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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
The Emperor Napoleon I. was reviewing some troops upon the Place du Carrousel, in Paris; and, in giving an order, he thoughtlessly dropped the bridle upon his horse's neck, which instantly set off on a gallop. The emperor was obliged to cling to the saddle. At this moment a common soldier of the line sprang before the horse, seized the bridle, and handed it respectfully to the emperor. 'Much obliged to you, captain,' said the chief by this one word making the soldier a captain. The man believed the emperor, and, saluting him, asked, 'Of what regiment, sire?' Napoleon, charmed with his faith, replied, 'Of my guards!' and galloped off.
Now, what will the soldier do? If he imitates those who before believing wish to see and feel, and like the apostle Thomas wait for palpable proof before relying upon testimony, he will say, 'a captain of the guard always wears a captain's uniform, and mine is only that of a common soldier. I cannot, therefore, believe myself a captain;' and the soldier would return to the ranks. But if, on the contrary, he believes fully and implicitly the emperor's word, and that his rank as captain of the guard depends not upon the uniform he wears, but that the uniform must be the consequence and evidence of his rank (and this will be his thought if he honours the emperor), he will not hesitate because of his dress, nor will he return to the line. And such, indeed, was the conduct of the man. As soon as the emperor left, the soldier laid down his gun, saying, 'He may take it who will,' and instead of returning to his comrades, he approached the group of staff officers. On seeing him, one of the generals scornfully said, 'What does this fellow want here?' 'This fellow,' replied the soldier proudly, 'is a captain of the guard.' 'You? my poor friend! You are mad to say so!' 'He said it,' replied the soldier, pointing to the emperor, who was still in sight. 'I ask your pardon, sir,' said the general respectfully, 'I was not aware of it.'
Here, then, was exhibited a manifold faith. Since first the soldier believed the emperor, upon his word, because he heard him (as the Samaritans said of the Saviour), and afterwards, on the soldier's word, the general believed the emperor.
You now see how a person may be sure that God gives peace: it is by believing his testimony, just as this soldier believed that of his emperor. That is to say, as he believed himself to be a captain before wearing his uniform; so on the word and promise of God, one believes himself to be a child of Jesus, before being sanctified by his Spirit.'Caesar Malan, D.D.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Faith (2)'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/f/faith-2.html. 1870.