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Öf Christian's Adventures. 205
Sag. Talk! the people talk strangely about him : some say, that he now walks in white ;” that he has a chain of gold about his neck; that he has a crown of gold, beset with pearls, upon his head : others say, that the Shining Ones, that sometimes shewed themselves to him in his journey, are become his companions, and that he is as familiar with them in the place where he is, as here one neighbour is with another.t. Besides, it is confidently affirmed concerning him, that the King of the place, where he is has bestowed upon him already a very rich and pleasant dwelling at court, and that he every day eateth, and drinketh, and walkesh, and talketh, with him, and receiveth the smiles and favours of him that is Judge of all there. Moreover, it is expected of some, that his Prince, the Lord of that Country, will shortly come into these parts, and will know the reason, if they can give any, why his neighbours set so little by him, and had him so much in derision, when they perceived that he would be a Pilgrim.;
For they say, that now he is so in the affections of his Prince, and that his Sovereign is so much concerned with the indignities that were cast upon Christian, when he became a Pilgrim, that he will look upon all as if done to himself: and no marvel, for it was for the love that he had to his Prince, that he ventured as he did.; (b)
“I dare say,’ quoth I, ‘I am glad of it; I am glad for the poor man's sake, for that now he has rest from his labour," and for that he now reaps the benefits of his tears with joy;"| and for that he has got beyond the gun-shot of his enemies, and is out of the reach of them that hate him. I also am
* Rev. iii. 4. vi. 11. t Zech. iii. 7. ; Jude 14, 15. § Luke x. 16.
| Rev. xiv. 13. * Psa. cxxvi. 5, 6.
, (b) Christians are the representatives on earth of the Saviour and Judge of the world; and the usage they meet with, whether good or bad, commonly originates in men's love to him, or contemptuous enmity against him. The decisions of the great day therefore will be made, with an especial reference to this evidence of men's faith or unbelief. Faith works by love of Christ, and of his people for his sake, which influences men to self-denying kindness wowards the needy and distressed of the flock, where these fruits are totally wanting, it is evident there one love of Christ, and consequently no faith in him, or salva. tion by him. And as true believers are the excellent of the earth, no man can have any good reason for despising, hating, and injuring them; so that this usage will be adduced as a proof of positive enmity to Christ, and expose the condemned sinner to more aggravated misery. Indeed, it often appears after the death of consistent Christians, that the con*cieuces of their most scornful opposers secretly favoured them: it must then surely be deemed the wisest conduct by every reflecting person, to “let these men alone,—lest haply he should be found to fight against God.”
206 Christian's Wife and Children become Pilgrims.
glad, for that a rumour of these things is noised abroad in this country; who can tell but that it may work some good effect on some that are left behind –But pray, Sir, while it is fresh in my mind, do you hear anything of his wife and children P Poor hearts, I wonder in my mind what they do. Sag. Who P. Christiana and her sons P They are like to do as well as did Christian himself; for, though they all o the fool at first, and would by no means be persuaded by either the tears or entreaties of Christian, yet second thoughts have wrought wonderfully with them : so they have cked up, and are also gone after him. ‘Better and better,’ quoth I “But, what! wife and children and all P” Sag. It is true : I can give you an account of the matter: for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair. *Then,” said I, ‘may a man report it for a truth Fo Sag. You need not fear to affirm it: I mean, that they are all gone on pilgrimage, both the good woman and her four boys. And being we are, as I perceive, going some considerable way together, I will give you an account of the whole matter. This Christiana, (for that was her name from the day that she with her children betook themselves to a Pilgrim’s life, after her husband was gone over the River,” and she coul hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind. First, for that she had lost fier husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them. For you know, said he to me, nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations. This, therefore, of her husband, did cost her many a tear. But this was not all, for Christiana did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behaviour towards her husband was not one cause that she saw him no more ; and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this came into her mind, by swarms, all her unkind, unratural, and ungodly carriage to her dear friend ; which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was moreover much broken with calling to remembrance the restless groans the brinish tears, and self-bemoaning of her husband, an how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties, and
* Part i. p. 195—19s. - e
- Christiana is admonished by Dreams. 207
loving persuasions, of ber and her sons, to go with him : yea,
208 Secret visits Christiana.
lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by some way, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter, else all the world cannot help but she will become a Pilgrim.” (d). Now she awoke in a great sweat; also a trembling was upon her; but after a while she fell to sleeping again. And then she thought she saw Christian her husband in a place of bliss among many immortals, with a harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat on a throne, with a rainbow about his head. She saw also, as if he bowed his head with his face towards the paved work that was under his Prince's feet, saying, “I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing me into this place.” Then shouted a company of them that stood round about and harped with their harps : but no man living could tell what they said, but Christian and his companions. Next morning, when she was up, had prayed to God, and talked with her children a while, one knocked hard at the door; to whom she spake out, saying, “If thou comest in God’s name, come in.” So he said, ‘Amen;’ and opened the door, and saluted her with, “Peace on this house.” The which when he had done, he said, ‘Christiana, knowest thou wherefore I am come P” Then she blushed and trembled, also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know from whence he came, and what his errand was to her. So he said unto her, “My name is Secret; I dwell with those that are high. It is talked of, where I dwell, as if thou hadst a desire to go thither ; also there is a report, that thou art aware of the evil thou hast formerly done to thy husband, in hardening of thy heartagainst his way, and in keeping of these babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful one has sent me to tell thee, that he is a God, ready to forgive, and that he taketh delight to multiply the pardon of offences. He also would have thee to know, that he inviteth thee to (d) The mind, during sleep, is often occupied about those subjects that have most deeply engaged the waking thoughts: and it sometimes pleases God to make use of ideas thus suggested, to influence the conduct by exciting fears or hopes. Provided an intimation be scriptural, and the effect salutary, we need not hesitate to consider it as a divine monition, however it was brought to the mind; but, if men attempt to draw conclusions in respect of their acceptance or duty; to determine the truth of certain doctrines; to prophesy, or to discover hidden things-by dreams or visions of any kind ; they then become a very dangerous and disgraceful species of enthusiasm. Whatever means are employed, conviction of sin, and a disposition earnestly to cry for mercy, are the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart ; and on the other hand, the powers of darkness will surely use every effort and stratagem to take offinquirers, from thus earnestly seeking the salvation of God.
He encourages and advises Her. 209
come into his presence, to his table ; and that he will feed
(e) “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.” The intimations given by Secret seen to represent the silent teaching of the Holy Spirit, by which the true meaning of the Scriptures is discovered, and the real grounds of encouragement brought to the penitent's notice or recollection. Thus he learns that the way of salvation is yet open to him: and the invitations of the gospel prove more fragrant and refreshing than the most costly ointment, and more precious than the gold of Ophir-It is observable that Secret did not inform Christiana that her sins were forgiven, or that Christ and the promises belonged to her; but merely that she was invited to come, and that coming in the appointed way she would be accepted, notwithstanding her pertinacious unbelief in the preceding part of her life. Thus, without seeming to have intended it, the author hath stated the scriptural medium between the extremes which have been contended for with great eager." ness and immense mischief in modern days ; while some maintain, that sinners should not be invited to come to Christ, or commanded to repent and believe the gospel; and others that they should be urged to believe at once, with full assurance, that all the blessings of salvation belong to them, even previously to repentance, or works meet for repentance 1
(s) “Through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God!” Habitual * 1s-denial, even in things lawful in themselves, yet in many cases inexpedient, mortification of our sinful inclinations, inward conflicts, the renunciation of worldly interests and connexions, the scorn and hatrud of the world, sore temptations, and salutary chastisements, are very bitter to our natural feelings. Habits likewise, and situation often render some of them extremely painful, like “cutting of a right hand, or pluck ng out a right eye." and devp poverty, Berkcution, or seasons ef public calmnity, may onhance these tribulation”