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I saw also, that the Interpreter took him again by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted. He saw also upon the top certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold.
Then said Christian, - May we go in thither?
Then the Interpreter took him and led him up towards the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but they durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and an ink-horn before him, to take the names of them that should enter therein ; he saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, “Set down my name, Sir?;" the which when he had done, he saw the
mitted to endeavour to extinguish his zeal in the cause of Christ; but though weak in himself he was strong in Christ, whose grace was sufficient for him ; so that instead of fainting, he took pleasure in his infirmities, and the strength of Christ was made perfect in weakness. The fire of grace thus burned “higher and hotter," in the midst of overwhelming afflictions, because of the abundant supply of the Spirit of Christ which was graciously communicated. Let believers then, when tempted by Satan to give up their hope on account of the difficulties of the way, persevere in the use of the appointed means of grace, depending upon the protection of the Lord Jesus, the “ merciful and faithful High Priest :" " for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted,” Heb. ii. 17, 18.
4 “Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb;
Or blush to speak his name?
man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, no“ at all discouraged, fell to cutting and backing most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, (Matt. xi. 12. Acts xiv. 22.) he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,
“Come in, come in ;
Eternal glory thou shalt win." . So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they. Then Christian smiled, and said, “ I think verily I know the meaning of this "."
- Must I be carried to the skies
On Howery beds of ease,
And sail'd through bloody seas ?
Must I not stem the flood ?
To help me on to God ?
Increase my courage, Lord !
Supported by thy word.
Shall conquer, though they die;
And seize it with their eye.
And all thy armies shine
WATTS. See also the 77th Hymn in the Second Book.
* This picture was particularly applicable to the trials of christians at the period when Mr. Bunyan wrote this works. it required
The Man in the iron Cage.
after thaand agale man 10
Now, said Christian, “ Let me go hence.” “Nay stav," said the Interpreter, “till I have shewed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go on thy way.” So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.
Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad; he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, “ What means this?" At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.
Then said Christian to the man,“ What art thou ?" The inan answered, “ I am what I was not once."
CHR. What wast thou once ?
Man. The man said, I was once a fair and flourishmg professor, (Luke viii. 13.) both in my own eyes, and also in the eyes of others : I once was, as I thought, fair for the celestial city, and had then joy even at the thoughts that I should get thither.
CHR. Well, but what art thou now?
much personal courage then to “ continue in the faith :" because it was “ through much tribulation," christians at that time, as well as in the apostolic age, “ entered into the kingdom of God," Acts xiv. 22. For a person deliberately to enter his name among the Nonconformists during the reign of Charles II. demanded intrepidity of no ordinary degree. It was no wonder if they felt amazed and affrighted at the prospect of such formidable enemies as the throne, the legislature, and the bench of bishops, clothed with authority, and armed with malignity against those followers of Jesus Christ. But there were found many noble spirits, (and Mr. Bunyan was himself of the number,) who, armed with “ the sword of the Spirit," and " for a helmet the hope of salvation," cut their way through them all; and though they received many wounds, yet the assurance that they should at last win eternal glory inspired them with holy courage, knowing that if they persevered, they would come off " more than conquerors through him that loved them." Under the same divine protection and influence, christians in every age are called upon to “ work out their own salvation with fear and trembling: for it is God which worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Phil. ii. 12, 19,
The Man in the iron Cage
up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out. O no, I cannot.
CHR. But how camest thou in this condition?
MAN. I left off to watch and be sober; I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the word, and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God te anger, and he has left me; I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
Then said Christian to the Interpreter, “ But is where no hope for such a man as this?” “ Ask him." said the Interpreter.
Chr. Then said Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair ?
Man. No, none at all.
MAN. I have crucified biun to myself afresh ; (Heb. vi. 6.) I have despised his person; (Luke xix. 14.) 1 have despised his righteousness; I have counted his blood an unboly thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of grace: (Heb. x. 28, 29.) therefore I have shut myself out of all the promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.
CHR. For what did you bring yourself into this condition
Man. For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight: but now every one of those things bites me, and gnaws me, like a burning worm.
CHR. But canst thou not now repent and turn?
Man. God hath denied me repentance. His word gives we no encouragement to believe; yea, hiipself hath shut me up in this iron cage: nor can all the men in the world let me out. O eternity | eternity!
The Man in the iron Cage.
how shall I grapple with the misery that I inust meet with in eternity?
. This description of a stony ground hearer, proving at length an apostate, and feeling the agonies of despair, arising from a recollection of his sins, and the fear of eternal wrath, is most awful and alarming. It was probably drawn from the life, and is a picture of some one of Mr. Bunyan's companions who had drawn back unto perdition. The features of the character exactly describe Mr. John Child, a Nonconformist minister, and a member of the church at Bedford, who after living for many months in the most awful despairing condition, at length put an end to his wretched life by hanging himself at his house in Brick Lane, London, Oct. 13, 1684. Had it not been for the date of this awful suicide, which was posterior to the writing of the first part of the Progress, I should have concluded that Mr Bunyan intended to describe the miseries of that wicked man, with whom he had been intimately acquainted. In proof, however, that the picture is not overdrawn, I shall insert here a short account of John CHILD, who has not improperly been called the English Spira. He was born at Bedford about the year 1638. He was endued with a competent measure of natural parts and vivacity of spirits. In his youth he applied himself to the reading and study of the scriptures, and attained to a greater knowledge in matters of religion than many of his equals in years and education. For about twenty years he belonged to the Baptists, and at times he exercised himself in preaching. He was of a very haughty spirit, and peremptory in asserting his opinions, and sought to exalt himself above what became either his profession or attainments.
Upon the persecutions which followed the restoration of Charles II. he changed his opinions, and became a neglecter of public worship, not only among the Nonconformists, but at the parish churches. Ile was for several years observed to be very remiss in religious exercises, and to frequent other company than he had done in former times. In the year 1682, he published a work, intitled, “The second Argument for a more full and firm Union among Protestants." In this he asserted that "the greatest number of Dissenters held principles dangerously heretical, and most abominable, abusing the most holy God," &c. &c. Soon after this he was seized with the most bitter remorse. It would be to long to quote all the dreadful expressions which he uttered. On one occasion he broke out thus: “I think I am now able to satisfy any atheist in the world that there is a God; for I find the nrows of the Almighty sticking in me, and he runneth apon me as a lion. I thought, that I could go and fall at the feet of those I have wronged and beg their forgiveness; and I