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would have been extraordinary had he omitted it: for the subsequent discovery he made of his mistake, and of the way of resisting the devil in this case, qualified him to give suitable cautions to others.-The intrusion of such thoughts should excite us to greater earnestness in prayer, pious meditations, or adoring praises; for this, above all other things, will in the event be found to close the mind most effectually against them. The following lines come in here, as before
• Poor man! where art thou now? thy day is night :
70..1. The voice... Nothing more effectually supports the tempted than to learn, that others, whom they consider as believers, have been or are in similar circumstances: for the idea, that such a state of mind as they experience is incon. sistent with true faith,gives the enemy his principal advantage against them. Indeed this often proves the means of their deliverance: for in due season that light, affection, and consolation, for ' which they have long mourned, thirsted, prayed, and waited, will be vouchsafed them; and the review of the dangers they have escaped, now more clearly discerned than before, will enlarge their hearts with admiring gratitude to their great and gracious deliverer .
71..8. Second part... Various interpretations are given of this second part of the valley, which only show, that the author's precise idea in it lies more remote from general apprehension, than in other passages: for they all coincide with some of the difficulties or dangers that are clearly described under other emblems. I would not indeed be too confident, but, I apprehend, in general we are taught by it, that believers are not most in danger when under the deepest distress; that the snares and devices of the enemy are so many and various, through the several stages of our pilgrimage, as
to baffle all description or enumeration; and that all the emblems of the valley of HUMILIATION, and of the SHADOW OF DEATH, could not fully represent the thousandth part of them. Were it not, therefore, that the Lord undertakes to guide his people, by the light of his word and Spirit, they never could possibly escape them all.
..25. Pope...The inhabitants of BRITAIN are not thought to be in any immediate danger, either from Pope or Pagan. Yet something very like the philosophical part of paganism seems to be rising from the dead, while popery grows more infirm than ever: and as, even by the confession of the late king of PRUSSIA, who was a steady friend to the philosophical infidels, they are by no means favourable to general toleration, it is not improbable but pagan persecution may also in due time revive.--Our author, however, has described no other persecution than what protestants in his time carried on against one another with very great alacrity.
72..26. Ascent... This may represent those moments of encouragement, in which tempted believers rise superior to their difficulties; and are animated to desire the company of their brethren, whom dejection under humiliating experiences disposes them to shun.-The conduct of CHRISTIAN inti: mates, that believers are sometimes ready to hinder one another, by making their own attainments and progress a standard for their brethren: but the lively exercise of faith renders men intent on pressing forward, and more apt to fear the society of such as would influence them to loiter, than to stop for them. This tends to excite an useful emu. lation :--but, while it promotes diligence, it often gives occasion to those risings of vain-glory and self-preference, which are the fore-runners of some humiliating fall: thus believers often are left to feel their need of help from the
very persons whom they have foolishly undervalued... Such experiences, however, give occasion to those mutual good offices which unite them more closely in the nearest ties of tender affection.
73..17. Faithful... This episode, so to speak, with others of the same kind, gives our author a happy advantage of varying the characters and experiences of christians, as found in real life; and of thus avoiding the common fault of making one man a standard for others, in the circumstances of his religious progress. It often happens, that they who have been acquainted before their conversion, and hear little of each other for some time after, find at length that they were led to attend to religion about the same period, without having opportunity or courage to confer together about it. The decided separation of a sinner from his old companions, and his avowed dread of the wrath to come, frequently excites alarms and serious thoughts in the minds of others, which they are not able wholly to shake off. In many indeed this is a mere floating transient notion, insufficient to overcome the propensities of the carnal mind: but when it arises from a real belief of God's testimony it will at length produce a happy change.
74..13. Pliable... Apostates are often ashamed to own they have had convictions: their careless companions assume a kind of superiority over them; they do not think them hearty in the cause of ungodliness, and they despise their cowardice and versatility: on the other hand such persons feel that they want an apology, and have recourse to contemptible lies and slanders, with abject servility; while they shun religious people, as afraid of their arguments, warnings, and expostulations.
75..19. Escaped...Some men are preserved from desponding fears, and the suggestions of worldly wisdom, by receiving more distinct views of the general truths of the gospel ; and thus they proceed with less hesitation and interruption, in applying to CHRIST for salvation: yet, perhaps, their tem. perature, turn of mind, habits of life, and peculiar situation, render them more accessible to temptations of another kind; and they may be more in danger from the fascinations of Heshly lusts. Thus in different ways the Lord makes his
people sensible of their depravity, weakness, and exposed situation ; while he so moderates the temptation, or interposes for their deliverance, that they are preserved, and taught to ascribe all the glory to his name.
76..18. Difficulty... Those christians, who by strong faith or assured hope, endure hardships more chearfully than their brethren, are often exposed to greater danger from the allurements of outward objects, exciting the remaining propensities of corrupt nature. Deep humiliation and great anxiety about the event, in many instances, tend to repress the lusts of the heart, by supplying a continual succession of other thoughts and cares: while constant encouragement, readily attained, too often leaves a man to experience them more forcibly. Nay, the same persons, who under pressing solicitude seem to be entirely delivered from some peculiar corruptions, find them revive and become very troublesome, when they have obtained more confidence about their salva. tion. The old ADAM, the corrupt nature, proves a constant snare to many believers, by its hankering after the pleasures, riches, honours, and pride of the world; nor can the victory be secured without great difficulty and trouble, and strong faith and fervent prayer.
78..25. Moses... The doctrine of Moses did not essentially differ from that of CHRIST: but the giving of the law, that ministration of condemnation to all sinners, formed so prominent a part of his dispensation, in which the gospel was exhibited under types and shadows, that “the law” is said to have been “ given by Moses," while" grace and truth came “ by Jesus CHRIST;" especially, as the shadows were of no further use when the substance was come.-Even such hankerings after worldly objects, as are effectually opposed and repressed, being contrary to the spirituality of the precept, “ Thou shalt not covet," often greatly discourage the new convert; who does not duly recollect, that the gospel brings relief to those who feel themselves justly condemned by the law. Yet these terrors produce deeper humiliation,
and greater simplicity of dependence on the mercy of God in CHRIST JESUS, as “ the end of the law for righteousness
to every one that believeth.” Many for a time escape discouragement, because they are but superficially acquainted with their own hearts; yet it is proper they should be further instructed by such experiences as are here described, in order to their greater stability, tenderness of conscience, and compassion for their brethren, in the subsequent part of their pilgrimage.
79..7. Passed... This circumstance seems to imply,' that, in our author's judgement, even eminent believers sometimes decline entering into communion with their brethren, according to his views of it; and that very lively affections and strong consolations may probably have rendered them less attentive to these externals. Indeed he deemed this a disadvantage and a mistake, (which is perhaps also intimated by FAITHFUL's not calling at the house of the INTERPRETER) but not a sufficient reason why other christians should not cordially unite with them. This is a beautiful example of that candour, in respect of those things about which pious persons differ, that consists with decided firmness in the great essentials of faith and holiness.
..15. I met with... While some believers are most tried with inward fears and conflicts, others are more tempted to repine at the outward degradation, reproach, ridicule, and loss, to which religion exposes them. A man perhaps, at first, may flatter himself with the hope of avoiding the peculiarities and eccentricities, which have brought enmity or contempt on some professors of the gospel; and of ensuring respect and affection, by caution, uprightness, and benevolence;- but further experience and knowledge constrain him to adopt and avow sentiments, and associate with persons, that the world despises; and, seeing himself invincibly im. pelled by his conscience, to a line of conduct which ensures the reproach of enthusiasm and folly, the loss of friends, and manifold mortifications, he is powerfully assaulted by