"What have I to do any more with idols?"—HOSEA xiv. 8.
Every one who has been truly united to Christ, and has this day confessed Him before men, should now take up these words, and solemnly, in the presence of God, declare, "What have I to do any more with idols?" Two reasons are given.
loves you freely.—Ver.
4. If you are this day come to Jesus, God loves you freely. If you
believe on Him that justifieth the ungodly, your faith is counted for
righteousness. As long as you come to God in yourself, you were
infinitely vile, loathsome, condemned—mountains of iniquity
covered your soul—but blessed, blessed, blessed be the Holy
Spirit who has led you to Jesus. You have come to God's righteous
servant, who by His knowledge justifies many, because He bears their
iniquities. Your sins are covered, God sees no iniquity in you; God
loves you freely, His anger is turned away from you. What have you to
do then any more with idols? Is not the love of God enough for thee?
The loving and much loved wife is satisfied with the love of her
husband; his smile is her joy, she cares little for any other. So, if
you have come to Christ, thy Maker is thine husband—His free
love to you is all you need, and all you can care for—there
is no cloud between you and God—there is no veil between you
and the Father; you have access to Him who is the fountain of
happiness—what have you to do any more with idols? Oh! if
your heart swims in the rays of God's love, like a little mote swimming
in the sunbeam, you will have no room in your heart for idols.
- The Spirit, like dew, descends on your souls.—"I will be like the dew."—Ver. 5. If you are this day united to Jesus, the Spirit will come like dew upon your soul. The Spirit is given to them that obey Jesus—"I will pray the Father." When all nature is at rest, not a leaf moving, then at evening the dew comes down—no eye to see the pearly drops descending, no rear to hear them falling on the verdant grass—so does the Spirit come to you who believe. When the heart is at rest in Jesus—unseen, unheard by the world—the Spirit comes, and softly fills the believing soul, quickening all, renewing all within. "If I go away I will send Him unto you." Dear little ones, whom God hath chosen out of this world, you are like Gideon's fleece, the Lord will fill you with dew when all around is dry. You are His vineyard of red wine; He says, I will water it every moment—silently, unfelt, unseen but surely. But, ah! that Spirit is a Holy Spirit. "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." He cannot bear an idol in His temple. When the ark of God was carried into the temple of Dagon, the idol fell flat before it; much more when the Holy Spirit comes into the heart will He cast out the idols.
"When Christ came into the temple He found those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and changers of money, sitting and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple."—John ii. 15. So when the Holy Spirit comes into any heart, he drives out the buyers and sellers. If you have received the Spirit, you will be crying now in your heart, Lord, take all these things hence; drive them out of my heart. What have I to do any more with idols? Some of the idols to be cast away are,—
is the largest idol of the human heart—the idol which man
loves most and God hates most. Dearly beloved, you will always be going
back to this idol. You are always trying to be something in yourself,
to gain God's favour by thinking little of your sin, or by looking to
your repentance, tears, prayers; or by looking to your religious
exercises, your frames, etc; or by looking to your graces, the Spirit's
work in your heart. Beware of false Christs. Study sanctification to
the utmost, but make not a Christ of it. God hates this idol more than
all others, because it comes in the place of Christ; it sits on
Christ's throne. Just as the worship of the Virgin Mary is the worst of
all kinds of idolatry, because it puts her in the place of Christ, so
self-righteousness is the idol God hates most, for it sits on the
throne of Christ. Dash it down, dear friends; let it never appear
again. It is like Manasseh's carved image in the holiest of all. When
Manasseh came home an altered man to Jerusalem, would not his first
visit be to the holiest of all? With eager hand he would draw the veil
aside; and when he found the carved image, he would dash it down from
the throne of God. Go and do likewise. If you feel God's love freely by
the righteousness without works, then why would you go back to this
grim idol? What have I to do any more with idols?"
- Darling sins.—Every
man has his darling sins. Long they kept you from the Lord Jesus. You
have this day declared that you were willing to leave them all for
Christ. Go home, then, and perform your vows. After Hezekiah's
passover, when they had enjoyed much of the love and spirit of God,
"All Israel that were present went home, and broke the images in
pieces, and cut down the groves, until they had utterly destroyed them
all." You might have seen them entering the shady groves and dashing
down the carved images, Go you and do likewise. Dash down family
idols—unholy practices that have spread through your family.
Dash down secret idols in your own heart. Leave not one. Remember, one
Achan in the camp troubled Israel, and they were smitten before their
enemies. So, one idol left in your heart may trouble you. Let Achan be
slain if you would go on your way rejoicing. What have I to do any more
with idols? "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off."
- Unlawful attachments.
There is not a more fruitful source of sin and misery than unlawful
attachments. How much of the poetry and music of our country are given
over to the worship of the idols of a foolish heart! How many are given
over to worship a piece of clay that will soon be eaten by worms! O my
friends, have you felt the love of God? Do you feel the sweet, full
beams of His grace shining down upon your soul? Have you received the
dew of His Spirit? How can you, then, any more love a creature that is
void of the grace of God? What have you to do any more with idols? Dear
young persons, abhor the idea of marriage with the unconverted. Be not
unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Marry only in the Lord.
Remember, if it be otherwise, it is a forbidden marriage. There may be
none on earth so kind and smiling; the marriage circle may be gay and
lovely; but God forbids the bans. But may there not be a lawful
attachment? I believe there may; but take heed it be not an idol. I
believe they are happiest who are living only for eternity, who have no
object in this world to divert their hearts from Christ. "The time is
short; it remaineth that they who have wives be as though they had
none." What have I to do any more with idols?
You have good reason to love ministers, and to esteem them highly for
their works' sake. They love you; they watch for your souls as they
that must give an account; they bear you on their hearts; they travail
in birth till Christ be formed in you; they spend and are spent for
you; they often endure amazing temptations, agonies, wrestlings for
Some have been your spiritual fathers. This is a holy tie that will never be broken. You have good reason to love your spiritual father. You may have ten thousand instructors in Christ, etc.; but ah! make not an idol of them. The people that would have worshipped Paul, were the very people that stoned him, and left him for dead. O I wish that this day may bring you so near to Christ, and so much under the love of God and the dew of Israel, that you shall no more glory in man! What have I to do any more with idols?
- Earthly pleasures. This
is a smiling, dazzling idol, that has ten thousand
worshippers—lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. What
have you to do any more with this idol? Sometimes it is a gross idol.
The theatre is one of its temples—there it sits enthroned.
The tavern is another, where its reeling, staggering votaries sing its
praise. What have you to do with these? Have you the love of God in
your soul—the Spirit of God in you? How dare you cross the
threshold of a theatre or a tavern any more? What! The Spirit of God
amid the wanton songs of a theatre, or the boisterous merriment of a
tavern! Same on such practical blasphemy! No; leave them, dear friends,
to be cages of devils and every unclean and hateful bird. You must
never cross their threshold any more. What shall I say of
games—cards, dice, dancing? I will only say this, that if you
love them, you have never tasted the joys of the new creature. If you
feel the love of God and the Spirit, you will not lightly sin these
joys away amid the vain anxieties of cards, or the rattling of
senseless dice. What shall I say of simpering tea-parties, the
pleasures of religious gossiping, and useless calls, without meaning,
sincerity, or end? I will only say, they are the happiest of God's
children who have neither time nor heart for these things. I believe
there cannot be much of the Spirit where there is much of these. What
shall I say of dress? A young believer, full of faith and joy, was
offered a present of flowers for he hair. She would not take them. She
was pressed to accept them; still she refused. Why will you not? Ah,
she said, how can I wear roses on my brow, when Christ wore thorns on
His? The joy of being in Christ is so sweet, that it makes all other
joys insipid, dull, lifeless. In His right hand are riches and honours;
in His left are length of days. His ways are ways of pleasantness.
What, then, have I to do any more with idols?
souls, if you have felt the love of God—the dew—you
must dash down this idol. You must not love money. You must be more
open-hearted—more open-handed. To the poor—"He that
gives to the poor lends to the Lord." "Inasmuch as ye did it to the
least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me." You must build more
churches. God be praised for what has been done; but you must do far
more. I have as many in this parish who go nowhere as would fill
another church. You must give more to missions, to send the knowledge
of Jesus to the Jews, and to the Gentile world. O how can you grasp
your money in hand so greedily while there are hundreds of millions
perishing? You that give tens must give your hundreds. You that are
poor must do what you can. Remember Mary, and the widow's mite. Let us
resolve to give the tenth of all we have to God. God is able to make
all grace abound toward you, that ye always having all-sufficiency in
all things, may abound to every good work.
- Fear of man.—Grim idol—bloody-mouthed—many souls he has devoured and trampled down into hell! His eyes are full of hatred to Christ's disciples. Scoffs and jeers lurk in his eye. The laugh of the scorner growls in his throat. Cast down this idol. This keeps some of your from secret prayer, from worshipping God in your family, from going to lay your case before ministers, from openly confessing Christ. You that have felt God's love and Spirit, dash this idol to pieces. Who art thou, that shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die? Fear not, thou worm Jacob. What have I to do any more with idols?
Dearly beloved and longed-for, my heart's desire for you, is to see you a holy people. How much longer my ministry may be continued among you, God only knows; but if God give me health and grace among you, I willingly devote my all to Him. No moment, no pleasure, no ease, no wealth, do I wish for myself. I feel that He has bought me, and I am His property. O come, give yourselves to the Lord with me. Bind yourselves to the horns of God's altar. Time past is enough to have been the devil's—the world's—our own. Now let us be Christ's alone. Are you willing? Lord, bear witness; seal it in heaven; write it in Thy book. Bear witness, angels, devils, stones and timber—bear witness, Jesus, Lamb of God! We are Thine now, and Thine for ever. What have we to do any more with idols?
28th October 1840.
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|The Good Way of Coming Before the Lord||Micah 6:6-8|
|Why is God a Stranger in the Land?||Jeremiah 14:8,9.|
|What have I to do any more with idols?||Hosea 14:8.|
|A Castaway||1 Corinthians 9:26-27|
|Our duty to Israel||Romans 1:16|
|Songs of Zion (14 M'Cheyne Poems)||Poems|
|Though Baxter's Lips||Poem|
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