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is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest.
Hope. Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from heaven.*
IGNOR. What! you are a man for revelations! I do IGNORANCE JANGLES believe, that what both you and all the
e rest of you say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains.
Hope. Why, man! Christ is so hid in God from the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that he cannot by any man be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals him to him.
He speaks RE: IGNOR. This is your faith, but not mine : WHAT HE KNOWS yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours,
* This, by all natural men, is deemed the very height of enthusiasm ; but a spiritual man knows the blessedness, and rejoices in the comfort, of this. It is a close question: what may we understand by it? Doubtless, what Paul means, when he says, “ It pleased God to reveal bis Son in me,” Gal. i. 16; that is, he had such an internal, spiritual, experimental sight and knowledge of Christ, and of salvation by him, that his heart embraced him, his soul cleaved to him, his spirit rejoiced in him, his whole man was swallowed up with the love of him ; so that he cried out in the joy of his soul, This is my beloved and my friend my Saviour, my God, and my salvation ! He is the chief of ten thousand, and altogether lovely. We know nothing of Christ savingly, comfortably, and experimentally, till he is pleased thus to reveal himself to us, Matt. xi. 27. This spiritual revelation of Christ to the heart, is a blessing and comfort agreeable to, and consequent upon, believing on Christ as revealed outwardly in the word. Therefore every believer should wait, and look, and long, and pray for it. Beware you do not despise it; if you do, you will betray your ignorance of spiritual things, as Ignorance did.
PROACH FULLY OP
though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.
Chr. Give me leave to put in a word. You ought not so slightly to speak of this matter : for this I will boldly affirm, even as my good companion hath done, that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father ; yea, and faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon Christ, (if it be right,) must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of his mighty power ;' the working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance, thou art ignorant of. Be awakened then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and by his righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, (for he himself is God, thou shalt be delivered from condemnation.*
IGNOR. You go so fast I cannot keep pace with you ; do you go on before : I must stay a while THE TALK behind.t Then they said :
THE TALK BROKE UP.
Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be
* That sinner is not thoroughly awakened, who does not see his need of Christ's righteousness to be imputed to him. Nor is he quickened, who has not fled to Christ as the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes, Rom. x. 4.
+ Ignorant professors cannot keep pace with spiritual pilgrims, nor can they relish the doctrine of making Christ all in all, in the matter of justification and salvation ; and making the sinner nothing at all, as having no hand in the work, nor getting any glory to himself by what
to evervo has not fled ousness to be
Then Christian addressed himself thus to his fellow:
Chr. Well, come, my good Hopeful, I perceive that thou and I must walk by ourselves again.
So I saw in my dream, that they went on apace before, and Ignorance he came hobbling after. Then said Christian to his companion, It pities me much for this poor man: it will certainly go ill with him at last.
Hope. Alas! there are abundance in our town in this condition, whole families, yea, whole streets, and that of pilgrims too; and if there be so many in our parts, how many, think you, must there be in the place where he was born ?*
Chr. Indeed, the word saith, “ He hath blinded their eyes, lest they should see,” &c.
But, now we are by ourselves, what do you think of such men ? Have they at no time, think you, convictions of sin; and so, consequently, fears that their state is dangerous ?
Hope. Nay, do you answer that question yourself, for you are the elder man.
Chr. Then I say, sometimes (as I think) they may; but they, being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts.
he is able to do for himself. Free grace and free will, Christ's imputed righteousness and the notion of man's personal righteousness, cannot accord.
* Ignorance had just the same natural notions of salvation which he was born with; only he had been taught to dress them up by the art of sophistry. Hence it is they so much abound among professors in every age. Oh, what a mercy to be delivered from them, to be spiritually enlightened, and taught the truth as it is in Jesus !
HOPE. I do believe, as you say, that fear tends much to men's good, and to make them right at THE GOOD USE their beginning to go on pilgrimage.
CHR. Without all doubt it doth, if it be right: for so says the word, “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.""
Hope. How will you describe right fear?
Chr. True or right fear is discovered by RIGHT PEAR. three things :
1. By its rise: it is caused by saving convictions for sin.
2. It driveth the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
3. It begetteth and continueth in the soul a great reverence of God, his word, and ways; keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left, to any thing that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully.
HOPE. Well said ; I believe you have said the truth. Are we now almost got past the Enchanted Ground ?
Chr. Why? are you weary of this discourse ?
Hope. No, verily, but that I would know where we are.
Chr. We have not now above two miles farther to go thereon.—But let us return to our matter—Now, the ignorant know not that such convictions as tend to put them in fear, are for their CONVICTIONTIPLE good, and therefore they seek to stifle them.
HOPE. How do they seek to stifle them?
Chr. 1. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil, (though indeed they are wrought of God ;) and thinking so, they resist them, as things that directly
WHY IGNORANT PERSONS STIFLE CONVICTION.
u Job xxviii. 28. Psalm cxi. 10. Prov. i. 7. ix. 10.
tend to their overthrow. 2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith ; when, alas for them, poor men that they are, they have none at all ! and therefore they harden their hearts against them. 3. They presume they ought not to fear, and therefore in despite of them wax presumptuously confident. 4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self-holiness,* and therefore they resist them with all their might
Hope. I know something of this myself; for before I knew myself, it was so with me.
Car. Well, we will leave, at this time, our neighbour Ignorance by himself, and fall upon another profitable question.
Hope. With all my heart: but you shall still begin.
Chr. Well then, did you know, about ten years ago, TALK ABOUT ONE one Temporary in your parts, who was
at. a forward man in religion then ? Hope. Know him! yes; he dwelt in Graceless, a WHERE HE town about two miles off of Honesty, and he
dwelt next door to one Turnback. Chr. Right; he dwelt under the same roof with HE WAS TOWARDLY him. Well, that man was much awakened
once: I believe that then he had some
* Pitiful old self-holiness. Mind this phrase. Far was it from the heart of good Mr. Bunyan to decry real personal holiness. I suppose he was never charged with it. If he was, it must be by such who strive to exalt their own holiness, more than Christ's righteousness; if so, it is pitiful indeed. It is nothing but self-holiness, or the holiness of the old man of sin; for true holiness springs from the belief of the truth, and love to the truth. All beside this only tends to self-confidence and self-applause.
+ It is good to call to mind one's own ignorance, when in our natural estate, to excite humility of heart, and thankfulness to God, who made us to differ; and to incite pity towards those who are walking in nature's pride, self-righteousness, and self-confidence.