« ZurückWeiter »
$210 Christiana speaks to her Sons.
vise thee to do as did Christian thy husband ; go to the Wicket-gate yonder over the plain ; for that stands in the head of #. way up which thou must go, and I wish thee all good speed. Also I advise thee, that thou put this letter in thy bosom ; that thou read therein to thyself, and to thy children, until they have got it by heart; for it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this house of thy pilgrimage:” also this thou must deliver in at the far ate. * * * * Now I saw in my dream, that this old Gentleman, as he told me this story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. . He moreover proceeded and said : So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them : ‘My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the death of your father : not for that I doubt at all of his happiness ; for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have been i. much affected with the thoughts of mine own estate and your’s, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriage also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience : for I hardened both my heart and your's against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.” * “The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but for that a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone to the Gate that leads us to that Celestial Country, that we may see your father and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.” Then did her children burst out into tears, for joy that the heart of their mother was so inclined. So the Visiter bid them farewell ; and they began to prepare to set out for their journey. : ; * Psa. cxix. 54. • * If a man, therefore, meet with nothing bitter, in consequenee of his religious profession, he . has great reason to suspect, that he is not in the narrow way; yet many argue against themselves, on account of those very trials, which are a favourable token in their behalf. But, on the other hand, the believer has “a joy that a stranger intermeddleth not with.” which counterbalanceth all his sorrows, so that even in this life he possesses more solid sat: isfaction, than they do, who choose the road to destruction from fear of the difficulties at: tending the way of life. Satan is, however, peculiarly successful in persuading men, that religion, the very essence of heavenly happiness, will make them miserable on earth; and
that sin, the source of all the misery in the universe, will make them happy! By such nonifest lies does this old murderer support his cause!
She is sorely afflicted. 211
But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the wo. men that were Christiana’s neighbours came up to her house,
. and knocked at her door. To whom she said as before. At this the women were stunned ; for this kind of language they o used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Chris
s tiana. Yet they came in : but behold, they found the good woman a preparing to be gone from her house.
: of So they began and said, “Neighbour, pray what is your meaning by this P’
* * Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, ‘I am preparing for a journey.’
o (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian
e upon the hill of Difficulty, and would have had him gone back
for fear of the lions.”) a Tim. For what journey, I pray you ? | .# Chr. Even to go after my old husband.—And with that she fell a weeping, ... Tim. I hope not so, good neighbour; pray, for your poor g children’s sake, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself. Chr. Nay, my children shall go with me, not one of them is willing to stay behind.
3 - Tim. I wonder in my heart, whátor who has brought you o into this mind
|- Chr. Oh neighbour, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt . . . not but that you would go along with me.
* - Tim. Pr’ythee, what new knowledge hast thou got, that
but going on pilgrimage. I was a do night, that I
o s: * o
saw him. O that my soul was with him! He dwelleth in • the presence of the King of the Country ; he sits and eats
: with him at his table; he is become a companion of ims' mortals, and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which o the best palaces on earth, if compared, seem to me but as a : dunghill.f. The Prince of the Palace has also sent for me, o with promises of entertainment, if I shall come to him; his o, Messenger was here even now, and brought me a letter, y
*Part i. p. 63, t2 Cor, v.1—t,
212 JMercy inclines to accompany Christiana. *
which invites me to come.—And with that she plucked out her letter, and read it, and said to them, what now will you say to this P * Tim. Oh, the madness that has possessed thee and thy husband' to run yourselves upon such difficulties : You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner, at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbour Obstinate can yet testify, for he went along with him; yea, and Pliable too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any further.” We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death; and many other things. Nor is the danger that he met with at Vanity-Fair to be forgotten by thee. For if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou, being but a poor woman, do P Consider also, that these four sweet babes are thy children, thy flesh and thy bones. Therefore, though thou shouldst be so rash as to cast away ol. ; yet for the sake of the fruit of thy body, keep them at home. But Christiana said unto her, Tempt me not, my neighbour: I have now a price put into my hand to get a gain, and I should be a f.". the greatest sort, if I should have no heart to strike in with the o - And for that you tell me of all these troubles that I am like to meet with in the way ; they are so far from being to me a discouragement, that they shew I am in the right. The bitter must come before the sweet, and that also will make the sweet the sweet- * er. Wherefore since you came not to my house in God’s name, as I said, I pray you be gone, and do not disquiet me further. o Then Timorous also reviled her, and said to her fellow, ‘Come, neighbour Mercy, let us leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.’ But Mercy was at a stand, and could not so readily comply with her neighbour: and that for a two-fold reason.—1st. Her bowels yearned over Christiana. So she said within herself, “If my neighbour will needs be gone, I will go a little way with her, and help her.”—2dly. Her bowels yearned over her own son! ; for what Christiana had said, had taken some hold upon her mind. Wherefore she said within herself again, ‘I will yet, axe more talk with this Christiana; and, if I find truth and life in what she shall say, myself with my heart shałł
* Part i. p. 35–39.
Timorous tells her JWeighbours about Christiaua. 216
also go with her.”(g) Wherefore Mercy began thus to reply
(g) The very things, which excite the rage and seorn of some persons, penetrate the hearts and consciences of others. Thus the Lord makes one to differ from another, by preparing the heart to receive the good seed of divine truth, which is sown in it; yet every one willingly chooser the way he takes, without any constraint or hindrance, except his own prevailing dispositions. This consideration gives the greatest encouragement to the tise of all proper means, in order to influence sinners to choose the good part: for who knows, but the most obvious truth, warning, or exhortation, given in the feeblest manner, may reach the conscience of a child, relative, neighbour, enemy, or even persecutor; when the most convincing and persuasive discourses of eloquent and learned wachers have failed to Produce any effect.
214 The Discourse of the Party. * * * like to meet with in the way,) is one great argument with her, to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, “The bitter goes before the sweet : yea, and forasmuch as it doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.” .Mrs. Bat's-eyes. Oh, this blind and foolish woman ; and will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions P For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing. Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, “Away with such fantastical fools from the Town : a good riddance, for my part, I say of her; should she stay, where she dwells, and retain this mind, who could live quietly by her ? for she will either be dumpish or unneighbourly, to talk of such matters as no wise body can abide. Wherefore for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure; let her go, and let better come in her room ; it was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.” Then Mrs. Light-mind added as followeth; ‘Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton's," where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I and Mrs. Love-the-flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others: so there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And, I dare say my lady herself is an admirable well-bred gentlewoman, and Mr. * * Lechery is as pretty a fellow.’ (h) By this time Christiana was got on her way, and Mercy went along with her: so as they went, her children being ~ * Part i. p. 93. (h) This dialogue, by the names, arguments, and discourse introduced into it, shews what kind of persons they in general are, who despise and revile all those that fear God and seek the salvation of their souls; from what principles, affections, and conduct such opposition springs ; and on what grounds it is maintained. Men of the most profligate characters, who never studied or practised religion in their lives, often pass sentence on the sentiments and actions of pious persons, and decide in the most difficult controversies, without the least hesitation; as if they knew the most abstruse subjects by instinct or intuition, and were acquainted with the secrets of men's hearts . These presumers should consider, that they must be wrong, let who will be right; that any religion is as good as open impiety and profligacy , and that it behoves them to “cast out the beam out of their own eye,” before they attempt “to pull out the mote from their brother's eye.”—Believers also, recollecting the vain conversation from which they have been redeemed, and the obligations that have been conferred upon them, should not disquiet themselves about the scorn and censure of
such Persons, but learn to pray for them, as entitled to their compassion, even more than their detestation,