by Pastor Mark Downey
January 27, 2013
Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1, 9-11, 21-26, 30-32 and 44
Perhaps one of the best examples of Christian courage is the story of Paul facing a trial in Rome, standing before Caesar. Paul was in the custody of a Roman centurion who would escort him back to Rome and was treated favorably, because he most likely heard the story of Cornelius 25 years earlier and how the Christians had broken past the barriers of Judaism treating Romans as their racial kindred. And now on the trip to Rome, Julius the centurion would witness the power of the Gospel in real life.
Navigation in the Mediterranean was dangerous at this time of the year in late September and Paul, an experienced traveler, warned the captain and crew that he perceived disaster if they attempted to go any further. Paul already had been in three shipwrecks and wasn’t too excited about a fourth (II Cor. 11:25). But, the majority decided to put out to sea. There’s a subtle metaphor of the captain and pilot of the ship representing a denominational church leadership, as their cargo was wheat (lost sheep of the house of Israel planted in the world with mongrels) and other prisoners (sinners) as well as the centurion representing the world system of the day. The winds were blowing against them and a sudden hurricane struck them, wrecking the ship on the shores of Malta.
We usually don’t think of Paul as a prophet and yet he has an angelic visitation giving him confidence to tell the others that it’s going to be OK; so he spoke courageously resonating courage to those that were with him on the ship when dire circumstances were against him, as his prediction coincided with the unfolding of events. It must have shown these pagans that the God whom Paul served must be greatly different than theirs. How can you not have courage when an angel of the Lord tells you not to be alarmed with the danger of the loss of life? This didn’t mean the others would be converted, but that their lives would be spared and that they would certainly have something to contemplate. The implication here is that all this adversity was for the sake of Paul. This is strong proof of God’s approbation of Paul and must have shown Julius that his prisoner was an innocent man. Paul was to appear before Caesar in order to bear testimony of Jesus Christ. The ship and Caesar’s cargo would be lost, but not the people. One may conclude that the Pauline vision represents a total wreck of materialism, hundreds of people struggling with the angry elements of nature, and just previously having heard the words of a spiritual man. Surely they henceforth regarded Paul with awe and admiration.
We had a freak winter storm last week (1-21-13) across the Ohio River in Cincinnati where a spontaneous snow burst of white-out conditions caused a massive 50 car pile-up on a major freeway. If that wasn’t enough, within minutes, about 10 miles away, it also went from clear and sunny to zero visibility with 86 vehicles including many semi trucks turning into a massive mess of mangled metal, not to be mistaken with mere fender benders. What is amazing is that not one person died in either crash scenes except a little girl who got out of the car and was struck by a steel cable. Folks, this is not ordinary. This is what insurance companies call an act of God. Don’t think that God isn’t trying to tell His people something? There are more metaphors in this news story than you can shake a stick at. And it fits into today’s message.
It’s too bad all those people involved in that extraordinary traffic altercation did not have someone like Paul to warn them of the impending storm that would crush 136 cars like sardine cans and spare everybody who remained in their cars. I was curious if the number 136 has any biblical currency and I could only think of one book in the Bible that has that many chapters; so I looked up Psalms 136 whose theme is "For His mercy endures forever." Don’t get me wrong, this does not imply that we can tempt God and evade His judgments. We can break down 136 into 13 and 6, where we know 6 is the number of man or man’s wisdom and the number 13 is associated with depravity and rebellion; often associated with Freemasonry. Well, we do have Paul today to warn us about catastrophes that will befall nations, but the Christian need not fear because we have his Epistles that are just as inspired as the rest of the Word of God.
Listen to another one of his prophetic utterances in Romans 16:20 FF, “And the God of peace will soon tread the enemy under your feet.” Paul was talking to people in Rome regarding the Roman Empire and how it would destroy Judaism in Jerusalem, which came to pass in 70AD. In the preceding verse (19) Paul wishes them to be wise as concerning good and uncontaminated as to the evil. The American Empire is contaminated with Judaism and we are witnessing the catastrophe of its evil today. The people in those cars were like the people with Paul on the ship headed for Rome. Our nation is being shipwrecked. The harvest is near approaching where the wheat is totally entangled with the tares and the tares know that the reapers are on their way to uproot them and throw them into a furnace of fire.
We are living in a critical time in which Christianity has been primed for destruction as each principle of Divine Law has been removed for a society of wanton lawlessness. It’s not just battle lines being drawn on gun control, but food control, water control, economic control and most importantly thought control. The thought police are here. It’s no wonder that jewish subterfuge has tried to change the thinking of some Christians about Paul, because Paul had the courage of his convictions to stand for Christ and not backing down ‘for fear of the jews.’ If it wasn’t for the courage of Paul, judeo-churchianity would have begun in the 1st century. And if it weren’t for the non-conformists, separatists and sometimes underground reformists, who were persecuted as heretics for the last 2000 years, we would not have the last vestige of true Christianity today found in Christian Identity.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms because it is so closely related to fear. Courage can mean having a strong desire to live while at the same time having a readiness to die. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” Luke 17:33. Do you think the judeo-Christian approaching you and asking, “Hey brother, are ya saved?” is thinking about that verse? This paradox is the whole principle of courage even when it gets quite earthly and brutal. There is a higher calling in life than our five physical senses and that is the preservation of our race. The ancients had it and our founding fathers had it, but I don’t know if this present generation even knows what we’re talking about. The current batch of American soldiers are not fighting for our race, they’re playing a video game in real life for a new Ford truck or wide screen TV. No wonder there’s such a high suicide rate; they can’t live within their own skin. Their racial consciousness is stunted. Just this last week (1-24-13), did any US generals have the courage to object to women now being allowed into combat roles? A soldier, who is under hostile fire, if he is to extricate himself to safety, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. When I first got to Vietnam, I was told there are two kinds of people here: those who think about dying and those who don’t. Christian courage is a disdain of death, not a disdain of life. Courage is to reject any thought of death with contempt. What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? It would be hell. Why do you think there’s such a fascination with zombies in our decadent culture? It’s because the overseers are marketing an absence of courage; a society of the living dead.
We have a movement of God carrying the racial message of the Gospels because of courageous men and women who have followed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who braved insults and animus from those who would eventually kill Him and His followers. We are the modern heretics to whom the state-sanctioned ministers of Baal make every effort to demonize and discredit. But, we cannot be discouraged when we are told that this is the proof of our righteous discourse. Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake” Mt. 5:11.
It’s impossible to be godly and at the same time have a cavalier relationship with the Word of Truth. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written” Joshua 1:8. How many times have we put our convictions on the back burner and played the part of a chameleon for the sake of harmony? I’m embarrassed to say I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rationalized to not make waves… while our ship of state is being tossed to and fro in the perfect storm of ungodliness.
When we look at the OT prophets and the NT saints, their words were always to the point and didn’t beat around the bush. It’s at this juncture where our courage usually wanes and withers, because most people don’t want to be the ‘heavy’; other people might think we’re being judgmental or holier than thou. What enabled those courageous people in Scripture, who fearlessly spoke the truth, almost as an army of one, to say what no one else would? Well, the answer is in their zeal for God’s glory; they knew history was a record of honoring and dishonoring God. Those who ultimately stand with God are willing to risk rejection. My mom once sent me a newspaper article with a picture of me marching with Pastor Richard Butler and she wrote, “This is not what our family is about.” Needless to say, it is what I’m about. Do we change things in our lives to please our family… or God?
The gravity of the situation is so serious that Christ said, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his father and mother, wife, children, brother and sisters AND his own life too, he is not able to be My disciple” Luke 14:26. I think some families have refused to hate the race mixer or homosexual member of the family, because they have fallen into the pernicious trap of unconditional love and a tolerance that is more akin to the Hindu or Unitarian. What the Lord is saying with this verse is that when you make the decision to surrender your life to Him, be prepared to bear a Cross. This could mean a separation from your most cherished loved ones – a separation as deep as that which hatred produces, if these relationships interfere with our loyalty to Jesus. The world wants you to change for the New World Order. God wants us to change for Him. Repentance may mean that we don’t conform to the ways of the world and therefore receive the scorn of those who do. Compared to what our Father in Heaven thinks of us, the opinion of social engineers and amateur psychiatrists are like so many chirping crickets. And yet locusts and amnesty for millions of mestizos can devour an entire landscape.
The traditions of man, which Christ so vehemently denounced, and political correctness are the same thing; it’s going with the flow, whichever way the wind blows, that’s the way the herd or flock of sheep will go, following an insidious pied piper. I think II Chron. 7:14 may have been written as a counter-measure to peer pressure and pop culture. These traditions, at the time of Christ, became the religion of Judaism and ever since, the jews have tried to inculcate divisions within the White race while at the same time including all races as our peers. All secret societies have had this agenda if there’s a jew involved and that’s why God says He hates them, much to the chagrin of the ‘God loves everybody’ crowd.
Paul’s ministry to the gentiles or Aryan nations was just the opposite, bringing back together the scattered tribes of Israel. We owe Paul a great deal of credit for preserving this impartiality (that Christ taught) when he had the courage to stand up to Peter and Barnabus when they were being hypocritical in the matter. Although James agreed with Paul, he didn’t have the courage to take a stand against them. When certain believers came up to Antioch from Judea, Peter separated himself from the Greeks at meal time according to the tradition (Gal. 2:12). The Law, as it pertains to the White race should be obeyed today and that is to separate ourselves from non-White strangers as well as not being unequally yoked together with unbelievers. That’s why restaurants were segregated at one time in America. Wouldn’t it be great if someone had the courage to put a sign in their eating establishment that said ‘Whites Only’? And wouldn’t it be greater if our people had the courage to patronize such a business?
Well, we in Christian Israel, like Paul, have found courage to leave behind the Old Jerusalem, the ‘left behind’ hysteria of judeo-churchianity… for a New Jerusalem in having the mentality to separate ourselves from evil. We don’t believe a ministry of reconciliation is to embrace race mixers, homosexuals, abortionists, usury bankers, pedophiles or any other number of reprobate conformists of a satanic society. The apostate church has inculcated this theory of racial reconciliation or inclusionary redemption endeavoring to destroy the exclusive racial covenants between Israel and God. True biblical reconciliation stands in the way of universalism and the erosion of Christian morality. We can’t have our young maidens wanting to be a Christianized version of Lady Gaga.
Under the New Covenant our reconciliation with God is based on the propitiation of Christ, which means His disposition of favor. The Greek word for propitiation is hilosmos, which is a means of appeasing, a conciliation. Appease means to bring peace or calm, to satisfy or relieve. It is sometimes confused with atonement, which means to make amends or reparations for an injury or wrongdoing. Christ is not our atonement, He is our propitiation. The Old Testament ordinance of animal sacrifices (atonement for sin) proves that we can never fully repay God for our sins. We receive God’s favor or grace by being in agreement with His Law; not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law; which is written in the heart and mind of only one race where it dispenses both justice and mercy. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Eph. 2:8. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17. Is the Law nailed to the Cross? God forbid! If we had the courage to obey the Law, the miscegenation, the sodomy, the usury would be subject to the execution of the Law. There may very well be reconciliation for these sins (not in this life however), but in the resurrection. For churches to minister reconciliation or promise atonement for our sins today is to play God and give a free pass to sinners, letting them think that they are saved. That’s why there are queers and lesbians preaching behind the pulpit; some very misinformed Christians don’t want to hurt their little feelings. Eventually all of Israel will be the recipients of salvation, but it is a matter of when. Those who sin and can make restitution can enter the congregations of Israel right now. Those sins which cannot be restituted are either excommunicated or executed by God’s Law, but that does not preclude the sinner from repenting as both good and evil will be resurrected from the grave and judged accordingly with or without rewards.
We really may be underestimating the courage it will take to willingly comply with II Chron. 7:14. It is a daily chore to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It takes courage to ignore every ungodly influence that proceeds from the controlled mass media, but it can be done; otherwise there would be no such thing as “overcomers.” “To think what is true, to sense what is beautiful and to want what is good, hereby the spirit finds the purpose of a life” – Johann Gottfried von Herder. Why ask God why, when He has given us the ability to think, sense and want His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? It is painful to witness the most wonderful gifts bestowed upon our race and its conversion into wealth and power by a few maniacal elitists as a tool to subject mankind to their unholy ambitions. They amass wealth while destroying civilization. That’s not the virtue of courage; it’s the vice of cunning. It’s a nifty little trick to get people to think that they’re living in a modern world while these devils are returning us to a system of feudalism. Everybody loves ‘Braveheart’ because William Wallace had the courage to avenge the rape of virgin brides by royal bureaucrats. Our women are being ravished today by an aristocracy of materialism.
So don’t you dare challenge the matrix of the status quo. Do not have any thoughts thinking something aint right. Do not have a sense of things turning ugly. And by all means indulge yourself with the things of Babylon. To do otherwise requires courage. And courage comes from God. Why aren’t our people doing anything about their own self imposed slavery? They’re not really connecting with God and therefore do not possess the courage to overcome a totalitarian state. Oh, they might go to the state-approved mega-church and hold their hands up in the air, but they’re in a spiritual trance and deprived from having the mind of Christ to do greater works than He; more than turning the moneychangers tables upside down. But, it takes courage to be Christ-like; it takes mental discipline to have the mind of Christ. And the 501c3 churches don’t want you to think that you can ever come out of the world system. And yet we are told, “Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” Rev. 18:4. When Jesus said to those who were not chosen or called, “I am not of this world” (John 8:23), He meant the diabolical system of human devils producing a society of thought police and Big Brothers watching your every move like a lab rat. The secret to happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage.
The men of the early church that remained true to Christ were sworn to teach the next generation in the ways of the Lord. Many of them sealed their testimony with their blood for daring to belong to an unlicensed religion not recognized by the state. Up to the end of the second century, the two main problems of the Church were the heretics on the inside and the opposing political-religious establishments on the outside. To counter these threatening forces, the early Church writers wrote words of encouragement and practical exhortation to those undergoing persecution, to ensure that those persecuted ones retained the character of Christ in all things.
In the generation following Christ, Christianity pointed out that the Hebrew prophets antedated the Greek philosophers by many centuries and that they had prophesied of things that were to come. These prophets were not philosophers depending upon reason, but were witnesses to truth by revelation. The knowledge of God could not be discovered by human knowledge, but needed inspiration by the Holy Spirit to reveal Him. Paul, who had discussed the basis of the knowledge of God in his first letter to the Corinthians, said, “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” I Cor. 2:14. True knowledge of God was foolishness to the Greeks, because they depended upon the soul for such revelation. The soulish [pseukikos] "man" within us cannot receive the things of the Spirit. The true knowledge of God comes only through one's spirit, for that "spiritual man" within is our link and contact with the Holy Spirit of God. That spiritual man is the mind of Christ and functions by direct revelation, not by the reasoning of the soulish man (i.e., the natural mind).
The story of Polycarp is an interesting one; he was born about 69AD, a few years after the death of Peter, Paul and James. He was a disciple of John, a younger friend of Ignatius, and the teacher of Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in Gaul. Polycarp went to Rome in 154AD and his martyrdom took place the following year at the age of 86. Christianity was an illegal religion, because it refused to sacrifice to the gods. Persecution broke out in Asia at that time, particularly in Smyrna. Eusebius relates: “Sometimes they were torn with scourges to the innermost veins and arteries, so that even the secret parts of their body, the entrails and internal organs, were laid bare; sometimes they were forced to lie on pointed seashells and sharp spikes. After going through every kind of punishment and torture, they were finally flung to the beasts as food" (Eccl. Hist., IV, 15).
One teenager, Germanicus by name, was urged by the proconsul to spare himself on account of his youth, but he walked toward the wild beasts with no hesitation and goaded them into attacking him. The crowd was astounded at his courage, and perhaps shamed by it, for then a great shout went up: "Away with the godless! Fetch Polycarp!" When he heard the news, his friends urged him to escape. But, Eusebius recounts, “Three nights before his arrest, while at prayer he saw in a trance the pillow under his head burst into flames and burn to a cinder. He awoke at once and interpreted the vision to those present, opening the book of things to come and leaving his friends in no doubt that for Christ's sake he was to depart this life by fire.” He might have fled to another hideout, but he refused saying, “God’s will be done.” And when they came to arrest him, “The account informs us, he came down and talked to them in the most cheerful and gentle manner, so that, never having seen him before, they could hardly believe their eyes when confronted with his advanced years and dignified confident bearing. Why, they wondered, was there such anxiety to arrest an old man of this kind? He meanwhile ordered the table to be laid for them immediately, and invited them to eat as much as they liked, asking in return a single hour in which he could pray unmolested." He was brought to the city and met by the chief of police who tried to persuade him saying, "What harm is there in saying 'Lord Caesar' and sacrificing? You will be safe then." At first he remained silent, but when they persisted, he told them, 'I have no intention of taking your advice'." He was then approached by the proconsul, "Swear by Caesar's fortune; change your attitude; say 'Away with the godless'; swear, and I will set you free; execrate Christ!" Polycarp replied, "For eighty-six years I have been His servant, and He has never done me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" When the proconsul persisted (for he was reluctant to execute an old man), Polycarp replied, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar's fortune, as you put it, pretending not to know who I am, I will tell you plainly, I am a Christian." "I have wild beasts," said the proconsul. "I shall throw you to them if you don't change your attitude." "Call them," he replied. "We cannot change our attitude if it means a change from better to worse. But it is a splendid thing to change from cruelty to justice." "If you make light of the beasts, I'll have you destroyed by fire." "The fire you threaten burns for a time and is soon extinguished . . . But why do you hesitate? Do what you want." Polycarp was then bound to a stake and the fire was lit. According to the accounts, the fire swirled around him like a sail and refused to burn him. "The fire took the shape of a vaulted room, like a ship's sail filled with wind, and made a wall round the martyr's body," Eusebius records. So the proconsul ordered him to be stabbed with a sword. Polycarp's blood then was said to flow in such a quantity that the fire was extinguished. It is not possible to know how much the story was embellished later, but certainly something of the miraculous occurred, which caused quite a stir from the authorities and the spectators.
The last 40 years of the third century were relatively free of persecution for the Church. It was a time of unprecedented growth for Christianity, but it came at the expense of its character. Eusebius tells us in Eccl. Hist. VIII, i, “How great, how unique were the honour, and liberty too, which before the [Diocletian] persecution of my time were granted by all men . . . to the message given through Christ to the world… But increasing freedom transformed our character to arrogance and sloth; we began envying and abusing each other, cutting our own throats, as occasion offered, with weapons of sharp-edged words; rulers hurled themselves at rulers and laymen waged party fights against laymen, and unspeakable hypocrisy and dissimulation were carried to the limits of wickedness. At last, while the gatherings were still crowded, divine judgment, with its wonted [lack of] mercy, gently and gradually began to order things its own way, and with the Christians in the army the persecutions began.”
This is how Eusebius explains the Diocletian persecution that broke out in March of 303 A.D., which ordered churches to be destroyed, Bibles burned, and Christians forced on pain of death to sacrifice to the gods. When the first edict was posted, one of the Christians arrogantly tore it to shreds. Diocletian took this as an act of defiance, of course, and proceeded to persecute Christians out of anger and not merely out of love for the gods or of Roman law.
In spite of this shameful testimony, there were still many courageous believers among them who were able to face death willingly and even with rejoicing, as had their fellow martyrs in previous times. Eusebius tells us that he personally witnessed many of the martyrdoms in the city of Tyre as men were given to the wild beasts.
"When these things were going on, I was there myself and there I witnessed the ever-present divine power of Him to whom they testified, our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, visibly manifesting itself to the martyrs. For some time the man-eaters did not dare to touch or even approach the bodies of God's beloved, but rushed at the others who apparently were irritating and provoking them from outside; only the holy champions, as they stood naked and in accordance with their instructions, waved their hands to attract the animals to themselves, were left quite unmolested. Sometimes when the beasts did start towards them, they were stopped short, as if by some divine power, and retreated to their starting-point. When this went on for a long time, it astounded the spectators, so that in view of the ineffectiveness of the first, a second and third beast were set on to one and the same martyr.
“You would see a youngster not yet twenty standing without fetters, spreading out his arms in the form of a cross, and with a mind unafraid and unshakeable, occupying himself in the most unhurried prayers to the Almighty; not budging in the least and not retreating an inch from the spot where he stood, though bears and panthers breathing fury and death almost touched his very flesh. Yet by some supernatural, mysterious power their mouths were stopped, and they ran back again to the rear. . .
“At last, when these animals had launched their terrible [but harmless] varied assaults, the martyrs were one and all butchered with the sword, and instead of being buried in the earth were given to the waves of the sea." (Eccl. Hist., VIII, vii).
Eusebius again tells us (VIII, ix), "I was in these places and saw many of the executions for myself. Some of the victims suffered death by beheading, others punishment by fire. So many were killed on a single day that the axe, blunted and worn out by the slaughter, was broken in pieces, while the exhausted executioners had to be periodically relieved. All the time I observed a most wonderful eagerness and a truly divine power and enthusiasm in those who had put their trust in the Christ of God. No sooner had the first batch been sentenced, than others from every side would jump on to the platform in front of the judge and proclaim themselves Christian." But two years into the persecution, Diocletian was struck down with mental illness, forcing him to retire in 305AD. The sheer number of caesars and emperors that had been created by Diocletian brought about a contest as the Empire was brought back gradually under a single head. In the end it was Constantine who won. In 313 he issued his famous Edict of Milan, also called The Edict of Toleration, in which he allowed religious freedom for all. In essence, this Edict for the first time officially made Christianity a lawful religion. Constantine has often been characterized as a pagan pretending to be a Christian, a sun-worshipper at heart, a politician who used Christians as a power base to gain power. These charges may not be accurate, as we can see by his earlier history. Born and raised in Britain by a Christian mother, Helen, he was favorable to Christians from his early life. Certainly, he was not responsible for church corruption, which already existed.
Well, why does any of this really matter? Why am I preaching about antiquated concepts of chivalry and brave hearts? In case you haven’t noticed the enemy government of the United States is cranking up the propaganda machine. They want you to be afraid, to be very afraid. Shooting school children, taking your guns away from you, martial law, civil war, all of the subliminals and sound bytes to generate a paranoid public, thinking they’re coming to getcha and throw ya in a FEMA concentration camp. It matters because the one-worlders are desperate to paint a picture of themselves as the saviors of the world. It matters because we have a racial heritage that is going to come out of hibernation: the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises pertaineth to us, the true Israel of Scripture. And we’re going to preach intolerance for their hoaxes, every faked event and every deception being played out before our very eyes. We will give our people the eyes to see it. When the insidious jew flaunts their fear mongering to rob our people of what God hath bestowed upon us, we will show them the spirit of the non-conformists, the spark that becomes the fire of Jacob-Israel.
Our Scripture reading today was read from the KJV and instead of the word courage, it was translated “good cheer.” Spirit has a lot to do with attitude. Courage is not just a reluctant resolve, it’s an exuberant enthusiasm. We get it; we got God’s memo: “Count it all joy when you fall into divers testings” James 1:2. Deceivers steal your life from you, turning a life that could have held divine ramifications into an unremarkable life that serves no other higher purpose. That’s the incredible cost we’re paying for… all of the deception and Talmudic theater. And it doesn’t make us happy campers when aliens control our lives and our countenance. But, we can change the game with repentance and claim all the happiness God affords His people. Mark Twain said, “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” Here’s the Good News: our life is not our own; for we are bought with a price (I Cor. 6:19-20). If our life belongs to God and nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37), then our moral courage is a calling card from God. Let the games begin.
Recommended Reading: The Ungodliness of Being a Coward