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trine. It was only as they knew themselves, that they could appreciate or improve it. And the case is not much altered yet. No convert talks nothing but good sense at first. Every Christian has his childhood, during which he both thinks and says childish things, and gives way to childish hopes and fears.

He is no Philosopher, who can laugh at this weakness. It is indeed weak to suspect the worst; or to look chiefly at the dark side of appearances; or to conclude that all is wrong or useless, because nothing is fully right or ripe at once. It is even not a little wayward to raise a but in the midst of the Promises, and especially to set either the severity or the sovereignty of God " over all” his perfections, purposes, and placs ; seeing He has set his “ tender Mercies over all his works.” This sad reversing of the order of His “ well ordered Covenant,” by a disordered imagination, or by a doubtful mind, is a painful sight to a well informed man, and a puzzling, if not a repulsive sight, to a man who cares little about re. ligion. The former has no patience with such dark surmises, and the latter turns the suspicions and the fears of the timid into objections against religion itself. Both treat the case unfairly. It is a case of spiritual infancy, in general; and often aggravated in its weakness, by ill health or low spirits. It is not, however, a bad thing for any man to go through some process and degree of mental anxiety, at his outset in religion. He would not be a better nor a wiser man, without it. Besides it is inevitable. Personal religion is more than a new line of moral conduct. It is that; but it is also a new train of ideas, desires and motives. It is a new line of con. duct chosen for new reasons, and pursued for eternal results. The mind cannot, therefore, adjust itself at once, to so much that is new, noble, and solemn. It is thrown inevitably at first, into some confusion, as well as ferment, by the vastness and variety of eternal things. To wonder at this, is worse than foolish. Why; any great change of temporal circumstances, or even a transition from a small trade to a great one, will throw the mind into both ferment and confusion. But, who wonders at this? No one. All men would wonder at the man who could descend unmoved from the top to the bottom of the Ladder of life, and at the man who could ascend unmoved from the bottom to the top. Allowances are made for both, even if both are not a little at their wits' end; the former by too much fear, and the latter by too much hope. I

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CHAPTER VII.

BUN YAN’S CONFLICTS.

He is a very unfeeling man, even if not a parent, who can witness without emotion or sympathy the sufferings of an in. fant. These are many and varied, even in the case of a healthy child. Hardly any of its faculties or functions deve. lop themselves without pain, and none of them rapidly. The strongest babe is thus but a tender plant for a long time. Nothing, therefore, is more unseemly, than to find fault with the screams of a mere infant, or to remain unmoved by its tears and wailing. If, however, he who can do so be an unfeeling man, he who could wish Infancy free from all its suf. ferings, is anything but a wise man. Mothers have, indeed, much to endure, and fathers something, from the succession of complaints incident to childhood; but both would have to go through much more trouble, if their children acquired strength of body at once, or before they had mind enough to regulate the employment of bodily strength. In that case, their blow or their bite would be a more serious thing than their cries. And if they could talk and reason from the first, they would be more tiresome than even fretfulness makes them.

It would be ludicrous as well as useless to illustrate the sup. position of a mature child. Absurd as it is, however, it is hardly more absurd than the expectation, that a recent con. vert should be wise, settled, or happy, in religion, all at once. The Apostles thought otherwise : and treated their converts as but “ babes in Christ,” at first. Christ himself thought otherwise, and provided for the weakness of his lambs, as well as for the wants of his sheep. He did not teach even his Apostles every thing at once; but only as they could bear” from time to time. Accordingly, they thought and said many things, at first, which were both unwise and wayward ; rash and silly. Christ did not prevent this. He did not render it impossible, nor did he countenance it; but he permitted it. The fact is, the Apostles needed as much to know themselves

their own hearts, tendencies, and dispositions--as His doc.

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trine. It was only as they knew themselves, that they could appreciate or improve it. And the case is not much altered yet. No convert talks nothing but good sense at first. Every Christian has his childhood, during which he both thinks and says childish things, and gives way to childish hopes and fears.

He is no Philosopher, who can laugh at this weakness. It is indeed weak to suspect the worst; or to look chiefly at the dark side of appearances; or to conclude that all is wrong or useless, because nothing is fully right or ripe at once. It is even not a little wayward to raise a but in the midst of the Promises, and especially to set either the severity or the sovereignty of God - over all” his perfections, purposes, and placs ; seeing He has set his 6 tender Mercies over all his works." This sad reversing of the order of His 6 well ordered Covenant,” by a disordered imagination, or by a doubtful mind, is a painful sight to a well informed man, and a puzzling, if not a repulsive sight, to a man who cares little about re. ligion. The former has no patience with such dark surmises, and the latter turns the suspicions and the fears of the timid into objections against religion itself. Both treat the case unfairly. It is a case of spiritual infancy, in general; and often aggravated in its weakness, by ill health or low spirits. It is not, however, a bad thing for any man to go through some process and degree of mental anxiety, at his outset in religion. He would not be a better nor a wiser man, without it. Besides it is inevitable. Personal religion is more than a new line of moral conduct. It is that; but it is also a new train of ideas, desires and motives. It is a new line of con. duct chosen for new reasons, and pursued for eternal results. The mind cannot, therefore, adjust itself at once, to so much that is new, noble, and solemn. It is thrown inevitably at first, into some confusion, as well as ferment, by the vastness and variety of eternal things. To wonder at this, is worse than foolish. Why; any great change of temporal circum. stances, or even a transition from a small trade to a great one, will throw the mind into both ferment and confusion. But, who wonders at this? No one. All men would wonder at the man who could descend unmoved from the top to the bottom of the Ladder of life, and at the man who could ascend unmoved from the bottom to the top. Allowances are made for both, even if both are not a little at their wits' end; the former by too much fear, and the latter by too much hope. I

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have seen more men at their wits' end by worldly embarrass. ments, than I ever saw by spiritual; and few have been brought into wider contact than myself with the inmates of the cells and wards of Doubting Castle. Who has not seen men on 'Change at their desks, as much confused, and agitated, and panic-struck, by the vicissitudes of Trade, as Bunyan was by the vicissitudes of religious hope and fear? I do not plead nor apologize for all his hot or cold fits in religion ; but whilst both hot and cold fits are so common in Trade, I will not si. lently hear him called fool or fanatic. His mind just wrought at first amongst a crowd of new ideas and desires, as the minds of young and old Brokers and Merchants work amidst the stagnations or revolutions of the market. It will, therefore, be quite time enough for the world to fling gibes at the confusion and anguish of timid and tempted Christians, when our own Bankers and Brokers, Shipowners and Merchants, take panics and reports coolly. , In like manner, it ought not to be a very amazing thing in a world where Returned Bills and Bad Debts make men sleepless for a time, if unanswered prayers, or unsuccessful struggles to “ keep the heart right with God,” create some wearisome nights and days to recent converts.

Those who thus “live in glass houses should not be hasty in throwing stones” at others. Some of the stones thrown at melancholy and morbid Christians, rebound with tremendous force upon the victims of misfortune and treachery. Quite as many of them sink or rave under their calamities. Far more settle into melancholy, or rush to desperation, by worldly loss. es, than by religious mistakes or disappointments. Besides, if it be any objection against Religion, that some of its ill in. formed and raw recruits are very unhappy for a short time at their outset in the divine life, what should be said of Jrre. ligion and Infidelity? Even their veterans die as fools or as maniacs. Voltaire, Hume, and Paine, raved and trembled far more at the close of their life, than Bunyan did at the com. mencement of his piety. Now although “ two blacks do not make a white," one black may be blacker than another. Ac. cordingly, the blackest list of mental sufferings, and hopeless sorrows, is in the world, not in the Church. It is “the sor. row of the world, that worketh death,” madness, and melan. choly, upon a large scale.

I do not wish to aggravate my reprisals, nor to retort with all the severity which facts would warrant. I readily grant, that the victims of worldly sorrow take wrong views of the

world, both when they sink and when they rave under its ca. lamities. He has not the heart of a Christian, who refuses to concede this. In like manner, he has not the head of a Phi. losopher, who refuses or neglects to acknowledge, that all re. ligious despair, despondency, and extravagance, springs from wrong views of Religion itself.

Now, that mistakes should be made in Religion is, to say the least, not more surprising than that they are made in busi. ness, or in friendships, or in partnerships. Who wonders that either a very rash, or a very timid man, to whom busi. ness is a new thing, and the world unknown, should form un. wise connexions, or embark in plausible speculations, or be. come the dupe and victim of sharpers ? Nothing else is, or is to be, expected, when men ignorant of the world begin to act in it. Very few, however, are so ignorant of human nature, or of public business, when they begin active life, as the genera. lity are of the Gospel when they begin a godly life. Far fewer are brought up to the religion of the Bible, than to business. All the real knowledge of the generality, up to the time of their being drawn or driven to think seriously about eternal salva. tion, is, that they ought to be good, and to attend public wor. ship, and to say their prayers. There is but very little more than this in the creed of most: for their vague and vapid no. tions about the merits of Christ, amount neither to faith or knowledge. They are mere forms of sound words, and not often that. It is, therefore, not only not to be wondered at, but only what might be expected, that minds thus ill informed should be ill at ease, when they begin to discover in the Bible, that sin is an evil which only the Son of God could atone for ; that the heart is a stone which only the Spirit of God can soft. en ; that pardon and eternal life are blessings which good works can neither merit nor buy. This new world of ideas, is not likely to be a bright world of feelings at first, to a man who never studied the worth or the wants of his soul. His mere consciousness of having neglected his soul for years, forces upon him the questions—But will God, or the Saviour, or the Sanctifier, show mercy to a soul upon which I bestowed no care ? Will they pardon or pity one who has so long tri. fled with both their Mercy and Justice ? May they not treat me as I have treated them ? If not, why not?

Now very few can answer these questions at first. The Gospel, indeed, contains explicit and delightful answers to them all : but nothing is less known than the Gospel, by the

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