« ForrigeFortsett »
Gives an account of his Journey.
Piety. But did you not come by the house of the Interpreter ?
Chr. Yes, and did see such things there, the remembrance of which will stick by me as long as I live; especially three things, to wit, How Christ, in despite of Satan, maintains his work of grace
in the heart; how the Man had sinned himself quite out of hopes of God's mercy; and also the dream of him that thought in his sleep the Day of Judgment was come.
Piety. Why, did you hear him tell his dream ?
Chr. Yes, and a dreadful one it was, I thought; it made my heart ache as he was telling of it; but yet I am glad I heard it.
Piety. Was this all you saw at the house of the Interpreter ?
Chr. No, he took me, and had me where he showed me a stately palace, and how the people were clad in gold that were in it; and how there came a venturous Man, and cut his way through the armed men that stood in the door to keep him out; and how he was bid to come in and win eternal glory. Methought those things did ravish my heart! I would have staid at that good man's house a twelvemonth, but that I knew I had farther to go.
Piety. And what saw you else in the way?
Chr. Saw! Why, I went but a little farther, and I saw 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 very 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 stripped 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.) Piety. But you saw more than this, did
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;
their heels; but do you think I could awake them? I also saw Formality and Hypocrisy come tumbling over the wall, to go, as they pretended, to Zion; but they were quickly lost, even as I
Questioned by Prudence.
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, I thank God, I am here, and thank you for receiving me.
Then Prudence thought good to ask him a few questions, and desired his answer to them. Prud. Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence
? 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, a heavenly one. (Heb. xi. 15, 16.)
Prud. Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?
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 a-doing of that which is best, that which is worst is with me. (Rom. vii. 15.)
Prud. Do you not find sometimes as if those things were vanquished, 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.
Prud. Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times, as if they were vanquished ?
Chr. Yes, when I think what I saw at the Cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and 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.
Prud. 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 Questioned by Charity.
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. (Isaiah xxv. 8. Rev. xxi. 4.)
Then said Charity to Christian, Have you a family? Are you a married man?
Chr. I have a wife and four small children.
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 with them, and have endeavoured to have shown them the danger of staying behind.
Chr. So I did; and told them also what God had shown to me of the destruction of our city; but I seemed to them as one that mocked, and they believed me not. (Gen. xix. 14.)
Char. And did you pray to God, that he would bless your counsel to them?
Chr. Yes, and that with much affection; for you must think that my wife and poor children were very dear to 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 my trembling under the apprehension of the judgment 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?
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 you not with your vain life, damp all that you by words used by way of persuasion to bring them away with you?
1 The true Christian's inmost feelings will best explain these answers, which no exposition can elucidate to those who are unacquainted with the conflict to which they refer.
Conversation at Supper.
Chr. Indeed I cannot commend my life, for I am conscious to myself of many failings therein; 1 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; and if thy wife and children have been offended with thee for this, they thereby show themselves to be implacable to good: thou hast delivered thy soul from their blood." (1 John iii. 12. Ezek. iii. 19.)
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 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. (Heb. ii. 14, 15.)
For, as they said, and as I believe, said Christian, He did it with the loss of much blood: but that which put the glory of grace into all
1 When we know the value of our own souls, we shall become greatly solicitous for the souls of others. Charity's discourse with Christian shows the author's sentiments of the duties of believers in this most important concern : and of the real reasons why carnal men reject the gospel
? 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.
The believer will readily apply the allegorical representation of 'the Lord of the hill,' Isa. xxv. 6, 7. to the love of Christ for lost sinners, which no words can adequately describe, for" it passeth knowledge."