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The Armoury. A View of the Delectable Mountains. 75 dread and amazement of enemies, and the comfort and solace of Pilgrims. (h)

The next day they took him and had him into the Armoury, where they shewed bim ail manner of furniture which their Lord had provided for Pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breast-plate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of this to harness out as many nien, for the service of their Lord, as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.

They also shewed him some of the engines, with which some of his servants had done wonderful things. They shewed him Moses' rod; the hammer and nail with which Jacl slew Sisera; the pitchers, trumpets, and lamps too, with which Gideon put to flight the armies of Midiay.' Then they shewed him tlie ox's goad, where with Shamgar slew six hundred men. They shewed him also the jaw bone with which Samson did such mighty feats: they shewed him moreover the sling and stone with which David slew Goliah of Gath; and the sword also with which their Lord will kill the Man of Sin, in the day that he shall rise up to the prey. They shewed him besides many excellent things with which Christian was much delighted. This done, they went to their rest again. (i)

Then I saw in my dream that on the morrow he got up to go forwards, but they desired bim to stay till the next day also; and then, said they, we will, if the day be clear, shew you the Belectable Mountains; which, they said, would yet further add to his comfort, because they were nearer the desired haven than the place where at present he was; so he consented and staid. "When the morning was up they had

(1) Christian communion, properly conducted, tends to enlarge the believer's acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures : and this conduces to increase faith, hope, love, patience and fortitude ; to animate the soul in emulating the illustrious examples there exhibited ; and to furnish instruction for every good workie

(i) The provision made in Christ and his fulness, for maintaining and increasing, in the hearts of his people, those holy affections, by the vigorous exercise of which victory is obo tuined over all enemies, is here represented by the Arinoury.* Tliis safrices for all who seek to be supplied from it, how many soever they be. We ought, therefore, "to take to ourselves the whole armour of God," and "put it on," by diligently using all the means of grace ; and we may assist others, by our exhortations, counsels, example, and prayers, to do the same. The following allusions to the scriptural history, which bave a peculiar proprirty in an allegory, intimate that the means of grace are niade effectual by the power of Gud, which we should depend on, in inplicit obrdience to his appointments.

Eph. vi. 10–18. 1 Thess. v. .

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him to the top of the house, and bid him look south : so he did; and behold, at a great distance,* he saw a most pleasant mountainous country, beautified with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very delectable to behold. Then he asked the name of the country. They said, It was Immangel's Land; and it is as common, said they, as this hill is, to and for all the Pilgrims. And when thou comest there, from thence, said they, thou mayest see to the gate of the Celestial City, as the shepherds that live there will make appear. (k)

Now he bethought himself of setting forward, and they were willing he should. But first, said they, let us go again into the Armoury: So they did ; and when he came there thay harnessed him from head to foot with what was of proof, lest perhaps he should meet with assaults in the way. Ile being therefore thus accoutred walketh out with his friends to the gate, and there he asked the Porter, if he saw any Pilgrims pass by ? Then the Porter answered, Yes. (?)

Chr. Pray did you know him ?
Por. I asked his name, and he told it was Faithful.

0, said Christian, I know him : he is my townsman, my near neighbour, he comes from the place where I was born : how far do

you
think he

may

be before? Por. He is got by this tiine below the hill.

Well, said Christian, good Porter, the Lord be with thee, and add to all thy blessings much increase, for the kindness that thou hast shewed to me.

Then he began to go forward; but Discretion, Piety, Charity and Prudence would accompany him down to the foot of the hill. So they went on together, reiterating their former

* Isa. xxxiii. 16, 17.

6k) The Delectable Mountains, as seen at a distance, represent those distinct views of the privileges and consolations attainable in this life, with which believers are sometimes favour. ed, when attending on divine ordinances, or diligently making a subsequent improvement of them. The hopes thus inspired prepare them for pressing forward through dangers and hardships. This is the pre-eminent advantage of Christian communion, and can only be enjoyed at some special seasons, when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon the soul.

(1) The ordinances of public or social worship are only the means of being religious, not the essence of religion itself. Having renewed our strength by waiting on the Lord, we must go forward, by attending with greater diligence to the duties of our several stations ; preparing to resist temptations, which often assault us after special seasons of divine consolation. Ministers therefore and experienced believers, should warn converts to expect trials and confiets, and recommend to them such companions as may be a comfort and kelp in their pilgrimage,

The Valley of Humiliation. discourses, till they came to go down the bill. Then said Christian, as it was difficuit coming up, so, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down. Yes, said Prudence, so it is; for it is an hared matter for a man to go down into the Valley of Humiliation, as thou art now, and to catch no slip by the way; therefore, said they are we come out to accompany thee down the bill. So he began to go down, but very warily, yet he caught a slip or two.

Then I saw in my dream, that these good companions, when Christian was gone down to the bottom of the hill, gave him a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins; and then he went on his way. (m)

But now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way, before he espied à foul Fiend coming over the field to meet him: his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back

or to stand his ground. But he considered again, that he had no armour for his back, and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him greater advantage, with ease to pierce him with his darts : therefore he resolved to venture, and stand his ground : for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand. (n)

(m) The lunuliation requisite for receiving Christ, obtaining peace, and making a goori sonfession of faith, is general and indistinct, compared with that which may be acquired by subsequent study, observation and experience, especially amidst trials and conflicts : and the Lord commonly dispenses comfort and humiliating dispensations alternately, that the believer may neither be elated nor depressed above measure.“ – The valley of humiliation, therefore, is juuliciously placed beyond the house Beautiful. Some explain it to signify a Christian's outward circumstances, when reduced to poverty, or subjected to great temporal losses by professing the gospel ; and perhaps the author had this idea in his mind : yet these could only be viewed as means of producing inward humiliation.-In going down into the valley, the believer will greatly need the assistance of discretion, piety, charity, and prudence, and the recollection of the instructions and counsels of such Christians as are eminent for these endowments: for huniliating dispensations and experience's excite the Jatent evils of the heart, and often calise men to speak and act unadvisedly ; 90. that, notwithstanding every precaution, the review will commonly discover many things which excite the remorse and surrow of deep repentance.

(n) Under discouraging circumstances the believer may be tempted to murmur,despond, or seek relief from the world. Fi his too sanguine ectations not avswered ; ibat He grows worse rather than better in his opinion of himself ; that his comforts are tradisibry; and that inuch reproach, contempt, and loss are incurred by luis profession of religion, discontent will often rise up in his heart, and weakness of faith will expose him to sharp conflicts--Mr. Bopyan, having experience!, in an uncommon degree, the most dreadful

*2 Cor. vij. 1-5.

1

18

A Description of Apollyon. So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the menster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with scales like a fish, (and they are his pride;) he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him. (0)

Apol. Whence come you ? and whither are you bound ?

Chr. I am come from the city of Destruction which is the place of all evil, and am going to the city of Zion.

Apol. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the Prince and God of it. How is it then that thou hast run away from thy king ? Were it not that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.

Chr. I was born indeed in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on; "for the wages of sin is death ;'* therefore when I was

* Rom. vi. 23.

temptations, was probably led by that circumstance to speak on this subject, in language not very intelligible to those who have been exempted from such painful exercises. The nature of his work required, that they should be described under outward emblems; but the inward suggestions of evil spirits are especially intended. These seem to have peculiar access to the imagination, and are able to paint before that illusive faculty the most alluring or terrifying representations, as if they were realities.-Apollyon signifies the destroyer :* and in carrying on the work of destruction, fallen angels endeavour, by various devices, to meter men from prayer, and to render them afraid of those things without which the life of laith cannot be maintained ; in order that, after convictions, they may be led to give up religion, as the only method of recovering their composure. Many, “having no root in themselves,” thus gradually fall away; and others are greatly retarded: but the well-instructed believer sees no safety except in facing his enemy. If it appear dangerous to per severe, to desist is inevitable ruin, (for Christian 'had no armour for his back.) So that fear itself will in that case induce a man to stand his ground; and the more resolutely he resists temptation, the sooner will be regain his tranquillity; for, when the suggestions of Satan excite us to pray more fervently, and to be more diligent in every duty, that enemy will soon "flee from us." Perhaps some may remember a time when they were harassed to that degree as almost to despair of relief; who have since been su entirely delivered, that, were it not for the recollection of their own past experience, they would be ready to ascribe these distresses to disease or enthusiasm, notwithstanding all that the scripture contains on the subject.

(c) The description of Apollyon implies, that the combat afterwards recorded particularly pepresented the terrors, by which evil spirits attempt to drive professors out of their path. Other temptations, though often more dangerous are not so distressing : "For Satan can transform himself into an angel of light;" and indeed he is a very Proteus, who can assume any form that best suits luis purposte

* Rev. ix. ir

He reasons with Christian.

come to

years, I did as other considerate persons do, look out if perhaps I might mend myself.

Apol. There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee; but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be content to go back; what our country will afford, I do here promise to give thee.

Chr. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of Princes; and how can I with fairness go back with thee?

Apol. Thou hast done in this according to the proverb, Changed a bad for a worse: but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me. Do thou so too, and all shall be well.

Chr. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him: how then can I

go

back from this and not be hanged as a traitor?

Apol. Thou didst the same to me, and yet I am willing to pass by all, if now thou wilt yet turn again

and
go

back. Chr. What I promised thee was in my nonage, and besides, I count that the Prince under whose banner now I stand, is able to absolve me, yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee: and, besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; and therefore leave off to persuade me further; I am his servant, and I will follow him.

Apol. Consider again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the

way that thou goest. Thou knowest that for the most part his servants come to an ili end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways. How many of them have been put to shameful deaths :And besides, thou countest his service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place where he is, to deliver any that served him out of my hands : but, as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have i delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them: and so I will deliver thee.

Chr. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on pur. pose to try their love, wliether they will cleave to him to the end : and, as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account: for, for present deliverance, they do pot much expect it; for they stay for their

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