Thursday, August 19, 2010

Matthew Henry on the Second Commandment

The following are selections from Matthew Henry's "A Scripture Catechism in the Method of the Assembly's" (Q49)(Q50)(Q51)(Q52)

Q. 49.What is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shall 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 shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

1. Does the second commandment concern the ordinances of God's worship, as the first object of it? Yes: Therefore ye shall keep mine ordinances, Lev. 18:10. Was it requisite there should be a law concerning them? Yes: Lest ye say, How did these nations serve their gods? so will I do likewise, Deut. 12:30. Is this binding to us now? Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry, 1 Cor. 10:14. Are we Christians forbidden to worship images? Yes: That they should not worship idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, Rev. 9:20.

2. Does this commandment forbid the making of images for a religious use? Yes: Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image, Deut. 27:15. Does it forbid the making an image of what is in heaven above? Yes: Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, shouldst be driven to worship them, Deut. 4:19. Or on earth, beneath? Yes: As they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox, Ps. 106:20. Or in the waters under the earth? Yes: As they made the likeness of creeping things, Rom. 1:23.

3. Does it forbid us to bow down to them? Yes: Shall I bow down to the stock of a tree? Isa. 44:19. Or to worship them? Yes: Thou shall worship no other God, Exod. 34:14. Or to show any respect to them? I will take away the names of Baalim out of their mouth, Hos. 2:17. Was it requisite this commandment should be thus enlarged? Yes: Precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, Isa. 28:10. And that it should be backed with many reasons? Yes: for they are mad upon their idols, Jer. 50:38.

Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requires the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in his word.

1. Is it our duty solemnly to worship God? Yes: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, Matt 4:10. Do we thereby honour him? Yes: we give unto him the glory due unto his name, Ps. 29:2. Does the light of nature teach us to worship God? Yes: they cried every man unto his god, Jonah 1:5. But does it teach us sufficiently how to worship him? No: Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Acts 17:23. Has God in his word appointed us in what way to worship him? Yes: for this was ordained in Joseph for a testimony, Ps. 81:5. And must we worship him in the appointed way? Yes: See thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee, Heb. 8:5.

2. Are we to receive such ordinances as God has appointed? Yes: The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey, Josh. 24:24. Should we labour to understand them? Yes: What mean ye by this service? Exod. 12:26. And are we to observe them? Yes: Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, Matt. 28:20. And to observe them duly? Yes: as the duty of every day requires, Ezra 3:4.

3. Are we to keep God's ordinances? Yes: That good thing which was committed to thee, keep, 2 Tim. 1:14. Are we to keep them carefully? Yes: Keep them as the apple of thine eye, Prov. 7:2. Must we keep them pure without corruption? Yes: Add thou not to his words, Prov. 30:6. And entire, without diminution? Yes: We must walk in all the ordinances of the Lord, Luke 1:6. May we neither add nor diminish? No: Thou shalt neither add thereto nor diminish from it, Deut. 12:32.

4. Must we worship God in the spirit? Yes: We are the circumcision that worship God in the spirit, Phil. 3:3. Must we be inward with God in every service? Yes: for bodily exercise profiteth little, 1 Tim 4:8. Is ignorance the mother of devotion? No: for if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? Mal. 1:8. Is it the mother of destruction? Yes: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, Hos. 4:6.

5. Ought we to have an eye to the word of God in our religious worship? Yes: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 1:23. And to glorify God in it? Yes; I will be sanctified in them that come nigh unto me, Lev. 10:3. And ought we to shun all idolatrous worship? Yes: For I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils, 1 Cor 10:20.

Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

1. Is it a sin to worship the true God by images? Yes: for it changes the truth of God into a lie, Rom.1:25. Are not images laymen's books? No: for an image is a teacher of lies, Hab. 2:18. Is it possible to make an image of God? No: we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device, Acts 17:29. Do we know what to represent God by? No: To whom then will ye liken God? Isa. 40:18. Do they that pretend to it put a great affront upon him? Yes: for they change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, Rom. 1:28.

2. May we worship Christ by an image? No: For though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more, 2 Cor. 5:16. Is it idolatry to worship the consecrated host? Yes: for it is bread which we break, 1 Cor. 10:16. Is it idolatry to pray to saints and angels? Yes: See thou do it not, but worship God, Rev. 19:10. and 22:9.

3. Must we be careful to avoid all appearances of idolatry? Yes: Take ye therefore good heed to yourselves, lest ye corrupt yourselves, Deut. 4:15. Should we choose to die rather than worship images? Yes: But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up, Dan. 3:18.

4. Is it a sin to worship God in any way not appointed in his word? Yes: In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men Matt. 15:9. May we ourselves invent ordinances of worship? No: They went a whoring with their own inventions, Ps. 106:39. Is it not enough if what we invent is not forbidden? No: They offered a strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not, Lev. 10:1. Is it a sin to despise any of God's ordinances? Yes: Ye said also Behold what a weariness is it! Mal. 1:13. Or to be careless in our attendance upon them? Yes: Cursed be the deceiver that hath in his flock a male, and vows and sacrifices to the Lord a corrupt thing, Mal. 1:14. Are they spiritual idolaters who make images of' God in their fancy? Yes: they are vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart is darkened, Rom. 1:21.

Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, are God's sovereignty over us, his property in us, and the zeal he has to his own worship.

1. Is there good reason why we should take heed of idolatry? Yes: Turn ye not to idols, neither make to yourselves molten gods, I am the Lord your God, Lev. 19:4. Has God a sovereignty over us? Yes: for he is a great God, and a great King above all gods, Ps. 95:3. Ought we therefore to worship him, as he has appointed us? Yes: O come let us worship, and bow down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker, Ps. 95:6. And not to worship idols? Yes: for they can do neither good nor evil, Isa. 41:23.

2. Has God a property in us? Yes: for we are the people of his pasture, Ps. 95:7. Ought we therefore to worship him? Yes: He is thy Lord, and worship thou him, Ps. 45:11. And not to worship other gods? Yes: for hath a nation changed their gods? Jer. 2:11.

3. Is God jealous in the matters of his worship Yes: The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, Exod. 34:14. Is he much displeased with those who corrupt it? Yes: They provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities, 1 Kings 16:13. Do those who do so hate him? Yes: Idolaters are haters of God, Rom. 1:25, 30. Will he visit their iniquity? Yes: In the day m when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them, Exod. 32:34. Will he visit it upon the children? Yes: Our fathers sinned, and are not, and we have borne their iniquities, Lam. 5:7. And is it just with him to do so? Yes: for they are the children of whoredoms, Hos. 2:4. But will he visit it for ever? No: but to the third and fourth generation, Exod. 34:7.

4. Will those who love God keep his commandments? Yes: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, John 15:10. Will he show mercy to such? Yes: for he hath said, I love them that love me, Prov. 8:17. Will he show mercy to thousands of such ? Yes: for the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, Ps. 103:17.


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