Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Conversation of the Pilgrims.

shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall, even as the King of heaven shall have his heart npon me.

Christiana then was glad at her heart: not only that she had a companion ; but also for that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation. So they went on together, and Mercy began to weep. Then said Christiana, “ Wherefore weepeth my sister so ?”

Mer. Alas! said she, who can but lament, that shall but rightly consider what a state and condition my poor relations are in, that yet renain in our sinful town? And that which makes my grief the more, is, because they have no instruction, nor any to tell them what is to come. , Chr. Bowels become pilgrims; and thou doest for thy friends, as my good Christian did for me when, he left me: he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard hiin; but his Lord and ours did gather up his tears, and put thein into his bottle; and now both I and thou, and these my sweet babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, Mercy, that these tears of thine will not be lost; for the truth hath said, that “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." And that “ he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psal. cxxvi. 5, 6.) Then said Mercy,

“Let the Most Blessed be my guide

If't be his blessed will,
· Unto his gate, into his fold,

Up to his holy hill.
And let him never suffer me

To swerve, or turn aside
From his free grace and holy ways,

Whate’er shall me betide.
And let him gather them of mine,

That I have left behind;

277

'The Pilgrims pass the Slough of Despund.

Lord, make them pray they may be tiine,

With all their heart and mind."

Now my old friend proceeded and said, Biit, when Christiana came to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; “ For,” said she, “ this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered“.” She perceived, also, that notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly. So I asked if that was true. Yes, said the old gentleman, too true; for there are many that pretend to be the King's labourers, and say they are for mending the King's highways, who bring dirt and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending. Here Christiana therefore and her boys, did make a stand. But Mercy said, “ Come, let us venture, only let us be wary.” Then they looked well to their steps, and made a shift to get: staggering over.

Yet Christiana had like to have been in, and that not once or twice. Now they had no sooner got

As a contrast to the company at the house of Mrs. Timorous, who remained in the city of Destruction, we are presented with the chaste and edifying conversation of two christian females, who are in good earnest sceking after the salvation of their souls. Aged women, like Christiana, are well employed in teaching young women, like Mercy, the principles of religion, and in encouraging them by the free invitations of the gospel, to“ follow on to know the Lord,” (Hosea vi. 3,) assuring them that the Lord delighteth in mercy.-- When young persons are concerned about their own salvation, they will weep over the ignorance and danger of their carcal relations; especially if they reside in places where the gospel is not preached. Such tears and prayers are acceptable to God, and will not be lost. Let young converts therefore continue in prayer for their relations, under every discourageinent; as there have been remarkable instances of parents, even in their old age, after their children had been many years praying for them, being converted, and dying in the faith of Jesus.

Their own carnal conclusions, instead of the words of life.

The Pilgrims arrive

over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, “Blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke i. 45.)

Then they went on again ; and Mercy said to Christiana, “Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the Wicket-Gate as you, I think no Slough of Despond would discourage me.”

“Well," said the other, “you know your sore, and I know mine; and, good friends, we shall all have evil enough before we come to our journey's end. For it cannot be imagined, but that the people who design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and who are so envied that happiness as we are, will meet with what fears and snares, and troubles and afflic. tions they can possibly assault us with that hate ust."

* The Slough of Despond was worse than when Christian passed that way, in consequence of pretended labourers bringing “ dirt and dung," or (in the language of the apostle)“ wood, hay, and stubble,” instead of stones, to repair it. The author probably meant, that since so many godly, evangelical parish ministers had been silenced, and dissenting ministers imprisoned, by the persecuting acts which passed in the reign of Charles II. against the nonconformists, and the churches had been filled with ministers who did not preach the gospel, awakened sinners were rather driven into despondency, than preserved from it, by the religious instructions which they received. Younger christians may be the instruments of encouraging and relieving the distressed minds of some who are older than themselves. Faith in the promises of the gospel, though weak and imperfect, will keep the mind from being swallowed up with overwhelming dejection. But though young converts may know but little trouble at their first setting out in the christian life, they cannot expect to reach heaven without meeting with enemies. Our Lord said to his disciples, “Because ye are not of the worlu but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hatech you" John xv. 19.

“ God, my supporter and my hope,

My help for ever near,
Thine arm of mercy held me op

When sinking in despair.

at the Wicket-Gate.

And now Mr Sagacity left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore, inethought I saw Christiana, and Mercy, and the boys, go all of them up to the gate : to which when they were come, they betook themselves to a short debate, about how they must inanage their calling at the gate, and what should be said unto him that did open unto them y; so it was concluded, since Christiana was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and that she should speak to him that did open, for the rest. So Christiana began to knock, and as her poor husband did, she knocked and knocked again. But instead of any that answered, they all thought that they heard as if a dog' came barking upon them ;--a dog, and a great one too : and this made the Woinen and children afraid. Nor durst they for a while knock any more, for fear the mastiff should tly upon them.--Now therefore they were greatly disturbed in their minds, and knew not what to do; knock they durst not, for fear of the dog; go back they dur'st not, for fear the keeper of the gate should espy them as they so went, and be offended with them; at last they thought of knocking again, and knocking more vehemently than they did at first. Theu said the keeper of the gate, “Who is there?" So the dog left off to bark, and he opened unto them.

Then Christiana made low obeisance, and said, “ Let not our Lord be offended with his hand-maidens, for that we have knocked at his princely gate." Then said the keeper, “Whence coine ye? And what is it that you would have ?”

“ Thy counsels, Lord, shall guide my feet

Through this dark wilderness;
Thy halsu conduct me near thy seat,
To dwell before thy face"

Watts. y Prayer should be made with consideration and fear, as well as in faith and hope. · The dog, the devil, an eneiny to prayer.

Christiana and her Sons received at the Wicket-Gate.

Christiana answered, “ We are come from whence Christian did come, and upon the same errand as he; to wit, to be, if it shall please youi, graciously ad:nitted by this gate into the way that leads unto the Celestial City. And I answer, my Lord, in the next place, that I am Christiana, once the wife of Christian, who is now arrived above."

With that the keeper of the gate did marvel, saying, “What is she now become a pilgrim, that but a while ago abhorred that life?" Then she howed her head, and said, “ Yea ; and so are these my sweet babes also.”

Then he took her by the hand and led her in, and said also, “Suffer the little children to come unto ine;" and with that he shut up the gate. This done, he called to a trumpeter that was above, over the gate, to entertain Christiana with shouting, and sound of trumpet, for jov. So he obeved, and sounded, and filled the air with his melodious votes.

Now all this wbile poor Mercy did stand without, trembling and crying for fear that she was rejected. But when Christiana had gotten admittance for herself and her boys, then she began to make intercession for Mercy.

CHR. And she said, My Lord, a companion of mine that stands yet without, is come bither upon the samne account as myself: one that is much dejected in her mind, for that she comes, as she thinks, without sending for: whereas I was sent to by iny husband's King to come.

Now Mercy began to be very impatient, and each minute was as long to her as an hour; wherefore she prevented Christiana from a fuller interceding for her, by kuocking at the gate hersella. Aud she knocked then su soud, that she made Christiana

Deinys make the hungry soui ine more jeturah

« ForrigeFortsett »