Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Chr. Gentlemen,.. whence came you, and whither go you?

Form. and Hyp. We were born in the land of Vain-Glory, and are going for praise to Mount Sion.

Chr. Why came you not in at the gate which ftandeth at the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written, “ He that cometh not in by " the door, but climbeth up some other way, the « fame is a thief and a robber?”

Form. and Hyp. To go to the gate for entrance is by all our countrymen counted too far about; and therefore their usual way is to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall, as we have done.

Chr. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the city, whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will?

Form. and Hyp. As for that, you need not trouble your

head about it; what we have done we have custom for, and can produce, if need be, testimony that would witness it, for more than a thousand years.

Chr. But will your practice stand a trial at law?

Form. and Hyp. Custom, being of fo long standing as above a thousand years, will doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by an impartial judge: besides, if we get into the way, what matter which way we get in? If we are in, we are in. Thou art but in the way, who, as we perceive, came in at the gate; and we also are in the way, who came tum

You are

bling over the wall. Wherein now is thy condition better than ours ?

Chr. I walk by the rule of my master, you walk by the rude working of your

fancies. counted thieves already by the Lord of the way, therefore I doubt you will not be found true men at the end of the way. You came in by yourselves without his direction; and shall go out by yourselves, without his mercy.

To this they made him but little answer; only they bad him look to himself. Then I saw that they went on every man in his way, without much conference one with another; save that these two men told Christian, that, as to laws and ordinances", they doubted not but they should as conscientiously do them as he. Therefore, said they, we see not wherein thou differeft from us, but in the coat on thy back, which was, as we trow, given thee by some of thy neighbours to hide the shame of thy nakedness.

Chr. By laws and ordinances you will not be saved, since you came not in by the door. And as for this coat on my back, it was given me by the Lord of the place whither I go; and that, as you say, to cover my nakedness. I take it as a token of kind

n The formalist and hypocrite may be the strictest observers of rules and orders, and all external parts of religion, for indeed they know nothing of the power of the gospel ; yet, in the judgment and experience of a true Christian, religion does not consist in what he can do for God, but in what God has done for him, and what he has wrought in him.

ness

ness to me; for I had nothing but rags before. Be sides, thus I comfort myself as I go : Surely, when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me for good, since I have his coat on my back; a coat which he gave me freely in the day that he stript me of my rags. I have moreover a mark in my forehead; of which perhaps you have taken no notice; which one of my Lord's most intimate associates fixed there in the day that my burden fell off my shoulders. I will tell you, moreover, that I had then given me a roll sealed, to comfort me by reading, as I go on the way; I was also bid to give it in at the celestial gate, in token of my certain going in after it. All these things I doubt you want, and want them, because you came not in at the gate.To these things they gave him no answer, only looked upon each other, and laughed.

Then I saw that they all went on, but that Christian kept before, who had no more talk but with himself , and that, sometimes sighingly, and some

• The true Christian can find no more communion with a formal professor than with one who is openly profane. The Christian loves to be speaking of the Lord's grace and good. ness, of his conflicts and consolations, and of the Lord's dealings with his soul. He loves to be speaking of Jesus, and of the nearness which his soul feels at times towards him, and of the blessed confidence which he is then enabled to place in him. This conversation can no more suit a formal profeífor than the conversation of a formal professor can suit a real Christian.

E

times

times comfortably?. He would also be often reading in the roll, which one of the shining ones gave him, and by this he was refreshed.

I beheld then, that they all went on, till they came to the foot of the hill Difficulty ?; at the bottom of which was a spring. There were also, in the same place, two other ways (besides that which came strait from the gate). One turned to the left hand, and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill: but the narrow way lay right up the hill, and the name of that part which leads up the side of the hill is called Difficulty. Christian went to the spring, and drank thereof, to refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill, saying:

The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend ;
For I perceive the way to life lies here:
Come pluck up heart, let's neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go;
The wrong, though easy, leads to endless wo.

P After the Christian has received the forgiveness of his fins, he still finds the truth of what St. Paul has said, “ We who have received the first fruits of the spirit groan

within ourfelves ;” and in another place, As long as we are in this tabernacle we do groan.” It may be asked, If this be the case, where is the reil of faith? Where is the joy and peace in believing? I answer, In the midst of all his trials, temptations, and tribulations, the Christian finds that support and comfort which none but Christians know.

9 The hill Difficulty shews that it is impossible for a Chriftian to go on his way without difficulties; but he is not dif. heartened, for, having received mercy, he faints not.

The

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »