DOGS BARK AT STRANGERS
Loving and dear Sister,Â—I fear that you be moved and cast down because of the late wrong that your husband received in your town-council; but I pray you comfort yourself in the Lord, for a just cause bides under the water only as long as wicked men hold their hands above it; their arm will weary, and then the just cause shall swim above, and the light that is sown for the righteous shall spring and grow up. If ye were not strangers here, the dogs of the world would not bark at you (2 Cor. vi. 8). You shall see all windings and turnings that are in your way to heaven out of God’s word; for He will not lead you to the kingdom at the nearest; but you must go through “honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true;” ver. 9, “as unknown and yet well-known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and not killed;” ver. 10, “as sorrowful and yet always rejoicing.” The world is one of the enemies that we have to fight
with, but a vanquished and overcome enemy, and like a beaten and forlorn soldier; for our Jesus hath taken the armour from it:
let me then speak to you in His words. “Be of good courage,” saith the Captain of our salvation, “for I have overcome the world.” You shall neither be free of the scourge of the tongue, nor of disgraces, even if it were buffetings and spittings upon the face, as was our Saviour’s case, if you follow Jesus Christ. I beseech you in the bowels of our Lord Jesus, keep a good conscience (as I trust you do): you live not upon men’s opinion;
gold may be gold and have the king’s stamp upon it, when it is trampled upon by men. Happy are you if, when the world trampleth upon you in your credit and good name, yet you are the Lord’s gold, stamped with the King of heaven’s image, and “sealed by His Spirit unto the day of your redemption.” Pray for the Spirit of love (1 Cor. xiii. 7). “Love beareth all things, it believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” And I pray you that your husband, yea I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, pray for these your adversaries: read this to your husband from me; and let both of you “put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies.” And, sister, remember how many thousands of talents of sins your Master hath forgiven you: forgive ye, therefore, your fellow-servants one talent; follow God’s command in this, “and seek not after your own heart, and after your own eyes” in this matter, as the Spirit speaks (Num. xv. 39). Ask never the counsel of your own heart here; the world will blow up your heart now and cause it swell, except the grace of God cause it to fall. Jesus, even Jesus, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, give you wisdom; I trust God shall be glorified in you; and a door shall be opened unto you as the Lord’s prisoners of hope, as Zechariah speaks. It is a benefit to you that the wicked are God’s fan to purge you; and I hope they shall blow away no corn or spiritual graces, but only your chaff. I pray you, in your pursuit, have so recourse to the law of men that you wander not from the law of God. Be not cast down: if you saw Him, who is standing on the shore, holding out His arms to welcome you to land, you would not only wade through a sea of wrongs, but through hell itself, to be at Him: and I trust in God you see Him sometimes. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, and all yours.Â—Your brother in the Lord.