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concerning the Robbery of Little-Faith.
with, then would fresh thoughts of his loss come again upon him, and those thoughts would swallow
Hope. Alas, poor man, this could not but be great grief unto him ! CHR. Grief? . Ay, a grief indeed!
Ay, a grief indeed! Would it not have been so to any of us, bad we been used as he, to be robbed and wounded too, and that in a strange place, as he was ? It is a wonder he did not die with grief, poor heart. I was told that he scattered almost all the rest of the way with nothing but dole. ful 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; who they were that did it, and what he lost; how he was wounded, and that he hardly escaped with his life.
Hope. But it is a wonder that his necessity did Dot put him upon selling or pawning some of bis jewels, that he might have wherewithal to relieve himself in his journey.
Chr. Thou talkest like one upon whose head is the shell to this very day. For what should he pawn them; or to whom should he sell them ? In all that country where he was robbed, his jewels were not accounted of; nor did he want that relief which could from thence be administered to him. Besides, had his jewels been missing at the gate of the Celestial City, he had (and that he knew well enough) been excluded from an inheritance there, and that would have been worse to him than the appearance and villany of ten thousand thieves.
Hope. Why art thou so tart, my brother? Esau soid his birthright, and that for a mess of pottage, (Heb. xii. 16.) and that birtbright was his greatest jewel; and if he, why might not Little-Faith do so too?
CHR. Esau did sell his birthright indeed, and so do many besides, and by so doing exclude thein
Conversation of Christian and Hoperti.
selves from the chief blessing, as also that caitiff did; bit you must put a difference betwixt Esau and Little-Faith, and also betwixt their estates. Esau's birth-right was typical; but Little-Faith's jewels were not so. Esau's belly was his God; but Little-Faith's belly was not so. Esau's want lay in his fleshly appetite; Little-Faith's did not so. Besides, Esau could see no further than to the fulfilling of his lusts; Behold, I am at the point to die, said he; and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (Gen. xxy. 32.) But Little-Faith, though it was his lot to have but a little faith, was by his little faith kept from such extravagancies, and made to see and prize his jewels more 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 no marvel, where the flesh only bears sway, (as it will in that man where no faith is to resist,) if he sell his birthright, and his soul and all, and that to the devil; for it is with such as it is with the ass, that in her occasions cannot be turned away. (Jer. ii. 24.) 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? or can you persuade the turtle-dove to live upon carrion, like the crow? 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 a little of it, cannot do so. Here, therefore, my brother, is thy mistake.
HOPE. I acknowledge it; but yet your severe re. flection had almost made me angry. .
on the Character of Little-Faith.
Chr. What, I did but compare thee to some of the birds that are of the brisker sort, who will run to and fro in untrodden 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.
y This conversation between the pilgrims may be considered as a friendly debate concerning the perseverance of the saints, in which Hopeful inquires, 1. If a believer falls by temptation, wherein does he differ from unbelievers ? and 2. What is there to prevent a believer from becoming again what he was before his conversion?
To the first of these questions Christian replies, that unbelievers are carnally minded, and have their affections supremely placed on earthly objects ; whereas the affections of believers are spiritual, and are supremely placed on things divine ;--that in unbelievers the flesh bears sway; but in believers, the spirit ;--that unbelievers will sell heaven for the gratification of their carna) desires; but that believers prize it more than to sell it for any object whatsoever ;-and, finally, that the former are entirely de: titute of faith, which the latter possess; the smallest degree of which will preserve from final apostasy.
To the second he replies that the believer's union to Christ by faith cannot be dissolved, and that the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit cannot be destroyed. Though the righteous ma, be saved with very great difficulty, yet be shall never be lost; because Christ will keep that which he has committed to his care, and knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation. His sal. vation depends, not upon any superior goodness of his own, but upon the faithfulness of him who has said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow ine; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand," John X. 27, 28. He may lose his comfort, and be almost deprived of hope ; his sin may be ever before hini, and he may go all his way with broken bones, and . almost a broken heart ; but his spiritual life cannot be destroyed. “He shall hold on his way," Job xvii. 9. He is "kept by the power of God through faith.” Unbelievers may apostatize from their profession; but he cannot apostatize from his faith. His renewed nature has no disposition for sinful delights; and he knows that his admittance into heaven is connected with his persoveranco unto the end of life. Unbelievers may give up religion for the gratification of a corrupt heart, because, their minds being set upon their lusts, they will satisfy them, cost whatever it may ; but his affertions being supremely placed upon heavenly otjects,
Christian describes bis Confict.
Hope. But Christian, these three fellows, I am persuaded in my heart, are but a company of cow. ards: would they have run else, think you, as they did at the noise of one that was coming on the road ? Why did not Little-Faith pluck up a greater heart? 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, 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. (1 Pet. v. 8.) I myself have been engaged as this Little. Faith 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
he cannot be satisfied with carnal enjoyments. The raven may feed upon carrion; but the dove will return to the ark. In a word, his faith cannot perish so long as the power of God continues; and he cannot finally apostatize so long as his faith continues.
Note. Debates between christians might generally without Inuch difficulty be amicably settled, if truth were the only ohject of their pursuit.
• No great heart for God when there is but little faith.
Character of Great-Grave.
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 but appeared : and no marvel ; for he is the King's champion. But I trow, you will put some difference between LittleFaith 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? or that there should be the strength of an ox in a wren: Some are strong, some are weak; some have great faith, some have little: this man was one of the weak, and therefore be 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 fr!; for I must tell you, that though Great. Grace is excellently good at his weapons, and bas, and can, so long as be 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 will go 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 that be 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 groan, mourn, and roar! Yea, Heman (Psalm Ixxxviii.) and Hezekiah too, though champions in their days, were forced to bestir them, when by these assaulted; and yet notwithstanding, they had iheir coats soundly brushed by them. Peter, upon a time,