图书图片
PDF
ePub

man: not for that he had inclination to go back (that he always abhorred), but he was ready to die for fear.'Oh, the hobgoblins will have me, the hobgoblins will have me!' cried he; and I could not beat him out on't. He made such a noise, and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us. But this I took very great notice of, that this valley was as quiet when he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose those enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle until Mr. Fearing was passed over it.

When

It would be too tedious to tell you of all; we will therefore only mention a passage or two more. he was come to Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all the men in the fair: I feared there we should both have been knocked on the head, so hot was he against their fooleries. Upon the enchanted ground, he also was very wakeful. But, when he was come at the river where was no bridge, there again he was in a heavy case: 'Now, now,' he said, 'he should be drowned for ever, and so never see that face with comfort, that he had come so many miles to behold.' And here also I took notice of what was very remarkable--the water of that river was lower at this time, than ever I saw it in all my life so he went over at last, not much above wet-shod. When he was going up to the gate, Mr. Great-heart began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above; so he said, 'I shall, I shall:' then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more.

Hon. Then, it seems, he was well at last ?

Gr.-h. Yes, yes, I never had doubt about him; he was a man of a choice spirit: only he was always kept very low, and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so very troublesome to others. He was, above many, tender of sin; he was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he would often deny himself of that which is lawful, because he would not offend.2

Hon. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark?

1 Ps, ixxxviii. 2 Rom, xiy. 21. 1st Cor. viii. 12,

Gr.-h. There are two sorts of reasons for it; one is, The wise God will have it so; some must pipe, and some must weep: now Mr. Fearing was one that played upon the bass. He and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than notes of other music are: though, indeed, some say, the bass is the ground of music. And, for my part, I care not at all for that profession, that begin not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the musician usually touches, is the bass, when he intends to play all in tune: God also plays upon this string first, when he sets the soul in tune for himself.Only there was the imperfection of Mr. Fearing, he could play upon no other music but this, till towards his latter end.

[I make bold to talk thus metaphorically, for the ripening of the wits of young readers; and because, in the book of Revelation, the saved are compared to a company of musicians, that play upon their trumpets and harps, and sing their songs before the throne."]

› Hon. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him. Difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all: it was only sin, death, and hell, that were to him a terror; because he had some doubts about his interest in that celestial country.

Gr. h. You say right; those were the things that were his troubles; and they, as you have well observed, arose from the weakness of his mind thereabout, not from weakness of spirit, as to the practical part of a pilgrim's life. I dare believe, that, as the proverb is, ' He could have bit a firebrand, had it stood in his way: but those things with which he was oppressed, no man ever yet could shake off with ease.

Then said Christiana, This relation of Mr. Fearing has done me good; I thought nobody had been like me; but I see there was some semblance betwixt this good man and I: only we differ in two things: his troubles were so great, that they broke out; but mine I kept within. His also lay so hard upon him that he could. not knock at the houses provided for entertainment; bur 2 Rev. viii. xiv. 2, 3.

1 Matt. xi. 16, 18.

my troubles were always such, as made me knock the Jouder.

Mer.' If I might also speak my mind, I must say, that something of him has also dwelt in me; for I have ever been more afraid of the lake, and the loss of a place in Paradise, than I have been at the loss of other things.O! thought I, may I have the happiness to have a habitation there, it is enough, though I part with all the world to win it.

Then said Matthew, Fear was one thing that made me think that I was far from having that within me which accompanies salvation; but if it was so with such a good man as he, why may it not also go well with me?

No fears, no grace, said James. Though there is not always grace where there is the fear of hell; yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is no fear of God.

Gr.-h. Well said, James; thou hast hit the mark: for "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom;" and, to be sure, they that want the beginning, have neither middle nor end. But we will here conclude our discourse of Mr. Fearing, when we have sent after him his farewel.

Whilst, Master Fearing, thou didst fear
Thy God, and wast afraid

Of doing any thing, while here,

That would thee have betrayed:

And didst thou fear the lake and pit?
Would others did so too!

For as for them that want thy wit,
They do themselves undo."

CHAP. IX.

"The character of Mr. Self-will.

NOW I saw that they all went on in their talk; for,

after Mr. Great-heart had made an end with Mr. Fearing, Mr. Honest began to tell them of another, but his name was Mr. Self-will. He pretended himself to be a pilgrim, said Mr. Honest; but I persuade myself, he never came in at the gate that stands at the head of the way.

Gr.h. Had you ever any talk with him about it?

Hon. Yes, more than once or twice: but he would be always like himself, self-willed. He neither cared for man, nor argument, nor example; what his mind prompted him to, that he would do; and nothing else could he be got to.

Gr.-h. Pray what principles did he hold? for I suppose you can tell.

Hon. He held, that a man might follow the vices as well as the virtues of the pilgrims; and that if he did both, he should certainly be saved.

Gr.-h. How if he had said, it is possible for the best to be guilty of the vices, as well as partake of the virtues of pilgrims, he could not much have been blamed. For indeed we are exempted from no vice absolutely, but on condition that we watch and strive. But this, I perceive, is not the thing: but if I understand you right, your meaning is, that he was of that opinion, that it was allowable so to be.

Hon. Ay, ay, so I mean; and so he believed and practised.

Gr.-h. But what grounds had he for so saying?

Hon. Why, he said he had the scripture for his

warrant.

Gr.-h. Pr'ythee, Mr. Honest, present us with a few particulars.

Hon. So I will. He said, to have to do with other men's wives, had been practised by David, God's beloved and therefore he could do it. He said, to have more women than one, was a thing that Solomon practised; and therefore he could do it. He said, that Sarah and the godly midwives of Egypt lied, and so did Rahab; and therefore he could do it. He said, that the disciples went, at the bidding of their Master, and took away the owner's ass; and therefore he could do so too. He said, that Jacob got the inheritance of his father in a way of guile and dissimulation; and therefore he could do so too.

Gr.-h. High base, indeed! and are you sure he was of this opinion?

Hon. I have heard him plead for it, bring scripture for it, bring arguments for it, &c.

Gr.-h. Au opinion that is not fit to be with any allowance in the world!

Hon. You must understand me rightly: he did not say that any man might do this; but that those, that had the virtues of those that did such things, might also do the same.

Gr.-h. But what more false than such a conclusion? for this is as much as to say, that, because good men heretofore have sinned of infirmity, therefore he had allowance to do it of a presumptuous mind: or if, because a child, by the blast of wind, or for that it stumbled at a stone, fell down, and defiled itself in mire, therefore he might wilfully lie down and wallow like a boar therein. Who could have thought that any one could so far have been blinded by the power of lust? But what is written must be true: "they stumbled at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.' His supposing that such may have the godly man's virtues, who addict themselves to his vices, is also a delusion as strong as the other. It is just as if the dog should say, 'I have, or may have, the qualities of a child, because I lick up its stinking excrements.'"To eat up the sin of God's people, is no sign of one that is possessed with their virtues. Nor can I believe that one that is of this opinion, can at present have faith or love in him--But I know you have made strong objections against him; pr'ythee what can he say for himself?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Hon. Why, he says, to do this by way of opinion, seems abundance more honest than to do it, and yet hold contrary to it in opinion.

Gr.-h. A very wicked answer; for though to let loose the bridle to lusts, while our opinions are against such things, is bad; yet to sin, and plead a toleration so to do, is worse: the one stumbles beholders accidentally, the other leads them into the snare.

Hon. There are many of this man's mind, that have not this man's mouth; and that makes going on pilgrimage of so little esteem as it is.

[blocks in formation]
« 上一页继续 »