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practised among Christians, as to that of the heathens. Their expressions do not signify, nor their arguments prove anything, if any worship of images be allowable, if they do not as well condemn and confute the modern, as the ancient, Romans. They could not with any reason or modesty have used such words, or urged such reasons, if their practice had been like that which afterwards crept into the Church. Their darts then against

. Pagan idolatry easily might and surely would have been retorted on themselves, which is so far from having been done, that the Pagans accused them for having no images. “Celsus objecteth,” saith Origen, “ that we shun making altars, statues, and shrines, thinking this to be a faithful pledge or mark of our secret communion together.” This Origen answers by confessing the matter of fact, but defending the right. “Not for your reason,” saith he, “we shun these things, but because we by the doctrine of Jesus, having found the true manner of piety toward God, do eschew those things which in conceit or appearance of piety do make men impious—and the images of Christians are,” saith he, “their virtues, whereby they resemble God and truly worship him, and every good Christian, carefully imitating God, is his best statue."

Yea, the fathers were so far from practising worship of images, that some of them condemn the simple making of them; calling the art of doing it a fallacious art, introduced by the devil and forbidden by God; expounding, this commandment so, as that in it not only the

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worshipping but the forming any similitude is forbidden : “Moses,” saith Clem. Alex., "did of old expressly give

, law, that no carved, or fusile, or plastered, or painted portraiture or imagery should be made, that we should not attend to sensible things, but pass to things intelligible;” and Tertullian, in several places, saith the same. Whether their exposition, concurring, it seems, with the common opinion of the Jews in their time, were true, I shall not now discuss, that making any. similitude in order to worship is prohibited, is most evident.

In fine, divers of the fathers say that all the commands in the Decalogue, excepting the Sabbath, do continue in force, as naturally obligatory and as confirmed by the Christian law. For instance, Augustine in his 119th epistle speaketh thus: “The other precepts, excepting the Sabbath, there we do observe properly, as they are commanded without any figurative observation, for we have manifestly learnt, not to worship idols, and not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain, to honour father and mother, etc., do not figurately pretend. one thing and mystically signify another thing, but are so observed as they sound.”

But so much for the prohibition. I shall add, that we may conceive this positive precept implied and intended here,—That in our devotions and religious services of God we should raise our mind above gross sense and fancy; that we should entertain high and worthy conceptions of God; that we should apprehend him incomparably superior to all things which we do see or know;

that we direct our minds unto him as to a being transcendently perfect in goodness, justice, wisdom, and power, above wha we can comprehend and think; that which our Saviour calls “worshipping God in spirit and in truth;' » i which is, as I take it, the special, positive duty of this commandment.

I need not further to urge, how presumptuous and dangerous the practices of those men are, who, notwithstanding these commandments of God, without any ancient good authority or example, without any necessity or good reason inducing, do not only yield themselves, but violently force others to yield, unto angels and unto the souls of dead men all kinds of worship, both internal and external, of prayer and invocation, of praise and thanksgiving; and not only thus as to the substance imparting a kind of divine worship to them, but as to the manner, erecting images of them, even in the places devoted to God's own service, and affording to them the saine expressions of reverence and respect that we do or

can present unto God himself. So that instead of the spiritual worship of God peculiarly required of Christians, and to which our religion is perfectly suited, a religion chiefly employing sense and fancy, and for the greatest part directed unto the representations of creatures, is substituted, in despite, as it were, and in defiance of these commandments: the plain force of which they endeavour to elude and evade by slender pretences and subtle distinctions, by the like

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to which there is no law which may not as easily be rendered insignificant and invalid; never, in the mean time, considering that these laws were not given to employ the wits of sophisters and schoolmen, but to direct the practice of rude and plain people; to which purpose no law, after such artists have had the handling of it, can signify anything: nothing being so clear which by their cavils and quirks they cannot confound; nothing so smooth wherein they cannot find or make knots.

There is subjoined to these two commandments a reason, or rather a contexture of reasons, strongly pressing and encouraging to obedience, deterring and discouraging from disobedience to them, or, indeed, generally to all God's commandnients, but especially unto these, most immediately relating to Him:


I am a jealous God, that is, a God very tender of my honour and of my right; who am impatient of any mate or competitor in respect to those duties, which properly and incommunicably belong unto me;“ I am" (saith God in the prophet Isaiah) " the Lord, that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another, nor my praise to graven images.” This jealousy doth contain in it not only a strong dislike, but a fierce displeasure, against the infringers of these laws. “For the Lord thy God," saith Moses in Deuteronomy, pressing the same precept,

1 Isa. xlii. 8.

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“is a consuming fire, he is a jealous God.” And if God be thus jealous, so easily provoked to indignation by our detracting from his due honour and imparting it to any other, we have great reason to be afraid of incurring the guilt of either; for “who can stand in his sight, when he is angry ?”who can support the effects of his displeasure?



Visiting the iniquities of fathers upon the children. God doth not only punish those persons themselves who commit notorious and heinous sins, whereby he is publicly wronged and dishonoured; but the more to deter men, who naturally bear much regard to their posterity, and are afraid to be the causes of ruin and calamity to their family, he declareth that in respect to their doings it shall go ill with their posterity ; they shall, therefore, be more strictly and severely dealt with; they shall upon this score be capable of less favour and mercy from God than otherwise they might have been. For we must not hereby understand that God will arbitrarily inflict undeserved pains upon the children of bad men for the faults of their ancestors. God doth expressly disclaim such kind of proceeding: “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; the soul that

1 Deut. iv. 24.

? Psal. lxxvi. 7.

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