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Spiritual Idolatry.

Spiritual Idolatry.

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. JOHN SUMMERFIELD, A.M.



Hosea, iv., 17. — Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone.

The term Ephraim is not applied barely to the tribe of
that name, but to all men ; for all Scripture was written for
our reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteous-
ness.

BY REV. JOHN SUMMERFIELD, A.M.



Hosea, iv., 17. — Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone.

The term Ephraim is not applied barely to the tribe of
that name, but to all men ; for all Scripture was written for
our reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteous-
ness.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 17, 2014
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SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY. BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.Hosea, iv., 17. — Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone. The term Ephraim is not applied barely to the tribe of that name, but to all men ; for all Scripture was written for our reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteous- ness.I. Consider the awful assertion, Ephraim is joined to idols. o need to go back to Ephraim's time to find idolatry, where men bowed the knee of the body ; it is possible to be idolaters at heart, though the body may be bowed to the true object of worship. Consider, therefore, what God means by the term idola- ters. It is admitted by all that he who had any part in our formation has a right to a part of our worship ; and it is not unreasonable that a Being who had the greatest share in our formation should have most of our worship. But God was our sole Creator : He made us, and not we ourselves. Who has been his counsellor ? It is therefore reasonable that He should have the whole of that worship for which he SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY. 29 made us ; for we are not our own. The requisition of God, then, that we should love him with all the heart and all the soul, was not unreasonable ; to the child of God this com- mandment is not grievous : His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
 
Objection, — We have not now this power ; all our facul* ties are deranged ; our nature, our propensities, evil ; all our affections earthly. Ansiver. — This does not affect the argument. " The spirit in us lusts to envy; God gives more grace. 11 He gives a greater measure of grace to counteract the evil principle ; and the man who will calmly examine his own heart will feel that he is always checked in the commission of evil, and that by the same principle he is kept uneasy and unhap* py, even though in the performance of outward duty, till he is made fully happy in God. If man had not the power af- forded him thus to fulfil the law, God could not, consistently with justice, punish him, much less with that mercy which rejoices over judgment. If our evil propensities be thus strong, and be the effects of original evil, God could not punish us ; we were passive in the offence, and God could not inflict active punishment for passive sin. He could not  judge the world in righteousness in this case ; for we had a propelling principle to evil, which was irresistible. But He who is a reasonable Being now gives as a command (that which to Adam was a privilege), " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The principle which we receive, therefore, to do good, is at least as strong as the evil one, and there is no man who does evil but could by the same power avoid doing it. As the Creator, therefore, has a right to all our worship, any dereliction is called idolatry — when we allow any other love to possess our souls but the love of God pre-eminently. This truth allowed, the character must attach to some of us ; we are idolaters. To fasten that epithet upon us, it is not necessary that Ave fall down before an image. Every man has some one single object which he loves and pursues more than any other ; this is his idol, be it what it may ; 30 SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY.
 
however lawful he may regard it, he is guilty of idolatry. That object which has the greatest share of your attention and affection is your idol, and I need not attempt to partic- ularize the various idolaters : pleasure-takers, &c. Has this world, or the world to come, most of your thoughts? Have the things of this world, or those of the world to come, most of your affections ? Perhaps you say, " I keep all things in their proper place. God has not left me here to be idle." I admit it; but whether has He or these things the greatest share in your heart ? Stifle not conscience ; if it accuse, do not palliate. If you ask the in- ward monitor, it will inform you. That you may not de- ceive yourselves, answer the following question : If you had your choice offered you by God, to live in this world for- ever with all your possessions, or to die and be with Him forever, which would you accept ? You know you would choose this world. It follows that in it is your heart bound up ; you are an idolater in the sight of God ! ow of you, as well as of Ephraim, God says, " he is  joined to idols," cemented together. God utters not this indifferently ; it is not unconcernedly addressed. He still mournfully calls them " my people" and the endearing name of Israel brings all to his recollection. So with us. They were no people ; even those who bear my name, they are now joined to idols. II. " Let him alone !" When God says this, how aw- ful. 1. He ceases chastising him ; ceases sending him cross providences. The wicked are now left to prosper ; why should they be stricken any more ? they will only revolt more and more. God often loosened the roots which bound them to the world; he often disappointed them in their pros- pects in life, that they might not take too deep a root in earth ; he often corrected them with sickness in their own persons or in their families, to show them the little depend-

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