Saturday, December 20, 2014

Strong's Complete Topical Index on Idolatry

Helpful topics from Strong's Complete Topical Index to the Bible:

Idol makers

Maachah ... 1 Kin. 15:13
Foreign peoples ... Is. 45:16
Men of Judah ... Is. 2:1, 20
People of Jerusalem ... Ezek. 22:3

Idol making

Described by Isaiah ... Is. 44:9-18

Idols, Idolatry
- worship of idols

A. Described as:
Irrational ... Acts 17:29
Degrading ... Rom. 1:22, 23
Demonical ... 1 Cor. 10:20, 21
Defiling ... 2 Cor. 6:15-18
Enslaving ... Gal. 4:8, 9
Abominable ... 1 Pet. 4:3

B. Brief history of:
Begins in man's apostasy ... Rom. 1:21-25
Prevails in Ur ... Josh. 24:2, 14
In Laban's household ... Gen . 21:19-35
Judgments on Egyptian ... Num. 33:4
Brought from Egypt by Israel ... Josh 24:14
Forbidden in Law at Sinai ... Ex. 20:1-5
Warnings against, at Sinai ... Ex. 34:13-16
Israel yields to, at Sinai ... Ex. 32: 1-8
Moabites entice Israel to .. Num. 25:1-18
Early zeal against ... Josh. 22:10-34
Gideon destroys ... Judg. 6:25-32
Gideon becomes an occasion of ... Judg. 8:24-27
Enticements to Baalism ... Judg. 10:6-16
Levite corrupted by ... Judg. 17:1-13
Danites establish, at Shiloh Judg. 18:30, 31
Overthrow of Philistines ... 1 Sam. 5:1-12
Revival against , under Samuel ... 1 Sam. 7:3-6
Solomon yields to ... 1 Kin. 11:1-8
Jeroboam establishes in Jerusalem ... 1 Kin. 12:26-33; 2 Chr. 11:14, 15
Rehoboam tolerates in Judah ... 1 Kin. 14:22-24
Conflict Elijah and Ahab ... 1 Kin. 18:1-46
Wicked kings of Israel ... 1 Kin. 21:25, 26; 2 Kin. 16: 2, 3
Prophet denounces in Israel ... Hos. 4:12-19
Cause of Israel's exile ... 2 Kin. 17:5-23
Judah follows Israel's example 2 Chr. 28:1-4
Manasseh climaxes Judah's apostasy in ... 2 Kin. 21:1-18; 2 Chr. 33:1-11
Reformation against, under Asa 2 Chr. 14:3-5
Under Hezekiah ... 2 Chr. 29:15-19
Under Josiah ... 2 Kin. 23:1-10
Prophets denounce in Judah ... Jer. 16:11-21
Cause of Judah's exile ... 2 Kin. 23:26, 27

C. Christian warned against:
No company with ... 1 Cor. 5:11
Flee from ... 1 Cor. 10:14
No fellowship with ... 1 Cor. 10:19, 20
Keep from ... 1 John 5:21
Testify against ... Acts 14:15
Turn from ... 1 Thess. 1:9

D. Enticements to, due to:
Heathen background ... Josh. 24:2; Ezek. 16:44, 45
Contact with idolaters ... Num. 25:1-6
Inter-marriage ... 1 Kin. 11:1-13
Imagined good ... Jer. 44:15-19
Corrupt heart ... Rom. 1:21-23

E. Removed through:
Punishment ... Deut. 17:2-5
Display of powerlessness ... 1 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Kin. 18:25-29
Logic ... Is. 44:6-20
Display of God's power ... 2 Kin. 19:10-37
Denunciation ... Mic. 1:5-7
Exile ... Hos. 8:5-14; Zeph. 1:4-6
New birth ... Hos. 14:1-9; Amos 5:26, 27

Imagination - creating mental picture of

A. Described as:
Willful ... Jer. 18:12
Deceitful ... Prov. 12:20

B. Cleansing of:

Promised ... Jer. 3: 17

See Thought

Thought - the reasoning of the mind

A. Of the wicked, described as:
Evil ... Gen 6:5
Abominable ... Prov. 15:26
Sinful ... Is. 59:7
Devoid of God ... Ps. 10:4
Futile ... Rom. 1:21
Known by God ... 1 Cor. 3:20
In need of repentance ... Acts 8:22

B. Of the believer:
Comprehended by ... 1 Chr. 28:9
God ... Ps. 139:2
Captivated by Christ ... 2 Cor. 10:5
Criticized by God's Word ... Heb. 4:12
In need of examination ... Ps. 139:23

C. Of God:

Not like man's ... Is. 55:8, 9
To believer, good ... Ps. 139:17

Thirty-one Clergymen of the Church of Scotland on "modern Christian Idolaters"

From The Christian Daily Companion, presenting an entire View of Divine Truth, in a Series of Meditations for every Morning and Evening throughout the year. By Thirty-one Clergymen of the Church of Scotland:

Ninteenth Day.

'Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire,) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image,' Deut. iv. 15, 16.

Here Jehovah urges his own conduct as a dissuasive to all idolatry and image worship. When God gave the law on mount Horeb, the people heard the voice of words, but they saw no similitude, no manner of similitude. Indeed what representation can God give of himself, or of any spiritual intelligence to creatures encompassed with sense? How is it possible that what is purely spiritual, and therefore not visible by the eye of sense, can be represented by any thing that is sensible? 'No man hath seen God at any time: he dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen or can see. To whom then can ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him?' Although Moses was favoured with a fuller revelation of God's will, and held more intimate communion with him than any other man or prophet, still it was spiritual communications that he enjoyed; and when this eminent servant of the Lord, longing for closer access to Deity, more bright and engaging displays of the divine perfections, and a stronger pledge of divine favour, earnestly said, 'I beseech thee, show me thy glory,' what did Jehovah say? 'Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live.' No where, but as reflected in his works, or revealed in his word, can we, in this world, see the glory of God. To see him as he is, is reserved for the beatific vision in the world of spirits.

Although the people of Israel were solemnly warned never to forget the awful solemnities they witnessed on mount Sinai, to take heed lest they should allow to depart from their hearts the things which they had seen all the days of their life, yet we find that with equal solemnity, and in words nearly similar, they are warned and interdicted against fashioning any graven image, or the similitude of any thing whatever, such as the carnal fancy might suggest, through the medium, or by the aid of which they might offer homage to the great Majesty of heaven and earth. 'Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image.'

It is often urged in vindication of this practice by those who countenance the monstrous absurdities of the church of Rome, that these images are not worshipped, but that the ceremonies and representations in use are employed as helps, that they are fitted to make divine worship more intelligible and pleasing to the young, more impressive to the common people, and more attractive to all. Under this impression they have acted; and thus, as has been stated by an eloquent writer, do they foolishly imagine that the more pomp they can lavish on the rites of worship the more is their devotion to God manifested; and by engaging the outward senses the homage of the heart is gained. But what is the meaning of such language and conduct? Why, it is just this, that the great God hast not been sufficiently explicit and full in revealing his will to his creatures, in declaring how he is to be worshipped; that man is to utter what God has left untold, and to eke out what is defective in the divine communications. In every thing relative to divine worship, God alone must dictate; we are not left to our own views of expediency in subjects of this nature, and we call upon any one to examine carefully the multiplied and varied declarations of the Almighty here and elsewhere, and to say what verdict he can bring in regard to the usages and worship of the popish church, but that it is guilty of the grossest idolatry. No one can reconcile their practices with the plain and unambiguous language of the word of God. The words of the Eternal are peculiarly solemn and emphatic, 'Take good heed lest ye corrupt yourselves.'

Could a greater insult be offered to God, or more daring impiety be manifested by man, than when the Israelites fashioned the golden calf, prostrated themselves before it, sacrificed unto it, and said, 'These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt?' Yet not more daring, not more profane was the conduct of Israel then, or in her times of grossest idolatry, than is that of our modern Christian idolaters. It is not merely a setting aside the positive, the unalterable command of God, but it is an extinction of that light that the Almighty Creator has kindled in the bosom of those whom he formed after his own image. How grievously have they corrupted and defiled themselves; they have changed the glory of God into an image made like unto corruptible man. No wonder that ignorance, and profligacy, and vice prevail to such a degree in those countries that are purely popish; no wonder that vital godliness has decayed, and that morality is at the lowest ebb. They have dishonoured their God and Redeemer, they have corrupted themselves. 'O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united!'

In meditating on the words of this text, to use the words of a late writer, 'let us guard against every corruption and neglect in God's worship; against yielding to the spirit of the world, the influence of fancy, the power of superstition in religion. Let us guard against a blind veneration for what is old, a childish fondness for what is splendid, a restless pursuit of what is new. Let us continue steadfast in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Let us stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Let us take heed to the things which we have heard, and beware lest our minds should be drawn away, or corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.'

Ever let us distrust our own vain reasonings, and our gross imaginations in regard to the divine nature and worship. By faith and prayer let us draw our knowledge from revelation alone. And in our acts of worship let us ever draw near through Christ, and trust in his blood, and derive from his fulness the wisdom, the grace, and the strength that are needful.

Nineteenth Day.

'The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God,' Deut. vii. 25.

How very jealous is God of his own honour and glory, and especially in what regards the worship he demands of his creatures. In reading the books of Moses and the prophets, one cannot fail to notice how the sin of idolatry is singled out, forbidden, denounced, threatened, and punished. It is compared to spiritual adultery, by which the marriage covenant is violated, and that love and faith which unite parties is extinguished and broken. One would almost say from what is recorded respecting it, that it is the sin of sins, a sin above all others, and the sin which above all others God abhors.

Israel had lived amongst idolaters in Egypt, and they were soon to be brought into contact with idolaters in Canaan. Their passion for idolatry had been already felt and manifested, and therefore it was to be feared that when they entered Canaan, unless they exercised the strictest vigilance over their own hearts, they might be induced to follow the abominable practices of that idolatrous country. The Lord, therefore, in mercy cautions them and charges them. They were to be the executioners of the divine vengeance against the inhabitants of that land, because of their gross wickedness, and they are peremptorily commanded, not merely to destroy the people of Canaan, but to destroy their graven images-to abhor and put away from them the precious metals of which they were fashioned, and not to allow the smallest vestige of idolatry to be admitted into their dwellings, lest they should be contaminated thereby.

The images of the heathen deities were made of the most costly and valuable materials-nothing was reckoned too precious for their adornment; and the temples of modern idolatry are adorned in the same manner. The whole aim of popery, the whole tendency of its worship, is to fascinate the outward man, to please the eye, and to gratify the ear. It endeavours to strike the senses, it appeals to the imagination in every possible way; but alas! alas! all that is spiritual, godly, and sanctifying is neglected. When and where does it appeal to and let in light to the understanding? When and how does it captivate and purify the heart? 'The church of the Escurial,' says an eloquent writer, 'is one mass of marble, gold, and precious stones, relieved by admirable pictures, and rendered holy by the presence of some four or five hundred vases, containing relics of every possible saint or saintly object. The rapacity of the French disturbed the identity of these fancied treasures, for while they carried off many of the golden vases, they scattered their unlabelled contents in confusion on the ground, to the great perplexity of the blinded devotees. How long will men worship the offal of the charnel house?'

Can there be life and spirituality in that church, which, in defiance of God's word, in contempt of all that God can promise or threaten, pretends to worship a pure and holy Being by such abominations? Can there be vitality in that church, which in its worship degrades the ever blessed Redeemer, the Emmanuel, God with us, by ranking him in his mediatorial character and advocateship with the very creatures of his own power; yea, in the court of heaven advancing the influence of saints above that of the Lord Jesus Christ?

While God has most unequivocally prohibited, and by his denunciations testified his displeasure against idolatry in every form, he has also most signally punished it. Israel was taught what a bitter thing it was, in the judgments, which, by their own hands, were executed on the Canaanites. Themselves, though the covenant people of God, suffered most grievously on account of this sin, and the heaviest visitations of Heaven that overtook them were for their idolatry. And God will not allow this sin to remain, this engine of Satan to be employed for ever in any church, or in any quarter of the globe-the curse of God rests upon it, and the blight of heaven shall fall upon it. What measures God in his providence may take for its subversion-when or how it shall be finally overthrown, he alone to whom all time is alike, knows; but overthrown it shall be, uprooted it shall be. 'The Lord shall consume it with the Spirit of his mouth, he shall destroy it with the brightness of his coming.' In surveying the hideous mass of heathen idolatry, and popish superstition that overspreads such a vast portion of the globe, the heart may well sicken, and in anguish of spirit we may bewail the fearful desolation, but there is no room for despair. God shall send forth the rod of his strength out of Zion, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and the triumphant shout shall be raised, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen.' Yes, every stronghold of Satan shall be overthrown-the idolatry of benighted Gentile nations, the impositions of the false prophet in the East, and the corruptions of the man of sin in the West, shall all be subverted and fall before the light of truth. Aye, the churches of the Reformation, many of which retain still some of the rubbish of popery, and all of which retain less or more of the rust of corruption that adheres to every institution that is human, shall be purged. It may be by a fiery trial, it may be by severe judgments, by the fan in the Almighty's hand, for Zion has invariably been redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness; but it shall be accomplished, and they shall be stripped of the garment spotted by the flesh. Oh that our own church, the church of our fathers, which has much to bewail on account of past unfruitfulness, barrenness, and apostasy, may in God's good time be delivered from all her difficulties, purified from all her defilement, and be rendered more eminently instrumental in advancing the Redeemer's kingdom and plucking brands from the burning.

In meditating on these words, let us regard them as a warning against spiritual idolatry, against every thing that would displace the Almighty from the throne of our affections. An image for worship we are not likely to fashion; before an image, however costly, we are not likely to fall prostrate: but is it not possible to transfer our affections from the Creator to the creature; may we not be ambitious to 'lay up silver as the dust, to make gold our hope, and to say to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence.' Covetousness is idolatry-and that man who is the slave of this world, who is fired with the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eye, and makes the world his portion, is as much an object of aversion to the pure mind of Jehovah-is as far from the kingdom of heaven as is the vilest idolater: the blind deluded worshipper of a false God.

Ralph Erskine on the birth and incarnation of Christ: No footing for fancy, nor for imaginary ideas

"Does faith’s view of an incarnate God, or of the eternal Son of God become man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, or the believing view of God in our nature, and clothed with our flesh; does it include, or rather does it not exclude any carnal fleshly view of him? If the flesh profit nothing, what a vain imagination is the view of an absent man, or a fanciful thinking, that because Christ was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, that he is altogether such a one as ourselves? Does an imaginary view of the man help, or rather does it not hurt and hinder the saving sight of the God man, and the believing view of the glorious person of our Immanuel, God with us? The word was made flesh; but imaginary ideas of that flesh are unprofitable fancies: we do not believe till we behold his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, John i. 14. To see Christ savingly, and without a delusion, is not to see flesh, but God manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16. Faith cannot fix upon Immanuel as man with us, but as God with us. It cannot see nor rest upon our nature in God, but upon God in our nature.

Can that be any part of the object of faith which is perceptible by the fancy of every man, and is obvious to natural discerning? While the Spirit of God says, The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; because they are foolishness unto him: neither can they know them; for they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. The things of man are known by the spirit of man; but the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Nay, the things of God that are taught by the word and Spirit of God, are indeed the objects of faith; but the things of man, which a natural man can receive, and carnal man can discern, are the objects of sense, and of vain unprofitable imagination. As faith looks through the history of the gospel to the mystery of it, so does it through the material flesh of Christ to the mystery of God incarnate. Though we are to believe that Christ is flesh of our flesh, yet the flesh or humanity of Christ is only the glass or veil through which we behold the glory of God. The fancy that terminates on the flesh, is not only vain and unprofitable, but pernicious and prejudicial to the faith that is of God’s operation; which, coming from God, leads to God, and cannot terminate upon Christ himself, but upon God in Christ. Hence the object of saving faith is no image of Christ, seen by fancy, or imaginary idea; but Christ, who is, and as he is the image of the invisible God: and faith’s acting upon this object, is a seeing of him that is invisible, and no sight of him visibly by the bodily eye, or perceptible by natural fancy and imagination. To make faith then include any carnal conception of Christ’s humanity, is a deep deceit and delusion, and as remote from saving faith, as the image one in this part of the earth may frame in his head of the emperor of China. That part of Christ that is visible, was the object of sense on earth, and is the object of vision in heaven, and may be the object of any man’s fancy or imagination; but never was, nor ever will be the object of faith, but as the invisible God is seen therein and thereby. Nothing sensible, nothing corporeal, nothing visible can properly be the object of that faith which is the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1. and looks not to the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen, 2 Cor. iv. 18. Hence our believing on Christ, a visible Christ present or absent, is not faith, but fancy, if we believe not on the invisible God that sent him, John xii. 44. Jesus cried and said, he that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And verse 45. He that seeth me, seeth him that sent me. And chap. xiv. 9. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. Matth. x. 40. He that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. Mark ix. 37. Whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me."~Ralph Erskine, Faith No Fancy

"As the intellectual powers of nature can no more bring any man to the saving knowledge of God, than imaginary ideas can bring him to the right knowledge of Christ’s human nature; so this human nature of Christ was never seen or known to any saving advantage, but by the same supernatural powers and spiritual faculties whereby we see him to be God, and to be God-man in one person: For it is not in one light we see Christ as man; and in another as God; and in a third as God-man in one person; but in one and the same light we see the glorious person of our Immanuel God-man, when God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, shines into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face, or person of Christ. 2 Cor. iv. 6. Gal. i. 16. John i. 14."~Ralph Erskine, Faith No Fancy

“The human nature of Christ is the object of faith, in so far as the invisible God is to be seen in the marvelous and preternatural conception and birth of it. And so it is proposed to our faith, Luke i. 35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: Therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. Faith looks to the testimony of God in his promise of this wonderful birth, Gen. iii. 15. Isa. vii. 14. and in his word declaring the accomplishment of that promise, as he does in the gospels writ by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and the glory of God’s faithfulness, power and pity, manifested therein. In these respects it is the object of faith, and not at all the object of sense and fancy. The imaginary idea of a natural birth cannot help us to believe so much as the truth of the fact, That to us a child is born, whose name is, The Mighty God: Nay it cannot help to believe, that in such a place a woman brought forth a child. It is true, as the imaginary doctrine says, none can believe it without the imaginary idea of a woman and a child: Yet one’s having the idea of both these can no more help him to believe any remarkable story of a woman that brought forth a child, than a man’s having the idea both of a mountain and a moon, would help him to believe that a mountain brought forth a moon. Nay such ideas help people only to know the materials that are the objects of sense. And this knowledge all mankind have, that are in their wits, and have common sense. But this ideal and imaginary knowledge cannot help them to believe any proposition relating to these materials to be a truth or falsehood, a thing credible or incredible. The formal object of the human faith of this, That a woman brought forth a child, is some human testimony asserting it as a truth. And the object of divine faith relating to this mystery, the incarnation of Christ, or his human nature, its conception and birth, is the divine testimony, asserting this truth, That a virgin did conceive and bring forth a son, whose name is called Immanuel, God with us. Of this blessed wonderful incarnation of the Son of God, and the design of it, some of the ancient fathers write very sweetly; whose words quoted by Davenant in Col. p. 250 may be thus translated from the Latin. Irenaeus says, “How can the Ebionites be saved, if he be not God who wrought their salvation on the earth? And how shall man come to God, if God do not come to man?” Athanasius says, “If Christ had not been the true Son of God, man had not firmly been united to God: for what a mere man has got, may be lost, as it fell out in Adam. But, that the grace and gift might remain firm, God put on our flesh, that through this might be given to us all spiritual good things in sure possession.” Cyrillus speaks thus: “The Word is made flesh, that in him, and in him alone, the nature of man, being crowned with the praise and glory of innocency, might be enriched with the Holy Spirit, never to depart thence now, as it fell out with Adam, but to abide therein for ever.” The Son of God was incarnate, that human nature, being pulled away from God by sin, and alienated from the life and fellowship of God, might this way be most fitly restored to communion with God, and most firmly preserved therein; and that, as Athanasius said, our flesh, being of earth, might not go to earth, but being joined to heaven by the Word that was made flesh, might by him be brought to heaven. This mysterious birth and incarnation of Christ, and the glorious rays of divine power, wisdom, and grace thus shining therein, is indeed a sweet object of faith: But there is no footing for fancy here, nor for imaginary ideas.”~Ralph Erskine, Faith No Fancy

"That imaginary idea that cannot think of him justly, but only of the flesh that profiteth nothing, must be a very ill neighbor, yea a neck-break to faith; which will have nothing to do with a half Christ, but conceives of, receives and matches with the whole person of our Immanuel."~Ralph Erskine, Faith No Fancy 

"Christ's human nature is the object of faith, so as it cannot be the object of fancy, or of an imaginary idea. It is fit to observe, that, when a person or thing in the abstract is said to be the object of faith, such as the person of Christ, or the thing that is understood by the humanity of Christ, that person or thing, being the subject, cannot be understood to be the object of faith properly, without supposing a predicate, or something enunciate or declared concerning that person or thing, or some proposition, truth or record anent the same. Therefore, when the person Christ is spoken of as the object of faith, then the meaning is, Christ as held forth in such words, propositions, truths or records, as these, namely, That he is the Son of God; That he is the Sent of God; That he is the Redeemer, and the like; For then faith hath a truth or testimony concerning him to believe; and lays hold upon his person as exhibited in that testimony, by receiving it, and setting to its seal, that God is true, John iii. 33. Hence an unbeliever is one that believes not the record that God hath given of his Son, 1 John v. 10. Again, when any thing relating to Christ is said to be the object of faith, such as his human nature, then the meaning is, his human nature as held forth in such words, propositions, truths, or records as these, namely, That Christ is the Son of David; the Son of man; That to us a Child is born, whose name is, The Mighty God; That a virgin hath brought forth a son, whose name is Immanuel, God with us; That the Word was made flesh; That he was made of a woman, made under the law, made in the likeness of man. And the like: Then faith hath a truth or testimony concerning that human nature, that it is no natural thing, having any existence in itself, separate from the Son of God, but that holy thing which is called the Son of God, Luke i. 35. faith receiving the good tidings of great joy, That unto us is born in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord, Luke ii. 10, 11. and consequently that he is the true Messiah, the true Christ, who was the babe of Bethlehem; which, however little among the thousands of Judah, was justly renowned for being the prophesied place of such a birth. Hence the Christian poet's saying, Sancta Bethlehem caput est orbis quæ protulit Iesum. The testimony of God in his word, or his truth and verity , (as I have said elsewhere,) is the first object and immediate ground of faith. Charnock says, "The first act of faith considers God as true.--The first language of faith in receiving the testimony of Christ, is a testifying, or setting to the soul, that God is true, John iii. 33" The understanding is first exercised about the word as verum, true; before the will be concerned in it as good. These things being premised, the human nature of Christ is to be considered as the object of faith."~Ralph Erskine, Faith No Fancy

"O seek, my friends, to be delivered from the strange delusions, the strange deities, the strange gods of the time wherein you live. Besides, the evident errors of the time, some that profess to be contending against errors, which is so far right and well done; yet are plunged over head and ears, in the gulf of new imaginary doctrines of their own; particularly, that strange doctrine of imaginary ideas of Christ as man. O beware, beware, of an imaginary idea of Christ as man, and of reckoning this to be knowledge or faith! For, that is nothing but a dead image of Christ in the brain, and is no part of rational knowledge, far less of revealed religion. As long as you have but an imaginary idea of Christ, as man, you have no view of the person Jesus Christ; for Christ, as man, was never a person; the eternal Son of God, in our nature, is the person of our Immanuel. While you look to a Christ painted in the fancy, as man, his voice will never quicken your dead souls; but when, by faith, you look to the man Christ, as Immanuel, God-man, and listen to his voice, as it is the voice of the Son of God, then the dead shall hear, and hearing, shall live."~Ralph Erskine, CHRIST's Quickening Voice

The Refined or Philosophical View Of Idolatry

From The Spirit of Missions, Volume 35:

Now, let us understand what this idolatry really is. I have met with this objection —"Oh, but you do not know what idolatry is entertained. You suppose these people worship stocks and stones; and I assure you that you are mistaken." I am quite aware of this argument; and I will tell you how the matter stands. The Hindoo does not, I admit, worship a mere stock or stone in the sense of saying, "This is my God, and I worship it." I remember very well—my friend Dr. Watson will remember—that in the very first Hindoo temple which we entered with an intelligent interpreter, when we put the question, the priest said, "Certainly not; I worship the God in the stone." "What was the stone before the God came into it?" we next asked. "It was a stone," he said, smiling. "And what brought the God into it?" "It was the prayer of the priest, and we worship the God in it." Of course, I have proofs of this. I have here, for example, extracted from a pamphlet I have, a lecture given in the Benares Institute, in splendid English, by a man who defends Hindoo idolatry, quoting the poet Cowper, and quoting also from Sir William Hamilton and other metaphysicians, in speaking about the impossibility of forming any idea of the unseen God, and the necessity of haring it symbolized—quoting Cowper's beautiful lines to his mother's portrait, and how this portrait recalled the past. You are quite familiar with the argument. It is the argument constantly applied to the Mass and the worship of pictures—that it is not the bread and wine or the pictures which are worshipped, but the unseen Christ in the bread and wine, or the person represented. This is the argument you hear in Hindostan in regard to idolatry. But what I want you to notice is this that there never was any kind of idolatry except this which was absolutely condemned and cursed by Almighty God. Do not suppose that this refined view, as you may take it, of idolatry, is anything different from that idolatry which, throughout the Old Testament dispensation, is condemned by God. The idolatry condemned is seeking to make symbols of the living God, which, instead of elevating God, degrades Him—which, instead of opening men's eyes to the invisible, becomes a means of clouding men's eyes to the invisible, so that they lose the spiritual power of comprehending the unseen object. I make this assertion, that the idolatry that is comprehended in the most philosophic system of the Hindoos is neither more nor less than the idolatry against which the living God lifted up His voice—on account of which, the people of Israel were cleared out of their land and sent to Babylon in order to be purified.—Rev. Dr. Macleod.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Images of the Holy Spirit are idolatrous

It is true that God was pleased to have an extraordinary visible presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism; however, the rule of our actions is the word of God.

We are commanded not to make any images of the Lord: "so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, [...] the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky" (Deuteronomy 4:16-17) cf. "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to ... birds" (Romans 1:23)

One author, Stephen Jenner, notes that people convert the visible sign of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism to certify to a fact into astanding idol-in violation of the letter, if not of the spirit, of the Second Commandment. George Wotherspoon points out that, "It is surely a species of mad idolatry to form a graven image or a painting of a pigeon, and call it by the name of the Holy Spirit of God." Grace Family Baptist Church (the church Voddie Baucham ministers) also comments "Likewise, to portray the Holy Spirit as a dove is idolatrous, it is impiety and madness for man to create images of them – those which are unseen and unseeable. That the Spirit is portrayed as dove in the gospels no more give man warrant to do so than if we were to make an image of God the Father because we find Scripture telling us of His hands, arms, wings, and the like. Calvary Chapel uses a dove as its logo."

It is also a sad observation of one of my friends that "The custom of representing the Holy Spirit in human form had become rather common during the time of the humanistic movement."

This is also observed in the footnotes of the selection above by John Woolley:

"One of the earliest and most celebrated examples of the Holy Ghost made man by the power of art, is mentioned in an English manuscript, attributed to St. Dunstan, who died in 988, and was Archbishop of Canterbury. In this curious volume, the three Divine Persons are all represented in the human form. The Father is drawn as an emperor, and aged; the Son as Christ, and holding His cross, is younger, and may,perhaps, be thirty years of age; the Holy Ghost, who has no distinguishing attribute, is young and almost beardless. From the fourteenth century to the sixteenth representations of the Holy Ghost abound, and considering the Holy Ghost, with reference to age alone, we find figures of Him in the human form, varying from the tenderest infancy, some months only, or a few years of age, up to an advanced period of old age. In a manuscript of the fifteenth century, He is exhibited floating upon the waters, at the moment when God is creating the heaven and the earth. The Holy Ghost is extended upon the waves, which are slightly agitated; He is a naked infant just born."

Very sad that some professing Christians view the Holy Spirit in this way and even more monstrous views e.g. Jenn Johnson of Bethel Redding views the Holy Spirit “like the genie from Aladdin. And He’s blue. And He’s funny. And He’s sneaky.”

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17) May the Lord free us from our idolatrous thoughts of Him, to the true knowledge of Him as revealed in His word.

Westminster Larger Catechism:

"Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: [...] the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in anykind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; [...]"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Voddie Baucham's "The Modern Church's Sissified Jesus"

Below is my partial transcript of the opening and closing of Voddie Baucham's sermon "The Modern Church's Sissified Jesus":
Our view of Jesus matters. Our Christology matters. It matters because it affects everything that we believe and do as Christians. And, in this culture in which we live, we have a view of Jesus that is more than slightly askew. We think of Jesus not as a very masculine character. For example, when you think about the pictures that we have of Jesus—and in full disclosure I have a problem with that, just in general, because of the Second Commandment—but the pictures that we do have of Jesus are pictures of a European metro-sexual, with the hair of a shampoo model, hands that have never seen a hard day's work, and feet that have never walked a mile. That's the visual image that we have of Jesus. This sissified, feminized, European, gorgeous picture. Isaiah said that we wouldn't have been attracted to His form. But he's gorgeous. Which also, by the way, says something about the way we really think about people. We equate righteousness with attractiveness. We apprise beauty above all and not even in the right sense of the word. But what we believe about Him theologically is closely aligned with what we perceive about Him visually, because we do think of Jesus as soft; we do think of Jesus as one who doesn't confront people; we do think of Jesus as the God who comes along on the right side of the Bible to apologize for what the guy did on the left side. We see Him as a kinder gentler administration. And as a result of this, when we encounter people, our evangelism is affected by our view of Jesus. When the church writes songs, our worship is impacted by our view of Jesus. We sing like we're singing to a beautiful European metro-sexual shampoo model with flawless hands and flawless feet. When we work through our theology, what's the biggest reason, or the biggest problem that people have with the doctrine of election? It's just not nice. And it's one thing to have these opinions and ideas in isolation. It's another to have these opinions and ideas in direct opposition to what we see in Scripture. That's what's problematic: that our Christology is completely askewed and as a result of that, all of the rest of our practical theology is worked out in a way that is demeaning to the Christ of Scripture.
It is not optional: You must worship Christ. 'Ok, well, here is my worship.' It's unacceptable. 'How does it become acceptable?' Christ loves you, frees you from your sins by His blood, and makes you a kingdom of priests, who then and only then can offer acceptable worship before God. He makes us worthy to worship. He makes our worship acceptable, in Spirit and in Truth. He alone makes our worship acceptable and makes us worthy to worship Him. Again, this affects our worship. This affects our worship, because now our worship always has to be cross-centered. We offer cross-centered worship to the Triune God. Our worship also has to be rooted in redemptive history. We worship God because of who He is and because of what He's done. And we also worship God in light of the cross. Why? Because it's the cross that makes us worthy to worship. When we witness, the same thing is true. We witness because there is a God who demands worship. And we look at a lost, hurting and dying world and say 'You owe God worship! Worship Him!' How do we tell them to worship Him? By painting a picture of a metro-sexual shampoo model, with pretty hands and pretty feet, and a hope that he'll be beautiful enough to elicit some heartfelt emotional response from them? Or by pointing them to the Second Person of the Trinity? Demonstrating that he is the Faithful Witness. Preaching the Resurrection: He is the first born of the dead. Challenging all human authority: He is the Ruler of the kings of the Earth. And then sharing with them, that out of His love for his people, He takes their sins to the cross, He dies, He is resurrected on the third day and we are, in turn, through repentance and faith, raised up with Him and made into a royal priesthood—offering imperfect, yet completely acceptable worship to the one who is worthy to receive it. This changes our worship, this changes our witness, all by changing our view of Christ. Our culture believes that what we need is a soft, feminized, non-judgmental Jesus. You know why? Because when you say to sinners, 'God says, Worship my Son, you owe it to Him', sinners look back at us and say, 'I don't like that. That's rude.' And, instead of coming back with the rest of the story, we come back with, 'Well, you know, actually he's not like that. Let me give you another picture. How do you like that one?' As one old preacher said, whatever you win them with, is what you win them to. And if we win people to a Jesus made in their own image, by taking away aspects of his character and person and work, that they don't like, we will spend the rest of our ministry doing the same thing. But if we understand who Christ is and that He is objectively and subjectively worthy of our worship and our witness, then we will not fear. And in following the Faithful Witness, we will be faithful witnesses ourselves—some even unto death. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Let's pray.
Father, we bow before you in the name of your Son and in the power of your Spirit, acknowledging you as the one true, holy, living, righteous God—one God in three Persons, existing eternally in perfect unity, harmony and communion. We bow before you in the name of your Son, whom you sent to be our Redeemer. Your Son, the Faithful Witness. Your Son, the Firstborn from the dead. Your Son, the Ruler of the kings of the Earth. Your Son, who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood. Your Son who has made us into a kingdom of priests for you, O God, so that to you might be the honor and that to you might be the glory forever. Grant by your grace, that our worship and our witness would be conformed to these truths, reflective of these truths. Grant that we might offer you that which you are due. And grant that we might witness to it, so that Christ might have the fullness of the reward for which He died. Help us Lord not merely to object to the images of Jesus in our culture, but to insist on Biblical accuracy. Not solely because we want to be right, but because we desire to worship you in Spirit and in Truth. Because we desire to know you as you have revealed yourself to us in your word. Because we desire to worship you in ways that you have deemed appropriate. Because we recognize our own limitations and weaknesses. We recognize our own shortsightedness and selfishness. And, so, we yield to you. Grant now that even the prayers of our hearts and the words of our mouths might be acceptable in your sight, that Christ might be magnified in us and through us and by us, more than He ever has. That we might rest in Him; abide in Him, and He in us. This is our prayer and we ask it in that name which is above every name: that name at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In the name of Jesus, who is the Christ, amen.

~Voddie Baucham, The Modern Church's Sissified Jesus

Voddie Baucham on Images of Christ in Films

Is the law sin? Absolutely not!
Romans 7:7

That is what many Christians today say—that the Law is sinful.

"Aw, naw. No Christian today would ever say that the law is sinful!"

Yes, Christians say that—that it's sinful.

There is a ministry that we hopefully will have an opportunity to partner with, to do some Bible translations. This ministry has a partnership with another ministry that translates a very famous film on the life of Christ. And this very famous film that's used in the mission field all over the place, for the life of Christ, is usually attached to their translation projects. We were talking with them about doing their specific translation project—in a specific area where we are very intimately involved. And our response to them was,

"We love the idea of a translation project, you do this very inexpensively, we could probably sponsor this project as a church, but not if it means that you translate that film on the life of Christ."

They go,


"Be cause of the Second Commandment and graven images."

"What? What did you just say?"

"Yeah, because of the Second Commandment and graven images. These people don't know anything about God, you show them a film about God in Christ—there is a person who is playing God in Christ Jesus. You are calling them to be worshipers of God in Christ Jesus and you've given them an image of Him in a film. We believe that's a violation of the Second Commandment and we don't want to fund that."

The response,

"Oh, that's legalism! Legalism is sinful!"
Voddie Baucham, The law is sin? By no means!

Voddie Baucham's Paraphrase of the First Four Commandments

Commandment number one: I'm God you don't get another one.


Commandment number two: Don't even make anything that looks like me.

Commandment number three: Don't mess with my name.

Commandment number four: While you're at it, don't even mess with my day.

I can't get religious relativism in the first four commandments. I can't squeeze it in there anywhere.
(Voddie Baucham, Culture Wars [DVD])

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.
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 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.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Simon Patrick on Exodus 32:1-4

Simon Patrick on Exodus 32:1-4:
Make us Gods.] Or rather, make us a God: for so Nehemiah expresses it in the Singular Number, IX 18. and so Elohim is often translated, XX Gen. 13. XXXV. 7, &c. For their meaning was, Make us a sacred Symbol or Sign, as other Nations have, that may represent God in a visible manner to us. So the Jews expound it in Pirke Elieser, c. 45. They said to Aaron, the Egyptians extol their Gods, they sing and chant before them; for they behold them with their eyes. Make us such Gods as theirs are, that we may see them before us. And so R. Jehudah in the Book Cosri, P. I. Sect. 97. THey desired a sensible Object of Divine Worship to be set before them; not with an intention to deny God, who brought them out of Egypt: but that something in the place of God might stand befroe them, when they declared his wonderful Works. Such, no doubt, was their meaning; for they could not be so senseless as to image the true God could be made by a Man; or that an Image could go before them (as it here follows) which may have feet, but cannot walk, as the Psalmists speaks. And therefore Eben-Ezra judiciously interprets it, Some Corporeal Image in which God may reside.

Which shall go before us. ] Conduct us through the Wilderness. God himself in a Pillar of Cloud and Fire, hitherto went before them: but that Cloud now covering the Mount where Moses was, and not stirring at all from thence, they imagined, perhaps that Moses being lost, it would no longer lead them as it had done.

For as for thsi Moses, &c.] THis doth not seem to be the Language of those who had any regard to him.

We wot not what is become of him.] They thought, perhaps, that he was consumed in the Mount, by the Fire which shone from the Face of God, as Jonathan paraphrases it. Greg. Nyssens Reflexion upon this Demand of the People is very natural; That they were like School-boys, who in the absence of their Master, were carried [Gk.], with senseless impetuous Motions into Rudeness and Disorder, p. 183. de Vita Mosis. For there were many among them who were infected with the Egyptian Idolatry, as we learn from XXIV Josh. 14. XX Ezek. 7, 8. XXIII. 3, 8. And therefore hankering after that way of Worship by Images, which they had learnt there, they took this opportunity to desire a visible Representation of God among them, as the Egyptians had. And so St. Stephen looks upon this as a turning back in their hearts unto Egypt, VII Acts 39, &c.

Ver. 2. And Aaron said unto them, break off the golden ear-rings, &c.] This confirms what I said, that there was some debate about this matter, before they spake those words to him v. 1. Up, make us Gods, &c. For it is not credible that Aaron would immediately consent to so foul a Fact as this, without the least Argument against it. Which is so unlikely, that the Jews have devised this Tale; That Hur rebuked them in his Presence, the People fell upon him and killed him: which affrighted Aaron into a speedy Compliance.

The golden ear-rings.] These, it is probable, were some of the Jewels which they borrowed of the Egyptians, XII. 35. and possibly might have worn superstitiously, as observed XXXV Gen. 5. they did very anciently. There are those who think Aaron hoped they would not have easily parted with these; and so their Design might have been broken.

From the ears of your Wives, of your Sons, and your Daughters.] Men wore these Ornaments in the Eastern Countries, as well as Women; as we find in the story of the Ishmaelite and Midianite Souldiers, VIII Judg. 24. and Pliny L. XI. c. 31. In Oriente quidem & viris aurum eo loci, &c. In the East it is esteemed an Ornament for Men to wear Gold in that place; speaking of their Ears. See Bochart. hierozoic. P. I. L. I. c. 34.

Ver. 3. And all the People.] All that were engaged in this Design; who were so many (as I said v. 1.) that the rest it's likely durst not oppose it.

Broke off the golden ear-rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.] So zealous is Superstition; which prevails over Pride and Covetousness.

Ver. 4 And he received them at their hands.] They seem to have presented them as an Offering, towards the making of a Representation of God; wherein every one of them might have an Interest: and accordingly Aaron accepted them.

And fashioned it with a graving tool.] The Hebrew word [Heb.] (which we translate graving Tool) is used for a writing Pen, VIII Isa. 1. and for a crisping Pin, which Women used about their Hair, III Isa. 22. And therefore Interpreters take it here for an Instrument of Engraving. And some think that Aaron made such marks with it in this Calf, as there were in the Egyptian Apis: which was a Cow that had a Spot on her right side like a Crescent (as some Writers say, though Herodotus say otherwise, and the marks are variously reported. See Pignorius in his Mensa Isiaca, p. 18, &c.) and a square white spot in the forehead. But others think it more likely, that the Calf coming rought out of the Mould, Aaron only polished it with a proper Tool. For though Apis was in great honour among the Egyptians, yet it was a living Cow, and not the Image of one, which they had in such Veneration. Therefore Mr. Selden (in his Syntagma I. de Diis Syris, c. 4.) takes it to be probable, that htis golden Calf, or Ox, or Bullock (for so the Psalmist differently calls it, CVI. 19, 20.) was made in imitation of that golden Ox that represented Osiris; which was very famous among the Egyptians. Who had a mighty Veneration for the River Nile, called in Hebrew Sichor (from whence came Siris) and for teh Dog-star (called Siris likewise) at whose rising that River began to swell; and for the Sun (which was principally meant by this Name) to whom both the Bull at Heliopolis, and the Ox at Memphis were Consecrated, as Macrobius tells us L. I. Saturnal, c. 21. But though all this be very ingenious, yet the truth of it may be well questioned, as I shall show presently; when I have noted that this Translation, fashioned it with a graving Tool, is not so agreeable to what here follows, as another which the Hebrew words will as well bear.

After he had made it a molten Calf.] The words in the Hebrew are, and he made it, &c. we translate them after, &c. to make this agree with what goes before accordign to our Translation, he fashioned it with a graving Tool: which may as litterally be translated he bound them up in a bag. For we find the word jatzar, which we here translate fashioned, to have the signification also of binding or tying up: and cheret in the Plural Number to signifie a bag, 2 Kings V. 23. And thus the Prophet Isaiah (as Bochart observes) describes the making of Images, XLVI. 6. they lavish Gold out of the Bag, and they make it a God. Which agrees with what is here said of Aaron, He received the Ear-rings, and put them into a Bag, and then having made a Mold, cast them into it, and made a golden Calf. See v. 24.

A molten Calf.] So he calls it, because it was no bigger than a Calf, though the Head was like an Ox: and therefore, as I observed before, so called by the Psalmist. What moved Aaron to represent God in this figure, is hard to resolve. Most think he imitated the Egyptians, among whom he had long lived: which seems not to me at all likely, since he had seen the Judgment that God executed against all their Gods, XII. 12. yet so great a Man as J. Gerh. Vossius hath taken a great deal of pains to prove, that Joseph was adored by them under the Name of Apis and Serapis: and that his Symbol was an Ox. This he hath laboured to support by many ingenious Conjectures. But it is not likely, if he were thus publickly honoured as a God, that a Kind should arise who knew not Joseph; i.e. had not regard to him, I Exod. 8. and another succeed him, who endeavoured to ruin all his Kindred. The Worship of Serapis also was not so ancient; for Herodotus saith not a word of it, nor any Body else till the time of Alexander the Great; and many Authors say it was brought into Egypt out of Pontus by Ptolomy: See Bachartus in his Hierozoic. P. I. p. 338. And though Apis was more ancient, yet not of such antiquity as Moses, as a very learned person of our own (Dr. Tenison, now Arch-bishop of Canterbury) hath shown in his Book of Idolatry, Chap. VI. Part 4, 5, &c. And as for Osiris, both Plutarch and Strabo say he was the same with Apis: which was not then known, as I have said, in Egypt, no more than Typhus or Typhon, whom Philo thinks to be here intended; but was certainly a later Invention, and as Bochartus imagines, represented Moses himself, though very much disguised.

Cuperus indeed hath made it probably (in his Harpocrates, p. 83, &c.) that there was a Serapis worhsipped in Egypt, before that brought out of Pntus: But whether it be so or no, I do not take it to be at all material, because it is not likely that Aaron would make such a Repreesentation of Divinity, asa was in use among them from whose Slavery God had lately deliver'd them. For how could he think the LORD, to whom he proclaimed a Feast, would be pleased to be represented by any of thos Idols, on whom, as I said before, he had executed Judgment, at their departure out of Egypt? Or what reson is there to think the israelites themselves could be inclined to think their God to be like any thing, which that People worshipped, who abhorred the Sacrifices which the God of Israel required? Their Conjecture seems to me far more likely, who think that Aaron, in making this Calf, took his pattern from some part of the SCHECHINAH which appeared to him and the Elders of Israel (when they eat before God, XXIV. 10.) attended with the Angels: Some of which called Cerubim, they think appeared with the faces of Oxen. But as there is no mention in that place of Cherubims, nor of the Angels appearing in any shape whatsoever; and Moses expresly saith, the Israelites saw no manner of Similitude on the day when the LORD spake to them in Horeb, IV Deut. 15 (and therefore Aaron and the Elders, in all probability saw none afterward) so I think there is no evidence that the heavenly Ministers at any time Appeared in this shape, till the SCHECHINAH departed from the Temple, in the days of Ezekiel. See XXV. 18, 20.

After all this considered, Aaron seems to me to have chosen an Ox to be the Symbol of the Divine Presence, in hope the People would never be so sottish as to worship it; but only be put in mind by it of the Divine Power, whichwas hereby repersented. For an Oxes head was anciently an Emblem of Strength, and Horns a common sign of Kingly Power. So they were among the Phonicians (as Pignorius observes in his Mensa Isiaca, p. 15. out of Eusebius his Praepar. Evang. L. I. cap. ult.) and among the Egyptians (as Diodorus Siculus relates L. I.) and among the Romans, as appears by that fmaous story of Genucius Cipus (in Val. Maximus L. V. c. 6) who when he was Praetor had Horns come out of his Head on a sudden, as he was going out of the City to the Wars: whereupon he was told, Regem eum fore, si in Urbem revertisset, That he should be a King, if he returned into the City. And something like it is related by Julius Capitolinus concerning Clodius Albinus, at whose Birht a Cow broguht forth a Calf with purple Horns,  which they lookt upon as signum Imperij, a Toekn of Empire. Which mad ethe ancient Fathers, perhaps, when they spake of this Calf, or Ox of Aarons, mention only its Head. For so doth Tertullian ( versus Judaeos c. I.) cum processisset eis bubulum caput: and St. Cyprian, Lactantius, St. Hierom, St. Ambrose, and others: Not because they thought Aaron made only the Head; but because this was the principal part whereby God was represented.

"And they said.] The People cried out aloud.

These be thy Gods, O Israel.] Or, as Nehemiah expresses it, IX.18.  This is thy God, &c. the Image or Symbol of the Divine Majesty: or as Abulensis interprets it, His Divine Vertue resideth in this golden Body. The Plural Numer is commonly used for the Singular, especially when God is spoken of, as I observed beofre, XX Gen. 13. XXXV. 7. 2 Sam. VII. 23.

Which brought thee up out of the Land of Egypt.] This shows they lookt upon this Ox, only as a Representation of the Almighty LORD their God; for it being but newly made, they could not imagine they were brought by it from the Egyptian Slavery, but by his Power, which perhaps they fancied now resided in it.

Ver. 5. And when Aaron saw it, he built an Altar before it.] As at the Peoples request he made it , so he seeing them receive it with such applause, presently Consecraeted it by building an Altar, offering Sacrifices, and keeping a solemn Feast in its honour.

And Aaron made proclamation.] Caused it to be publickly proclaimed throughout the Host, that every one. might have norice os the Solemnity.

And said, to morrow is a Feast.] Which was a partof Worship ordained by his Authority.

To the L O R D.] Not to this Ox, but to the Creator of the World, whom they worshipped in this Image. Notwithstanding which, this was no better than an Idol , VII Act: 41. and they gross Idolaters, CVI Psalm. 19, 20. I Cor. X. 7. Some think indeed, that Moses being gone, and, as they imagined , either burnt up or famished, they desired this Representation of God to go before them and direct them, as a kind of Teraphim: but God allowed no such visible sign to be made of his Presence with them, which he knew would in a short time have their Adoration.