« ForrigeFortsett »
They arrive at the Porter's Lodge. 251 come thither as a Conductor of Pilgrims. When he was co:ne down, he opened the Gate, and, seeing the Guide standing just before it, (for he saw not the women, for they were behind him, he said unto him, 'How now, Mr. Great-heart, what is your business here so late at night?' 'I have brought, said he, “some Pilgrims hither, where, by my Lord's commandment, they must lodge. I had been here some time ago, had I not been opposed by the Giant that used to back the lions. But 1, after a long and tedious combat with him, have cut him off, and have brought the Pilgrins hither in safety.'
Por. Will not you go in, and stay till morning ?
Chr. Oh, Sir, I know not how to be willing you should leave us in our pilgrimage, you have been so faithful and so loving to us, you have fought so stoutly for us, you have been so hearty in counselling of us, that I shall never forget your
favour towards us. Then said Mercy, 60, that we might have thy company to our journey's end ! How can such poor women as we hold out in a way so full of troubles as this way is, without a friend or defender »
Then said James, the youngest of the boys, “Pray, Sir, be persuaded to go with us and help us, because we are so weak, and the way so dangerous as it is.'
Gr.-H. I am at my Lord's commandment: if he shall allot me to be your Guide quite through, I will willingly wait upon you. But here
you failed at first; for when he bid me come thus far with you, then you should have begged me of him to have gone quite through with you, and he would have granted your request. (o). However, at present I must, withdraw; and so, good Christiana, Mercy, and my brave children, Adicu.
Then the Porter, Mr. Watchful, asked Christiana of her country, and of her kindred : and she said, 'I came from the City of Destruction ; I am a widow-woman, and my husband is dead, his name was Christian, the Pilgriin. How!! said the Porter, ‘was he your husband ?" "Yes,' said she,
() We are repeatedly remindel, with great propriety, that we ought to be very particr. lar and explicit in all our prayers, especially in every thing pertaining to our spiritual a'. vantage. The removal of faithful ministers, or the fear of losing them, may often remid Christians that 'bere they have failed: they have not sufficier.tly valued and prayed for them; or, making sure of their continuance, from apparent probabilities, they have ret ma:le that the subject of their prculiar requests, and therefore are rebliked liy the loss of thein.
They feast on the Paschal Lamb.
"and these his children; and this, (pointing to Mercy), is one of my town's-women.' Then the Porter rang his bell, as at such time he is wont, and there came to the door one of the Damsels, whose name was Humble-mind. And to her the Porter said, 'Go tell it within, that Christiana, the wife of Christian, and her children, are come hither on pil-. grimage. She went in, therefore, and told it. But, oh, what noise for gladness was therein, when the damsel did but drop that out of her mouth!
So they came with haste_to the Porter, for Christiana stood still at the door. Then some of the most grave said unto her, 'Come in Christiana, come in, thou wife of that good man, come in, thou blessed woman, come in, with all that are with thee. So she went in, and they followed her that were her children and her companions. Now when they were gone in, they were had into a large room, and bid to sit down : so they sat down, and the chief of the house were called to see and welcome the guests. Then they came in, and, understanding who they were, did salute each other with a kiss, and said, 'Welcome, ye vessels of the grace of God, welcome unto us who are your faithful friends. (P).
Now, because it was somewhat late, and because the Pil.. grims were weary with their journey, and also made faint with the sight of the fight, and the terrible lions, they desired as soon as might be, to prepare to go to rest. «Nay,' said those of the family, 'refresh yourselves with a morsel of meat:' for, they had prepared for them a lainb, with the accustomed sauce thereto.* (9) For the Porter bad heard before of their coun
* Exod. xii. 3. John i. 29.
(A) "Angels rejoice over one sinner that repenteth ;" and all, who truly love the Lord, will gladly welcome such, as appear to be true believers, into their most endeared fellou. : ship: yet there are certain individuals, who, being related to those that have greatly intere ested their hearts, or having long been remembered in their prayers, are welcomed with sing, gular joy and satisfaction, and whose professed faith animates them in a peculiar manner.
(9) The passover was a prefiguration of the sufferings of Christ, and the believer's, ac ceptance of him ; of his professed reliance on the atoning sacrifice, preservation from wrath, and the deliverance from the bondage of Satan, to set out on his heavenly pilgrimage. And the Lord's supper is a commemorative ordinance of a similar import ; reprcsenting the body of Christ broken for our sins, and his blood shed for us"; the application of these blessings to our souls by faith, the profession of this faith, and of love to him and liis people, influencing us to devoted self-denying obedience: and the effects which follow from thus 'feeding on Christ in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving,', in strengthening as for every conflict anul service to whicb we are called.—"The unleavened bread of simicerity and truth,” and “the bitter herbs” of godly sorrow, deep repentance, mortification of sin, and bearing the Cross, accompany the spiritual feast ; and even render ita inore te'lishing to the true believer, as endearing to him Christ and his salvation.
Pilgrims' Discourse after retiring to Rest. ing, and had told it to them within. So when they had supped, and ended their prayer with a psalm, they desired they might go to rest. •But let us,' said Christiana, “if we may be so bold as to choose, be in that chamber that was my husband's, when he was here. So they had them up thither, and they all lay in a room. When they were at rest, Christiana and Mercy entered into discourse about things that were convenient.
Chr. Little did I think once, when my husband went on pilgrimage, that I should ever have follewed him.
Mer. And you as little thought of lying in his bed, and in his chamber to rest, as you do now. ()
Chr. And much less did I ever think of seeing his face with comfort, and of worshipping the Lord the King with him; and yet now I believe I shall !
Mer. Hark, don't you hear a noise ?
Chr. Yes, 'tis, as † believe, a noise of music for joy that we are here.
Mer. Wonderful! Music in the house, music in the heart, and music also in heaven, for joy that we are here !
Thus they talked awhile, and then betook themselves to sleep. So in the morning when they were awaked, Christiana said to Mercy, “What was the matter that you did laugh in your sleep to-night ? I suppose you was in a dream.'
Mer. So I was, and a sweet dream it was ; but are you sure I laughed ?
Chr. Yes; you laughed heartily; but pr’ythee, Mercy, tell me thy dream.
Mer. I was a dreaming that I sat all alone in a solitary place, and was bemoaning of the hardness of my heart. Now i had not sat there long, but methought many were gathered about me to see me, and to hear what it was that I said. So they hearkened, and I went on bemoaning the hardness of my heart.
At this, some of them laughed at me, some called me fool, and some began to thrust me about. With that, methought I looked up, and saw one coming with wings towards me. So he came directly to me, and said, “Mercy, what aileth thee ? Now when he had heard me make my
(m) A marginal note here says, 'Christ's bosom is for all. Pilgrims.' The sweet peace arising from calm confidence in the Saviour, the consolations of his Spirit, submission to bis will, and the cheerful obedience of fervent love, gives rest to the soul, as if we were reclining on his bosom with the beloved disri ile.. * Part i. p. 74.
254 Christiana's Remark on Mercy's Dream. complaint, he said, 'Peace be to thee:' He also wiped mine eyes with his handkerchief, and clad me in silver and gold, He put a chain upon my neck, and ear-rings in mine ears, and a beautiful crown upon my head.* Then he took me by the hand, and said, “Mercy, come after me.' So he went up, and I followed, till we came at a golden Gate. Then he knocked : and, when they within had opened, the man went in, and I followed him up to a throne, upon which one satı and he said to me, “Welcome, daughter. The place looked bright and twinkling, like the stars, or rather like the sun, and I thought that I saw your husband there. So I awoke from my dream. But did I laugh ?
Chr. Laugh! ay, and well you might, to see yourself so well. For you must give me leave to tell you, that it was a good dream ; and that as you have begun to find the first part true, so you shall find the second at last. (s) “God speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not; in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbering upon the bed.”+ We need not, when abed, to lie awake to talk with God; he can visit us while we sleep, and cause us then to hear his voice. Our heart oft-times wakes when we sleep; and God can speak to that, either by words, by proverbs, by signs and similitudes, as well as if one was awake.
Mer. Well, I am glad of my dream, for I hope ere long to see it fulfilled, to the making me laugh again.
Chr. I think it is now high time to rise, and to know what we must do. · Mer. Pray, if they advise us to stay a while, let us willingly accept of the proffer. I am the willinger to stay a while here, to grow better acquainted with these maids ; methinks Prudence, Piety, and Charity have very comely and sober countenances.
Chr. We shall see what they will do.--So when they wer: up and ready, they came down, and they asked one another of their rest, and if it was confortable, or not.
() They who feel and lament the hardness of their hearts, and earnestly pray that they may be humbk d, softened, and filled with the love of Christ, may be assured that their sorr..w shall be turned into joy : though they must expect to be ridiculed by such as know not their own hearts. The assurance, that the dream should be accomplished, is grounded on the effects produced upon Mercy's heart; and there is no danger of delusion, whien so 'scriptural an encouragement is inferred even from a drcam.
Prudence Catechises James.
235 Very good," said Mercy, 'it was one of the best night's judgings that ever I had in my life.'
Then said Prudence and Piety, if you will be persuaded to stay here a while, you shall have what the house will afford, -"Ay, and that with a very good will,' said Charity.--So they consented, and staid there about a month or above, and become very profitable one to another. And, because Prudence would see how Christiana had brought up her children, she asked leave of her to catechise them : so she gave her free consent. Then she began with the youngest,
t, whose name was James. And she said, 'Come, James, canst thou tell me who made thee »
Jam. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
Pr. Good boy. And carst thou tell who saved thice ? Jam. Gød the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
Pr. Good boy stilt. But how doth God the Father save thee ? Jam. By his grace. (1) Pr. How doth God the Son save thee ? Jam. By his righteousness, and blood, and death, and life. Pr. And how doth God the Holy Ghost save thee ?
Jam. By his illumination, by his renovation, and by his preservation.
Then said Prudence to Christiana, “You are to be commended for thus bringing up your children. I suppose I need not ask the rest these questions, since the youngest of them can answer them so well. I will therefore now apply myself to the next youngest.'
Then she said, 'Come, Joseph, (for his name was Joseph,) will you let me catechise
you PP Jos. With all my heart. Pr. What is man?
(1) Grace, in this connexion, signifies unmerited mercy or favour, from wlucd all the blessings of salvation flow. The Father freely gave bis Son to be our Redeemer, and now freely communicates his Spirit, through the merits and mediation of the Son, to be ons Sanctifier ; and thus, with Christ, he freely gives all things to those, who are erabled truly to believe in him.-The important, but much neglected, duty of catechising children it here very properly inculcated ; without attention to which, the minister's labours, both in public preaching and private instruction, will be understood in a very imperfect degme. and any revival of religion that takes place, will probably die with the generation to which it is vouchaafed.