her way.--But she told her not of her second reason, but kept it to herself.*

Tim. Well, I see you have a mind to go a fooling too; but take beed in time, and be wise: while we are out of danger, we are out; but, when we are in, we are in.— So Mrs. Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey, But, when Timorous was got home to her house, she sends for s me of her neighbours, to wit, Mrs. Bat's-eyes,† Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Light-mind, and Mrs. Know nothing. So, when they were come to her house, she falls to telling of the story of Christiana, and of her intended journey.

she began her tale

And thus

Neighbours, having but little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and, when I came at the door, I knocked, as you know it is our custom :' and she answered, 'If you come in God's name, come in.' So in I went, thinking all was well: but, when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town; she, and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that? And she told me in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was, had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.

Then said Mrs. Know-nothing, And what do you think. she will go ?

Tim. Ay, go she will, whatever come on't; and methinks I know it by this; for that which was my great

She told her not of her second reason.] Christian prudence is a virtue which frequently ought to be called into exercise. The christian believer is expected by our blessed Lord, not only to be harmless as a dove, but wise as a serpent. Mercy wisely refused to explain the chief motive which induced her to accompany Christiana: she urged as a pretext, the fineness of the morning which invited her to take a walk. "Cast not your pearls before swine," was an injunction from the divine Redeemer to his disciples; and for the Christian to explain to the profane scofer the reasons which induce him to travel with his face toward Zion, is to expose the holy mysteries to contempt.

+ Mrs. Bat's-eyes.] Significant of those persons who love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. The Bat never appears but in the dusk of the evening.

argument to persuade her to stay at home, (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way), is one great argument with her, to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, 'The bitter goes before the sweet: yea, and forasmuch as it doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.'

Mrs. Bat's-eyes. Oh this blind and foolish woman! and will she not take warning by her husband's afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.

Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, Away with such fantastical fools from the town: a good riddance for my part, I say of her; should she stay where she dwells, and retain this mind who could live quietly by her? for she will either be dumpish or unneighbourly, to talk of such matters as no wise body can abide: wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure: let her go, and let better come in her 100m: it was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.

Then Mrs. Light-mind added as followeth. Come put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton's, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I, and Mrs. Lovethe-flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others so there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say my lady herself is an admirable well-bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.

By this time Christiana was got on her way, and Mercy went along with her: so as they went, her children being there also, Christiana began to discourse. And Mercy,' said Christiana, I take this as an unexpected favour, that thou shouldst set foot out of doors with me to accompany me a little in my way.'

Then said young Mercy, for she was but young, "If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you, I would never go near the town.

1 Part i. p. 59.

Well, Mercy, said Christiana, cast in thy lot with me, I well know what will be the end of our pilgrimage; my husband is where he would not but be for all the gold in the Spanish mines. Nor shalt thou be rejected, though thou goest but upon my invitation. The King, who hath sent for me and my children is one that delighteth in mercy. Besides, if thou wilt, I will hire thee, and thou shalt go along with me as my servant. Yet we will have all things in common betwixt thee and me: only go along with me. Mer. But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained? Had I this hope from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all, but would go, being helped by him that can help, though the way was never so tedious.

Chr. Well, loving Mercy, I'll tell thee what thou shalt do: go with me to the Wicket-gate, and there I will further enquire for thee; and, if there thou shalt not meet with encouragement, I will be content that thou shalt return to thy place; I also will pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to me and my children, in the accompanying of us in our way as thou dost.

Mer. Then will I go thither, and will take what shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall, even as the King of heaven shall have his heart upon me.

Christiana was then glad at heart; not only that she had a companion; but also for that she had prevailed on this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation.-So they went on together, and Mercy began to weep. Then said Christiana, 'Wherefore weepeth my sister so?"

Alas! said she, who can but lament, that shall but rightly consider what a state and condition my poor relations are in, that yet remain in our sinful town? and that which makes my grief the more, is, because they have no instruction, nor any to tell them what is to come.

Chr. Bowels become pilgrims: and thou doest for thy friends, as my good Christian did for me when he left me he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard him; but his Lord and ours did gather up his tears, and put them into his bottle; and now both I and thou, and these my sweet babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, Mercy, that these tears of thine will

not be lost; for the Truth hath said, that "they that sow in tears, shall reap in joy" and singing. And "he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.""

Then sang Mercy,

Let the most Blessed be my guide,

If't be his blessed will,

Unto his gate, into his fold,
Up to his holy hill.

And let him never suffer me

To swerve or turn aside
From his free-grace and holy ways,

Whate'er shall me betide.

And let him gather them of mine,

That I have left behind;

Lord, make them pray they may be thine,
With all their heart and mind.


Christiana, Mercy, and the Children, pass the Slough with safety, and are kindly received at the Wicket-gate, by Goodwill.

OW my old friend proceeded, and said :-But when

began to be at a stand; 'For, said she,''this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered with mud.' She perceived also, that, notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly. So I asked if that was true? Yes, said the old gentleman, too true; for many there be, that pretend to be the King's labourers, and say they are for mending the King's highways, that bring dirt and dung instead of stones, and so mar, instead of mending. Here Christiana therefore, and her boys, did make a stand: but said Mercy, 'Come, let us venture; only let us be wary. Then they looked well to their steps, and made a shift to get staggering


Yet Christiana had like to have been in, and that not once or twice: Now they had no sooner got over, but 2 Part i. p. 3.

1 Ps. cxxvi. 5, 6.

they thought they heard words that said unto them, "Blessed is she that believeth, for there shall be a performance of what has been told her from the Lord."

Then they went on again; and said Mercy to Christiana, Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the Wicket-gate, as you, I think no slough of Despond could discourage me.

Well, said the other, you know your sore, and I know mine; and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come to our journey's end. For it cannot be imagined, that the people that design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are: but that we shall meet with what fears and snares, with what troubles and afflictions, they can possibly assault us with that hate us.-

And now Mr. Sagacity left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore, methought I saw Christiana and Mercy, and the boys, go all of them up to the gate to which when they came, they betook themselves to a short debate, about how they must manage their calling at the. gate and what should be said unto him that did open unto them: so it was concluded, since Christiana was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and that she should speak to him that did open, for the rest. So Christiana began to knock, and, as her poor husband did, she knocked and knocked again.** But instead of any that answered, they all thought that they heard as if a dog came barking upon them; a dog and a great one too;t and this made the women and children afraid. 1 Luke i. 45. 2 Part i. p. 17.

She knocked and knocked again.] Faith must have many exer. cises before it begins to experience divine light irradiating the soul.--Many timorous christians have wanted that necessary degree of perseverance which alone can accelerate a progress in the divine life. The sinner must knock and knock again, before the door of divine mercy will be opened; and yet the Lord is faithful to his promises. Take courage then, O desponding sinner! Like Christiana, knock at the door of divine grace and mercy, until it be opened; let not thy faith fail; yet a little while, and they who "sow in tears, shall reap in joy."

A dog and a great one too.] This is a very fine simile of the en deavours the Devil makes to frighten christians from resorting to the throne of grace. He endeavours to terrify them (especially young

« 上一页继续 »