But there remained ten thousand. These men by their staying said, |It ought to be done. What ought to be done can be done. What can be done we
can do. What we can do we will
do.| Here is another man standing looking at that vast host across the valley. He is thinking that it is a desperate case, but he thinks of God's call through Gideon. Just then he notices that his neighbor on the left has taken to his heels, and on his right also. That shakes him for a moment. His heels say, |You go too.| His heart said, |No, stay.| He obeyed his heart. He said, |I'll stay if I stay alone.|
That was the stuff in these remaining ten thousand. They stood a double test in remaining, the desperate situation seen in the presence of such an enormous army, and the desertion of their fellows. They had courage; not only willingness but courage. Courage is a heart quality. Courage is the heart fighting. It faces fearful odds and keeps right straight ahead regardless.
A prize was offered once for the best definition of |pluck.| The definition that won the prize said, |Pluck is fighting with the scabbard after the sword is broken.| What a picture in a single sentence! The man is fighting with might and main in the thick of the enemy, up and down, parry and thrust, and just about holding his own, when suddenly, without a moment's warning, the blade snaps close up to the hilt. The game's up now surely. This accident decides the day. Maybe -- for some men. But not for this fellow. He simply sets his jaws a bit firmer as, quick as lightning, he grabs the scabbard by his side and fights with it.
Such a man can't be whipped. He doesn't know when he is whipped. And the man who doesn't know when he is whipped, never is whipped. No man can be whipped without his own consent. I said courage is a heart quality. These ten thousand were not chicken-hearted nor downhearted. They were lion-hearted, stout-hearted. They had hearts of oak.
It was a keen stroke of generalship on Gideon's part that sent the timid, discouraged ones back home. Nothing is more demoralizing than the presence of such people. And there was no discipline much finer for those who remained than to feel their fellows leaving them. It's hard to be left by those who have been in touch. It is hard to stand alone.
There is no harder test of character than that. And too there is no finer thing to make character. Think how the fiber of those ten thousand toughened and strengthened as they stood there, with men on every side hurrying away. This was the second test. But the men who can stand testing are growing fewer. Thirty-two thousand men were willing. Only a third of them are both willing and courageous. These men are more than volunteers. They have seen the foe. Their fiber has stood the test, and toughened in the test. They are courageous volunteers.