Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.

Chr. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honour is merciful, and ready to forgive; but, besides these infirmities possessed me in thy country: for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.

Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince! I hate his person, laws, and people, and am come out on purpose to withstand thee.

Chr. Apollyon, beware what you do; for I am in the King's highway, the Way of Holiness; therefore take heed to yourself.

Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter; prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no farther: here will I spill thy soul!?—And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.

Then did Christian draw, for he saw it was time to bestir him: and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail ; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. 3 This made Christian give a little back: Apollyon, therefore, followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker. *

1 In repelling such suggestions, as respects his own misconduct having shut him out from the favour of his Prince, the well-instructed believer will neither deny the charge, nor extenuate his guilt; but he will fee for refuge to the free grace of the gospel.

? If we duly reflect upon the Lord's permission to Satan in respect of Job, with the efforts and effects that followed, and compare it with the tempter's desire of "sifting Peter and the apostles as wheat ;" we shall not be greatly at a loss about the author's meaning. This enemy is sometimes gratified by an arrangement of outward dispensations exactly suited to favour his assaults: so that the believer's path seems wholly obstructed.

According to the author's marginal interpretation of his meaning, "he wounds” him in his understanding, faith and conversation.

4 When temptations are long continued, the resistance of the distressed believer will gradually become more feeble; he will be ready to give up every thing.

3

G

50

Christian obtains the victory.

Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and, wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian's sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now; and with that he had almost pressed him to death; so that Christian began to despair of life. But, as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly reached out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! when I fall, I shall arise;" and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian, perceiving that, made at him again, saying, “Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us;” and with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon's wings, and sped him away, that Christian saw him no more. (Micah vii. 8. Rom. viii. 27—39. James iv. 7.)

In this combat, no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard, as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight. He spake like a dragon; and, on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword: then, indeed, he did smile, and look upward; but 'twas the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw.

So, when the battle was over, Christian said, I will here give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the Lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon! And so he did, saying,

Great Beelzebub, the Captain of this fiend,
Design' my ruin ; therefore to this end
He sent him harness'd out; and he, with rage
That hellish was, did fiercely me engage;

1 At last, when the enemy plies him closely with infidel suggestions, to which his circumstances give a specious occasion, he may be thrown down, and his sword fly out of his hand :' so that for a time he may be unable to give any credit to the truth of the Scriptures, by which alone he was before enabled to repel the tempter.

? When the Holy Spirit brings to his mind, with the most convincing energy, the evidences of the divine inspiration of the Scripture, and enables him to rely on the promises, he is helped again to seize his sword, and to use it with more effect than ever, and thus at length the enemy is put to flight, by testimonies of holy writ pertinently adduced, and more clearly understood than before.

[graphic]

A band from heaven heals (Christiint's. Wounds,

« ForrigeFortsett »