That hideous idol SELF in his little shrine
(J. C. Philpot, "Israel's Departure and Return" 1849)
Never again will we say any more to the work
of our handsó"You are our gods!" Hosea 14:3
The besetting sin of Israel was the worship of idols.
Perhaps, if you have walked into the British Museum,
and seen the idols that were worshiped in former days
in the South Sea Islands, you have been amazed that
rational beings could ever bow down before such ugly
But does the heart of a South Sea Islander differ from
the heart of an Englishman? Not a bit! The latter may
have more civilization and cultivationóbut his heart
is the same! And though you have not bowed down to
these monstrous objects and hideous figuresóthere
may be as filthy an idol in your heart! Where is
there a filthier idol than the lusts and passions of
man's fallen nature?
You need not go to the British Museum to see
filthy idols and painted images. Look within!
Where is there a more groveling idol than Mammon,
and the covetousness of our heart? You need not
wonder at heathens worshiping hideous idolsówhen
you have pride, covetousness, and above all
hideous idol SELF in his little shrine, hiding himself
from the eyes of manóbut to which you are so often
rendering your daily and hourly worship!
If a person does not see that the root of all
idolatry is SELF, he knows but little of his heart.