图书图片
PDF
ePub

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.'

Then they had her to a place, and showed her Jacob's ladder. 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." Then they were going into another place, to show them something else: 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.-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.3-Then they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our father, had offered up Isaac his son, and showed them 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, 'Oh what a man for love to his Master, and for denial to himself, was Abraham!' After they had showed them all these things, Prudence took them into a dining-room, where stood a pair of excellent virginals; so she played upon them, and turned what she had showed them into this excellent song, saying

1 Gen iii. 1-6. Rom. vii. 24.

2 Gen. xxvii. 12.

3 Joel iii, 16. Heb. vi. 19.

* A golden anchor.] Hope is the Christian's anchor, both sure and stedfast. It is this hope, through grace, that bears the believer up amidst all the trials and difficulties which he meets with in this vain and wicked world. Supported by this hope, he fears neither the rage of men nor the malice of devils. This divine hope elevates his soul, and makes it pierce through the veil which obscures the glories of a future state. He pants after those felicities which are exhibited to him by faith; and thus his passage through life is made comforta ble, and the pillow of his dying bed smooth; for his hope is fall of Immortality!

U

Eve's apple we have showed you!
Of that be you aware;

You have seen Jacob's ladder too,
Upon which angels are.

An anchor you received have ;
But let not this suffice,

Until with Abra'am you have gave

Your best of sacrifice.

Now about this time one knocked at the door; so the porter opened, and, behold, Mr. Great-heart was there! now fresh again into their minds, how, but a while ago, But when he was come in, what joy was there! for it came he had slain old Grim Bloody-man the giant, and had delivered them from the lions.

Then said Mr. Great-heart to Christiana and to Mercy, My Lord has sent each of you a bottle of wine, and also some parched corn, together with a couple of pomegranates; he also sent the boys some figs and raisins; to refresh you in your way.

Then they addressed themselves to their journey; and Prudence and Piety went along with them. When they came at the gate, Christiana asked the porter, if any of late went by. He said, No, only one, some time since, who also told me, that of late there had been a great robbery committed on the King's highway as you go: but, said he, the thieves are taken, and will shortly be tried for their lives. Then Christiana and Mercy were afraid; but Matthew said, Mother, fear nothing, as long as Mr. Great-heart is to go with us, and to be our conductor.

'Then said Christiana to the porter, Sir, I am much obliged to you for all the kindnesses that you have showed to me, since I came hither; and also that you have been so loving and kind to my children; I know not how to gratify your kindness: wherefore, pray, as a token of my respects to you, accept of this small mite. So she put a gold angel in his hand; and he made her a low obeisance, and said, 'Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head want no ointment. Let Mercy live and not die, and let not her works be few.' And to the boys he said, 'Do you flee youthful lusts, and fol

low after godliness with them that are grave and wise ; so shall you put gladness into your mother's heart, and obtain praise of all that are sober-minded.'-So they thanked the porter and departed.

N

CHAP. VII.

The Pilgrims pursue their journey, and pass through the Valleys of Humiliation, and of the Shadow of Death. TOW I saw in my dream, that they went forward until they were come to the brow of the hill, where Piety, bethinking herself, cried out, Alas! I have forgot what I intended to bestow upon Christiana and her companions; I will go back and fetch it. So she ran and fetched it. When she was gone, Christiana thought she heard in a grove, a little way off on the right hand, a most curious melodious note, with words much like these:

[ocr errors][merged small]

And listening still, she thought she heard another answer it, saying,

For why? The Lord our God is good;

His mercy is for ever sure:

His truth at all times firmly stood,

And shall from age to age endure.'

So Christiana asked Prudence what it was that made those curious notes. They are, said she, our country birds they sing these notes but seldom, except it be at the spring when the flowers appear, and the sun shines warm, and then you may hear them all the day long, I often, said she, go to hear them; we also oft-times keep them tame in our house. They are very fine company for us when we are melancholy; also they make the woods and groves and solitary places, places desirous to be in.'

By this time Piety was come again; so she said to Christiana, Look here, I have brought thee a scheme of all those things that thou hast seen at our house, upon 1 Sol. Song, ii. 11, 12.

which thou mayest look when thou findest thyself forgetful, and call those things again to remembrance, for thy edification and comfort.

Now they began to go down the hill to the valley of Humiliation. It was a steep hill, and the way was slippery ;* but they were very careful; so they got down pretty well. When they were down in the valley, Piety said to Christiana, This is the place where your husband met with the foul fiend Apollyon, and where they had the great fight that they had: I know you cannot but have heard thereof. But be of good courage; as long as you have here Mr. Great-heart to be your guide and conductor, we hope you will fare the better.--So when these two had committed the pilgrims unto the conduct of their guide, he went forward, and they went after.

Then said Mr. Great-heart, We need not be so afraid of this valley, for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it ourselves. It is true, Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom he had also a sore combat ; but that fray was the fruit of those slips that he got in his going down the hill: for they that get slips there, must look for combats here.' And hence it is that this

1 Part i. p. 47-52.

*The way was slippery.] It was in this valley of Humiliation, that the most exemplary saints felt severe trials of their faith. One of the most ornamental qualifications of a Christian is Humility. To be meek and lowly is his duty, and yet how few obey the injunction. The pride of the human heart is so great, that without the Grace of God it will counteract every emotion of Humility. A proud man, whatever be his faith, or whatever his professions, is no real Christian. JESUS CHRIST, from his cradle to his grave, gave the most striking lessons of Humility. Let the proud man go to the foot of the Cross, and learn Humility. Let him view the Lord of Universal Nature abasing and humbling himself even to the Death of the Cross. Let the man, proud of his wealth and honours visit the charnel house, and hear the hollow but tremendous voice issuing from the gloomy abode of the dead," Prepare thyself, O man, to become a prey to worms and corruption; yet a little while and that body so carefully preserved, so delicately pampered, shall be laid in this recess ! Yet a little while and that eye which beams scorn and contempt upon all those who are beneath you, shall start from its socket! Yet a little while and thy body shall moulder in the earth, while thy soul shall be consignedto the mansions of darkness for ever!!!

valley has got so hard a name. For the common people, when they hear that some frightful thing has befallen such an one, in such a place, are of opinion that that place is haunted with some foul fiend or evil spirit; when, alas! it is for the fruit of their doing, that such things do befal them there.

This valley of Humiliation is of itself as fruitful a place as any the crow flies over; and I am persuaded, if we could hit upon it, we might find somewhere hereabout. something that might give us an account, why Christian was so hardly beset in this place.

6

Then James said to his mother, Lo, yonder stands a pillar, and it looks as if something was written thereon ; : let us go and see what it is.' So they went, and found there written, 'Let Christian's slips, before he came hither, and the burden that he met with in this place, be a warning to those that come after.' 'Lo,' said their guide, did I not tell you that there was something hereabouts that would give intimation of the reason why Christian was so hard beset in this place?' Then, turning to Christiana, he said, No disparagement to Christian, more than to many others whose hap and lot it was.— For it is easier going up than down this hill, and that can be said but of few hills in all these parts of the world. But we will leave the good man, he is at rest, he also had a brave victory over his enemy: let Him grant that dwelleth above, that we fare no worse, when we come to. be tried, than he!

But we will come again to this valley of Humiliation. It is the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all these parts. It is a fat ground; and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man was to come here in the summer-time, as we do now, if he knew not any thing before thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that which would be delightful to him. Behold, how green this valley is; also how beautiful with lilies. I have also known many labouring men that have got good estates in this valley of Humiliation; ("for God resisteth the proud, but giveth more grace to the humble;") for indeed it is a very 1 Sol. Song, ii, 1, James iv. 6. 1st Peter, v, 5.

« 上一页继续 »