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110 IIow a work of Grace is shown. of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and peace, so is his love to holiness, so are bis desires to know him more, and also to serve him in this world. But though, I say, it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom that he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace; because his corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter : therefore in him that hath this work there is required a very sound judgment before he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work of
To others it is thus discovered :—First, By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ.-Secondly, By a life answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of holiness; heart-holiness, family-holiness, (if he hath a family,) and by conversation-holiness in the world, which in the general teacheth hin inwardly to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world ; not by talk only, as an hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical subjection in faith and love to the power of the word.*-And now, Sir, as to this brief description of the work of grace, and also the discovcry of it, if you have aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second question.
Talk. Nay, my part is not now to object but to hear: let me therefore have your second question.
Faith. It is this; Do you experience this first part of this description of it? and doth your life and conversation testify the same? or standeth your religion in word or in tongue, and not in deed and truth? Pray if you incline to answer
Matt. y. 8.
John xiv. 15.
Rom. x. 9, 10.
Job. xlii. 5, 6. Psa. I. 23. Ezek. XX. 43. Phil. i. 27.
by which he was qualified as an apostle to reveal him to mankind, and not simply that divine teaching by which he was led to become a Christian ; perhaps it is not accurately applied to the ordinary experience of believers. Our author, however, evidently meant no pore, than the illumination of the Holy Spirit enabling a man to understand, believe, adwire, and love the truths of the Bible respecting Christ; and not any new revelation, deelaring his interest in the Saviour, by a whisper, vision or any such thing. These enthusiastic expectations and experiences have deceived many and stumbled more; and have done greater harm to the cause of evangelical religion, than can be conceival or espressed.
(1) The prevalence of those fervent desires and earnest expectations, in which the exercise of true faith greatly consists, is the proper evidence of saving grace ; and the sweet spirit of reliance and confidence which is inseparable from frequent and earnest applications to the Saviour, put vigour into all holy affections and exertions. But few, comparatively, have such strong faith, and distinct views, and sound judgment, and victory over corrupt passions as habitually to draw the proper conclusio ficm their own experience. This ow author has judiciously noticed.
Faithful shews Talkative his Hypocrisy.
111 me in this, say no more than you know the God above will say Amen to; and also nothing but what your conscience can justify you in : "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” Besides, to say I am thus and thus, when
conversation and all my neighbours tell me I lie, is great wickedness.
'Then Talkative at first began to blush: but, recovering himself, thus he replied : You come now to experience, to conscience, and God; and to appeal to him for justification of what is spoken. This kind of discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions : because I count not myself bound thereto, unless you take upon you to be a catechizer ; and though you should so din, yet I may refuse to make you my judge. But I pray, will you tell me why you ask me such questions?
Faith. Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not that you had aught else but notion. Besides, tu tell you all the truth, I have heard of you, that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your conversation gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They say you are a spot 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 ly. ing, 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. (u)
Talk. Since you are ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are
(4) It is not enough to state practical and experimental subjects in the plainest and most distinguishing manner : we ought also to apply them to men's consciences, by the niost solemn and particular interrogations. In public indeed, care must be taken, not to turn the thoughts of a congregation to an individual : yet we should aim to lead every one to reflect on his own case, and excite his conscience to perform the office of a faithful monitor. But in private, when we have ground to suspect that men deceive themselves, such plain-lealing is the best evidence of disinterested love. It is at present, alas! much disus. ed, and deemed inconsistent with politeness ; so that, in many cases, an attempt of this kind would be considererl as a direct outrage and insult : and perhaps, in some circles, the language of these plain Pilgrims might be exchanged for that which would be less ofii sive, without deducting from its energy; yet zeal for the honour of the gospel, and love to the souls of men, are, no doubt, grievously sacrificed to urbanity in this age of courteous insin. eitity.
112 The good Effects of Faithfulness. some peevish or melancholy 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 lust could
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 himn; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do,) as he is, he would have been but a blot in our company: besides, the apostle says, “From such withdraw thyself." (w)
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-aclays, and that makes religion to stink 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.
'How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes !
(iv) This apostolic rule is of the greatest importance. While conscientious Christians, from a mistaken candour, tolerate scandalous professors, and associate with them, they seem to allow that they belong to the same family ; and the world will charge their immoralities on the doctrines of the gospel, saying of those who profess them, 'They are all alike, if we could find them out.' But did all, who "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour," withdraw from such men ; their crimes would rest with themselves, and the world would be compeller to see the difference between hypocrites and real Christians. This is also the most effectual method of exciting self-deceivers or inconsistent professors to self-examination, and of thus bringing them to be ashamed and humbled in true repentance : and at the same time, it tends to deprive such men of that influence, which they often employ to mislead and pervert hopeful inquirers and unestablished believers. Even the best conducted discipline woul have but a partial effect in preventing these evils, if not followed up by this conduet of individuals ; and, where the former cannot be obtained, the latter would proluce happier consequences than believers in general çan suppose.
Evangelist overtakes the Pilgrims.
113 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 espied 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 was Evangelist come up unto them, and 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 ancient kindness and unwearied Tabouring for my eternal good.
And a thousand times welcome, said good Faithful, thy company, 0 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 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 mine own sake and yours. I have sowed and you
liave reaped ; and the day is coming, when “both be 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 ; biso 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 gunshot of the devil : "you have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin :" let the kingdom be always before you, and believe stedfastly concerning things that are John iv. 36. Gal. vi. ).
+1 Cor. is. 2.-27. Rev. iii. 11.
114 Evangelist foretels Persecutions. invisible. Let nothing that is on this side of 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. (a)
Then Christian thanked him for his exhortation ; but told him withal, that they would have him speak farther 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 also 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 tribulations enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And again, that "in every city 'bonds and afflictions abide you ;” and therefore you cannot cxpect 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 oneor both of you must seal the testimony, which you hold, with blood : but she you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of life.” He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural, and his pain 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 rememher your friend, and quit yourselves like men; and “com
fix) The author, intending in the next place to represent his Pilgrims as exposed to severe persecution, and to exhibit in one view what Christians should expect, and may be exposed to, from the enmity of the world, very judiciously introduces that interesting scene by Evangelist's meeting them, with suitable cautions, exhortations, and encouragements. The minister, by whose faithful labours a man is first directed into the way of salvation, commonly retains great influence and is considered with special affection, even when various circum stances have placed him at a distance under some other pastor. The conversation, therefdre, of such a beloved friend tends to recal to the minds of believer; their former fears, trials, and deliverances, which anjmates them to eneounter farther difficulties, and opens » the way for seasonable counsets and admonitions