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went out. I am going back again and will seek to refresh myself with things which I then cast away for hopes of that which I now see is not."
Still uncertainty-even on the verge of eternity— strange, doubtless, and reprehensible to Right Reverend persons, who never "cast away" anything; to whom a religious profession has been a highway to pleasure and preferment, who live in the comfortable assurance that as it has been in this life so it will be in the next. Only moral obliquity of the worst kind could admit a doubt about so excellent a religion as this. But Bunyan was not a Right Reverend. Christianity had brought him no palaces and large revenues, and a place among the great of the land. If Christianity was not true his whole life was folly and illusion, and the dread that it might be so clung to his belief like its shadow.
The way was still long. The pilgrims reach the Enchanted Ground and are drowsy and tired. Ignorance comes up with them again. He talks much about himself. He tells them of the good motives that come into his mind and comfort him as he walks. His heart tells him that he has left all for God and Heaven. His belief and his life agree together, and he is humbly confident that his hopes are well-founded. When they speak to him of Salvation by Faith and Conviction by Sin, he cannot understand what they mean. As he leaves them they are reminded of one Temporary, "once a forward man in religion." Temporary dwelt in Graceless, "a town two miles from Honesty, next door to one Turnback." He "was going on pilgrimage, but became acquainted with one Save Self, and was never more heard of."
These figures all mean something. They correspond
in part to Bunyan's own recollection of his own trials. Partly he is indulging his humor by describing others who were more astray than he was. It was over at last : the pilgrims arrive at the land of Beulah, the beautiful sunset after the storms were all past. Doubting Castle can be seen no more, and between them and their last rest there remains only the deep river over which there is no bridge, the river of Death. On the hill beyond the waters glitter the towers and domes of the Celestial City; but through the river they must first pass, and they find it deeper or shallower according to the strength of their faith. They go through, Hopeful feeling the bottom all along; Christian still in character, not without some horror, and frightened by hobgoblins. On the other side they are received by angels, and are carried to their final home, to live forever in the Prince's presence. Then follows the only passage which the present writer reads with regret in this admirable book. It is given to the self-righteous Ignorance who, doubtless, had been provoking with "his good motives that comforted him as he walked;" but Bunyan's zeal might have been satisfied by inflicting a lighter chastisement upon him. He comes up to the river. He crosses without the difficulties which attended Christian and Hopeful. "It happened that there was then at the place one Vain Hope, a Ferryman, that with his boat" (some viaticum or priestly absolution) "helped him over." He ascends the hill, and approaches the city, but no angels are in attendance, "neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement." Above the gate there was the verse written "Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gate into the city."
Bunyan, who believed that no man could keep the commandments, and had no right to anything but damnation, must have introduced the words as if to mock the unhappy wretch who, after all, had tried to keep the commandments as well as most people, and was seeking admittance, with a conscience moderately at ease. "He was asked by the men that looked over the gateWhence come you and what would you have?" He answered, "I have eaten and drunk in the presence of the King, and he has taught in our street." Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the king. So he fumbled in his bosom for one and found none. Then said they, "Have you none?" But the man answered never a word. So they told the king but he would not come down to see him, but commanded the two shining ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the city to go out and take Ignorance and bind him hand and foot, and have him away. Then they took him up and carried him through the air to the door in the side of the hill, and put him in there. "Then," so Bunyan ends, "I saw that there was a way to Hell even from the gates of Heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction; so I awoke, and behold it was a dream!"
Poor Ignorance! Hell-such a place as Bunyan imagined Hell to be-was a hard fate for a miserable mortal who had failed to comprehend the true conditions of justification. We are not told that he was a vain boaster. He could not have advanced so near to the door of Heaven if he had not been really a decent man, though vain and silly. Behold, it was a dream! The dreams which come to us when sleep is deep on the soul may be sent direct from some revealing power. When
we are near waking, the supernatural insight may be refracted through human theory.
Charity will hope that the vision of Ignorance cast bound into the mouth of Hell, when he was knocking at the gate of Heaven, came through Homer's ivory gate, and that Bunyan here was a mistaken interpreter of the spiritual tradition. The fierce inferences of Puritan theology are no longer credible to us; yet nobler men than the Puritans are not to be found in all English history. It will be well if the clearer sight which enables us to detect their errors enables us also to recognize their excellence.
The second part of the "Pilgrim's Progress," like most second parts, is but a feeble reverberation of the first. It is comforting, no doubt, to know that Christian's wife and children were not left to their fate in the City of Destruction. But Bunyan had given us all that he had to tell about the journey, and we do not need a repetition of it. Of course there are touches of genius. No writing of Bunyan's could be wholly without it. But the rough simplicity is gone, and instead of it there is a tone of sentiment which is almost mawkish. Giants, dragons, and angelic champions carry us into a spurious fairy land, where the knight-errant is a preacher in disguise. Fair ladies and love matches, however decorously chastened, suit ill with the sternness of the mortal conflict between the soul and sin. Christiana and her children are tolerated for the pilgrim's sake to whom they belong. Had they appealed to our interest on their own merits, we would have been contented to wish them well through their difficulties, and to trouble ourselves no further about them.
EXTRACTS FROM THE "PILGRIM'S
THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY.
As I walk'd through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back.1 I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying What shall I do ?2
In this plight thereof he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his Wife and Children should not perceive his distress, but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased: Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his Wife and Children; and thus he began to talk to them: O my dear Wife, said he, and you the Children of my bowels, I your dear friend am in myself undone by reason of a Burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our City will be burned with fire from Heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my Wife, and you my sweet Babes, shall miserably come to ruine, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.
1 Isa. lxiv. 6; Luke xiv. 33; Ps. xxxviii. 4; Hab. ii. 2; Acts xvi. 31. 2 Acts ii. 37.