…but that was not the character of the first structure that stood on that dangerous point. There was an eccentric man, by the name of Henry Winstanley, who built a very fantastic lighthouse at that point in 1696, and when it was nearly done he felt so confident that it was strong, that he expressed the wish that he might be in it in the roughest hurricane that ever blew in the face of heaven. —And he got his wish!
One November night, in 1708, he and his workmen were in that lighthouse when there came down the most raging tempest that has ever been known in that region. It was called the Great Storm of 1703. It was the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. The barometric readings may have deepened to 950 millibars over the Midlands. In London, approximately 2,000 massive chimney stacks were blown down. The lead roofing was blown off Westminster Abbey and Queen Anne had to shelter in a cellar at St James’s Palace to avoid collapsing chimneys and part of the roof. On the Thames, around 700 ships were heaped together in the Pool of London. Hundreds of people drowned in flooding on the Somerset Levels, along with thousands of sheep and cattle, and one ship was found 15 miles inland. Between 8,000 and 15,000 lives were lost overall.
On the following morning the people came down to see about the lighthouse. But there was not a vestige of the wall, nor a vestige of the men. Only two twisted iron bolts, showing where the lighthouse had stood.
So there are men building up their fantastic hopes; and plans, and enterprises, and expectations, thinking they will stand for ever, saying: “We don’t want any of the defenses of the Gospel. We can stand for ourselves. We are not afraid. We take all the risks and we defy everything.” Suddenly the Lord blows upon them and they are gone. –Talmage,
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.