Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Torder-Conscience leaves the House Beautiful.

When Tender-Conscience had made an end of these words, he began to take his journey; and giving them all his thanks, for the kind entertainment he had met with in this place, and especially for their edifying discourse, he rose up to take his leave. Then they rose up with him, and accompanied him to the armory, which stood by the gate, and there they armed him all over with armour and weapons of proof, as was the custom to do to all pilgrims, because the rest of his journey was like to be more dangerous, the ways being infested with thieves and robbers, with sons of Belial, and murderers, also with fiends and devils; also they gave him his pass, which he had delivered to them at his first coming thither: now they had all set their hands to it, to confirm and strengthen it the more, bidding him to be sure to have a great care of it. So they conducted him to the gate, and wishing him a prosperous journey, he parted from them with tears in his eyes.

Now I saw in my dream, that Tender-Conscience went forward a good pace till he came to the brow of the hill, where the way lay down into the valley of Humiliation; but because it was steep and dangerous going down, he was forced to slacken his pace, and lean hard upon his strong crutch ; yet he was apt to slip, and could hardly stop himself from running, or rather tumbling down the hill; but at length, with much ado, he got safe to the bottom, and came to the valley of Humiliation.

Now all this valley was a kind of marshy boggy ground, and was at this time all overflowed with water, so that there was but one way to pass through it with safety, and that was over certain planks fastened to stumps and posts, and joined one to another; for it was but one plank's breadth all the whole way, and that a very narrow one: this set of planks was called the bridge of Self-Denial, and it reached quite over the valley of Humiliation. Now the waters were very high, and touched the planks; nay, in some places they covered them, so that a man could hardly discern his way.

The sight of this dangerous bridge did not a little discourage Tender-Conscience, but considering that it drew towards night, he was resolved to venture over; so on he went courageously,

slow

pace because of the exceeding narrowness of the plauks, which also now and then would seem to yield and bend under him, which often put him in a fright lest they should break, and he be drowned in the waters : and the more to increase his trouble, when he was got about half way over, the air was hung all full of nets, traps, and gins, which were placed so low, that a man could not walk upright but he must

but at a very

and enters the Valley of the Shadow of Death,

be caught in some of them: these were planted here by the prince of the power of the air, to catch such pilgrims in as were high-minded, and walked with stretched-out necks; there. fore, when Tender-Conscience perceived the danger that was spread before him, he stooped down, and crept along upon his hands and his knees, and so escaped the nets and the gins; and he had this advantage moreover, that he could go faster in this manner, and more securely, without danger of tottering over on either side of the planks into the water, as he was often like to do when he walked upright. In this manner crawled he along till he was almost got over, wben he saw several boats making towards him on either side of the bridge, and in the boats there were men that rowed them, who halloed and called after Tender-Conscience; but he regarded them not, for he was afraid lest they were some of the robbers or murderers which infest that country, and therefore lie kept on his pace; but they rowed hard after him, and shot several arrows at him, some of which missed him, others he received with the shield of faith (Eph. vi. 16.) that was given out of the King's armory: now the names of those men that rowed in the boats, and shot at Tender-Conscience so fiercely, were Worldly-Honour, Arrogancy, Pride, Self-Conceit, Vain-Glory, and Shame; which last happened to let fly one arrow that wounded Tender Conscience slightly in the cheek, fetching up all the blood in his face, but did him no greater harm. So at length he got to the end of the bridge, and then he was past the danger of the nets and gins, so that he could now walk upright, and that upon dry ground; and he went on singing,

« Through many toils and dangers I have run,
Much pain and hardsbip I have undergone
Yet still my God hath mingled sweet with sour,
Oft-times be smiled when he did seem to lower :
O'er hills aud dales he led me by his hand,
Through bogs and fens, hy water and by land.
He feeds and clothes, and arms his pilgrims still,
Protecting tbem from dauger, death, and ill.
Thougb Satan spreads his vets, and lays his gins,
To trap the soul in labyrinths of sius,
Yet, by God's grace, I have escaped his wiles :
The burnble pilgrim Satan ne'er beguiles;
Humility the soul's sure refuge is,

The lowest step that leads to highest bliss." Then I saw in my dream that Tender-Conscience entered the valley of the Shadow of Death, and night overtook him, 80 that his feet stumbled in the dark, and he was ready to fall into the ditch or the quag, which were on each side of the nar.

Tender-Conscience arrives at the Pillar History.

row way; but being in the midst of summer, the sun arose within a few hours, and so he enjoyed the daylight, which was exceeding comfortable to him, though he met with dreadful and frightful objects; for the valley is of itself very dark, and there hang perpetually over it such black and thick clouds of confusion, tat what for them, and what for Death, who spreads his wings o. er this valley, the sun gives a very faint and dim light here; yet that which shined at this time served to light Tender-Conscience along the dreadful hollow way, where he heard as he went along a continual howling and yelling ; but at length he got clear of all, and came to the end of the valley, even to a place where Christian saw blood, bones, ashes, and mangled bodies of men, lying on the ground; but now they were buried, and a pillar erected in the place, as a standing memorial of the cruelties that were acted by the two giants that lived in the cave hard by this place: there was an inscription on the pillar also, giving an account of the righteous blood that had been shed in the world on the score of religion, from Abel's to that day : there was also a summary of all the sanguine laws that had been enacted on that account by cruel tyrants, as by Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Antiochus, Nero, &c. There was a relation of a woman and her seven sons, that were barbarously tormented with exquisite torture, and afterwards put to death by command of the tyrant. Many more curious memorials were there engraved on this pillar, which Tender Conscience took great delight to read. Now the name of this pillar is History; and hard by it, even over against the cave of the two giants, Pagan and Pope, there is another cave, wherein Tender-Conscience saw a middle-aged man sitting, of a mild, grave, and venerable countenance, and his name was Reforma tion. Nurv it was this man's charge to look after this pillar, and to see that no injury be done to it by the thieves and rob bers that infest that road, nor by any of giant Pope's party; for he maintained a great army under ground, his cave being of vast extent, and his party used sometimes to issue out, and com. mit great spoils and ravages in the neighbouring countries; but now Reformation kept as strong a party as he, and had as much room in his cave to lodge them in, and sometimes they would fall out and skirmish, sometimes come to pitched battles, and then the ground would be afresh strewed with dead bodies, and stained with blood, till they were buried out of the way. All this Tender-Conscience learned from one that came out of the cave of Reformation, and fell into discourse with him as they stood talking by the pillar.

Tender-Conscience meets with Seck-l'ruth.

Atlength the man having understood that Tender-Conscience came from the Valley of Destruction, and was going to the heavenly Jerusalem, was very inquisitive after his country, and the place of his birth; for, said he, I have heard my father say, that I was born in that country too, and brought from thence very young; and when my father came to this place, he left me in the custody of Reformation, with whom I have continued ever since; and what is become of my father I know not, or whether I shall ever see him again or no: but I remember he used to talk of going to the Celestial City, which I suppose is the same place whither you are now travelling: and therefore, if you will accept of my company, I will gladly travel along with you, having great hopes of seeing my father there, or hearing some tidings of him; and, besides, they say it is brave liv. ing in that City, and that it is the richest place in the world; therefore I would fain go along with you, in hopes of going into that famous City to dwell.

TENDER. I like your motion very well, for I have travelled alone hitherto, which made the way seem more tedious to me; and a companion in the rest of my journey would divert melancholy, and we should encourage each other in our pilgrimage.

But I must acquaint you with one thing first, and that is, that · your journey will prove ineffectual, I doubt, unless you came

in by the Wicket-Gate that is at the head of the narrow way, and can produce your certificate, or pass, from the Interpreter; for, as I am certainly informed, the King has given strict order that none shall be admitted into the heavenly City that are not thus qualified.

Then Seek-Truth (for so was the other man called) replied, I have a pass by me, which my father procured for me, when he brought me along with him, and he told me he had it from the Interpreter, giving me strict charge to have a care of it.

TENDER. What was your father's name and from whence tame he?

SEEK. His name was Little-Faith, and he came from the town of Sincere.

TENDER, O! I believe I have heard talk of him: if it be the same man that I mean, there goes a report as if he were robbed in a place called Dead-Man's-Lane.

SEEK. I hope not so, though I am sure he had plenty of sil. ver and gold about him, besides some very rich jewels ; nay, I may say he carried his whole estate about him, so that if he were robbed upon the road, he is utterly ruined and undone: I am very much concerned at the sad news, and shall not be at They are joined by Zealous-Mind, Weary-o'-th--World, Convert, and Yielding.

rest till I have inquired farther about it: therefore, if you please, let us hasten to go forward on our journey; and it is ten to one but I shall be more particularly informed of this matter by the way. I will call two or three more friends of mine own, who are very desirous to travel towards the heavenly country, and would be glad to take the opportunity of your good company.

So he ran into the cave, and called for Zealous-Mind, Weary-o'-the-World, Convert, and Yielding, who all came out to know what he would have.

Have? says Zealous-Mind; you may be sure it is no hurt we would have when Seek-Truth calls us.

SEEK. No, my friends, I call you for your good, I hope, and to fulfil your own wishes; for you have often told me how desirous you were to travel towards the heavenly Jerusalem, and now here is a man going that way that would be glad of your company : for my part I am resolved to go along with him; and do as you please.

And I, said Weary-o'-the-World; for here is nothing in this country but trouble, vexation, cares, grief, and all manner of evil ; I would not tarry a day longer in it if I might be a king. Come, let us be jogging.

CONVERT. I burn with desire to go to that glorious place, of which I have heard such renowned things: I care not what hardships I undergo, nor what torments I suffer, provided I may get thither at the last.

YIELDING. And for my part I like your company so well, that I will go with you to the end of the world with all my heart: for you talk so wisely, and tell such pretty stories, that you have won my very heart: I am ready to melt when I hear Seek-Truth discourse of such strange things as are in the heavenly country, and tell his father's travels from the Valley of Destruction, and how kindly he was entertained by the way at some good houses.

SEEK. Well, if you are all agreed, come follow me, and I will bring you to the man that is now on his pilgrimage to Sion; he stands not far off from our cave's mouth, hard by the pillar of history. So they all followed him with one consent, and went out of the cave, where they found Tender-Conscience waiting for their appearance: then they went up to him, and saluted him one by one, and, after some questions passed on both sides, they all set forward together.

Now I saw in my dream, that as they were going up a piece of rising ground, they saw before them a man walking an even moderate pace, and made haste to overtake him, for by his gait

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »