Thursday, June 16, 2011

“then do we join Teraphim, when we rest not upon Scripture alone"

It is a very great and fearful evil for men in searching to know any thing of Gods mind, not to keep themselves to God's ways of knowledge, to God's own ordinances. It concerneth us much now this day. We are about inquiring the mind of God, that we may know it about matters concerning the Common-wealth, but more especially about Religion. I suppose there is none of us but will acknowledge that way that God hath appointed for the revealing of his will is the Scripture, that we must look into the Scripture, and seek to know God's mind there; that is good, but let us not join Teraphim with it; then do we join Teraphim, when we rest not upon Scripture alone, but search after rules of mans devising, and what will stand with our own carnal ends. The Lord may justly meet with us in wrath, if we presume to join our Teraphim with his Ephod. Pray that at this day where there is so much searching after God's mind, that those who are employed in it, may keep themselves to the Ephod, to the Scriptures, to that which is God's ordinance for the revealing of his mind, that they may not join the Teraphim, their own fancies and inventions of men with the Scriptures; so long as we keep to that rule, we may hope to do well enough; but if the Teraphim be joined with the Ephod, if any thing be joined with the Scriptures, though it may seem to be never so rational, we have cause to fear God will leave us.

We find this word Teraphim used sometime in Scripture for the image of any man: as 1 Sam. 19:13 when Michal took an image, and laid it to the bed instead of David, the word in the Hebrew is Teraphim: so when Rachel stole away her fathers images, the word is, she stole away her father's Teraphim, and some think they were her fathers Divining images, and that she did rather steal those then any others, because she would not have her father divine which way they were gone. Zachar. 10:2 it is said the idols have spoken vanity; the word is the Teraphim. By which we may see they were wont to ask of their idols about their successes. And sometime we find in Scripture that Idolatry is called by this name, as 1 Sam. 15:23 Stubborness is as idolatry, the word is, is as Teraphim.
—Jeremiah Burroughs, An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea