Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

316 The Delectable JMountains.

Then he writ under it, upon a marble stone, these verses following:—

“This is the head of him, whose name only,
In former time, did Pilgrims terrify.
His Castle's down, and Diffidence, his wife,
Brave master Great-heart has bereft of life.
Despondency, his daughter Much-afraid,
Great-heart for them also the man has play’d.
Who hereof doubts, if he'll but east his eye
Up hither, may his scruples satisfy.
This head also, when doubting cripples dance,
Iłoth shew from fears they have deliverance.”

When those men had thus bravely shewed themselves against Doubting-Castle, and had slain Giant Despair, they went forward, and went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains, where Christian and Hopeful refreshed themselves with the varieties of the place. They also acquainted themselves, with the Shepherds there, who welcomed them, as they had done Christian before, unto the Delectable Mountains.

Now the Shepherds seeing so great a train follow Mr. Great-heart, (for with him they were well acquainted,) they said unto him, ‘Good Sir, you have got a goodly company here; pray where did you find all these ?”

Gr-H. ‘First, here is Christiana and her train,
Her sons, and her sons' wives, who, like the withm,
Keep by the pole, and do by compass steer
From sin to grace, else they had not been here.
Next, here's old Honest come on pilgrimage;
Ready-to-halt too, who, I dare engage,
True-hearted is, and so is Feeble-mind,
who willing was not to be left behind.
Despondency, good man, is coming after,
And so also is Much-afraid, his daughter.
May we have entertainment here, or must
We further go? Let's know whereon to trust.’

Then said the Shepherds, “This is a comfortable company; you are welcome to us, for we have for the feeble, as for Shepherds' Feast, and JMount Marvel. 317

not be swallowed up of over-much sorrow."—But though this part of the allegory is liable to some objection, or capable of being abused : yet it is probable, that the author only intended to shew, that the labours of faithful ministers, with the converse and prayers of such believers as are strong in faith, may be very useful in recovering the fallen, and relieving them that are ready to despond ; and of thus preventing the more durable and droidful effects of the weak keliever's transgressions,

the strong : our Prince has an eye to what is done to the least of these :" therefore infirmity must not be a block to our entertainment.” So they had them to the Palacedoors, and then said unto them, “Come in, Mr. Feeblemind': come in, Mr. Ready-to-halt; come in, Mr. Deso'. and Mrs. Much-afraid his daughter.” . These, Mr. Great-heart,” said the Shepherds to the Guide, “we call in by name, for that they are most subject to draw back; but as for you, and the rest that are strong, we leave †. to your wonted liberty.’ Then said Mr. Great-heart, ‘This day I see that grace doth shine in your faces, and that you are my Lord's Shepherds indeed ; for that you have not F. these diseased neither with side nor shoulder, but ave rather strewed their way into the palace with flowers as you should.”f - §. the feeble and weak went in, and Mr. Great-heart and the rest did follow. When they were also sat down, the Shepherds said to those of the weakest sort, “What is that you would have P For,” said they, “all things must be managed here to the supporting of the weak, as well as the warning of the unruly.” So they made them a feast of things easy of digestion; and that were pleasant to the palate and nourishing : the which when they had received, they went to their rest, each one respectively unto his proper place. When morning was come, because the mountains were high, and the day clear; and because it was the custom of the Shepherds to shew the Pilgrims, before their departure, some rarities; therefore, after they were ready, and had refreshed themselves, the Shepherds took them out into the fields, and o them first what they had shewed to Christian beore.f Then they had them to some new places. The first was Mount Marvel, where they looked, and behold a man at a distance, that tumbled the hills about with words. Then they asked the Shepherds what that should mean P. So they told them, that that man was the son of one Mr. Greatgrace, [of whom you read in the first part of the records of the Pilgrim’s Progress : ] and he is set there to teach Pilgrims how to believe down, or to tumble out of their

* Matt. xxv. 40, f Ezek. xxxiv. 21. 3 Part i. p. 155-150.

[ocr errors]

ways, what difficulties they should meet with, by faith." *Then,” said Mr. Great-heart, ‘I know him ; he is a man above many.’ (r) o Then they had them to another place, called Mount Innecence : and there they saw a man clothed all in white; and two men, Prejudice and Ill-will, continually casting dirt upon him. Now behold, the dirt, whatsoever they cast at him, would in a little time fall off again, and his garment would idok as clear as if no dirt has been cast thereatThen said the Pilgrims, ‘What means this?’ The Shepherds answered, “This man is named Godly-man, and the garment is to shew the innocency of his life. Now those that throw dirt at him, are such as hate his well-doing; but as you see the dirt will not stick upon his clothes, so it shall be with him that lives truly innocently in the world. Whoever they be that would make such men dirty, they labour all in vain; for God, by that a little time is spent, will cause that their innocence shall break forth as the light, and their righteousness as the noon day.” (s) Then they took them, and had them to Mount Charity, where they shewed them a man that had a bundle of cloth lying before him, out of which he cut coats and garments

*Mark xi. 23, 24.

(r) Faith exercised on the promises, and according to the warrant of Scripture, engages the arm of omnipotence on our side, as far as our duty or advantage, and the glory of God are concerned: so that strong faith will remove out of our way, every obstacle which prevents our progress. But many things seem to us to be insurmountable obstacles which are merely trials of our patience, or “thorns in the flesh” to keep us humble; nodegree of faith therefore will remove them ; but believing prayer will be answered by inward strength communicated to our souls. “The grace of the Lord Jesus will be sufficient for us:” “his strength will be perfected in our weakness:” the burning bush shall not be consumed : and we shall be enabled to proceed, though in great weakness and with many trembling apprehensions. On the other hand, real hindrances frequently obstruet our path, “because of our unbehes,” and because we neglect the proper means of increasing our faith.”

(*) This and the subsequent emblems are sufficiently explained, and only require to be duly considered, with reference to their practical import. It may, however, be observed, that some godly men have been durably suspected of crimes charged upon them by prejudiced persons, of which they are entirely innocent : yet, perhaps, this will be found to have originated from some misconduet in other respects, or from want of circumspection in “avoiding the appearance of evil:” so that the general rule may be allowed to be valid; and they who feel themselves to be exceptions to it will do well to examine whether they have not, by indiscretions, at least, exposed themselves to this painful trial. I apprehend most of us have eause enough in this respeet for humisation and patieneé.

* Matt, rvii, 1932i,

Fool and Want-wit. $19 for the poor that stood about him ; yet his bundle or roll of cloth was never the less. Then said they, ‘What should this be P’ ‘This is,” said the Shepherds, “to shew you, that he that has a heart to give of his labour to the poor, shall never want wherewithal. “He that watereth, shall be watered himself.” And the cake, that the widow gave to the prophet, did not cause that she had ever the less in her barrel.” They had them also to the place, where they saw one Fool, and one Want-wit, washing of an Ethiopian, with an intention to make him white; but the more they washed him, the blacker he was. Then they asked the Shepherds, what that should mean P. So they told them, saying, “Thus shall it be with the vile person; all means used to get such a one a good name, shall in conclusion tend but to make him more abominable. Thus it was with the Pharisees, and so it shall be with all hypocrites.” Then said Mercy, the wife of Matthew, to Christiana her mother, ‘I would, if it might be, see the Hole in the hill, or that commonly called the By-way to hell.” So her mother brake her mind to the Shepherds.” . Then they went to the door; o was on the side of an hill ;) and they openedit, and bid Mercy hearken a while. So she hearkened, and heard one saying, ‘Cursed be my father, for holding of my feet back from the way of peace and life :’ And another said, “O that I had been torn in pieces, before I had, to save my life, lost my soul | And another said, ‘If I were to live in, how would I deny myself, rather than come to this ace P Then there was as if the very earth groaned and quaked under the feet of this young woman for fear; so she looked white, and came trembling away, saying, ‘Blessed be he and she that is delivered from this place.” Now when the Shepherds had shewn them all these things, then they had . back to the Palace, and entertained them with what the house would afford : but Mercy being a young and breeding woman, longed for something that she saw there, but was ashamed to ask. Her mother-in-law then asked her what she ailed P for she looked as one not well. Then said Mercy, “There is a looking-glass hangs up in the dining-room, off which I cannot take my mind; if therefore I have it not, I think I shall miscarry.” * Part i. P. rs9, reo.

320 The wonderful Looking-glass.

Then said her mother, ‘I will mention thy wants to the Shepherds, and they will not deny it thee.” But she said, “I am ashamed that these men should know that I longed.” “Nay, my daughter,’ said she, “it is no shame, but a virtue, to long for such a thing as that.”. So Mercy said, “Then, mother, if you please, ask the Shepherds if they are willing to sell it.” Now the glass was one of a thousand. It would present a man, one way, with his own features exactly ; and turn it but another way, and it would shew one the very face and similitude of the Prince of the Pilgrims himself. Yes, I have talked with them that can tell, and they have said, that they have seen the very crown of thorns upon his head, by looking in that glass ; they have therein also seen the holes in his hands, in his feet, and his side. Yea, such an excellency is there in that glass, that it will shew him to one where they have a mind to see him; whether living or dead, whether in earth or in heaven ; whether in a state of humiliation, or in his exaltation; whether coming to suffer, or coming to reign.” Christiana therefore went to the Shepherds apart, (now the names of the Shepherds were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere,t) and said unto them, “There is one of my daughters, a breeding woman, that, I think, doth long for something that she hath seen in this house, and she thinks she shall miscarry, if she should by you be denied.” Exper. Call her, call her ; she shall assuredly have what we can help her to. So they called her, and said to her, ‘Mercy, what is that thing thou wouldest have o’. Then she blushed, and said, “The great glass that hangs up in the

dining-room.’ So Sincere ran and fetched it, and with a

joyful consent it was given her. Then she bowed her head, and gave thanks, and said, ‘By this I know that I have obtained favour in your eyes.” (t) They also gave to the other young women such, things as they desireil, and to their husbands great commendations, for that they had joined with Mr. Great-heart, to the slay

*James i. 23–25. 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 2 Cor. iii. 18. t Part i. p. 157.

(1) The Holy Scriptures, revealing to us the mystéries and perfections of God, shewing us our own real character and condition, and discovering Christ and his salvation to our souls, are represented under this emblem. Every true believer longs to be more completely acquainted with them from day to day, and to look into them continually.

« ZurückWeiter »