Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

The Pilgrims leave the Town of Vanity. 311

Well, the time drew on that the Pilgrims must go on their way; therefore they prepared for their journey. They sent for their friends; ... conferred with them ; they had some time set apart therein, to commit each other to the protection of their Prince. There were again that brought them of such things as they had, that were fit for the weak and the strong, for the women and the men, and so laded them with such things as were necessary.” Then they set forward on their way; and their friends accompanying them so far as was convenient, they again committed each other to the protection of their King, and departed. They, therefore, that were of the Pilgrims’ company, went on, and Mr. Great-heart went before them. Now the women and children being weakly, they were forced to go as they could bear ; by this means Mr. Ready-to-halt and Mr. Feeble-mind had more to sympathize with their condition. When they were gone from the townsmen, and when their friends had bid them farewell, they quickly came to the place where Faithful was put to death; therefore they made a stand, and thanked Him that had enabled him to bear his cross so well; and the rather, because they now found that they had a benefit by such a man’s sufferings as he was. They went on, therefore, after this a good way further, talking of Christian and Faithful; and how Hopeful joined himself to Christian, after that Faithful was dead.t Now they were come up with the Hill Lucre, where the silver mine was, which took Demas off from his pilgrimage, and into which, as some think, By-ends fell and perished: wherefore they considered that. But when they were come to the old monument that stood over against the Hill Lucre, to wit, to the pillar of salt, that stood also within view of Sodom, and its stinking lake, they marvelled, as did Christian before, that men of that knowledge and ripeness of wit, as they were, should be so blind as to turn aside here. Only they considered again, that nature is not affected with the harms that others have met with, especially if that thing, upon

"Acts xxviii. 10. t Part i. p. 129. Part i. p. 142.

did eminent service at that crisis by their preaching and writings, in exposing the delusions and abominations of that monstrous religion; and these endeavours were eventually the means of overturning the plan formed for the re-establishment of popery in Britain. The disinterested and bold decided conduct of many dissenters, on this occasion, procured considerable favour both to them and their brethren, with the best friends of the nation : but the prejudices of others prevented them from reaping all the advantage from it, that they ... ought to have done.

[ocr errors]

312 River of the Water of Life.

which they look, has an attracting virtue upon the foolish eye. y; saw now that they went on till they came to the River that was on this side of the Delectable Mountains.” To the River where the fine trees grow on both sides; and whose leaves, if taken inwardly, are good against surfeits,t where the meadows are green all the year long, and where they might lie down safely. By this river-side, in the meadows, there were cotes and

folds for sheep, a house built for the nourishing and bringing up of those lambs, the babes of those women that go on pilgrimage. Also there was here One that was entrusted with them, who could have compassion, and that could gather these lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and that could gently lead, those that were with young: Now to the care of this Man Christiana admonished her four daughters to commit their little ones, that by these waters they might be housed, harboured, succoured, and nourished, and that none of them might be lacking in time to come. This Man, if any of them go astray, or be lost, he will brin them again; he will also bind up that which was broken, j will strengthen them that are sick.S Here they will never want meat, drink, and clothing; here they will be kept from thieves and robbers; for this Man will die before one of those committed to his trust shall be lost. Besides, here they shall be sure to have good nurture and admonition; and shall be taught to walk in right paths, and that you know is a favour of no small account. (p). Also here, as you see, are delicate waters, o meadows, dainty flowers, variety of trees, and such as bear wholesome fruit: fruit not like

* Part i. p. 143. t Psa. xxiii. Heb. v. 2. Isa. lxiii. $ Jer. xxiii. 4. Ezek. xxxiv. 11–16.

(p) Under this emblem we are taught the importance of early recommending our children to the faithful care of the Lord Jesus, by fervent prayer, with earnest desires of their sternal good, above all secular advantages whatsoever: consequently we ought to keep them at a distance from snch places, connexions, books and companies, as may corrupt their principles and morals ; to instil such pious instructions as they are capable of receiving ; to bring them early under the preaching of the gospel and to the ordinances of God; and to avail ourselves of every help, in thus “training them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” For depraved natural propensities, the course of the work, the artifices of Satan, the inexperience, credulity, and sanguine expectations of youth, the importance of the case, and the precepts of Scripture, concur in requiring this conduct of us. Yet, after all, our minds must be anxious about the event, in proportion as we value their souls, except as we find relief, by commending them to the faithful care of that tender Shephord, who “gathers the lambs with his arm, and carries them in his boson.”

The Pilgrims go to Doubting-Castle. $13

that which Matthew ate of, that fell over the wall out of Beelzebub's garden ; but fruit that procureth health where there is none, and that continueth and increaseth where it is. So they were content to commit their little ones to him; and that which was also an encouragement to them so to do was, for that all this was to be at the charge of the King; and so was an hospital to young children and orphans. Now they went on ; and when they were come to Byath-meadow, to the Stile over which Christian went with § fellow Hopeful, when they were taken by Giant Despair, and put into Doubting-Castle; they sat down, and consulted what was best to be done; to wit, now they were so strong, and had got such a man as Mr. Great-heart for their Conductor, whether they had not best to make an attempt upon the Giant, demolish his Castle, and if there were any Pilgrims in it, to set them at liberty, before they went any further.”—So one said one thing, and another said to the contrary.—One questioned if it was lawful to go upon unconsecrated ground; another said they might, provided their end was good.— But Mr. Great-heart said, “Though that assertion offered last cannot be universally true, yet I have a commandment to resist sin, to overcome evil, to fight the good fight of faith: and, I pray, with whom should I fight this good fight, if not with Giant Despair P.I. will therefore attempt the taking away of his life, and the demolishing of Doubting-castle.” Then said he, ‘Who will go with me ' Then said old Honest, ‘I will.” “And so we will too,” said Christiana’s four sons, Matthew, Samuel, James, and Joseph : for they were young men and strong.f So they left the women on the road, and with them Mr. Feeble-mind and Mr. Ready-to-halt, with his crutches, to be their guard, until they came back ; for in that place, though Giant Despair dwells so near, they keeping in the road, “a little child night lead them.”f So Mr. Great-heart, old Honest, and the four young men went to go up to Doubting-Castle, to look for Giant Despair. When they came at the Castle-gate, they knocked for entrance with an unusual noise. With that the Old Giant comes to the gate, and Diffidence his wife follows. Then said he, ‘Who and what is he that is so hardy, as after this manner to molest the Giant Despair P Mr. Great-heart re* Part i. p. 143–155. # 1 John ii. 13, 14. Isa, xi. 6.

[ocr errors]

314 Giant Despair killed, and the Castle destroyed.

plied, ‘It is I, Great-heart, one of the King of the Celestial Country's Conductors of Pilgrims to their place: and I demand of thee, that thou open thy gates for my entrance; repare thyself also to fight, for I am come to take away thy ead, and to demolish Doubting-Castle.” Now Giant Despair, because he was a Giant, thought no man could overcome him ; and again, thought he, “Since heretofore I have made a conquest of Angels, shall Greatheart make me afraid P’ So he harnessed himself, and went out ; he had a cap of steel upon his head, a breast-plate of fire girded to him, and he came out in iron shoes with a great club in his hand. Then these six men made up to #. and beset him behind and before : also when Diffidence, the Giantess, came up to help him, old Mr. Honest cut her down at one blow. Then they fought for their lives, and Giant. Despair was brought down to the ground, but was very loth to die: he struggled hard, and had, as they say, as many lives as a cat; but Great-heart was his death ; for he left him not till he had severed his head from his shoulders. Then they fell to demolishing Doubting-Castle, and that you know might with ease be done, since Giant Despair was dead. They were seven days in destroying of that ; and in it, of Pilgrims, they found one Mr. Despondency, almost starved to death, and one Much-afraid his daughter; these two they saved alive. But it would have made you have wondered to have seen the dead bodies that lay here and there in the Castle-yard, and how full of dead men’s bones the dungeon was. When Mr. Great-heart and his companions had performed this exploit, they took Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-afraid, into their protection; for they were honest people, though they were prisoners in Doubting-Castle, to that Giant Despair. They therefore, I say, took with them the head of the Giant, (for his body they had buried under a heap of stones ;) and down to the road and to their companions they came, and shewed thein what they had done. Now when Feeble-mind and Ready-to-hălt saw that it was the head of Giant Despair indeed, they were very jocund and merry. Now Christiana, if need was, could play upon the viol, and her daughter Mercy, upon the lute ; so since they were so merrily disposed, she played them a lesson,

[ocr errors]

Despondency is refreshed. 315

and Ready-to-halt would dance. So he took Despondency’s daughter, named Much-afraid by the hand, and to dancing they went, in the road. , True, he could not dance without one crutch in his hand; but I promise you, he footed it well: also the girl was to be commended, for she answered the imusic handsomely.

As for Mr. Despondency, the music was not much to him : he was for feeding rather than dancing ; for that he was almost starved. So Christiana gave him some of her bottle of spirits, for present relief, and then prepared him something to eat; and in a little time the old gentleman came to himself, and began to be finely revived. • *

Now I saw in my dream, when all these things were finished, Mr. Great-heart took the head of Giant Despair, and set it upon a pole by the highway-side, right over against the pillar that Christian erected for a caution to Pilgrims that came after, to take heed of entering into his grounds. (q)

(7) The following lines are here added, as in other places:

“Though Doubting-Castle be demolished,
And Giant Despair too has lost his head;
Sin can rebuild the Castle, make’t remain,
And make Despair the Giant live again.'-

Indeed they seem to be much wanted; for the exploit of destroying Doubting-Castle, and killing Giant Despair, is more liable to exception than any incident in the whole work. To relieve the minds of such as are discouraged in the path of duty, or when inquiring the way of salvation, is doubtless a most important service in the cause of Christ. This is represented by the attempts made to mend the road over the Slough of Despond : but Bypath-meadow ought to lead to Doubting-Castle; such inward distresses are as useful to Christians as any other rebukes and corrections, by which their loving Friend renders them watchful and circumspect. Could this order be reversed, it would give strength to temptation, and tend to embolden men to seek relief from difficulties by transgression; for the apprehension of subsequent distress is one grand preventative, even to the believer, when such measures are suggested to his mind. Indeed, this is the Lord's method of performing his covenant to his people ; “I will,” says he, “put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” If therefore love be not in lively exercise, he has so ordered it, that fear should intervene, to prevent worse consequences. So that, when believers have not only departed from the way, but have also fallen asleep on forbidden ground, their alarms and doubts are salutary, though often groundless and extreme ; and should any man, by preaching or writing, be able to prevent all the despondings of such persons, previous to their repentance and its happy effects, he would subserve the design of the tempter, and counteract the Lord's plan. We can, with propriety, do no more in this case, than encourage the fallen to repent and seek forgiveness, by the general truths, invitations, and promises of Scripture; and comfort them when penitent, by suitable topics, “that they may * Jer, xxxii. 40.

« ZurückWeiter »