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“ that giveth any of his feed unto Molech; he
“ hear and fear, and shall do no more any “ such wickedness as this is among you. “ If thou shalt hear fay in one of thy cities, “ which the Lord thy God hath given thee " to dwell there, saying, certain men, the “ children of Belial, are gone out from “ among you, and have withdrawn the inha"bitants of their city, saying, Let us go and "serve other gods (which ye have not “known). Then shalt thou enquire and make “ search, and ask diligently: and behold, if “it be truth, and the thing certain, that “ such abomination is wrought among you: “ Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants “ of that city with the edge of the sword, “ destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, "and the cattle thereof, with the edge of “the sword. And thou shalt gather all the “ spoil of it into the midst of the street “thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, “ and all the spoil thereof every whit, for “ the Lord they God: and it shall be an “ heap for ever, it shall not be built again. “And there shall cleave nought of the '“ cursed thing to thine hand: that the “ Lord may turn from the fierceness of his
“ anger, and shew thee mercy, and have “ compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, “ as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; when “ thou shalt hearken to the voice of the “ Lord thy God, to keep all his command“ ments which I command thee this day, “ to do that which is right in the eyes of “ the Lord thy God.”
These were certainly severe and awful measures, but they are abundantly vindicated by the confideration of the evils which they were intended to prevent. These evils were indeed of the most alarming nature, defeating the very end of the whole Jewish constitution, which was especially calculated to preserve the knowledge and worship of the one true God amidst a general defection from it, and to put a stop to the progress of the most abominable and destructive vices, which was the necessary consequence of that defection.
The divine displeasure at idolatry was likewise expressed by the utter destruction of all the idolatrous nations of antient times,
viz. the Canaanites, Egyptians, Syrians, Affyrians, Babylonians, and Tyrians; and also by the repeated captivities, and other awful judgments, which never failed to be inflicted upon the Israelites themselves, whenever they revolted from the one true God.
In the New Testament these awful denunciations of the judgments of God against idolatry, are not repeated with respect to the Jews, because that people had been effectually cured of their proneness to idolatry by the Babylonish captivity; but we see the same sentiments kept up, and referred to, upon every proper occasion, and very prefsing exhortations and cautions are given to the Gentile churches, respecting this subject. Our Lord replies to his tempter, by quoting the books of Moses, Mat. iv. 10. “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, “and him only shalt thou serve.” The abstaining from meats offered to idols, was one of the necessary things which all the apostles enjoined upon the Gentile converts, Acts xv. 29. The apoítle Paul most earnestly and affectionately warns the Corinthian converts on this subject, 1 Cor. x. 7. “ NciP 3
“ ther be ye idolaters as were some of them:” (that is the Israelites) v. 14..“ Wherefore, “ my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry:” v. 19.“ What say I then? that the idol is “ any thing, or that which is offered in fa“ crifice to idols is any thing? But I say, “ that the things which the Gentiles facri“ fice, they sacrifice to demons*, and not to “ God: and I would not that ye should “ have fellowship with demons. Ye cannot “ drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of “ demons : ye cannot be partakers of the “ Lord's table, and of the table of demons.” The apostle John also concludes his General Epistle to the christian churches with these words, i John v. 21. “ Little children, “ keep yourselves from idols.” Lastly, the eating of meat sacrificed to idols was one of the charges which our Lord, after his ascenfion, brought against the churches of Pergamos, and Thyatira, Rev. ii. 14. 20.
Through the whole of the New Testament, there is not so much as one example of any invisible being, who is addressed as
* For so it ought to have been translated.