Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

among christians; and that religion fareth the worse for your ungodly conversation; that some already have stumbled at your wicked ways, and that more are in danger of being destroyed thereby; your religion and an alehouse, and covetousness, and uncleanness, and swearing, and lying, and vain company-keeping, &c, will stand together. The proverb is true of you

which is said of a whore, to wit, that she is a shame to all women;' so you are a shame to all professors.

Talk. Since you are ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or melancholic man, not fit to be discoursed with :-and so, adieu.

Then came up CHRISTIAN, and said to his brother, I told you how it would happen; your words and his lusts could not agree. He had rather leave your company than reform his life; but he is gone, as I said : let him go, the loss is no man's but his own : he has saved us the trouble of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he is, he would have been but a' blot in your company : besides, the apostle says, “ From such withdraw thyself.”

Faith. But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may happen that he will think of it again: however I have dealt plainly with him, and so am clear of his blood if he perisheth.

Chr. You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did; there is but little of this faithful dealing with men now a days, and that makes religion to stink so in the nostrils of many as it doth: for they are these talkative fools, whose religion is only in words, and are debauched

and vain in their conversation, that, being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly, do puzzle the world, blemish christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they be either made more conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them. Then did FAITHFUL say

• How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes !
How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes
To drive down all before him ! But so soon
As FAITHFUL talks of heart-work, like the moon
That's past the full, into the wane he goes;
And so will all but he that heart-work knows.'

Thus they went on talking of what they had seen by the way, and so made that way easy which would otherwise no doubt have been tedious to them : for now they went through a wilderness.

Now, when they were got almost quite out of this wilderness, FAITHFUL chanced to cast his eye back, and spied one coming after them, and he knew him Oh! said FAITHFUL to his brother, Who comes yonder? Then CHRISTIAN looked, and said, It is my good friend EVANGELIST. Aye, and my good friend too, said Faithful, for it was he that set me the way to the gate.

Now as EVANGELIST came up unto them, he thus saluted them:

Peace be with you, dearly beloved; and peace be to your helpers.

Chr. Welcome, welcome, my good EVANGELIST; the sight of thy countenance brings to my remembrance

thy antient kindness and unwearied labours for my eternal good.

And a thousand times welcome, said good FAITHFUL, thy company, O sweet EVANGELIST, how desirable is it to us poor pilgrims!

Then said EVANGELIST, How hath it fared with you, my friends, since the time of our last parting? what have you met with, and how have you

behaved yourselves ?

Then CHRISTIAN and FAITHFUL told him of all things that had happened to them in the way; and how, and with what difficulty, they had arrived to

that place.

Right glad am I, said EVANGELIST, not that you have met with trials, but that you have been victors, and for that you have, notwithstanding many weaknesses, continued in the way to this very day. I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for my own sake and your's. I have sowed and you have reaped ; and the day is coming, when “ both he that “ sowed and they that reaped shall rejoice together;" that is, if you hold out; “ for in due time ye shall reap, “ if you faint not!.” The crown is before you, and it is an incorruptible one; “ so run, that you may obtain " it.” Some there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for it another comes in and takes it from them ; “ hold fast therefore that you have, “let no man take your crown? :" you are not yet out of the gun-shot of the devil: “ you have not resisted unto “ blood, striving against sin:” let the kingdom be

John, iv. 36. Gal, vi. 9.

2 i Cor, ix. 24–27. Rev. iii. II.

always before you, and believe stedfastly concerning things that are invisible : let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you : and, above all, look well to your own hearts and to the lusts thereof, for they are “ deceitful above all things, and desperately “ wicked :" set your faces like a flint ; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.

Then CHRISTIAN thanked him for his exhortation; but told him withal that they would have him speak further to them for their help the rest of the way; and the rather for that they well knew that he was a prophet, and could tell them

of things that might happen unto them, and how they might resist and overcome them. To which request FAITHFUL also consented.

So EVANGELIST began as followeth :

My sons, you have heard in the words of the truth of the gospel, that“ you must through many tribula« tions enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And again, that “ in every city, bonds and aislictions abide “ on you;” and therefore you cannot expect that you should go long on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other. You have found something of the truth of these testimonies upon you already, and more will immediately follow : for now, as you see, you are almost out of this wilderness, and therefore you will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you ; and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies, who will strain hard but they will kill you; and be you sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony, which you hold, with blood: but

you faithful unto death, and the King will give

« be

you a. crown of life.” He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural, and his pains perhaps great, he will yet have the better of his fellow, not only because he will be arrived at the Celestial City soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that the other will meet with in the rest of his journey. But when you are come to the town, and shall find fulfilled what I have here related, then remember your friend, and quit yourselves like men; and “ commit the keep

ing of your souls to your God in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

Then I saw in my dream that, when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them ; the name of that town is VANITY ; and at that town there is a fair kept, called VANITY fair: it is kept all the year long: it beareth the name of VANITY fair, because the town where it is kept is “ lighter than “ vanity," and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is vanity. As is the saying of the wise, “ All that cometh is vanity'.”

This fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient standing : I will show you the original of it.

Almost five thousand years agone there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City, as those two honest persons are; and BEELZEBUB, APOLLYON, and LEGION, with their companions, perceiving, by the path that the pilgrims made, that their way to the city lay through this town of VANITY, they contrived here to set up a fair ; a fair, wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity; and that it should last all the year long: therefore at

? Eccles. i. 2. 14. II. II. 17. xi. 8. Isaiah, al. 17.

« ForrigeFortsett »