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He preserves his Jewels and Certificate. 165
Hope. But did they take from him all that ever he had P Chr. No : the place where his Jewels were, they never ransacked : so those he kept still. But, as I was told, the good man was much afflicted for his loss; for the thieves got most of his spending money. That which they got not, as I said, were Jewels; also he had a little odd money left, but scarce enough to bring him to his journey’s end ;” nay, if I was not misinformed, he was forced to beg as he went, to keep himself alive, (for his Jewels he might not sell.) But beg and do what he could, “he went away, as we say, with many a hungry belly; the most part of the rest of the way. Hope. But is it not a wonder they got not from him his certificate, by which he was to receive his admittance at the Celestial Gate P Chr. It is a wonder : but they got not that; though they missed it not through any good cunning of his ; for he, being dismayed with their coming upon him, had neither power nor skill to hide any thing, so it was more by good Providence than by his endeavour that they missed of that good thing.f * Hope. But it must needs be a comfort to him that they got not his Jewels from him. Chr. It might have been great comfort to him, had he used it as he should : but they that told me the story said that he made but little use of it all the rest of the way; and that, because of the dismay that he had in taking away his money. Indeed he forgot it a great part of the rest of his journey ; and besides, when at any time it came into his mind, and he began to be comforted therewith, then would fresh thoughts of his loss come again upon him, and those thoughts would swallow up all. Hope. ''. poor man! this could not but be a great grief unto him ' Chr. Grief! ay, a grief indeed. Would it not have been so to any of us, had we been used as he, to be robbed and wounded too, and that in a strange place, as he was 'Tis a wonder he did not die with grief, poor heart | 1 was told that he scattered almost all the rest of the way with nothing but doleful and bitter complaints: telling also to all that overtook him, or that he overtook, in the way as he went, where he was robbed, and how ; and who they were that
166 The JNature of Little-faith's Jewels.
did it, and what he lost; how he was wounded, and that he
* Heb. xii. 16. + Gen. xxv, 29–34.
(g) The believer's union with Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit, sealing his aeceptance and rendering him meet for heaven, are his invaluable and unalienable jewels. But he may by sin lose his comforts, and not be able to perceive the evidences of his own safety: and even when again enabled to hope that it will be well with him in the event ; he may be so harassed by the recollection of the loss he has sustained, the effects of his misconduct on others, and the obstructions he hath thrown in the way of his own comfort and usefulness, that his future life may be rendered a constant scene of disquietude and painful reflections. Thus the doctrine of the believer's final perseverance is both maintained and guarded from abuse : and it is not owing to a man's own care, but to the Lord's free mercy, powerful interposition, and the engagements of the new covenant, that unbelief and guilt do not rob him of his title to heaven, as well as of his comfort and considence,
Difference between him and Esau. 167
than to sell them as Esau did his birthright. You read not any where that Esau had faith, no not so much as a little ; therefore nomarvel, if where the flesh only bears sway, (as it will in thatman where no faith is, to resist,) if he sells his birthright, and his soul and all, and that to the devil of hell ; for it is with such as it is with the ass, “who in her occasions cannot be turned away :” when their minds are set upon their lusts, they will have them whatever they cost. But Little-faith was of another temper, his mind was on things divine; his livelihood was upon things that were spiritual and from above ; therefore, to what end should he that is of such a temper sell his Jewels, (had there been any that would have bought them,) to fill his mind with empty things? Will a man give a penny to fill his belly with hay 3 or can you persuade the turtle-dove to live upon carrion like the crow P Though faithless ones can, for carnal lusts, pawn, or mortgage, or sell what they have and themselves outright to boot; yet they that have faith, saving faith, though but little of it, cannot do so. Here, therefore, my brother is thy mistake. (h) Hope. I acknowledge it; but yet your severe reflection had almost made me angry. Chr. Why F I did but compare thee to some of the birds that are of the brisker sort, who will run to and fro in trodden paths with the shell upon their heads:—but pass by that, and consider the matter under debate, and all shall be well betwixt thee and me. Hope. But, Christian, these three fellows, I am persuaded in my heart, are but a company of cowards: would they have run else, think you, as they did, at the noise of one that was coming on the road 3 Why did not Little-faith pluck up a greater heart P he might, methinks, have stood one brush with them, and have yielded when there had been no remedy. Chr. That they are cowards, many have said, but few have found it so in the time of trial. As for a great heart, Little-faith had none ; and I perceive by thee, my brother, hadst thou been the man concerned, thou art but for a brush, * Jer, ii. 24.
(h) Many professors, meeting with discouragements, give up their religion for the sake of this present world: but, if any thence-orge, that true believers will copy their example, they shew that they are neither well established in judgment, nor deeply acquainted with the nature of the divine life, or the objects of its supreme desires and peculiar foars,
168 The Robbers not easily resisted.
and then to yield. And verily, since this is the height of thy stomach now they are at a distance from us; should they appear to thee, as they did to him, they might put thee to second thoughts. But consider again, they are but journeymen thieves, they serve under the king of the bottomless pit; who, if need be, will come in to their aid himself, and his voice is as the roaring of a lion.* I myself have been engaged as this Littlefaith was ; and I found it a terrible thing. These three villains set upon me, and I beginning like a Christian to resist, they gave but a call, and in came their master: I would, as the saying is, have given my life for a penny; but that, as God would have it, I was clothed with armour of proof. Ay, and yet, though I was so harnessed, I found it hard work to quit myself like a man: no man can tell what in that combat attends us, but he that hath been in the battle himself. Hope. Well but they ran, you see, when they did but suppose that one Great-grace was in the way. Chr. True, they have often fled, both they and their master, when Great-grace hath appeared; and no marvel, for he is the King's Champion; but, I trow, you will put some difference between Little-faith and the King's Champion. All the King's subjects are not his Champions; nor can they, when tried, do such feats of war as he. Is it meet to think that a little child should handle Goliath as David did P or that there should be the strength of an ox in a wren P Some are strong, some are weak; some have great faith, some have little; this man was one of the weak, and therefore he went to the wall. Hope. I would it had been Great-grace for their sakes. Chr. If it had been he, he might have had his hands full : for I must tell you that, though Great-grace is excellent good at his weapons, and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at sword’s point, do well enough with them ; yet if they get within him, even Faint-heart, Mistrust, or the other, it shall hard but they will throw up his heels: and when a man is down, you know, what can he do * Whoso looks well upon Great-grace's face, shall see those scars and cuts there that shall easily give demonstration of what I say. Yea, once I heard he should say, (and that when he was in the combat.) “We despaired even of life.” How did these sturdy rogues and their fellows make David * 1 Pet, v. 8,
Great-grace sorely oppressed by the Robbers. 169 * an, mourn and roar * Yea, Heman and Hezekiah too, though Champions in their day, were forced to bestir them when by these assaulted; and yet, notwithstanding, they had their coats soundly brushed by them. Peter, upon a time, would go try what he could do ; but though some do say of him that he is the Prince of the Apostles, they handled him so that they made him at last afraid of a sorry girl. Besides, their king is at their whistle; he is never out of hearing; and if at any time they be put to the worst, he, if possible, comes in to help them : and of him it is said, “The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold ; the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon; he esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood : the arrow cannot make him flee, sling-stones are turned with him into stubble; darts are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.” What can a man do in this case ? 'Tis true, ifa man could at every turn have Job’s horse, and had skill and courage to ride him, he might do notable things; for “His neck is clothed with thunder; he will not be afraid as the grashopper; the glory of his nostrils is terrible; he paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength; he goeth on to meet the armed men : he mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted, neither turneth he back from the sword : the quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield : he swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage, neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha : and he smelleth the battle asar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.”f But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire to meet with an enemy; nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we hear of others that they have been foiled ; nor be tickled āt the thoughts of our own manhood, for such commonly come by the worst when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before, he would swagger, ay, he would ; he would, as his vain mind prompted him to say, do better, and stand more for his Master than all men ; but who so foiled and run down by these villains as he VVhen therefore we hear that such robberies are done on the King's highway, two things become us to do : first to go out harnessed, and to be sure to take a shield with us; for it was for want of that. that he that laid so lustily at Leviathan could not make him yield; for, indeed, if that be want" Job xli. 26–29. t Job xxxix. 19–25.