图书图片
PDF
ePub

be no companion of fuch mifled, fantaftical fellows.

Now I faw in my dream that, when Obftinate was going back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their difcourfe.

Chr. Come, neighbour Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are perfuaded to go along with me; had even Obftinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of that which is yet unfeen, he would not thus lightly have turned his back upon us.

Pli. Come, neighbour Christian, fince there are none here but we two, tell me now further what the things are, and how they are to be enjoyed, whither we are going?

Ch. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue: but, fince you defire to know, I will read of them in my book.

Pli. Do you think that the words of your book are certainly true?

Chr. Yes verily, for it was made by him who cannot lie.

Pli. Well faid; what things are they?

Chr. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited; and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever.

as the event proved. Perfeverance proves the truth and reality of grace, as our Lord fays, Mat. viii. 31, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my difciples indeed.

[ocr errors]

Pli. Well faid; and what else?

Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us; and garments which will make us fhine like the fun in the firmament of heaven.

Pli. This is very pleafant; and what else?

Chr. There will be no more crying, nor forrow; for he, who is owner of the place, will wipe all tears from our eyes.

Pli. And what company fhall we have there? Chr. There we fhall be with Seraphims and Cherubims, creatures that it will dazzle our eyes to look upon them; there alfo we fhall meet with thoufands and ten thoufands who have gone before us to that place: none of them are hurtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in the fight of God, and standing in his prefence with acceptance for ever. In a word, there we fhall fee the elders with their golden crowns: there we shall fee the holy virgins with their golden harps: there we shall fee men, who by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beafts, drowned in the feas, for the love which they bore to the lord of the place; all well, and clothed with immortality, as with a garment.

Pli. The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's heart; but fince these things are indeed to be enjoyed, how fhall we get to be fharers of them?

Chr.

Pliable ravished with the defcription given of the joys of heaven. It is certain that his views of heaven were carnal; he

was

Chr. The Lord, the governor of the country, hath recorded it in this book: the fubftance of which is this, that, if we be truly willing to have it,. he will bestow it upon us freely.

Pli. Well, my good companion, I am glad to hear of these things: come on, let us mend our pace k.

Chr. I cannot go fo faft as I would, by reason of this burden which is upon my back.

Now I faw, in my dream, that, juft as they had ended this talk, they drew nigh to a very miry flough which was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall fuddenly into the bog. The name of the Slough was Defpond. Here therefore they wallowed for a time, being grievously bebaubed with dirt and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to fink in the mire. Then faid Pliable, Ah, neighbour Christian! where are you now? Truly, faid Christian, I

was not in the leaft acquainted with, nor had he a defire to know, the mysteries of that spiritual kingdom which is set up in the heart where grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Some have no other defire to go to heaven than merely to escape hell; and others fancy, according to their own vain imaginations, that heaven is fome fine place, in which external objects will employ chiefly the external fenfes, not knowing that the kingdom of God is within us.

* Pliable feems more forward at fetting out than Chriftian, because the one felt his weakness and his fin; the other, not being truly convinced of fin, was animated with the expectation of thofe fine things which, for the moment, pleafed his fancy.

do

[ocr errors]

do not know? At this Pliable began to be of-
fended, and angrily faid to his fellow, Is this the
happiness you have told me of all this while? If we
have fuch ill speed at our firft fetting out, what may
we expect betwixt this and our journey's end? May
I get out again with my life, you fhall poffefs the
brave country alone for me.
With that he gave a
defperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire,
on that fide of the flough which was next his own
house away he went, and Chriftian faw him no
more 1.

Wherefore Chriftian was left to tumble in the flough of Defpond alone; but ftill he endeavoured to struggle to get out on that fide of the flough which was furtheft from his own house, and next to the wicket-gate; notwithstanding all his endeavours, he could not get out because of the burden which was upon his back: but I beheld, in my dream, that a man at laft came to him, whofe name was Help, and asked him what he did there?-Sir, faid Chriftian, I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelift, who directed me alfo to yonder gate, that I might efcape the wrath to come. And as I was going thither, I fell in here.

Help. But why did you not look for the steps?

1 Christian and Pliable fall into the Slough of Defpond; but, after a few ftruggles, Pliable gets out on the wrong fide, and returns home. Thus it was with the rocky ground hearers defcribed by our Lord,-when they heard they received the word with joy, but in time of temptation fall away.

Chr..

Chr. Fear followed me fo hard, that I fled by the nearest way, and fell in.

Help. Then, give me thy hand: fo he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon found ground, and bid him go on his way m.

Then I ftepped to him who plucked him out, and faid, Sir, wherefore is it, fince over this place is the way from the city of Deftruction to yonder gate, that this plat is not mended, fo that poor travellers might go thither with more fecurity?--He faid unto me; This miry flough is fuch a place as cannot be mended: it is down this defcent that the fcum and filth which attend conviction for fin do continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Defpond; for ftill, as the finner is awakened about his loft condition, there arife in his foul many fears, and doubts, and difcouraging apprehenfions, all of which get together, and fettle in this place". This is the reafon of the badness of this ground. It is not for the plecfure of the king that this place remains fo bad; his labourers alfo, by the direction

m Chriftian is plucked out by Mr. Help. It is to be observed that Pliable got out of himself :-thus it is with natural awakenings-they are often flified; men often fpeak peace to themfelves, and there are many who are ready to cry, Peace, Peace, where there is no peace.

"Mr. Help gives the author fome account of the Slough of Defpond. He particularly fhews from whence it iffues, nameİy, from the heart, out of which proceed evil thoughts, which are more frequent and more awful in feafons of fpiritual conviction and foul conflict. Souls really taught of God are helps; they gather with Chrift; others only scatter abroad.

of

« 上一页继续 »