« ForrigeFortsett »
monly arise; of these things I am not certain ; but this I observed, that they never were seen again in the way. Then sang Christian:
By-ends and silver Demas both agree;
in this world, and no further go. Now I saw, that just on the other side of this plain the pilgrims came to a place where stood an old monument, hard-by the highway side, at the sight of which they were both concerned, because of the strangeness of the form thereof, for it seemed to them as if it had been a woman transformed into the shape of a pillar; here therefore they stood, looking, and looking upon it, but could not for a time tell what to make of it: at last Hopeful espied written upon the head thereof, a writing in an unusual hand; but he, being no scholar, called to Christian (for he was learned) to see if he could pick out the meaning: so he came, and, after a little laying of the letters together, he found the same to be this, “ Remember Lot's wife.” So he read it to his fellow; after which they both concluded that this was the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned for looking back with a covetous heart, when she was going from Sodom for safety. Which sudden and amazing fight gave them occasion of this difcourse. Chr. Ah! my brother, this is a seasonable sight; it came opportunely to us after the invitation which Demas gave us to come over to view the hill Lucre; and, had we gone over, as he desired us, and as thou wast inclined to do, my brother, we had, for aught I know, been made, like this woman, a spectacle for those who shall come after, to behold.
Hope. I am sorry that I was so foolish, and am made to wonder that I am not now as Lot's wife 5; for wherein was the difference between her sin and mine? She only looked back, and I had a desire to go and see: let grace be adored, and let me be ashamed that ever such a thing should be in mine heart.
Chr. Let us take notice of what we see here, for our help in time to come: this woman escaped one judgment, for she fell not by the destruction of Sodom ; yet she was destroyed by another, as we see, she is turned into a pillar of falt.
Hope. True, and she may be to us both caution and example ; caution, that we should shun her sin; or a sign of what judgment will overtake such as shall not be prevented by this caution: fo Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men who perished in their sin, did also become á sign or example to beware. But, above all, I
Ś What made the difference between Hopeful and Lot's wife? Nothing but discriminating grace. She looked back; his heart secretly inclined that way. Hopeful was made truly sensible that lie was no better in himself than Lot's wife : this made him humble and thankful.
muse' at one thing, to wit, how Demas and his fellows can stand so confidently yonder to look for that treasure, whereas this woman only for looking behind her after it (for we read not that she stept one foot out of the way) was turned into a pillar of falt; especially since the judgment which overtook her did make her an example, even within sight of the place where they are : for they cannot choose but see her did they but lift
eyes, Chr. It is a thing to be wondered at, and it argueth that their hearts are grown desperate in the case. I cannot tell who to compare them to so fitly, as to them who pick pockets in the presence of the judge, or who will cut purses under the gallows h. It is said of the men of Sodom, that they were sinners exceedingly, because they were sinners before the Lord, that is, in his eye-sight, and notwith standing the kindnesses that he had shewed them; for the land of Sodom was now like the garden of Eden heretofore. This therefore provoked him the more to jealousy, and made their plague as hot as the fire of the Lord out of heaven could make it, And it is moft rational to be concluded, that such, even such as these are, who shall sin in the light, yea, and that too in despite of such examples as are fer continually before them to caution them to
h Not the terrors of the law, nor the torments of the damn: ed, will keep men from finning: nothing will purify the heart but faith; there is no other check to Antinomianifmn but faith.
the contrary, must be partakers of the severest judgment.
Hope. Doubtless thou hast said the truth; but what a mercy is it, that neither thou, but especially I, am not made this example? This ministereth occasion to us to thank God, to fear before him, and always to remember Lot's wife.
I saw then, that they went on their way to a pleafant river, which David the King called the River of God, but John, the River of the Water of Life. Now their way lay just upon the bank of this river: here therefore Christian and his companion walked with great delight; they drank also of the water of the river, which was pleasant, and enlivening to their weary spirits: besides, on the banks of this river, on either side, were green trees, for all manner of fruit; and they eat the leaves to prevent surfeits, and other diseases that are incident to those who heat their blood by travels. On either side of the river was also a meadow, curiously beautified with lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this meadow they lay down and slept: for here they might lie down safely. When they awoke, they gathered again of the fruit of the trees, and drank again of the water of the river, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights. Then they fang:
Behold ye, how these crystal streams do glide,
The meadows green, besides their fragrant smell, Yield dainties for them: and he that can tell What pleasant fruit, yea, leaves, these trees do yield, Will soon sell all, that he may buy this field. So when they were disposed to go on (for they were not as yet at their journey's end), they eat and drank, and departed.
Now I beheld, in my dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the river and the way for a time parted, at which they were not a little sorry, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the river was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels : fo the souls of the pilgrims were much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore still as they went on, they wished for a better way. Now, a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a meadow, and a stile to go over into it; that meadow is called By-Path Meadowi Then said Christian to his fellow, If this meadow lieth along by our way-side, let us go over into it. Then he went to the stile to see, and be
That which is not right must be wrong: no lie is of the truth; therefore, if we abide not in Christ, who is the true and living way, if we depart from him ever so little, we must certainly get into a by-path. There is many a by-path which seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the ways of death. . If we follow our carnal reasoning, and judge from outward appearance, we shall certainly get into some by-path, where our feet will be entangled. The best caution I can give others, or take myself, is, not to look for doctrines the commandments