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the LORD shall continue for ever. Burn it, it will rise again : kill it, it will live again : cut it down by the root, it will spring again. “There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the LORD." y
Let us behold the nations and kingdoms which sometime professed Christ, and are now heathenish ; Illyricum, Epirus, Peloponnesus, Macedonia, and others.
Again, let us behold such kingdoms and countries, which were in times past heathenish, and knew not God; as England, Ireland, Rome, Scotland, and divers others. They were all without the Gospel, without CHRIST, without God, and without hope of life. They worshipped idols, even the work of their own hands : to them they appointed priests for their service, days and places for the people to resort together to worship them. Here in England, Paul's church in London was the temple of Diana ;t Peter's church in Westminster was the temple of Apollo. In Rome, they had the temple of the great god Jupiter, and in Florence the temple of Mars; and in other places they had temples dedicated to other idols.-Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, and Diana, were unclean spirits and filthy devils :. yet gave they thanks to them for their peace and prosperity, prayed to them in war and in misery, and commended unto them their wives, their children, themselves, the safe keeping and custody of their souls. They built gorgeous churches and chapels; set up images of silver and gold to them ; prayed, lifted up their hands, did sacrifice, and offered up their children to them, a horrible thing to say, yet true it is—the darkness of those times was such, that men slew their own children,
* 1 Pet. i. 25.
y Prov. xxi. 30. 2 Eph. ii. 12.
.. Isa. ii. 8. &c. b [The proofs of this curious fact are collected and examined by JORTiN in his Life of Erasmus, Vol. II. p. 327-329. 8vo. 1808.]
c [Jupiter Capitolinus, the tutelar idol of the city ; whose temple, as the name implies, was within the Capitol.]
d (Such was the prevailing opinion in JEWELL's day, and it is capable of support by arguments of no mean value ; although other hypotheses as to the origin and character of the heathen gods have been advanced and maintained with great plausibility, and are at the present day far more generally received than this. The question is closely connected with that concerning the true nature of the heathen Oracles, on which see Note 5, page 142.]
and offered them up to idols. They said, “Great is Jupiter,' • Great is Apollo,' and Great is Diana of the Ephesians.' These are the gods of our fathers ; our fathers trusted in them; they made us, and have defended us, and have given us victory against our enemies.'s Whosoever denied them were thought worthy to die.
Thus were the kings, and the princes, and the people persuaded, and so continued they by the space of some thousand years, without controlment or contradiction. They had great props of antiquity, universality, and consent-antiquity of all times; universality of all places; consent of all people. So strongly and so mightily were they founded! Who would think such a religion, so ancient, and so universal, and so defended by common consent, should ever possibly be removed ?
But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth his word,h and all was changed. Errors fell down, and truth stood up. Men forsook their idols, and went to Gop. The kings, and priests, and people were changed: the temples, and sacrifices, and prayers were changed : men's eyes and hearts were changed; they forsook their gods, their kings, their priests; they forsook their antiquity, customs, consent, their fathers, and themselves.
What power was able to work these things ? What emperor by force ever prevailed so much? What strength could ever shake down so mighty idols from their seat? What hand of man could subdue and eonquer the whole world and make such mighty nations confess they had done amiss ? This did the Lord bring
e Acts xix. 28.
f [Such is the strong argument of the Heathen, as invariably represented in the writings of the early Apologists for Christianity. Compare especially MINUCII FELICIS Octavius, cap. vi. vi.]
& JEWELL here glances, without doubt, at the misapplication of the famous rule of VINCENTIUS LIRINENSIS (See Standard Works, Vol. I. p. 76.) to the support of the pretensions of the Romish Church, in opposition to the claims advanced by Protestants in behalf of the Scriptures. See the detection of the Romish fallacy in the use of this rule, by Faber, in Note , page 230.- JEWELL here refutes it by the argumentum ad absurdum ; showing that the very same fallacy would have maintained Paganism against Christianity :-it was older, more widely extended, and more generally received -- but then, it was pot from the beginning.)
He Gal, iv. 4,
to pass by the power of his word and the breath of his mouth. This was it that “led captivity captive,”k and threw down “every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God," } and brought all powers under subjection unto the LORD. It is the image, the power, the arm, the sword, and the glory of God. It is mighty, of great force and virtue, of authority and majesty, because it is the word of God; therefore the glory thereof is great.
II. Now let us stand afar off, and humble ourselves, and in reverence and fear learn to take the fruit and comfort of the same; for so is the will of God, that we may be partakers of his glory."
But where shall we find entrance into this matter? And how shall we be able to come a-land ? For this is the sea, and the depth of all the works, of the judgments, and mercies, and of the kingdom of God. This is a sea that hath no shore, a pit that hath no bottom. The Holy Scriptures are the mercy seat; the registry of the mysteries of God; our charter for the life to come; the holy place in which God showeth himself to the people; the Mount Sion where God hath appointed to dwell for ever. The more comfort in them, so much the more greedily let us desire them; the more heavenly and glorious they are, with so much the more reverence let us come unto them. .
For consideration of this matter of the fruit and comfort which God worketh by his word, what may we better call to mind than that is recorded by St. Paul ? 66 Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope."
All that is written in the word of God, is not written for angels, or archangels, or heavenly spirits; but for the sons of men, for us, and for our instruction ; that by them we may receive strength and comfort in all adversities, and have hope of the life to come. It is the word of God: God openeth his mouth and speaketh
i Zech. iv. 6.
k Ephes. iv. 8.
to us, to guide us into all truth, to make us full and ready in all good works, that we may be perfect men in Christ JESUS;9 so rooted and grounded in him," that we be not tossed to and fro with every tempest.
The profit which the word of God bringeth shall best appear, if we first take a view of our estate ; what we are, in what place we stand, and what enemies make force against us.
We are the sons of Adam, stubborn children, the children of vanity and of wrath ; the children of those fathers which forsook God, and have erred in their hearts, and were deceived, God which created man, and breathed into him the breath of life, saith, “The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." + Such are we, even by the judgment of God, and his judgment faileth not. What error, what idol, what wickedness ever hath been heard, which hath not been forged and wrought in the heart of man? We can neither do, nor speak, nor think, the thing that is good : our understanding is heavy, our will froward, our eyes blind, and our heart unclean. We go astray through this world as lost sheep, every man after his own way.u Even as a leaf is carried up and down with a blast of wind, so easily we are driven into error; in ourselves we find no stay, no succour, nor help. Such are we, and so weak of ourselves.
But where are we? In the world. And what is the world? Some think it to be a place full of all delights and pleasures-a goodly, strong, and gorgeous palace, and a paradise of joy. Let no man deceive us, nay, rather let us not deceive ourselves : the world is a shop of vanities, it is a dungeon of darkness, a pot full of poison, a ship full of leaks, a way full of snares; it
p John xvi. 13.
a 2 Tim. iii. 17. Eph. iv, 13. * Eph. iii. 17. Col. ii. 7. • Eph. iv. 14.
1 Gen. vi. 5. [The form of the declaration is altered by JEWELL, in his quotation : what he makes a general assertion, extending to the whole race at all times, is in the Bible a historical statement relative to that portion only of the race, which was destroyed by the flood :-"and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually." Other passages abundantly prove the depravity of our nature : (See Standard Works, Vol. II. p. 225-236)-this is hardly applicable to that purpose.]
i Isa, liii. 6.
blindeth our eyes, beguileth our senses, and helpeth us forward into all dangers. We are blind ourselves, and the place wherein we are is nothing else but darkness.
Whereunto may I resemble our case? Jeremiah the prophet was cast into a dungeon: there he sat without light, and without comfort. His case was miserable, and the place loathsome : yet he knew where he was, he knew what he lacked; he cried unto the LORD, and was delivered.—Daniel was cast into the den of lions, there to be torn in pieces and devoured : but he saw his misery, and the danger in which he stood; he saw the lions, the paws which should gripe him, and the teeth which should tear him.w His case was miserable, yet is ours more miserable. We are in the deep dungeon of hell, and think we are in safety : we are in the midst of darkness, and think it to be light: we are compassed with lions, with dragons, and with scorpions, yet think not of our misery.- Who hath not heard the story of Jonah ? Jonah was in a whale's belly. The place was very dark, the waves beat on every side ; he was drowned, yet touched no water ; he was swallowed up, yet not consumed; he lived without any sense of life; the fish was death, the sea was death, and the tempest was death : yet he died not, but lived in the midst of death ; he could not see, he could not hear, he knew not to whom he might call for help ; he was taken and carried away, he knew not whither. * Let us mark well this story; it is a true pattern of our estate, and showeth what our life is in this world. We are beset with like dangers: we are driven with tempests: we are drowned in like floods : we live in the midst of horrible darkness : we are carried we know not whither.
The philosophery telleth us, truth and falsehood are nigh neighbours, and dwell one by the other; the utter
Jonah ii. y [This title was not unfrequently given to the poet Virgil in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Jewell's reference is to the celebrated passage of the Sixth book of the Æneid :
"Sunt geminæ somni portæ,” &c.
That of pale ivory, this of lucid horn.