The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39
Letter No. III
Letter No. III.
I know not, Mr. Editor, how to express my indignation at the method you and other heretics adopt to set aside the tenets and dogmas of our Faith. You presume to set aside the wisdom of ages and the truths of Biblical lore, by the use of your paltry understandings, and the mere exercising of wordly knowledge! Know you not that "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God?" How dare you talk about the mysteries of our Church, as though they were amenable to common sense? Again let me assure you that they can only be truly grasped when the acme of a sublime Faith has been achieved. It belongs not to man to question the ways of Providence, and it is the very height of presumption to think that any heretic can either understand, or reduce to reason, the extraordinary creeds invented by the clergy. Nothing can be done without Faith. Our every day life depends upon it. We trust each other as a matter of necessity. And shall we have more confidence in ordinary men than we have in the true Church? You, Mr. Editor, trusted yourself to the skill and management of the Captain and officers of the steamer that brought you to these shores, without insisting upon the examination of each man's certificate and a relation of his biography before you set foot upon their craft. You page 13 exercised your faith, and trusted that all was right. And will you be so profane as to insist upon the examination of our certificates, and will you demand evidence of our "divine call" to cur work, when we clergymen tell you that we are the Captains and officers of the ship that carries you to salvation? If you do, I for one will not give you evidence, for I think that the man who is so wicked as to doubt the word of a clergyman of my denomination, is not fit to be argued with.
I despair of doing any good to you, Mr. Editor, but I may benefit some of your readers, and for that reason I will show you what Faith has done in times past.
Gideon had an army of thirty-two thousand men. The hosts of the Midianites and Amalekites (the enemies of Israel) were like grasshoppers for multitude. It was decided by divine wisdom that thirty-two thousand Israelites were too many to beat them, so twenty-two thousand cowards were sent home. There remained an army, therefore, of ten thousand. They came to a river and Gideon was told to watch them. Seven hundred bowed down on their knees to drink, and were sent home for doing it. The remaining three hundred had lapped the water like dogs, and because they imitated dogs in this respect they were allowed to remain and fight. These three hundred men were divided into companies of a hundred men each, and every man was armed with a trumpet, a lamp, and a pitcher. Think of a British army equipped with such weapons in a war against the Zulus or Boers! Thus armed they marched among the hosts of the enemy. At the word of command they blew their horns, smashed their pots, and held up their lamps. Unaccustomed to such valiant and original page 14 Warfare, the Midianites and Amalekites fled as fast as they could, and the holders of the lamps were gloriously victorious. Where was ever such a battle as this? Where was ever victory gained by so novel a design? Talk of Thermopolæ! Why all the battles in the world sink into insignificance in comparison with this, which was won without the shedding of blood, by the blowing of horns, the breaking of pots, and the holding of lamps, by a small army of three hundred men! But, I tell you, it was Faith which did the work. Don't tell me that if they hadn't had the amount of faith they had, that the breaking of a few dishes would have terrified the Amalekites.
There is another case equally wonderful which just occurs to me. Joshua, the successor of Moses, as General of the Jewish army, met with a pretty considerable difficulty at a town called Jericho. The people of the place had taken great care to have it shut up and carefully walled round. By none of the usual strategems of war could the city be entered, so a new method was advised and adopted. Seven priests had seven rams' horns. They walked round the city once a day. Each day these seven priests gave variations on these horns, and on the seventh day such was the efficacy of the music they produced, that the walls fell down. You tell me that it was not a miracle! You assert that the walls fell in consequence of the vibration in the air, creating a sort of vacuum by the vigorous blowing of the seven trumpeters! I tell you it was their faith, and nothing else that worked the miracle.
So it has ever been. Faith is the parent of many wonders. It still is so. Without Faith who could page 15 escape the allurements of common sense? It is Faith that keeps us Orthodox, and it is knowledge that makes some heretics. Give me Faith and I am satisfied; take that from me and I have nothing to live on. I mean for! Trusting that Faith may become more abundant,—I remain, yours, etc.