“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21
An idolatrous and unsanctified attachment to the creature has again and again crucified love to Christ in the heart. Upon the same principle that no man can love the world and God with a like supreme and kindred affection, so no man can give to Christ and the creature the same intensity
And yet, how often has the creature stolen the heart from its lawful Sovereign! That heart that was once so simply and so supremely the Lord’s, those affections that clung to Him with such purity and power of grasp, have now been transferred to another and an inferior object; the piece of clay that God had given but to deepen the obligation, and heighten the soul’s love to Himself, has been molded into an idol, before which the heart pours its daily incense; the flower that He has caused to spring forth but to endear His own beauty, and make His own name more fragrant, has supplanted the “Rose of Sharon” in the bosom.
Oh! is it thus that we abuse our mercies? is it thus that we convert our blessings into poisons? that we allow the things that were sent to endear the heart of our God, and to make the cross, through which they came, more precious, to allure our affections from their holy and blessed center? Fools that we are, to love the creature more than the Creator!
Dear reader, why has God been disciplining you as it may be, He has? why has He removed your idols, crumbled into dust your piece of clay, and blown witheringly upon your beauteous flower? Why? Because He hates idolatry; and idolatry is essentially the same, whether it be offered to a lifeless, shapeless stock, or to a being of intellect and beauty.
And what does His voice speak in every stream that He dries, in every plant that He blows upon, and in every disappointment He writes upon the creature? “My son, give me your heart. I want your love, your pure and supreme affection; I want to be the one and only object of your delight. I gave my Son for you- His life for yours; I sent my Spirit to quicken, to renew, to seal, and possess you for myself; all this I did that I might have your heart.
To possess myself of this, I have smitten your gourds, removed your idols, broken your earthly dependences, and have sought to detach your affections from the creature, that they may arise, undivided and unfettered, and entwine around One who loves you with an undying love.”