Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Christian discloses

the book, and read therein ; and as he read, he wept and trembled ; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, “ What shall I do?" Acts ï. 37. xvi. 30. Heb. q. 2, 3.

In this plight therefore he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Where fore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus be began to talk to them. “O my dear wife," said he, “and you the children of my bowels, I your dear friend am in myself undone by l'eason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; more. over, I am certainly informed that this our cityd will be burned with fire from heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, and thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape may be

¿ This description of a sinner just awakened to a sense of his guilt and danger, is natural and scriptural. The picture is painted from an infallible copy, and exhibits the features of a converted man so correctly that it is impossible to mistake them. The author refers to his abominable wickedness while unconverted, and relates his own experience, as having been brought to a knowledge of his sin and misery simply by reading the Scriptures, without the preaching of the gospel, as may be seen by consulting his Grace abounding. Mr. Bunyan's marginal references will direct the reader to those parts of the sacred word on which he founded this representation.

I add here, that this view of the means of conversion, at a time when such unprecedented exertions are making for circulating the scriptures in all languages without any human commentary, affords a pleasing ground for expectation, that many persons who read the Bible seriously, will, through the blessing of the Spirit of grace, be made wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, although they may not have living instructors. There have been some remarkable proofs of this observation already, several persons both in heathen and christian countries having been converted by reading the Bible, who had never heard a minister explain the word of the truth of the gospel.

d This world.

his State to his Family.

found, whereby we may be delivered.” At this his relations were sore amazed ; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep, uyight settle his brains, with all baste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and lears. So when the morning was come, they would know how, he did. He told them,"Worse and worse :" he also set to talking to them again ; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriage to him : sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself from his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would also walk solitary in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.'

e Carnal physic for a sick soul.

This is a domestic scene. We see the awakened sinner at home in the bosom of his family; in a house where the fear of God had not been known, and where the worship of God had not been practised. Godly sorrow, which worketh repentance unto salvation, is silent in its operation, and unobtrusive in its influence. Christian refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress. The genuine christian will go silent through the street, while the hypocrite's trumpet is heard at every corner. The anxious solicitude which the new convert feels for the salvation of others, is well expressed in the address of Christian to his wife and children. He announces most seriously the danger of destruction to which "the world" lying in wickedness is exposed; and his firm conviction, that unless some way of escape be discovered, with which he is at present unacquainted, himself and his family must miserably perish. They who are altogether unacquainted with the scriptures, and the distress of soul which accompanies conviction of sin, attribute such affectionate warnings to a deranged intellect, which they conclude a little sound sleep will remove; but when they find that instead of beChristian metis Evangeliat.

Now I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was (as he was wont) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “What shall I do to be saved ;” (Acts xvi. 30, 31.)

I saw also that he looked this way, and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because (as I perceived) he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, who asked, “ Wherefore dost thou cry?"

He answered, “Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment; (Heb. ix. 27.) and I find that I am not willing to do the first, (Job xvi. 21, 22.) nor able to do the second.” (Ezek, xxii. 14.)

coming less insane, religious people get " worse and worse,"
they generally lose all patience, their pity is changed to anger, and
they are resolved by harsh and churlish conduct, by banter or by
neglect, to make them weary of being religious. Mr. Bunyan, in
a note, says, “Carnal physic for a sick soul." Even this, however,
painful as it is, has a good effect upon a truly convinced sinner, as
it drives him into solitude, where he finds enough employment in
praying for and pitying his ungodly and unkind relations; in con-
sidering his own misery; in reading the Scriptures; and in implor-
ing mercy. The following extract from Grace abounding will
elucidate the above description. “Remember, I say, the word that
first laid hold upon you; remember your terrors of conscience, and
fear of death and hell; remember also your tears and prayers to
God; yea, how you sighed under every hedge for mercy. Have
you never a hill Mizar to remember? Have you forgot the close.
the milkhouse, the stable, the barn, and the like, where God did
visit your souls ? Remember also the word, -the word, I say, upon
which the Lord hath caused you to hope. If you have sinned
against light, if you are tempted to blaspheme, if you are drowned
in despair, if you think God fights against you, or if heaven is hid
from your eyes, remember it was thus with your father ; but out of
them all the Lord delivered me."

& Christian no sooner leaves the world, but meets
Evangelist, who lovingly him greets
With tidings of another; and doch shou
Him how to mount to that from this beiow.

Evangelist directs Christian.

Then said Evangelist, “ Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils ?" The man answered, “ Because I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet, (Isa. xxx. 33.) And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I ain not fit to go to judgment, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.”

Then said Evangelist, “ If this he thy condition, why standest thou still ?" He answered, “ Because I know not whither to go?” Then he gave him a parchment Roll", and there was written within, “ Flee froin the wrath to come.” (Matt. iii. 7.)

h Conviction of the necessity of fleeing.

il. The truly awakened sinner will not neglect reading and consulting the Bible; while the heavy burden of sin upon his conscience will lead him almost in voluntarily to exclaim, “What shall I do to be saved ?" And they who thus seek for salvation, wishing to enjoy the pardon of sin, but ignorant of the way to obtain it, will find that God hears the groaning of the prisoner, and that he does not despise the prayer of the destitute. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart," Jerem. xxix. 13.

2. Evangelist, that is, a gospel minister, or some other instrument in the hand of providence to preach to the sinner the glorious gospel of the blessed God, appeals to the heart of persons who have received, by a sight of the law of God, the knowledge of sin, and makes use of the tormenting fears of death and judgment, and of eternal misery, to convince them of the necessity of immediately escaping for their lives, and fleeing from the wrath to come. Thus unto Saul of Tarsus, trembling and astonished, and crying out, “ What shall I do?" it was said, “ Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do ;" after which Ananias was sent to him to instruct him.

3. But whatever instructions are given to the awakened sinner, Christ, (the strait gate,) and the way to him, cannot be found without the word, here called the “shining light,” in allusion to the declaration of the Psalmist, “ Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path ;” and to that of the Apostle Peter, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts," 2 Pet. i. 19. By keeping this light in his eye, and praying for mercy, the sincere

Evangelist directs Christian.

The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, “Whither must I flee?" Then said Evangelist, (pointing with his finger over a very wide field,) “Do you see yonder wicket-gatek za

inquirer shall find Christ, “ the way, the truth, and the life," and thus have life through his name: for “this" (says the Saviour) “ js life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," John xvii. 3. We are assured that “then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord,' Hos. vi. 3.

4. The very little knowledge which the awakened sinner has who is heavy laden with sin, is here intimated by Christian's not being able to see the “ wicket-gate,” though he thought he could discover the light which shone in the gospel. But He, who by his Spirit excites desires in the soul for salvation, “will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, till he send forth judgment unto victory."

“ He'll never quench the smoking flax,
But raise it to a flame :
The bruised reed he never breaks,
Nor scorns the meanest name."

Watts. k This wicket-gate was no new thought; nor was it any invention of his own; it had been presented to him in a kind of vision many years before. “ About this time," says he, “the state and happiness of these poor people at Bedford was thus, in a kind of vision presented to me. I saw as if they were on the sunny side of some high mountain, there refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I was shivering and shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark clouds. Methought also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall that did compass about this mountain. Now through this wall my soul did greatly desire to pass ; concluding, that if I could. I would even go into the very midst of them, and there also comfort myself with the heat of their sun. About this wall I bethought myself to go again and again, still praying as I went to see if I could find some way or passage by which I might enter therein ; but none could I find for some time. At last I saw as it were, a narrow gap like a little door-way, in the wall, through which I attempted to pass. Now the passage being very strait and narrow, I made many efforts to get in, but all in vain, even until I was well-nigh quite beat out by striving to get in. At last, with great striving, methought I at first did get in my head, and after that, by a sideling striving, my shoulders and my whole body. Then I was exceedingly glad, weat and sat down in the midst of them, and 80 was comforted with the light and heat of their sun.-Now this mountain and wall, &c. were thus made out to me. The mountain

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »