« ZurückWeiter »
.And rescued by One sent by Goodwill. 225
you make my Lord's people to transgress : He also attempted to take them; but they did make their escape over the wall into the garden of the man to whom the great dog belonged: so the dog became their protector. This Iteliever then came up to the women, and asked them how they did. So they answered, “We thank thy Prince, pretty well; only we have been somewhat affrighted: we thank thee also, that thou camest in to our help, for otherwise we had been overcome.”
So after a few more words, this Reliever said as followeth : I marvelled much, when you were entertained at the Gate above, being ye know that ye were but weak women, that you petitioned not the Lord for a Conductor : then might
ou have avoided these troubles and dangers: he would
have granted you one.
Alas! said Christiana, we were so taken with our present blessing, that dangers to come were forgotten by us: beside, who could have thought, that so near the King's palace there should have lurked such naughty ones! Indeed it had been well for us, had we asked our Lord for one ; but, since our Lord knew it would be for our profit, I wonder he sent not one along with us.
Itel. It is not always necessary to grant things not asked for, lest by so doing o, become of little esteem: but, when the want of a thing is felt, it then comes under, in the eyes of him that feels it, that estimate that properly is its due #. and so consequently will be hereafter used. Had my Lord granted you a Conductor, you would not, neither, so have bewailed that oversight of your's in not asking for one, as now you have occasion to do. So all things work for good, and tend to make you more wary. (s)
Chr. Shall we go back again to my Lord, and confess our folly, and ask one P
(a) Satan designs, by every means, to take off awakened sinners from the great concern of eternal salvation; and he makes use of ungodly men for that purpose, among his manifold devices against the female sex. These are very ill-frvoured to the gracious mind; however alluring their persons, circumstances, or proposals may be to the carnal eye. As such vile seducers are too often successful, they are emboldened to attempt even those who Profess to be religious: nor are they always repulsed by them ; for many, of whom favourable hopes were once entertained, have thus awfully “been again entangled and overcome, so that their last state has been worse than the first.” But when such proposals are repulsed with decided abhorrence, and earnest prayers, the Lord will give deliverance and victory.-The faithful admonitions and warmings of a stated pastor are especially intended by the Conductor. The Reliever seems to represent the occasional direction and counsel of some able minister; for he speaks of Christ, as his Lord, and must therefore be consid: •red as ene of the servants by whom help is sent to the distressed.
226 Christiana relates to JMercy her Dream.
Rel. Your confession of your folly will I present him with: to go back again, you need not; for in all places where you shall come you will find no want at all ; for at every of my Lord's lodgings, which he has prepared for the reception of his Pilgrims, there is sufficient to furnish them against all attempts whatsoever. But as I said, “He will be inquired of by them, to do it for them.” And it is a poor thing that : is not worth asking for-When he had thus said, he went back to his place, and the Pilgrims went on their way. Then said Mercy, ‘What a sudden blank is here ! I made account we had been past all danger, and that we should never sorrow more.” “Thy innocency, my sister,’ said Christiana to Mercy, ‘may excuse thee much; but, as for me, my fault is so much the greater, for that I saw this danger before I came out of the doors, and yet did not provide for it where provision might have been had. I am much to be blamed.” hen said Mercy, “How knew you this before you came from home P Pray open to me this riddle.” Chr. Why, I will tell you.-Before I set foot out of doors, one night, as I lay in my bed, I had a dream about this: for methought I saw two men, as like these as ever the world they could look, stand at my bed's feet, plotting how they might prevent my salvation. ... I will tell you their very words ; they said, (it was when I was in my troubles,) “What shall we do with this woman R for she cries out waking and sleeping for forgiveness : if she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband.’ This you know might have made me take heed, and have provided when provision might have been had. “Well,” said Mercy, as by this neglect we have an occasion ministered unto us to behold our imperfections, so our Lord has taken occasion thereby to make manifest the riches of his grace; for he, as we see, has followed us with unasked kindness, and has delivered us from their hands that were stronger than we, of his mere good pleasure.” Thus now, when they had talked away a little more time, they drew near to an house that stood in the way; which house was built for the relief of Pilgrims; as you will find more fully related in the first part of the records of the PILGRIM's ProgREss.f So they drew on towards the house ; (the house of the Interpreter ;) and, when they came to the * Ezck. xxxvi. 37, t Part i. p. 43-55,
The House of the Interpreter. 227
door, they heard a great talk in the house; then they gave ear, and heard, as they thought, Christiana of by name. For you must know, that there went along, even before her, a talk of her and her children going on pilgrimage. And this was the more pleasing to them, because they had heard that she was Christian’s wife, that woman who was some time ago so unwilling to hear of going on pilgrimage. Thus, therefore, they stood’ still, and heard the good people within commending her, who they little thought stood at the door—At last Christiana knocked, as she sad done at the Gate before. Now, when she had knocked, there came to the door a young damsel, named Innocent, and opened the door, and looked, and, behold, two women were there. Then said the damsel to them, ‘With whom would you speak in this place P’ Christiana answered, We understand that this is a privileged place for those that are become Pilgrims, and we now at this door are such : wherefore we pray that we may be partakers of that for which we at this time are come ; for the day, as thou seest, is very far spent, and we are loth tonight to go any further. Ilam. Pray what may I call your name, that I may tell it to my Lord within P Chr. My name is Christiana; I was the wife of that Pilgrim that some years ago did travel this way; and these be his four children. This maiden is also my companion, and is going on pilgrimage too. Then ran Innocent in, (for that was her name,) and said to those within, ‘Can you think who is at the door P There is Christiana and her children, and her companion, all waiting for entertainment here !” Then they leaped for joy, and went and told their Master. So he came to the door, and, looking upon her, he said, “Art thou that Christiana whom Christian the good man left behind him, when he betook himself to a Pilgrim's life P’ Chr. I am that woman that was so hard-hearted as to slight my husband’s troubles, and that left him to go on his journey alone; and these are his four children : but now I also am come, for lam convinced that no way is right but this. Inter. Then is fulfilled that which is written of the man that said to his son, “Go work to-day in my vineyard; and he said to his father, I will not; but afterwards repented and went.” 228 They are welcomed by Interpreter.
* Matt. xxi, 28.29.
Then said Christiana, ‘So be it; Amen. God make it a true saying upon me, and grant that I may be found at the last “of him in peace, without spot, and blameless " Inter. But why standest thou at the door P Come in, thou daughter of Abraham : we were talking of thee but now, for tidings have come to us before, how thou art become a Pilgrim. Come, children, come in : come, maiden, come. —So he had them all into the house. So, when they were within, they were bidden to sit down and rest them ; the which when they had done, those that attended upon the Pilgrims in the house came into the room to see them. And one smiled, and another smiled, and another smiled, and they all smiled, for joy that Christiana was become a Pilgrim ; they also looked upon the boys: they stroked them over their faces with their hands, in token of their kind reception of them : they also carried it lovingly to Mercy, and bid them all welcome into their Master's house. After a while, because supper was not ready, the Interpreter took them into his significant rooms, and shewed them what Christian, Christiana’s husband, had seen some time before. Here therefore they saw the Man in the Cage, the Man and his Dream, the Man that cut his way through sis enemies, and the Picture of the biggest of all; together with the rest of those things that were then so profitable to Christian. This done, and, after those things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a Man that could look no way but downwards, with a muckrake in his hand : there stood also one over his head with a Celestial Crown in his hand, and proffered him that Crown for his muck-rake ; but the man did neither look up, nor re: gard, but rake to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor. Then said Christiana, I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this ; for this is the figure of a man in this world : is it not, good Sir P Thou hast said right, said he, and his muck-rake doth shew his carnal mind. And, whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than do what he says that calls to him from above, with the Celestial Crown in his hand; it is to shew, that heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted