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The Dangers attending the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
heardSreat groaninard a groaning the vallev. extrice words of Jaing. They thing as of dyir.
ter through it, because they bad daylight, and because Mr. Great-heart was their conductor.
When they were entered upon the valley, they thought that they heard a groaning as of dyirig men ; a very great groaning. They thonglit also that they heard words of lamentation, spoken as by some in extreme torment. These things made che boys quake; the women also looked pale and wan; but their guide bid them be of good comfort.
So they went on a little farther, and they thought that they felt the ground begin to shake under them, as if some hollow place was there : they heard also a kind of hissing, as of serpents, but nothing as yet appeared. Then said the boys, “ Are we not yet at the end of this doleful place?” But the guide bid them be of good courage, and look well to their feet; “ lest haply,” said be," you be taken in some snare."
Now James began to be sick ; but I think the cause thereof was fear: so his mother gave him some of that glass of spirits which was given her at the Interpreter's house, and three of the pills that Mr. Skill had prepared, and the boy began to revive. Thus they went on till they came to about the middle of the valley; and then Christiana said, “Methinks I see something yonder upon the road before us, a thing of such a shape as I have not seen.” Then said Joseph, “Mother, what is it?" "An ugly thing, child ; an ugly thing," answered she. “But, mother, what is it like?” said he. “Tis like I cannot tell what,” said she ;—"and now it is but a little way off.” Then said she, “ It is nigh.”
“ Well," said Mr. Great-heart," let them that are most afraid, keep close to me.” So the fiend came on, and the conductor met it; but when it was just come to him, it vanished out of all their sights. Then remembered they what had been said some time ago, “ Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James iv. 7.)
They went therefore on, as being a little refreshed.
preter's bored, and the me to about Methinks! Se
The Dangers attending the Valley of the Shadow of Neath.
But they had not gone far, before Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something almost like a lion, and it came a great padding pace after ; and 't had a hollow voice of roaring; and at every roar that it gave, it made the valley echo, and all their hearts to ache, save the heart of him who was their guide. So it came up, and Mr. Great-heart went behind, and put the pilgrims all before him. The lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed himself to give him battle. (1 Pet. v. 8, 9.) But when he saw that it was determined that resistance should be made, he also drew back, and came no farther.
Then they went on again, and their conductor went before them, till they came to a place where was cast up a pit the whole breadth of the way; and before they could be prepared to go over that, a great mist and a darkness fell upon them, so that they could not see. Then said the pilgrims, 56 Alas! now what shall we do?” But their guide made answer, “ Fear not, stand still, and see what an end will be put to this also :" so they staid there, because their path was marred. They then also thought that they heard more apparently the noise and rushing of the enemies ; the fire also, and smoke of the pit, were much easier to be discerned. Then said Christiana to Mercy, “ Now I see what my poor husband went through. I have heard much of this place, but I never was here till now. Poor man, he went here all alone in the night; he had night almost quite through the way; also these fiends were busy about him, as if they would have torn him in pieces. Many have spoken of it; but none can tell what The Valley of the Shadow of Death means, until they come into it themselves. The heart knoweth its own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy. (Prov. xiv. 10.) To be here is a fearful thing."
GREAT. This is like doing business in great waters, or like going down into the deep. This is like being
The Dangers attending the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
in the heart of the sea, and like going down to the bottoms of the mountains. Now it seems as if the earth, with its bars, were about us for ever. But let them that walk in darkness and have no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God. (Isaiah 1. 10.) For my part, as I have told you already, I have gone often through this valley, and have been much harder put to it than I am now; and yet you see I am alive. I would not boast, for I am not my own Saviour; but I trust we shall have a good deliverance. Come, pray for light to him who can lighten our darkness, and can rebuke not only these, but all the Satans in hell.
So they cried and prayed, and God sent light and deliverance, for there was now no let in their way: no, not there, where but now they were stopped with a pit. Yet they were not got through the valley. So they went on still, and suffered much from stinks and loathsome smells, to the great annoyance of them. Then said Mercy to Christiana, “ It is not so pleasant being here, as at the gate, or at the Interpreter's, or at the bouse where we lay last.”
"O but,” said one of the boys, “it is not so bad to go through here, as it is to abide here always; and for aught I know, one reason why we must go this way to the house prepared for us, is, that our home may be made the sweeter to us."
"Well said, Samuel," quoth the guide; “ thou hast now spoken like a man.” “Why, if ever I get out here again,” said the boy, “ I think I shall prize light and good way better than ever I did in all my life.” Then said the guide, “We shall be out by and by.”
So on they went, and Joseph said, “Cannot we see to the end of this valley yet?” Then said the guide, “Look to your feet, for we shall presently be among snares :" so they looked to their feet, and went on; but they were troubled much with the snares. Now when they were come among the snares, they espied a man cast into the ditch on the left hand, h 14
They arrive at the End of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
with his flesh all rent and torn. Then said the guide, “That is one Heedless, who was going this way: be has lain there a great while. There was one Take heed with him, when he was taken and slain; but he escaped their hands. You cannot imagine how many are killed hereabouts, and yet men are so foolishly venturous, as to set out lightly on pilgrimage, and to come without a guide. Poor Christian! It was a wonder that he here escaped; but he was beloved of his God: also be had a good heart of his own, or else he could never have done it."
• The anticipation of death and judgment is to real christians always a subject of great solemnity. But some are enabled to contemplate it in the light of the gospel, which delivers them from that bondage through fear of death which other christians feel, who have, in addition to the fear of dying the tormenting fear of being hurt or destroyed by the second death. The history of Christian proves the truth of the latter part of this remark; and the account of Christiana and her companions, illustrates the for
When a believer is in the serious expectation of death, and apprehends that “the time of his departure is at hand,” the great enemy makes it an occasion for filling his mind with alarm and dread, with fanciful apprehensions, and with pain and distress; and if the darkness of unbelief overwhelm the mind, it will produce great bitterness of heart, even with those christians who are the best instructed. To remove these fears, let christians think of the exceeding great and precious promises, which are as a cordial to revive the drooping spirits; and especially of those promises which relate to the atoning efficacy of the blood of Jesus, the only sovereign remedy to remove a sense of guilt from the afflicted heart
To be preserved from distraction of mind, the devil must be resolutely resisted, whatever form he may assume, or in whatever way he may assault the mind. In such seasons of spiritual conflict with the powers of darkness, there is no other way of getting support than by trusting in the name of the Lord, and resting upon a covenant Jehovah. Let faith in God be accompanied with fervent prayers for deliverance, and with the most circumspect conduct. A heedless and careless spirit may be the cause of being surprised into the commission of sin, and thus of defiling and wounding the conscience, if it do not terminate in the loss of the soul. Real christians, conducted by the principles of the gospel, will through the love of God towards them be preserved froid perishing, and will ultimately find that these trying and afflictive cxercises of mind work together for good, being among those things which are to prepare them for future glory, and which will
Great-beart &ghts witb a Giaat.'
Now they drew towards the end of the way; and just where Christian had seen the cave when he went by, out thence came forth Maul, a giant. This Maul did use to spoil young pilgrims with sophistry; and he called Great-heart by his name, and said unto bim. “How many times have you been forbidden to do these things !” Then said Mr. Great-heart, “ What things ?" What things !” answered the giant ; “ you know what things: but I will put an end to your trade."
But pray," said Mr. Great-heart," before we fall to it, let us understand wherefore we must fight.” Now the women and children stood trembling, and knew not what to do. Said the giant, “ You rob the country and rob it with the worst of thieves.” “ These are but generals,” said Mr. Great-heart; “ come to particulars, man."
Then said the giant, “ Thou practisest the craft of a kidnapper; thou gatherest. up women and children, and carriest them into a strange country, to the weakening of my master's kingdom.” Mr. Great-heart replied, “I am a servant of the God of heaven; my business is to persuade sinners to repentance. I am commanded to do my endeavour to turn men, women, and children, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; and if this be indeed the ground of thy quarrel, let us fall to it as soon as thou wilt.”
Then the giant came up, and Mr. Great-heart went to meet him; and as he went, he drew his sword, but the giant had a club. So without more ado they fell to it, and at the first blow the giant struck Mr. Greatheart down upon one of his knees. With that the women and children cried. But Mr. Great-heart reco
teach them to prize the gospel, and to be thankful for a good hope through grace. But it is no wonder if mere professors, who are withcut the guidance of the gospel, and who do not walk with God, are either driven by the fears of death and bell to indulge in sin, that they may get rid of their distress; or by temptation into despair and ruin.