Artifacts & Documents: Manuscripts

Edward Hitchcock's "Idolatry" Sermon

zoomable artifact image here

Dig Deeper

In this sermon, Edward Hitchcock questions the meaning of idolatry and whether his “hearers” are free of it. He warns that idolatry encompasses much more than worship by pagans: “Every object upon which men bestow supreme regard or affection is in the strict scriptural sense an idol.” Hitchcock’s examples include stubbornness, fame, ambitiously advancing one’s knowledge, manners, gluttony, and even loving one’s spouse, parent, or child above God. This sermon becomes particularly poignant with the knowledge that Edward Hitchcock himself struggled mightily with his idolization of science, as he pondered if it was an obstacle in the way of his relationship with God. 

Edward Hitchcock
February, 1823
Courtesy of:
Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library