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Christian is saluted by three Shining Ones. 57
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the Cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.” §. as he stood looking and weeping, behold three shining ones came to him, and saluted him with “Peace be to thee;” so the first said
to him, “Thy sins be forgiven;”f the second stript him of
his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment:f the third also set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a Roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the Celestial Gate; so they went their
way: (0) Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing—
*Thus far did I come loaden with my sin,
* Zech. xii. I0. t Markii. 5, # Zech. iii.4. §Eph. i. 13.
the character of his hero from the lowest order of Christians; nay, it rather calls for our admiration, that, in an allegory,(which is the peculiar effort of a vigorous imagination) he was preserved, by uncommon strength of mind and depth of judgment, from stating Christian's experience above the general attainments of consistent believers undersolid instructions.
(o) Christian's tears, amidst his gladness, intimate, that deliverance from guilt, by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, tends to increase sorrow for sin, and abhorrence of it; though it mingles even those affections with a sweet and solid pleasure-By the ‘three shining ones, the author alludes to the ministration of angels, as in some way subserving the comfort of the heirs of salvation: but he could not mean to ascribe Christian's confidence to any impressions, or suggestion of texts to him by a voice, or in a dream; any more than he intended, by his view of the cross, to sanction the account that persons of heated imaginations have given, of their having seen one hang on a cross, covered with blood, who told them their sins were pardoned; while it has been evident, that they never understood the spiritual glory, or the sanctifying tendency, of the doctrine of a crucified Saviour—Such things are the mere delusions of enthusiasm, from which our author was remarkably free: but the nature of an allegory led him to this method of describing the happy change that takes place in the pilgrim's experience, when he obtains “peace and joy in believing.” The general tenor of the work sufficiently shews, that he considered spiritual apprehensions of the nature of the atonement, as the only source of genuine peace and comfort. As the ‘mark in the fore. head' evidently signifies the renewal of the soul to holiness, while the “roll with a seal upon it denotes such an assurance of acceptance, as appears most clear and satisfactory, "he" * Prov. xxiii. 34. T 1 Pet. v. 8.
58 Christian finds Simple, Sloth, and Presumption asleep.
I saw then in my dream, that he went on thus even until he came at a bottom, where he saw, a little out of the way, three men fast asleep, with fetters upon their heels. The name of the one was Simple, another Sloth, and the third Presumption.
Christian then, seeing them lie in this case, went to them, if peradventure he might awake them ; and cried, You are like them that sleep on the top of a mast,” for the dead sea is under you, a gulph that hath no bottom: awake, therefore, and come away; be willing also, and I will help you off with your irons. He also told them, If he that goeth about like a roaring lion comes by, you will certainly become a prey to his teeth.f. With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in this sort : Simple said, ‘I see no danger :’ Sloth said, ‘Yet a little more sleep:” and Presumption said, ‘Every watt must stand upon its own bottom.” And so they lay down to sleep again, and Christian went on his way. (p)
the believer most attentively compares himself with the holy Scriptures; so he could not Possibly intend to ascribe these effects to any other agent than the Holy Spirit, for he alone as the Spirit of adoption enables a man to exercise in a lively manner all filial affections towards God; and thus bears witness with his conscience, that his sins are pardoned, that he is justified by faith in the righteousness of Emanuel, a child of God, and an heir of heaven. They who have experienced this happy change, will readily understand the language in which it is described; and the abiding effects of their joy in the Lord, upon their temper and conduct,(like the impression of the seal after the wax is cooled.) completely distinguish it from the confidence and comfort of hypocrites and enthusiasts. It must, however, continue to be “the secret of the Lord, with them that fear him, hidden manna,” and “a white stone, having in it a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” For even the ideas excited in our minds by external objects through our senses, and the pleasure often connected with them, can never be made intelligible to those who never had those senses. The man born blind cannot possibly have any idea of colours, or any conception of the pleasure of beholding beautiful objects; nor one born deaf, any idea of a trumpet’s solemn sound, or the pleasure arising from a concert of music.
Here again we meet with an engraving, and the following lines:—
‘Who's this 2 The Pilgrim. How ! "Tis very true:
(p) We were before informed that other ways “butted down upon the straight way; and the connexion of the allegory required the introduction of various characters, besides that of the true believer. Many outwardly walk in the ways of religion and seem to be pil. grims, who are destitute of those “things which accompany salvation.”—The three allegor. ical persons next introduced are nearly related; they appear to be pilgrims, but are a little * Psä, xxv, 14, Rev, ii. 17
Christian met by Formalist and Hypocrisy. 59
Yet was he troubled to think, that men in that danger should so little esteem the kindness of him that so freely of. fered to help them, both by awakening of them, counselling of them, and proffering to help them off with their irons. And as he was troubled thereabout, he espied two men come tumbling over the wall, on the left hand of the narrow way; and they made up apace to him. The name of the one was Formalist, and the name of the other Hypocrisy. . So, as I said, they drew up unto him, who thus entered with them into discourse. Chr. Gentlemen, Whence came you, and whither do you go P Form. & Hyp. We were born in the land of Vain-glory, and are going for praise to Mount Zion. Chr. §: came you not in at the Gate, which standeth at the beginning of the way P Know you not that it is written, that “He that cometh not in by the door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” They said, That to go to the Gate for entrance, was by all their countrymen counted too far about ; and that therefore their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall as they had done. Chr. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the City whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will P --. They told him, That as for that, he needed not to trouble his head thereabout : for what they did they had custom for: and could produce, if need were, testimony that would witness it, for more than a thousand years. But, said Christian, Will your practice stand a trial at law P They told him, That custom, it being of so long a standing
* John x. 1.
•ut of the way, asleep, and fettered. Many hear, and learn to talk about the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, and have transient convictions, who yet cleave to the world, and rest more securely in the bondage of sin and Satan, by means of their profession of religion. They reject or pervert all instruction, hate all trouble, yet are confident that every thing is and will be well with them ; while teachers after their own hearts lull them with a syren's song, by confounding the form with the power of godliness: and if any one attempt, in the most affectionate manner, to warn them of their danger, they answer, (according to the tenor of the words here used.) ‘Mind your own business; we see no danger; you shall not disturb our composure, or induce us to make so much ado about religion. See to yourselves, and leave us to ourselves. Thus they sleep on till death and judgment awake theon'.