Augustine looks at periods of peace in Roman history – he lists only two – and concludes that the gods didn’t provide peace. Peace is good, he argues, but peace could have been accomplished if Rome had just sought to conquer fewer nations. And those times when Rome was attacked by others are due to the minds of others and not to the work of the gods. In fact, we know of instances when the gods wept because they could not protect their preferred nations (as the statue of Apollo at Cumae). In other words, there has been some peace in Rome’s history but the gods did not provide it.
I wasn’t struck by any great quotes this morning. I was struck by how awesome is our God, that He gives grace and peace to all – to great nations and to small ones, to great souls and to small ones. Even Rome had times of peace, and if Rome had remained humble then perhaps they would have enjoyed more peace. If they had not cultivated a nation that sought greatness or influence then maybe they would have been given goodness and peace. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and pride is the beginning of folly. That works well for individuals and for nations.