« ForrigeFortsett »
Hope. How far might they go on in pil. grimage in their days, since they notwithstanding were thus miserably cast away?
Shep. Some tirther, and some not so far as these mountains.
Then said the pilgrims one to another. We had need to cry to the strong for strength.
Shep. Ay, and you will have need to use it when you have it, too.
By this time the pilgrims had a desire to go forwards, and the shepherds a desire they should ; so they walked together towards the end of the mountains. Then said the shepe herds one to another, Let us here shew the pilgrims the gates of the Celestial city, if they have skill to look through our prospect ive glass. The pilgrims then lovingly accepted the motion : so they had them io the top of a high hill, called Clear, and gave them the glass to look.
Then they cssayed to look, but the remembrance of that last thing that the shepherds had shewed them made their hands shake; by means of which impediment they could not look steadily through the glass, yet thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the glory of the place. Then they went away and sang this song :
** That last'-Such is the infirmity of our paure, eren when in a measure renovated, that it is almost impossible for os vigorously to exercise one boly affection, withvert luile ing in some other. When we contide in God will assured faith and hope, we commonly are detective in reverence, luumility, and caution : on the other hand, a jealous of our selves, and a salutary fear of coming siwori or drawing back generally weaken our confidence in liont, ami interfere with a joyful anticipation of our finire imberitance. But, nut withstanle ing this dedution through our rrureining unbeliel, such experie ences are very managerus :: Benedighuniberl, but, lear;'
el is he tau leareth always'
Thus by the shepherds secrets are reveald,
Things deep, things hid, and that mysterious be. When they were about to depart, one of the shepherds gave them a note of the way. Another of them bid them beware of the flatterer. The third bid them take heed that they slept not upon the enchanted ground. And the fourth bid them good speed. So I awoke from my dream.
And I slept and dreamed again, and saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city Now a little* below these mountains on the
Now a little'-Muleitudes of ignorant persons entirely disregard God and religion ; others have a show of piety, which is grave, reserved, auster, distant, and connected with contemptuous enmity to evangelical truth: but there are soine persons of a #prightly disposition, who are more conceit. ed and vain-glorious than Naughty and arrogant; think weli of themselves, and presume on the good opinion of their ac quaintance; are open and communicative, though they ex. pose their ignorance continually ; fancy themselves very icdi. gious, and expect to be thought so by others; are willing to associate with evangelical professors, as if they all meant the same thing; and do not express contempt or comity, unless urged to it in self-defence. This description of men seems to be represented by the character next introduced, about which the author has repeatedly bestowed much pains. Christian had soon done with Obstinate and Worldly-wiseman; for such men, being outrageous against the Gospel, shun all intercourse with established professors, and litile can be done to warn or undeceive them: but brisk, conceited, shallow persons, who are ambitious of being thought religious, are
left hand lieth the country of Conceit, from which country there comes into the way in which the pilgrims walked a little crooked lane. Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad that came out of that country, and bis name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him from what parts he came, and whither he was going?
Ignor. Sir, I was born in the country that lieth off there a little on the left hand, and am going to the Celestial city.
Chr. But how do you think to get in at the gate ? for you may find some difficulties there.
As other good people do, said he.
Chr. But what have you to shew at that gate, that may cause that gate to be opened to you? shaken off with great difficulty; they are continually found ambog the hearers of the Gospel; often intrude themselves at the most sacred ordinances, when they have it in their powe er; and sometimes arc favourably thought of, till further acquaintance proves their entire ignorance. Pride, in one forın or another, is the universal fault of human nature; but the frive olous vain-glory of empty talkers differs exceedingly froin the arrogance and formal self-importance of scribes and pharisees, and arise from a different constitution and education, and other kabits and associations : this is the town of Conceit, where ignorance resided. A lively disposition, a weak capacity, a confused judgment ; the want of information about religion and alınost every other subject; a proportionable blindnese to those manifold deficiencies, and a pert, forward self-sufficiency, are the prominent features in this portrait; and is a full purse, secular influence, the ability of conferring fa. vours, and power to excite fears, be added, the whole re ceives its bighest finishing. With these observations on this peculiar character, and a few hints as we proceed, the plain Language of the author on this subject will be perfectly intellie xible to the attentive reader.
Ignor. I know my Lord's will, and have been a good liver ; I pay every man his own ; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going
Chr. But thou camest not in at the wicketgate that is at the head of this way; thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane, and therefore I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoningday shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the city.
Ignor. Gentlemen ye be utter strangers to me, I know you not ; be content to follow the religion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And, as for the gate that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off of our country. I cannot think that any men in all our parts do so much as know the way to it ; nor need they matter whether they do or no ; since we have, as you sce, a fine pleasant green lane that comes down from our country the next way into the way.
When Christian saw that the man was wise in his own conceit, he said to Hopeful, wtiisperingly, “There is more hope of a fool than him? (Prov. xxvi. 12); and said moreover, "When he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool (Eccles. x. 3). What, shall* we talk farther with him, or outgo him
What, shall'- It is best not to converse much at once with
persons of this character; but after a few warninga to VOL. I.
at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already, and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good by him? Then said Hopeful,
Let Ignorance a little while now mise
Alto be made them, then he will not save. He farther added, It is not good, I think, to say to him all at once ; let us pass him by, if you will, and talk to him anon, even as he is able to bear it.'
So they both went on, and Ignorance he came after. Now when they had passed him a little way, they entered into a very dark lane,* where they met a man whom seven leare them to their reflections : for their self-conceit is often cherisired by altercations, in which they deem themselves very expert, however disgusting their discourse may be to others,
*. Durk lane'_This seems to mean a season of preralent impiety, and of great atiliction to the people of God. Here die iinpartial author takes occasion to contrast the character of Ignorance with that of Turn away. Love evine gelical professors book down with supercilious distain oa those who do not un lerstand the doctrines of grace; and think thenuselves more enlighteneci, and better acquainted with the liberty of the Gospel, than more practical Christians : bu: in dark times such wanton professors often turn out dunnable apstates, and the detection of their hipocrisy makes thein ashamed io shew their faces among those belierers, over whom they befure atiected a kind of superiority. Whea convictions sulside, and Christ has not set up his kingdom in ne heart, the unclean spirit resumes his former habitation, end takes to himself seven other spirits more wicked thas