influence for good the thousandth generation that follows him than a man of the opposite character is to touch that generation with evil.... Whenever a man stops short of that face-to-face worship of the Eternal God, he is working ruin to his own character, because he is breaking the commandment of God. (Morgan, The Ten Commandments, pp. 34, 35)
...
There are too may folk today who are supposed to be Bible teachers and preachers and witnesses for Him, even among the laity, who do not know the Word of God. I am sorry to say that, but it happens to be true. As a result of not knowing the Word of God, they don't really know God. It is necessary to know the Word of God in order to know Him.
From McGee's Questions and Answers program (link):
Q: How Did God Speak to Moses?
A: In the formulation of the canon of Scripture, God spoke in many ways. He spoke sometimes through an angel. He actually spoke sometimes through dreams; He spoke to Joseph by dreams. And sometimes He spoke audibly to the individual. I believe that on the top of Mount Sinai God spoke audibly to Moses. Moses couldn’t see anyone – God is a spirit, as you know. In fact, Moses finally asked! And when anyone says that Moses saw God, all he saw was the glory of God. God manifested His glory, and that glory was visible in the tabernacle. Those were the only people that ever have had a visible presence of God. Now the church does not have a visible presence. The Lord Jesus drew down the curtain on that. When He came, He laid aside His glory. When they talk about what it was the Lord Jesus emptied Himself of, it wasn’t His deity but His glory. The glory was not manifested at all. A lady told me recently she had a dream and the Lord Jesus stood at the foot of her bed and talked to her. I suggested to her that she probably ought to pay attention to what she had for dinner the night before, because He didn’t speak to her. I asked her, “What did He look like?” And she said, “Just like He does in all His pictures!” But the pictures we have of Jesus are not of Him but of some Italian in the Middle Ages who posed for the picture. Today God is speaking in His Word. But then He spoke many ways in getting His Word through to man, and one of them was to speak audibly as He did to Moses.