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The Emblem of the Spider unfolded.
229 the only things substantial. Now, whereas it was also shew. ed thee, that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know, that earthly things, when they are with power upon men's minds, quite carry their hearts away froin God.
Then said Christiana, Oh ! deliver me from this muckrake.
That praver, said the Interpreter, has lain by till it is almost rusty : “Give me not riches,'
,9* is scarce the prayer of one of ten thousand. Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most are the great things now looked after. (t).
With that Mercy and Christiana wept, and said, 'It is, alas ! too true.'
When the Interpreter bad shewed them this, lie had them into the very best room in the house : (a very brave room it was :) so he bid them look round about, and see if they could find any thing profitable there. Then they looked round and round; for there was nothing to be seen but a very great Spider on the wall; and that they overlooked.
Then said Mercy, "Sir, I see nothing :' but Christiana
But, said the Interpreter, "Look again : She therefore looked again, and said, “Here is not any thing but an ugly Spider, who bangs by her hands upon the wall.' Then,' said he, “is there but one Spider in all this spacious room Then the water stood in Christiana's eyes, for she was a woman quick of apprehension : and she said, 'Yes, Lord, there is more here than one. Yea, and spiders whose venom is far more destructive than that which is in her.' The Interpreter then looked pleasantly on her, and said, “Thou hast said the truth. This made Mercy blush, and the Boys to cover their faces, for they all began now to understand the riddle.
Then said the Interpreter again, "The spider taketh hold with her hands, (as you see,) and is in kings palaces.” And
• Prov. xxx. 8.
held her peace.
(1) The emblematical instruction at the Interpreter's house, in the former part, was so important and compr hensive, that no other selection equally interesting could be expecte ed : some valuable hints, however, are here adduced. The first emblem is very plain ; and so apposite, that it is wonderful any person should read it without lifting up a prayer 10 the Lord, and saying, 'Oh ! deliver me from this muck-rake. Yet, alas, it is to be feared, such prayers are still little used even by professors of the gospel; at least they are conurdicted by the habitual conduct of numbers among them.
The Hen and her Chickens.
wherefore is this recorded, but to shew you, that how full of the venom of sin soever you be, yet you may, by the hand of faith, lay hold of, and dwell in, the best room that belongs to the King's house above !
I thought, said Christiana, of something of this : but I could not imagine it all. I thought, that we were like Spi. ders, and that we looked like ugly creatures, in what fine rooms soever we were ; but that by this Spider, this venomous and ill-favoured creature, we were to learn how to act faith, that came not into my thoughts ; that she worketh with hands; and, as I see, dwells in the best room in the house. God has made nothing in vain. (u).
Then they seemed all to be glad ; but the water stood in their eyes : yet they looked one upon another, and also bowed before the Interpreter.
He had them then into another room, where was a Hen and chickens, and bid them observe a while. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink, and every time she drank she listed up her head and her eyes towards heaven,
See,' said he, 'what this little chick doeth, and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by receiving them with looking up--Yet again,' said he, observe and look ;'
. so they gave heed, and perceived that the Hen did walk' in a fourfold method towards her chickens. 1. She had a common call, and that she had all the day long. 2. She had a special call, and that she had but sometimes. 3. She had a brooding note. And, 4. She had an outcry.*
“Now,' said he, compare this Hen to your King, and these chickens to his obedient ones. For, answerable to her, him; self has his methods, which he walketh in towards his people : by his common call he gives nothing ; by his special * Matt. xxii. 37.
(u) The instruction grounded on accommodation of Scripture, though solid and inpor tant, is not so convincing to the understanding, as that which results from the obvious meaning of the words; though many persons are for the time more excited to attention, by a lively exercise of the imagination, and the surprise of unexpected inferences. This method, however, should be used with great caution by the friends of truth ; for it is a most formidable engine in the hands of those, who endeavour to pervert or oppose it. The author did not, however, mean by the emblein of the Spider, that the sinner might confidently assure himself of salvation, by the blood of Christ, while he continued full of the poison of sin, without experiencing or evidencing any change ; but only, that no consciousness of inwardt pollution, or actual guilt, should discourage any one from applying to Christ, and "fleeing for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him," that thus he may be delivered from condemnation, and cleansed from pollution, and so made mect for those tilessed inansions, into which no unclean thing can find adınission.
The Patience of the Sheep. Flowers, ge. 231 call he always has something to give; he has also a brooding voice for them that are under his wing ; and he has an outcry, to give the alarm when he seeth the enemy come. I choose, my darlings, to lead you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they are easy for you.' (x)
"And,'Sir," said Christiana, “pray let us see some more.' So he had them into the Slaughter-house, where was a butcher killing of sheep: and behold the sheep was quiet, and took her death satiently. "Then,' said the Interpreter, ‘you must learn of this sheep to suffer, and to put up wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she takes her death, and, without objecting, she suffereth her skin to be puiled over her ears.--Your King doth call you his sheep
After this he led them into his Garden, where was great variety of flowers : and he said, "Do you see all these i So Christiana said, “Yes.' Then said he again, “Behold the flowers are divers in stature, in quality, and colour, and smell, and virtue ; and some are better than some; also where the gardener hath set them, there they stand, and quarrel not one with another.' (y)
Again he had them into his field, which he had sown with wheat and corn; but, when they beheld, the tops of all were
(1) Our Lord hath, in immenise condescension, employed this emblem, to represent his tender love to his people, for whom he bare the storm of wrath bimself, that they might be safe and happy under "the shadow of luis wings."* The common call signifies the general invitations of the gospel, which should be addressed without restriction, to all men that come under the sound of it ; "as many as ye fine, bid to the marriage. The special call denotes those influences of the Spirit, by which the beart is sweetly made willing to emlurace the invitation, and apply for the blessing, in the use of the appointed means, by which sinners actually experience the accomplishment of the promises, as their circunstances require.-The broading note was intended to represent that comn.mion with God, and those consolations of the Holy Spirit, which the Scriptures encourage us to expect, and by which the believer is trained up for eternal felicity : whilst the outcry refers to the warnings and cautions, by which believers are excited to vigilance, circumspection, and self-examination, and to beware of all deceivers and delusions.
(y) We ought not to be contented, (90 to speak,) with a situation among the useless and noxious weeds of the desert : but if we be planted among the ornamental and fragrant flowers of the Lord's garden, we may deem ourselves sufficiently distinguished and honoured. We should, therefore, watch against envy and ambition, contempt of onr luethren, and contention. We ought to be satisfied in our place, doing nothing through strife or vainglory," or "with murmurings and chispatings:" but endeavouring, in the meekness of wisdom, to diffuse a beavenly fragrance around us, and “to adorn the doctrine of God otir Saviour in all things."
* Matt. xxüi, 37,
232 The Robin-red-breast and Spider. cut off, only the straw remained. He said again, This ground was dunged, and sowed; but what shall we do with
p! Then said Christiana, •Burn some, and make muck of the rest.' Then said the Interpreter again, "Fruit, you see, is that thing you look for, and for want of that you condemn it to the fire, and to be trodden under foot of men : beware that in this you condemo not yourselves. (z)
Then, as they were coming in from abroad, they espied a Robin with a great spider in his mouth : so the Interpreter said, Jook here.' So they looked, and Mercy wondered, but Christiana said, “What a disparagement is it to such a little pretty bird as the Robin-red-breast is; he being also a bird above many, that loveth to maintain a kind of sociabledess with men. I had thought they had lived upon crumbs of bread, or upon other such harmless matter: I like him worse than I did.'
The Interpreter then replied, "This Robin is an emblem, very apt to set forth some professors by; for to sight they are, as this Robin, pretty of note, colour, and carriage ; they seem also to have a very great love for professors that are sincere ; and above all other to desire to associate with them, and to be in their company, as if they could live upon the good man's crumbs. They pretend also, that therefore it is that they frequent the house of the godly, and the appointments of the Lord; but when they are by themselves, as the Robin, they catch and gobble up spiders, they can change their diet, drink and swallow down sin like water.'
So when they were come again into the house, because supper as yet was not ready, Christiana again desired that the Interpreter would either shew or tell some other things that are profitable.
Then the Interpreter began, and said: “The fatter the sow is, the more she desires the mire ; the fatter the ox is, the more gamesomely he goes to the slaughter; and the more healthy the lusty man is, the more prone is he unto evil.'
(2) The labour and expense of the husbandman are not repayed by the straw or the chaff, but by the corn. The humiliation and sufferings of Christ, the publication of the gospel, the promises and instituted ordinances, and the labour of ministers, were not intended merely to bring men to profess certain doctrines, and observe certain forms; or even to produce convictions, affections, or comforts, in any order or degree whatsoever ; but to render men fruitful in good works, by the influences of the Spirit of Christ, and through his sanctifying truth : and all profession will terminate in everlasting contempt and misery, which is not productive of this good fruit, whatever men may pretend, or however they may deceive themselves and one another.