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And listening still, she thought she heard another answer it, saying,
For why ? The Lord our God is good ;
His mercy is for ever sure;
And shall from age to age endure.
So Christiana asked Prudence who it was that made those curious notes. They are, said she, our country birds : they sing these notes but seldom, except it be at the spring when the flowers appear, and the sun shines warm, and then you may hear them all day long. I often, said she, go out to hear them; we also ofttimes keep them tame in our house. They are very fine company for us when we are melancholy; also they make the woods, and groves, and solitary places, places desirous to be in."
By this time Piety was come again ; so she said to Christiana, Look here, I have brought thee a scheme of all those things that thou hast seen at our house, upon which thou mayest look when thou findest thyself forgetful, and call those things again to remembrance, for thy edification and comfort.
Now they began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation. It was a steep hill, and the way was slippery; but they were very careful; so they got down
a Song ii. 11, 12.
* You see, these joyful notes spring from a sense of nearness to the Lord, and a firm confidepce in his divine truth and everlasting mercy. Oh, when the Sun of righteousness shines warmly on the soul, and gives it clearly to see these, it makes pilgrims sing most sweetly, and shout most joyfully indeed! These songs approach very nearly to the heavenly music in the realms of glory.
pretty well. When they were down in the valley,* Piety said to Christiana, This is the place where Christian your husband met with the foul fiend Apollyon, and where they had that dreadful fight that they had: I know you cannot but have heard thereof. But be of good courage; as long as you have here Mr. Great-heart to be your guide and conductor, we hope you will fare the better. So when these two had committed the pilgrims unto the conduct of their guide, he went forward, and they went after.
Then said Mr. Great-heart, We need not be so afraid MR. CREAT-HEART of this valley, for here is nothing to hurt
us, unless we procure it to ourselves. It is true, Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom he also had a sore combat; but that fray was the fruit of those slips that he got in his going down the hill : for they that get slips there, must look for combats here. And hence it is that this valley has got so hard a name. For the common people, when they hear that some frightful thing has befallen such a one, in such a place, are of opinion that that place is haunted with some foul fiend, or evil spirit ; when, alas! it is for
AT THE VALLEY OP
* After being thus highly favoured with divine consolations, in the views of faith, the comforts of hope, and the joys of love, see the next step these pilgrims are to take ; it is down the hill Difficulty, into the Valley of Humility. What doth this place signify? A deep and abiding sight and sense of ourselves, of our ruined state, lost condition, and desperate circumstances, as fallen sinners. This is absolutely necessary, lest we should be exalted above measure, and think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. For, the Lord can oft favour us with manifestations of his love, and the comforts of his Spirit; but through the corruption of our nature, we are prone to be lifted up and exalted in ourselves, and as it were to be intoxicated by them Hence we are exhorted to think soberly, Rom. xii. 3. This the valley of humility causes us to do.
WHY CHRISTIAN WAS SO BESET IN THE VALLEY OF HUMILIATION.
the fruit of their own doing that such things do befall them there.*
This Valley of Humiliation is of itself as fruitful a place as any the crow flies over : and I am persuaded, if we could hit upon it, we might find somewhere hereabouts something that might give us an account why Christian was so hardly beset in this place.
Then said James to his mother, Lo, yonder stands a pillar, and it looks as if something was written thereon; let us go and see what it is. So they went and found there written, “ Let Christian's slips, before he came hither, and the battles that he met with in this place, be a warning to those that come after.”
Lo, said their guide, did not I tell you that there was something hereabouts that would give intimation of the reason why Christian was so hard beset in this place ? Then, turning himself to Christiana, he said, No dis
A PILLAR WITH AN INSCRIPTION ON IT.
What a great blessing is it to have great-heart in the valley of humility! How sad is it for pilgriins to procure evils to themselves by their sin and folly! How joyful is it to know, that “ like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him!” Psa. ciii. 13. Yet, if we slip, we shall be sure to smart. If we do not hold fast
ith, hope, love, and obedience, Satan will attack, distress us in some sort, and prevail against us, and then we shall bring up an evil report of the safe and fruitful Valley of Humiliation. Are you in this valley! Do you see and feel nothing in yourself but what tends to lay you low, and keep you low? Beware of murmuring and complaining, though you continue long in it; yea, all your life through, for your Jesus is proving you and trying you, that he may show you what is in you, that you may see that you are wholly and solely indebted to his arm that brought salvation to you, and wrought every deliverance for you, that you may
glory in him and of him, and give all glory to him, for his lovingkindness and tender mercy to such a miserable sinner as you are, and to such an unprofitable servant as you ever will be.
THIS VALLEY A
paragement to Christian, more than to any others whose hap and lot it was. For it is easier going up than down this hill, and that can be said but of few hills in all these parts of the world. But we will leave the good man, he is at rest, he also had a brave victory over his enemy: let Him grant that dwelleth above, that we fare not worse, when we come to be tried, than he. But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation.
It is the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all these parts.
It is fat ground; and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man was to come here in the summer time, as we do now, if he knew not any thing before thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that which would be delightful to him. Behold how green this valley is; also how beautiful with lilies. I have known many labouring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humiliation;
(for “God resisteth the proud, but giveth
grace to the humble;”) for indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls. Some also have wished that the next way to their Father's house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either bills or mountains to go over : but the way is the way, and there is an end.*
Now as they were going along, and talking, they spied a boy feeding his father's sheep. The boy was in
MEX THRIVE IN
Though this Valley of Humiliation, or a clear sight and abiding sense of the sinfulness of our nature, and the wickedness of our hearts, may be very terrifying to pilgrims, after they have been favoured with peace and joy, and comforted by the views of faith and hope ; yet it is a very safe place; and though at first entering into it, and seeing more of themselves than was ever before showed them, they may fear and tremble ; yet, after some time continuing here, they are more recon