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180 How Hopeful learned the Way of Justification.
Chr. And what did you do then ?
Hope. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought he was not willing to save me.
Chr. And what said Faithful to you then ?
Hope. Me bid me go to him and see. Then I said it was presumption. He said, "No, for I was invited to come.'*-Then he gave me a book of Jesus' inditing, to encourage me the more freely to come ; and he said, concerning that book, that every jot and tittle thereof stood firmer than heaven and earth.t I'hen I asked him what I must do when I came ? And he told me I must entreat upon my knees, with all my heart and soul, the Father to reveal Him to me. Then I asked him further, how I must make my supplication to him? And he said, Go, and thou shalt find him upon a mercy-seat;$ where he sits, all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. I told him that I knew not what to say when I came. And he bid me say to this effect_“God be merciful to me a sinner,” cand make me to know and be, lieve in Jesus Christ: for I see, that if his righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that thou art a merci. ful God, and hast ordained that thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world : and, moreover, that thou art willing to bestow him upon such a poor sinner as I am, (and I am a sinner indeed :) Lord, take therefore this opportuni. ty, and magnify thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.' Chr. And did you do as you were bidden ? Hope. Yes, over, and over, and over. Chr. And did the Father reveal the Son to you?
slope. Not at the first, nor second, nor third, nor fourth, nor fifth, no, nor at the sixth time neither.
Chr. What did you do then ?
Hope. I believed that that was true which had been told me, to wit, that without the righteousness of this Christ, all
* Psa. xcv. 6. Jer. xxix. 12, 13. Dan. vi. 10. Exod. xxv, 22. Levit. xvi. 2. Heb. iv. 16.
* Matt. xi. 28.
+ Matt. xxiv, 35.
Hopeful continued to Pray.
181 the world could not save me : and therefore, thought I with myself, if I leave off I die, and I can but die at the throne of grace. And withal this came into my mind, “If it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, and will not tarry."* So I continued praying, until the Father shewed me his Son. Chr. And how was he revealed unto
? Hope. I did not see him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of mine understanding,t and thus it was : One day I was very sad, I think sadder than at any one time in my life; and this sadness was through a fresh sight of the greatness and vileness of my sins. And as I was then looking for nothing but hell, and the everlasting damnation of my soul, suddenly, as I thought, I saw the Lord Jesus look down from heaven upon me, and saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
But I replied, 'Lord, I am a great, a very great sinner :: and he answered, "My grace is sufficient for thee.” Then I said, “But, Lord, what is believing ?? And then I saw from that saying, “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he thať believeth on me shall never thirst,”f that believing and coming was all one; and that be that came, that is, run out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ. Then the water stood in mine eyes, and I asked further, "But, Lord, may such a great siuner as I am, be indeed accepted of thee, and be saved by thee ?' And I beard him say, “And him that cometh to ine, I will in po wise cast out.” Then I said, “But how, Lord, must I consider of thee in my coming to thee, that my faith may be placed aright upon thee? Then he said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners :" "He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes :" “He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification :" “He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood :" “He is mediator between God and us :" "He ever liveth to make intercession for uş.”T From all which I gathered that I must look for righteousness in his person, and for satisfaction for my sins by his blood; that what he did in obedience to his Father's law, and in submitting to the penalty thereof, was not for himself, but for him that will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful. And now was my heart
• Hab. ii. 3. + Eph. i. 18, 19. | Acts xvi. 30, 31. $ John vi. 35. John vi. 37. (1 Tim. i. 15. Rom. X. 4. Heb. vii. 24, 25.
Christ revealed to Hopeful.
full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affections running over with love to the name, people, and ways of Jesus Christ. (p)
Chr. This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed : but tell me particularly, what effect this had upon your spirit.
Hope. It made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all the righteousness thereof, is in a state of condemnation : it made me see that God the Father, though he be just, can justly justify the coming sinner : it made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance : for there never camo thought into mine heart, before now, that shewed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ : it made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus ; yea, I thought that, had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.
I saw then in my dream, that Hopeful looked back and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, coming after : “Look,said he to Christian, 'how far yonder youngster loitereth behind.'
Chr. Ay, ay, I see him : he careth not for our company.
Hope. But I trow it would not have hurt him, had he kept pace with us bitherto.
Chr. That is true; but I'll warrant you he thinketh otherwise.
Hope. That I think he doth : but however, let us tarry for hiin. So they did.
(1) Coming to Christ is properly the effect of fuith : yet the language here used is warrantel by Scripture. The word reveal, and the vision of Christ conversing with Hopeful, seem to sanction such things as have been greatly mistaken and abused, and have occasioned many scandals and objections : yet it is evident, that the author meant nothing contrary to the most sober statement of scriptural truth.-Christ did not appear to Hopeful's senses, but to his understanding : and the words spoken are no other than texts of Scripture taken in their genuine meaning ; not informing him, as by a new revelation, that his sins were pardoned, but encouraging liim to apply for this mercy and all other blessings of salvation. So that, (allowing for the nature of an allegory,) the whole account for substance exactly coincides with the experience of the most suber Christians; who, having been deply humbled, and ready to sink under discouragement, have had such views of the love of Christ, of his glorious salvation, the freeness of the invitations, the largeness of the promises, and the nature of justifying faith, as have "filled them with peace and joy in buJieving:" and these have been followed by such abiding effects as are were described, which completely distinguish them from all the false joys of hypocrites and enthusiasts. Others indeed cannot relate so orderly an account of their convictions and comforts ; yet they are brought, (though by varied methods.) to the same reliance on Christ, and the same devoted obedience.
Christian discourses with Ignorance. 185 Then Christian said to him, Come away, man, why do you stay so behind :
Ignor. I take my pleasure in walking alone : even more a great deal than in company ; unless I like it the better.
Then said Christian to Ilopeful, (but softly;) Did I not tell
you he cared not for our company? But, however, come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Then, directing his speech to Ignorance, he said, Come, how
? how stands it between God and your soul now ? (9) Ignor. I hope well, for I am always full of good motions, that come into my mind to comfort inc as I walk.
Chr. What good motions ? pray tell us.
Chr. So do many that are never like to come there. “The soul of the sluggard desires, and hath nothing."*
Ignor. But I think of them, and leave all for them.
Chr. That I doubt : for leaving of all is an hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven !
Ignor. My heart tells me so.
Chr. The wise man says, “He that trusts his own heart is a fool.”+
Ignor. That is spoken of an evil heart, but mine is a good one.
Chr. But how dost thou prove that ?
(9) In this dialogue Ignorance speaks exactly in character ; and the answers of the Pil. grims are conclusive against such absurd and unscriptural grounds of confidence, as are continually maintained by many who would be thought pious Christians,
(r) The desire of heavenly felicity, when the real nature of it is not understood, the proper means of obtaining it are neglected, other objects are preferred to it, or sloth and procrastination intervene, is no proof that a man will be saved.--In like manner this expression, the desire of grace is grace, must be owned to be very fallacious and ambiguous. Men may be notionally convinced, that without grace they must perish, and mere seltislaness may excite some feeble desires after it ; though worldly affections predominate, an! the real valur of the spiritual good is not perceived. But to hunger and thirst for God and his righteousness, his favour, image and service, as the supreme good ; so that no other object can satisfy the earnest desire of the heart, and every thing is renounced that is open feres with the pursuit of it, is grace inderd, and shall be completed in glory.
Good Thoughts of ourselves heart may minister comfort to him in the hopes of that thing for which he yet has no ground to hope. (s)
Ignor. But my heart and life agree together; and therefore my hope is well grounded.
Chr. who told thee that thy heart and life agree together P Ignor. My heart tells me so.
Chr. “Ask my fellow if I be a thief! Thy heart tells thee so! except the word of God beareth witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.
Ignor. But is it not a good heart that has good thoughts ? and is not that a good life that is according to God's commandments ?
Chr. Yes, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts, and that is a good life that is according to God's commandments; but it is one thing indeed to have these, and another thing only to think so.
Ignor. Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life acGording to God's commandments ?
Chr. There are good thoughts of divers kinds ;-some respecting ourselves, some-God, some-Christ, and someother things,
Ignor. What be good thoughts respecting ourselves ?
Ignor. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of God :
Chr. When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves which the word passes.—To explain myself; the word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, (t) “There is none righteous, there is none that doeth good.” It saith also, that “Every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually.”* And again, "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” Now then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of God.
* Gen, vi. 5. Rom. iii. (s) It is exceedingly dangerous to make comfort a ground of confidence ; unless the non ture, source, and effects of that comfort be considered : for it may result entirely from ig. norance and self-flattery, in a variety of ways.
(t) “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh ;" «The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God;" for “They are by nature the children of wrath.” This is man's natural condition : but of the regenerate is is said, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit ;" "for that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit ;" and to such persons the texts adduced do not apply.