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140 Christian's Inquiry,
Chr. What thing so deserving as to turn us out of the way.
Demas. Here is a silver mine, and some digging in it for treasure; if you will come, with a little pains you may richly provide for yourselves.
Then said Hopeful, Let us go see.
Not I, said Christian, I have heard of this place before now, and how many have there been slain ; and besides, that treasure is a snare to those that seek it; for it hindereth them in their pilgrimage.
Then Christian called to Damas, saying, Is not the way dangerous Phath it not hindered many in their pilgrimage?
Demas. Not very dangerous, except to those that are careless.-But withal he blushed as he spake. *
which many of them have the opportunity of acquiring, may render them acceptable company to the affluent, especially to such as love them for their work's sake; and even the exercise of Christian tempers will improve the urbanity acquired by a liberal education, where faithfulness is not concerned. But if a minister thinks, that the attention of the great or noble requires him to copy their expensive style of living, he grievously mistakes the matter. For this will generally forfeit the opinion before entertained of his good sense and regard to propriety: and his official declarations, concerning the vanity of earthly things, and the Christian's indifference to them, will be suspected of insincerity ; while it is observed, that he conforms to the world, as far or even further than his circumstances will admit: and thus respect will often be changed into disgust. Nay, indeed, the superior orders in society do not choose to be too closely copied, in those things which they deem their exclusive privileges; especially by one who, (they must think,) secretly depends on them to defray the expense of the intrusive competition. The consistent minister of Christ will certainly desire to avoid every thing mean and sortlid, and to retrench in every other way rather than exhibit the appearance of penury: but, provided he and his family can maintain a decent simplicity, and the credit of punctuality in his payments, he will not think of aspiring any higher. If, in order to do this, he be compelled to exercise considerable self-denial, he will think little of it, while he looks more to Jesus and his Apostles, than to the few of a superior rank who profess the gospel: and could he afford something genteel and fashionable, he would deem it more desirable to devote a larger portion to pious and charitable uses, than to squander it in vain affectation.—Perhaps Satan never carried a more important point, within the visible church, than when the opinion was adopted, that the clergy were gentlemen by profession ; and when he led them to infer from it, that they and their families ought to live in a genteeland fashionahle style. As the body of the clergy have been mostly but slenderly provided for : when tiley were thus taught to imitate the appearance of the affluent, the most effectual step was taken to reduce them to abject dependence; to convert them into parasites and flatterers; to render them very indulgent to the vices of the rich and great ; or even to tempt them to become the instruments of accomplishing their ambitious or licentious designs; and no small part of the selfishness and artifices of the clergy, which are now made a pretext for abolishing the order, and even for renouncing Christianity, have in fact originated from this fatal mistake. In proportion as the same principle is adopted by ministers of any description, similar effects will follow ; and a degree of dependence, inconsistent with unembarrassed faithfulness, must be the consequence: nor ean we in all cases, and without respect of persons, “declare the
whole counsel. of God." unless we be willing, if required, to be, and to appear as, the poor , followers of Hiru “who had not where to ley his load.”
..Inswered by Demas, 141
Then said Christian to Hopeful, let us not stir a step, but still keep on our way. (b) Hope. I will warrant you when By-ends comes up, if he hath the same invitation as we, he will turn in thither to see. Chr. No doubt thereof, for his principles lead him that way, and a hundred to one but he dies there. Then Demas called again, saying, But will you not come over and see. Then Christian roundly answered, saying, Demas, thou art an enemy to the right ways of the Lord of this way, and hast been already condemned, for thine own turning aside, by one of his Majesty's Judges;” and why seekest thou to bring us into the like condemnation ? Besides, if we at all turn aside, our Lord the King will certainly hear thereof, and will there put us to shame, where we would stand with boldness before him. Demas cried again that he also was one of their fraternity; and that if they would tarry a little he also himself would walk with them. Then said Christian, What is thy name 2 Is it not the same by the which I have called thee * Demas. Yes, my name is Demas; I am the son of Abraham. Chr. I know you : Gehazi was your great grand-father, and Judas your father, and you have troã their steps ; it is but a devilish prank that thou usest : thy father was hanged for a traitor, and thou deservest no better reward.t Assure thyself that when we come to the King we will do him word of this thy behaviour.—Thus they went their way. By this time By-ends and his companions were come again within sight, and they at the first beck went over to Demas. Now, whether they fell into the pit by looking over the brink thereof, or whether they went down to dig, or whether they were smothered in the i. by the damps that o arise, of these things I am not certain ; but this I observed, that they never were seen again in the way.—Then sang Christian :“By-ends and silver Demas both agree; One calls, the other runs, that he may be A sharer in his lucre ; so these two Take up in this world, and no further go.” "2 Tim. iv. 10. t 2 Kings v. 20–27. Matt. xxvi. 14, 15. xxvii.3—5. (b) Inexperienced believers are very liable to be seduced by the example and persuasions of hypocrites ; and to deviate from the direct path, in order to obtain worldly advantago, by means that naily deva, fair and honourable. In this case the counci and warning of * experienced companion are of the greatest Louient.
143 The JMonument, or Lot's Wife.
Now I saw that, just on the other side of this plain, the Pilgrims came to a place where stood an old Monument hard by the highway side, at the sight of which they were both concerned, because of the strangeness of the form thereof, for it seemed to them as if it had been a woman transformed into the shape of a pillar. Here therefore they stood looking and looking upon it; but could not for a time tell what they should make thereof: at last Hopeful espied written above upon the head thereof a writing in an unusual hand; but he, being no scholar, called to Christian (for he was learned,) to see if he could pick out the meaning; so he came, and after a little laying of letters together, he found the same to be this, *Rememberiot's wife.” So he read it to his fellow ; after which they both concluded that that was the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, for her looking with a coyetous heart when she was going from Sodom.” Which sudden and amazing sight gave them occasion of this discourse. Chr. Ah, my brother this is a seasonable sight: it came opportunely to us after the invitation which Demas gave us to come over to view the Hill Lucre ; and had we gone over, as he desired us, and as thou wastinclining to do, my brother, we had, for aught I know, been made ourselves a spectacle for those that shall come after to behold. Hope. I am sorry that I was so foolish, and am made to wonder that I am not now as Lot's wife ; for wherein was the difference 'twixt her sin and mine F she only looked back, and I had a desire to go see. Let grace be adored, and |. me be ashamed that ever such a thing should be in mine heart. Chr. Let us take notice of what we see here for our help for time to come ; this woman escaped one judgment, for she fell not by the destruction of Sodom ; yet she was destroyed by another, as we see, she is turned into a pillar of salt. Hope. True, and she may be to us both caution and example; caution, that we should shun her sin; or a sign of what judgment will overtake such as shall not be prevented by this Caution : So Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men that perished in their sin, did also become a sign or example to others to beware. But above all, I muse at one thing, to wit, how Demas and his fellows can stand so confidently yonder to look for that treasure, which this woman but for sooking behind her after, (for we read "Gen. xix. 23, t Num, xxvi. 9, 10,
The River of the Water of Life. 143
not that she stept one foot out of the way,) was turned into a pillar of salt; specially since the judgment which overtook her did make her an example within sight of where they are : for they cannot choose but see her, j they but lift up their eyes. UC y ão h is a thing to be wondered at, and it argueth that their heart is grown desperate in that case ; and I cannot tell whom to compare them to so fitly, as to them that pick pockets in the presence of the judge, or that will cut purses under the gallows. It is said of the men of Sodom, that “they were sinners exceedingly,” because they were sinners “before the Lord,” that is, in his eye-sight, and notwithstanding the kindnesses that he had shewed them ; for the land of Sodom was now like the garden of Eden heretofore.” This therefore provoked him the more to jealousy, and made their plague as hot as the fire of the Lord out of heaven could make it. And it is most rationally to be concluded, that such, even such as these are, that shall sin in the sight, yea and that too in despite, of such examples that are set continually before them to caution them to the contrary, must be partakers of severest judgments. Hope. Doubtless thou hast said the truth ; but what a mercy is it, that neither thou, but especially I, am not made myself this example ! This ministereth occasion to us to thank God, to fear before him, and always to “remember Lot's wife.” I saw then, that they went on their way to a pleasant River, which David the king called “the River of God :'' but John, “the River of the water of life.”f Now their way lay just upon the bank of the River: here therefore Christian and his companion walked with great delight: they drank also of the water of the River, which was pleasant and enliv144 The Pilgrims being refreshed depart.
* Gen. xiii. 10, 13. t Psa. lxv. 9. Ezek. xlvii. Rev. xxii. 1.
(c) It is indeed most wonderful, that men, who profess to believe the Bible can so confidently attempt to reconcile the love of the world with the service of God ; when the instructions, warnings and examples in the sacred volume, which shew the fatal consequences of such endeavours, are so numerous, express, and affecting . If Lot's wife, who merely hankered after the possessions she had left behind in Sodom, and looked back with a design of returning, was made a monument of the Lord's vengeance, and a warning to all future ages; what will be the doom of those professed Christians, who habitually prefer worldly gain, or the vain pomp and indulgence that may be purchased with it, to the honour of Christ, and obedience to his most reasonable commandments : The true cause of this infatuation is here assigned : they do not lift up their eyes; and it is to be searcd most of them never will, before “they lift them up in hell, being in torun nts.” .
ening to their weary spirits. Besides, on the banks of this River, on either side, were green trees for all manner of fruit; and the leaves they ate to prevent surfeits, and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by travels. On either side of the River was also a meadow, curiously beautified with lillies; and it was green all the ear long. In this meadow they lay down and slept : for ere they might lie down safely.” When they awoke, they ...] again of the fruit of the trees, and drank again of the water of the River, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights. Then they sang:—
"Behold ye how these chrystal streams do glide,
So when they were disposed to go on (for they were not as yet at their journey’s end,) they ate, and drank, and departed. (d)
Now I beheld in my dream, that they had not journeyed
* Psa. xxiii. Isa. xiv. 30.
(d) When Abraham had given place to his nephew Lot, and receded from his interest for the credit of his religion, he was immediately favoured with a most encouraging vision.” Thus the Pilgrims, having been enabled to resist the temptation to turn aside for lucre, were indulged with more abundant spiritual consolations.f The Holy Spirit, the inexhaustible source of life, light, holiness and joy, is represented by the “River of God;” even that “River of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”f All believers partake of his sacred influences which prepare the soul for heavenly felicity, and are earnests and pledges of it: but there are seasons when he communicates his holy comforts in larger measure; when the Christian sees such glory in the salvation of Christ; so clearly ascertains his interest in it ; and realizes his obligations and privileges, with such lively exercises of adoring love, gratitude and joy, that he is raised above his darkness and difficulties; enjoys sweet communion with God; forgets, for the moment, the pain of former conflicts and the prospect of future trials; finds his in-bred corruptions reduced to a state of subjection, and his maladies healed by lively exercises of faith in the divine Saviour; and anticipates with unspeakable delight the glory that shall be revealed. Then communion with humble believers, (the lillies that adorn the banks of the river.) is very pleasant; and the soul's rest and satisfaction in God and his service are safe, and his calm confidence is well grounded; being widely different from every species of carnal security. Had this River been intended as the emblem of pardon, justifieation and adoption, as some understand the passage, it would not have been thus occasionally introduced ; for these belong to believers at all times, without any interruption or variation : but the more abundant consolations of the Spirit are not vouchsased in the same manner, and on them the actual enjoyment of our privileges in a great measure depends,
* Gen. xiii. 14-18, t Markx. 23–30. # Rev. xxii. 1.