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Chr. Gentlemen,.. whence came you, and whither go you?
Form. and Hyp. We were born in the land of Vain-Glory, and are going for praise to Mount Sion.
Chr. Why came you not in at the gate which standeth at the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written, "He that cometh not in by "the door, but climbeth up fome other way, the "fame is a thief and a robber ?"
Form. and Hyp. To go to the gate for entrance is by all our countrymen counted too far about; and therefore their ufual way is to make a fhort cut of it, and to climb over the wall, as we have done.
Chr. But will it not be counted a trefpafs against the Lord of the city, whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will?
Form. and Hyp. As for that, you need not trouyour head about it; what we have done we have cuftom for, and can produce, if need be, teftimony that would witnefs it, for more than a thoufand years.
Chr. But will your practice ftand a trial at law? Form. and Hyp. Cuftom, being of fo long ftanding as above a thousand years, will doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by an impartial judge: befides, if we get into the way, what matter which way we get in? If we are in, we are in. Thou art but in the way, who, as we perceive, came in at the gate; and we also are in the way, who came tum
bling over the wall. Wherein now is thy condition better than ours?
Chr. I walk by the rule of my mafter, you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way, therefore I doubt you will not be found true men at the end of the way. You came in by yourselves without his direction; and fhall go out by yourfelves, without his mercy.
To this they made him but little answer; only they bad him look to himself. Then I saw that they went on every man in his way, without much conference one with another; fave that thefe two men told Chriftian, that, as to laws and ordinances", they doubted not but they fhould as confcientiously do them as he. Therefore, faid they, we fee not wherein thou differeft from us, but in the coat on thy back, which was, as we trow, given thee by fome of thy neighbours to hide the fhame of thy nakednefs.
Chr. By laws and ordinances you will not be faved, fince you came not in by the door. And as for this coat on my back, it was given me by the Lord of the place whither I go; and that, as you fay, to cover my nakednefs. I take it as a token of kind
n The formalift and hypocrite may be the strictest observers of rules and orders, and all external parts of religion, for indeed they know nothing of the power of the gofpel; yet, in the judgment and experience of a true Chriftian, religion does not confist in what he can do for God, but in what God has done for him, and what he has wrought in him.
nefs to me; for I had nothing but rags before. Befides, thus I comfort myself as I go: Surely, when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me for good, fince I have his coat on my back; a coat which he gave me freely in the day that he ftript me of my rags. I have moreover a mark in my forehead; of which perhaps you have taken no notice; which one of my Lord's most intimate affociates fixed there in the day that my burden fell off my fhoulders. I will tell you, moreover, that I had then given me a roll fealed, to comfort me by reading, as I go on the way; I was alfo bid to give it in at the celeftial gate, in token of my certain going in after it. All these things I doubt you want, and want them, because you came not in at the gate. To these things they gave him no answer, only looked upon each other, and laughed.
Then I saw that they all went on, but that Chriftian kept before, who had no more talk but with himself, and that, fometimes fighingly, and some
• The true Christian can find no more communion with a formal profeffor than with one who is openly profane. The Christian loves to be fpeaking of the Lord's grace and goodnefs, of his conflicts and confolations, and of the Lord's dealings with his foul. He loves to be speaking of Jefus, and of the nearness which his foul feels at times towards him, and of the bleffed confidence which he is then enabled to place in him. This converfation can no more fuit a formal professor than the conversation of a formal profeffor can fuit a real Christian.
times comfortably". He would also be often reading in the roll, which one of the fhining ones gave him, and by this he was refreshed.
I beheld then, that they all went on, till they came to the foot of the hill Difficulty; at the bottom of which was a fpring. There were also, in the fame place, two other ways (befides that which came ftrait from the gate). One turned to the left hand, and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill: but the narrow way lay right up the hill, and the name of that part which leads up the fide of the hill is called Difficulty. Chriftian went to the fpring, and drank thereof, to refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill, faying:
The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
For I perceive the way to life lies here:
After the Chriftian has received the forgiveness of his fins, he ftill finds the truth of what St. Paul has faid, "We who have received the firft fruits of the spirit groan within ourfelves;" and in another place, "As long as we are in this tabernacle we do groan." It may be asked, If this be the cafe, where is the rest of faith? Where is the joy and peace in believing? I answer, In the midst of all his trials, temptations, and tribulations, the Chriftian finds that fupport and comfort which none but Chriftians know.
The hill Difficulty fhews that it is impoffible for a Chriftian to go on his way without difficulties; but he is not dif heartened, for, having received mercy, he faints not.