Deuteronomy 16:22

Neither shall you set up any image; which the LORD your God hates.
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Statue. Hebrew matseba, means also a pillar, monument, heap of stones, image, title, Genesis xxviii. Hateth, when they are designed for superstitious purposes. On other occasions, statues and pictures may be very instructive and commendable. (Haydock) The patriarchs set up pillars, altars, as did also the Israelites, (Josue xxii. 10.) Samuel, even after this prohibition, and without any offence. The Rabbins allow, that the proselytes of justice do well in erecting such monuments of religion, provided they be not intended for false worship. (Selden, Jur. ii. 6.) (Calmet) How blind then must be our dissenting brethren, who cannot make this easy and obvious distinction, but indiscriminately condemn all Catholics as guilty of idolatry, because they make and keep in their chapels, and bow down before images of the saints. This trifling objection is pressed with great vigour by J. Wesley, the founder of the Methodists. "The Papists, says he, set up their idols in their churches they worship the picture of the Queen of heaven they idolize a dead man or woman. "To whom Dr. Parker, a Protestant bishop, replies: (Disc. for the Abrog. of the Test.) "Yet, after all, we have no other ground for the bold conceit, than the crude and rash assertions of some popular divines, who have no other measures of truth and zeal, but their hatred of popery.As to the use of images in the worship of God, I cannot but admire at the confidence of these men, to make so bold a charge against them in general, when the images of the cherubim were commanded by God himself, Exodus xxv. 22. They were the most solemn and sacred part of the Jewish religion, and therefore, though images, so far from idolatry, that God made them the seat of his presence, and from between them delivered his oracles. This instance is so plain and obvious to every reader. That it is a much greater wonder to me that those men, who advance the objection of idolatry so groundlessly, (against the greater part of Christendom, as he observed before) can so slightly rid themselves of so pregnant a proof against it. "See an answer to the Rev. J. Wesley's Misrepresentations, by the Rev. N. G. published at Whitby, 1811, where some of the variations in doctrine of the pillars of Methodism, are also briefly noticed, as well as the absurdity of a man setting up for a reformer of religion, who at the time did not believe in Christ, (Journal ii. p. 102-3,) and for forty-two years afterwards preached a doctrine either Popish (Jour. for 1739) or Antinomian, than which, to use the words of his own recantation, "nothing could be more false. "(Minutes of a Conference, 1770.) It may not be improper to observe, that in the last great deluge of error, the Methodist Society began, 1st May, 1738, at London, though it had a more obscure beginning at Oxford, 1729, and another at Havannah, 1736. Yet even when this third grand attempt was made to spread it wider, and to rectify former mistakes, the author acknowledges that he was not converted, no not till many days afterwards, when, being in a Lutheran society! (26th May) "an assurance, says he, was given me, that Christ had taken away my sins, even mine "(Journal) and still, in the year 1770, he had to "review the whole affair. "Such is the man who has deluded so many thousands! Out of thy own mouth will I condemn thee. Surely those who wilfully follow such blind guides, deserve to fall into the ditch. What confidence now can the Methodists have in the interpretations which Wesley has given them of the Scriptures, since he stumbled in broad daylight; and even preached for above thirty years together, that the observance of God's law is not only unnecessary, but sinful, an error to which he was forced, at last, to open his eyes by the scandalous immoralities of several of his deluded admirers, whom he had been all along foolishly flattering with the assurance that faith alone would ensure their salvation. Strange it may appear, that he should not be put on his guard by the fall of Luther, who split against the same rock, and scrupled not to condemn the Epistle of St. James as not worth a straw, stramineam epistolam, an expression for which he is said afterwards to have been sorry, as Wesley was for the doctrine which he had been delivering for so many years. But the evil was then done. Multitudes had been deceived by these arch impostors. Their surviving followers might however, if they would, derive this lesson from their tardy repentance and recantation, to examine with more caution their other doctrines, which they have delivered with the like confidence; and as they have reason to fear the yielding an implicit belief to such innovators, so they may be induced to flee to the ark, the true Catholic Church, that they may be protected from the contradiction of tongues, Psalm xxx. 21. (St. Augustine, ibid.) "After Christ and the gospel, we have no farther enquiry to make. "(Tertullian) We know that novelty in religion is a sure mark of falsehood, as no one can place any other foundation besides that which has been fixed by the beginner and finisher of our faith. From the written and unwritten Word of God, we learn what He has taught, and among the rest, we are authorized to keep holy pictures with respect. This is not an attempt against the worship of God, but designed to promote it. We do not make them to ourselves, without a divine authority. The same things which we are not allowed to adore, we must not make. Yet Methodists have and make pictures. We have God's will clearly expressed to us by his Church, which he has commanded us to hear and obey. If we be led astray by so doing, we may at least plead that we did, to the best of our judgment, as we were ordered by God; which those, who choose for themselves, cannot do. If this Church, so strongly recommended to us in Scripture, be capable of deceiving us in an affair of so great consequence as in that of idolatry, to what article of the Christian revelation can we yield our assent with safety? So, on the other hand, if Luther and Wesley have grossly imposed on their followers, by teaching them to believe that Catholics are idolaters, and that faith alone is necessary for salvation, as they are self-convicted in the latter point, how can their disciples forget the old proverb, "A liar is not believed even when he speaks the truth "and consequently, how can they take up their faith on their bare word, though they may pretend to ground their doctrine on the word of God? They confessedly misapplied that sacred word, with respect to faith alone, and they shut their eyes to the obvious meaning of the texts which forbid graven things. Ought not, therefore, the unlearned and the unstable to dread lest they may have wrested the other Scriptures to their own perdition? (2 Peter iii. 16.) See Exodus xx. This subject is of such vast importance, the accusation of idolatry is of so black a nature, that it deserves to be accurately and frequently refuted. It is not an accusation brought only by a few obscure individuals, who have not the power to do any great harm by it; the most exalted dignitaries of the Protestant church, such as Dr. Shute, of Durham, in two charges to his clergy, the most famous modern reformers, like Wesley, have not scrupled to repeat the calumny; and the Legislature has, for many years, been actuated by what they perhaps have thought a pious zeal, to exterminate the imitators of the Chanaanites! They may have listened too attentively to the intolerant institutor of the love-feasts, (who seems, nevertheless, to threaten the overthrow of the established church) and who, in the excess of his zeal, exclaims, "I insist upon it that no government, not Roman Catholic, ought to tolerate men of the Roman Catholic persuasion. "(Letter written 1780, a short time before the riots.) They must then be murdered, banished, or forced into the church, that little society which began in the evening of the 1st of May, 1738, in Fetter-lane; (Journal i.) for Methodists assert, that the God of this world has hitherto triumphed over every revival of true religion, (Dedic. prefixed to the Life of J. Wesley, by Drs. Coke and Moore) and consequently over the reformed Church of England; so that they can hardly insist, that we should embrace her doctrine, and thus increase the triumph of the devil. We have therefore no alternative left, but either to abandon our country or our religion. These are the apostles, worthy of Mahomet, who would have us believe that they are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and divinely commissioned to raise another holy temple out of the scattered lively stones of that once beautiful building, which was erected by Jesus Christ, against which they say (Ibid.) the gates of hell have never wholly prevailed. These are the teachers whom they have heaped up to themselves, having itching ears, 2 Timothy iv. 3. These are the interpreters of the sacred oracles! Both Wesley and Coke have, at least, acquired great celebrity with their adherents, by their labours in this way; but how much their explications may be depended upon, we may form some judgment from the preceding remarks. The character of bishop, which Dr. Coke extorted from the hands of his great master, 10th of Sept. 1784, at Bristol, will not give us any higher idea of the sagacity of either. It disgusted all thinking men, as a similar action of Luther, a fallen priest, consecrating a bishop had done long before. Mr. Charles Wesley upon hearing of his brother having ordained a bishop, being but a presbyter himself, is said to have exclaimed, "So easily are bishops made, by man's or woman's whim; Wesley his hands on Coke has laid but who laid hands on him? "See Nightingale, for further information on Methodism, which now makes such a noise, though its novelty, variations, acknowledged mistakes, calumnies, spirit of persecution, want of lawful pastors, here briefly instanced, might suffice to put people upon their guard. (Haydock)

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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