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I, for my part, have been in the fray before now; and though, through the goodness of Him that is best, I am, as you see, alive, yet I cannot boast of any manhood. Glad shall I be, if I meet with no more such brunts; though I fear we are not got beyond all danger. However, since the lion and the bear have not as yet devoured me, I hope God will also deliver us from the next uncircumcised Philistine. Then sang Christian
Poor Little-Faith ! hast been among the thieves ?
Over ten thousand-else scarce over three." So they went on, and Ignorance followed. They went then till they came at a place where they are say a way put itself into their way,* and 4* seemed withal to lie as straight as the way which they should go; and here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them: therefore here they stood still to consider. And as they were thinking about the way, behold a man black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there? They answered, they were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take. “ Follow me," said the man, “ it is thither that I am going.” So they followed him in the way that but now came into the road, which by degrees turned, and turned them CHRISTIAN AND so far from the city, that they desired to go
HIS FELLOW DE-
* By this way and a way, it is plain the author means the way of self-righteousness and the way of the imputed righteousness of Christ. The former sticks fast and cleaves close to pilgrims all their days. Whenever we turn aside to it, we get out of the way to the city, yea, we see by degrees their faces were turned away from it, and they were entangled in the net of pride and folly.
IN A NET
to, that in a little time their faces were turned away from it : yet they followed him. But by and by, before THEY ARE TAKEN they were aware, he led them both within
the compass of a net, in which they were both so entangled that they knew not what to do; and with that the white robe fell off the black man's back: then they saw where they were. Wherefore there they lay crying some time, for they could not get themselves out.*
Car. Then said Christian to his fellow, Now do I see THEY BEWAL myself in an error. Did not the Shep
TION. herds bid us beware of the Flatterer? As is the saying of the wise man, so we have found it this day, “A man that flattereth his neighbour, spreadeth a net for his feet."
Hope. They also gave us a note of directions about the way, for our more sure finding thereof; but therein we have also forgotten to read, and have not kept ourselves from the “ paths of the destroyer.” Here David was wiser than we; for, saith he, “ Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”p
Thus they lay bewailing themselves in the net. At A shining one last they espied a shining one coming
towards them with a whip of small cords
0 Prov. xxix. 5. p Psalm xvii. 4. * Luther was wont to caution against the white devil, as much as the black one; for Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and his ministers as ministers of righteousness, 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15. And how do they deceive souls ? By flattery : leading poor sinners into a fine notion of some righteous character they have in themselves, what great advances they have made, and what high attainments they have arrived to, even to be perfect in themselves, to be free from sin, and full of nothing but love, &c. Oh! such flatterers and deceivers awfully abound in this day, deceiving the ignorant, and beguiling the unstable. These are black men clothed in white.
A SHINING ONE COMES TO THEM WITH A WHIP IN UIS HAND
in his hand. When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them whence they came, and what they did there? They told him, that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man clothed in white, who bid us, said they, follow him, for he was going thither too. Then said he with the whip, It is Flatterer, “ a false apostle, that hath transformed himself into an angel of light.” So he rent the net, and let the men out. Then said he to them, Follow me, that I may set you in your way again : so he led them back to the way which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, saying, Where did you lie THEY ARE EXAMINthe last night? They said, With the OF FORGETFULNESS. Shepherds upon the Delectable Mountains. He asked them then, if they had not of the Shepherds a note of direction for the way? They answered, Yes. But did you not, said he, when you were at a stand, pluck out and read your note ? They answered, No. He asked them, Why? They said they forgot. He asked, moreover, if the Shepherds did not bid them beware of the Flatterer ? They answered, Yes; but we did not imagine, said they, that this finespoken man had been he."*
ED AND CONVICTED
DECEIVERS FINE SPOKEN.
q 2 Cor. xi. 14—15. Dan. xi. 32.
r Rom. xvi. 17, 18.
* By this shining one, understand the loving Lord the Holy Ghost, the leader and guide of Christ's people. When they err and stray from Jesus the way, and are drawn from him as the truth, the Spirit comes with his rod of conviction and chastisement, to whip souls, for their self-righteous pride and folly, back to Christ, to trust wholly in him, to rely only on him, and to walk in sweet fellowship with him. So he acted by the Galatian church, which was flattered into a notion of self-righteousness and self-justification. So David, when he found himself nearly lost, cries out—"He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake,” Ps. xxiii. 3.
AND SENT ON THEIR
Then I saw in my dream, that he commanded them to THEY ARE WHIPPED lie down; which when they did, he chas
tised them sore, to teach them the good way wherein they should walk :' and as he chastised them, he said, “ As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten ; be zealous, therefore, and repent." This done, he bids them go on their way, and take good heed to the other directions of the Shepherds. So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went softly along the right way, singing
Come hither, you that walk along the way,
THE ATHEIST MEETS THEM.
Now, after a while they perceived, afar off, one coming softly, and alone, all along the highway, to meet them. Then said Christian to his fellow, Yonder is a man with his back towards Zion, and he is coming to meet us. Hope. I see him; let us take heed to ourselves now,
E1ST lest he should prove a Flatterer also. So
: he drew nearer and nearer, and at last came up to them. His name was Atheist; and he asked them whither they were going ? Chr. We are going to Mount Zion. as Then Atheist fell into a very great laughter.
Chr. What is the meaning of your laughter ? Ath. I laugh to see what ignorant persons you are, to take upon you so tedious a journey; and yet are like to have nothing but your travel for your pains.
HE LAUGHS AT THEM
s 2 Chron. vi. 27.
Rev. iii. 19.
THEY REASON TOGETHER.
CAR. Why, man, do you think we shall not be received ?
Ath. Received! there is not such a place as you dream of in all this world.
Chr. But there is in the world to come.
Ath. When I was at home, in mine own country, I heard as you now affirm, and from that hearing went out to see, and have been seeking this city these twenty years, but find no more of it than I did the first day I set out."
Chr. We have both heard, and believe that there is such a place to be found.
ATH. Had not I, when at home, believed, I had not come thus far to seek; but finding none (and yet I should, had there been such a place to THE ATHEIST TAKES be found, for I have gone to seek it far- This world. ther than you,) I am going back again, and will seek to refresh myself with the things that I then cast away for hopes of that which I now see is not.
Chr. Then said Christian to Hopeful his companion, Is it true which this man hath said ?
Hope. Take heed, he is one of the Flatterers: remember what it cost us once already for our hearkening to such kind of fellows. What! " no Mount Zion ? Did we not see from the Delectable Mountains the gate of the City ? Also, are we not now to walk by faith ? Let us go on, remembrance op lest the man with the whip overtake us ment 18 A HELP again.* You should have taught me
UP HIS CONTENT IN
CHRISTIAN PROV. ETH HIS BROTHER,
u Eccl. x. 15. Jer. xvii. 15. v 2 Cor v. 7. * See how we are surrounded with different enemies. No sooner have they escaped the self-righteous flatterer, but they meet with the openly profane and licentious mocker. Ay, and he set out, and went far too, yea, farther than they ; but, behold, he has turned his back