service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine: and therefore leave off to persuade me further; I am his servant, and I will follow him.

Apol. Consider again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way that thou goest. Thou knowest that, for the most part, his servants come to an ill end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways. How many of them have been put to shameful deaths?—And besides, thou countest his service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place where he is to deliver any that served him, out of their hands: but, as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them: and so I will deliver thee.

Chr. His forbearing at present to deliver them, is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end: and, as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account: for, for present deliverance, they do not much expect it; for they stay for their glory, and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the glory of the angels.

Apol. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him; and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?

Chr. Wherein, O Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to him?

Apol. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the gulph of Despond; thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldest have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off: thou didst sinfully sleep, and lose thy choice things: thou wast also almost persuaded to go back at the sight of the lions: and when thou talkest of thy journey, and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.

Chr. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out but the Prince, whom I serve and houour, is merciful and ready to forgive. But besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country: for there I sucked


them in, and I have groaned under them, being sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.

Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince: I hate his person, his laws, and people: I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.

Chr. Apollyon, beware what you do; for I am in the king's highway, the way of holiness; therefore take heed to yourself.


Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter; prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no further: here will I spill thy soul. And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.

Then did Christian draw; for he saw it was time to bestir him; and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This made Christian give a little back: Apollyon, therefore, followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent ; for you must know, that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker.

Then Apollyon, spying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian's sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now; and with that he had almost pressed him to death; so that Christian began to despair of life. But, as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! when I fall I shall arise;" and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back as one who had received his mortal wound. Christian perceiving

1 Mic. vii. 8.

that, made at him again, saying, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us;" and with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon's wings and sped him away, that Christian saw him no more.

In this combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard, as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight; he spake like a dragon :—and, on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword; then indeed he did smile and look upward! But it was the dreadfullest fight that ever I saw.

So when the battle was over, Christian said, I will here give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon. And so he did; saying,

• Great Beelzebub, the captain of this fiend,
Design'd my ruin; therefore to this end
He sent him harness'd out; and he with rage
That hellish was, did fiercely me engage:
But blessed Michael helped me, and I
By dint of sword did quickly make him fly:
Therefore to him let me give lasting praise

And thanks, and bless his holy name always."

Then there came to him an hand with some of the leaves of the tree of life, the which Christian took and applied to the wounds that he had received in the battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat down in that place to eat bread, and to drink of that bottle that was given him a little before: so being refreshed, he addressed himself to his journey with his sword drawn in his hand; for he said, I know not but some other enemy may be at hand. But he met with no other affront from Apollyon quite through the valley.

Now at the end of this valley was another, called The valley of the shadow of death; and Christian must

1 Rom. viii. 37.-39. Jam. iv. 7.

The Valley of the Shadow of Death,] Every Christian must have experienced those times of darkness when his soul was ready to sink within him; when in the bitterness of anguish he has cried out, Has

needs go through it, because the way to the Celestial City lay through the midst of it. Now this valley is a very solitary place. The prophet Jeremiah thus describes it: A wilderness, a land of deserts, and of pits; a land of drought, and of the shadow of death; a land that no man,' but a Christian, passeth through, and where no man dwelt.''


Now here Christian was worse put to it than in his fight with Apollyon; as by the sequel you shall see.


Christian sorely distressed in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, through which however he passes unhurt.

SAW then in my dream, that when Christian was got

I borders Shadow of Death, met

two men, children of them that brought up an evil report of the good land, making haste to go back; to whom Christian spake as follows:

Whither are you going?

They said, Back! Back! and we would have you to do so too, if either life or peace be prized by you.

Why, what's the matter? said Christian.

Matter! said they: We were going that way as you are going, and went as far as we durst; and indeed we were almost past coming back: for had we gone a little further, we had not been here to bring the news to thee. But what have you met with? said Christian.

Men. Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of death, but that by good hap we looked before us, and saw the danger before we came to it.

But what have you seen? said Christian.

Men. Seen! why the valley itself, which is as dark as pitch, we also saw there the hobgoblins, satyrs, and

1 Jer. ii. 6. 2 Numb. xiii. 3 Ps. xliv. 19.

the Lord ceased to be gracious? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Oh! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?---At such periods the tenpter is more than usually active. He multiplies desponding thoughts, he insinuates unbelieving fears, he whispers blasphemous ideas. It is at such an awful period that the Christian throws himself at the footstool of divine mercy, and exclaims, " Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief."

dragons of the pit: we heard also in that valley a continual howling and yelling, as of people under unutterable misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons; and over that valley hang the discouraging clouds of confusion: Death also doth always spread his wings over it. In a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without order.

Then said Christian, I perceive not yet, by what you have said, but that this is my way to the desired haven. Men. Be it thy way: we will not choose it for ours. So they parted; and Christian went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, for fear lest he should be assaulted.

I saw then in my dream, so far as this valley reached,. there was on the right hand a very deep ditch; that ditch is it into which the blind hath led the blind in all ages, and have both miserably perished. Again, behold, on the left hand there was a very dangerous quag, into which if even a good man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on: into this quag king David once did fall, and had, no doubt, been smothered, had not he that is able plucked him out.*

The path-way was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good Christian was the more put to it; for when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other;: also when he sought to escape the mire, without great: carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch.Thus he went on, and I heard him sigh bitterly; for be sides the danger mentioned above, the path-way was here so dark, that oft-times when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where nor upon what he should set it next.

About the midst of the valley, I perceived the mouth of Hell to be, and it stood also hard by the way-side :Now, thought Christian, what shall I do? And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises (things that cared not for Christian's sword, as did Apollyon before), that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake himself

1. Job iii. 5. x. 22. 2 Psal. lxix. 14.

[ocr errors]
« 上一页继续 »