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they were I have no distinct idea, being then too young fully to comprehend the subject.”
Now I beheld, a little way ahead of the pilgrims, a middle-aged man and a boy walking along. Luke, observing them, said to Paul, “Do you know who those are before us?”
Paul. I cannot discern their faces ; but the figure and gait of the elder reminds me of one Simon Stubborn, who came occasionally to our town; and the youngster, if I am not mistaken, is his son, Wilful.
Luke. Shall we ask them to join us company if we come up with them?
Paul. Why I have but a slight knowledge of the man; and from what I have heard of his disposition, I don't think we are likely to benefit much by his companionship.
Luke. Then we had better let him advance farther.
Paul. I fear we shall not easily do that without retarding our own progress; for the younger one is stopping to gather those unripe blackberries by the way-side.
" Then,” said Luke, “ shall we pass him by ?”
"No," replied his cousin, “ we will not do so either; for though we may gain nothing by his so
STUBBORN AND WILFUL.
ciety, it is possible that we (young pilgrims though we are) may prove of some advantage to him; and it is our duty, and should be our pleasure, to be as useful as we can to our fellow-wayfarers.”
Luke. Does not this sound a little presumptuous in us to teach a man so much our senior ?
Paul. I grant it may sound so, and would be so, were we to do it in a spirit of self-righteousness or pride; but we must consider ourselves merely as the instruments for imparting those truths which, as we are told, are oftentimes “ hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes.”
I perceived that by this time they overtook the persons in question, and Paul accosted the man civilly; who, in return, said his face seemed not unfamiliar to him. Paul then, at his request, told him who he was; and added,
“ I believe your name is Stubborn ?” Man. That is certainly the name we
are called by at present; but I have heard that our family name was originally Steadfast.
Paul had never heard that, and rather doubted it now; however, he did not argue this matter with him, but inquired whether he had met Mr. Evangelist in his way? To which the other replied, he
had passed that person on the road, but with merely a slight salutation.
“ He did, indeed, begin to accost my son,” continued he, “and, probably, would have had some talk with him, if
“Yes,” interrupted young Wilful; “ but I did not care to talk with him."
Indeed !” said Paul; you would have found his conversation edifying.”
“ Oh! as for that,” said Stubborn, not need his discourse. My brother-in-law, Master Strong-speech, can tell us all we wish to know on religious matters. I dare say you may have heard of him?"
I have heard him mentioned,” said Luke; but not as one regularly brought up and called to the ministry.” What signifies that?" answered the other.
“ I'll warrant he knows as much, and, perhaps, more than some of those that have had a fine education, which you seem to think so necessary.”
Luke. I do not say that a man may not acquire much spiritual knowledge without that advantage; and that in instances where this occurs, perhaps it is even more creditable to him, as it shews more self-exertion (especially if he be of a teachable mind,
and is not led away by 'žeal without knowledge '); but, in my opinion, these instances are the exception, not the rule.”
Stubborn. I don't trouble my head about your exceptions nor your rules; all I know is, that I had rather listen to Strong-speech, who makes you hear whether
will or no, than to a tame, dull proser, who tells you nothing new from Whitsuntide to Christmas.
Paul. I must say, I think it rather unfair to call all who differ from your friend tame, dull prosers ; such being very far from the fact, or rather contrary to it.
Stubborn. Well, but we don't want to be told continually what we all knew before.
Paul. Certainly not, if novelty is the only thing you seek; but “ if ye know these things, happy are ye if
ye do them,” was said by One who knows our hearts, and the deceitfulness of them, better than we ourselves can ever do; and I fear that few of us are so perfect as not to require being frequently reminded of those very things we may boast of knowing so well.
Pray may I ask,” said Luke, " what are those new things which your favourite instructor tells you ?”
At this question the other seemed to be somewhat puzzled ; for, in fact, he was one of those who are said to have 56
itching ears,” and are apt to be more impressed by the manner than the matter of a teacher: at last he said, with some hesitation, “ Oh! he tells his hearers that faith is all in all, and that works are nothing, or worse than nothing: that some of the people listening to him are elected to salvation, and others doomed to perdition.”
Paul. Then, according to his own doctrine, he may as well cease preaching altogether, as he can scarcely hope to alter what he has just declared to be irrevocable. But does the word of God tell us that ? I think if you reflect, you may call to mind numerous passages with a direct contrary tendency. “ Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die ? saith the Lord.”
When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.” And, on the other hand, the great Apostle of the Gentiles says, “ Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away." By which, and many other passages,
appears to me that the best of men may not feel quite certain of their final acceptance, while continuing in this world of tempt