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God speaketh to him; and happy is he
That finds the light and grace that in them be.
Be not too forward, therefore, to conclude
That I want solidness, that I am rude:
All things solid in show, not solid be;
All things in parable despise not we,
Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive,
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.
My dark and cloudy words, they do but hold
The truth, as cabinets enclose the gold.
The prophets used much by metaphors To set forth truth; yea, whoso considers Christ, his apostles too, shall plainly see That truths to this day in such mantles be.
Am I afraid to say, that holy writ, Which for its style and phrase puts down all wit, Is every where so full of all these things, (Dark figures, allegories,) yet there springs From that same book, that lustre, and those rays Of light, that turn our darkest nights to days.
Come, let my carper to his life now look, And find there darker lines than in my book He findeth any; yea, and let him know, That in his best things there are worse lines too.
May we but stand before impartial men, To his poor one I dare adventure ten, That they will take my meaning in these lines Far better than his lies in silver shrines. Come, truth, although in swaddling-clouts I find, Informs the judgment, rectifies the mind; Pleases the understanding, makes the will Submit; the memory too it doth fill
With what doth our imagination please;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.
Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use,
And old wives' fables he is to refuse;
But yet grave Paul him nowhere did forbid
The use of parables, in which lay hid
That gold, those pearls, and precious stones, that were
Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.
Let me add one word more: O man of God !
Art thou offended ? Dost thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress?
Or that I had in things been more express ?
To those that are my betters, as is fit,
Three things let me propound, then I submit:
1. I find not that I am denied the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse
Put on the words, things, readers, or be rude
In handling figure or similitude,
In application; but all that I may
Seek the advance of truth, this or that way.
Denied, did I say? Nay, I have leave,
(Examples too, and that from them that have
God better pleased, by their words or ways,
Than any man that breatheth now-a-days,)
Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.
2. I find that men as high as trees will write
Dialogue-wise; yet no man doth them slight
For writing so: indeed, if they abuse
Truth, cursed be they, and the craft they use
To that intent; but yet let truth be free
To make her sallies upon thee and me,
Which way it pleases God; for who knows how,
Better than he that taught us first to plough,
To guide our minds and pens for his design?
And he makes base things usher in divine.
3. I find that holy writ, in many places,
Hath semblance with this method, where the cases
Do call for one thing to set forth another:
Use it I may then, and yet nothing smother
Truth's golden beams: nay, by this method may
Make it cast forth its rays as light as day.
And now, before I do put up my pen,
I'll show the profit of my book ; and then
Commit both me and it unto that hand
That pulls the strong down, and makes weak ones stand.
This book it chalketh out before thine eyes
The man that seeks the everlasting prize: .
It shows you whence he comes, whither he goes;
What he leaves undone; also what he does :
It also shows you how he runs and runs,
Till he unto the Gate of Glory comes.
It shows too who set out for life amain,
As if the lasting crown they would obtain.
Here also you may see the reason why
They lose their labour, and like fools do die.
This book will make a traveller of thee,
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;
It will direct thee to the Holy Land,
If thou wilt its direction understand;
Yea, it will make the slothful active be;
The blind also delightful things to see.
Art thou for something rare and profitable?
Or wouldst thou see a truth within a fable ?
Art thou forgetful? Wouldest thou remember
From New-year's day to the last of December?
Then read my fancies; they will stick like burs,
And may be to the helpless, comforters.
This book is writ in such a dialect
As may the minds of listless men affect:
It seems a novelty, and yet contains
Nothing but sound and honest gospel strains.
Wouldst thou divert thyself from melancholy?
Wouldst thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?
Wouldst thou read riddles and their explanation ?
Or else be drowned in thy contemplation ?
Dost thou love picking meat? Or wouldst thou see
A man i’ the clouds, and hear him speak to thee?
Wouldst thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep?
Or wouldst thou in a moment laugh and weep?
Wouldest thou lose thyself and catch no harm,
And find thyself again without a charm ?
Wouldst read thyself, and read thou know'st not what,
And yet know whether thou art blest or not,
By reading the same lines? O then come hither!
And lay my book, thy head, and heart together.
S I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den,* and the sall.
laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and, behold, I saw a man clothed with rags standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in
* Mr. Bunyan wrote this precious book in Bedford jail, where he was confined on account of his religion. The following anecdote is related of him. A Quaker came to the jail; and thus addressed him“ Friend Bunyan, the Lord sent me to seek for thee, and I have been through several counties in search of thee; and now I am glad I have found thee." To which Mr. Bunyan replied, “ Friend, thou dost not speak truth, in saying the Lord sent thee to seek me; for the Lord well knows that I have been in this jail some years; and if he had sent thee, he would have sent thee here directly.”
To which in search of thee