Concerning the Idolatry of the Church of Rome.
IT may be of great concernment (and possibly of more difficulty) to clear this, that the Church of Rome by their worshipping of Images, relicts, and such like, even though they intend the worshipping of the true God, are yet notwithstanding really guilty of ido∣latry: and though it be not pertinent for this place to insist in it by a long digression; yet, (considering of what concernment it is for the clearing of this prophesie, and for war∣ranting the application thereof to the Church of Rome, both in this Chapter and in many Chapters following) we think it necessary to lay down some things which may bear this application.
For the making out of this charge of Idolatry and worshipping of devils upon the Page 455 Church of Rome, we shall first lay down what is such in the Scripture account. 2. What the Church of Rome doth practise concerning their Images and worship given to them. 3. Make out, that these practices are condemned in the Scripture, as worshipping of Idols the work of mens hands, &c. It is not our purpose to enlarge the first two, in speaking either of all the Idolatry which the Scripture condemneth, or yet of all the practices of the Church of Rome, which come in under this guilt, but so much as relateth to Images especially.
For the first, The Scriptures reckon and condemn a twofold Idolatry in reference to Images. 1. When the Image it self is accounted God and worshipped as such. This Ido∣latry is properly against the first Command, and is generally condemned in the practice of the Heathen.
The second sort of Idolatry, is, when the Images themselves are not worshipped, as having any Godhead properly in themselves; but as they relate to, represent, and are made use of in the worship of Him who is accounted God, so that the motive moving to wor∣ship, is pretended respect to the God represented by them, which we will find both amongst Heathens and amongst the people of God, the one worshipping the Images of their Idols, not as gods themselves, but as intending to worship their gods in these, and by these; yet are they commonly condemned in the Scripture, not only for worshipping their sup∣posed gods, but for worshipping the Images whereby they did represent them; the other, to wit, the people of God, professing to worship the true God, and yet for doing it by Images, and to Images, are condemned for worshiping of Images themselves, as the after instances will clear.
This sort of idolatrous worship may be two wayes tried,
1. When we worship him with such worship as Idolaters used to their Idols. Thus the representing of the true God by Images, making high places and groves to Him, are condemned, Deut. 4.15, 16, 25. and Deut. 12. vers. 31, 32. and 2 Chron. 33. vers. 17. where, sacrificing in the high places, though to the Lord their God, is marked as a relict of their Idolatry.
2. It may be tried by this, when religious worship alone due to God, is given to any thing which is not the true God, though it were to instruments and means appointed by Him∣self: such Idolatry is condemned in Cornelius, Act. 10. and in Iohn, Revel. 19. and the peoples going a whoring after the brasen Serpent (much more when that worship is given to any thing which is not made use of in the worship of God by His appointment, as Images of Angels, Saints, or of the Lord Himself) Thus it had been Idolatry under the Old Testa∣ment, to have worshipped the Tables of stone, Pot of Manna, Moses Rod, Paschal Lamb, or such things ordinarily or extraordinarily made use of by God. These properly come under the second Command, whereby we are discharged, not only to worship false gods, or Images as gods; but also are inhibited to worship the true God any way not prescribed by Him, but especially by Images.
If it be questioned what this Religious worship is, we take it up thus,
1. That wor∣ship which the Scripture only appropriateth to the true God, as praying and vowing to Him, swearing by His Name, building Temples, Altars, &c. seeking the restoring of health and such like.
2. We call that Religious worship, which Idolaters use to give to their supposed gods, such as to kisse an Image, Hos. 13.2. to sacrifice and burn incense to them, set lights before them, and appoint Priests for them, Iudg. 17. and of this sort was that Idolatry (Act. 14.) of offering sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas; for, these things have ever been counted Re∣ligious by men, and given to Idols upon that account, neither ever hath it been or can it be given to Images upon another account.
3. When the worship is not civil, it must be accounted Religious, as may be gathered from the circumstances thereof, as if the act, end and other circumstances be Religious, the action or worship it self must be so also; as it is one thing to bow the knee in a salutation to a man, it is another thing to bow in prayer, and that before an Image, to do it occasionally, and in such place, and purposly, as a peice of Religion and worship; to bow the knee at a table or before an Image, is one thing, but to do it before an Image, set up for a Re∣ligious end at a table, upon which Christ is esteemed to be really present, is another.
That we may be distinct in the second, we shall, 1. consider what is the practice of Papists. 2. What is their Doctrine concerning this sort of worship, and that in so far as is uncontroverted by them.
Page 4561. We will find infinite numbers of Images framed for the worship of God, and of the persons of the Godhead, distinctly, of the Virgin Marie, the Crosse, Angels, Saints, &c. 2. We will find them in their practice giving great worship to all these, kneeling to them, discovering themselves before them, offering oblations, and putting up prayers to them, building Temples, and sanctifying of them by these, carrying them in processions, &c. 3. We will find a worship given to Angels and Saints in a high degree; as praying, dedi∣cating of Temples, swearing by them, seeking their intercession: of such kind are to the virgin Marie, as followeth, Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei genitrix, ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. Dulcis amica Dei, rosa vernans, stella decora, iu memor est• mei dum mortis venerit hora. Ave, santissima mater Dei, regina Coeli, porta Paradisi, Domina mundi, libera me ab omni malo, ora pro peccato meo, that is, O holy Mother of God, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Sweet friend of God, the pleasant Rose, and glorious Star, be mindfull of me when the hour of death shall come. Hail, most holy Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, the port of Paradise, the lady of the world, deliver me from all evil, pray for my sin. And infinite numbers of this kind to be gathered from the Roman Breviarie, that is called Psalterium Marianum; a compend whereof, is set down by Chemnitius in his Examen of the Councel of Trent, part. 3. de veneratione sanctorum & corum invocatione. So are also their prayers to other Saints, as to Elizabeth; Eia, mater, nos agnosce, &c. O Mother, acknowledge us, &c. To Nicolas; Credo, sancte Nicolas, tuis me procibus esse salvandum, id•o te cla∣mo, &c. Serva me supplicem famulum tuum, amice Dei Nicolae, de praesentibus angustiis & tribulationibus, quia in te confidit anima mea, ut per t• me salvet qui te sibi elegit. I believe, holy Nicolas, to be saved by thy prayers, therefore I cry upon thee, &c. O Nicolas, the friend of God, save me thy humble servant from my present straits and tri∣bulations, because my soul trusteth in thee, that He who hath chosen thee to Himself may save me through thee. Sancta Dorothea, cor mundum in me crea; Holy Dorothie, creat in me a clean heart: and hundreds of that kind. Yea, it is that length, that the Je∣suits do monthly (as Lorinus in 1. Act. asserteth) cast lots what Saint to choose for their Patron, for the month ensuing. Luther pronounced this sort of Idolatry to be the cause of the Turks War against Christendom, as in vita ajus apud Melch. Adam.
4. Beside what worship is given to Saint• and their Images, there is also a worshipping of the materiall Crosse, Nails and other things made use of in our Lords suffering, and of the Images of that Crosse, of the Saints Reliques, and Cloaths of the Sacrament of the Altar or Masse, or the Hoast, as they call it; these they adore, to these (especially the Crosse) they direct their prayers, as, O crux, ave, spes unica, hoc passionis tempore, Auga piis justitiam reisque dona veniam. Hail O Crosse, my only hope, in this time of Christs suffering, encrease in the Godly righteousnesse, and grant pardon to sinners. This is brought in by Aquinas, 3. part. 4. art. quast. 25. as the ground whereby he pleadeth the highest degree of divine Worship to the Crosse; because that song is used in the Church, insisted on also by Bonaventura, lib. 3. insententias, ad distinct. 9:
These practices (and innumerable moe) are the practices not of a few particular per∣sons, but are contained in the publick Liturgies of their Churches, we shall now enquire in their Doctrine concerning these practices, wherein we will not find them so unanimous: our enquiry is especially concerning the worshipping of Images.
1. They do generally agree, that Images of all these sorts may be made, and being made, ought to be worshipped with more than civil Worship, and with respect to these repre∣sented by them. And though this be determined by the second Councel of Nice, formerly mentioned, and again ratified in their late Councel of Trent, as may be seen in the acts thereof; yet are they not one among themselves in defining the nature of this Worship. Their prime Schoolmen, Aquinas, part. 3. quast. 25. Bonaven. lib. 3. •ist. 9. and others their followers, give to the Image that same worship which they give to that which is represented by it, to wit, to the Images of God and to the Crosse, they give that which they call 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; to the Image of the Virgin Mary〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a worship above what is given to other Saints; to the Images of Saints 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 it self. Upon this ground (cited out of Aristotle) that honour done to the type, honoureth him that is typified. And they labour to vindicate themselves from Idolatry by this distinction, that these Images may be considered, either, 1. respectu materiae, as they are of Gold, Silver, &c. Or, Page 457 2. respectus formae & significationis, as they signifie and represent; the first way they ho∣nour them not, but the second, say they. Ergo, &c. In which distinction we conceive the Heathen themselves would acquies•e; for, no Gold or Silver was worshipped by them, but as in such a form, and as under such a signification.
Again, Durand. (who hath not many followers in this, and is marked to be a speciall opposer of Thomas his Doctrine) though he asserteth that worship is to be given to the Images; yet saith, that it is not properly given to them, but to what is represented by them, so as our adoring of the Image, is the adoring of Him brought to our memory by the Image, as if He were present. Thus he, Lib. 3. distinct. 9. Quast. 2.
3. The later Writers, who would seem more subtile, as Bellar. Gregor. de Valent. &c. look upon these former two opinions as extreams, the one giving too much, and the other too little to Images. Therefore Gregor. de Valent. in 3. disp. 6. quaest. 11. punct. 6. doth condemn Durand for this alswell, though not in the same degree, as he doth the Hereticks. Their judgement is (although even they differ, Gregor. de Valent. being nearer Thomas than the other, yet both account it proper worship) that the Images should be truely and properly worshipped with Religious worship (relatively, as they call it) that is, with re∣spect to the thing represented. Thus in one act of worship, they worship both the Image and the thing signified, with a worship suitable, but not equal, and the same with that which is given to what is signified; as for instance, in worshipping the image of God, they wor∣ship God represented by the Image with the highest degree of honour; they worship the Image also properly, but not with the same honour, because they worship God for Him∣self, His Image for Him, and not for it self. Again, the Image of the Virgine Mary, is worshipped with true worship, but inferiour to what is given to her self for the reason foresaid, and also inferiour to what is given to the Image of God, but beyond what wor∣ship is given to the Image of any other Saint, because she her self is inferiour to God, though superiour to other Saints. This manner of worship they illustrate by an example; as suppose a great Courtier to be made Commissioner and Ambassadour for his Prince, he is received and honoured with all Kingly reverence due to him, whose Person he sustains; in this, say they, that honour is principally given to the King, who is honoured in his Am∣bassadour, as if he himself were present, yet truly and properly the Ambassadour may be said to be so reverenced, and to have all that honour done to him, as he filleth that room by representing his King, and, as such, he is really and truly honoured also; even so, say they, is it here. The honour of the thing represented is principally aimed at, yet so as for that end the Image representing is really and truly honoured with that same worship which should be given to him that is represented if he were present, only it is not for its self, and so in that respect inferiour. Neither do they esteem this to be Idolatry; because they esteem Idolatry to consist in this, the giving of Divine worship to the creature after that same manner, and upon the same account that is given to God. And therefore, although they give the same Divine worship to the Image which they give to God in it self, yet se∣ing they give it not upon that account, as if the image were God, and for it self, but rela∣tively, Therefore can it not be Idolatry, because they never conjoyn these two together, (as Gregor. de Valent. ibid. ut supra, expresseth it, ut & cultum divinum usurpent, & illum qua ratione Deo exhiberi debeat, tribuant creatura, hoc est, ipsis imaginibus secun∣dum se (and, as a little after, sicut Deo) and therefore, illi ejusmodi adoratione nunquam committunt idolatriam.
It is generally granted further by the forcited Authors, that the making of Images to God, was simply prohibited under the Old Testament, and that there is nothing under the New Testament to establish this worship, but that it is grounded upon tradition, and the Churches determination confirmed by a famous tradition of the Lords sending His own portraictour to Abagarus; and of Luke's painting the Lord and His Mother, which are amongst their unanswerable arguments for establishing this worship. Therefore when that horned argument is propounded, Either Images are warranted by the Word or not; If they be warranted by the Word, that warrant is to be produced: if not, then are they not to be valued. Eccius, answering to this in his Enchiridion, doth no way offer to instruct their warrant from the Word, but asserteth many things in practice to be warranted by tradition, such as is for this. If then we make out this, that such •orshipping of Images, notwithstanding of such exceptions, be condemned in Scripture, as Idolatry, we have what Page 458 we proposed, and if this can be gathered from the foresaid grounds laid down by their most coutelous Doctors, what might be collected from the principles of their superstitious Mor•ks and practices of ignorant people, especially if they were considered as in the time of darknesse, before the light of Reformation made them alter many expressions? Cassander, speaking of their worshipping of Images, saith, Consult, deimag. that these Images were more or lesse reverently worshipped as they were more or lesse gorgeously apparelled, and that these which should have drawn others from these superstitions, proved to be the Au∣thors thereof themselves, that (quaestus causa) they did nourish them among the people.
Argument 1. If the Heathens who believed an invisible God-head, be yet found guilty of this idolatry of worshipping stocks and stones, &c. because they worshipped Images of such matter, even though they professed the worshipping of the God represented by these, and did disclaim the acknowledging of these Images to be their gods, or of worshipping them as such, but with relation to the God represented by them: Then this worshipping of Images amongst the Papists must be so also, notwithstanding of their exceptions: But the former is true. Therefore the latter must be true also.
The connexion of the major cannot but hold; for, if they be found guilty not only of worshipping the Idols represented by their Images, but also the Images themselves, be∣cause they worshipped their gods as represented in and by these images, so must the Papists be accounted worshippers of Images upon that same account; for, a quatenus ad omne, valet consequentia.
It cannot be said, that the worshipping of Images among the Heathen is only condemned as Idolatry, because they made Images to represent false gods, or because they represented the true God by unsuitable Images, as of an Oxe that eateth grasse, Psal. 106. For, 1. Idolatry and making of Images at the beginning, was not with respect to false gods, but was a degenerating from, and corrupting of the worship of the true God, as may be gathered from Rom. 1.23. where it is said of the Gentiles, that knowing God they wor∣shipped Him not as God, but changed His glory, not the glory of an Idol, into the simi∣litude, &c. and it is like, this corrupting of the worship of the true God made way for the altering of the very object of their worship, as an effect of the Reprobate mind which followed. Something of this also may be gathered from Acts 17. in Paul's dispute at Athens. This exception then would not serve to convince these, whom yet the Scripture condemneth. a. We answer, that the connexion will hold even in reference to these who represented false gods, suppose Iupiter, Diana, Apollo, and such, because they were not only charged with worshipping these Idols, Iupiter, Apollo, Baal, &c. which were not the work of mens hands, but they are also charged with worshipping the works of their own hands, and images of these Idols, whom they pretended to worship by these repre∣sentations, and adorations before them; and therefore the ratio à pari, will hold in this, that if these exceptions did not liberate them from the charge of worshipping their Images the work of their hands, So neither will it be effectuall to exempt the Papists, because the Argument runneth not to prove them to represent false gods by their Images, but that the worship done to the Image (though pretended to be done to another) is also counted a worshipping of the Images themselves before God.
The other exception is of that same nature: for, the Scripture condemeneth not wor∣shipping of God in Images, because they were Images of unreasonable creatures only, but simply, because they were Images: Rom. 1. they are charged, that they changed the Glory of the incorruptible God, to the Image of corruptible man; and Augustine, de civitare Dei, cleareth out of Varro, lib. 7. cap. 5. that the Gentiles portraicted their gods in mans picture chiefly, though they were invisible, because mans soul is likest to them, and mans body being the vessel of the soul, is therefore the fittest Image to represent them, yet can it not be said, but that cometh still to be Idolatry.
The weight then of this Argument will •y in the Assumption, to wit, that even these Heathens who are charged with worshipping Images in Scripture the work of their hands, did yet solemnly disclaim their accounting these Images to be gods, but that they worship∣ped them for the honour of the God whom they represented. This appeareth, 1. by con∣sidering these places of Scripture, Rom. 1.21. Acts 17. where the Apostles dispute run∣neth to condemn that opinion, That the unknow God ignorantly worshipped by them, could be worshipped by mens hands, vers. 28. that is to say, by making of Images, or Page 459 could be represented by silver or gold, or any other thing, vers. 29. And although their thoughts of God might be more grosse, yet this is ever true, that they accounted not their images to be the God whom they worshipped, and so did not worship them for themselves (or, secundum se) but relatively with respect to others also. Act. 19.35. expresse difference is put betwixt Diana and her Images, and the silver shrines that were made to her, and Iu∣piter is asserted to be in heaven, and therefore was distinctly considered by them from the Images they made unto him.
2. It will appear from reason, if we consider that they placed their gods in Heaven. 2. That they had many Images of one God. 3. That they often changed their Images, but not their gods. 4. That many whom they worshipped by Images, were once such as had been living in the world, unto whose honour they erected such Images, but could never nor did never suppose them to be the persons themselves.
3. It will appear from the Heathens own disputings and assertions, whereby they shifted that absurdity of worshipping the works of their hands; yet is it by the Fathers, on this ground, born in upon them. See August. in Psal. 113. (nobis 115.) where, having asked the Question, why the Scripture insisteth so much to clear that the Images of the Gentiles can neither speak nor hear, &c. which could not but be known to a childe? the reason is, saith he, Because by erecting such Images, people are ready to conceive some Godhead to be in them. Hence when they were prest with this absurdity of worshipping the work of their hands, they did deny it, saying, that they worshipped not the Image, but the numen or God which dwelt in it, and was represented by it, and that after its dedication. If some of them were prest further, that that numen or god was but a devil, they would an∣swer, nec simulachrum nec daemonium colo, sed per effigiem corporalem ejus rei signum intueor quam colere debeo; I neither worship an Idol nor a devil, but by a bodily Image I behold the sign of that thing which I should worship. If Christians prest yet further, that the things represented were but creatures as Tellus, Neptune, Vulcan, Lucifer, &c. or some Star, or this or that creature which was a body, yet, saith he, they durst answer, non se ipsa corpora colere, sed quae illis regendis praesident numina; that they worshiped not the creatures, but the gods that ruled in them. In consideration whereof, he citeth that place, Rom. 1. of changing the truth of God into a lie, and serving the creature more than the Creator, as if by the first part, the Apostle did condemn Images of God, and by the second their interpretations of the worship given to them, because it is there counted a serving of the creature whatever their pretext was; for (saith he) who, praying or worshipping, beholding an Image, is not so affected as if he thought to be heard by it, and hoping to have what he desireth performed by it? Therefore (saith he) men involved in such superstitions, turn themselves to pray to that Image which they call the Sun, or Nep∣tune, &c. as if they could affect them with their sighings, and give that same respect to them as to the thing signified by them, and pray to the Image before they pray to the thing it self. This (saith he) cometh and someway is extorted by that visible Image, as think∣ing that readiest to hear which it in shape likest to our selves, &c. where many other things are further to this purpose. Also, in Psal. 96. (nobis, 97.) where he bringeth in the Hea∣then giving this answer, Non illud colo seu adora quod video, sed servio ei quem non video, quis est iste? Numen quoddam invisibile quod praesides illi simulachro: where they distin∣guish betwixt adoro and servio, as Papists do between 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. If it were objected further to these heathens, that they worshipped devils, they would answer. They worship∣ped good Angels and virtutes Dei. It is replied in the same place, If they worshipped good Angels, they would reject their worship, as that Angel did to Iohn, Rev. 19, &c. This way of shifting also may be found in Lactantius, de origine erroris, Lib. 2. Cap. 2. apud. Chrylost. in Eph. 5. hom. 18. From all which we may gather, that the heathens wanted not the same shifts for excusing their worshipping of Images, yet was it still charged upon them, that they worshipped Idols which neither saw nor heard, &c. although still they denied it.
2. Thus we argue: If the people of Israel were accounted guilty of Idolatry and wor∣shipping of devils, and the works of their hands, because of their worshipping Images, which they professedly erected to the true God, and even when they pretended the abhor∣ring of false gods, and the adhering unto the true God, Then must the same guilt be justly charged upon the Papists, who worship Images, as is said; But the former is true. Ergo, &c. The connexion of the major dependeth on this, that the inhibition of Idolatry and manner Page 460 of worshipping God under the New Testament, is as strict and spiritual as it was under the Old. And therefore these who say that such making of Images of the Godhead and worship∣ping them, was unlawfull before Christs coming, but now is made lawfull, must shew some repeal of that Law, before that can be granted. Beside, these Images being pleaded-for as Books for the rude and ignorant, it is unreasonable to say, that there is more use of such Books under the light of the Gospel, than during the Law which stood in types.
The weight of this also will ly then upon the Assumption, to wit, that the people of Israel were charged with Idolatry in their worshipping of Images, even then when they pretended the worshipping of the true God by them. For clearing this, we shall consider these four Instances, 1. Exod. 32. 2. That of Micah, Iudg. 17. 3. That Idolatry of Ieroboans which the Tribes of Israel continued long in. 4. That worshipping in the high places, condemned in the Tribe of Iudah, 2. Chron. 33.17. In all which places, we sup∣pose these two to be clear, 1. That these worshippers intended not the worshipping of false gods, or of the Images which they had made, but to worship the true God by these. And, 2. that yet they are still condemned as Idolaters, and that sin of Ioroboam's is ex∣presly called worshipping of devils, 2 Chron. 11.15. For the first instance, Exod. 32. it is clear, 1. that they were not utterly forgetfull of the true God, though practically that might be charged upon them, especially considering Aaron's uncontroverted going alongst with them. 2. That that Image is called JEHOVAH, which brought them out of Egypt; which being a deliverance past, before these Image had a being, must certainly be under∣stood to be the representation of that God which brought them out of the Land of Egypt. 3. It can hardly be thought they should have esteemed these to be gods themselves, and so soon to have passed from them. 4. The service is service to the Lord, vers. 5. To morrow is a feast (not to the Calf) but to JEHOVAH. The worship performed, (vers. 6.) is not that which they used to give to Idols, but to the Lord Himself; the peoples end in re∣quiring it, that they might have something to supplie the want of Moses presence by some visible sign, and to have these to go up before them to Canaan whether the Lord called them and not back again to Egypt, doth make it appear, that their sin charged on them (vers. 8.) of turning out of the way, looketh to point out their failing to have been in their manner of worshipping the true God by an unwarrantable mean, especially if we com∣pare this with Acts 7.40, 41, 42. where this Idolatry is made the cause of Gods giving them up to worship the host of Heaven. Now, by Stephen's arguing, the worshipping the host of Heaven must be Idolatry of a grosser nature, than that committed by the Israelites, Exod. 32. and yet if their Idolatry was professed worshipping of the calves as gods, it will be found more grosse than to worship the host of Heaven, at least there can be no such sen∣sible gradation of heightening that Spirituall plague of worshipping the host of Heaven beyond the other, which is Stephen's scope; therefore it is thus to be understood, that be∣cause they corrupted the worship of the true God, contrary to His command, therefore God gave them up to the worshipping of these that are not gods, such as the host of Hea∣ven; which way of justice, was formerly observed in reference to the Gentiles from Rom. 1, &c. So that the construction put upon their deed, (Acts. 7.41.) is the Lords esti∣mation of it and not their own profession, and that the Israelites intended the worship of the true God in these calves, Bellarmin thinketh it not improbable, de imag. lib. 2. cap. 13.
The second instance is in Micah's practice, Iudg. 17. where it is clear, that they counted not that Idol to be God, but intended the worship of the true God by it: for (vers. 3.) the mother saith she had dedicated that money to the Lord, to make a graven and molten Image, intending expresly to honour the Lord, in bestowing so much on that Image for him: For she first dedicateth the money to Him, and then bestoweth it (as it were) for His use upon that Image. 2. It appeareth by Micah's great zeal to have a Levit to be his Priest, and his joy when he obtained it, and his promising himself a blessing from the Lord upon that account; which certainly supponeth, that he intended good service to JEHOVAH in the doing of that, vers. 13. And lastly, we find that Priest enquiring counsel for the Danits; not from the Image, but from the Lord: whereby it appeareth, that they intended not the setting up of new gods, but the honouring of the Lord and con∣firming of themselves by visible signs of His presence.
The third instance, is, that of Ieroboam, 1 King. 12. 2 Chron. 11. in his infamous sin of setting up calves at Dan and Bethel, whereby he made Israel to sin: that this is most Page 461 grosse Idolatry and worshipping of devils, the Scripture frequently holdeth forth. Yet, 2. that it was not Ieroboam's design to withdraw the people from the true God Himself, to the worshipping of these calves as God, but allanerly by corrupting the manner of His worship to set up these visible signs of His presence in place of these appointed by Himself at Ierusalem, will also appear, if we consider, 1. Ieroboams motive, inducing him to this sin: it was not for fear the people should worship the true God, or to prevent that; but it was for fear of the peoples going to Ierusalem, and to prevent that: hence his pre∣text is not to put these calves in the room of the God worshipped at Ierusalem, but to equal Dan and Bethel with these visible signs to Ierusalem according to his saying, It is too much for you to go up to Ierusalem, as if he would say, ye may worship God nearer home in these places designed. Neither is it likely, that he could have so expected to have effectuated his interprise by proposing a change in the object of their worship. 2. It will appear from this, that that Idolatry of Ieroboam is not only distinguished from the true worship of God continued for a time in Iudah; but also from the Iolatry of Heathens abroad, and Idolatrous Kings succeeding to him, such as that of Ahab. 1 King. 16. 30, &c. (who yet it seemeth wanted not all profession of worshipping the true God) Iereboam's Idolatry is counted light in respect of Ahab, and no other reason can be given, but because Ahab, and these Sidonians, whom he followed, erred in setting up strange gods; and Ieroboam his error did consist in setting up strange worship to the true God: and when Iehu is commended for destroying the Idolatry of Ahab (2 Kings Chap. 9. and 10.) it cannot be thought, that he changed only the worshipping of Baal into the worshipping of Ieroboam's calf, without respect to the true God. For, 1. what lesse abomination were it to worship the image of a calf than the image of Baal. 2. That could not consist with Iohn's fair professions of zeal for the Lord, if he had not thought the worshipping of these calves (upon the former politick consideration of Ieroboam) con∣sistent with worshipping of the true God, 2 King. 10.31. Iohn's challenge, is, that he took not heed to walk in the Law of the Lord with all his heart; for, he departed not from the sins of Ieroboam: which words imply, that Iohn had some profession of worshipping the true God, but was not sincere in the manner of it; which phrase is also sometimes spoken of sundry Kings of Iudah. Beside (2 King. 10.23.) Iohn separateth between the wor∣shippers of Baal and of the true God: and who were these, but even such as continued in the sins of Ieroboam? 3. We will find, even in Israel, whiles that Idolatry continued in it, a generall acknowledgement of the true God (by the Kings and People of these times) and of his Prophets: all which were inconsistent with their worshipping of the calves as the true God: beside, even after the captivity of these ten Tribes, we will find the new inhabitants plagued for their Idolatrous worship, which made them enquire for the man∣ner of the God of the Land; which mixture in the service of the true God with their Idols, continued even till Christ came. By all which, it appeareth that the people of Israel never so esteemed of their calves as to account them gods, or to place them in the room of the true God; but that they esteemed themselves to be worshipping him when they worshipped them, which was the thing intended to be proven.
The fourth instance is from 2 Chron. 33.17. Neverthelesse, the people did still sacri∣fice in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only. That this sacrificing in the high places (where the Groves and Images ordinarily were) was to no Idol, but to the Lord only, is expresly asserted in the Text; and in this it is differenced from the peoples sacri∣ficing formerly before Manasses repentance unto Idols. Now, their fault is, that they continue that manner of worship formerly used to their Idols and apply it to God.
That this practice of theirs is a kind of Idolatry, will also thus appear, 1. It is excepted as a thing that was discommendable, Neverthelesse, they sacrificed in the high places, &c. and consequently it must belong to one of the commands, which can be to none so well as the second, and must therefore be a breach of it. 2. Their sacrificing now is in generall a sin of that same kind with their sacrificing formerly; But their sacrificing formerly was Idolatry: only this is the difference, it was formerly Idolatry against the first command, but now it belongeth to the second as failing in the manner of worshipping the true God. If it be said there is no mention of Images here? We answer, It doth make the more to the scope to condemn worshipping of God by Images, seing He noteth it as so great a sin, where no Images are, that there was yet so much of Manasses Idolatry unremoved, while Page 462 the people continued that custome. And, 2. the peoples sacrificing there, doth imply, 1. a worshipping of God in a way not warranted by Him. 2. A worshipping of Him at Heathens (and they themselves) used formerly to worship their Idols. 3. Their sacri∣ficing in the high places doth suppose a greater sanctity and fitnesse in these places than in other places, and a greater acceptablnesse to their sacrifices in these places, Besides that, it is derogatory to the place appointed by the Lord for that end. All which sins do come under the Idolatry forbidden in the second command, and do stand on these same grounds, upon which worshipping of God by Images is built, And therefore doth infer a charge of Ido∣latry upon people, even while professing to worship the true God in that unwarran∣table way.
3. We argue, If this worship formerly described be against the second command of the Morall Law, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, &c. It must then be Idolatry: But the former is true. The connexion is undeniable; for whether we take these words as a distinct command by themselves (as necessarily they must be, condemning an Idolatrous manner of worship, as is said) or, if we take them as a part of the first command (as Papists and Lutherans generally do) yet still they are a part of the Morall Law, and must be binding according to their native signification; and seing by these ten com∣mands, the Lord hath laid on tyes of perpetuall obligation upon Christans under the Gospel, as well as on His people of old, if it be found that the forbidding of making or worshipping of Images cometh under this command, whether first or second, It must also be still obli∣gatory, and will not be gotten easily shifted out of the roll of the commands. For the minor, to wit, that this command condemneth as Idolatry all representing of the true God, or worshipping of Him by Images, even when the Images are not worshipped for them∣selves, but for Him, It may be thus made out, 1. If by this command the Idolatry of Ie∣roboa••, and that sacrificing in the high places, (2 Chron. 33.17, &c.) be condemned, Then such worship (as hath been said) must be condemned by it also. That these pra∣ctices were of this nature and are condemned, hath been formerly made out. That they are condemned by this command, appeareth: for, they must either be condemned by it, or by the first, they are not condemned by the first, which requireth the only true object of Worship to be worshipped (for, they did not disclaim that) Therefore it must be by the second.
More particularly the scope of this command, is, to condemn all will-worship, and wor∣shipping of God otherwise than He hath prescribed, as Idolatry; and worshipping of Him by Images is grounded upon no Scripturall warrand, but their own tradition, as is said. 2. This Command forbiddeth all serving of the true God after the manner which the Heathens used in serving their Idols: So, Deut. 12. comparing vers. 2, 3. with the 4. I• shall not do so unto the Lord your God, &c. Again, verse 30. Take heed to thy self that thou be not snared by enquiring how did these Nations serve their gods? vers. 31. Thou shalt not do so to the Lord thy God. It is not, thou shall not do so to these Idols, but not so in that manner to the true God, as they did to their Idols: But vers. 32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not adde thereto, nor diminish from it. Yet, more particularly the command doth instance two things, 1. That no Image should be made; not simply condemning all painting, &c. but all Images of God, or, for worship. Deut. 4.12. it is observed, that the people heard a voice, but saw no Image, lest thereby they had taken occasion to represent Him: which fault the Lord upbraideth, Isa. 40. To whom will ye liken me that I should be like him? And though Christ Jesus, the second person, hath now assumed our nature, yet it cannot be thought that the making the image of a man can represent that person who is God and man in two distinct natures: and this command being Morall, and binding now, as we said, it must be still as impossible, and un∣warrantable to represent God as ever. Even the Tridentine Catechise, (Sect. 19. i• 1. Praecept.) affirmeth this to be a breach of this command, and saith, that Israel sinned so in representing God by an Oxe, Exod. 32. with Psal. 106. The second thing condem∣ned in this command, is, the worshipping of Images made of whatever shape, or kind, and with such expressions, Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them, and backed with such reasons, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, &c. as purposly intending the overthrowing of all distinctions in this matter. In a word, if multiplying of Images in Gods service be not contrary to this command, we can conceive no other meaning to it, Page 463 nor imagine any other use of it; which were absurd to attribute to the only wise God, as having needlesly put so many words in such a short sum; and yet, by denying this meaning of it, this will follow, And therefore the razing it out of the number, and oftentimes from the society of the rest of the commands (as the Papists usually do by omitting this in their Catechises which necessarily followeth on their Exposition) must infer one of two, either the uselessenesse of this command, as is said, or its direct striking against such worship, which may be the reason why they so willingly are content to bury it. If therefore this command be a peculiar and perpetuall command of God, binding us Christians to serve Him according to the rule of His Word, and particularly inhibiting the making or worshipping of Images for His service, Then it will follow, that the worship of the Romish-church, as formerly described, must be Idolatrous and against this command. And so they are justly to be charged with worshipping Gold and Silver, and the work of mens hands, which was the thing proposed to be enquired into.
From all which it may appear, 1. What the Popish worship is esteemed of before God; it is d•vilry, idolatry, murther, theft and adultery, &c. This is His construction of their services: and what a sad thing is it, that the most part of the Christian world with delight should own these abominations?
2. It appeareth, that when once men darken the light of the Word, and come over that, there is no rod read•ly that doth convince or profit them; now they adhere to their former superstitions, notwithstanding of all these rods that the Lord had brought upon them. There is need to use light well; for, it is precious; and when once it is put out, men may forever continue in darknesse. This is fulfilled in the particular instanced; for, though the Popish service is loathsome to a Spirituall discerner, yet is the world so drunk and bewitched with it, that hardly by any mean the favourers thereof are brought to abandon it, which is the fulfilling of this prophesie; and therefore although it were never so clear, that their practice is Idolatry, yet can it not be expected that they will acknowledge it, this being both a part of their sin and plague, as is usuall in the most grosse Idolatry, Isa. 44.18. &c. Rom. 1. Which ought to make men admire and tremble at the depth of the unsearchable∣nesse of Gods justice and fear them from communion in these sins that mar even the rea∣son of these that fall in them, which is no lesse discernable and terrible in respect of these who are mad upon their idols in the way of Antichristian Idolatry, than in Heathens, in respect of their blind doting upon their idols. And there is reason for this, that these who have not received the light of the Gospel in love, should be given up to strong delu∣sion, 2 Thess. 2. as these, who did not walk according to the light of nature, and did not like to retain God to their knowledge, were given over to a reprobate mind, Rom. 1.28.