03 September 2007

ManMade Idols Will All Fall Down

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following selection is from "Idols Found Wanting, but Jehovah Found Faithful," a sermon preached during the midweek (Thursday Evening) service on 27 September 1888, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.




f you are at all readers of the history of religious thought, you will know that systems of philosophy, and philosophical religions, have come up, and have been generally accepted as indisputable, and have done serious injury to true religion for a time; and yet they have vanished like the mirage of the desert.

When at their best, they have withered: the grass has flowered, the flower has come to its full, and has fallen beneath the scythe. The gourds have come up in a night, and have perished in a night.

Even those of us who are not aged, yet remember two or three different forms of philosophical divinity which preceded this new dreaming, which is just now so loudly cried up. Many modern thoughts have come up, and have gone down again. Bel has bowed down, and Nebo has stooped.

The boastful "thinkers" carried up their elaborate systems into their places with great labor, and then they carried them away again, and buried them with equal labor. What philosophers prove one year, philosophers disprove another year. We, old-fashioned Christians, have remained unchanged in our fidelity to revealed truth, and we have seen Bel go up and Bel go down, and Nebo go up and Nebo go down.

Yes, we have seen rubbish venerated as a precious thing, and anon the precious thing carted away as so much lumber. Like a child's merry-go-round at a fair, heresy is a revolution of the old things over and over again; yet people think it new. The present idols of the mind are just as worthless as those of former times.

The god of modern thought is a monkey. If those who believed in evolution said their prayers rightly, they would begin them with, "Our Father, which art up a tree." Did they not all come from a monkey, according to their own statement? They came by "development," from the basest of material, and they do not belie their original.

If you are not well acquainted with this new gospel, I would not advise you to be acquainted with it; it is a sheer, clear waste of time to know anything about it at all. The moderns are able to believe anything except their Bibles. They credulously receive any statement, so long as it is not in the Scriptures; but if it is founded on Scripture, they are, of course, prepared to doubt and quibble and cavil straight away.

The credulity of the new theologians is as amazing as their scepticism. But we shall see the monkey-god go down yet, and evolution will be ridiculed as it deserves to be. The philosophy of the present, whose aim is to get rid of God, has nothing to support it in fact or in nature. It will fly as chaff before the wind, and someday nobody will own that he ever thought of believing it.

The new religion will be regarded as a craze, an emanation from Bedlam; and every man will be ashamed to think that he stopped to hear or read anything about it. So idiotic is it from beginning to end, that it will become a standing jest for ages to come, a proverb and a byword to mankind. Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth already; and, as the Lord Jehovah liveth, the whole of this thing, which has been so cunningly and carefully devised to dethrone him, and cast down his gospel, shall be had in derision.

These new gods, newly come up, shall not deliver themselves, or their worshippers, any more than did the idols of Babylon.

But now, beloved, it will be just the same with us if we trust in false confidences of any sort; such, for instance, as our experiences, or our attainments, or our services, or our orthodox belief, or aught else. If we set up any confidences apart from our God, we shall soon see the end of them. Imagine that any Christian here should be so foolish as to rely upon his own works. God forbid we should! But what an airy nothing our confidence would be! Before long that Bel would bow down, and that Nebo would stoop, for the hope would be too flimsy to bear the least weight.

Or, if we should begin to rely upon our own enjoyments—if frames and feelings should become our confidence—all would come down, and our boast would become our burden, our glory our shame. "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth": sooner or later this will be the end of all false trusts.

Placing confidence in our inward feelings is like building upon a bog, or leaning upon a rush, or feeding upon wind. The idols of our feeling are like the mudgods of India—they are utterly worthless, and they turn to mere clay almost as soon as they are formed.

If in our daily life we look to an arm of flesh, or practice self-reliance instead of God-reliance, or if we trust to friends instead of leaning upon the one great Invisible, we shall yet learn with tears the terror of that sentence, "Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm."

"Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth": anything that you make your confidence, instead of God, will fail to bear your burden, and will itself become a burden to you. Instead of its carrying you, you will have to carry it. Instead of its taking your load, it will increase your load, and become at last an intolerable curse.

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Beloved in the Lord, think not that this is an unnecessary warning even for you, for you may as easily set up an idol in your heart as other men may set up a false system of philosophy, or an idol god. Guard against setting up a rival trust to rob the Lord of even a small part of your confidence. "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him." None but Jesus is the ground of salvation: none but the Eternal God is the disposer of providence.

Trust thou wholly in him who loves to be trusted. Let us lean upon our God with all our weight, and lean nowhere else; for if we put our confidence elsewhere, our idolatry will come home to us, and we shall hear the voice of disappointment, wailing bitterly, "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together."
C. H. Spurgeon


17 comments:

Keith B said...

Phil, Thanks for the post it is encouraging. I especially liked the phase, "Our Father, which art up a tree." We need to be reminded that we are able to create false gods in our mind as well as of wood, clay and iron.
Good Stuff!

BugBlaster said...

Timely for me. Thanks.

SJ Camp said...

""Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth": anything that you make your confidence, instead of God, will fail to bear your burden, and will itself become a burden to you. Instead of its carrying you, you will have to carry it. Instead of its taking your load, it will increase your load, and become at last an intolerable curse.

One comment from "The Bear" is worth hundreds upon hundreds from any of us.

Thank you my brother for posting this judicious, evocative, and unassailable article. It's a redolent fragrance to God, yet malodorous to those in today's contemporary-driven church.

As the Day Draws Near...
Campi
Psalm 119:96-100

~Mark said...

That gives "holding your ground" new depth for sure. Only better than ground: Rock!

lordodamanor said...

This Sunday's sermon addressed idols. Speaking out of Isaiah the pastor in reference to Ahaz, cited the Lord's warning, "If you will not stand in faith you will not stand at all." And, "Do not fear him who can destroy the body, but He who can destroy both the body and the soul in Hell."

Idol's are so easy to come by. We often do not see them as such. As one blogger speaking of great men of the past put it, we are often guilty of making them more than men. We do that with men in Scripture, as well as the father's. Often it is our pastors or friends and family members, heros and people of social status. But perhaps the least recognized is what I term "The Last Idol in the Temple." After we have swept the land and cleansed the temple the last one is me. It is perhaps the most stubborn and hardest, nay, impossible to remove. The only remedy is to fall down and admit with the disciples, "Then who can be saved?

Dave said...

Brilliant! And as a scientist, I can tell you that there is a lot of ignorance and blind faith on the part of evolutionists today. If they really examined the evidence, they would see a literal 6-day creation and a young earth *sigh* but for their own idolatry.

Thanks for the message.
Dave

Carla Rolfe said...

Phil,

not only is this very timely for me, it's also a considerable comfort, and conviction all at the same time.

Thank you for posting this.

Sewing said...

The moderns are able to believe anything except their Bibles. They credulously receive any statement, so long as it is not in the Scriptures; but if it is founded on Scripture, they are, of course, prepared to doubt and quibble and cavil straight away.

How very true! Anything, no matter how ridiculous, is credible as long as it isn't in Scripture. But "Oh, it's in Bible? Then of course it's not true!"

How many of us—myself included—were misled by this all-pervasive point of view? A point of view that even pervades "Christianity" (in its broadest, least orthodox definition)? How many of us were kept from the Truth—God's Truth—by this diabolical dichotomy?

Sewing said...

lordodamanor, thanks for reminding us that we are still sinners who must remember that there is only One Whom we should raise up—Him Who was raised up, and Whom God raised!

the postmortem said...

"The god of modern thought is a monkey."

I wonder what (or whom) the god of post-modern thought is...

Dan Paden said...

I have not infrequently been stunned by the reaction of Christians to criticism of evolution; in their zeal to defend it, despite the battleship-sized holes in the theory, they often do nothing so much as reveal the power of our modern educational system to indoctrinate.

Daryl said...

What can I say?
hank God for men like Spurgeon and (although you would downplay it), Thank God for men like you Pyro's. You always bring us back to the supremacy of God in all things.

Thanks.

Daryl said...

"...hank God..." Thank God (it's earlly yet.)

Sewing said...

I liked the gorilla postcard, by the way. I had no idea the Spurgeon Archivist was also a collector of Spurgeon memorabilia (or in Victorian lingo, "curios")!

Tom said...

Speaking of gods made up by the mind...what about the god of "free choice"... we all have a choice whether or not we will serve God, right? We have a choice whether or not we will obey His every command and instruction? The god of free choice says that God's commands are optional on whether or not the person wants to obey.

Daryl said...

Tom,

You trying to make this one a 1000 comment blog too??

(Good point by the way)

Courtney said...

Phil and the guys. Thank you so much for this Spurgeon post. It was very applicable for me as I am serving as a missionary in Thailand. Daily we see blatant idol worship but I need to examine myself and see where I hold idols above the Lord. Thanks for this blogpost it is a great blessing and helps my faith and doctrine stay strong amidst this place.