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Now as they were going along, and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father's sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a fresh and well-favoured countenance ; and as he sat by himself, he sung. “ Hark,” said Mr. Great-heart, “ to what the shepherd's boy saith.” So they hearkened, and he said,
“He that is down, needs fear nu fall;
He that is low, no pride:
Have God to be his guide.
Little be it or much ;
Because thou savest such.”
That go on pilgrimage ; *
Is best from age to age.” Then said the guide, “Do you hear bim :" I will dare to say, this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of the herb called heart's-ease in his bosom, than be that is clad in silk and velvet. But we will proceed in our discourse. .
"In this valley our Lord formerly had his countryhouse: he loved much to be here. He loved also to walk in these meadows, and he found the air was pleasant. Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise, and from the hurryings of this life: all other states are full of noise and confusion; only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be let and hindered in his contemplation, as in other places he is apt to be. This is a valley that nobody walks in, but they that love a pilgriin's life. And though Christian had the hard hap to incet with Apollyon, and to enter with him intc a brisk encounter, yet I must tell you, that in former times men have met with angels here, (Hos.
Great-heart describes tho Blessings of Humility.
xii. 4,5.) bave found pearls here, (Matt. xiii. 46.) and have in this place found the words of life. (Prov. viii. 35.)
"Did I say our Lord had here in former days his country-house, and that he loved here to walk ? I will add ;- in this place, and to the people that live on and trace these grounds, he has left a yearly revenue, to be faithfully paid them at certain seasons, for their inaintenance by the way, and for their farther encou. ragement to go on pilgrimage.” (2 Cor. i. 3—7:) .
Sam. Now as they went on, Samuel said to Mr. Greatheart, Sir, I perceive that in this valley my father and Apollyon had their battle; but whereabout was the fight ? for I perceive this valley is large.
GREAT. Your father bad the battle with Apollyon, at a place yonder before us, in a narrow passage, just beyond Forgetful Green. And indeed that place is the most dangerous place in all these parts. For if at any time pilgrims meet with any brunt, it is when they forget what favours they have received, and how unworthy they are of them. This is the place also where others have been hard put to it. But more of this place when we are come to it; for I persuade myself, that to this day there reinains either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a battle was there fought.
Mer. Then said Mercy, I think I am as well in this valley as I have been any where else in all our journey: the place, methinks, suits with my spirit. I love to be in such places, where there is no rattling with coaches, nor rumbling with wheels. Methinks, here one may, without much molestation, be thinking what he is, whence he came, what he has done, and to what the King has called him. Here one may think, and break at heart, and melt in one's spirit, until one's eyes become as the fishpools in Heshbon. (Song vii. 4.) They that go rightly through this valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain tbat God sends down from heaven upon them that are here,
sught: I am aso" allo
The Blessings of Hassility.
also filleth the pools. (Psalm lxxxiv. 5–7.) This valley is that from whence also the King will give to them vineyards, (Hos. ii. 15.) and they that go through it shall sing, as Christian did notwithstanding he met with Apollyon.
GREAT. It is true, said their guide; I have gone through this valley many a time, and never was better that when here. I have also been a conductor to several pilgrims, and they have confessed the same. “ To this man, will I look," saith the King, “even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isa. Ixvi. 2.)
bor The humble man (says Mr. Watson, who was ejected Aug. 24, 1662, from St. Stephen's, Walbrook) is the contented man. If his estate be low, his heart is lower than his estate ; therefore be is contented. If his esteem in the world be low, he that is little in his own eyes will not be much troubled at being little in the eyes of others : he hath a meaner opinion of himself than others can have of him. The humble man contemplates his own unworthiness. Looking upon himself as less than the least of all God's mercies, (Gen. xxxii. 10.) a little contents him. He cries out with Paul, that he is the chief of sinners, (1 Tim. i. 15.) therefore he doth not murmur, but admire. He doth not say that his comforts are small; but that his sins are great. He thinks it a mercy that he is out of hell ; and therefore he is contented. He doth not attempt to carve out a more happy condition for himself: he knows that the worst piece that God cuts him is better than he deserves. A proud man is never contented. He is one that hath a high opinion of himself: therefore under small blessings, he is disdainful , under snjall crosses, impatient. The humble spirit is the contented spirit. If his cross be light, he reckons it in the inventory of his mercies; if it be heavy, yet he takes it upon his knees, knowing that when his estate is bad, it is to make him the better. Where humility is laid for the foundation, contentment will be the superstructure." - Art of Divine Contentment. “The down that lines the restless rich man's bed, Content and peace are found in mean estate, Was gather'd from the quiet poor man's shed. | And Jacob's dreams on Jacob's pillow wait."
When Christians are brought into humiliating circumstances, their situation will be either pleasant and profitable, or painful and dangerous, according to the state of their minds. If they have humble minds, they will find the “Valley of Humiliation a fruitful place." But if they are only humbled and mortified, and not of a “ contrite ard huinble spirit,” (Isa. lvii. 15.) if they “forget what lavours they have received, and how unworthy they are of them ;" - they will find thenıselves " hard put to it" to feel at all happy
Tbey arrive at the Piace where Christian fought with Apollyon.
Now they were come to the place where the afortmentioned battle was fought. Then said the guide to Christiana, her children, and Mercy, “This is the place; on this ground Christian stood, and up there came Apollyon against him. And look, did not I tell you ? here is some of your husband's blood upon these stones to this day. Behold, also, how here and there are yet to be seen upon the place some of the
and comfortable in the midst of poverty or contempt. “Those circumstances," says Matthew Henry, “that will not disturb a huinble man's sleep, will break a proud man's heart." There is no danger in such a humiliating condition, unless it has been occasioned by previous misconduct. The devil cannot make use of poverty to wound the christian ; but if he can lead him into sin by a sudden transition from affluence to dependence, he will then grievously assault and torinent bim. They that “get slips in going down the hill, must look for combats when they are in the valley." If a tradesman, for instance, when he finds his affairs embarrassed, makes use of any deceptious arts to keep his remaining property from his creditors, or tells any falsehoods to cover nefarious transactions, that they may be concealed from their knowledge; he will afterwards find, if he be a real christian, that there will be bitterness in the latter end; and a tempting will then become a taunting and a tormenting devil.-To show how happy religion will make humble persons, we have the song of the shepherd's boy, who perhaps represents some pastor of a church, whose fare was coarse, whose clothing was mean, and whose situation was obscure, and yet whose heart was full of joy, because filled with humility, contentment, and gratitude. He is a wise christian minister who, being perfectly contented with the station in which God has placed him, derives bis highest felicity from the honour of feeding his Father's sheep; and who knows that he is saved from great snares, and great responsibility, by being placed in a situation of comparative obscurity. The sentiment is noble
" Here little, and hercaftor bliss,
Is best from age to age." When Christians are brought into trying circumstances, let then meditate upon the humiliation of the Lord Jesus. “Consider Hir. that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds," Heb. xii. 3. There is no place so safe, or so pleasant, to upright and humble christians, as the Valley of Humiliation ; for “godliness with contentment is great gain." With these in exercise, life will be happy, and the heart at ease, even in a cottage ; but without the fear of God, and dependence upon his blessing, a palace will be insufficient to impart delight.
Ibey enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
shivers of Apollyon's broken darts. See also how they did beat the ground with their feet as they fought, to inake good their places against each other; how also with their by-blows they did split the very stones io pieces. Verily Christian did bere play the man, and showed himself as stout as Hercules could, had he been there, even he bimself. When Apollyon was beat, he made his retreat to the next valley, that is called The Valley of the Shadow of Death, unto which we shall come anon. Lo, yonder also stands a monuinent on which are engraven this battle, and Christian's victory, to his fame throughout all ages.” So because it stood just on the way-side before them, they stepped to it, and read the writing, which word for word was this.
Hard by here was a battle fought,
Most strange, and yet most true ;
Each other to subdue.
He made the fiend to fly ;
The same to testify.c When they has passed by this place, they caine upon the borders of the Shadow of Death. This valley was longer than the other; a place also must strangely haunted by evil things, as many are able to testify's but these women and children went the bet
c Christian's battle with Apollyon, as related in Part I. inust, as there observed, be considered as an account of Mr. Bunyan's own experience, and of the terrible conflict which he endured from the suggestions and temptations of the devil. The “ monument" here inentioned probably denotes the history which he had previously given of those temptations, in his work entitled Grace Abounding, and which he bere ag:in asserts, though “most strange, was yet most true." It certainly affords proof that a man, supported by the influence of the Holy Spirit, may through faith in the promise and atonement of Christ overcome the devil, though a malicious fiend and destroyer ; and should encourage other tried christians to “ be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might;" and thus to “ withstand in TOB EVIL DAY, and having done all, to stand," Eph. vi. 10), 13.