(J. A. James, "The Young Man's Friend
and Guide Through Life to Immortality")
"How long are you going to waver between two
opinions? If Jehovah is God, follow Him! But if
Baal is God, then follow him!" 1 Kings 18:21
There are other Baals in this age, in all the various
forms under which they are objects of human idolatry.
It is true you are not called, invited or disposed,
to bow the knee to idols of wood, stone, or metal.
These, however, are not the only way in which idolatry
may be practiced. Everyone has a god, and if man does
not love and worship Jehovah, he will make a deity of
his own image. Survey, young men, the idols which
you are called upon to worship!
Among them, sustaining a high place, is the idol of
SENSUALITY. This goddess is decked out with all that
can pollute the imagination, inflame the passions, or
excite the evil propensities of a youthful heart. Before
this image, multitudes of devotees of both sexes bow
the knee and offer the most costly sacrifices of property,
health, principle, and reputation!
Near her is the bewitching and smiling image of
WORLDLY PLEASURE, with the sound of music, the
song, and the dance--alluring the giddy and thoughtless
to its orgies; and throwing the spell of its fascinations
over the imagination of multitudes who go merrily to
MAMMON, the despicable deity of wealth, is there,
glittering with gold, and offering riches to his eager
followers as the reward of their diligent and faithful
adherence. His liturgy is the cry of "Money! Money!
Money!" His sacrifices are the time, the bodies, the
comfort, and the souls of his worshipers!
Near this is the shrine of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.
This idol is only evil, when raised above the place
of faith, piety, and virtue. When thus exalted above
Scripture, it is a deceiving, corrupting idol--the false
goddess of a Pantheon of Vices.
Nor must we leave out the idols of FALSE RELIGION,
the chief of which is Popery--the anti-Christ of the
Apocalypse, "the Man of Sin sitting in the temple of God,
exalting itself above all that is called God." This idol,
taking the name of Christ as its designation, assuming
the cross as its symbol, and boasting of an apostle as
its first pope; enriched by wealth; venerable for antiquity;
dignified by learning; decorated by sculpture, architecture,
and painting; and adding the abysmal policies, and most
serpentine craft to all these other dangerous qualities,
has fascinated countless millions! And, notwithstanding
the monstrous absurdity of its doctrines, the blood-stained
page of its history, and its hostility to the liberties of
mankind--is now putting forth the most arrogant claims,
and making the most audacious attempts for the conquest
of our country!
These idolaters have chosen their god, and are the
determined and devoted worshipers of their Baals!
They have hardened their hearts, and seared their
consciences, except it be an occasional qualm in the
season of death or sickness.
They congratulate themselves upon their having thrown
off all the weaknesses and fears of Christianity, and
upon their being now enabled to pursue their downward
course unchecked by the restraint of conscience. Unhappy
men, blind, and glorying in their blindness; benumbed in
all their moral faculties, and exulting in their stupidity!
With every tie cut, which held them to piety and truth, they
account it a privilege that they are drifting unobstructed to
destruction--determined to be lost, and rejoicing that
nothing bars their path to the bottomless pit!
"These men have set up idols in their hearts!" Ezekiel 14:3
"Their hearts were devoted to their idols!" Ezekiel 20:16