Archive for the ‘Heidelberg Catechism’ Category

Samuel Fisher on the Second Commandment

August 29, 2010

The following is extracted from “Exercises on the Heidelberg Catechism: adapted to the use of families, sabbath-schools, and catechetical classes,” by Samuel R. Fisher, pp. 180-84

XXXV. Lord’s Day.

Q. 96. What doth God require in the second commandment?

A. That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word.

EXPLANATIONS.

a. Represent, make a resemblance.
b. Images, similitudes; likenesses.
c. Worship, pay divine honors to.

DOCTRINES SEPARATED AND PROVED.

  1. God requires us in no wise to represent him by images. Deuteronomy iv. 23 and 24—Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Acts xvii. 29—Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. Romans i. 22 and 23; Isaiah xl. 18.
  2. God requires us not to worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. Deuteronomy xii. 32—What thing soever I command yon, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deuteronomy iv. 2—Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

EXERCISES.

What is the ninety-sixth question? Repeat the second commandment. What answer is returned to the question? What do you mean by represent? (a.) What by images? (b.) How do you prove that God requires us in no wise to represent him by images ? (1.) What do you mean by worship? (c.) How do you prove that God requires us not to worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word? (2.)


Q. 97. Are images, then, not at all to be made?

A. God neither can, nor may be represented by any means; but as to creatures, though they may be represented, yet God forbids us to make or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them, or to serve God by them.

EXPLANATIONS.

a. Forbids, prohibits; commands not to do.

b. Resemblance, likeness; similitude.

c. Serve, render homage to.

DOCTRINES SEPARATED AND PROVED.

  1. God cannot be represented by any means. Isaiah xl. 18 and 25—To whom then will ye liken God, or what likeness will you compare unto him? To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal, saith the Holy One ? Isaiah xlvi. 5—To whom will ye liken me and make me equal, and compare me that we may be alike? Deuteronomy iv. 15.
  2. God may not be represented by any means. Deuteronomy iv. 15-18—Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of fire;) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is in the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth. Romans i. 23.
  3. Creatures may he represented. Exodus xxxv. 30-33— And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
  4. God forbids us to worship the resemblance of creatures. Psalm xcvii. 7—Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols; worship him, all ye gods.
  5. God forbids us to serve him by the resemblance of creatures. Levitucus xxvi. 1—Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: For I am the Lord your God. Deuteronomy xii. 3 and 4.
  6. God forbids us to make the resemblance of creatures, either in order to worship them, or serve God by them. Deuteronomy xxvii. 15—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. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
  7. God forbids us to have the resemblance of creatures, either in order to worship them, or serve God by them. Exodus xxiii. 24—Thou shalt not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shaft utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. Exodus xxxiv. 13 and 14—But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other God: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Deuteronomy vii. 5.

EXERCISES.

What is the ninety-seventh question? What answer is returned to the question? How do you prove that God cannot be represented by any means? (1.) How do you prove that God may not be represented by any means ? (2.) How do you prove that creatures may be represented ? (3.) Though creatures may be represented, what does God still say with respect to them? What do you mean by forbids? (a.) What by resemblance? (b.) What by serve? (c.) How do you prove that God forbids us to worship the resemblance of creatures ? (4.) How do you prove that God forbids us to serve him by them? How do you prove that God forbids us to make the resemblance of creatures, either in order to worship them, or serve God by them? (6.) How do you prove that God forbids us to have the resemblance of creatures, either in order to worship them, or serve God by them? (7.)


Q. 98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?

A. No; for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of his word.

EXPLANATIONS.

a. Tolerated, allowed: permitted.

b. Churches, houses dedicated to the worship of God.

c. Laity, the people as distinguished from the clergy.

DOCTRINES SEPARATED AND PROVED.

  1. God will not have his people taught by dumb images. Habakkuk ii. 18 and 19—What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach. Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. Zechariah x. 2—For the idols have spoken vanity. Jeremiah x. 1, etc.
  2. God will have his people taught by the lively preaching of his word. 2 Timothy iii. 16 and 17—All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto, all good works. John v. 39—Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. Luke xvi. 29—They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. 2 Peter i. 19.

EXERCISES.

What is the ninety-eighth question? What do you mean by tolerated? (a.) What by churches? (b.) What by the laity? (c.) What answer is returned to the question? What reason is assigned for the answer returned? What is said of God? How do you prove that God will not have his people taught by dumb images? (1.) How do you prove that God will have his people taught by the lively preaching of his word? (2.)

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Heidelberg Catechism on the Second Commandment

August 14, 2010

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 35

Question 96. What does God require in the second commandment?

Answer: That we in no wise represent God by images, (a) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. (b)

(a) Deut.4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Deut.4:16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, Deut.4:17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, Deut.4:18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: Deut.4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. Isa.40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Isa.40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. Isa.40:20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Isa.40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? Isa.40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: Isa.40:23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Isa.40:24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. Isa.40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Rom.1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Rom.1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (b) 1 Sam.15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. Deut.12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Deut.12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. Deut.12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Matt.15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Question 97. Are images then not at all to be made?

Answer: God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: (a) but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. (b)

(a) Isa.40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (b) Exod.23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. Exod.23:25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. Exod.34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: Exod.34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exod.34:17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. Num.33:52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: Deut.7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. Deut.12:3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Deut.16:21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 2 Kin.18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 2 Kin.18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Question 98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?

Answer: No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dump images, (a) but by the lively preaching of his word. (b)

(a) Jer.10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Hab.2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Hab.2:19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. (b) Rom.10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Rom.10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 2 Pet.1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Tim.3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim.3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


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