Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

70 Christian relates what he had met with.”

One, as I thought in my mind, hang bleeding upon a tree: and the very sight of him made my burden fall off my back; for I groaned under a heavy burden, but then it fell down from off me. . 'Twas a strange thing to me, for I never saw such a thing before; yea, and while I stood looking up, (for then I could not forbear looking.) three shining ones came to me: one of them testified that my sins were forgiven me; another stript me of my rags, and gave me this broidered coat which you see; and the third set the mark which you see in my forehead, and gave me this sealed Roll; (and with that he plucked it out of his bosom.) Pi. But you saw more than this, did you not?' Chr. The things that I have told you were the best; yet some other matters I saw; as namely, I saw three men, Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, lie asleep, a little out of the way as I came, with irons upon their heels; but do you think I could awake them! I also saw Formalist and Hypocrisy come tumbling over the wall, to go, as they pretended, to Zion; but they were quickly lost; even as I myself did tell them, but they would not believe. But, above all, I found it hard work to get up this hill, and as hard to come by the lions’ mouths; and truly, if it had not been for the good man, the Porter, that stands at the gate, I do not know but that,” after all, I might have gone back again; but now, I thank God, I am here; and I thank you for receiving of me. Then Prudence thought good to ask him a few questions, and desired his answer to them. Pr. Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence wou came 2 Chr. Yes, but with much shame and detestation: truly “If I had been mindful of that country from whence I came out, I might have had opportunity to have returned, but now I desire a better country, that is an heavenly.” ... Pr. Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal P Chr. Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself, were delighted : but now all those things are my grief; and might I but choose mine own things, I would choose never to think of those things more; but when

I would be doing of that which is best, that which is worst is . Prudence questions Christian. 71

with me. * Heb. xi. 16,

Tr. Do you not find sometimes as if those things were. wo. which at other times are your perplexity ? Chr. Yes, but that is but seldom; but they are to me golden hours in which such things happen to me. Pr. Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished P Chr. Yes : when I i. what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it: also when I look into the Roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it. Pr. And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion ? Chr. Why, there I hope to see him alive that did hang dead on the cross; and there I hope to be rid of all those things that to this day are in me an annoyance to me: there they say there is no death;” and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you truth, I love him because I was by him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, “Holy, holy, holy.”, (d) Then said Charity to Christian, Have you a family P are ou a married man Chr.. I have a wife and four small children. Char. And why did you not bring them along with you ? Then Christian wept, and said, Oh!, how willingly would I have done it ! but they were all of them utterly averse to my going on pilgrimage. Char. But you should have talked to them, and have endeavoured to have shewn them the danger of being left behind. Chr. So I did ; and told them also what God had shewed

[ocr errors]

(d) Men may learn any doctrine by human teaching, and relate by rote any experience; may, general convictions, transient affections, and distinct notious may impose upon the man himself, and he may suistake them for true conversion. The best method of avoiding this dangerous rock coasists in daily self-examination, and constant prayer to be preserved from it: and, as far as we are concerned to form a judgment of others, in order to perform our several duties towards them, prudence is especially required, and will suggest such questions as are here proposed. The true Christian's in most feelings will best explain the answers, which no exposition can elucidate to those who are unacquainted with the conflict to which they refor-The golden hours, (ileeting and precious.) are earnests of the everlasting holy felicity of heaven.

72 Charity asks Christian of his Wife and Children.

to me of the destruction of our City; but I seemed to them as one that mocked, and they believed me not.” Char. And did you pray to God that he would bless your counsel to them P - Chr. Yes, and that with much affection; for you must think that my wife and poor children were very dear unto me. Char. But did you tell them of your own sorrow, and fear of destruction ? for I suppose that destruction was visible enough to you. Chr. Yes, over, and over, and over. They might also see my fears in my countenance, in my tears, and also in m trembling under the apprehension of the judgments that did hang over our heads; but all was not sufficient to prevail with them to come with me. Char. But what could they say for themselves why they came not P Chr. Why, my wife was afraid of losing this world ; and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth : so, what by one thing and what by another, they left me to wander in this manner alone. Char. But did §. not with your vain life damp all that you by words used by way of persuasion to bring them away with you ? Chr. Indeed I cannot commend my life, for I am conscious to myself of many failings therein : I know, also, that a man by his conversation may soon overthrow, what by argument or persuasion he doth labour to fasten upon others for their good. Yet this I can say, I was very wary of giving them occasion, by any unseemly action, to make them averse to going on pilgrimage. Yea, for this very thing they would tell me I was too precise; and that I denied myself of things, (for their sakes) in which they saw no evil. Nay, I think I may say that if what they saw in me did hinder them, it was my great tenderness in sinning against God, or of doing any wrong to my neighbour. Char. Indeed “Cain hated his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous;”f “and if thy wife and children have been offended with thee for this, they thereby shew themselves to be implacable to good; and thou hast delivered thy soul from their blood.” § * Gen. xix. 14. t 1 John iii. 12, # Ezek. iii. 19.

(e) When we know the value of our own souls, we shall become greatly solicitous for the souls of others. It is therefore a very suspicious circumstance, when a man professing

[graphic]

Their Discourse during Supper. 73 Now I saw in my dream, that thus they sat talking together until supper was ready. So when they had made ready, they sat down to meat. Now the table was furnished with fat things, and with wine that was well refined; and all their talk at the table was about the Lord of the hill; as, namely, about what He had done, and wherefore He did what he did, and why He had builded that House ; and by what they said, I perceived that He had been a great warrior, and had fought with and slain him that had the power of death ;” but not without great danger to himself; which made me love him the more. For, as they said, and as I believe, said Christian, he did it with the loss of much blood. But that which put glory of grace into all he did, was, that he did it of pure love to his country. And besides, there were some of them of the household that said, they had seen and spoke with him since he did die on the Cross; and they have attested. that they had it from his own lips, that he is such a lover of poor Pisgrims, that the like is not to be found from the east to the west. They, moreover, gave an instance of what they affirmed, and that was, he had stript himself of his glory that he might do this for the poor ; and that they heard him say and affirm, *That he would not dwell in the mountain of Zion alone.”. They said, moreover, that he had made many Pilgrims Princes, though by nature they were beggars born, and their original had been the dunghill.f (f) * Heb. ii. 14, 15. t1 Sam. ii. 8. Psa. cxiii. 7. godliness shews no earnestness in persuading those he loves best to seek salvation: and it is absurd in the extreme to excuse this negligence by arguments taken from God's secret purposes, when these have no influence on the conduct of the very same persons in their temporal eoneerns –Charity's discourse with Christian shews the author's sentiments of the duties of believers in this most important coucern; and of the real reasons why carnal men reject the gospel. (f) The administration of the Lord's supper is here emblematically described. In it the Person, humiliation, sufferings, and death of Christ, with the motive and event of them, are kept in perpetual remembrance. By seriously contemplating on these interisting subjects, with the emblems of his body wounded and his blood shed before our eyes; and by profes. ing our cordial acceptance of his salvation, and surrender of ourselves to his service; we find every holy aff, ction revived and invigorated, and our souls humbled and softened in deep repontance, inspired with calm confidence, animated to thankful, zealous, self-denying violio.ce, and enlarged tender affection for our filow Christians, with compassionate for. giving love of our most inveterate enemies.—'I he believer will readily apply the als, goried representation of the Lord of the hill,” to the love of Christ for lost sinners, which no words can ad quately describe, for “it pass th knowledge.” * Isa. xxv. 6, 7.

74 The Chamber Peace, Study and the Records.

Thus they discoursed together till late at night; and after they had committed themselves to their Lord for protection, they betook themselves to rest. The Pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, whose window opened towards the sunrising: the name of the chamber was Peace, where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sang— ‘Where am I now ! Is this the love and care Of Jesus, for the men that Pilgrims are, Thus to provide : That I should be forgiv'n, And dwell already the next door to heav'n" (g) So in the morning they all got up ; and, after some more discourse, they told him that he should not depart till they had shewed him the Rarities of that place. And first they had him into the Study, where they shewed him records of the greatest antiquity; in which, as I remember my dream, they shewed him, first the pedigree of the Lord of the hill, that he was the Son of the Ancient of Days, and came by an eternal generation. Here also was more fully recorded the acts that he had done, and the names of many hundreds that he had taken into his service; and how he had placed them in such habitations, that could neither by length of days, nor decays of nature be dissolved. Then they read to him some of the worthy acts that some of his servants had done : as how they had “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Then they read again in another part of the records of the house, where it was shewed how willing their Lord was to receive into his favour any, even any, though they in time past had offered great affronts to his person and proceedings. Here also were several other histories of many other famous things, of all which Christian had a view ; as of things both ancient and modern ; together with prophecies and predictions of things that have their certain accomplishment, both to the * Heb. xi. 33, 34. * (3) That penee of conscience and serenity of mind, which follow a humble upright profission of faith in Christ, and communion with him and his people, is not the effect of a **tward observance; but of that inward disposition of heart which is thus cultivated, *nd of the Lord's blessing on his own appointments. This is here represented by the

chander Peace ; it raises the soul above the care and bustle of this vain world, and springs from the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

« ZurückWeiter »