They resist the enchantment.

Hope. I acknowledge myself in a fault; and, had I been here alone, I had by sleeping run the danger of death. I see it is true that the wise man saith, “ Two are better than one.”* Hitherto hath thy company been my mercy; and thou shalt have a good reward for thy labour.

Chr. Now then, said Christian, to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.

Hope. With all my heart, said the other.
Chr Where shall we begin?

Hope. Where God began with us : but do you begin, if you please. Chr. I will

sing you first a song :
“ When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
“ And hear how these two pilgrims talk together :
“ Yea, let them learn of them in any-wise,
“ Thus to keep ope their drowsy, slumb'ring eyes,
“ Saints' fellowship, if it be manag'd well,

Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell." (u) Chr. Then Christian began, and said, I will ask you a question. How came you to think at first of so doing as you do now?

Hope. Do you mean, how came I at first to look after the good of my soul ?

Chr. Yes, that is my meaning:

Hope. I continued a great while in the delight of those things which were seen and sold at the fair': things I believe now would have, had I continued

• Eccl. iv. 9. (u) Observation fully evinces this truth; and when the soul slumbers, the tongue is mute to spiritual converse, and the truths of Jesus freeze on the lips, while the man is all ear to'hear, and all tongue to talk of vain, worldly, and trifling things. Beware of such sleepy professors. You are in danger of catching the infection : you are sure to get no spiritual edification from them : and there is little hope of being profiiable to them; but be sure to be faithful to them, and prize the company of lively Christians.

Hopeful's history.

in them still, drowned me in perdition and destruction.

Chr. What things were they?

Hope. All the treasures and riches of the world. Also I delighted much in rioting, revelling, drinking, swearing, lying, uncleannesss, sabbath-breaking, and what not, that tended to destroy the soul. But I found, at last, by hearing and considering of things that are divine, which indeed, I heard of you, as also of beloved Faithful, that was put to death for his faith and good living at Vanity-Fair, “ That the end of these things is death.”* And that for these things sake, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.

Chr. And did you presently fall under the power of this conviction ?

Hope. No, I was not willing presently to know the evil of sin, nor the damnation that follows upon the commission of it; but endeavoured, when my mind at first began to be shaken with the word, to shut mine eyes against the light thereof.

Chr. But what was the cause of your carrying of it thus to the first workings of God's Spirit upon

Hope. The causes were. 1. I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. I never thought that by awakenings for sin, God first begins the conversion of a sinner. 2. Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was loth to leave it. 3. I could not tell how to part with my own companions, their presence and actions were so desirable to me. 4. The hours in which convictions were put upon me, were such troublesome and such heart-frightened


[blocks in formation]

Hopeful relates how he learned the way of Justification.

hours, that I could not bear, no, not so much as the remembrance of them upon my heart. (x)

Chr. Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your troubles ?

Hope. Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again, and then I should be as bad, nay, worse than I was before.

Chr. Why, what was it brought your sins to mind again?

Hope. Many things as 1. If I had but met a good man in the streets: or 2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or, 3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,

4. 11 I were told that some of my neighbours were sick; or

5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead : or

6. If I thought of dying myself; or

7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others:

8. But especially when I thought of myself that I must come to judgment.

(x) Here you see, as our Lord says, " It is the Spirit who quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." John vi. 63. The Aesh, or our carnal nature, so far from profiting in the work of conversion to Christ, that is at enmity against him, and counteracts and opposes the spirit's work in showing us our want of him, and bringing us to him. Man's nature and God's grace are two direct opposites. Nature opposes, but grace subdues nature, and brings it to submissicn and subjection. Are we truly convinced of sin, and converted to Christ? This is a certain and sure evi. dence of it; we shall say from our hearts, Not unto us, nor unto any yieldings and compliances of our nature, free-will, and power but unto thy name, O Lord, be all the glory. For it is by thy free, sovereign, efficacious grace, we are what we are. Hence, see the ignorance, folly, and pride, of those who exalt free-will and nature's power, &c. Verily, they do not know themselves, even as they are known.

He reasons with himself.

Chr. And could you at any time, with ease get off the guilt of sin, when by any of these ways it came upon you ?

Hope. No, not I: for then they got faster hold of my conscience: and then, if I did but think of going back to sin (though my mind was turned against it) it would be double torment to me.

Chr. And how did you do then? Hope. I thought I must endeavour to mend my life; for else thought I, I am sure to be damned.

Chr. And did you endeavour to mend?

Hope. Yes; and fled from not only my sins, but sinful company too, and betook me to religious duties; as praying, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbours, &c." These things did I, with many others, too much here to relate.

Chr. And did you think yourself well then ?

Hope. Yes, for a while; but at the last my trouble came tumbling upon me again, and that over the neck of all my reformation.

Chr. How came that about, since you were now reformed ?

Hope. There were several things brought it upon me, especially such sayings as these : “ All our righteousness are as filthy rags. By the works of the law no man shall be justified. When we have done all things, say, we are unprofitable;" with many more such like. From whence I began to reason with myself thus: If all my righteousness are as filthy rags ; if by the deeds of the law no man can be justified; and if when we have done all, we are unprofitable; then is it but folly to think of heaven by the law. I further thought thus: If a man runs a hundred pounds into the shopkeeper's debt, and, after that pays for all that he shall fetch ; yet if this old debt stands still in the book uncrossed, the shop

Is convinced, that duties will not save him.

keeper may sue him for it, and cast him into prison till he shall pay the debt.

Chr. Well, and how did you apply this to yourself.

Hope. Why I thought thus with myself: I have by my sins run a great way into God's book, and that my now reforming will not pay off that score; therefore I should think still, under all my present amendments. But how shall I be freed from that damnation I brought myself in danger of by my former transgressions ?

Chr. A very good application : but pray go on :

Hope. Another thing that hath troubled me ever since my late amendments is, that if I look narrowly into the best of what I do now, I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with the best of what I do: so that now I am forced to conclude, that notwithstanding my former fond conceits of myself and duties, I have committed sin enough in one day to send me to hell, though my former life had been faultless. (y)

Chr. And what did you do then ?

Hope. Do! I could not tell what to do, till I broke my mind to Faithful; for he and I were well acquainted. And he told me, that unless I could obtain the righteousness of a man that never sinned,

(y) Thus you see in conversion the Lord does not act upon us by force and compulsion, as though we were inanimate stocks or stones, or irrational animals, or mere machines. No: we have uuderstanding. He enlightens it. Then we come to a sound mind; we think right, and reason justly. We have will; what the understanding judges best, the will approves, and then the affections follow after ; and thus we choose Christ for our) Saviour, and glory only in his righteousness and salvation. When the heavenly light of truth makes manifest what we are, and the danger we are in, then we rationally fee the wrath to come, to Christ the refuge set before us,

« ForrigeFortsett »