Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews with it? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that uses it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were not wood.
Read Chapter 10
Aphrahat the Persian Sage
For you, Sennacherib, are the ax in the hands of him that cuts, and you are the saw in the hands of him that saws, and the rod in the hand of him that wields you for chastisement, and you are the staff for smiting. You are sent against the fickle people, and again you are ordained against the stubborn people, that you may carry away the captivity and take the spoil; and you have made them as the mire of the streets for all people and for all the Gentiles. And when you have done all these things, why are you exalted against him who holds you, and why do you boast against him who saws with you, and why have you reviled the holy city? - "Demonstration 5.4"
Axe. The Assyrian has no right to boast. What can man do without God's assistance? (Calmet)
Gratiæ tuæ deputo et quæcumque non feci mala. (St. Augustine, Confessions ii. 7.)
Sennacherib persecuted the Jews of his own free will, though he was God's instrument. (Worthington)
Let us consider therefore those to whom God has granted power, to see if we may deserve to serve them and to cling to their doctrine, putting aside all pride and resisting with great courage the sin, which fearlessly operates in bodies; for death has been swallowed up by victory. On the other hand, how weak we are in this age, knowing that the church is to stand and to be led toward what is good.… You know that the ax does not boast without the man who uses it to cut … but we must fight to be able to have peace with those who keep the commandments of God. - "Letter 4.4"