Abbildungen der Seite

...tterey is well in the Valley. . . £71

This is the place also, where others have been hard put to it.—But more of the place when we are come to it; for I persuade myself, that to this day there remains either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a battle there was fought. • . . . Then said Mercy, I think I am as well in this Valley as I have been any where else in all our journey : the place, methinks, suits with my spirit. I love to be in such places where there is no rattling with coaches, nor rumbling with wheels: methinks, here one may, without lauch molestation, be thinking what he is, whence he came, what he has done, and to what the King has called him : here one may think, and break at heart, and melt in one’s spirit, until one’s eyes become “as the fishpools of Heshbon.” They that go rightly through this “Valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain,” that God sends down from heaven upon them that are here, “alse filleth the pools.” This Valley is that from whence also the King will give to then their vineyards;" and they that go through it shall sing as Christian did, for all he met with Apollyon. ‘It is true,” said their Guide, ‘I have gone through this Valley many a time, and néver was better than when here. I have also been a Conductor to several Pilgrims, and they have confessed the same. “To this man will I look,” (saith the King,) “even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word.” Now they were come to the place where the aforementioned battle was fought. Then said the Guide to Christiana, her children, and Mercy, “This is the place : on this ground Christian stood, and up there came Apollyon against him : and, look, did not I tell you, here is some of your husband's blood upon these stones to this day. Behold, also, how here and there are yet to be seen upon the place some of the shivers of Apollyon's broken darts. See also, how they did beat the ground with their feet as they fought, to make good their places against each other; how also, with their byblows, they did split the very stones in pieces: verily Christian did here play the man, and shewed himself, as stout as , Hercules could, had he been there, even he himself. When * Sol. Song vii. 4. Psa. lxxxiv. 5–7. Hos. ii. 15. opportunity of assaulting the soul with dreadful temptations: and, while at one moment hard thoughts of God, or doubts concerniug the truth of his wurd, are suggested to our 272 .Memorials of Christian's Conflict.

minds ; at the next we may be affrighted by our own dreadful rebellion and ingratitude, prompted to condemn ourselves as hypocrites, and almost driven to despair.

Apollyon was beat, he made his retreat to the next Valley, that is called the Valley of the Shadow of Death, unto which we shall come anon. Lo, yonder also stands a monument, on which is engraven this battle, and Christian's victory, to his fame throughout all ages.” (m) So because it stood just on the way-side before them, they stepped to it, and read the writing, which word for word was this“Hard by here was a battle fought, Most strange, and yet most true : * Christian and Apollyon sought Each other to subdue. The man so bravely play'd the man, He made the fiend to fly : Of which a monument I stand, The same to testify."

When they had passed by this place, they came upon the borders of the Shadow of Death, and this Walley was longer than the other; a place also most strangely haunted with evil things, as many are able to testify : but these women and children went the better through it, because they had day-light, and because Mr. Great-heart was their Conductor.

When they were entered upon this Valley, they thought that they heard a groaning, as of dead men; a very great groaning. They thought also that they did hear words of lamentation, spoken as of some in extreme torment. These things made the boys to quake, the women also looked pale and wan; but their Guide bid them be of good comfort.

So they went on a little further, and they thought that they .

felt the ground begin to shake under them, as if some hollow

place was there ; they heard also a kind of hissing, as of

serpents, but nothing as yet appeared. Then said the boys, “Are we not yet at the end of this doleful place P’ But the

(m) We ought earefully to study the records left us of the temptations, conflicts, faith, patience, and victories of former believers: we should mark well, what wounds they received, and by what misconduct they were occasioned, that we may watch and pray lest we fall in like manner. We ought carefully to observe, how they successfully repelled the various assaults of the tempter, that we may learn to resist him, stedfast in the faith: and

in general, their triumphs should animate us, to “put on," and keep on, “the whole armour

of God, that we may be enabled to withstand in the evil day.”—on the other hand, such as "have been rendered victorious should readily speak of their experiences among those that fear God, that they may be cautioned, instructed, and cncouraged by their example.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Guide also bid them be of #". courage, and look well to their feet, lest haply, said he, you be taken in some snare. (m) Now James began to be sick, but I think the cause thereof was fear; so his mother gave him some of that glass of spirits that she had given her at the Interpreter's house, and three of the pills that Mr. Skill had prepared, and the boy began to revive. Thus they went on, till they came to about the middle of the Valley; and then Christiana said, ‘Methinks I see something yonder upon the road before us; a thing, of a shape such as I have not seen.' ...Then said Joseph, “Mother, what is it o’ ‘An ugly thing, child; an ugly thing,” said she. “But mother, what is it like * said he. ‘’Tis like, I cannot tell what,” said she, “And now. it is but a little way off.” Then said she, “It is nigh.” “Well,” said Mr. Great-heart, ‘Let them that are most afraid, keep close to me.” So the fiend came on, and the Conductor met it; but when it was just come to him, it vanished to all their sights : then remembered they what had been said some time ago; “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” They went therefore on, as being a little refreshed; but they had not gone far, before Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something almost like a Lion, and it came a great padding pace after; and it had a hollow voice of roaring; and at every roar that it gave, it made the Valley echo, and all their hearts to ache, save the heart of him that was their Guide. So it came up; and Mr. Great-heart went behind, and put the Pilgrims all before him. The Lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed himself to give him battle. But when he saw, that it was determined

(n) The meaning of this Valley has been stated in the notes on the first part of the work; and the interpretation there given is here confirmed. As it relates chiefly to the influence, which “the Prince of the power of the air” possesses over the imagination; it must vary exceedingly, according to the constitution, animal spirits, health, education, and strength of mind or judgment, of different persons-They, who are happily incapable of understanding either the allegory or the explanation, should beware of despising or condemning such as have been thus harassed. And, on the other hand, these should take care not to consider such temptations as proofs of spiritual advancement ; or to yield to them, as if they were essential to maturity of grace and experience; by which means Satan often attains dreadful advantages.-It is most advisable for tempted persons to consult some able, judicious minister, or compassionate and established Christian, whose counsel and prayers may be singularly useful in this case; observing the 9ssistance which Great-heart gave to the Pilgrims, in passing through the Walley.


§74 They Pray and are delivered.

that resistance should be made, he also drew back, and came no further.” Then they went on again, and their Conductor did go ber fore them, till they came at a place where was cast up a Pit the whole breadth of the way; and, before they could be prepared to go over that, a great mist and a darkness fell upon them, so that they could not see. Then said the Pilgrims, “Alas! now what shall we do P But their Guide made answer, “Fear not, stand still, and see what an end will be put to this also.”. So they staid there, because their path was marred. They then also thought they did hear more apparently the noise and rushing of the enemies; the fire also, and o of the pit was much easier to be discerned. Then said Christiana to Mercy, ‘Now l see what my poor husband went through ; I have heard much of this place, but I never

was here before now. Poor man he went here all alone, ,

in the night; he had night almost quite through the way: also these fiends were busy about him, as if they would have torn him in 'pieces. Many have spoke of it, but none tell

what the Valley of the Shadow of Death should mean until

they come in themselves. “The heart knows its own bitterness; a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy.” To be here is a fearful thing.” Gr.-H. This is like doing business in great waters, or like going down into the deep ; this is like being in the heart of the sea, and like going down to the bottom of the mountains 5 now it seems as if “the earth with its bars, were about us for ever.” “But let them that walk in darkness, and have no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God.” For my part, as I have told you already, I have gone often through this Valley; and have been much harder put to it than I now am ; and yet you see I am alive. I would not boast, for that I am not mine own Saviour. But I trust we shall have a good deliverance. Come, pray for light to him that can lighten our darkness, and that can rebuke, not only these, but all the Satans in hell. So they cried and prayed, and God sent light and deliverance; for there was now no let in their way, no not there, where but now they were stopt with a pit. Yet thes were not got through the Valley: so they went on still, and beheld great stinks and loathsome smells to the great annoyance of them. Then said Mercy to Christiana, “There is not such * 1 Pet. W, 8.

Heedless slain and cast into a Ditch. 275

pleasant being here as at the Gate, or at the Interpreter's, or at the house where we lay last.” (0) ‘0 but,” said one of the boys, “it is not so bad to go through here, as it is to abide here always; and, for aught I know, one reason why we must go this way to the house prepared for us, is, that our home might be made the sweeter to us.” “Well said, Samuel,’ quoth the Guide, ‘thou hast now ce like a man.” “Why, if ever I get out here again,” said." e boy, ‘I think I shall prize light and good way, better than ever I did in all my life.” (p) Then said the Guide, ‘We shall be out by and by.” So on they went, and Joseph said, ‘Cannot we see to the end of this Valley as yet o' Then said the Guide, “Look to your feet; for we shall presently be among snares.’ So the looked to their feet, and went on ; but were troubled muc with the snares.—Now when they were come among the snares, they espied a man cast into the Ditch on the ... with his flesh all rent and torn. Then said the Guide, “That is one Heedless, that was going this way; he has lain there a great while. There was one Take-heed with him when he was taken and slain, but he escaped their hands. You cannot imagine, how many are killed hereabouts, and yet men are so foolishly venturous, as to set out lightly on pilgrimage, and to come without a Guide. Poor Christian, it was a wonder that he here escaped but he was beloved of his God;

(o) whatever attempts Satan may make to terrify the believer, resolute resistance hy faith in Christ will drive him away : but if fear induces men to neglect the means of grace, he will renew his assaults on the imagination, whenever they attempt to pray, read the scripture, or attend on any duty; till for a time, or finally, they give up their religion. In this case therefore, determined perseverance in opposition to every terrifying suggestion is our only safety. Yet sometimes temptations may be so multiplied and varied, that it may seem impossible to proceed any further; and the mind of the harassed believer is enveloped in confusion and dismay, as if an horrible pit were about to swallow him up, or the Prince of darkness to seize upon him. But the counsel of some experienced friend or minister, exciting considence in the power, mercy, and faithfulness of God, and encouraging him to “pray without ceasing,” will at length make way for his deliverance.

(p) should any one, by hearing the believer say, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gathold upon me,” be tempted to avoid all religious duties, company, and reflections, lest he should experience similar terrors, let him well weigh this observition ; “It is not so bad to go through here, as to abide here always.'-Nothing can be more absurd, than to neglect religion, lest the fear of hell should discompose a man's mind, when such neglect exposes him to the etermal endurance of it: whereas the short taste of distress, which may be experienced by the tempted believer, will make redemption more precious, and render peace, comfort, and beaven at last, doubly delightful :

« ZurückWeiter »