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and is kept green. Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven, which being shaken by the wind, they let fall their dew at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another. For Christians to commune savorily of God's matters one with another is as if they opened to each other's nostrils boxes of perfume. Saith Paul to the church at Rome, I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established ; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
6. Thus have I, in few words, written to you before I die, a word to provoke you to faith and holiness, because I desire that you may have the life that is laid up for all them that believe in the Lord Jesus, and love one another, when I am deceased. Though there I shall rest from my labors, and be in Paradise, as through grace I comfortably believe, but it is not there, but here, I must do you good. Wherefore I, not knowing the shortness of my life, nor the hinderance that hereafter I may have of serving my God and you, I have taken this opportunity to present these few lines unto you for your edification. Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things. Farewell!"
How beautiful is the spirit here manifested, how full of the sweet charity of the gospel, and of what sweet simplicity and beauty are the thoughts and images here expressed! It is not there in heaven, but here on earth, that I must do you good. We are
reminded of Paul's language, To abide in the flesh is more needful for you. Infinitely desirable is such a blessed hope of heaven, as shall make the Christian desire to depart and be with Christ, and shall, at the same time, quicken and animate and fill with blessedness all his efforts for the good of others.
In that ingenious work of Bunyan, entitled, “ Solomon's Temple Spiritualized,” there are passages of exquisite beauty and significancy. Take, for example, the two following extracts, the first in regard to the Gates of the Porch of the Temple, the second in regard to the Pinnacles of the Temple; and see the ingenuity and beauty of the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, in other modes of allegorizing besides that of the great admired production of his genius.
Of the Gates of the Porch of the Temple.
The porch, at which was an ascent to the temple, had a gate belonging to it. This gate, according to the prophet Ezekiel, was six cubits wide. The leaves of this gate were double, one folding this way, the other folding that. Ezek. xl. 48.
Now here some may object, and say, Since the way to God by these doors were so wide, why doth Christ say,
way is narrow ?
Ans. The straitness, the narrowness, must not be understood of the gate simply, but because of that cumber that some men carry with them, that pretend to be going to heaven. Six cubits! What is sixteen cubits to him who would enter in here with all the world on his back? The young man in the Gospel, who made such a noise for heaven, might have gone in easy enough; for in six cubits breadth there is room : but, poor man! he was not for going in thither, unless he might carry in his houses upon his shoulder too, and so the gate was strait. Mark x. 17-23.
Wherefore he that will enter in at the gate of heaven, of which this gate into the temple was a type, must go in by himself, and not with his bundles of trash on his back; and if he will go in thus, he need not fear there is room. The righteous nation that keepeth the truth, they shall enter in.
They that enter at the gate of the inner court, must be clothed in fine linen ; how then shall they go into the temple that carry the clogs of the dirt of this world at their heels? Thus saith the Lord, “No stranger uncircumcised in heart, or uncircumcised in flesh shall enter into my sanctuary.”
The wideness therefore of this gate, is for this cause here made mention of, to wit, to encourage them that would gladly enter thereat, according to the mind of God, and not to flatter them that are not for leaving of all for God.
Wherefore let such as would go in remember that here is room, even a gate to enter at, six cubits wide. We have been all this while but on the outside of the temple, even in the courts of the house of the Lord, to see the beauty and glory that is there. The beauty hereof made men cry out, and say, “ How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts ! my soul longeth, yea, fainteth for the courts of the Lord ;” and to say, “ A day in thy courts is better than a thousand.”
Of the Pinnacles of the Temple.
There was also several pinnacles belonging to the temple. These pinnacles stood on the top aloft in the air, and were sharp, and so difficult to stand upon : what men say of their number and length, I waive, and come directly to their signification.
I therefore take those pinnacles to be types of those lofty, airy notions, with which some delight themselves, while they hover like birds above the solid and godly truths of Christ. Satan attempted to entertain Christ Jesus with this type, and antitype, at once, when he set him on one of the pinnacles of the temple, and offered to thrust him upon a false confidence in God, by a false and unsound interpretation of a text. Matt. iv. 5, 6. Luke iv. 9, 10, 11.
You have some men, cannot be content to worship in the temple, but must be aloft; no place will serve them but pinnacles, pinnacles ; that they may be speaking in and to the air, that they may be promoting their heady notions, instead of solid truth ; not
considering that now they are where the devil would have them be : they strut upon their points, their pinnacles : but let them look to it, there is difficult standing upon pinnacles; their neck, their soul, is in danger. We read, God is in his temple, not upon these pinnacles. Psa. xi. 4. Hab. ii. 20.
It is true, Christ was once upon one of these : but the devil set him there, with intent to dash him in pieces by a fall; and yet even then told him, if he would venture to tumble down, he should be kept from dashing his foot against a stone. To be there, there. fore, was one of Christ's temptations ; consequently one of Satan's stratagems ; nor went he thither of his own accord, for he knew that there was danger; he loved not to clamber pinnacles.
This should teach Christians to be low and little in their own eyes, and to forbear to intrude into airy and vain speculations, and to take heed of being puffed up with a foul and empty mind.
In the same work, Bunyan says in regard to the ornaments carved upon the doors of the temple,
There were also carved upon these doors open flowers; and that to teach us, that here is the sweet scent, and fragrant smell; and that the coming soul will find it so in Christ this door : I am, saith he, the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the vallies. And again, His cheeks are as beds of spices and several flowers, his lips like lilies drop sweet smelling myrrh.
Open Aowers. Open flowers are the sweetest, because full grown, and because, as such, they yield their fragrancy most freely. Wherefore, when he saith, upon the doors are open flowers, he setteth Christ Jesus forth in his good savors as high as by such similitudes he could ; and that both in name and office ; for open flowers lay, by their thus opening themselves before us, all their beauty also most plainly before our faces. There are varieties of beauty in open flowers, the which they also commend to all observers.
Now upon these doors, you see, are open flowers, flowers ripe, and spread before us to show that his name and offices are savory to them that by him do enter his house to God his Father. Song i. 1, 2, 3, 4.
All these were overlaid with fine gold. Gold is most rich of all metals; and here it is said the doors, the cherubims, the palm trees, and open flowers, were overlaid therewith. And this shows,
that as these things are rich in themselves, even so they should be to us. We have a golden door to go to God by, and golden angels to conduct us through the world: we have golden palm trees, as tokens of our victory, and golden flowers to smell on all the way to heaven,
A man who, with the Bible and his Concordance for his only library, could write, and loved to write, in this manner, need be in no want of occupation or of solace in his prison hours. They fled swiftly and sweetly with Bunyan, notwithstanding all his cares, and never, since the beginning of the world, were twelve prison years made to yield a riper, more blessed harvest for his own soul's happiness and the world's good. Of them, as well as of his temptations, Bunyan could say, I have found a nest of honey in the carcass of the lion that roared upon me. Not only himself, but all the world, are refreshed by its sweetness, and healed by it, as by a spiritual medicinal Nepenthe, in the midst of guilt and wretchedness. So, out of darkness God can bring forth light, out of evil good, out of the adversities of his people, the most precious of all manna for the nourishment of his church in the wilderness.
Bunyan's release from prison took place in the year 1672, or early in 1673; befriended, according to Bunyan's own grateful acknowledgments, by Dr. Barlow, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln. His liberation is now said to have been obtained from Charles II., by Whitehead the Quaker. For two or three years the strictness of his imprisonment had been loosened, so that, probably through the kindness of his jailor, he used to meet with his church in Bedford, if not to preach