Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

90

Two Giants, Pope and Pugan. though he feared them more before, yet he saw them more clearly now, because the light of the day made them conspicuous to him. And about this time the sun was rising; and this was another mercy to Christian; for you must note, that though the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous ; yet this second part, which he was yet to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous : for, from the place where he now stood even to the end of the Valley, the way was all along set so full of snares, traps, gins and nets here; and so full of pits, pitfalls, deep holes, and shelvings down, there; that had it now been dark, as it was when he came the first part of the way, had he had a thousand souls they had in reason been cast away: but, as I said, just now the sun was rising. Then said he, “His candle shineth on my head, and by his light I go through darkness.”* (z)

In this light therefore he came to the end of the Valley. Now I saw in my dream, that at the end of this Valley lay blood, bones, ashes and mangled bodies of men, even of Pil. grims that had gone this way formerly; and while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave, where two giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old time; by, whose power and tyranny the men, whose bones, blood, ashes, &c. lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered: but I have learnt since, that Pagan has been dead many a day; and, as for the other, though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of age, and also of the many

shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy and stiff in his joints, that he can now do little more than sit in his cave's mouth, grinning at Pilgrims as they go by, and biting his nails because he cannot come at them.

So I saw that Christian went on his way; yet, at the sight of the old man, that sat in the mouth in the cave, he could

* Job xxis. 3.

(z) Various interpretations are given of this second part of the Valley, which only shew, that the author's precise idea in it lies more remote from general apprehension, than in other

* passages : for they all coincide with some of the difficulties or dangers that are clearly deseribed under other einblems.-In general we are taught by it, that believers are not most in danger when under the deepest distress; that the snares and devices of the enemy 30 many and various, trough the several stages of our pilgrimage, as to baffle all descrip tion or enumeration ; and that all the emblems of the Valley of Humiliation, and of the Sharlow of Death, could not fully represent the thousandth part of them. Were it not, therefore, that the Lori undertakes to guide his p:ople, by the light of his worri anul Spirit, they never could possibly escape them all,

Christian overtakes Faithful.

91

not tell what to think; specially because he spake to him, though he could not go after him, saying, “You will never mend till more of you be burned. But he held his peace, and set a good face on it, and so went by and caught no hurt. (a) Then sang Christian,

'O world of wonders ! (I can say no less)
That I should be preserv'd in that distress
That I have met with here ! O blessed be
That hand that from it hath deliver'd me!
Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin,
Did compass me, while I this vale wasin :
Yea, spares, and pits, and traps, and nets, did lie
My path about, that worthless silly I
Might bave been catch'd, entangled, and cast down :

But since I live let Jesus wear the crown.' Now as Christian went on his way he came to a little ascent, which was up cast on purpose that Pilgrims might see before them. Up there, therefore, Christian went; and looking forward he saw Faithful before him upon his journey. Then said Christian aloud, "Ho ho, so ho; stay, and I will be your companion. At that Faithful looked behind him; to whom Christian cried again, "Stay, stay, till I come up to you, but Faithful answered, “No, I am apon my life, and the avenger of blood is behind me.'

At this Christian was somewhat moved, and putting to all his strength be quickly got up with Faithful, and did also overrun him; so the last was first. Then did Christian vain-gloriously smile, because he had gotten the start of his brother: but not taking, good heed to his feet, he suddenly stumbled and fell, and could not rise again until Faithful came up to help him. (6)

(a) The inhabitants of Britain are not thought to be in any immediate danger, either from Pope or Pagan. Yet something very like the philosophical part of paganism seems to be rising from the dead ; and as, even by the confession of the late king of Prussia, who was a steady friend to the philosophical infidels, they ‘are by no means favourable to general toleration,' it is not improbable but pagan persecution may also in due time revive. Nay it may be questionel, whether popery may not yet so far recover its vigour, as to make one more alarming struggle against vital Christianity, before that Man of Sin be finally destroyed.–Our author, however, has described no other persecution than what protestants in his time carried on against one another with very great alacrity.

(1) This ascent may denote those moments of encouragement, in which tempted believers rist superior to their difficulties; and are animated to desire the company of their breuiren, whom dejection under humiliating experiences disposes them to shun. The conduct of Christian intimates, that believers are sometimes ready to hindır one another, by making their own attainments and progress a standard for their brethren ; but the lively excrcise of faitha rrulers men intent on pressing forward, and more apt to fuar dhe society of such as

92

They converse about their City. Then I saw in my dream, they went very lovingly on together, and had sweet discourse of all things that had happened to them in their pilgrimage: and thus Christian began.

My honoured and well-beloved brother Faithful, I am glad that I have overtaken you; and that God has so tempered our spirit that we can walk as companions in this so pleasant a path.

Faith. I had thought, dear friend, to have had your company quite from our town, but you did get the start of me: wherefore I was forced to come thus wuch of the way alone.

Chr. How long did you stay in the City of Destruction, before you set out after me on your pilgrimage ?

Faith. Till I could stay no longer; for there was great talk presently after you were gone out, that our city would in a short time with fire from heaven be burned down to the ground. Chr. What! did

your neighbours talk so ? Faith. Yes, 'twas for a while in every body's mouth.

Chr. What! and did no more of them but you come out to escape the danger?

Faith. Though there was, as I said, a great talk thereabout, yet I do not think they did firmly believe it. For in the heat of the discourse, I heard some of them deridingly speak of you, and of your desperate journey, for so they called this your pilgrimage. But I did believe, and do 'still, that the end of our city will be with fire and brimstone from above ; and therefore I have made mine escape. (c)

would influence them to loiter, than to stop for them. This tends to excite an useful emlation: but, while it promotes diligence, it often gives occasion to those risings of vain-glory and self-preference, which are the fore-runners of some humiliating fall : and thus believers often feel their need of help from those very persons whom they have foolishly under-valuod. Yet this gives occasion to those mutual good offices, which unite them more closely in the nearest ties of tender affection.

(c) This episode, so to speak, and others of the same kind, give our author a happy advantage of varying the characters and experiences of Christians, as found in real life ; and of thus avoiding the common fault of making one man a standard for others, in the circumstances of his religious progress. It often happens, that they who have been acquainted before their conversion, and hear little of each other for some time after, find at length that they were led to attend to religion about the same period, without having opportunity or courage to confer together respecting it. The decided separation of a sinner from his old companions and pursuits, to walk with God in all his ordinances and commandments, from avowed dread of "the wrath to come.” as well as the hope of eternal life, frequently exciter serious thoughts in the minds of others, which they are not able wholly to shake off. In many indeed this is a mere transient alarm, insufficient to overcome the propensities of the carnal mind : but when it arises from a ral belief of God's testimony it will at length produce a happy change.

[ocr errors]

Christian inquires concerning Pliable. 95 Chr. Did you hear no talk of neighbour Pliable ?

Faith. Yes, Christian, I heard that he followed you till he came at the Slough of Despond ; where, as some said, he fell in; but he would not be known to have so done ; but I am sure he was soundly bedabbled with that kind of dirt.

Chr. And what said the neighbours to him ?

Faith. He hath since his going back been had greatly in derision, and that among all sorts of people ; some do mock and despise him, and scarce will any set him on work. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the city.

Chr. But why should they be so set against him, since they also despised the way that he forsook ?

Faith. Oh, they say, "Hang him ; he is Turncoat! he was not true to his profession." I think God has stirred up even his enemies to hiss at him, and make him a proverb, because he hath forsaken the way. *

Chr. Had you no talk with him before you came out ?

Faith. I met him once in the streets, but he leered away on the other side, as one ashamed of what he had done : so I spake not to him.

Chr. Well, at iny first setting out I had hopes of that man ; but now I fear he will perish in the overthrow of the city : for

"it hath happened to himn according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in her mire.”+

Faith. They are my fears of him too : but who can hinder that which will be ?

Well, neighbour Faithful, said Christian, let us leave him, and talk of things that more immediately concern ourselves. (d) Tell me now what you have met with in the way as you came: for I know you have met with some things, or else it

may

be writ for a wonder. Faith. I escaped the Slough that I perceive you fell into, and got up to the Gate without that danger; only I met with one, whose name was Wanton, that had like to have done me a mischief.

• Jer. xxix. 18, 19. + 2 Pet. ü. 22.

(d) Apostates are often ashamed to own they have had convictions. Even their former companions assume a superiority over them, do not think them hearty in the cause of ungodliness, and Jespise their cowardice and instability : while feeling that they want an

apology, they have recourse to lies and slanders with abject servility. On the other hand • they shun religious people, as afraid of encountering their arguments, warnings, and expor

wulations ; and thus are in all respects exceedingly contemptible and wretcheda

or no.

94

Christian converses with Faithful. Chr. It was well you escaped her net: Joseph was hard put to it by her, and he escaped her as you did, but it had like to have cost bim his life. * But what did she do to you?

Faith. You cannot think, but that you know something, what a flattering tongue she had ; she lay at me hard to turn aside with her, promising me all manner of content.

Chr. Nay, she did not promise you the content of a good conscience.

Faith. You know what I mean; all carnal and fleshly content.

Chr. Thank God you have escaped her : "the abhorred of the Lord shall fall into her ditch.”+

Faith. Nay, I know not whether I did wholly escape her
Chr. Why, I trow you did not consent to her desires.

Faith. No, not to defile myself, for I remembered an old writing that I had seen, which saith, “her steps take hold of hell." So I shut mine eyes, because I would not be bewitched with her looks :-then she railed on me, and I went mv wav. (el "Chr. Did you meet with no other assault as you came ?

Faith. When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficul. ty, I met with a very aged man, who asked me what I was, and whither boundI told him that I was a Pilgrim going to the Celestial City. Then said the old man, Thou lookest like an honest fellow : wilt thou be content to dwell with me, for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked him his name, and where he dwelt? He said, His name was Adam the First, and I dwell in the town of Deceit. § I asked him then what was his work? and what the wages that he would give ? He told me, that his work was many de. lights ; and his wages, that I should be his heir at last. I further asked him, what house he kept, and what other servants he had ? So he told me, that his house was maintained with all the dainties in the world : and that his servants

+ Prov. xxi. 14. Prov. v. 5. Job xxxi. 1. ♡ Eph. iv. 22. (e) Some men are preserved from desponding fears, and the suggestions of worldly wisdom, by receiving more distinct views of the truths of the gospel ; and thus they proceed with less hesitation and interruption, in seeking to Christ for salvation : yet, perhaps, their temperature, turn of mind, habits of life, and peculiar situation, render them more accessible to temptations of another sort ; and they are more in danger from the fascinations of fleshly lusts. Thus in different ways the Lord makes his people sensible of their depravity, weakness, and exposed situation ; while he so moderates the temptation, or interposes for their defererance, that they are preserved, and taught to ascribe all the glory to his name.

* Gen. xxxix. 11-13.

« ForrigeFortsett »