Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XV.: of simplicity and craftiness. - The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1
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CHAPTER XV.: of simplicity and craftiness. - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 1.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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of simplicity and craftiness.
Simple persons are prone to suspect, that all wise men are crafty: and crafty mates, to despise all honest men, as simple and silly. The simpleness of the former makes them suspicious, and the naughtiness of the latter causeth them to measure other men's shoes by their own last; and to conceit, that none are honest, but for want of wit to deceive. But both experience and reason teach, that craftiness and deceit argue men to be conscious of their own imbecility* and weakness, one way or other; which makes them, hare-like, to trust to the double and turn, rather than to the right-on course. And so, many of shallow wits, improving thoroughly their skill to deceive, prove their craftsmasters that way; showing, that craft and fraudulency stand more in the wills, than wits of men. I add, that as David by seeming beside himself, deceived Achish, 1 Sam. xxi. 13, 14: so many make advantage of their simpleness, to deceive the more easily. For appearing simple, they are unsuspected; and though they be taken something tardy, yet if the matter be not very foul, men are ready, in compassion of their weakness, rather to ascribe it to their want of wit, than of honesty.
And, as this of simple appearance is one, so are there other singular engines of deceit; specially if they fall into the hands of such, as know how to use them. The first is the show and appearance of honesty, especially of religion: and therefore the preamble of the whorish woman, for the inveigling of the simple youth, was, that. she had her “peace-offerings upon her, and had paid her vows.”. Prov. vii. 10. And indeed, what good heart would suspect him of unfaithfulness with men, that seems entire with God, and to walk under the conscience of his presence, and judgment? A second, is flattery, by which even wise men' are made fools and led as it were, by the lip. By this the devil brought our first parents in Paradise, into a fool's paradise, by bearing them in hand, that in following his counsel, they were in a way to “become as gods.” Gen. iii. 5. A third, is the mingling of some truth with falsehood, and matter of deceit, as hucksters do their wares good with bad, that so impostures may not be discerned by being viewed alone.* The last is to keep touch in smaller things, that, thereby, men may take their opportunity with more both ease and advantage to deceive in greater; as is said of Fabius Maximus.†
The safest way not to be deceived by others, specially to our spiritual prejudice, is not to deceive ourselves; which till we do, no other can deceive us. Hence is it, that God in his Word so often warns us, that we be not deceived and that we deceive not ourselves and our own souls. But and if we either put out our own eyes with our finger, through passion or prejudice, or willingly wink at dangers, which we might foresee; who will pity us, if we fall into the ditch of deceit which others dig for us ?
Whilst crafty men deceive others, they themselves, though they little consider it, are most deceived by Satan, whose instruments they are, fitted for his hand, and purposes. And what avails it the ravenous bird to devour that, which belongs not to her, if therewith, she herself be taken by the leg in the fowler's snare ? Besides, even in respect of men, howsoever such wily-beguiles may for a time, if they carry close, amongst other advantages, get the opinion of prudent and politic persons, and be accounted the more wise, by how much they have the more skill to deceive;‡ yet if their craftiness come to be found out and appear, they become often a prey to all, and always a scorn to the most simple; like the wily fox who being once caught, hath his skin plucked over his ears, wherewith every fool will have his cap furred, as a worthy lord was wont to say.§ Such are heirs apparent to Ahithophel's comfort and reward. 2 Sam. xvii. 23.
His rule was peremptory that said, a wise man will not deceive, nor cannot be deceived:|| so was his profession both of wisdom and honesty loud, who chose this motto, Fallere vel falli res odiosa mihi: and though usually it be worse to deceive, than to be deceived, though Austin and who not, met with many that would deceive, but never with any that would be deceived,* as a sin is worse than a cross: yet whereas to be deceived is always either a cross, or a sin, or both; a man may, in some case, and manner deceive, without either; as did Athanasius the President Lucius,† who pursuing him, and approaching near the boat, wherein he was, asked for Athanasius, and was answered by him, whom he knew by name, but not by face, that Athanasius was hard before him, and that if he made haste, he might presently overtake him: who thus escaped, deceiving his Arian persecutor, by speaking nothing but the truth, and that both wisely and with good conscience.