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The Signs of the Times, vol. 13 - Contents
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    July 28, 1887

    “The Second Commandment. No. 1” The Signs of the Times 13, 29, pp. 454, 455.

    “THOU shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Exodus 20:4, 5. Of course this is not all of the second commandment, but as this is all of it that we wish to dwell upon in this article, we simply quote the first portion of it.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.1

    The first commandment forbids all other gods; the second commandment forbids the making of any image or likeness of even the true God as well as of all other gods. The first commandment forbids the service of all false gods; the second commandment forbids the service or worship of the true God in any false way. When Israel made the golden calf at Sinai, they did not intend it as a sinful worship, nor as a worship of any but the true God. The true God, the one who had spoken the ten commandments, has said to them, “I am the Lord thy God which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt,” and when they made the golden calf they only said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” They knew well enough that that piece of gold was not the God that had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they only proposed that as a tangible form through which they would worship that God who did bring them out of Egypt. But it matters not how good their purposes were, nor how innocent their intentions, their act was a grievous sin. To attempt to worship even the true God in any such way was sin, it was idolatry. It was really not only to have another god, but it was to make a graven image of that god, and to deny the God above who had brought them out of Egypt.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.2

    The true God will not be worshiped in any false way. “The true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God being a Spirit, must be spiritually discerned and conceived of, and must be worshiped accordingly. Any other than an entirely spiritual worship is false worship, and is idolatry. Nor is it enough that the object of worship shall be spiritually discerned, and worshiped so, but the worship must be according to truth, and as the Saviour said in speaking to the Father, “Thy word is truth,” it follows that all worship must be according to the word of God—the Bible—or else it is false worship and idolatry. Therefore all worship, to be true, must be such as spiritually discerns the spiritual Father, and worships him so according to the directions given in the Bible. So notwithstanding the children of Israel intended the golden calf merely as a representation of their idea of the true God, the action was altogether sinful, and the image was only a representation of their sin. Therefore said Moses, “I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust.” Deuteronomy 9:21.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.3

    When the ten tribes separated themselves from Judah and Benjamin, and Jeroboam became their king, as he saw the people going up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, he said in his heart: “Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David; if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their Lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set on in Bethel and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one even unto Dan.” Notice, the text does not say that they went to worship the one even unto Dan, but that “they went to worship before the one.” Jeroboam was persuading them that they could worship God this way just as well as to go to Jerusalem to worship—yes, even better, because it was “too much” to go all the way to Jerusalem to worship. But their worship was not the worship of God at all, they could not worship him in any such way, it was all sin, and by this conduct Jeroboam secured to himself the dreadful distinction in the word of God as, “Jeroboam who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.4

    As therefore it is so great a sin to make or to use any sort of a graven or molten image in the worship of the true God, it cannot be any less for anyone to worship some person, or some thing else, and make a graven image of that person or thing. Therefore the commandment is, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.5

    According to this commandment and these scriptures which we have quoted, it is as certain as anything can be that Catholics are guilty of idolatry in the use of the graven images of Christ which they do use. The worship of Christ is the worship of God, for “the Word was God,” and of him it is written, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” And it is sin, it is idolatry, to worship him before a graven image now, just as much as it was in the days of Jeroboam, or of Moses. It is sin, it is idolatry, to worship God before a graven image now in San Francisco, in New York, or in Rome, just as much as it was then to worship before a graven image at Dan or at Sinai. That these images are in the shape of a man, while those were in the shape of a calf, makes not a particle of difference: one is idolatry and is sin just as much as the other. At Sinai God refused to allow any similitude or any likeness to be seen lest the people should make an image of such likeness and worship the God of Israel by it, and so corrupt themselves by idolatry. And when at last for the salvation of men God did manifest himself to the world in the form of Christ Jesus the Lord, it is now idolatry, it is sin to worship him by the use of any image of that form in any way whatever. There stands the commandment of God, saying, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, ... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.” Jesus is in Heaven. To make a graven image of him and bow down to it is idolatry; it is a violent of the commandment of God; it is sin. But that is precisely what Roman Catholics do, therefore their worship is idolatrous, and their conduct is sin.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.6

    Neither does their idolatrous worship stop there, but is repeated in an almost infinite degree in the worship of the Virgin Mary, and that too by graven images. In worshiping Christ by an image they break one commandment—the second; whereas in worshiping Mary by images, they break both the first and second commandments, and so and sin to sin. They sin at the first in worshiping Mary at all, for God says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” and, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Then they add to this the sin of making graven images of her and bowing down to them. Proof: In “St. John’s Mission Book,” pp. 219, 220, we have the following directions for “Visits to the Blessed Virgin, for every day in the week“:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.1

    “These visits usually follow immediately after those to the Blessed Sacrament. They are made by kneeling down before the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the church, or before any image of her in whatever place is may be, and making use devoutly of the following reflections and prayers.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.2

    But the commandment of God says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything; ... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.3

    Further, these directions say:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.4

    “Those who cannot always have access to the church, will do well to keep a small image for the purpose in some retired part of the house.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.5

    “Will do well”? Not by any manner of means. They who do so will do ill, for God has said, “Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.” Deuteronomy 27:15. And nothing but the blood of Christ, the benefit of which is secured by genuine repentance, will ever redeem from this curse those who keep an image of Mary or anybody else in some retired part of the house and bow down before it, or pay it any respect whatever.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.6

    But that Catholics are taught this idolatry in the church books, is not all. The Papacy has actually corrupted the word of God, so as to make it teach image-worship. In Hebrews 11:21 Paul wrote that, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” Instead of this the Catholic Bible reads that he “adored the top of his staff,” and in a note adds these words: “Paying a relative honor to the top of his staff.” Besides this the second Council of Nice, September 24 to October 23, A.D. 787, unanimously pronounced that “the worship of images is agreeable to Scripture and reason, to the Fathers and councils of the church,” and Pope Hadrion II. accepted and announced the decree of the council. Image-worship is a part of the would-be infallible faith of the Catholic Church, and must necessarily be taught in the church books. And from the way that it is taught in the books it would seem that the worshipers actually worshiped the image itself, instead of worshiping by the image. For they are taught that the images actually move, and speak, and bleed. And when worshipers believe that there are about the images such properties of life and intelligence as these things would convey, then it is difficult to see where the worshiper can draw the line between the image and the reality.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.7

    In a Catholic book entitled “The Glories of Mary,” page 139, there is given an example. Telling of a certain person who was given to evil courses, it says:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.8

    “One night, when he was about to commit a sin, he saw a light, and, on closer observation, perceived that it was a lamp burning before a holy image of the blessed Virgin, who held the infant Jesus in her arms. He said a ‘Hail Mary,’ as usual; but what did he see? He saw the infant covered with wounds, and fresh blood flowing from them. Both terrified and moved in his feelings, he remembered that he himself too had wounded his Redeemer by his sins, and began to weep, but he observed that the child turned away from him. In deep confusion, he had recourse to the most holy Virgin, saying: ‘Mother of mercy, thy Son rejects me; I can find no advocate more kind and more powerful than thou, who art his mother; my queen, aid me, and pray to him in my behalf.’ The divine mother answered him from that image: ‘You sinners call me mother of mercy, but yet you do not cease to make me mother of misery, renewing the passion of my Son, and my dolors.’ But because Mary never sends away disconsolate those who cast themselves at her feet, she began to entreat her Son that he would pardon that miserable sinner. Jesus continued to show himself unwilling to grant such a pardon, but the holy Virgin, placing the infant in the niche, prostrated herself before him, saying: ‘My Son, I will not leave thy feet until thou hast pardoned this sinner.’ ‘My mother,’ answered Jesus, ‘I can deny thee nothing; dost thou wish for his pardon? for love of thee I will pardon him. Let him come and kiss my wounds.’ The sinner approached, weeping bitterly, and as he kissed the wounds of the infant, they were healed. Then Jesus embraced him as a sign of pardon.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.9

    On page 213 there is the record of a person who had been condemned to death and was on his way to the gallows, and thus we read:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.10

    “On his way to the gallows, happening to pass before a statue of Mary, he saluted her with his usual prayer: ‘Blessed Virgin, help me in the hour of my death,’ and the statue, in the presence of all, inclined its head and saluted him. Deeply moved, he begged to be allowed to kiss the feet of the image. The executioners refused, but afterwards consented on account of the clamor of the people. The youth stooped to kiss her feet, and Mary extended her arm from that statue, took him by the hand and held him so strongly that no power could move him. At this prodigy the multitude shouted, ‘Pardon, pardon,’ and pardon was granted.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.11

    Pages 232-3 give this:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.12

    “A certain nobleman who was despairing of his eternal salvation on account of his sins, was encouraged by a religious to have recourse to the most holy Virgin, by visiting her sacred image, which was in a certain church. The nobleman went to the church, and on seeing the figure of Mary, he felt himself, as it were, invited by her to cast himself at her feet and trust. He hastens to do so, kisses her feet, and Mary, from that statue, extended her hand for him to kiss, and on it he saw these words written: ‘I will deliver thee from them that afflict thee.’”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.13

    Pages 558-9 give the following:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.14

    “We read in the Annual Letters of the Society of Jesus, that in India, a young man who was just leaving his apartment in order to commit sin, heard a voice, saying: ‘Stop, where are you going?’ He turned round and saw an image, in relief, of the sorrowful Mary, who drew out the sword which was in her breast, and said to him: ‘Take this dagger and pierce my heart rather than wound my Son with this sin.’”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.15

    Page 680 tells of one who had gone to the church and was about to go home without confessing his sin, “when he thought he would go and recommend himself to the most holy Mary before her image which was in the church. He had hardly kneeled before it, when he felt himself entirely changed ... and he afterwards said that he felt greater satisfaction than if he had gained all the gold in the world.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.16

    On page 711 we find the following:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.17

    “A city of France, called Avignon, was once besieged by enemies. The citizens prayed to Mary to defend them, and placed an image of her, which they had taken from a church, at the gate of the city. One of the citizens having concealed himself behind the image, a soldier shot an arrow at him, saying: ‘This image shall not save you from death.’ But the image presented her knee there even to this day; and thus she saved the life of her servant. And the enemy moved by this prodigy, raised the siege.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.18

    Page 713 gives this:—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.19

    “The blessed Clement, a Franciscan, one morning delayed going to the common table, that he might stop and recite certain accustomed devotions to the most holy Virgin; but she spoke from her image, and directed him to go with the others, because obedience pleased her more than all other devotions.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.20

    On pages 157-8 we are told that—SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.21

    “The hand of St. John of Damascus was cut off because he defended with his pen the images of Mary; but our lady restored it to him in a miraculous manner.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.22

    If these things to not teach image-worship, and if those who do such things do not worship images, then there has never been, and can never be, in this world any such thing as the worship of images; and if such practices are not in violation of the second commandment, then that commandment has never yet been broken in this world. Nor is it to be supposed that these things were taught only in the Dark Ages, or perhaps are now only in some dark corner of Europe; they are taught now and right here in these United States. And yet the Catholic Church is recognized by Protestants as a part of the Christian Church. But to recognize as a part of the Christian Church, a church that teaches, and practices according to such teachings as these, is to condone idolatry, and to sanction sin. It shows too how sadly degenerate has become the Protestantism (?) of to-day. If the word of God, if the gospel of Christ, will be preached, Catholics must be shown that their worship of images, or by images, is an idolatrous worship, and that consequently it is sin; and that they will never know peace unless they turn from it entirely and worship God alone and him only in spirit and in truth.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.23

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” “I am Jehovah; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.24