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earnest love towards thy house has eaten me,” as our Saviour John ii. Christ did: when he see the temple, his Father's house, so misused, and his religion contemned, he gat whips and drove them out. Jeremy says, “the word of God was to him as Jer. xx. a burning fire in his heart, and closed within his bones, that he was not able to keep it” within him, but would brust' out.
This victory is set out more at large in the next verse following, where he says, “The house of Jacob shall be fire, the house of Joseph the flame, and the house of Esau the stubble, &c.” Here is no description of horse, harness, guns, any great host, or such other worldly things, wherein princes do conquer and triumph. As the house of Jacob is spiritual, and the kingdom of Christ, so be the weapons, soldiers, and victory. The swords, wherewith they fought, were, as the apostle says, “the word of God, which is sharper than any Heb. iv. two-edged sword,” and pierces more the soul, conquers the affections, and pulls down high stomachs, deeper than the sword can the body.
The guns were the apostles' words, as James and John M** were called “the sons of thunder,” because with such great power they thundered terribly, preached and feared carnal minds more than the thunder does, and threw down sin more than any guns could the walls. When Peter at two sermons Acts v. xv. converted five thousand, and Paul filled all countries from Jerusalem to Illyricum with the gospel, what emperor is able to be compared of such men of war? When Charles the Fifth, emperor, began to reign, Luther and Zuinglius began the same time to preach: and whether he has thrown down, stopped and hindered the gospel more with all the help that his ghostly and superstitious prelates could give, than they with their Fo scholars have set it forth, and shewed the wickedness of popery Hool and defaced his pomp, let themselves judge. The pope with his partakers have had strength, power, polity, wit, wisdom, armour, guns, horses, harness, men, and money, and whatsoever they could devise: these other have foughten with preaching, writing, and giving themselves to the fire for the truth. Their weapons were their tongues, pen, ink and paper, never shedding blood but their own, and ever seeking how to save other men's souls, sparing no labour, nor fearing any
1 Cor. iii.
1 Kings vii.
God is merciful to the wretchedest, and his word works either life or death mightily.
displeasure. So mighty weapons is “the undefiled law of the
the tribe of Ephraim; yet in the latter end, and when all sort
of Jews shall be converted to the Lord, and so “all Israel shall Rom. *i.
be saved,” if this be not yet performed in them or but partly performed, it shall be afore the last day more fully.
“Thy word is fierce,” says David; and therefore it is Psal exix.
no marvel, if it burn them up, that hear and receive it. The word of God is not like other histories or learning, which do not move, or else but little stir the hearers: but such grace and strength is given by it to the ministers and hearers of the same, that either it turns them that hears it to a godly zeal and love toward his glory and an upright life, or else it casts them into the burning fire of hell; as the apostle says, “He makes his angels spirits, or wind, and his ministers a flaming fire:” and again, “The preaching of Christ's cross is foolishness to them that perish; but to them that be saved it is the power of God.” In the disputations against the Arians, where all the learned men could not confute Arius, a man unlearned stood up, making a simple confession of his faith openly; and where, as long as they thought to overcome him by disputing and by reasons, he ever had to answer them withal, when this simple plain man, trusting not to eloquence nor learning, but in the might of God's Spirit, and only seeking the glory of God, began to speak, he see such grace in his words and power joined withal, that he was not able to withstand it. Arius granted his own" error, and the other to say true”. So St Paul, writing against false prophets, says, his “preaching was not in eloquent words of man's wisdom, but in power of the Spirit;” and although he was not eloquent in words, “yet not ignorant in knowledge.” Thus shall hypocrites, antichrists, and unbelievers be overcome by the might of God's word and the Holy Ghost working withal, and not by any worldly wit, strength or polity; as the apostles' preaching took place and turned the whole world to receive their doctrine after the same sort.
[* Old edition, one. Ed.]
[*Auctores Ecclesiasticae Historie, Lib. x. (Ruffini I.) cap. iii. p. 219. Ed. Basil. 1535, where the story is told not of Arius, but of “quidam insignis in arte dialectica,” and the conclusion is thus stated: Ita obstupefactus virtute dictorum, mutus ad omnia, hoc solum potuit respondere, Itasibi videri, nec aliud verum esse quam quod dixerat. Ed.]
1 Cor. i.
Ruffinus. Lib. i. cap. iii.
1 Cor. ii.
2 Cor. xi.
But where he says, “there shall be no remnant of Esau left,” that shall be fulfilled in the latter day, where the wicked shall be cast into unquenchable fire: for in the mean time the good and bad shall be blend together, so that wicked hypocrites, idolaters, shall be consumed both in this world and after, but in the fulness of time, when God has appointed, and not when we think; for they shall prevail a time, as this wicked seed of Esau did, for the trial of the good, and exercise of their faith, that all men may know that the godly love the Lord unfeignedly. Thus the house is put for them that be of the house of Jacob and Joseph ; and not so much for the carnal seed, as for them that have and follow the faith of Jacob and Joseph, which be only they that be ordained to life.
And because they should not doubt of the performance of the thing, he adds, “The Lord has said it.” As though he should say, This is no man's tale, but the living Lord God, that made both heaven and earth, and have all things at his commandment, which is truth itself and cannot lie, which is both able and will perform it, has said these words; therefore they must needs come to pass. “All men be liars,” but God only cannot be deceived nor deceive; and whatsoever he has said, that he will perform. Can ye find anything that he said he would do, since the world was made, but he has done it? Believe him therefore in this thing too; for he will do it in deed.
The next verses, which contain so many people by name, I think do not signify these people only to be counted (for that is to “possess” them) to the faith; but all gentiles and people should receive the word, and these be put by name, specially because they were the next countries about them, and always their open enemies. For if these, which were ever most bitter enemies, should be converted by them; much more other countries, that were not so earnest haters of them, should rather be turned to them. The Canaanites be called of some men the Germans: Zarphat is thought to be France, and Sepharad Spain, by the Rabbins: so that even the utmost parts of the world shall follow them. For into these parts it is written of some that the apostles came, or at least their doctrine; as David says, “Their sound went out into the whole earth:” but whether they or their scholars came to teach the gospel, it skills not: the thing is proved plain, that these countries once received the word and faith of Christ, howsoever they be now drowned in popery, or fallen to heathen idolatry, which shall be rooted out at length too, notwithstanding their maliciousness now. Have not all the wicked tyrants and idolaters, which reigned once in all these countries, been driven out by the light of God's word: Their cruelness could not stop the faith of the Christians, neither with fire, sword, nor any cruel death they could imagine: yea, the more cruel they were in persecuting, the more earnest were they in professing; and the more they put to death, the more increased, as Augustine says", “Christian men were bounden, ope, cast in prison, beaten, racked, burned, cut in pieces as butchers cap. vi. cut their flesh, killed; and yet notwithstanding all this they multiplied and increased.” The last verse promises saviours to come and judge, and the kingdom to be the Lord's. This is notable to consider in the kingdom of Christ, that which is contrary to earthly kingdoms. Worldly princes, when they go to conquer a country, they go with fire and sword to destroy all that with-orstand them: but in Christ's kingdom there come saviours o to preach salvation to rebels, his enemies and haters, if they and earthly. will repent. Earthly princes come with guns, horse and harness: Christ's disciples come to conquer the devil and his members without bag, staff, or money. Mortal princes come with might and power of men: the preachers of Christ's kingdom come in the might of God's Spirit, which opens the eyes of the blind, and softens stony hearts, and turns them to the Lord. Worldly princes do much by flattery, bribery, or threatening to win the people: but Christ's ministers come in meekness of spirit, praying and beseeching, seeking not their own vantage, but the turning of the poor stray sheep, that they may bring them home to the fold again. Earthly princes fight for an earthly kingdom: but the preachers of Christ's gospel teach the way to heaven, peace of conscience, the love and favour of God, purchased by the death of Christ Jesus. So in all points, as heaven and earth are contrary, so are the kingdoms, the ministers [* See the passage cited before, p. 144. Ed.]