Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only

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Author: Jonathan Edwards

Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only

Edwards, Jonathan, 1703-1758

"Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree? Or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; The fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burnt: Is it meet for any work?" Ezekiel 15:2-4

The visible church of God is here compared to the vine tree, as is evident by God’s own explanation of the allegory, in verses 6, 7, and 8.

"Therefore thus saith the Lord God, As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem," etc.

And it may be understood of mankind in general. We find man often in scripture compared to a vine. So in chapter 32 of Deuteronomy, "Their vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are grapes of gall." And Psalm 80:8. "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt;" verse 14. "Look down from heaven, behold, and visit this vine." And Canticles 2:15. "The foxes that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes." Isaiah 5 at the beginning, "My beloved hath a vineyard, and he planted it with the choicest vine." Jeremiah 2:2 l. "I had planted thee a noble vine." Hosea 10:1. "Israel is an empty vine." So in chapter 15 of John, visible Christians are compared to the branches of a vine.

Man is very fitly represented by the vine. The weakness and dependence of the vine on other things which support it, well represents to us what a poor, feeble, dependent creature man is, and how, if left to himself, he must fall into mischief, and cannot help himself. The visible people of God are fitly compared to a vine, because of the care and cultivation of the husbandman, or vine dresser. The business of husbandmen in the land of Israel was very much in their vineyards, about vines; and the care they exercised to fence them, to defend them, to prune them, to prop them up, and to cultivate them, well represented that merciful care which God exercises towards his visible people; and this latter is often in scripture expressly compared to the former.

In the words now read is represented,

1. How wholly useless and unprofitable, even beyond other trees, a vine is, in case of unfruitfulness: "What is a vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?" i.e. if it do not bear fruit. Men make much more of a vine than of other trees; they take great care of it, to wall it in, to dig about it, to prune it, and the like. It is much more highly esteemed than any one of the trees of the forest; they are despised in comparison with it. And if it bear fruit, it is indeed much preferable to other trees; for the fruit of it yields a noble liquor; as it is said in Jotham’s parable, Judges 9:13. "And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man?" But if it bear no fruit, it is more unprofitable than the trees of the forest; for the wood of them is good for timber; but the wood of the vine is fit for no work; as in the text, "Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?"

2. The only thing for which a vine is useful, in case of barrenness, viz. for fuel: "Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel." It is wholly consumed; no part of it is worth a saving, to make any instrument of it, for any work.

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Chicago: Jonathan Edwards, "Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only," Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only in Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only (New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830), Original Sources, accessed October 13, 2019, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6XFTWH6BH683FWP.

MLA: Edwards, Jonathan. "Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only." Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only, in Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only, New York, G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830, Original Sources. 13 Oct. 2019. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6XFTWH6BH683FWP.

Harvard: Edwards, J, 'Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only' in Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only. cited in 1830, Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only, G. & C. & H. Carvill, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 13 October 2019, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6XFTWH6BH683FWP.