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has given us, in different parts of this book, of the communion which pilgrims enjoy with the Lord; of the consolations which they experience at times ; of the support, protection, and deliverance, by which they are preserved, and enabled to persevere, and to press on towards the mark through every opposition which they meet with in their way. He was well acquainted with Satan's devices, the mystery of iniquity, the man of sin, the deceivableness of unrighteousness, the deceitfulness of his own heart, and the depravity of fallen nature. This
appears, on one hand, from the account he has given us of the workings of a legal fpirit, and of those foul-conflicts with which the pilgrims were exercised; and, on the other hand, from the characters which he has given of Worldlywiseman, and of various false, formal, and hypocritical professors ; in which he has dife covered great knowledge of the human heart, and of the various ways by which the god of this world blinds the eyes of them that believe not, and the various disguises by which hypocrites try to deceive others; in which they go on, if grace prevent not, till they fall into utter and eternal perdition ; for, as St. Paul b 2
says, evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived; for God sends them strong delusions that they Thould believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness“, i. e. trust in the works of their own hands, and glory in them.
Reader, if thou hast eyes to see, and a heart to understand, thou wilt, in this book, see the difference between true and false religion displayed in a most lively and striking man
Thou wilt find no foolith questions, but such as tend to godly. edifying; no genealogies or multiplied reasoning--one argument begetting another ; no perverse disputings, contentions, and Itrivings, about the law, which are unprofitable and vain : here thou wilt see the reign of grace, power of the gospel, the operation of the Spirit, exemplified in various instances, and in various characters; all conspiring to exalt the Saviour, and prove the necellity of vital union and spiritual communion with him; since, without fresh supplies and continual communications of life, light, and love, from him, there can be no fruitfulness, no soul profpe
rity, no resisting the world, the flesh, and the devil, no running the heavenly race, and no fighting the good fight of faith.
We are exhorted to hold fast the form of found words; and St. John says, in his second epistle, that " whosoever tranfgrefseth, and 66 abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath “ not God.” It is certainly good to be established, rooted, grounded, and settled in the truth ; but that religion, which goes no further than a scheme of doctrines, a set of notions or opinions, which may be learnt by heart, be collected from authors, or be fystematically arranged in what is called a body of divinity, will never bring thee near and reconcile thy heart to God, will never bring peace to thy soul, or purge thy conscience from dead works to serve the living and true God. Nothing can properly be called religion which, in its own nature, is not practical. ,
Our Lord says, “ He that hath these sayings of mine, and doeth them, is the
only wise builder :" it is not the forgetful. hearer, but the doer of the word who is blessed in his deed. The peculiar excellency of the Pilgrim's Progress, and that which was my
principal principal inducement for engaging in this publication, was the practical improvement which may be drawn from every character therein described, and from every occurrence therein related. Let this be remembered, that the true end of reading is a practical improvement of what we read. This likewise is the true end of preaching; and this is the end of that conversation which is according to the gospel edification, that it might minister grace to the hearers.
If, Reader, thou shouldest find in this book fome things hard to be understood, remember that it is the case with St. Paul's Epiftles, as St. Peter himself expressly declares ; nay, the scriptures, from one end to the other, are full of proverbs : so that, if thou wouldest understand their true meaning, thou wilt find frequent occafion for prayer and meditation, that thou mightest understand the words of the wise and their dark fayings; for, as the well-spring of wisdom is as a flowing brook, fo, if thou dost apply thine heart unto her, and incline thine ear to understanding, thou wilt be concerned to draw it out: then thou wilt find that the mouth of a righteous