How strikingly the prophet of the Lord portrays the corruption and idolatry of the present age in giving us an account of the abominations of the Hebrew nation. “They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith, and he maketh it a god; they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon their shoulders,” &c.
Yet striking as is the analogy, there is some little discrepance. Ancient Israel lavished from their own bag; .modern idolators beg the precious material from the world. The former consolidated their gold into one huge ma8s, and accommodated its form or shape to their peculiar notion of things - a calf, a dragon, a man, or a mouse, were alike precious forms for their golden gods; the latter having grown more wise, choose rather to have their gold coined at the mint, with Cesar’s superscription upon it. All must admit that the modern is an improvement upon the ancient modes of idolatry; for in the former case the golden dragon, man, or mouse, stood in their place as useless lumber, while upon the improved principle the idol can travel, circulate, and pass from hand to hand, without any abatement of veneration from its worshipers, or depreciation of its majesty; for hard indeed must be the heart that does not pity the novice who has not intellect enough to know that if the gold, when in the shape of a calf, is an idol when worshiped, that it is not less so when coined into eagles, and worshiped in the new form.
Having pointed out all the difference we can conceive to exist between the former and latter systems of worshiping idols, we will touch on the analogy, and leave the subject for the present.
“They hire a goldsmith,” &c.; a receiver, or one who can give to their gold a shape or form in which they may worship it, or ascribe divine honors to it. Even so in modern times, the gold, if in the hands of its lawful owners, is but trash, and worse than nothing; it must pass through the sainted or priestly hands of the learned artist, alias goldsmith, alias shrinesmen. who by this craft get their wealth. They must be, and are, hired to do the business. The modern votaries of idolatry may give their golden treasure in the shape of beads, necklaces, finger-rings, ear-rings, or in any other form; their goldsmiths can make even the paper of solvent banks work in to great advantage in this business, but they must be hired, for the laborer is worthy of his hire, and verily they have their reward.
“And he maketh it a god.” That is, they cast it, Aaron-like, into the fire, and out comes this calf. The deluded, hood-winked, priest-ridden people of America put their cash, or equivalents, into the hands of the pious (so-called) mendicants, who swarm in multitudes throughout our land, and they out of it receive their hire, warm themselves, roast their roast, &c., and of the residue they make a god. See Isaiah xliv. 17. After taking their wages from the sum total of their receipts, of the residue they manufacture priests, tracts, &c., and then teach the people to reverence these as gods that have power to convert the heathen and evangelize the worm. The power and influence of these gods is known and felt throughout all their borders. The united effort of from $500 to $2000 per annum, will support a learned preacher, and by a nice calculation stated in the Christian Almanac a few years since, three dollars, or three of these gods, will uniformly convert one soul. That such is the power and glory ascribed to golden gods in this age, there can be not the shadow of doubt, and he who disputes it is considered a blasphemer of their gods, and is branded as an infidel.
“They bear him upon their shoulders; from his place he shall not remove,” &c. When all the facilities which money can buy or human ingenuity invent are brought into requisition, they are helpless gods at best. If you wish the influence of such gods to be felt in foreign lands, you must shoulder and carry them to Burmah, Hindostan, and the islands of the sea. You may make an idol of your money, a missionary, a tract, or give it any shape or form, you will find our text true, “From his place he will not remove.” Your missionary, after spending seven years under the tuition of his goldsmith at a Theological School, will not remove from his place to go to Burmah, or elsewhere, until you shoulder the weight of your idol - become bound for his hire, &c. And if a tract, you must shoulder the expense of peddling them throughout the regions where their power is designed to be felt.
We have neither time nor space in our columns to pursue this subject further at present; but we trust what has been said will be found amply sufficient to arouse the attention of those who fear the God of heaven, and probably to make idolatrous diviners mad.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
December 24, 1834.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 191 – 193