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Mercy knocks at the Gate, and is also received.
start. Then said the keeper of the gate, “Who is there?" And Christiana said, “ It is my friend."
So he opened the gate and looked out, but Mercy was fallen down without in a swoon, for she fainted, and was afraid that no gate would be opened to her.
Then he took her by the hand, and said, “Damsel, I bid thee arise." · " Sir,” said she, “I am faint: there is scarce life left in me.". But he answered, that one said, “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord : and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.” (Jonah ii. 7.) “Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell me wherefore thou art come.”
Mer. I am come for that unto which I was never invited, as my friend Christiana was. Hers was from the King, and mine was but from her. Wherefore I presume.
Keep. Did she desire thee to come with her to this place?
Mer. Yes; and as my Lord sees, I am come. And if there is any grace or forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that thy poor handmaid may be partaker thereof.
Then he took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, “I pray for all them that believe on me, by what means soever they come unto me b." Then said he to those that stood by, “ Fetch some. thing and give it Mercy to smell on, thereby to stay her faintings :" so they fetched her a bundle of myrrb, a while after which she was revived.
And now were Christiana, and her boys, and Mer : cy, received of the Lord at the head of the way, and spoke kindly unto by him. Then said they unto him, “We are sorry for our sins, and beg of our Lord his pardon, and farther information what we must do." ;
“I grant pardon," said he, " by word and deed; by word, in the promise of forgiveness ; by deed in the
The Pilgrims received at the Wicket Gale.
way I obtained it. Take the first from my lips with a kiss, and the other as it shall be revealed.” (Song. 1. 2. Johd xx. 20.)
Now I saw in my dream, that he spake many good words unto them, whereby they were greatly gladdened. He also had them up to the top of the gate, and showed them by what deed they were saved; and told them withal, that that sight they would have again as they went along in the way to their comforto.
c Application must be made to the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon by fervent and believing prayer; and if an answer of peace be not immediately obtained, such petitions must be repeated. It is not surprising that the devil should by his artifices raise fears in the minds of sincere christians, and endeavour to frighten them from a throne of grace; but these suggestions, instead of driving them back to the world, will make them pray the more earnestly.- Ardent desires for salvation will be certainly heard and answered; and divine help will be imparted, to enable them who seek God to depend wholly upon the Lord Jesus.--If children cannot find words to make known their requests to God, yet, if they unite in heart with a praying mother, they will be graciously received by him who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me." Where persons unite together in prayer, one may obtain peace and joy before another. They who have experienced the joy of God's salvation themselves, will intercede for their companions, who are still labouring under doubts and fears : but the prayers of others for them will not satisfy awakened sinners; their fears and distress will lead them to pray the more earnestly and importunately for themselves.—When hope is at the last extrensity, the Lord Jesus will discover his boundless compassion, and speak good words and comfortaðle words to them who are ready to perish ; and by what means soever sinners are brought to his feet, he will save them that call upon his name, because “he ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God by him.”—The promises of the gospel will revive the despairing heart; and the influences of the Holy Spirit will strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.-Confession of sin, and supplication for forgiveness and divine tcaching, will accompany faith in Christ, which is the instrument of reconciliation between God and sinners, and the way in which the enjoyment of divine love is conveyed to the heart. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"' Rom. v. 1. And “ if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all morighteousness," I John i. 9.
The Pilgrims entertained at the Wicket-Gate.
Mer. But heavy barkinecially when thenswer, that
So he left them a while in a summer parlour below, where they entered into talk by themselves ; and thus Christiana began.—“How glad am I that we are got in hither!"
Mer. So you well may; but I of all have cause to leap for joy.
Chr. I thought one time as I stood at the gate, because I had knocked and none did answer, that all our labour was lost, especially when that ugly cur made such a heavy barking at us.
Mer. But my worst fear was, after I saw that you were taken into his favour, and that I was left behind. Now, thought I, it is fulfilled which is written, “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." (Matt. xxiv. 41.) I had much ado to-forbear crying out, Undone! And afraid I was to knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the gate, I took conrage. I also thought that I must either knock again, or die: so I knocked, but I cannot tell how; for my spirit now struggled between life and death.
Chr. Can you not tell how you knocked? I am sure your knocks were so earnest, that the very sound made me start; I thought I never heard such knocking in all my life; I thought you would come in by a violent hand, or take the kingdom by storm. (Matt. xi. 12.)
Mer. Alas! to be in my case, who that so was, could but have done so ? You saw that the door was shut upon me, and that there was a most cruel dog thereabout. Who, I say, that were so fainthearted as I, would not have knocked with all their might? But pray, what said my Lord unto my rudeness : Was he not angry with me?
CHR. When he heard your luinbering noise, he gave a wonderful innocent smile; I believe what you did pleased him well, for he showed no sign to the
The Pilgrims entertained at the Wicket-fiate.
contrary. But I marvel in my heart why he keeps such a dog : had I known that before, I should not nave had heart enough to venture myself in this man. ner. But now we are in, we are in, and I am glad with all my heart.
MER. I will ask, if you please, next time he comes down, why he keeps such a fierce cur in his yard; I hope he will not take it amiss. : “Do so," said the children, “aud persuade him to hang him ; for we are afraid he will bite us when we go bence.”
So at length he came down to them again, and Mercy fell to the ground on her face before him, and worshipped, and said, “Let my Lord accept the sacrifice of praise which I now offer unto him with the calves of my lips."
Só he said unto her, “ Peace be to thee; stand ap.” But she continued upon her face, and said, “ Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee; yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments. (Jer. xii. 1.) Wherefore dost thou keep su cruel a dog in thy yard, at ihe sight of which, such women and children as we are ready to fly from the gate for fear?”
He answered and said, “That dog has another owner; he also is kept close in another man's ground, only my pilgrims hear his barking: he belongs to the castle which you see there at a distance, but can come up to the walls of this place. He has frighted many an honest pilgrimp from worse to better, by the great voice of his roaring. Indeed, he that owneth him doth not keep him out of any good will to me or mine, but with intent to keep the pilgrims froin coming to me, and that they may be afraid to come and knock at this gate for entrance. Sometimes also he has broken out, and has worried some that I oved ; but I take all at present patiently. I also
« C'hrist is pleased with loud and restless praver.
The Pilgrims go on their way.
give my pilgrims timely help, so that they are not delivered up to his power, to do to them what bis doggish nature would prompt him to. But what, iny purchased one, might it not be expected that thou wouldst have known so much beforeband as not to be afraid of a dog ? The beggars that go froin door to door, will, rather than they will lose a supposed alms, run the hazard of the bawling, barking, and biting too of a dog; and shall a dog in another man's yard, a dog whose barking I turn to the profit of pilgrims, keep any from coming to me: I deliver them from the lion's mouth, and my darling from the power of the dog."
MER. Then said Mercy, I confess my ignorance; I speak what I understand not; I acknowledge that thou doest all things well.'
Chr. Then Christiana began to talk of their journey, and, to inquire after the way.--So be fed them, and washed their feet, and set them in the way of bis steps, according as he had dealt with her húsband before. And I saw in my dream, that tbey went on their way, and the weather was comfortable lo them. Then Christiana began to sing, saying,
Bless'd be the day that I begaa
A pilgrim for to be ;
That thereto moved me.
To seek to live for ever ;
'Tis better late than never.
Are turned, as we see ;
Shows what our end will be.
% The gladness which these pilgrims mutually expressed at hare 'nor obtained peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost by