« ZurückWeiter »
I shall now shut up all with the consideration of these words, before me. " These words, before me, in 6 the first commandment, teach us, that God who C6 feeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is “ much displealed with the fin of having any other 6 god.” · First, God taketh special notice of the fin of having another god.
1. He taketh special notice of the gross sin of idolatry. He has a jealous eye on it, and will not over. look it; for it is fpiritual adultery, and the husband will overlook many faults in his wife, who will not overlook that. Idolaters have their fig-leaf covers for their idolatry. How do the Papists let their wits on the rack to frame fuch nice and subtil distinctions as may palliate their horrid idolatry! But though they may deceive the simple with these things, yet they cannot blind the eyes of the all-feeing God.
Seeing God takes such notice of it, how lamentable is it that idolatry makes such vast progress in this covenanted land, and is not duly noticed! How fad is it, that the fin and dishonour against God is not noticed, so as to be inourned over, and to take no. tice of the danger of it, and that the government takes not notice of it to repress it! This is a fad fign of the danger of being over-run with it.
2. God takes special notice of heart-idolatry, of whatever poffefseth his room in the heart. That is a fubtil kind of idolatry, fo hid that others cannot, nay men themselves do not always perceiye what it is that is their idol. But God fees it very well. . (1.) The idol may be of a spiritual nature, which the man cannot discern till the law be carried home on the soul in its fpiritual extent, Thus Paul's du: ties and seeming holiness were his idol, Rom. vii. 9.
2. It may lie in lawful things. Things unlawful in themselves may quickly be teen with the fnare in them. It is easy to discern the devil when he appears with his cloven foot, fo to speak ; but it is not fo ealy
to see a man's ruin lying in houses and lands, halfband, wife, and children, goods and gear: yet these may be the idols.
(3.) The idol may go under the name of an infir* mity. Thus many deceive themselves with entertain
ing reigning fins under the name of infirmities.
(4.) Self-love aćts its part here, being ready to magnify mens good, and extenuate their evil. And to
they nourish their disease, and hug the viper that is i gnawing at their bowels.
Lastly, There may be a judicial stroke in it. They will not entertain the discoveries which God makes them; and they shutting their eyes, the Lord strikes them blind.
But let us fpecially notice what God has a special eye upon.
Secondly, God is specially displeased with our having any other god.
1. He is displeased with gross idolatry. He shews his special wrath in this life against idolaters, as a. gainst the Israelites for worshipping the golden calf, and against the ten tribes for their idolatry at Dan and Bethel. So old Babylon was, and new Babylon will be destroyed. All idolaters will be punished in the other life, Rev. xxi. 8.
Let us then shew our displeasure against, and resolve in the Lord's strength to oppose the spreading of idolatry, chusing rather to suffer than sin.
2. He is displeased with the idols which men set up in their hearts. He shews this difpleasure several ways,
(1.) Sometimes the Lord in the fury of his jealousy shovels the idol out of the way, as he did in the cafe of Micah's idol, Judg. xviii. 24. i
(2.) Sometimes he reduces the man to a neceflity of parting either with his idol or his profession.
(3.) Oft-times the Lord makes the idol mens plague and punishment.
(4.) Lastly, Oft-times there is a rub by a torrent of temptation that brings forth the idol in its own colours; as in the case of Judas's covetousoess, and Demas's love of the world.
Let us therefore cast away our idols, and let nothing keep God's room in our hearts, especially in such a day when God is rising up to plead against us.
From the whole ye may see that the commandment is exceeding broad. Be humbled under the sense of your guilt in the breach of this coinmand. And see what great need ye have to reform; and what need ye stand in of the blood of Christ for removing your guilt, and of his Spirit for cleansing your hearts, and fubduing your iniquities.
Of the second Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 4. 5. 6. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any
likeness of any thing, that 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, nar ferve them : for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the chil. dren unto tie third and fourth generation of them that hate me ; and jhewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my conimandments. THE fecond command comes now to be explain
ed; and this is it, though the Papists will not allow it to be so.' And it is so plain against them, that they leave it out of their catechisms and books of devotion which they put into the people's hands, joining the reason of it, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, &c. unto the first command ; and so they count the third the second, the fourth the third, doc. and split the tenth into two (to make up the pum.
that love'mand jbewing merih generationen
ber), though the apostle expresses it in one word, Thou shalt not covet. And indeed they have reason to
hide it; for if they should let it come to the light, it * would open the mystery of their iniquity among their
blinded people, and spoil the most part of their devotions, whereof idols and images have the largest hare.
As the first command fixeth the object of worship, so this fixes the means and way of worship. The
scope of it is to bind us to the external worship of - God, and that in the way that he himself has infti* tuted, and that we may be fpiritual in that his wor
fhip. We may take it up in two things. • i. The command itself. 2. The reasons annexed.
The command itself we have, ver. 4. and part of ver. - 5. I fall first consider the command.
The command is proposed negatively; and two things are here forbidden expressly.
First, The making of images for religious use and service, Lev. xxvi. I. And that it is thus meant, and not of civil or political images, is plain from this, that it is a command of the firit table, and fo relates to divine worhip. And our God is very particular in this point.
1. Graven images are forbidden particularly, that is, iinages cut or carved in wood, stone, or the like, called slatues. These are particularly expressed, not only because they were the chief among idolaters, but because they do so livelily represent men, beasts, doc. in all their parts and members, that nothing seems to be wanting in them but life; and so people are most ready to be deceived by them. But that wa my fee it is not these only that are abominable to our Cod,
2. Every similitude whatsoever for religious use and service is forbidden, whether it be done by casting in a mould, painting, weaving, or niade any way whatsoever, though it be merely by the imaginas tion, and not by the hand; for the words are waiverwal,
any likeness. How particular is this ccmmand in things
themselves whereof idolaters would have the images? ; 11, No graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, must be made for religious worship. By the heavens above is meant the air, and all to t!:2 starry heavens, and the seat of the blessed. In the visible heavens are the birds, fun, moon, and stars. No likeness of these is to be made; and therefore to paint the Holy Spirit as a dove is idolatrous. In the seat of the blessed are God himself, angels, and saints, i. e. the spirits of just men made perfect, all invisible; so that it is impiety, yea and madness, to frame images of them.
2dly, No graven image or likeness of any thing that is in the earth beneath is to be made for religious fervice, whether they be on the surface, or in the bowels of the earth. Now in the earth ate men, beasts, trees, plants, the dead bodies of men, c. No likeness of these is to be made for religious worship.
3dly, No graven image or likeness of any thing that is in the water under the earth is to be made. Now these are fishes whatsoever the rivers and seas do produce. But no likeness of thefe is to be made for religious service.
But why fo particular? This is defervedly inquired, when the first command and most of the rest are in fo very few words. An. 1. Because the worship of God commanded here is not so much natural as in the first command, but instituted ; and so nature's light can be of less service than in the first : for though the light of nature teacheth that God is to be worshipped, it cannot tell us how he will be worshipped, or in what particular way.
2. Because there is a special proneness in the nature of man to corrupt the worship and ordinances of Gud. Of old the worship of God was corrupted with vile idolatries and fuperftitions all the world over, but a. mong the Jews, and frequently among them too. Ye will often read of the Jews falling in with the wor.