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Pliable consents to go with Christian.
along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, whither I go, is enough and to spare. (Luke xv. 17.) Come away, and prove my words."
Obst. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them ?
Chr. I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; (1 Pet. i. 4.) and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, (Heb. xi. 16.) to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book. ;
Obst. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your book ; will you go back with us or not?
Chr. No, not I, said the other, because I have put my hand to the plough. (Luke ix. 62.)
Obst. Come then, neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him: there is a com. pany of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
Pli. Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if wha good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbour.
OBST. What, more fools still? Be ruled by me and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise. ..
CHR. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour, Pliable P; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides. If you believe not me, read here in this book; and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of him that made it. (Heb. ix. 17-21.)
Pli. Well, neighbour Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him : but,
P Christian and Obstinate pull for Pliable's soul.
my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?
CHR. I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.
Pli. Come then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.
Obst. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate : I will be no companion of such misled fantastical fellows".
Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain : and thus they began their discourse.
Chr. Corne, neighbour Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me. Had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.
Pli. Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but we two here, tell me now farther, what the
y 1. When a man who is known to have been very immoral becomes religious, and manifests concern about his soul, it will attract not only the attention, but the mockery and abuse of his ignorant and wicked neighbours, who will even adopt means for bringing him back again to his former follies and vices.
2. The conversation between Christian, Obstinate, and Pliable, is very spirited; and the different characters are supported with exact propriety. Christian is determined not to return; and faith fully warns his old neighbours of the certain destruction which awaited them, unless they repented of their sins, and became christians. He urges them to forsake their way and return to the Lord, by the assurance that God would abundantly pardon their sins, and that in a future state they should enjoy everlasting life,
3. To shew his faith in the declarations of Scripture, Christian begs them to read them in his book. Obstinate treats all with profane contempt, and reviles Christian and his book with infidel malice in return for his kindness. Pliable inclines to hear more, becomes a companion with Christian, and advises Obstinate to accompany them; but Obstinate, after reproaching Pliable, goes railing back to his former pursuits. So true is that proverb, “He that rebuketh a 1 wicked man getteth himself a blot,“ Prov. ix. 7.
Christian entertains Pliable with beavenly Discourse.
things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are oing.
CAR. I can better conceive of them withi my mind, than speak' of them with my tongue: but yet since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.
Pli. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true?
CHR. Yes, verily; for it was made by him that cannot lie. (Tit. i. 2.)
Plr. Well said ; what things are they?
CHR. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inbabit that kingdom for ever. (Isa. xlv. 17. John X. 27, 28, 29.)
Pli. Well said ; and what else?
Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us ; and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven. (2 Tim. iv. 8. Rev. xxii. 5. Matt. xiii. 43.)
Pli. This is very pleasant; and what else? • Chr. There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow; for he that is owner of the place will wipe away all tears from our eyes. (Isa. xxv. 8. Rev. vii. 16, 17. xxi. 4.)
Pli. And what company shall we have there?
Chr. There we shall be with seraphims and cherudims, (Isa. vi. 2. 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. Rev. v. 11.) creacures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousauds that have gone before us to that place; none of whom are burtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God, and standing in bis presence with acceptance for ever. In a word, there
Cbristian catertains Pliable with heavenly Discourse.
we shall see the elders with their golden crowns ;
Rev. iv. 4.) there we shall see the holy virgins with „heir golden harps ; (Rev. xiv. 1–5.) there we shall see men, that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, and drowned in the seas, for the love that they bare to the Lord of the place; (John xii. 25.) all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment. (2 Cor. v. 2–4.)
Pli. The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's neart. But are these things to be enjoyed ? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?
Chr. The Lord, the governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book, (Isa. lv. ), 2. John vi. 37. vii. 37. Rev. xxi. 6. xxii. 17.) the substance of which is, If we be truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely.
Pli. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things : come on, let us mend our pace.
Chr. I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of - this burden that is on my back'.
• 1. Pliable represents that large class of religious persons which our Lord has described as stony-ground hearers : “The same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it,” Matt. xiii. 20. Knowing nothing of the powers and terrors of unseen things, they conclude without evidence that all the privileges of the gospel belong to them; hence they soon grow confident, zealous, and censorious. The future things promised to them that love God, are inconceivably and unspeakably glorious. The reading of these in the Scriptures may ravieh even a carnal heart, and fill a besotted mind with pleasure. 2. Speculatists in religion may appear anxious to enjoy its highest blessings, and to inquire how they shall get to share in them. To the question, " What good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" the uniform language and tenor of the Scriptures is, tliat God will bestow it freely upon those who are willing freely to receive it. 3. It is not unusual for professors who have never felt the pollution and guilt of sin as a heavy load, to be more forward than even genuine christians. 4. The burden on the back of Christian was a proof that the Spirit had convinced him