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CONVICTIONS SECONDED BY TIDINGS OP GOD'S READINESS
It is talked of where I dwell, as if thou hadst a desire to go thither : also there is a report that thou com art aware of the evil thou hast formerly TO PARDON. done to thy husband, in hardening of thy heart against his way, and in keeping of these babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the merciful One has sent me to tell thee, that he is a God ready to forgive, and that he taketh delight to multiply the pardon of offences.* He also would have thee to know, that he inviteth thee to come into his presence, to his table, and that he wili feed thee with the fat of his house, and with the heritage of Jacob thy father.
There is Christian, thy husband that was, with legions more, his companions, ever beholding that face that doth minister life to beholders ; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of thy feet step over thy Father's threshold.
Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself, and bowed her head to the ground. This visitor proceeded, and said, Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought from thy husband's King. So she took it, and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume ; also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter were these : That the King would have her to do as did Christian her husband, for that was the way to come to his city, and to dwell in his presence with joy for ever. At this the CHR good woman was quite overcome; so she cried out to her visitor, Sir, will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship the King ?
i Song i. 3.
* The Spirit, the Comforter, never convinces the soul of sin, but he also revives and comforts the heart with glad tidings of free and full pardon of sin, through the blood of the Lamb.
TIONS TO CHIRIS-
Then said the visitor, Christiana, the bitter is before PUNTIER INSTRUC. the sweet. Thou must through troubles,
as did he that went before thee, enter this Celestial City. Wherefore, I advise thee to do as did Christian thy husband; go to the Wicket-gate yonder over the plain, for that stands at the head of the way up which thou must go, and I wish thee all good speed. Also I advise, that thou put this letter in thy bosom ; that thou read therein to thyself, and to thy children, until you have got it by root of heart; for it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this house of thy pilgrimage :“ also this thou must deliver in at the farther gate.*
Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentleman, as he told me the story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He moreover proceeded, and said, So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus CHRISTIANA prays to address herself unto them: My sons, THEIN JOURNEY. I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the death of your father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness, for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have also been much affected with the thoughts of mine own estate and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriage also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience, for I hardened both mine own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.
k Psalm cxix. 54,
HIER SONS TO TAKE
* Says our Lord, “ When the Spirit is come, he shall testify of me -he shall lead you into all truth-he shall show you things to come.” All this the convinced sinner finds true in experience. As the Spirit testifies of Christ, so he leads the soul to Christ, that he may be the sinner's only hope, righteousness, and strength. Thus he glorifies Christ.
The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone to the gate that leads to the Celestial country, that we may see your father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.
Then did her children burst out into tears, for joy that the heart of their mother was so inclined. So their visitor bid them farewell ; and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.
But, while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women, that were Christiana's neigh- TIMOROUS AND bours, came up to her house, and knocked at her door. To whom she said as before, If you come in God's name, come in. At this the CHRISTIANA'S NEW women were stunned, for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Christiana.* Yet they came in : but behold, they found the good woman preparing to be gone from her house.
So they began, and said, Neighbour, pray what is your meaning by this?
Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, I am preparing for a
MERCY COME TO VI-
* Reader, stop and examine : did never any of your former friends and carnal acquaintance take knowledge of a difference in your language and conduct ? Do they still like and approve of you as well as ever? What reason, then, have you to think yourself a pilgrim ? for no sooner does any one commence a pilgrim, but that word is fulfilled, “ For then I will turn to the people a pure language,” Zeph. iii.9. If the heart be ever so little acquainted with the Lord, the tongue will discorer it, and the carnal and profane will ridicule and despise you for it. This will ever be found true.
journey. (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the hill of Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions.)
Tim. For what journey, I pray you?
Chr. Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a weeping.
Tim. I hope not so, good neighbour; pray, for your poor children's sake, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.
Chr. Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind.
Tim. I wonder in my very heart, what or who has brought you into this mind ?
Chr. O neighbour! knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go along with me.
Tim. Pr'ythee, what new knowledge hast thou got, that so worketh off thy mind from thy friends, and that tempteth thee to go nobody knows where?
Chr. Then Christiana replied, I have been sorely afflicted since my husband's departure from me; but DEATH. especially since he went over the river. But that which troubleth me most, is my churlish carriage to him, when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then ; nothing will serve me but going on pilgrimage. I was dreaming last night that I saw him. O that my soul was with him! He dwelleth in the presence of the King of the country; he sits and eats with him at his table ; he is become a companion of immortals; and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palace on earth, if compared, seems to me but as a dunghill.' The Prince of the place has also sent for me, with promise of entertainment, if I shall come to him : his messenger was here even now, and has brought me a letter, which invites me to come. And with that she plucked out her letter,* and read it, and said to them, What now. will you say to this ?
1 2 Cor. y. 1-4
Tim. Oh, the madness that has possessed thee and thy husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties ! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner at the first step that he took his way, as our neighbour Obstinate can yet testify, for he went along with him; yea, and Pliable too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any further. We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death, THE REASONINGS and many other things. Nor is the off danger that he met with at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by thee. For if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou, being but a poor woman, do? Consider also, that these four sweet babes are thy children, thy flesh, and thy bones. Wherefore, though thou shouldest be so rash as to cast away thyself; yet for the sake of the fruit of thy body, keep thou at home.t
But Christiana said unto her, Tempt me not, my neighbour : I have now a price put into my hand to get
THE REASONINGS OF THE FLESH.
* This was a love-letter, full of the love of Jesus, and the precious invitation of his loving heart to sinners to come unto him, as recorded in his blessed word. Happy sinners, whose eyes are opened to read them! But this the world calls madness.
+ The Lord, who quickens us by his Spirit, and calls us by his word, well knows the carnal enemies who will oppose our progress in the divine life : therefore he tells us, “ If thy brother, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly from the Lord, thou shalt not hearken unto him," &c. Deut. xüi. 6. Let the word of God be the rule, and Christiana's conduct an example to all who are setting their faces Zion-ward. O beware of the reasoning of the fesh. Dread to look back. Tremble at the thought of going back; for the Lord hath no pleasure in such, Heb. x. 38.