But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day,
&c.] That God that prepared this plant to rise so suddenly, almost as soon prepared a worm to destroy it; for it rose up one night, continued one whole day, to the great delight of Jonah; and by the morning of the following day this worm or grub was prepared in, it, or sent to it, to the root of it: this shows that God is the Creator of the least as well as the largest of creatures, of worms as well as whales, contrary to the notion of Valentinus, Marcion, and Apelles; who, as Jerom F19 says, introduce another creator of ants, worms, fleas, locusts and another of the heavens, earth, sea, and angels: but it is much that. Arnobius F20, an orthodox ancient Christian father, should deny such creatures to be the work of God, and profess his ignorance of the Maker of them. His words are,
``should we deny flies, beetles, worms, mice, weasels, and moths, to be the work of the King Omnipotent, it does not follow that it should be required of us to say who made and formed them; for we may without blame be ignorant who gave them their original;''whereas, in the miracle of the lice, the magicians of Egypt themselves owned that the finger of God was there, and were out of their power to effect; and to the Prophet Amos the great God was represented in a vision as making locusts or grasshoppers, ( Amos 7:1 ) ; and indeed the smallest insect or reptile is a display of the wisdom and power of God, and not at all below his dignity and greatness to produce; and for which there are wise reasons in nature and providence, as here for the production of this worm: the same God that prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, and a gourd to shadow him, and an east wind to blow upon him, prepared this worm to destroy his shade, and try his patience: and it smote the gourd, that it withered;
it bit its root, and its moisture dried up, and it withered away at once, and became useless: that same hand that gives mercies can take them away, and that very suddenly, in a trice, in a few hours, as in the case of Job; and sometimes very secretly and invisibly, that men are not aware of; their substance wastes, and they fall to decay, and they can scarcely tell the reason of it; there is a worm at the root of their enjoyments, which kills them; God is as a moth and rottenness unto them; and he does this sometimes by small means, by little instruments, as he plagued Pharaoh and the Egyptians with lice and flies.
F19 Prooem. in Philemon. ad Paulam & Eustochium.
F20 Adv. Gentes, l. 2. p. 95.