Bunyan Characters (2nd Series) by Alexander Whyte

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Page 2

"But, one day, as I was passing in the field, and that, too, with some
dashes in my conscience, fearing lest all was not right, suddenly this
sentence fell upon my soul, Thy Righteousness is in heaven! And,
methought, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God's right
hand. There, I saw, was my Righteousness. I also saw, moreover, that it
was not my good frame of heart that made my Righteousness better, nor my
bad frame of heart that made my Righteousness worse: for my Righteousness
was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
'Twas glorious to me to see His exaltation, and the worth and prevalency
of His benefits. And that because I could now look from myself to Him
and should reckon that all those graces of God that were now green in me
were yet but like those crack-groats and four-pence halfpennies that rich
men carry in their purses when their gold is in their trunks at home! Oh,
I saw that day that my gold was all in my trunk at home! Even in Christ,
my Lord and Saviour! Now, Christ was all to me: all my wisdom, all my
righteousness, all my sanctification and all my redemption."

"Methinks in this God speaks,
No tinker hath such power."


"O thou of little faith."--_Our Lord_.

Little-Faith, let it never be forgotten, was, all the time, a good man.
With all his mistakes about himself, with his sad misadventure, with all
his loss of blood and of money, and with his whole after-lifetime of
doleful and bitter complaints,--all the time, Little-Faith was all
through, in a way, a good man. To keep us right on this all-important
point, and to prevent our being prematurely prejudiced against this
pilgrim because of his somewhat prejudicial name--because give a dog a
bad name, you know, and you had better hang him out of hand at
once--because, I say, of this pilgrim's somewhat suspicious name, his
scrupulously just, and, indeed, kindly affected biographer says of him,
and says it of him not once nor twice, but over and over and over again,
that this Little-Faith was really all the time a truly good man. And,
more than that, this good man's goodness was not a new thing with him it
was not a thing of yesterday. This man had, happily to begin with, a
good father and a good mother. And if there was a good town in all those
parts for a boy to be born and brought up in it was surely the town of
Sincere. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old
he will not depart from it." Well, Little-Faith had been so trained up
both by his father and his mother and his schoolmaster and his minister,
and he never cost either of them a sore heart or even an hour's sleep.
One who knew him well, as well, indeed, as only one young man knows
another, has been fain to testify, when suspicions have been cast on the
purity and integrity of his youth, that nothing will describe this
pilgrim so well in the days of his youth as just those beautiful words
out of the New Testament--"an example to all young men in word, in
conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith even, and in purity"--and
that, if there was one young man in all that town of Sincere who kept his
garments unspotted it was just our pilgrim of to-night. Yes, said one
who had known him all his days, if the child is the father of the man,
then Little-Faith, as you so unaccountably to me call him, must have been
all along a good man.

It was said long ago in _Vanity Fair_ about our present Premier that if
he were a worse man he would be a better statesman. Now, I do not repeat
that in this place because I agree with it, but because it helps to
illustrate, as sometimes a violent paradox will help to illustrate, a
truth that does not lie all at once on the surface. But it is no paradox
or extravagance or anything but the simple truth to say that if Little-
Faith had had more and earlier discoveries made to him of the innate evil
of his own heart, even if it had been by that innate evil bursting out of
his heart and laying waste his good life, he would either have been
driven out of his little faith altogether or driven into a far deeper
faith. Had the commandment come to him in the manner it came to Paul;
had it come so as that the sinfulness of his inward nature had revived,
as Paul says, under its entrance; then, either his great goodness or his
little faith must have there and then died. God's truth and man's
goodness cannot dwell together in the same heart. Either the truth will
kill the goodness, or the goodness will kill the truth. Little-Faith, in
short, was such a good man, and had always been such a good man, and had
led such an easy life in consequence, that his faith had not been much
exercised, and therefore had not grown, as it must have been exercised
and must have grown, had he not been such a good man. In short, and to
put it bluntly, had Little-Faith been a worse sinner, he would have been
a better saint. "_O felix culpa_!" exclaimed a church father; "O happy
fault, which found for us sinners such a Redeemer." An apostrophe which
Bishop Ken has put into these four bold lines--

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 23rd Jul 2024, 2:29