(Octavius Winslow, "Christ and the Christian
in Temptation" 1877)
Of all the sins common to our fallen nature, God
has the most signally marked that of Idolatry, or
Man is by nature an idolater. His sinful mind,
being alienated from God, seeks some object
of worship other than the true and living God.
The 'renewed' man is not entirely exempt from this sin.
Hence the exhortation of the Apostle addressed to the
early Christians, and in these last days addressed to us:
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." "My dearly
beloved, flee from idolatry."
Surely, it was not the gross and senseless idolatry of
the heathens to which the Apostles thus refer; from
this many of those saints to whom they wrote had
already been delivered; but to other idols and other
worship, less palpable and degrading, but not less
superstitious or offensive to God.
The worship of SELF is a natural and fearful form of
idolatry. It is an innate and never entirely eradicated
principle of our nature, but clings to us to the very last
of life. Alas! the holiest and the best of us want to be
something, and to do something, when in reality we
are nothing, and can do nothing.
We walk in our religious life, for the most part, upon
stilts; always appearing in the eyes of others taller
than we really are!
But real greatness and true humility have ever been
in alliance with entire abnegation of SELF.
Who can stand before the cross and gaze upon the
Creator of all worlds impaled between two criminals,
Himself dying as the chief, and not shrink into his
own nothingness, bewailing that he should ever have
been betrayed into the folly and the sin of burning
the incense of idolatry before the wretched idol,
Beware of SELF idolatry!
It is the most insidious, hateful, and degrading
form of idolism to which the soul can be subjected.