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The Physician's Prescription.
261 3. Chr. Pray, Sir, try the utmost of your skill with him, whatever it costs.
Skill. Nay, I hope I shall be reasonable.So be made him a purge, but it was too weak; it was said, it was made of the blood of a goat, the ashes of a heifer, and with some of the juice of hyssop, &c.* When Mr. Skill had seen that that purge was too weak, he
made him one to the purpose ; it was made Ex Carne et Sanguine Christi :t (you know physicians give strange medicines to their patients :) and it was made up into pills, with a promise or two, and a proportionable quantity of salt. Now he was to take them three at a time, fasting, in half a quarter of a pint of the tears of repentance.s When this potion was prepared, and brought to the boy, he was loth to take it, though torn with the gripes, as if he should be pulled in pieces. "Come, come,' said the physician, “you must take it.' 'It goes against my stomach,' said the boy. 'I must have you take it, said his mother. } 'I shall vomit it up again,' said the boy. “Pray, Sir,' said Christiana to Mr. Skill, "how does it taste ? "It has no ill taste,' said the Doctor ; and with that she touched one of the pills with the tip of her tongue. "Oh, Matthew,' said she, “this potion is sweeter than honey. If thou lovest thy mother, if thou lovest thy brothers, if thou lovest Mercy, if thou lovest thy life, take it. So with much ado, after a short prayer for the blessing of God upon it, he took it, and it wrought kindly with him. It caused him to purge, to sleep, and to rest quietly; it put him into a fine heat and breathing sweat, and rid him of his gripes. (a)
So in a little time he got up, and walked about with a staff, * Hub. ix. 13, 19. X. 1-4. + Juhn vi. 51–57. Heb. ix. 14. Mark ix. 49. $ Zechi. xii. 10. (a) To support the allegory, the author gives the Physician's prescription in Latin ; but he adds in the margin, with admirable modesty, The Latin I borrow.-"Withou: the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins," or true peace of conscience ; "the Lleul of bulls and goats cannot take away sin :" nothing therefore, can bring health and cut, in this case, but the body and blood of Christ,' as broken and shed for our sins. These blessings are made ours by faith exercised on the promises of God; the sanctifying grace of the ffoly Spirit, which seasons our words and actions as with salt, always connects with living faith ; and godly sorrow, working genuine repentance, is renewed every time we look to the Saviour, whom we have pierced by our recent ofences, and of wbora we again seek forgiveness. The natural pride, scoutness, and unlit.ief of our heares, render us yery Meluctant to this humiliating method of recovering peace and spir: cur 1 strength ; and
this often prolongs our distress: yet nothing yields more unalloyed couf rt, than thus ahasing oturselves before God, and relying on buis merey through the atonement and mediation of bis beloved Son.
262 Matthew's Questions to Prudence, and would go from room to room, and talk with Prudence, Piety, and Charity, of his distemper, and how he was healed
So when the boy was healed, Christiana asked Mr. Skill, saying, “Sir, what will content you for your pains and care to me, and of my child ?? And he said, 'You must pay the Master of the College of Physicians, according to rules made in that case and provided.
1.** · Bat, Sir, said she, what is this pill good for else?
Skill. It is an universal pill; it is good against all diseases that Pilgrims are incident to ; and, when it is well prepared, will keep good time out of mind.
Chr. Pray, Sir, make me up twelve boxes of them ; fot, if I can get these, I will never take other physic.
Skill. These pills are good to prevent diseases, as well as to cure wben one is sick. Yea, I dare say it, and stand to it, that if a man will but use this physic as he should, it will make him live forever. But, good Christiana, thou must give these pills no other way, but as I have prescribed : for if you do, they will do no good. (6)-So he gave unto Christiana physic for herself, and her boys, and for Mercy; and bid Matthew take heed how he ate any more green plums; and kissed him, and went his
way. It was told you before, that Prudence bid the boys, that if at any time they would, they should ask her some questions that might be profitable, and she would say something to them.
Then Matthew, who had been sick, asked her, Why, for the most part, physic should be bitter to our palates.
Pr. To shew how unwelcome the word of God, and the effects thereof, are to a carnal heart.
Mat. Why does physic, if it does good, purge, and cause to vomit?
Pr. To shew, that the word, when it works effectually, cleanseth the heart and mind. For, look, what the one doeth to the body, the other doeth to the soul.
Mat. What should we learn by seeing the flame of our fire go upwards ? and by seeing the beams and sweet influences of the sun strike downwards
+John vi. 58. This kint should be carefully noted. Numbers abuse the doctrine of free salvation, by the merit and redemption of Christ, and presume on forgiveness, when they are destitute of genuine repentance, and give no evidence of sanctification. But this most efficácious medicine in that case will do no good ;' or rather the perverse abuse of it will increase their guilt, and tend to harden their bearts iv sin,
• Heb. xiii. 11-15.
And her Answers.
26S Pr. By the going up of the fire we are taught to ascend to heaven, by fervent and hot desires. And by the sun his sending his heat, beams, and sweet influences downwards, we are taught that the Saviour of the world, though high, reaches down with his grace and love tous below.
Mat. Where have the clouds their water ?
Pr. To shew that ministers should give out what they know of God to the world.
Mat. Why is the rainbow caused by the sun ? Pr. To shew, that the covenant of God's grace is confirm. ed to us in Christ.
Mat. Why do the springs come from the sea to us through the earth ?
Pr. To shew, that the grace of God comes to us through the body of Christ.
Mat. Why do some of the springs rise out of the top of high hills ?
Pr. To shew, that the Spirit of grace shall spring up in some that are great and mighty, as well as in many that are poor and low.
Mat. Why doth the fire fasten upon the candle wick ? Pr: To shew, that, unless grace doth kindle upon
the heart, there will be no true light of life in us.
Mat. Why is the wick, and tallow, and all, spent, to maintain the light of the candle ?
Pr. To shew, that body and soul, and all, should be at the service of, and spend themselves to maintain in good condition, that grace of God that is in us.
Mat. Why doth the pelican pierce her own breast with her bill?
Pr. To nourish her young ones with her blood, and thereby to shew that Christ the blessed so loveth his young, his people, as to save them from death by his blood.
Mat. What may one learn by hearing of the cock crow ?
Pr. Learn to remember Peter's sin and Peter's repentance. The cock's crowing shews also, that day is coming on ; let then the crowing of the cock put thee in mind of that last and terrible day of judgment.
Now about this time their month was out; wherefore they
264 Eve's Apple. Jacob?s Ladder.
When the family, where Christiana was, saw that they had a purpose to go forward, they called the whole house together, to give thanks to their King, for sending of them such profitable guests as these. Which done, they said unto Christiana, 'And shall we not shew thee something according as our custom is to do to Pilgrims, on which thou mayest meditate when thou art on the way ? So they took Christiana, her children, and Mercy, into the closet, and shewed them one of the apples that Eve ate of, and that she also did give to her husband, and that for the eating of which they were both turned out of Paradise ; and asked her, “What she thought that was ?" Then Christiana said, 'It is food or poison, I know not which.' So they opened the matter to her, and she held up her hands and wondered.* (d)
Then they had her to a place and shewed her Jacob's lad der: Now at that time there were some Angels ascending upon it. So Christiana looked and looked to see the Angels go up; so did the rest of the company.t Then they were going into another place, to shew them something else :
Gen. ii. 1-6. Rom. vii. 24. + Gen. xxviii. 12. (c) This may be applied to the case of persons who are unavoidably remored from those places, where they first made an open profession of the faith. The vigilant pastor, can no longer watch for their souls, will earnestly recommend them to the care of some other minister, and join with them in prayer, that the same faithful services, or better, may be rendered them by other servants of their common Lord.
(d) The nature of the first transgression ; the ambiguous insinuations by which the tempter seduced Eve, and by her, Adam ; the motives from which they ate the forbidden fruit; and the dreadful disappointment that followed ; with all the aggravations and consequences of that most prolific offence, which contained in it, as in miniature and embryo, all future sins, are very instructive and affecting to the pious mind. For the enemy still proceeds against us, according to the same general plan ; suggesting hard thoughts of God, doubts about the restrictions and threatenings of his word, proud desires of independence or useless knowlelge, hankerings after forbidden indulgence, and hopes of enjoying the pleasures of sin, without feeling the punishment denounced against transgressors.
Abraham offering up Isauc.
-265 but James said to his mother, “Pray bid them stay a little longer, for this is a curious sight.' So they turned again, and stood feeding their eyes on this so pleasant a prospect. (e) After this they had them into a place where there did hang up a golden Anchor, so they bid Christiana take it down ; for, said they, you shall have it with you, for it is of absolute necessity that you should, that you may lay hold of that within the veil, and stand stedfast in case you should meet with turbulent weather : so they were glad thereof.* (f) Then they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our father had offered up Isaac his son, and shewed ihem the altar, the wood, the fire, and the knife; for they remain to be seen to this very day. When they had seen it, they held up their hands, and blessed themselves, and said, "O what a man for love to his Master, and for denial to himself, was Abraham'!'
. After they had shewed them all these things, Prudence took them into a diningroom, where stood a pair of excellent virginals ; so she played upon them, and turned what she had shewell them into this excellent song, saying,
'Eve's apple we have shewed you ;
of that be you aware ;
Upon which Angels are ;
But let not this suffice
Your best of sacrifice.' Now about this time one knocked at the door : so the Por- . ter opened, and, behold, Mr. Great-heart was there! But when he was come in, what joy was there ! for it came now * Jocl iii. 16. Heb. vi. 13.
(c) Christ, in his person and offices, is the medium of communication between heaven And earth, between Goal and man : by him sinners come to God with acceptance, and God dwells with them and is glorifiad ; through bim they present their worship and services, and receive supplies of all heavenly blessings ; and for his sake angels delight in “minister ing to the heirs of salvation," as instruments of his providential care over them and a their concerns. This was represented or typified by Jacob's ladder.
(1) The hope of glory, or of the fulfilment of all God's promises to our souls, is the golden Anchor, by which we must be kept stedfast in the faith, and encourager! to abide in our proper station, amidst the storms of temptation, affliction, and persecution. This it will certainly effect; provider it be genuine and living, grounded on the word of God, springing from faith in his Son, warranted by the experience of his grace, and accomparai ed by pr Vailing, desires of a holy felicity, in ther pusmey farour, and erriee of the Lor!!