John Bona: Welcome back to the Story of Liberty. This is your host John Bona.
A young man has chosen to go to Rome, he goes and he goes to the eternal city
where he dwells as head of the church. He crosses Rhine from Germany and the
Alps where the shepherd's are tending their flocks.
He passes along the deep gorges where the water tumbles and foams to the lakes
below. Where the rocks rise so high and sharpen steed that at noon there is only
twilight. He sees the avalanches roll from the mountains
with the roar like thunder.
Far above him is the icy peaks that glean in the sunshine. It seems that he climbs
above the clouds and crosses fields of snow. He goes over the summit and he
descends on the Southern slopes and finds himself as if he were in another world.
How pure is the air? How deep and tender the light. Blue haze rests upon mountains,
fresh green fields, wide-spreading Chestnut trees. Peasants are planting their
He reaches the plains of Italy and all of a sudden he beholds the rooms around him.
Marble pillars, beautifully sculptured once are now broken down. Italy is an old land
and is acquainted with its history; how the Roman Empire rose and fell. He gazes
upon the sculpture of the marble, the broken columns and he recalls a time when
Rome was in her glory, an empire reaching from India to England.
He sees the aqueduct where the Romans built, structure to bring water into
the city from the Alaban hills. He is inspired as he stands in front of the old
Forum where a century before Christ was born and Cicero gave his immortal orations. He sees in his mind the audience of the old Romans listening to Cicero, one of those is Julius Cesar. He has led the armies of Rome and triumphed through gall. He has crossed the sea to the land of the angels, where men wear skins of beast for clothes. Where the Druids venerate the stately oaks and offer human sacrifices to their false God. Another of Cicero’s monitors is the general who has led the armies to victory in the East, Pompeii.
Pompeii has profane the Temple of Jerusalem by entering the most holy place, General Cato is listed, a great man. A man with a soul so calm and serene that nothing disturbs him. Still, another General is there, Marc Anthony, a wild and reckless person who fills Rome with riot and disorder. Two poets are in the audience listening to Cicero’s eloquence, Virgil and Horace.
He leads and walks along the streets pass the Temple of Jupiter and comes to the Temple of Peace. He looks up at the mighty arches, [inaudible;4:09] and receives the spoils which he bought from Jerusalem. And the poor Jews that he brought as prisoners were compelled to work in the clay pits, making bricks for the construction of the edifice, commemorative of their abilities. Nearby is the Arc of Titus, what a story it has been, these time-worn stones, to the history of a perishing people. This triumphant arc was erected to glorify the men who thought he had crushed them out forever.
He walks further and he sees the procession of Roman soldiers bringing these silver trumpets, the golden candlestick, the table of Showbread, the sacred furniture of the Jewish temple. Escorting the weeping maidens, the prisoners of war are doomed to a hopeless [canclimony;5:20].
Now, he is at the hill overlooking the Forum and the Capital, the once magnificent marble palace with its majestic columns and mosaic pavements, courts and passageways. From this palace was once issued a decree that all the world should be taxed. So, it happened that a poor man in Judea started on a long journey with his wife to give his name to the tax assessor. He could find no room in the tavern that night, he was forced to lie down in a stable with cattle where during the night a babe was born. The babe of all others, most wonderful counselor, almighty God.
From this same palace was issued an order for the beheading of Peter and Paul. In a prison down the road is a deep, dark dungeon where Paul was confined. It is not the Palace of the Emperor of Rome but is the places where the Christian martyrs have suffered, that’s what attracts his attention.
Now, he is at the Coliseum where they were torn to pieces by the wild beasts, to gratify the heathen populous of Rome. The Jewish captives, they built it and the mortar of their masonry was mixed with their blood and tears. In the Arena are those who would not give into their faith in Christ, they are eaten by lions. The people look down upon the spectacle, but not one hearth in that mass Coliseum of 85,000 people is moved by pity at the sight. Instead there is joy to behold, the hated Christians tossed to the beast. To see the fair maidens torn to pieces and devoured. At that time a thought comes to him; he remembers when he was in Spain, they were roasting men by the thousands and now they’re thrown to the lions and tigers in the Coliseum, but he remembers the Gospel of Christ is unstoppable.
So, you’ll notice while the oppressors have carried out their plans and had things their own way there were other forces silently at work, which in time undermine their plans, a divine hand working a counter plan. Yes, men do act freely in executing their plans, but behind the conflict and turmoil of human will there is an unseen power that shapes destiny. Nations rise and fall, like Rome, generations come and go, but through the ages there has been an advancement of justice truth and liberty and that is the story of liberty, that the Gospel of Christ is unstoppable.