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3 d Thou shalt have no other gods 40 Thou shalt not make unto thee before me.
any graven image, or any likeness a Deut. 5.7. & 6. 14. 2 Kings 17. 35. Jer. 25. e Lev. 26, 1. Deut. 4. 16. & 5.8. & 27. 15. 6. & 35. 15.
Ps. 97. 7.
ence, if not from them? If blessed is a state of vassalage and depression, yet the nation whose God is the Lord, and that is not the allusion in the present the people whom he hath chosen for his passage. The words refer solely to the own inheritance,' how utterly inexcus. servile condition of the Israelites durable must be their disobedience to the ing their sojourn in the land of Egypt; mandates of their great Lawgiver? We and their wonderful deliverance thence have not indeed been delivered from by the outstretched arm of Jehovah, is the literal bondage of Egypt, but the very properly insisted upon as a ground spirit of the declaration reaches to us, for the cordial reception of the moral if Christians, as redeemed by Christ and ceremonial statutes which he was from a bondage infinitely worse, and now imposing upon them. The motive incorporated by faith into the true Is- to obedience involved in this miraculous rael of God, the spiritual seed of Abra- interposition is still more emphatically ham, and made heirs of all the blessings dwelt upon Deut. 6. 20-24, 'And when of the covenant of grace. Consequently, thy son asketh thee in time to come, as the Lord is our God, we are bound saying, What mean the testimonies, and by the same inviolable bonds of love and the statutes, and the judgments, which service as rested upon the seed of Israel the Lord our God hath commanded you? according to the flesh. It is to be re. Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We marked, both here and elsewhere, were Pharaoh's bond-men in Egypt ; throughout the Decalogue, that the ad. and the Lord brought us out of Egypt dress is made in the singular and not with a mighty hand : and the Lord in the plural number. The design of showed signs and wonders, great and this is, undoubtedly, to render the lan- sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and guage in the highest degree emphatic. upon all his household, before our eyes: Every individual to whom this law And he brought us out from thence, comes is to consider himself as bei that he inight bring us in, to give us as directly and personally addressed as the land which he sware unto our fa. though it had been spoken to him alone. thers. And the Lord commanded us to "Thou art the man.' In the present do all these statutes, to fear the Lord passage, as the assurance conveyed is our God, for our good always, that he intended to be appropriated by each in- might preserve us alive, as it is at this dividual to himself personally, it is full day.” of condescending endearment; and the proper response to is furnished by the
FIRST TABLE. prophet, Zech. 13. 9, ‘I will say it is my people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God;' not our. --- Out of the 3. Thou shalt have no other gods be
. . 73 mibbëth abadim, out of the house of 3y bnana lo yihyeh leka Eloslaves; i, e. out of the house where they him aharim al panai, there shall not be themselves were slaves, and not the to thee other gods upon or against my Egyptians ; for although we cannot face; i. e. in my sight, boldly confrontdoubt that a large part of the Egyptian ing me. Chal: “There shall not be to population was in a very degraded state, I thee another god besides me.' Gr.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
לא יהיה לך אלחים
.house of bondage
of any thing that is in heaven | neath, or that is in the water under above, or that is in the earth be- the earth.
σοι θεοι ετεροι πλην εμου, that love and service which belongs to there shall not be to thee other gods be the true God, that is another God before sides me. But the Heb. D 3y no where him. Consequently, the proud man, who properly signifies besides or except, but | idolizes himself; the ambitious man, always before, in the presence of. The who pays homage to popular applause; scope of the precept is evidently to the covetous man, who deifies his make known the true and only object wealth ; the sensualist, who lives to of worship, and to forbid the annexing gratify his low appetites; the doting of any other object of religious rever- lover, husband, father, mother, who sufence, respect, and homage to that which fer their hearts to be supremely ab. they were exclusively required to serve. sorbed in the love of the creature, all It requires a conduct accordant with the come under the charge of transgressing declaration of Jehovah himself, Is. 42. the first commandment. In fact obe. 8, ‘My glory will I not give to another.' dience to this precept would perfectly The language does not necessarily imply enthrone the Lord in our judgment and the reality, the positive existence, of affections; and the strength of our love any such adventitious deities, but they being thus given to him, we should love were not to have any that were 80 es. all others for his sake, and according teemed; or as the apostle says, 1 Cor. 8. to the measure that he had enjoined; 5, 6, ‘Though there be that are called whilst the violation of it destroys this gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as subordination, and gives the creature there are gods many and lords many); the throne in our heart. With the ut. but to us there is but one God, the Fa. most propriety therefore does it stand ther, of whom are all things, and we in foremost in the tables of the Decalogue. him.' The precept does not seem to It is the foundation of all the rest. be directed primarily and immediately against that idolatry which consists in
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT. the use of fabricated images, although
4. Thou shalt not make unto thee, &c. this is virtually forbidden, but against The second commandment, comprised the putting any thing else in the place in v. 466, differs from the first by hav. of the one living and true God. This ing respect to the mode of worship rather may be done mentally as well as manu- than the object. It consists of two parts, ally. There may be idolatry without a precept and a sanction. The precept idols; and the scope of this command forbids the making of any sculptured or ment seems to be mainly to forbid the painted images of any object in heaven making of any other objects, whether or earth, to be employed in religious persons or things, real or imaginary, worship. Nothing was to be attempted the objects of that supreme regard, rev. of the nature of a likeness or sensible erence, esteem, affection, and obedience representation of the invisible Deity, which we owe to God alone. As God nothing constructed or portrayed which is the fountain of happiness, and no in- should stand as an arbitrary symbol of telligent being can be happy but through Jehovah, who was to be worshipped as him, whoever seeks for supreme happi- a pure intelligent spirit, infinitely re. ness in the creature instead of the Crea- moved beyond the possibility of any tor, is guilty of a violation of this com- material representation. Aware of the mand. Whatever it be that sets up a strong idolatrous tendency in human rival interest in our souls, absorbing nature, and with a view to preclude its
breaking forth among the chosen people , had not the most distant reference to the Most High took especial care in his the Deity, or to religion. But let us manifestation at Mount Sinai thạt the consider the passages in which Moses Israelites should see 'no manner of prohibits images, in their connexion similitude,' nothing that could after- with the context, and see whether any ward be represented by an image. This such exposition ought to be given them: is particularly adverted to in the subse. We find them (for I think it best to quent account of that transaction, Deut. point them all out together) in Ex. 20. 4. 12-15—23, which forms the most 4,5. Deut. 4. 15–18; 27. 15. Now, from suitable commentary on the precept be the connexion, it is evident, that images fore us; “And the Lord spake unto you of the Deity are alone spoken of in all out of the midst of the fire; ye heard these passages; and the man, who, from the voice of the words, but saw no simi- the detached clause, Thou shalt make litude; only ye heard a voice. Take ye to thyself no image, concludes, that therefore good heed unto yourselves; no image durst have been painted, or (for ye saw no manner of similitude on scrawled upon a rock, or cut in wood the day that the Lord spake unto you in or stone, might, with equal reason, deHoreb out of the midst of the fire) ; lest tach from their connexion the following ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a words, which come immediately after graven image, the similitude of any the prohibition of images, Thou shalt figure, the likeness of male or female. not raise thine eyes to heaven to behold The likeness of any beast that is on the the sun, moon, and stars, and understand earth, the likeness of any winged fowl them as meant to imply, that we were that fieth in the air. The likeness of never to raise our eyes to heaven and any thing that creepeth on the ground, contemplate the sun, moon, and stars, the likeness of any fish that is in the but rather to walk upon all fours for waters beneath the earth: Take heed ever.' The scope of the precept is evi. unto yourselves, lest ye forget the co-dently to forbid the use of those imaged venant of the Lord your God, which he and pictured likenesses as representamade with you, and make you a graven tions of the invisible God. The inten. image, or the likeness of any thing which tion of the law is obvious from the rea. the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.' son assigned for it, viz., that they had
It is not to be supposed from the un. seen 'no manner of similitude' when qualified language of the prohibition, God appeared and delivered the Deca. that sculpture or painting as branches of logue at Horeb. As he did not appear the fine arts are forbidden, although to them in any shape, so he ought not the Jews have for the most part been to be represented in any shape. But this restrained by this commandment from reason does not hold against the mak. indulging themselves to any extent in ing graven images of men, beasts, birds, the mimetic arts. On this subject the fishes, or reptiles, when they were not language of Michaelis (Comment. on intended as representations of God, or the Laws of Moses, Art. 250) is worthy to be used as objects or means of wor. of being quoted ; 'I know not how it ship. Accordingly Moses was expresshas happened that several writers, and ly commanded to construct the figures among them some men of real learning, of the Cherubim of the sculptured work have persuaded themselves, or have, for the Ark of the Covenant, Ex. 25, without inquiry, asserted, one after an 18-20, and also the brazen serpent as other, that the Israelites were absolute an emblematic device to aid in the pro, ly prohibited from making, or having duction of a salutary effect on the bodies any image whatever, even although it of the bitten Israelites in the wilder.
ness, Num. 28. 8, 9. It is certain, more-, forbid all superstitious usages, all mere over, that in the Temple of Solomon human inventions, in the matter of di. there was a great deal of sculptured vine worship. The annexing of addi. work over the walls, as of flowers colo- tions of our own to the institutions of cynths, palm-trees, cherubim, &c., and heaven under the pretext of their being the brazen sea, it is well known rested significant ceremonies calculated to ex. upon twelve brazen oxen. In neither of cite devotion or better to promote the these cases was there any infraction of ends of worship, is nothing short of the second commandment, because the a bold innovation upon the prescribed design of these images did not come worship of God. Deut. 12. 30, 'What within the scope of its prohibition. But thing soever I command you, observe to the making of the golden calf by the Is- do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor raelites in the wilderness was in the diminish from it.' This principle acmost direct contravention of the letter cordingly condemns all such commandand spirit of this precept, although pro- ed practices as signing with the cross fessedly set up in honor of the true God, in baptism, kneeling at the sacrament, and was what the Scriptures expressly erecting altars in churches, bowing at call idolatry, Acts, 7. 41, 'They made the name of Jesus, and other things of a calf in those days and offered sacrifice like nature, for which the Scriptures unto the idol (TW EDWA«). 1 Cor. 10. contain no express warrant. The bare 7, ‘Neither be ye idolaters as some of adoption of such usages no doubt trench. them were ; as it is written, The people es in some degree upon the spirit of this sat down to eat, and to drink, and rose commandment; but to insist upon them up to play.' In like manner when Jero- as terms of communion is nothing short boam set up his calves of gold and pro- of a downright invasion of the prerog. claimed to the people, ‘Behold thy gods, ative of the divine Lawgiver, and must O Israel, which brought thee up out of incur his marked displeasure. In the Egypt,' he was guilty of the very sin minor circumstances of religious worforbidden in the second commandment. ship no doubt many things are left to That this was the idolatry condemned be regulated by the dictates of human in this commandment, viz., worshipping discretion, and in these the apostolic the images of the true God, and not the rule, “let every thing be done decently worship of a false god, which is more and in order,' will always be a sufficient especially pointed at in the first, is evi. guide ; but whenever this rule is made dent from this, that his sin is said to be a plea for imposing things uncommandless than the sin of worshipping the im- ed, then a plain infraction is made upon age of Baal, 1 Kings, 16. 31, where we the spirit of this précept.
-Graven read that 'it came to pass, as if it had image. Heb. 3o5 pesel, sculptile, any been a light thing for Ahab to walk in thing cut, graven, or carred, a statue, the sins of Jeroboam that he went and from the root 300 pasal, to heu, to chip, served Baal and worshipped him ;' and to sculpture, whether wood or stone. so in the language of the first command. Gr. Edwlov, an idol. Chal. ‘An image.' ment, 'had another god before Jehovah,' - Likeness. Heb. 137nn temunah, which Jeroboam had not, because he likeness, similitude. The term is quite worshipped his idols as images of the general in its import, carrying with it true God. This we suppose to be a lead- mainly the idea of resemblance, but ing distinction between the first and se whether this resemblance is the result cond precept of the law. But the spirit of configuration or delineation is not de. ual import of this commandment reaches termined by the word alone. As the much farther. It goes unequivocally to previous term 30 pesel, more strictly
5fThou shalt not bow down thy-| God, h visiting the iniquity of the self to them, nor serve them; for I fathers upon the children unto the the LORD thy God am a s jealous third and fourth generation of them
that hate me; ch. 23. 24. Josh. 23. 7. 2 Kings 17. 35. h ch. 34.7. Lev. 20.5. & 26. 39, 40. Numb. Isai. 44. 15, 19. & ch. 34, 14. Deut. 4, 24. & 14. 18, 33. 1 Kings 21. 29. Job 5.4. & 21. 19. 6. 15. Josh. 24. 19. Neh. 1. 2.
Ps. 79. 8. & 109. 4. Isai. 14. 20, 21. & 65. 6, 7.
denotes statuary, it will no doubt be purpose of directing, exciting, or assistproper here to understand 737nn te. ing that devotion. Though it were wor. munah of any kind of pictorial repre. ship designed to terminate in God, yet sentation whether of real or fancied ob- its being offered through such a medium jects, which might serve as the instru- would divest it of all its acceptableness ments of worship.
in his sight. Guided solely by the dic5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to tates of our erring reason, we might them. Heb. 073 1775mn 3 lo tish- suppose that the aid of bodily sense tahaveh lahem, shalt not do obeisance to might be called in to assist our mental them. Gr. ou TeposKUVNIELS avtols, shall not vision, and that the use of images, worship them, a term applied to those paintings, crucifixes, and other outward bodily gestures, such as bowing, kneel. symbols might at least be harmless, if ing, falling prostrate, &c., which are not positively beneficial in refreshing used as tokens of special reverence and the memory and quickening our devorespect. See Note on Gen. 18.2. Though tions. But God knows the downward they might not make nor have such im. and deteriorating tendency of our nature ages themselves or in their own coun. even in its best estate, and he sees that try, yet possibly they might see them the employment of outward symbols of in passing through other lands, in which worship would gradually tend to lower case they were required carefully to re. the standard of pious feeling and finally frain from bowing down to them, or to withdraw the mind from the ultimate using any gesture which might be con- spiritual object, and fix it upon
gross strued into an act of religious rever- sensible medium. We have only to look ence, or as in any degree countenancing at the history of the Greek and Latin a practice so expressly forbidden. - churches for an abundant confirmation | Nor serve them. Heb. Dzayn taob. of this view of the subject. How paldem. Gr.
μη λατρευσεις αυτοις, nor do | pable is it that the standard of a pure homage to them. If they were forbidden and spiritual worship is there most sadly to make or to acknowledge by the most and fearfully degraded ? that the spirit of casual outward gesture any such images, devotion has been lost in that of down. much less were they to go so far as to right idolatry? From crosses and relics serve them, or unite with those that did, they proceeded to images and pictures, either by offering sacrifice, burning in. not only of God and Christ, and the cense, pouring out libations, making Holy Ghost, but of the virgin and of dows, building altars, consecrating tem. saints and martyrs without number; ples, or any other act of equivalent im- until those beings, and the paintings or port. The spirit of this second com- carvings which represented them, orig. mandment, like that of the whole Deca- inally designed as mere intercessors and logue, is plainly exceeding broad.' It aids to devotion, became, at least to the is undoubtedly implied that in paying more ignorant, actual objects of wor. our devotion to the true God we are not ship. Now and then an individual may to employ any image or likeness for the l perhaps be found exhibiting a depth and