« ForrigeFortsett »
And finds it: Bút is benighted.
65 Now by this time he was come to the Arbour again, where for a while he sat down and wept; but at last, (as Christian would have it,) looked sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his Roll; the which he with trembling and haste catched up, and put it into his bosom. But who can tell how joyful this man was when he had gotten his Roll again ? for this Roll was the assurance of his life, and acceptance at the desired haven. Therefore he laid it up
in his bosom, gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the place where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again to his journey. But O how nimbly now did he go up the rest of the hill! (W)—Yet before he got up, the sun went down upon Christian; and this made him again recall the vanity of his sleeping to his remembrance; and thus he again began to condole himself: "O thou sinful sleep! how for thy sake am I like to be benighted in my journey! I must walk without the sun, darkness must cover the path of my feet, and I must hear the noise of doleful creatures, because of my
sinful sleep! Now also he remembered the story that Mistrust and Timorous told him of, how they were frighted with the sight of the lions. Then said Christian to himself again, these beasts range in the night for their prey; and if they should meet with me in the dark how should I shift them? how should I escape being by them torn in pieces ? (x) Thus he went on his way. But, while he was thus bewailing his unhappy miscarriage, he lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was . Beautiful, and it stood just by the highway side. (y)
all doubts incliscriminately, more than against any sin whatever, unless connected with open scandal ; wlio labour hard to keep up their confidence against evidence, amidst continued negligence and allowed sins : and exclaim against sighs, tears, and tenderness of conscience, as legality and unbelief:- No doubt Bunyan would have excluded such characters from the company of his pilgrims !
(w) By means of extraordinary diligence, with renewed application to the blood of Christ, the believer in time recovers his warranted confidence, and God “restores to him the . jos of his salvacion :" but he must, as it were, pass repeatedly over the same ground with sorrow, which, had it not been for his negligence, he might have passed at once with comfort.
(2) Believers may recover their evidences of acceptance, and yet suffer many troubles as the effects of their past unwatchfulness, The Lord rebukes and chastens those whom bę loves : genuine comfort springs immediately from the vigorous exercise of holy affections in communion with God, which may be suspended even when no doubts are entertained of final salvation : and the true penitent is least disposed to forgive hiniselt; when most satisfi.. ed that the Lord hath forgiven him.
(y) Hitherto Christian has been a solitary pilgrim: but we must next consider him as miininel to the communion of the faithful, and joining with then in the most soleira prtle
66 The Lions. The Porter Watchful.
So I saw in my dream, that he made haste and went forward, that if possible he might get lodging there. Now before he had gone far he entered into a very narrow passage, which was about a furlong off of the Porter's lodge; and looking very narrowly before him as he went, he espied two lions in the way. Now, thought he, I see the danger that Mistrust and Timorous were driven back by.
(The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them ; for he thought nothing but death was before him. But the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian made a halt, as if he would go back, cried unto him
say. ing, 'Is thy strength so small ?* Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none : keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall coine unto thee.' (*)
Mark iv. 40.
lic onlinances. This is represented under the emblem of the house Beautiful, and the pilgrim's entertainment in it-Mr. Bunyan was a protestant dissenter, an Independent in respect of church government and discipline ; and an Anti-podo-baptist, or one who deemed adult professors of repentance and faith the only proper subjects of baptism, and im. mersion the only proper mode of administering that ordinance. He must, therefore, have intended to describe especially the admission of the new convert as a member of a dissent ing church, (which consists of the communicants only,) upon a profession of faith, and with adult baptism by immersion : but as he held open communion with Pædo-baptists, the last oircumstance is not necessarily included. Indeed he has expressed himself so candidly and cautiously, that his representations may suit the admission of members into the society of professed Christians, in any communion, where a serious regard to spiritual religion is in this respect maintained.-It may perhaps be questioned, how far, in the present state of things, this is practicable : but we can scarcely deny it to be very desirable, that Christian societies should be formed according to the principles here exhibited : such would indeed be very beautiful, honourable to God, conducive to mutual edification, and examples to the world around them. Various expedients also may be adopted for thus promoting the communion of the saints : and surely more might be done than is at present, perhaps any where, were all concerned to attempt it boldly, earnestly, and with united efforts,
(z) A public profession of faith exposes a man to more opposition from relatives and neighbours, than a private attention to religion ; and in our author's days it was commonly the signal for persecution : for which reason he places the lions in the road to the house Beautiful.–Sense perceives the dangers, and the imagination, through the suggestions of Satan, exceedingly magnifies them : but faith alone can discern the scret restraints which the Lord lays on the minds of opposers ; and even believers are apt to be needlessly fearful on such occasions. But the vigilant pastors of the flock obviate their fears, and by seasona ble admonitions animate them to press forward, assured that nothing shall do them any real harm, and that all shall eventually prove beneficial to them.
We meet with the following lines in the old copies, which refer to the pilgrim's present situation :
'Difficulty is behind, fear is before,
Christian ventures past the Lions.
67 Then I saw that he went on trembling for fear of the lions ; but taking good heed to the directions of the Porter, he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. Then he clapped his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the gate where the Porter was. Then said Christian to the Porter, Sir, What house is this ? And, May I lodge here tonight? The Porter answered, This house was built by the Lord of the hill, and he built it for the relief and security of Pilgrims. The Porter also asked whence he was ? and whither he was going ?
Chr. I am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion; but, because the sun is now set, I desire, if I may, to lodge here to-night. Por. What is
your name Chr. My name is now Christian, but my name at the first was Graceless : I came of the race of Japheth,* whom God will persuade to dwell in the tents of Shem.
Por. But how doth it happen that you come so late? The sun is set.
Chr. I had been here sooner, but that, wretched man that I am! I slept in the Arbour that stands on the hill-side. Nay, I had, notwithstanding that, been here much sooner, but that in my sleep I lost my evidence, and came without it to the brow of the hill; and then feeling for it and finding it not, I was forced with sorrow of heart to
back to the place where I slept my sleep; where I found it, and now I am come. (a)
Por. Well, I will call out one of the virgins of this place, who will, if she likes your talk, bring you in to the rest of the family, according to the rules of the house. So Watchful the Porter rang a bell, at the sound of which came out at the door of the house a grave and beautiful damsel, named Discretion, and asked why she was called ?
The Porter answered, This man is in a journey from the City of Destruction to Mount Zion: but being weary and
. Gen. ix. 27. (a) The Porter's inquiries and Christian's answers exhibit our author's sentiments, on the caution with which members should admitted into the communion of the faithful : and it very properly shews, how ministers, by private conversation, may form a judgment of a man's profession, whether it be intelligent and the result of experience, or notional and formal.--Christian assigned his sinful sleeping as the cause of his arriving so late : when believers are oppressed with prevailing doubts of their acceptance, they are backward in joining themselves to the people of God; and this often tempts them to sinful delay s, instead of exciting them to greater diligence.
68 Discretion, Piety, Prudence, and Charity. benighted, he asked me if he might lodge here to-night: so I told him I would call for thee, who, after discourse had with him, mayest do as seemeth thee good, even according to the law of the house.
Then she asked him whence he was ? and whither he was going? and he told her. She asked him also how he got into the way ? and he told her. Then she asked him what he had seen and met with in the way ? and he told her. And at last she asked his name? So he said, It is Christian; and I have so much the more a desire to lodge here to-night, be. cause, by what I perceive, this place was built by the Lord of the hill for the relief and security of Pilgrims. So she smiled, but the water stood in her eyes; and after a little pause she said, I will call forth two or three more of the family. So she ran to the door and called out Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who, after a little more discourse with him, had him into the family; and many of them meeting him at the threshold of the house, said, “Come in, thou bles-sed of the Lord;" this house was built by the Lord of the hill, on purpose to entertain such Pilgrims in.' Then he bowed his head, and followed them into the house. So when he was come in and set down, they gave himn something to drink, and consented together, that until supper was ready, some of them should have some particular discourse with Christian, for the best improvement of time; and they appointed Piety, and Prudence, and Charity, to discourse with him; and thus they beyan. (6)
Pi. Come, good Christian, since we have been so loving to you, to receive you into our house this night, let us, if perhaps we may better ourselves thereby, talk
with you of all things that have happened to you in your pilgrimage. (c)
(6) The discourse of Discretion with the Pilgrim represents such precautions and inquiries into the character and views of a professor, as may be made use of by any body of Chris tians, in order to prevent the intrusion of improper persons. The answers, given to the several questions proposed, constitute the proper external qualifications for admission to the Lord's table, when there is nothing in a man's principles and conduct inconsistent with them; for the Lord alone can judge how far they accord to the inward dispositions and affections of the heart.—By the discourse of others belonging to the family with Christian, previously to his admission, the author probably meant, that members should be admitted into Christian societies with the approbation of the most prudent, pious, and candid part of those that constitute them; and according to the dictates of those graces or endowinents here personified.-By giving hi.n 'something to eat before supper,' he probably referred to those preparatory sermons and devotions, by which the administration of the Lord's supper was then frequently and with great propriety introduced.
(c) The further conversation of Piety and her companions with Christian was subsequent to his admission, and represents the advantage of the communion of the saints, and the best
Piety discourses with Christian.
69 Chr. With a very good will; and I am glad that you are so well disposed.
Pi. What moved you at first to betake yourself to a Pilgrim's life?
Chr. I was driven out of my native country by a dreadful sound that was in mine ears; to wit, That unavoidable destruction did attend me if I abode in that place where I was.
Pi. But how did it happen that you came out of your country this way?
Chr. It was as God would have it: for when I was under the fears of destruction, I did not know whither to go; but by chance there came a man even to me (as I was trembling and weeping,) whose name is Evangelist, and he directed me to the Wicket-gate, which else I should never have found, and so set me into the way that hath led me directly to this house.
Pi. But did you not come by the house of the Interpreter?
Chr. Yes, and did see such things there, the remembrance of which will stick by me as long as I live; especially three things; to wit, how Christ in despite of Satan, maintains his work of grace in the heart; how the man had sinned himself quite out of hopes of God's mercy; and also the dream of him that thought in his sleep the day of judgment was come.
Pi. Why? Did you hear him tell his dream :
Chr. Yes, and a dreadful one it was, I thought; it made my heart ache as he was telling of it; but yet I am glad I heard it.
Pi. Was this all you saw at the house of the Interpreter ?
Chr. No; he took me and had me where he shewed me a stately palace, and how the people were clad in gold that were in it; and how there came a venturous man, and cut his way through the armed men that stood in the door to keep him out; and how he was bid to come in and win eternal glory. Methought those things did ravish my heart: I would have staid at that good man's house a twelve-month, but that I knew I had further to go.
Pi. And what saw you else in the way?
Chr. Saw, Why, I went but a little further, and I saw method of conducting it-To lead believers to a serions review of the way in which they have been led hitherto, is every way profitable, as it tends to increase bumiliation, gratitude, faith, and bope ; and must, therefore, proportionably conduce to the glosy of God, and the entification of their brethren.