Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

of whom he began to blush for shame. So Evangelist drew nearer and nearer,and coming up to him, he looked upon him with a severe and dreadful countenance, and thus began to reason with Christian.

What dost thou here, Christian ? said he. At which words Christian knew not what to answer : wherefore, at present, he stood speechless before him. Then said Evangelist farther, Art thou not the man that I found crying without the walls of the city of Destruction ?

Chr. Yes, dear Sir, I am the man.

Evan. Did not I direct thee the way to the little wicket-gate ?

Yes, dear Sir, said Christian.

Evan. How is it then that thou art so quickly turned aside ? for thou art now out

of the way.

Chr. I met with a gentleman, so soon as I had got over the slough of Despond, who persuaded me that I might, in the village before

me, find a man that could take off my burthen.

Evan. What was he ?

Chr. He looked like a gentleman, and talked much to me, and got me at last to yield; so I came hither ; but when I bcheld this hill, and how it hangs over the way, I suddenly made a stand, lest it should fall on

Evan. What said that gentleman to you?

Chr. Why he asked me whither I was go• ing; and I told him.

my head.

Fran. And what said he then ?

Chr. He asked me if I had a family ; and I told him. But, said I, I am so loaded with the burthen that is on my back, that I cannot take pleasure in them as formerly.

Evan. And what said he then ?

Chr. He bid me with speed get rid of my burthen ; and I told him it was ease that I sought. And, said I, I am therefore going to yonder gate to receive farther directions how I might get to the place of deliverance. So he said that he would shew me a better way, and short, not so attended with difficulties as the way, Sir, that you set me in , which way, said he, will direct you to a gentleman's house that has skill to take off these burthens : so I believed him, and turned out of that way into this, if haply I might be soon eased of my burthen. But when I came to this place, and beheld things as they are,

[ stopped for fear, as I said, of danger ; but now know not what to do.

Then, said Evangelist, stand still* a little, that I may shew thee the words of God. So

"Stand still?_Our author judged it right, in dealing with persons under great terror of conscience, to aim rather at preparing them for solid peace, than hastily to give them comfort. Men may be greatly dismayed, and in some degree truly huml;led, yet not be truly sensible of the aggra sativu and degree of their guilt. In this case, farther instructions, as to the nature and heinousness of their offences, are neol. ful to excite them to proper diligence and self-lenial, and to prepare them for solid peace and comfort. Whereas a wellmeant, coinpassionate, but injudicious, method, of proposing consolatory topics indiscriminately to all under trouble of wunscience, lulis many into a fatal sleep; and gives uthers a

he stood trembling. Then said Evangeligt,

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh : for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven Heb. xii. 25.) He said moreover, 'Now the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him' (Heb. x. 38.) He also did thus apply them : Thou art the man that art running into this misery ; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the Most High, and to draw back thy foot from the way of peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition.

Then Christian fell down at his feet as dead, crying, Woe is me, for I am undone ! At tynsient peace, which soon terminates in deep despondenry : like a wound, hastily skinned over by an ignorant practition er, instead of being soundly cured by the patient attention of a skilful surgeon. The communication of more knou leilge may, indeed, auginent a man's terror and distress ; but it will produce deeper humiliation, and thus effectually warn him against carnal counsellors and legal dependences. Whaterer may be generally thought of turning aside from the Gospel, it is a direct refusal to hearken to Christ; and they who do so run into misery, and leave the way of peace, to the hazard of their souls; even though moral decency and formal piety be the result (Gal. v. 4.) Such denunciations are despised by the stout-hearted, but the contrite in spirit, when conscious of this guilt, are cast by thein into the deepest distress ; so that they would fall into despair did not the ministers of Clirist encourage them by evangelical topics. The following lines are here inserted, as before, in the old editions ;

• When Christians unto carnal men give car,
Out of their way they go, and pay fort dear :
For Master Worldly-Wiseman can but shew
A saiut the way to bondage and to woe.'

the sight of which Evangelist caught him hy the right hand, saying, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: 'be not faithless but believing.' Then did Christian again a little revive, and stood up trembling, as at first, before Evangelist.

Then Evangelist proceeded, saying, Give more carnest heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now shew thee who it was that deluded thce, and who it was also to whom he sent thce. The man that met thee is one Worldly-Wiseman, and rightly is he so called ; partly because he savoureth only the doctrine of this world (1 John iv. 5), therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church,* and partly because he loveth that doctrine best, for it saveth him best from the cross (Gal. vi. 12); and because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to pervert my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this man's counsel that thou must utterly abhor : his turning thee out of the way ; his labouring to render the cross odious to thee; and his setting thy fcet in that way that leadeth unto the ministration of death.

First, thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way, yea, and thine own consenting thereto ; because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a worldly-Wise man. The Lord says, “ Strive to enter in at the strait gate,' the gate to which I send thee, 'for strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it' (Luke xiii. 24; Matt. vii. 13, 14.) From this little wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, bath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction. Hate, therefore, his turning thceout of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.

** To church'-Worldly-Wiseman goes to church at the mwn of Morality: for such men support their confidence and reputation for religion by attending on those preachers, who substitute a proud scanty morality in place of the Gospel. This coincides with their sccular views, dispositions, and inicrests; they avoid the cross, verily thinking they have found out the secret of reconciling the friendship of the world with the favour of God; and then they set up for teachers of the same convenient system to their neighbours !

Secondly, thou must abhor his labouring to render the cross odious unto thee; for thou art to 'prefer it before the treasures in Egypt' (Heb. xi. 25, 26.) Besides, the King of Glory hath told thee, that he that will save his life shall lose it :' and, he that comes after me, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, cannot be my disciple' (Matt. x. 37–39 ; Mark viii. 31, 35 ; Luke xiv. 26, 27; John xii. 25.) therefore, for a man to labour to persuade thee, that that shall be thy death, without which the truth hath said thou canst not have eternal life this doctrine thou must abhor

Thirdly, thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the niinistration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also, how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burthen. Vol. I.

6

I say,

« ForrigeFortsett »