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Another Use the Heathens set forth of their Images, was to serve as Books and btftruQion to the Unlearned who cou'd not Read -, and to fix the Intention in the Worship of their Gods, that they might keep their Minds and Intention upon that Gorfwhom they saw Represented, in a Visible Form, before their Eyes. This is insisted upon by Maximus Tyrius, a Heathen Philosopher, who was Tutor to Marcus Aurelius the Emperor, in his xXxviii. Dissertation upon this Question, Whether Images were to be Dedicated to the Gods? Where he tells us, That they did not make Images, as any Likeness of the Persons of their Gods; because they had Many, of Different Shapes, for the same God: And that they thought their Images no more like the Gods they Represented, than the Letters which spell their Names, which are of Different Shapes, in the Different Chambers of several Languages .- That it was Impossible to make any Image or Representation of the Person of the Supreme, Eternal, Infinite, and In- j Zm/fmp Gflij which, he fays, they did not Attempt, but only to Express some of His Perfections as, by Eire, they Express'd His Purity by an Image with many Hands, His Power -, by one full of Eyes, His Providence and 0z»niscience, &c. For, he fays, they know God to be Greater than the Worlds, more Ancient than All things, and whatever any Christian can ipeak befitting the Divine Majesty.
If any think, That such wise Philosophers as these cou'd not be Idolaters, but only the more Ignorant People, who might take their Images for Real Gods.
I hope they will Allow Solomon to have been as Wife as Any of these Phibsophers; and that he had more Advantages than theyy being Instructed ftructed in the Law of God, and to whom God did vouchsafe to Appear Twice who, before he fell into Idolatry, had built the Temple, and Regulated the whole Service thereof, pursuant to the Pattern and DireUions which he had Receiv'd from the Mouth of God Himself.
This shews, that a Wife and a Good Man, and Beloved of God, as Solomon was, may fall into Idolatry. And Maimonides thinks j that Maimon. Mor. it was his Wisdom that Betray'd him, in Trust- Nevr« ing to Relative Worship, or such sort of DiftinSions: Which shou'd Teach us, not to be Wiser than the Law-, or, as the Apostle Expresses it, Above what is written.
Let me here add, That the Arian Christians were Charg'd with Idolatry by the Orthodox, because they Worshiped our Lord Christ, when they acknowledg'd Him to be but a Creature-, tho' they advanced Him far above all Saints or Angels, or whatever Beings the Heathens Worshiped as their Inferior Gods. For God will have none to be Worflnped but Himself: This is an Honour He will not Give to Any other. , ■ •
Ther is indeed a Distinction of Divine, and Ch«7 Worship ■, the latter paid to Is//?^, and our Superiors among Men: But no fort of Religious or Divine Worship is to be Given to Any Creature. If the Distinction of a Divine but Relative Worship, wou'd hold, it wou'd excuse Heathen Idolatry; for it is Impossible that they cou'd WorJjhip those whom they call'd £>« Medioxumi with the fame Worship they Intended for whom they Acknowledg'd to be Above them: Or that Solomon cou'd think, that any of those Dumb Idols he Worshiped, was the Supreme Being that made him, and all the Worlds:
ffions as we can Use in the Case ,) Or, that that the Arians, thinking Christ to be a Creature, cou'd give Him the same Worship, and in the same Respett, as They thought Due to Their and His Creator.
of the idolatry This Account of the Heathen Idolatry was os the Jews. Necessary to bring us to the true Knowledge
of that of the Jews: For this was the Idolatry of which God did Warn the Jew's, and strictly Prohibit to them.
fir ft, To have no other Gods before Him, or with Him, as it is worded Exod. xx. 3, 23. or Resides Him, as it sliou'd be Render'd, Rom. 1.2 j.
And when they did Worjlnp the Gods of the Nations round about, they did not do it in that Sense, as if they had totally thrown off the Lord from being their God, and taken such a False God in His Room, thereby quite Changing the ObjeS of their Worstrip. No^ but they Worshiped both together, in a Superior and Inferior Degree, as the Heathens did. And God calls this a Forsaking of Him, and going a Whoring after other Gods, because He had po
isai.Iiv. $. fitively Forbidden it, as having Mar.ry'd His Jer.xxxi. 32. J>eculium, and calls Himself her Husband •, and therefor Wou'd have none other to Share in their Religion and Devotion but Himself Alone: And the taking of Others in, tho' in an Inferior Degree, was as when a Woman takes Another into her Husband's Bed; which is a Forsaking of her Husband, tho' she (till lives with him, and a taking Another in his Place. -'
But that the Jews their Forsaking of God, was only in this Adulterous Sense, in Worshiping- of other Gods jointly with Him •> and
not not a total Discarding of the Lord from being theii God at all will evidently Appear in this, That they Worshiped Both together: Which cou'd not be, if they had quite thrown off the One, and taken the Other in His Room. Thus we Read, That the sews did Worship zeph. i. j. and Swear by the Lord, and Swear by Malcham.
That they feared the Lord, and served their 2Kin.xvii.j3. own Gods, after the Manner of the Nations who carry'd them away.
And these Nations Worshiped every one their v, 32; own Gods; and yet, Nihilominus (says the vulg.) nevertheless colebant Dominum, they Worshiped the Lord.
So that here the Idolatry of the Jews, and of the Heathen is made the fame; as it must be, when the sews fell into the Heathen Idolatry j which was, the Worshiping of other Gods with the true God.
, -Thus when All the House of Israel Lamented ,Sam> vii. 2
and served the Lord ONLT.
Nation had their Tutelar Gods, whom they
were to Worship ■, but still in Subordination
to the Supreme God, who was over All. Thus 2 Kin. xvii.
the King of Assyria sent to Teach his People 26,27.
The Manner of the God of the Land 0/" Israel;
supposing that the sews, like other Nations,
did Worship a particular Tutelar God Of their own, who had Care of their Country but not at ail to Exclude the Common Receiv'd Notion of the whole World, That ther was a Supreme Infinite Being ot God Above them All 5 only that he had Committed the Care of Such and Such particular Countries and People. to Lester Gods under Him: Whence Homer makes . Jupiter to Chastise the other Gods upon several Occasions, and makes them all Accountable unto Him, and to Petition and Supplied Him.
Now, as to the other Branch of Idolatry, of Worshiping GOD by Images, ther was nothing more Positively Prohibited to the Jews, as being a Debasing and Corrupting their Notions of God, and wholly Unworthy of Him. Therefor God Cautions them to Remember,
iv. 12. that when he spoke to them, out os the midst os the Fire, ye heard the Voice of the Words (says He) but saw no Similitude, (that's, of whom he spoke) only ye heard a Voice — Take therefore good Heed unto your selves (for ye saw no Manner of Similitude on the Day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the Fire) lest ye corrupt your selves, and make you a Graven Image, the Similitude of any Figure, the Likeness of Male or Female, &c. And He Repeats it again, Take Heed unto your selves, lest ye Forget the Covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a Graven Image, or the Likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath Forbidden thee; for the Lord thy God is a Consuming Fire, even a Jealous God. And He cryed
xlhr. 4. by his Prophets, faying, Oh do not this Abominable thing that I hate! See with what Detestation God speaks of this Sin: And observe,