Gambar halaman

Gaios catertains the Pilgrims.

Gaius said, “ Let the boys have that, that they may grow thereby.” (1 Pet. ii. 1, 2.)

Then they brought up in course a dish of butter and honey. “Eat freely of this,” said Gaius, " for this is good to cheer up and strengthen your judgments and understandings. This was our Lord's dish when he was a child; "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."" (Isa. vii. 15.)

Then they brought up a dish of apples, and they were very good-tasted fruit. Then said Matthew, “ May we eat apples, since it was they by and with which the serpent beguiled our first mother ?” Then said Gaius :

Apples were they with which we were beguiled ;
Yet sin, not apples, hath our souls defiled :
Apples forbid, if eat corrupt the blood ;
To eat such, when commanded, does us good :
Drink of his flagons then, thou church, his dove,

And eat his apples, who art sick of love."
Then said Matthew, “I made the scruple, because
I a while since was sick with the eating of fruit.”

Gaius. Forbidden fruit will make yon sick, but not what our Lord has tolerated.

While they were thus talking, they were presented with another dish, and it was a dish of nuts, (Song vi. 11.). Then said some at the table, “Nuts spoil tender teeth, especially the teeth of the children :" which when Gaius heard he said ;

“ Hard texts are nuts, (I will not call them cheaters,)
Whose shells do keep their kernels from the eaters i
Open the shells, and you shall have the meat;
They here are brought for you to crack and eat.",

* A variety and an abundance of spiritual food are provided for the support and refreshment and entertainment of christians. Some of the doctrines of the gospel are compared to "strong meat," and are said to belong to them “ that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Such is the doctrine of the atonement, or reconziliation for .niquity made by the blood of Christ. Other subjects

Gaius entertains the Pilgrims.

· Then were they very merry, and sat at the table a long time, talking of inany things. “My good landlord,” said Mr. Honest, " while we are cracking your nuts, if you please, do you open this riddle:

“ A man there was, though some did count him mad,

The more he cast away, the more he had.” Then they all gave good heed, woudering what good Gaius would say; so he sat still a while, and then thus replied: - “He who bestows his goods upon the poor,

Shall have as much again, and ten times more." Then said Joseph, “I dare say, Sir, I did not think you could have found it out.”

“Oh?" said Gaius, “I have been trained up in this way a great while: nothing teaches like experience. I have learned of my Lord to be kind, and have found by experience, that I have gained thereby. There is tbat scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to po. verty. There is that maketh biinself rich, yet bath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches."a (Prov. xi. 24. xiii. 7.)

are so easy to be comprehended, that they are compared to “milk.' Such are the “ first principles of the oracles of God; viz. “ Repentance from dead works, and faith towards God," &c. The precepts of the gospel also, prohibiting some things and enjoining others, do good to them that walk uprightly, and have a tendency to inflame the heart with ardent love to Christ; for “ his commandments are not grievous." And even those things in the scriptures which are “ hard to be understood," afford both spiritual employment and edification to believers. “ Thy words," said the prophet, “ were found, and I did eat them : and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart," Jer. xv. 16. The “ statutes of the Lord," says the psalmist,“ are right, rejoicing the heart : tlie commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes : the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold ; sweeter also than honey and the honeycoinb," Psalm xix. 8-10.

* When christian intercourse is conducted with gravity and cheerfulness united, it is both pleasant and instructive. Never

Gaias entertains the Pilgrims.

Then Samuel whispered to Christiana, his mother, and said, “ Mother, this is a very good man's house; let us stay here a good while, and let my brother Mat. thew be married here to Mercy, before we go any far. ther.” The which Gaius, the host, over-hearing, said, “ With a very good will, my child."... So they staid here more than a month, and Mercy was given to Matthew to wife. While they stạid here, Mercy, as her custom was, made coats and garments to give to the poor, by which she brought a very good report upon pilgrims." · But to return to our story. After supper, the lads desired a bed, for they were weary with travelling. Then Gaius called to shew them their chamber ; but, said Mercy, “ I will have them to bed.”. So she had them to bed, and they slept well : but the rest sat up all night; for Gaius and they were such suitable company, that they could not tell how to part. After much talk of their Lord, themselves, and their journey, old Mr. Honest, he that put forth the ridule to Gaius,

should christians forget, that “whether they eat, or drink, or whatsoever they do, they should do all to the glory of God," I Cor. x. 31. Frivolous conversation is beneath the dignity of a company of christians. Their “speech" should “be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that it may minister grace to the hearers," Col. iv. 6. and Eph. iv. 29.; and that they may thus “ provoke one another unto love and to good works," Heb. x. 24. Well-instructed and aged christians should relate their experience of God's goodness, that younger persons in the company may lear and be instructed, and thus be encouraged to “ follow not that which is evil, but that wbich is good," 3 John 11. . b « Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled," Heb. xiji. 4.; nor will christian females find such a state any hindrance to their abounding in works of charity and mercy. By fulfilling the duties of the married life, they will cause the ways of God to be well spoken of. “I will therefore," says Paul, “ that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully," I Tim. v. 14. It becomes them “ to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemeri," Titus ii. 4, 5.

[ocr errors][merged small]

began to nod. Then said Great-heart, “ What, Sir, you begin to be drowsy; comé, rub up, here is a riddle for you.” Then said Mr. Honest, “Let us hear it." Mr. Great-heart replied:

“ He that will kill, must first be overcome:

Who live abroad would, first must die at home." “Ha!” said Mr. Honest, “it is a hard one; hard to expound, and harder to practise. · But come, landlord,” said be, “I will, if you please, leave my part to you; do you expound it, and I will hear what you say."

"No," replied Gaius, “it was put to you, and it is expected you should answer it.” Then the old gentle. man said:

“ He first by grace must conquer'd be,

That sin would mortify:
Who that he lives would convince me,

Uato himself must die." “It is right," said Gaius; “good Joctrine and ex. perience teach this. For first, until grace displays itself, and overcomes the soul with its glory, it is altogether without heart to oppose sin. Besides, if sin is Satan's cord, by which the 'soul lies bound, how should it make resistance, before it is loosed from that infirmity. Secondly, Nor will any that knows either reason or grace, believe that such a man can be a living monument of grace, that is a slave to his own corruption. And now it comes into my mind, I will tell you a story worth the hearing. There were two men that went on pilgriinage; the one began when he was young, the other when he was old. The young man bad strong corruptions to grapple with; the old man's were weak with the decays of nature. The

• It is proper that young persons should go early to bed : nor can any thing but a wish to enjoy christian fellowship, and to promote christian zeal and carefulness, justify older persons in site ting up for conversation all night. If christians converse of “their Lord, themselves, and their journey ;" and of future expected trials, and the means of overcoming them; there will be po want of lupics for edifying discourse.

Gaius entertains the Pilgrims.

young man trod his steps as even as did the old one, and was every way as light as he. Who now, or which of them, had their graces shining clearest, since both seemed to be alike?"

Hon. The young man's doubtless. For that which makes head against the greatest opposition, gives best demonstration that it is strongest ; especially when it also holdeth pace with that which meets not with half so much, as to be sure old age does not. Besides, I have observed that old men have blessed themselves with this mistake; namely, they have taken the decays of nature for a gracious conquest over corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves. Indeed, old men that are gracious are best able to give advice to them that are young, because they have seen most of the emptiness of things : but yet, for an old and a young man to set out both together, the young one has the advantage of the fairest discovery of a work of grace within him, though the old man's corruptions are naturally the weakest. Thus they sat. talking till break of day.

Now when the family were up, Christiana bid her son James read a chapter; so he read the 53d of Isaiah. When he had done, Mr. Honest asked, why it was said that the Saviour was to grow out of a dry ground; and also that he had no form or comeliness.

GREAT. Then said Mr. Great-heart;-To the first I answer, Because the church of the Jews, of which

d Both old and young christians will find corruptions strong, and temptations violent ; and young men will act wisely in seeking the advice of aged men respecting the difficulties of the way. It is an illustrious proof of the power of divine grace, when “ young men are sober-minded," Titus ii. 6. and “overcome the wicked one," I John ii. 13. And it is also an affecting consideration how many instances there are in scripture of aged men being overcome by their corruptions. Noah, Lot, David, and Solomon, had for many years “ kept themselves unspotted from the world;" and yet in old age they left off to watch and be sober. “In a race," Mr; Fuller used frequently to say, “it is the last step only which eaches the goal, and wins the price" b 15


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »