Then CHRISTIAN gave three leaps for joy, and went. on singing

• Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither: what a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bind it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!'.

I saw then in my dream, that he went on thus even until he came at the bottom, where he saw, a little out of the way, three men fast asleep, with fetters upon their heels. The name of the one was SIMPLE, another Sloth, and the third PRESUMPTION.

CHRISTIAN then seeing them lie in this case went to them, if peradventure he might awake them; and cried, You are like them that sleep on the top of a mast', for the dead sea is under you, a gulph that hath no bottom: awake, therefore, and come away ; be willing also, and I will help you off with your

irons, He also told them, If he that goeth about like a roaring lion comes by, you will certainly become a prey to his teeth”. With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in this sort : SIMPLE said, “I see no danger: Sloth said, " Yet a little more sleep:' and PreSUMPTION said, ' Every vat must stand upon its own bottom. And so they laid down to sleep again, and CHRISTIAN went on his.way.

I Prov. xxiii. 34. £2 Pet. *. $.

Yet was he troubled to think that men in that danger should so little esteem the kindness of him that so freely offered to help them, both by the awakening of them, counselling of them, and proffering to help them off with their irons. And as he was troubled thereabout, he spied two men come tumbling over the wall on the left-hand of the narrow way; and they made up apace to him. The name of the one was FORMALIST, and the name of the other HYPOCRISY. So, as I said, they drew up unto him, who thus entered with them into discourse.

Chr. Gentlemen, whence come you, and whither go you?

FORM. & Hyp. We were born in the land of VAINGLORY, and are going for praise to mount Zion.

Chr. Why came you not in at the gate which standeth at the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written, that “ He that cometh not in by “ the door, but climbeth up some other

way, “ is a thief and a robber'?

They said, that to go to the gate of entrance was by all their countrymen counted too far about; and that, therefore, their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall, as they had done. . Chr. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the city whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will ?

They told him, that, as for that, he needed not trouble his head thereabout; for what they did, they had custom for; and could produce, if need were,

the same

1 John 2. 1.

testimony that would witness it for more than a thousand years.

But, said CHRISTIAN, will your practice stand a trial at law?

They told him, that custom, it being of so long standing as above a thousand years, would doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by an impartial judge: and besides, say they, if we get into the

into the way, what's matter which way we get in? If we are in, we are in: thou art but in the way, who, as we perceive, came in at the gate; and we are also in the way, that came tumbling over the wall: wherein now is thy condition better than ours?

Chr. I walk by the rule of my Master, you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way, therefore I doubt


will not be found true men at the end of the way. You come in by yourselves without his direction, and shall go out by yourselves without his mercy.

To this they made but little answer; only they bid him look to himself. Then I saw that they went on every man in his way, without much conference one with another; save that these two men told CHRISTIAN, that, as to laws and ordinances, they doubted not but they should as conscientiously do them as he: therefore, said they, we see not wherein thou differest from us, but by the coat that is on thy back, which was, as we trow, given thee by some of thy neighbours, to hide the shame of thy nakedness.

Chr. By laws and ordinances you will not be saved',

I Gal, ii, 16.

since you came not in by the door. And as for this coat that is on my back, it was given me by the Lord of the place whither I go; and that, as you say, to cover my nakedness with. And I take it as a token of kindness to me; for I had nothing but rags before: and besides, thus I comfort myself as I go; Surely, think I, when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me for good, since I have his coat on my back! a coat that he gave me freely in the day that he stripped me of my rags. I have, moreover, a mark in my forehead, of which perhaps you have taken no notice, which one of my Lord's most intimate associates fixed there in the day that my burden fell off my shoulders. I will tell to you, moreover, that I had then given me a roll scaled, to comfort me by reading as I go on the way; I was also bid to give it in at the celestial gate, in token of my certain going in after it: all which things I doubt you want, and want them because you came not in at the gate.

To these things they gave him no answer; only they looked

upon each other and laughed. Then I saw that they went on all, save that CHRISTIAN kept before, who had no more talk but with himself, and that sometimes sighingly and sometimes comfortably: also he would be often reading in the roll that one of the shining ones gave him, by which he was refreshed.

I beheld then that they all went on till they came to the foot of the hill DIFFICULTY; at the bottom of which was a spring. There were also in the same place two other ways, besides that which came straight from the gate; one turned to the left hand and the other to


the right, at the bottom of the hill; but the narrow way lay right up the hill, and the name of the going up the side of the hill is called DIFFICULTY. CHRIS, TIAN went now to the spring, and drank thereof to refresh himself', and then began to go up the hill, saying

• The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here:
Come, pluck up heart, let's neither faint nor fear.
Better, though dificult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.'

The other two also came to the foot of the hill; but when they saw that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways to go; and supposing also that these two ways might meet again with that up which CHRISTIAN went, on the other side of the hill, therefore, they were resolved to go into those ways, Now the name of one of those ways was DANGER, and the name of the other DESTRUCTION. So the onę took the way which is called DANGER, which did lead him into a great wood, and the other took directly up the way to DESTRUCTION, which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.

I looked then after CHRISTIAN to see him go up the hill, where I perceived he fell from running to going, and from going to clambering upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness of the place, Now

} Isai xlix. 10.

« ForrigeFortsett »