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with a form of godliness, and kept in countenance by great numbers among every description of professing christians, and the example of multitudes in every age. Their confi. dence, however, will not bear the light of scripture; they, therefore, shrink from investigation, and treat with derision and reproaches all who would convince them of their fatal mistake, or show them the real nature of evangelical religion.
41..22. Save that... Even such christians as are most assured of their acceptance, and competent to perceive the awful delusions of false professors, find cause for sighs amidst their comforts, when employed in serious retired self-reflec. tion. Nothing can exclude the uneasiness which arises from in-dwelling sin with its unavoidable effects, and from the crimes and miseries they witness around them.
..28. Hill... The hill DIFFICULTY represents those cir. cumstances which require peculiar self-denial and exertion, that commonly prove the believer's sincerity, after he has first obtained“ a good hope through grace.”—The opposition of the world, the renunciation of temporal interests, or the painful task of overcoming inveterate evil habits or constitu. tional propensities, (which during his first anxious earnestness seemed perhaps to be destroyed, though in fact they were only suspended;) these and such like trials prove a severe test : but there is no hope, except in pressing forward, and the encouragements, received under the faithful ministry of the gospel, prepare the soul for every conflict and effort.There are, however, by-ways; and the difficulty may be avoided without a man's renouncing his profession: he may decline the self-denying duty, or refuse the demanded sacris fice, and find some plausible excuse to his own conscience, or among his neighbours. But the true believer will be suspicious of these easier ways, on the right hand or the left: his path lies straight forward, and cannot be travelled without ascending the hill; which he desires to do, because his grand concern is to be found right at last. On the contrary, they, who chiefly desire, at a cheap rate, to keep up their
credit and confidence, will venture into perilous or ruinous paths, till they either openly apostatize, or get entangled in some fatal delusion, and are heard of no more among the people of GOD.-These lines are here inserted
• Shall they who wrong begin yet rightly end?
42..26. I looked... The difficulties of believers often seem to increase as they proceed: this damps their spirits, and they find more painful exertion requisite, in pressing forward, than they expected, especially when they were rejoicing in the Lord: he however helps them, and provides for their refreshment that they may not faint.—But, whether their trials be moderated, or remarkable divine consolations be vouchsafed, it is, alas! very common for them to presume too much on their perseverance hitherto, and on the privileges to which they have been admitted: thus their ardour abates, their diligence and vigilance are relaxed, and they venture to allow themselves some respite from exertion. Then drowsiness steals upon them, darkness envelopes their souls, the evidences of their acceptance are obscured or lost, and the event would be fatal, did not the Lord excite them to renewed earnestness by salutary warnings and alarms. Nor are believers at any time more exposed to this temptation, than when outward ease hath succeeded to great hardships, patiently and conscientiously endured; for at such a crisis they are least disposed to question their own sincerity ; and Satan is sure to employ all his subtlety to lull them into such a security as is in fact an abuse of the Lord's special goodness vouchsafed to them.
43..18. Two men... Some persons are better prepared to struggle through difficulties, than to face dangers : alarming convictions will induce them to exercise a temporary self
denial, and to exert themselves with diligence; yet the very appearance of persecution will drive them back to their forsaken courses and companions. Through unbelief, distrust, and timidity, they fear the rage of men more than the wrath of God; and never consider how easily the Lord can restrain or disarm the fiercest persecutors. Even true christians are sometimes alarmed by the discourse of such persons; but, as they believe the word of God, they are “ moved by fear" to go forward at all hazards : such terrors, as induce mere professors to apostacy, excite upright souls to renewed self-examination by the holy scriptures, that they may " rejoice in hope" amidst their perils and tribulations: and this often tends to discover to them those decays and losses, in respect of the vigour of holy affection and the evidences of their acceptance, which had before escaped their notice.--CHRISTIAN's perplexity, fear, sorrow, remorse, redoubled earnestness, complaints, and self-reproachings, when he missed his roll, and went back to seek it, exactly suit the experience of humble and conscientious believers, when unwatchfulness has brought their state into uncertainty: but they do not at all accord to that of professors who strive against all doubts indiscriminately, more than against any sin whatever, which is not connected with open scandal ; who strive hard to keep up their confidence against evidence, amidst continued negligence and allowed sins; and exclaim against sighs, tears, and tenderness of conscience, as legality and unbelief.-BUNYAN would have excluded such profes. sors from the company of his pilgrims, though they often pass muster in modern times.
4:5.. 18. Now...By means of extraordinary diligence, with renewed application to the blood of CHRIST, the believer will in time recover his warranted confidence, and God will “ restore to him the joy of his salvation :" but he must, as it were, pass repeatedly over the same ground with sorrow, which, had it not been for his negligence, he might have passed at once with comfort,
Instead of the words, as God would have it,' all the old copies read, 'as Christian would have it ;' which must mean, that the Lord fully granted his desires. But modern éditors have substituted,'as Providence would have it,' which is indeed clear sense, but not much in our author's manner, who perhaps would rather have ascribed CHRISTIAN's success to special grace: yet, as some mistake seems to have crept into the old editions, I have ventured my conjecture in the emendation of it, of which the reader máy judge for himself.
..30. Yet... Believers may recover their evidences of acceptance, and yet suffer many troubles as the effects of their past unwatchfulness. The Lord rebukes and chastens those whom he loves: genuine comfort springs immediately from the vigorous exercise of holy affections in communion with God, which may be suspended even when no doubts are entertained of final salvation: and the true penitent is least disposed to forgive himself, when most satisfied that the Lord hath forgiven him.
46..18. Beautiful...Hitherto CHRISTIAN has been a solitary pilgrim : but we must next consider him as admitted to the communion of the faithful, and joining with them in the most solemn public ordinances. This is represented under the emblem of the house BEAUTIFUL, and the pil. grim's entertainment in it.-Mr. BUNYAN was a protestant dissenter, an Independent in respect of church government and discipline, and an Anti-pædo-baptist, or one who deemed adult professors of repentance and faith the only proper subjects of baptism, and immersion the only proper mode of administering that ordinance. He must, therefore, have intended to describe especially the admission of the new convert as a member of a dissenting church, (which consists of the communicants only) upon a profession of faith, and with adult baptism by immersion: but as he held open communion with Pædo-baptists, the last circumstance is not necessarily included. Indeed he has expressed himself so candidly and cautiously, that his representations may suit the
admission of new members into the society of professed christians, in any communion, where a serious regard to spiritual religion is in this respect maintained. It may perhaps be questioned, how far, in the present state of things, this is practicable; but we can scarcely deny it to be very desirable, that christian societies should be formed according to the principles here exhibited: such would indeed be very beautiful, honourable to God, conducive to mutual edifica. tion, and examples to the world around them. Different expedients also may be adopted for thus promoting the communion of the saints: but surely more might be done than is at present, perhaps any where, were all concerned to attempt it boldly, earnestly, and with united efforts.
..24. Lions... A public profession of faith exposes a man to more opposition from relatives and neighbours, than a private attention to religion; and in our author's days it was commonly the signal for persecution: for which reason he places the lions in the road to the house BEAUTIFUL. -Sense perceives the danger to which an open profession of religion may expose a man, and the imagination, through the suggestions of SATAN, exceedingly magnifies them: faith alone can discern the secret restraints which the Lord lays on the minds of opposers: and even believers are apt to be fearful and distrustful on such occasions. But the vigilant pastors of the flock obviate their fears, and by seasonable admonitions animate them to press forward, assured that nothing shall do them any real harm, and that all shall eventually prove beneficial to them. We meet with the following lines in the old copies, which, though misplaced in most of them, may refer to the pilgrim's present situation:
• Difficulty is behind, fear is before,