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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 21: The origin of the idols and various forms of idolatry,   pp. 1-2

Page 2

idols increased, as if they were being made to God Himself, who is always
so jealous on these points that he forbade the Hebrews, His people, graven
images and any worship of those they had.(b It a later date, idols copying
these ones were taken from this kingdom to other kingdoms and no less
reverenced; and since different languages were spoken in the various king-
doms, the idol which was first called Belo came to be called Beel in one
place, Baal in another, and Baalim in a third. The devil sometimes spoke
through these statues in reply to questions, when God permitted it. In
this way the whole world was filled with different errors, the most serious
of which is to think that God is the work of man's hands, a belief which
only be held by those who lack any understanding.
This cursed ignorance spread among the heathen of this Province, as
already stated. Although they do not give the respect due to God to all
their idols, yet it is a great affront to Him that they see any good in
such feeble objects or imagine any power they have. I maintain that the
areator suffers a greater injury from these savages than from those who
worship the Sun, the Moon, and so on, for tha-se objects of worship are nobler
ones. But in a piece of wood shaped so badly that it evokes disgust, or in
an anthill (lit., a tower of bagabaga) of coarser material, etc, where can
one detect the vision and word of God, His feeling, understanding and will,
His Providence, or even His power since (the wooden idol, for instance,)
cannot save itself from the bagabaga which eat it up and destroy it? Only
ignorant beings could consider as their Creator and Supreme Cause an object
which is very far from drawing its existence out of nothing, which very
obviously is the product of common matter and of its inventor and shaper,
whom the idol might reasonably consider its creator since he gave it shape
and form, aspects which God (as essence) is free from, together with all
other material qualities. To sum up, everything is seen the wrong way round.
From this blindness there grows up the greatest error of all, the failure
recognise the True God; and since the nature of that blindness and the form
it takes has now been shown, let us go on to discuss how we ought to
recognise Him.   /1 'oi

(b) Deuteronomy,4 f7vv.16-19J7.


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