« PrécédentContinuer »
4. Those tipling Ministers, who are fond of strong Liquors, and encourage others to drink with them to excess, and speak Words, and act according to the Import of Verse 12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch Wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong Drink, and To-morrow shall be as this Day, and mucha more abundant.
In Jerem. ii. 8, 9. are these Words, viz. The Priests said not, Where is the Lord ? And they that handle the Law knew me not, the Pastors also tranfgressed against me, and the Prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after Things that do not profit. Wherefore I will get plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your Children's Children will I plead.
These Words shew, that the holy God has a Controversy with ungodly Ministers, who are destitute of the saving Knowledge of him, and live in Disobedience to him ; such Ministers, instead of obtaining a Blessing on their Children, expose them to a Curfe, and the Lord will deal with those Parents in a way of Wrath.
In Jerem, xxiii. 2. it is written, Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the Pastors, that feed my People, Ye have scattered my Flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: Behold! I will visit upon you the Evil of your Doings, saith the Lord. Which Words shew, that God will visit upon such Pastors, as will not faithfully perform their Duty, but neglect the Care of their People, that he will visit upon them the Evil of their Doing,
The Apostle not only taught the People publickly, but from House to House, teaching Repentance toward God, and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (see Aets xx. 20,21.) but those Ministers who will not imitate the Example of the Apostle, but neglect to visit their Sheep, and behave so, as to drive them
from attending the sacred Ministrations, provoke the Anger of God, and have Reason to expect a Feeling the bitter Effects of it.
In Ezek. xxii. 26, 31, the righteous God says, Her Priests have violated my Law, and have profaned mine holy Things : They have put no Difference between the Holy and Profane, neither have they Mewed Difference between the Unclean and the Clean, and bave bid their Eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. I have consumed them with the Fire of my Wrath : Their own Way have I recompensed upon their Heads, faith the Lord God. These Pallages shew, that those Ministers of God in facred things, who (regardless of their Duty) admit ungodly Persons to those divine Ordinances which are the peculiar Privilege of the Righteous, and reject the Righteous for whom they were appointed, and who will not look into, and observe the Laws of the Sabbath, to keep it holy, have Reason to be afraid, that the juft God will pour out his Indignation
upon them, and consume them in the Day of his Visitation for Sin.
Happy for them will it be, if those Ministers of the Word of God, who are the Objects of the Threatnings mentioned, shall consider and lay theni to Heart, and make the right Improvement of them.
II. Profane Persons, who scoff at serious Things, who deride the Providence, or the Word, or the Commandments, or the Sabbaths, or the Ordinances, or the Worship, or the People of God, are Objects of his Visitation and Wrath.
The Words and Actions of these Persons shew an Enmity against God, and an impious Contempt of his Authority, and Laws, and a proud Disdain of his People: And they bring upon themselves the Character of Scorners, or of being fcornful.
In Prov. iii. 33, 34. it is said, The Curse of the Lord is in the House of the
Wicked surely be fcorneth the Scorners. And in Prov. xix. 29. it is declared, That Judgments are prepared for Scorners. And therefore this sort of Sinners. have Reason to think, that divine Judgment will come heavy upon them in the Day of the Lord's Visitation.
Scorners are dangerous Inhabitants of a City, for it is said, Prov. xxix. 8. Scornful Men bring a City into a Snare.
These are Transgressors of the first Command, which, as it forbids the having any other God, so it signifies, that it is our Duty to acknowledge, love, and reverence the true God, and have Respect to all his Statutes, and Ordinances, which these Sinners contemn and despise.
III. IDOLATERs. There are two Sorts of Idolatry; one, a Transgression of the first of the Ten Commandments, the other, a Violation of the Second of them.
And those Persons are guilty of transgressing the first Commandment, who own, or acknowledge any Creature as God, or who pay religious Respect or Reverence, by any inward Action of their Minds, or Gesture of their Body, to any Creature as God and the Object of their Worship.
These Actions are an Acknowledgment of such a Creature as God, and is the having another God before the Face, or besides Jehovah, the one only living and true God ; and is the Sin, the Idolatry forbidden in Exod. xx. 3. where the Almighty says, Thou Malt have no other God, before Me.
And this is a most heinous Impiety ; because it is an Acknowledgment of divine Perfections, Wifdom, Knowledge, Holiness, Power, and Goodness, to be the Attributes of such a Creature, and a giving Eo such a Creature the Glory due to God alone.
16 Sacred Declarations, &c.
And since God has given to Man an Understand. ing to know Things, and a reasoning Faculty to draw proper Conclusions, it is the more absurd and irrational in Man, to entertain an Apprehension, that any material Substance is possessed with the Attributes of that Being who formed it.
The second Commandment forbids Mens making any Images to be the Means of religious Worshiping the true God--As the first Commandment relates to the Object of divine Worship, so the Second to the Means of it. It says, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven Image, or any Likeness of any Thing ibat is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the Water under the Earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them. (Vid. Exod. xx. 4, 5.)
And as the Law forbids the making any Representations, as the Means of Worship, and the performing any bodily Actions expreflive of Reverence to them; so it must be understood for the same Rea. fons, to forbid those internal Acts of the Mind, which fignify a religious Devotion to them.
Worshipping the true God by Means of a molten or graven Image, was the Idolatry of the Children of Ifrael. When the golden Calf was made, the People said, These be thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, Exod. xxxii. 4. q. d. This Image is to represent God, who delivered us from our Bondage to the Egyptians, we will keep in Remembrance our Deliverance, and express our Reverence of Jehovah our God, by Acts of Adoration to this Image.
For they kept a Feast to Jehovah, by Means of that golden Calf.
Aaron made Proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a Feast to the Lord, i. e. Jehovah. (Exod. xxxii. 5.), and ver. 6. it is said, Tbey rose up early on the
Morrow, and offered Burnt-offerings, and brought Peace-offerings, (i. e. to Jehovab) and this they did by Means of the Golden Calf, by performing their Acts of religious Worship to it, as a Representation of God, who had brought them out of the Land of Egypt.
Now from what has been observed, the Nature of the Sin of Idolatry is very manifest, and the Idolatry forbidden by the second Commandment, is a very heinous Iniquity; obfcuring from the Idolaters, the Brightness, the Glory of the divine Majesty, by making Images of Creatures, real or imaginary, Representations of God, because such Representations can only excite false and debasing Ideas of a Being who is invisible, who never was seen, or can be seen ; and whose Glory it is to be unlike all sensible Objects, and infinitely to transcend the most excellent Creatures. To whom then will ye liken God? Or what Likeness will ye compare to bim? says the inspired Prophet Isaiah xl. 18. and v. 25. To whom then will ye liken me ? or shall I be equal ? says the boly One.
It is a vile Indignity to the great God, to maké any Representation, or Image to be the Means of worshiping him ; a Practice very provoking of his Anger.
How terrible did the holy God resent it, when the Israelites were guilty of it.
The Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down ; for thy People which thou broughtest out of the Land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned afide quickly out of the Way which I commanded them; they bave made them a molten Calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy Gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the Land of Egypt v. 7, 8.--Now therefore, let me alone, ibat my Wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may confume them. v. 10.