« PrécédentContinuer »
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.
Moses indeed prayed for the People, and God did not destroy them, though many of the Idolaters by his Appointment were Nain.
Moses bewailed their Idolatry, and said, O this People have finned a great Sin, v. 27, 28.-And the Lord plagued the People, because they made the Calf which Aaron made.
Surely the sad Examples of the Israelites herein, and the Manifestations of God's Wrath against them, should make all Men ever after afraid of worshiping even the true God by Means of any Images whatever.
It was the fame Sort of Idolatry which Jeroboam King of Israel established by his Authority. He took Counsel and made two Calves of Gold, and said unto them, (i. e. his Subjects) It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: Behold thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Egypt. And be set the one in Bethel, and the other put be in Dan. 1 Kings xii. 28, 29.
And thus did Jeroboam bring the Children of Israel to sin against the Lord their God.
And whoever, to express, or signify their Reverence or Worship of the most high God, shall
perform Acts of Homage, Reverence, and Worship to any Image, molten, graven, or painted, is guilty of the like Idolatry.
God has, in very many Passages of his Word, threatned to punish Idolaters in the Day of his Visitation for Sin. And there are many Instances upon Record in the sacred Scriptures of his having done fo ; and it concerns every one that is guilty of this Sin, to consider that Idolaters shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. i Cor. vi. 9.
IV. Proud Persons are another Sort whom the holy God has threatened to punish in the Day of his ViGitation for Sin.
Various is the Fuel for Pride, viz. fine Houses, the Ornaments for Apparel, Furniture, Gardens,
Riches, and Equipage, Beauty, Learning and Honour, and divers other Things.
Pride is a Man's overvaluing himself on Account of some natural, or acquired, or imaginary Gifts, or Excellencies; it is when a Man thinks of himself more highly than he ought to do.
Proud Persons are Idols to themselves, and Transgressors of the first Commandment, and have not that Love to God, that Reverence of him, or that Humility of Mind which are their Duty; and God admonishes them by awful Threatnings.
In Isaiah ii. 11, 12. the Prophet says, The lofty Looks of Man shall be humbled, and the Haughtiness of Men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone fball be exalted in that Day. For the Day of the Lord of Hofts shall be upon every one that is proud and Lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. And in Confirmation of this it is added v. 17. And the Loftiness of Man shall be bowed down, and the Haughtiness of Men shall be made low : and the Lord alone Mall be exalted in that Day, i. e. in the Day wherein he visits for Sin.
And concerning Women it is declared in Isaiah iii. 16. Moreover the Lord faith, Because the Daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth Necks, and wanton Eyes, walking, and mincing as they go, therefore the Lord will smite with a Scab the Crown of the Head of the Daughters of Zion: v. 17
And the Prophet declares v. 18. In that Day (viz. of Visitation for Sin) the Lord will take away the Bravery of their Ornaments, and greatly affict them (read v. 18. to the End of v. 24.)
Pride goeth before Destruction, and an haughty Spia rit before a Fall, it is said Prov. xvi. 18.
The Prophet Ezekiel (in Ezek. xvi. 49.) faid to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Behold this was the Iniquity of iby Sister Sodom, Pride, Fulness of Bread (i. e.