« ForrigeFortsett »
His conversation with the Porter.
Graceless: I came of the race of Japheth, whom God will persuade to dwell in the tents of Shem. (Gen. ix. 27.)
Por. But how doth it happen that you come so late? the sun is set.
Chr. I had been here sooner, but that, wretched man that I am! I slept in the Arbour that stands on the hill-side. Nay, I had, notwithstanding that, been here much sooner, but that in my sleep, I lost my Evidence, and came without it to the brow of the hill; and then feeling for it, and not finding it, I was forced, with sorrow of heart, to go back to the place where I slept my sleep; where I found it, and now I am come.
Por. Well, I will call out one of the Virgins of this place, who will (if she likes your talk) bring you in to the rest of the family according to the rules of the House. So Watchful the Porter rang a bell; at the sound of which came out of the door of the house a grave and beautiful damsel, named Discretion, and asked, Why she was called?
The Porter answered, This man is on a journey from the city of Destruction to Mount Zion, but, being weary and benighted, he asked me if he might lodge here to-night; so I told him I would call for thee, who, after discourse had with him, mayest do as seemeth thee good, even according to the law of the House.
Then she asked him whence he was? and whither he was going? and he told her. She asked him also, How he got into the way? and he told her. Then she asked him, What he had seen and met with in the way? and he told her. And at last she asked his name? So he said, It is Christian; and I have so much the more a desire to lodge here to-night, because, by what I perceive, this place was built by the Lord of the hill, for the relief and security of Pilgrims. So she smiled, but the water stood in her eyes: and after a little pause, she said, I will call forth two or three more of the family. So she ran to
1 The Porter's inquiries and Christian's answers exhibit our author's sentiments, on the caution with which members should be admitted into the communion of the faithful: and it very properly shows how ministers, by private conversation, may form a judgment of a man's profession, whether it be intelligent and the result of experience, or notional and formal.—Christian assigned his sinful sleeping as the cause of his arriving so late. When believers are oppressed with prevailing doubts of their acceptance, they are backward in joining themselves to the people of God; and this often tempts them to sinful delays, instead of exciting them to greater diligence.
Is welcomed in the Palace Beautiful.
the door, and called out Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who, after a little more discourse with him, had him into the family; and many of them meeting him at the threshold of the house, said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; this house was built by the Lord of the hill, on purpose to entertain such Pilgrims in. Then he bowed his head and followed them into the house: so, when he was come in, and sat down, they gave him something to drink, and consented together, that, until supper was ready, some of them should have some particular discourse with Christian, for the best improvement of time; and they appointed Piety, Prudence, and Charity, to discourse with him; and thus they began:1
Piety. Come, good Christian, since we have been so loving to you to receive you into our house this night, let us, if perhaps we may better ourselves thereby, talk with you of all things that have happened to you in your pilgrimage.?
Chr. With a very good will; and I am glad that you are so well disposed.
Piety. What moved you at first to betake yourself to a Pilgrim's life?
Chr. I was driven out of my native country by a dreadful sound that was in mine ears, to wit, that unavoidable destruction did attend me, if I abode in that place where I was.
Piety. But how did it happen that you came out of your country
Chr. It was as God would have it: for when I was under the fears of destruction, I did not know whither to go: but by chance there came a man, even to me, as I was trembling and weeping, whose name is Evangelist, and he directed me to the Wicket-Gate, which else I should never have found, and so set me into the way that hath led me directly to this house.
1 The discourse of Discretion with the pilgrim represents such precautions and inquiries into the character and views of a professor, as may be made use of by any body of Christians, in order to prevent the intrusion of improper persons. By giving him something to drink before supper,' he probably referred to those preparatory sermons and devotions, by which the administration of the Lord's supper was then frequently and with great propriety introduced.
2 The further conversation of Piety and her companions with Christian was subsequent to his admission, and represents the advantage of the communion of the saints, and the best method of conducting it.