Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Worst New Year's Gift

The sentiments of Queen Elizabeth (whom no one will accuse of puritanism), with respect to images, were most decided. The scene between her and Dean Nowell has become most curiously detailed by an eye and ear witness. She applied herself to the unfortunate dignitary in right earnest, and the mixture of character, the combination of scolding-wife and angry-queen temper exhibited by her, renders the dialogue singularly amusing.

'The Dean, having gotten from a foreigner several fine cuts and pictures, representing the stories and passions of the Saints and Martyrs, had placed them against the Epistles and Gospels of their festivals in a Common-Prayer book. And this book he had caused to be richly bound, and laid on the cushion for the Queen's use, in the place where she commonly sat, intending it for a New Year's Gift to her Majesty, and thinking to have pleased her fancy therewith; but it had not that effect, but the contrary: for she considered how this varied from her late open injunctions and proclamations against the superstitious use of images in churches, and for the taking away all such reliques of popery. When she came to her place she opened the book and perused it, and saw the pictures; but frowned and blushed ; and then shut it (of which several took notice), and calling the verger, had him bring her the old book, wherein she was formerly wont to read. After sermon, whereas she was wont to get immediately on horseback, or into her chariot, she went straight to the vestry, and applying herself the Dean, thus she spoke to him:

Queen. Mr. Dean, how came it to pass that a new Service-book was placed on my cushion? To which the Dean answered—

Dean. May it please your Majesty, I caused it to be placed there. Then said the Queen—

Q. Wherefore did you so?

D. To present your Majesty with a New Year's Gift.

Q. You could never present me with a worse.

D. Why so, Madam?

Q. You know I have an aversion to idolatry; to images and pictures of this kind.

D. Wherein is the idolatry, may it please your Majesty?

Q. In the cuts resembling angels and saints; nay, grosser absurdities, pictures resembling the Blessed Trinity.

D. I meant no harm; nor did I think it would offend your Majesty, when I intended it for a New Year's Gift.

Q. You needs must be ignorant then. Have you forgot our proclamation against images, pictures, and Romish reliques in the churches? Was it not read in your deanery?

D. It was read. But, be your Majesty assured, I meant no harm when I caused the cuts to be bound with the Service-book.

Q. You must needs he very ignorant to do this after our prohibition of them.

D. It being my ignorance, your Majesty may the better pardon me.

Q. I am sorry for it, yet glad to hear it was your ignorance, rather than your opinion.

D. Be your Majesty assured, it was my ignorance.

Q. If so, Mr. Dean, God grant you His Spirit, and more wisdom for the future.

D. Amen, I pray God.

Q. I pray, Mr. Dean, how came you by these pictures? Who engraved them?

D. I know not who engraved them. I bought them.

Q. From whom bought you them?

D. From a German.

Q. It is well it was from a stranger. Had it been any of our subjects, we should have questioned the matter. Pray let no more of these mistakes, or of this kind, be committed within the churches of our realm for the future.

D. There shall not.
—Strype's Annals, vol. i. pp. 272, 274.

Interesting to note that Dean Nowell's Catechism opposed such images (See p. 122-126): http://books.google.com/books?id=n4wUbx8fisAC

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Leonard Ravenhill on Pictures of Christ

I do not have any pictures of Christ in my home, because I don't think you should make any likeness, any graven image. And nobody knows what Christ was like. You see pictures of Jesus as a baby. You seem him as a young man. You see him, sometimes, on the back of an animal riding into Jerusalem. But there's a picture I've only ever seen once and it was so grotesque I didn't look a second time. At the voice of the Son of God they're all going to rise and face the eternal Judge. What will He be like? In Australia they show me the picture that they have. Beachcroft or somebody painted a picture of Christ in Australia. He's got lovely blond hair and bright blue eyes and a lovely flaxen beard. Well, I don't think that was a picture of Jesus. And the Chinese have an interpretation of Christ through their artists. And there are some dreadful pictures I think, that have been given by the "great masters" so-called. And they've given us pictures of Jesus, but I'll tell you what: it's a very different picture in the word of God. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ needs a new revelation of the majesty of God! This is what? This is the King of kings and He's the Judge of judges and He's the Tribunal of tribunals! And there's no court of appeal after it; the verdict is final. There will be no bias judgment. Two people at least have said to me this week 'There is no justice in the earth today!'—maybe there isn't, but I hang on a word that says "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). The Apostle Paul got a picture of Jesus; not with a lamb in His arms, not like the stained glass windows in our so-called cathedrals, where Jesus looks pathetically feminine! He sees Jesus and he says, here He is, He is the King immortal, invisible, the only wise God, to whom be praise and glory forever. So, we're going to see the King of Kings. He's the Judge of judges in the Court of courts. In the final tribunal—there is no tribunal after this—this is finish. And when I hear people singing, you know, 'put your hand in the hand of him that walks on the water'—forget it. Or the new song that's out, 'shake hands with Jesus'—listen, when you see Jesus you're not going up and say, 'Hey, buddy, I'm glad you died for me'. When you see Jesus you'll be almost paralyzed with fear, unless you have a glorified body and a glorified mind! Who is writing the book? This is a revelation to a man on an island—on a devil's island—the worst place, the gathering of the scum of the Earth. And here he is. And if you had gone to him that morning and had seen him sitting on a rock contemplating, you might have said to him, 'Well, John, I didn't expect to find you in this hell-hole, with all these demon possessed men. And here you are in the isle of Patmos'. He says, 'No, I'm not'. 'Where then are you?' He says, 'I'm in the Spirit'. He was in the Spirit when this enormous revelation was given to him. The picture of Jesus here is not the picture of a pathetic individual pushed around by anybody who want to push Him around. I think sometimes we think we're going to march up and say, 'Well, you know Jesus, do you know how many years I served you, and how many souls I won for you, and how many sermons I preached for you?' Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Well what will He be like in Heaven? Well, I'll tell you what the Book says He'll be like: he says His hair is as white as snow, His feet are like burnished brass, His face is like the Sun in its strength, His eyes are living coals of fire, His tongue is a sharp two-edged sword—and here is John, who use to lean his head on the bosom of Jesus and hear that divine heartbeat—the man that I believe knew more about Jesus than anyone else—and when he saw Jesus there on His throne in His majesty, with His face brighter than the Sun, with His feet like burnished brass, with His eyes like flames of fire, with His tongue majestic and His voice like the sound of many waters—John, the man who had walked with Him and talked with Him for three years, says that "When I saw Him, I fell down at His feet as dead." (Rev. 1:17) What do you think you and I are going to do?
~Leonard Ravenhill, The Judgment Seat of Christ (video) (audio)

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Orthodox Catechism on Idolatry and the Second Commandment

From Baptist minister Hercules Collins' An Orthodox Catechism (a Baptist adaption of the Heidelberg Catechism):
Q. 105 What is idolatry?
A. Idolatry is having or inventing something in which one trusts in place of or alongside of the only true God, who has revealed himself in his Word.1
1 Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8-9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19

Q. 106. What is the Second Commandment?
A. Thou shalt make to thee no graven Image, nor the Likeness of any thing which is in Heaven above, or in he Earth beneath, nor in the Waters under the Earth: thou shalt not bow down to them,nor worship them, for I the Lord thy God and a jealous God, and visit the sins of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate me, and shew Mercy to thousands of them which love me, and keep my Commandments. 

Q. 107 What is God's will for us in the second commandment?
A. That we in no way make any image of God1 nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word.2
Deut. 4:15-19; Isa. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:22-23

Lev. 10:1-7; 1 Sam. 15:22-23; John 4:23-24  

Q. 108 May we then not make any image at all?
A. God can not and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Although creatures may be portrayed, yet God forbids making or having such images if one's intention is to worship them or to serve God through them.1
Ex. 34:13-14, 17; 2 Kings 18:4-5

Q. 109 But may not images be permitted in the churches as teaching aids for the unlearned?
A. No, we shouldn't try to be wiser than God. He wants his people instructed by the living preaching of his Word—1not by idols that cannot even talk.2

Rom. 10:14-15, 17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19

Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20

Friday, November 22, 2013


A thing that greatly surprises and shocks English and American visitors in Venice, is to find in so many of its churches, statues and images, as well as pictures, of the Madonna and child. The images, which cause the deepest feeling of revulsion and even disgust, consist of the form of a woman dressed up in old faded bits of silk, ribbons and laces, and having an abundance of tinsel ornaments about her, and a glittering crown with seven stars on her head, and a mock sceptre in her hand; whilst on her knee sits her babe similarly gotten up, but generally without the crown and sceptre. These 'idols' are perfectly hideous, and yet they are set up on thrones in prominent parts of the churches, and oftentimes on side altars, and sometimes even on the chief altar itself. Generally beside them is a box into which you are invited to put money to save your soul, and the souls of your friends, by having prayers said to the "Mother of God." The whole thing is repulsive, not only to one's sense of religion, but to one's common intelligence.

These images are only a sign of the wide extent to which Mariolatry has spread in the Church of Rome, and of the desire of those in authority to maintain it, and to extend it still further. I have noticed that in churches it is often only the chapel of Mary that has any worshippers, and it is only her image that is kissed and adored, and it is at her altar that masses are most frequently said. To a large extent modern popery in continental countries is Mariolatry. This is the idolatry that has supplanted the worship of God and of Jesus. And there is a tendency to spread Mariolatry wherever Romanism exists, and many ritualists in Protestant churches second their efforts. Dr. Vaughan went through the farce the other day of dedicating England to her, and many Romanizing clergymen have set up her image and superscription in their churches. In view of these things it may be worth while to ask and answer these two questions. (1) How did Mariolatry begin? and (2) Who is mainly responsible for its present increase?

These questions I purpose answering briefly in this paper.

1. Mariolatry began, strange to say, in something that was done in the fifth century in honor not of Mary, but of Christ. Early in that century pictures of the Madonna and child, such as everyone is familiar with in the present day, began to be made. This was intended to show that Jesus Christ was divine in his nature, and that therefore even as a babe he was worthy of receiving worship. The device was thought of in order to protest against, and controvert, the heretical opinion that Christ only differed from other men in having received the Divine Spirit in more abundant measure. The intention was good, and the pictures may, for a time, have served the purpose of their inventors, but by and by, not only did they fail in this, but they served the very opposite purpose. Worship began to be transferred from the babe to the mother, from Jesus to Mary. In the eleventh century we find the Church of Rome appointing a canonical service in honor of Mary; in the fourteenth, Popes and Councils making bulls and decrees for the regulation of her worship; in the sixteenth, the Jesuits came upon the scene, who devoted themselves to the extension of Mariolatry.

Thus it began and has flourished down the centuries to our own day, when it has monopolized worship in the Roman Church almost completely. During the last fifty years the spread and growth of this idolatry, has been more marked than during any previous period in its history.

2. Pope Leo XIII is mainly responsible for this. The Pope not very long ago issued an Encyclical Letter on Mariolatry, which if one had been told only of its existence, and had not seen it, would have seemed incredible. The letter is entitled "De Rosario Mariali,'' "concerning the Rosary of Mary," and it is addressed to the Primates, Archbishops, shops and others in connection with the Apostolic See. I give only a part of it, and follow the translation that was given in the Anglican Church Magazine. The letter begins:
As often as the occasion permits me to rekindle and augment the love and devotion of Christian people towards the great Mother of God I am penetrated with a wondrous pleasure and joy! dealing with a subject which is not only most excellent in itself, and blessed to me in many ways, but is also in tenderest accord with my inmost feelings. For indeed, the holy affection towards Mary, which I imbibed almost with my mother's milk, has vigorously increased with growing years, and become more deeply rooted in my mind. The many and remarkable proofs of her kindness and good will towards me, which I recall with deepest thankfulness, and not without tears, kindle and inflame more and more strongly my responsive affection. For in the many varied and terrible trials that have befallen me, I have always looked up to her with eager and imploring eyes: all my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, have been deposited in her bosom, and it has been my constant care to entreat her to show to me a mother's kindness, to be always at my side, and to grant especially that I, on my part, may be enabled to manifest toward her the proofs of the most devoted love of a son. When, then, it was brought about that I should be raised to this Chair of the Blessed Peter, to rule his Church, I strove in prayer with more ardent desire for divine assistance, trusting in the maternal love of the blessed virgin. And this my hope (my heart delights to tell it) throughout all my life, has never failed to help and console me. Hence under her auspices and with her mediation I am encouraged to hope for still greater blessings. It is, therefore, right and opportune to urge all my children to set apart carefully the month of October to the celebration of our lady and august queen of the Rosary, with the more lively exercises of piety.
For when we betake ourselves in prayer to Mary, we betake ourselves to the mother of mercy, well disposed toward us, that whatever trials we may be afflicted with, she may lavish on us the treasure of that grace, which from the beginning was given to her in full plenty from God. Therefore, let us not approach Mary timidly or carelessly, but pleading those maternal ties wherewith she is most closely united with us through Jesus, let us piously invoke her ready help, in that method of prayer which she herself has taught us, and accepts.
I desire to conclude this present exhortation, as I began it, by again and with greater insistence, testifying the feelings which I cherish toward the great parent of God, mindful of her kindness, and full of the most joyful hope. Our hope in Mary, our mighty and kind Mother, grows wide, day by day, and ever beams upon us more brightly. 
Such is the gist of this encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII. He claims to be the Vicar of Christ, but here he avows himself to be a worshipper of Mary, and talks irrationally and blasphemously about her. And yet considered neither a bad man, as Popes, go, nor a man lacking in intelligence. But there is such a thing as a man and a Church so rejecting truth and propagating falsehood, so professing to be spiritual and living carnal, so trading and trafficking in a lie, that God gives them over to strong delusion, so that they believe a lie.

What a pity it is that so many Protestants talk with vated breath of His holiness. The Church of Rome needs the gospel as any Pagan institution does. In Italy also this is recognized, and Italians are accepting the Bible as they did not and could not do formerly, and having put off a system which was external to them, consisting of rites and ceremonies, of meats and drinks, are puttting on that which enters into their hearts and lives, and consists of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

~REV. ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, VENICE. The Church at Home and Abroad, Volumes 15-16

Sunday, November 17, 2013

William Craig Brownlee on making images of Christ

It is impossible to represent in visible materials, the invisible God. Every image of this nature, does represent the Deity infinitely different from what he is. Hence these images are designated by divine inspiration, "a Lie." For they utter the most glaring, and most pernicious Falsehood, that can possibly be conceived. Rom. i. 25. "They changed the truth of God," the true representation of the infinite and omnipresent one, "into a lie, and worshipped, and served the creature, more than the Creator."

But you insist on making, and adoring images of Christ: and you carry this into practice to such an extent, that these images, and those of the Madonna and the child, are as numerous in your chapels as the Jupiters, and Venus, with her Cupids, were in the pagan temples of old. Now, any image you can make of Christ, must exhibit an imaginary countenance, and features; no man, or church on earth, has retained his true likeness. As portraits, or statues of him, therefore, what you show off, are actually mere fictions; mere impositions; and they are, like all idols, a lie. Besides, no christian in his sound senses ever did, or ever will worship the manhood of Jesus Christ. We worship him exclusively, and only, as "The eternal Son of God," or "the Great God our Savior." And in this character, in which we do worship him, no image, no painting, no similitude, ever can be made of him. A few rude materials of straw and dust, can never represent the invisible, eternal, and omnipresent Deity! To worship an image of a man, which you are pleased, without reason, or propriety, to style a "Christ," is the grossest idolatry! And according to the above argument, it is doubly "a lie." First, as to his manhood: and second, as to his Godhead! Hence our answer to your vulgar reason, in behalf of using images,—namely, that they are "picture books,"—"the instructive books," to lead and guide the illiterate and vulgar into truth:—"and that they exhibit, at one view, what it would take volumes to express." Yes! they are the illiterate man's picture books: but they mislead, and impose on him most scandalously. They are the infamous tools of a reckless pagan priestcraft, to crush intellect, reason, knowledge, piety, and if possible, the pure christian religion! Yes!—"They are the books of the unlearned." And be it so:—but whoever saw a man in his senses, fall down, and worship, and pray to "his books," out of which he was reading!
~William Craig Brownlee

The Worship of the Virgin Mary and of the Popes of Rome

At ROME, in almost every shop or dwelling is to be found an image of the blessed Virgin with an infant Saviour, before which the devout will seldom pass without saluting them with respect; and many a poor artisan would rather go to bed supperless, than not have wherewith to purchase oil for the lamp of his Madonna. ["Baron Geramb's Journey from La Trappe to Rom." p. 224.] During Christmas, the shrines and images of the Virgin are serenaded, generally by Calabrian peasants. Dr. Moore, in his "View of Society and Manners in Italy," has recorded an anecdote in reference to these serenades, which shows how readily adoration, through images, become direct image-worship. He says:—

"Here it is a popular opinion that the Virgin Mary is very fond, and an excellent judge, of music. I received this information on a Christmas morning, when I was looking at two poor Calabrian pipers, doing their utmost to please her and the infant in her arms. They played for a full hour to one of her images, which stands at the corner of a street. All the other statues of the Virgin, which are placed in the streets, are serenaded in the same manner every Christmas morning. On my inquiring into the meaning of the ceremony, I was told the above-mentioned circumstances of her character. My informant was a pilgrim, who stood listening with great devotion to the pipers. He told me, at the same time, that the Virgin's taste was too refined to have much satisfaction in the performance of these poor Calabrians, which was chiefly intended for the infant; and he desired me to remark that the tunes were plain, simple, and such as might naturally be supposed agreeable to the ear of a child at his time of life."- (Vol. ii. pp. 77, 78.)

Such is the popular belief. But how completely does it discard all real reference to HIM who is thus represented! who is not now, as more than eighteen hundred years ago, an infant: but, having suffered for our sins, has "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. i. 3, 4.) How completely does this representation of Christ, as an infant of days, keep out of view the great work of the atonement, and promote the error of applying to his mother as a mediator, having authority over him. ["The spirit of Popery...in Letters from a Father to his Children," p. 212. London: 1810. Though chiefly designed for the young, these ably written letters may be advantageously read by students of a larger growth; nor do we know a more useful present which can be made to youth, who are about to visit countries where Popery is dominant, in order to forewarn them against its seductive witchery.]
~Thomas Hartwell Horne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hartwell_Horne), The Worship of the Virgin Mary and of the Popes of Rome. via The Quarterly Review of the American Protestant Association

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thomas Ridgley on the unlawfulness of representing any of the Persons in the Godhead

It must be inquired whether it be unlawful to represent any of the persons in the Godhead, by pictures or carved images? We answer, that, God being infinite and incomprehensible, it is impossible to frame any image like him. [Isaiah 40:18; 46:5; Acts 17:29] Moreover, he assigns as a reason why Israel should make no image of him, that 'they saw no manner of similitude when he spake to them in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire;' and adds, 'lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image.' [Deuteronomy 4:15, 16] And the apostle styles the representing of God by an image, an offering the highest affront to him, when he speaks of some who 'changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.' [Romans 1:23] But there are some who, though they do not much care to defend the practice of making pictures of God, yet plead for describing an emblem of the Trinity, such as a triangle, with the name Jehovah in the midst of it. Now, I would observe concerning this practice, that if the design of it be to worship God by the emblem, it is idolatry; but if not, it is unwarrantable, and, indeed, unnecessary; since a Trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence, is to be understood as revealed in scripture, and not brought to our remembrance by an emblem, which is an ordinance of our own invention. It is farther inquired whether we may not describe our Saviour, as he sometimes is by the Papists, in those things which respect his human nature? whether we may not portray him as an infant in his mother's arms, or as conversing on earth, or hanging on the cross? The Papists not only describe him thus, but adore the image or representation of Christ crucified, which they call a crucifix. But whatever of Christ comes within the reach of the art of man to delineate or describe, is only his human nature, which is not the object of divine adoration; so that the practice of describing him in the way mentioned tends rather to debase, than to give us raised and becoming conceptions of him as such.
~Thomas Ridgley, A Body of Divinity, wherein the doctrines of the Christian religion are explained and defended: being the substance of several lectures on the Assembly's Larger catechism

The ineffectual image of Jesus as a baby

Babylon had systematized idolatry. Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis, instated a great system of idolatry. At his death, Nimrod was deified as the sun god, and Semiramis thereupon inaugurated the worship of a trinity-father, mother, and son. After her death she was venerated as "Queen of Heaven," and the sun-god came to be regarded as her child. Thus, mother and son became the prominent deities.

Satan, anticipating the incarnation of the Son of God, and the time when the seed of the woman would bruise his head, initiated the worship of mother and child with a view to nullifying the redemptive work of God through Christ.

Satan is trying to give the ineffectual image of Jesus as a baby or dead on a cross instead of as our risen Saviour.
~W.E. Vine

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Mistaken Christ

He [Christ] died not only for our justification, but sanctification also. There are two main reasons why the death of Christ hath so little effect upon us—either he is a forgotten Christ or a mistaken Christ. 
[1.] Men do not consider the ends for which he came: 1 John iii. 5, 'He was manifested to take away our sins.' He came to give his Spirit to miserable sinful man to sanctify and cleanse him, and fit him for the service and enjoyment of God. Now things that we mind not do not work upon us. The work of redemption Christ hath performed without our minding or asking. He took our nature, fulfilled the law, satisfied the Lawgiver, and merited grace for us, without our asking or thinking. But in applying this grace he requireth our serious consideration: Heb. iii. 1, 'Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.' And our faith: John xi. 26, 'Believest thou that I am able to do this for thee?' Our asking: John iv. 10, 'If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldst have asked, and he would have given thee living water.' Acceptance of him to these ends: John i. 12, 'To as many as received him,' &c. 
[2.] But the other is a greater evil, a mistaken Christ; when we make use of him only to increase our carnal security and boldness in sinning, as if God were more reconcilable to sin than he was before, because of Christ's dying for sinners. Now this is a great fault; for— 
(1.) Thereby you make Christ a minister, an encourager of sin; which is a blasphemy to be abhorred by all Christians: Gal. ii. 17, 'But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.' 
(2.) You set up Christ against Christ, an imaginary Christ, or an idol of your own making, against the true Christ, who came by water and blood. Not by blood only: 1 John v. 6, 'This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood;' and 'He bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye are healed,' 1 Peter ii. 24. You set his death against the ends of his death, and run from and rebel against God, because he came to redeem you, and recover you to God. 
(3) You separate between his benefits, and only cull out that part which suiteth most with your self-love. You have natures to be healed, as well as your peace to be made: Isa. liii. 5, 'But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.' They that seek holiness from the Redeemer have a more spiritual affection to him. The guilt of sin is against our interest, but its power against that subjection and duty we owe to God. Christ's work is not only to ease our conscience, but free our hearts from slavery, that we may serve God with more liberty and delight. 
(4.) If you do not mind holiness, you defeat your Redeemer of his end, and seek to put him to shame: 1 John iii. 8, 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.' To cherish what he came to destroy is vile ingratitude. 
(5.) If you slight holiness, it argueth lessening thoughts of Christ's merit. Christ thought it of such value as to offer himself a mediatorial sacrifice to procure it. Our respect to Christ's blood is judged by the respect we have to the benefits purchased thereby. The two great benefits are the favour of God and the image of God. He that preferreth corruptible things before the favour of God hath no esteem of Christ's merit; and he that doth not esteem the image of God, which standeth in righteousness and true holiness, doth not esteem the blood of Christ: 1 Peter i. 18, 19, 'Forasmuch as ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of the Son of God.'
—Thomas Manton

3. That they do not aright improve the death of Christ that seek comfort by it, and not holiness. He died not only for our justification, but sanctification also. There are two reasons why the death of Christ hath so little effect upon us; either he is a forgotten Christ, or a mistaken Christ. A forgotten Christ: men do not consider the ends for which he came: 1 John iii. 5, 'Ye know that he was manifested, to take away our sins;' and ver. 8, 'To this purpose was the Son of God manifested, to destroy the works of the devil;' to give his Spirit to sinful miserable man. Now things that we mind not do not work upon us. The work of redemption Christ hath performed without our minding or asking; he took our nature, fulfilled the law, satisfied the lawgiver, merited grace without our asking or thinking; but in applying this grace, he requireth our consideration: Heb. iii. 1, 'Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession.' Our faith: 'Believest thou that I am able to do this for thee?' Our acceptance: John i. 12, 'To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sous of God.' But the other evil is greater, a mistaken Christ; when we use him to increase our carnal security and boldness in sinning, and are possessed with an ill thought, that God is more reconcilable to sin than he was before, and by reason of Christ's coming there were less evil and malignity in sin, for then you make Christ a minister and encourager of sin: Gal. ii. 17, 'For if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore the minister of sin? God forbid!' You set up Christ against Christ, his merit against his doctrine and Spirit; yea, rather you set up the devil against Christ, and varnish his cause with Christ's name, and so it is but an idol-Christ you dote upon. The true Christ ' came by water and blood,' 1 John v. 6; 'Bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, being dead unto sin, should live unto righteousness,' 1 Peter ii. 24. And will you set his death against the ends of his death? and run from and rebel against God because Christ came to redeem and recover you to God? Certainly those weak Christians that only make use of Christ to seek comfort, seek him out of self-love; but those that seek holiness from the Redeemer have a more spiritual affection to him. The guilt of sin is against our interest, but the power of sin is against God's glory. He came to sanctify us by his holiness, not only to free our consciences from bondage, but our hearts, that we may serve God with more liberty and delight. This was the great aim of his death: Titus ii. 14, 'He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' Thus did Christ, that the plaster might be as broad as the sore; we lost in Adam the purity of our natures, as well as the favour of God, and therefore he is made sanctification to us, as well as righteousness, 1 Cor. i. 30.
—Thomas Manton

Well, then, let us see if we be guilty of this sin: 'Take heed,' saith the apostle, Heb. iii. 12, 'lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.' Many have an unbelieving heart when they least think of it. It is easy to declaim against it, but hard to convince men of it, either of the sin or of lying in a state of unbelief; it is the Spirit's work, 'The Spirit shall convince of sin, because they believe not in me,' John xvi. 9. There are many pretences by which men excuse themselves, some more gross, others more subtle. Many think that all infidels are without the pale, among Turks and heathens. Alas! many, too many, are to be found in the very bosom of the church. The Israelites were God's own people, and yet 'destroyed because they believed not.' Others think none are unbelievers but those that are given up to the violences and horrors of despair, and do grossly reject or refuse the comforts of the gospel; but they are mistaken; the whole word is the object of faith, the commandments and threatenings as well as the promises; and carelessness and neglect of the comforts of the gospel is unbelief, as well as doubts and despairing fears: Mat. xxii. 5, 'But they made light of it.' He is the worst unbeliever that scorns and slighteth the tenders of God's grace in Christ as things wherein he is not concerned. Briefly, then, men may make a general profession of the name of Christ, as the Turks do of Mahomet, because it is the religion professed there where they are born; a man may take up the opinions of a Christian country, and not be a whit better than Turks, Jews, or infidels; as he is not the taller of stature that walketh in a higher walk than others do. They may understand their religion, and be able to 'give a reason of the hope that is in them,' and yet lie under the power of unbelief for all that, as many may see countries in a map which they never enter into. The devil hath knowledge, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know,' &c. And those that pretend to knowledge without answerable practice, do but give themselves the lie, 1 John ii. 29. Besides knowledge there may be assent, and yet unbelief still. The devils assent as well as know; they 'believe there is one God,' James ii., and it is not a naked and inefficacious assent, but such as causeth horrors and tremblings. They 'believe and tremble;' and they do not only believe that one article, that there is one God, but other articles also: 'Jesus, thou Son of God, art thou come to torment me before my time?' was the devil's speech; where there is an acknowledging of Christ, and him as the Son of God and judge of the world, and increase of their torment at the last day upon his sentence. Assent is necessary, but not sufficient; laws are not sufficiently owned when they are believed to be the king's laws; there is something to be done as well as believed. In the primitive times, assent was more than it is now, and yet then an inactive assent was never allowed to pass for faith. Confident resting on Christ for salvation, if it be not a resting according to the word, will not serve the turn; there were some that ' leaned upon the Lord,' Micah iii. 11, whom he disclaimeth. It is a mistaken Christ, they rest upon, and upon him by a mistaken faith. It is a mistaken Christ, for the true Christ is the eternal Son of God, that was born of a virgin, and died at Jerusalem,' Bearing our sins in his body upon a tree, that we, being dead unto sin, might be alive unto righteousness,' 1 Peter ii. 24. The true Christ is one that' gave himself for us, that he might purify us to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works,' and is now gone into heaven, there to make intercession for us, and will come again from heaven in a glorious manner to take an account of our works, Titus ii. 13, 14. But now when men lie under the power and reign of their sins, and yet pretend to rest upon Christ for salvation, they set up another Christ than the word holdeth forth. And as the Christ is mistaken, so is the faith. It is not an idle trust, but such as is effectual to purge the heart, for the true 'faith purifieth the heart,' Acts xv. 9. If, besides profession, knowledge, assent, and a loose trust, they should pretend to assurance, or to a strong conceit that Christ died for them, and they shall certainly go to heaven, this will not excuse them from unbelief; this is πρῶτον ψεῦδος, the grand mistake, that the strength of faith lieth in a strong persuasion of the goodness of our condition, and the stronger the persuasion the better the faith. If this were true, hardness of heart would make the best faith, and he that could presume most, and be most secure and free from doubts, would be the truest believer, and the goodness of our condition would lie in the strength of our imagination and conceit. Alas! many make full account they shall go to heaven that shall never come there. The foolish virgins were very confident, and the foolish builder goeth on with the building, never suspecting the foundation. Nay, let me tell you, assurance of a good condition, as long as we lie under the power and reign of sin, is the greatest unbelief in the world, for it is to believe the flat contrary to that which God hath revealed in the word; therefore none abuse the Lord and question his truth so much as these do. Where hath God said that men that live in their sins shall be saved? Nay, he hath expressly said the contrary, 'Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor idolaters,' &c., 1 Cor. vi. 9; so that you give God the lie, or conceit that he will break his word for your sakes; nay, in a sense, you even dare him to make good his truth. He hath said, 'Be not deceived; you shall never enter,' &c., and you say, Though I am an adulterer, a drunkard, a worldling, I shall go to heaven for all that. Now in a little while you shall see whose word shall stand, God's or yours, Jer. xliv. 28.
—Thomas Manton

I tell you many are pleased with Christ, as Jacob was with Leah, while he thought she had been Rachel. It is a mistaken Christ whom they love, even as sure as they love their lusts. No man can serve two masters. And if a new light would spring up in their dark hearts, they would see it to be so. Many love Christ very well, to be a rest to their consciences, while they can get the world and their lusts to be a rest to their hearts. And thus they can do very well between the two. But take away these from them, and their hearts can rest no more than a fish drawn out of the water till it be in it again. Their souls can never truly say as the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Now was ever Christ a covering for the eyes to them. Nor did they ever find such sweetness in Christ as they have in following their lusts.
—Thomas Boston

Many call Christ their sweet Saviour, whose consciences can bear witness, they never sucked so much sweetness from, as from their sweet lusts, which are ten times sweeter to them than their Saviour. He is no other way sweet to them, than as they abuse his death and sufferings, for the peaceable enjoyment of their lusts; that they may live as they list in the world; and when they die, may be kept out of hell. Alas! it is but a mistaken Christ that is sweet to you, whose souls loathe that Christ, who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.
—Thomas Boston

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Those of you who have never been out of a Protestant country, can form no idea of the foolish superstitions and idolatries practised by Roman Catholics in those lands, where their false religion has long prevailed. You cannot, for instance, fancy such a scene taking place where you live, as that which is  represented in our picture, and about which you will like to learn something.

Many of you, no doubt, are very fond of dolls, and love to dress and undress them, and carry them about and talk to them as if they were real live babies. But you would never think of being either so silly or so wicked as to set up one of your dolls, and call it Jesus Christ, and then kneel down and say prayers to it. But this is a very common thing among the Roman Catholics; not among the little children, only playing at it, but among the people generally, who are taught to do it by their priests; while splendid bishops and other great men take part in solemnly bowing down to worship dolls, pictures, and images.

Our picture was sketched from a well-known scene at Borne itself [Copied by kind permission, from the Illustrated London News.], taking place once a year in the Church of S. Maria di Ara Cooli, or Saint Mary of the Altar of Heaven. This church stands on one of the seven hills, where formerly was the famous Capitol, and is reached by a marble stair of a hundred and twenty-four steps. A sort of chamber or chapel in this great church is its great attraction, and is opened only at Christmas time. In this chapel are figures, like wax-works, as large as life, representing the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus on her lap, and the shepherds standing by, and even a stuffed donkey and a stuffed cow to make the group complete. Above these are canvass clouds painted with angels, blowing trumpets, and playing fiddles and other musical instruments; while, over all, and most shocking of all, is a figure to represent God Almighty. The exhibition of this chapel is kept open until Epiphany, the day kept in memory of the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem. This is the great day of the show; and three more figures, dressed up as eastern kings, are added, with a star fixed over them. Pieces are recited, day by day, and little religious plays are acted, chiefly by children, on a sort of stage in the church. When Epiphany comes, all the performance is closed by a grand profession, which is witnessed by vast crowds of people. Priests and monks form the procession; but the principal object in it is the Bambino, or doll to represent the Baby Jesus. This doll is taken from the lap of the Virgin in the chapel, and is regarded as very sacred. The people are taught that it was carved by a pilgrim out of a piece of wood from the Mount of Olives; that he fell asleep, and that Saint Luke came and finished his work; so that, when he woke up, he found his wooden doll beautifully painted! This wonderful doll is dressed in the most costly things, being quite covered with precious jewels, all of which have been given as offerings. For you must know that this Bambino has the fame of being able to cure all manner of diseases, and is carried to visit sick persons who are supposed to get great benefit from its visit.

Well, on the great day of the show, this fine doll is carried at the head of a procession of priests and monks, who sing and hold lighted candles. The principal priest, in splendid dress, holds the sacred doll by a strap—no doubt nailed into its little wooden back,—and, coming out to the front of the Church, lifts it up to bless the people, who go down on their knees, and pay worship to this wretched little toy!

And this is the sort of thing which popery would bring back into our own land, if it could. For things as wicked and as stupid were once commonly done and believed in amongst us, and many brave, good men and women, before Britain got rid of the great evil, suffered many cruelties, and laid down their lives for the sake of an open Bible, and liberty to worship God according to His own Word.

Now, for the first time for many years, Rome is open to the preaching of the Gospel—the Gospel which the Roman people have not heard for ages, but have had given to them, instead of it, all these follies of doll-worship, and many other such sinful superstitions.

Already our missions are at work, taking advantage of the great opportunity, to do something to teach the word of Life in Rome. And whatever they accomplish, remember that you Missionary Collectors are helping them to do it. So be diligent, for the work is very great; and be thankful that you are taught a better religion than many thousands of Roman children; and that you have a far better use for dolls than to kneel down to them and worship them.

~Wesleyan Methodist missionary society, The Wesleyan juvenile offering, pp. 54-57

Thursday, October 10, 2013

David Brainerd on Imaginary Notions of Christ's Human Nature

Besides what has been already related of Mr Brainerd's sentiments in his dying state concerning true and false religion, we have his deliberate and solemn thoughts on this subject, further appearing by his Preface to Mr. Shepard's Diary before mentioned; which, when he wrote it, he supposed to be (as it proved) one of the last things he should ever write. I shall here insert a part of that Preface as follows:
How much stress is laid by many upon some things as being effects and evidences of exalted degrees of religion, when they are so far from being of any importance in it, that they are really irreligious, a mixture of self-love, imagination and spiritual pride, or perhaps the influence of Satan transformed into an angel of light. How much stress is laid on these things by many, I shall not determine : but it is much to be feared, that while God was carrying on a glorious work of grace, and undoubtedly gathering a harvest of souls to himself, (which we should always remember with thankfulness) numbers of others have at the same time been fatally deluded by the devices of the devil, and their own corrupt hearts. It is to be feared that the conversions of some have no better foundation than this; viz. that after they have been under some concern for their souls for awhile, and it may be, manifested some very great and uncommon distress and agonies, they have on a sudden imagined they saw Christ, in some posture or other, perhaps on the cross, bleeding and dying for their sins; or it may be, smiling on them, and thereby signifying his love to them: and that these and the like things, though mere imaginations, which have nothing spiritual in them, have instantly removed all their fears and distresses, filled them with raptures of joy, and made them imagine that they loved Christ with all their hearts; when the bottom of all was nothing but self-love. For when they imagined that Christ had been so good to them as to save them, and as it were to single them out of all the world, they could not but feel some kind of natural gratitude to him; although they never had any spiritual view of his divine glory, excellency and beauty, and consequently never had any love to him for himself. Or that instead of having some such imaginary view of Christ as has been mentioned, in order to remove their distress and give them joy, some having had a passage or perhaps many passages of Scripture brought to their minds "with power," as they express it, they have immediately applied these passages to themselves, supposing that God hereby manifested his peculiar favour to them, as if mentioned by name: never considering, that they are now giving heed to new revelations, their being no such thing revealed in the word of God as that this or that particular person has or ever shall have his sins forgiven; nor yet remembering that Satan can, with a great deal of seeming pertinency, (and perhaps also with considerable power) bring Scripture to the minds of men as he did to Christ himself. Thus they rejoice in having some Scripture suddenly suggested to them, or impressed upon their minds, supposing they are now the children of God, just as did the other upon their imaginary views of Christ. And it is said that some speak of seeing a great light which filled all the place where they were, and dispelled all their darkness, fears and distresses, and almost ravished their souls. While others have had it warmly suggested to their minds, not by any passage of Scripture, but as it were by a whisper or voice from heaven, "That God loves them, that Christ is theirs," &c. which groundless imaginations and suggestions of Satan have had the same effect upon them, that the delusions before mentioned had on the others.

And as is the conversion of this sort of persons, so are their after-experiences; the whole being built upon imagination, strong impressions, and sudden suggestions made to their minds; whence they are usually very confident (as if immediately informed from God) not only of the goodness of their own state, but of their infallible knowledge and absolute certainty of the truth of every thing they pretend to under the notion of religion; and thus all reasoning with some of them is utterly excluded.

But it is remarkable of these, that they are extremely deficient in regard of true poverty of spirit, a sense of exceeding vileness in themselves, such as frequently makes truly gracious souls to groan, being burdened; as also in regard of meekness, love and gentleness towards mankind, and tenderness of conscience in their ordinary affairs and dealings in the world. It is also rare to see them deeply concerned about the principles and ends of their actions, and apprehensive lest they should not eye the glory of God chiefly, but live to themselves. This at least is the case in their ordinary conduct, whether civil or religious. But if any one of their particular notions, which their zeal has espoused, be attacked, they are then so conscientious that they must burn, if called to it, for the defense of it. Yet while they are so extremely deficient in regard of those divine tempers which have been mentioned, they are usually full of zeal, concern and fervency in the things of religion, and often discourse of them with much warmth and earnestness : and to those who do not know or do not consider wherein the essence of true religion consists, viz. in being conformed to the image of Christ, not in point of zeal and fervency only, but in all divine tempers and practices; I say, to those who do not duly observe and distinguish, they often appear like the best of men.
—David Brainderd, Johnathan Edward's The life of the Rev. David Brainerd, missionary to the Indians

Yet it must be acknowledged, that, when this work became so universal and prevalent, and gained such general credit and esteem among the Indians as Satan seemed to have little advantage of working against it in his own proper garb, he then transformed himself 'into an angel of light,' and made some vigorous attempts to introduce turbulent commotions of the passions in the room of genuine convictions of sin, imaginary and fanciful notions of Christ, as appearing to the mental eye in a human shape, and in some particular postures, etc. in the room of spiritual and supernatural discoveries of his divine glory and excellency, as well as divers other delusions. I have reason to think, that, if these things had met with countenance and encouragement, there would have been a very considerable harvest of this kind of converts here.

Spiritual pride also discovered itself in various instances. Some persons who had been under great affections, seemed very desirous from thence of being thought truly gracious: who, when I could not but express to them my fears respecting their spiritual state, discovered their resentments to a considerable degree upon that occasion. There also appeared in one or two of them an unbecoming ambition of being teachers of others. So that Satan has been a busy adversary here, as well as elsewhere. But blessed be God, though something of this nature has appeared, yet nothing of it has prevailed, nor indeed made any considerable progress at all. My people are now apprised of these things, are made acquainted, that Satan in such a manner 'transformed himself into an angel of light,' in the first season of the great outpouring of the divine Spirit in the days of the apostles; and that something of this nature, in a greater or less degree, has attended almost every revival and remarkable propagation of true religion ever since. They have learned so to distinguish between the gold and dross, that the credit of the latter 'is trodden down like the mire of the streets;' and, as it is natural for this kind of stuff to die with its credit, there is now scarce any appearance of it among them.

As there has been no prevalence of irregular heats, imaginary notions, spiritual pride, and Satanical delusions among my people; so there have been very few instances of scandalous and irregular behavior among those who have made a profession, or even an appearance of seriousness. I do not know of more than three or four such persons who have been guilty of any open misconduct, since their first acquaintance with Christianity; and not one who persists in anything of that nature. Perhaps the remarkable purity of this work in the latter respect, its freedom from frequent instances of scandal, is very much owing to its purity in the former respect, its freedom from corrupt mixtures of spiritual pride, wild fire, and delusion, which naturally lay a foundation for scandalous practices.
May this blessed work in the power and purity of it prevail among the poor Indians here, as well as spread elsewhere, till their remotest tribes shall see the salvation of God! Amen.
—David Brainerd, Brainerd's Journal

Of all the persons I have seen under spiritual exercise, I scarce ever saw one appear more bowed and broken under convictions of sin and misery (or what is usually called a preparatory work) than this woman. Nor scarce any who seemed to have a greater acquaintance with her own heart than she had. She would frequently complain to me of the hardness and rebellion of her heart. Would tell me, her heart rose and quarrelled with God, when she thought he would do with her as he pleased, and send her to hell notwithstanding her prayers, good frames, &c. That her heart was not willing to come to Christ for salvation, but tried every where else for help.
And as she seemed to be remarkably sensible of her stubbornness and contrariety to God, under conviction, so she appeared to be no less remarkably bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty before she obtained any relief or comfort. Something of which I have before noticed in my Journal of Feb. 9. Since which time she has seemed constantly to breathe the spirit and temper of the new creature: crying after Christ, not through fear of hell as before, but with strong desires after him as her only satisfying portion; and has many times wept and sobbed bitterly, because (as she apprehended) she did not and could not love him.—When I have sometimes asked her, Why she appeared so sorrowful, and whether it was because she was afraid of hell? She would answer, "No, I be not distressed about that; but my heart is so wicked I cannot love Christ;" and thereupon burst out into tears.—But although this has been the habitual frame of her mind for several weeks together, so that the exercise of grace appeared evident to others, yet she seemed wholly insensible of it herself, and never had any remarkable comfort, and sensible satisfaction till this evening.
This sweet and surprising ecstasy, appeared to spring from a true spiritual discovery of the glory, ravishing beauty and excellency of Christ: and not from any gross imaginary notions of his human nature; such as that of seeing him in such a place or posture, as hanging on the cross, as bleeding, dying, as gently smiling, and the like; which delusions some have been carried away with. Nor did it rise from sordid, selfish apprehensions of her having any benefit whatsoever conferred on her, but from a view of his personal excellency, and transcendent loveliness, which drew forth those vehement desires of enjoying him she now manifested, and made her long "to be absent from the body, that she might be present with the Lord."
—David Brainerd, Brainerd's Journal, Lord's day, March 9, 1746.

The Church of England absolutely condemns all Images of the Trinity

That the Church of England absolutely condemns all Images of the Trinity, or any Person in it, (Father, Son, or Holy Ghost) as absolutely unlawful, and expressly condemned in Scripture. Such Images are not to be tolerated neither in nor out of Churches.
 ~Thomas Barlow, The case concerning setting up images or painting of them in churches

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On the real meaning of the second commandment, as applicable to paintings, images, and supposed likenesses of Christ, in Churches and houses.

The design of a law must be learned from the circumstances under which it is enacted. The Israelites were surrounded by idolaters, who made to themselves the graven images of their objects of worship, whether the hosts of heaven, or the creatures upon earth. The first design, therefore, of the second commandment, was to prevent the Israelites from complying with similar practices. But the command is of universal and perpetual obligation, though the immediate necessity of its enactment, in consequence of the cessation of idolatry, may be said to have ceased. The object of the law appears to have been, the elevation of the minds and souls of the worshippers of Jehovah above all the objects of sense. They saw no manner of likeness, when the glory of the God of Israel appeared. They were to endure as "seeing Him who is invisible." Their God was the God of heaven; the Spirit who was to be "worshipped in spirit and in truth ;" the God whom the senses could not grasp ; and who, though both sometimes visible as the Jehovah Angel to the eye, touched by the hand, as by Jacob, and heard with the ear, as by Moses and the prophets; was still so superhuman that no likeness nor image could represent or describe Him. I extend, therefore, the meaning of the second commandment to the Christian Church. Christ, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, was once upon earth. He lived, suffered, died, as a man. He is now the ascended and the glorified Saviour; and the soul of the Christian is required to be unfettered by any representations of the painter or the sculptor; and his ideas of the God he worships are never to be identified with the senses. He is to behold a glorified Christ by the eye of faith, and to endure as seeing Him who is now invisible.—To me, the confusion of thought produced by the recollection of the portraits of Christ, which the painters of various countries have invented and imagined, is both most shocking and most painful. Whether it be the head of Christ, by Carlo Dolce, holding the bread at Burleigh ; the full-length bearer of the cross at Magdalen College, Oxford; (and these are two of the most beautiful of these works of art;)—whether it be the Flemish Christ of Rubens, the infant Christ of Murillo, the innumerable Christs of painters of all countries, crowned with thorns, scourged at the pillar, expiring on the cross, or conversing with Mary; or whether it be the inexpressive innocence of the unmeaning faces of West, or the fearful agony of the Veronicas, all, all, are unendurable. If the painter describes tenderness, he loses the majesty of that countenance; if he describes majesty, he loses tenderness. Even the sublimity of the features of the Christ in the Transfiguration of Raphael, failed to delineate to me the heavenliness of that visage, which, though it was more marred than that of any other, was "fairest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely;" which made Pilate exclaim, "Who art Thou?" which prostrated the soldiers who came to arrest Him, with wonder and awe, to the ground; which none of the Evangelists have described; and which no painter, therefore, could delineate from reality.
It is most remarkable, that the last times that Christ appeared, He seemed to widen and increase, as it were, the distance between the human and the divine, as if He would command us to consider Him, not as flesh, but as Deity; and to look upon Him, not through the imaginations of painters and sculptors, appealing to the senses, but as God in heaven, visible only to the eye of faith. To Stephen He appeared in glory, to St. Paul with the brightness of the sun, to St. John, in Patmos, in the mystical majesty which made the beloved disciple to lose all remembrance of the familiarity with which he leaned upon his bosom as a man, and which caused him to fall at his feet as dead. We shall see Him, "we shall see Him as He is;" but no painter nor sculptor can convey to my soul the representation of the face or form, the humility and the glory, the dignity and the sorrow, the sympathy with Mary and the scorn of the Sadducee, the meekness before Pilate and the reply to the adjuration of the high priest, the bowing of the head when He gave back the human soul, and the serenity of the parting blessing, when He lifted up his hands, and was borne from his gazing disciples.—We must die and live again before we can understand that countenance. We must walk by faith, and not by sight, whenever we would believe ourselves in the presence, or realize the appearance of, our Saviour and our Judge.

—George Townsend, Scriptural communion with God, pp. 190-191

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Abraham did not actually see Christ in the flesh

Isn't this a hopeful word:
It is said of Abraham, that he saw Christ's day, the notice of God's eternal mercy herein was Abraham's desire; by whose example all that will see Christ, must first desire the sight of him, as he did Et desiderium sit eum spectare: Though Abraham did not actually see Christ in the flesh, yet he had a desire, which was all one as if he had seen him with bodily eyes: For if the concupiscence only of evil be sin, though the act follow not; then desire of that which is good is accepted, albeit it be not actually performed.
~Lancelot Andrewes

Study Verses

Helpful verses for studying the Biblical concept of idolatry (the list may be updated from time to time):

Genesis 1:27; 3:1-24; 16:13; 35:1-4; Exodus 3:2-6; 20:1-7; 24:10; 25:17-22; 32:1-35; 33:18-23; Leviticus 26:1; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 4:15-16; 16:22; 27:15; Judges 6:11–23; 1 Kings 12:28-30; 2 Kings 18:1-5; Nehemiah 9:18; Job 11:7; Psalm 3:3; 50:21; 83:18; 89:6-8; 106:19-20, 36, 39; 115:1-18; 119:37; 148:13; Proverbs 27:20; 30:5-6; Song of Songs 5:10-16; Isaiah 6:5; 40:18-20; 42:8; 46:5-9; 48:1, 11; 50:6; 53:2; 60:19; Jeremiah 2:11; 10:6-14; Ezekiel 14:3-12; 20:7, 27-30, 39; Daniel 10:8, 9, 17-19; Hosea 2:16-17; 4:15; 8:6; 12:3-5; Amos 8:14; Habakkuk 2:18; Matthew 5:8; 6:22-23; 16:14; 24:5, 11, 24; 28:6; Mark 8:27-28; 13:6, 22; Luke 9:19; 11:34-36; 24:6, 31; John 1:1-5, 9-18; 4:24; 6:63; 10:33; 16:8, 10, 16; 20:29; Acts 1:1-11; 9:3–9; 10:25-26; 17:24-25, 29; 19:26; 22:9; Romans 1:23-25; 6:9; 8:24; 10:17; 1 Corinthians 10:13-14; 11:24; 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7, 16; 11: 2-4, 14; Galatians 1:6-10; 3:1-3; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 1:15; 2:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 11:1; 12:14; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 1:1-4; 2:15–17; 3:2-3, 8; 4:2, 12, 20; 5:9-10, 21; 2 John 1:7-8; Jude 4-5; Revelation 1:12-17; 9:20; 13:14-16; 14:11; 19:20; 21:8, 22:3-5, 18-19