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“butt down" on the king's highway, by which many enter, because the right way is too far round, not entering at the wicket gate, through which Christian, Faithful and Hopeful entered, after sore difficulties encountered. The characters we meet here and there on the road, that have entered by such lanes and cross paths, are equally in keeping, and as they come successively under Christian's observation, it is amusing to see the manner in which, by turns, their real character is exposed n his honest, plain-dealing, rugged and humorous way. The conversation of Hopeful and Christian all along is truly delightful. It is as becometh saints; grave, sincere, full of good sense and discrimination, with much cheerful pleasantry ; exhibiting Hopeful's youthful experience and ardour, and Christian's superior experience, richness of thought, frankness and kindness. They walk together so lovingly, so sympathizing, so faithful to each other, that all must acknowledge they are a perfect example of the brotherly kindness becoming the fellow-pilgrims of that way.
Between the first and second parts of the Pilgrim's Progress there is a diversity that may be compared to that between the Paradise Lost and the Paradise Regained. Milton's genius, in his second effort, appeared not less than the excess of glory obscured. In the second part of Bunyan's work we readily recognize, and are pleased to follow the footsteps of that original genius, which has so delighted us in the first. Yet we feel that the region is inferior; there is more familiarity and humour, but less poetry; and though there is the
same vigorous delineation of character, the allegory is imperfect. One of the most humorous and amusing portions of the whole work is the account of the courtship between Mercy and Mr. Brisk, which took place while the parties were at the house of the Interpreter. There are also some exquisitely beautiful snatches of melody in this second part of the pilgrimage.
Perhaps no other work could be named, which, admired by cultivated minds, has had at the same time such an ameliorating effect on the lower classes in society as the Pilgrim's Progress. It is a work so full of native good sense, that no mind can read it, without gaining in wisdom and vigor of judgment. What an amazing effect must it have produced in this way on the mass of common minds brought under its power! We cannot compute the good it has thus accomplished on earth, nor tell the number of souls it may have been the means of guiding to Heaven. It is one of the books, that, by being connected with the dearest associations of childhood, always retain their hold on the heart, and it exerts a double influence when, at a graver age, and less under the despotism given to imagination in childhood, we read it with a serene and thoughtful perception of its meaning. How many children have become better citizens of the world through life by the perusal of this book almost in infancy! And how many, through its instrumentality, may have been fitted after life to live forever. The Christian warfare is here arrayed in the glow of imagination, to make it attractive. How many Pilgrims, in hours when perseverance was almost
exhausted, and patience was yielding, and clouds and darkness were gathering, have felt a sudden return of animation and courage from the remembrance of Christian's severe conflicts, and his glorious entrance at last through the gates into the city!
As the work draws to its conclusion, the poet's soul seems to expand with the glory of the subject. The description of Christian and Hopeful's entrance up through the regions of air into the Celestial City, preceded by the touching account of their passing the River of Death, though composed of the simplest materials, and depicted in the simplest language, with Scripture imagery almost exclusively, constitutes one of the finest passages in English literature. The Shining Ones, and the beauty and glory of their conversation ; the angels and their melodious notes; the Pilgrims among them, in Heaven, as it were, before they come at it; the city itself in view, and all the bells ringing with joy of their welcome; the warm and joyful thoughts they had about their own dwelling there with such a company, and that forever and ever; the letters of gold written over the gate ; the transfiguration of the men as they entered, and the raiment put on them that shone like gold ; the harps and crowns given them, the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honor ; the bells in the city ringing again for joy; the shout of welcome, ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF OUR LORD; the men themselves singing with a loud voice, BLESSING, AND HONOR, AND GLORY, AND POWER BE UNTO HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB FOR EVER AND EVER!
Now, says the Dreamer, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men, with crowns upon their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal. There were also of them that had wings ; and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord ; and after that, they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
And who would not wish himself among them ? or what man, reading of these things, or hearing of these things, can refuse to join them? In what attractive beauty of description are the life and the rewards of practical religion here delineated! The whole course of the Pilgrim's Progress shines with a light borrowed from its close. Just so it is in the reality. The splendors of the Celestial City, though rather to be dreamed of and guessed at, than distinctly seen, do, nevertheless, break from the clouds, and fall from mountain top to mountain top, flashing on forest and vale, down into the most difficult craggy passes of our mortal pilgrimage. At times, the domes and towers seem resting on our earthly horizon, and in a season of fair weather our souls have sight of the streets of gold, the gates of pearl, the walls of jasper. Then we walk many days under the remembrance of such a vision. At other times the inhabitants of that city seem to be walking with us, and ministering to us; men do eat angels' food; melodious music ravishes the ear; listening intently, we think we
hear the chimes of bells wafted across the sea; and sometimes the gales are laden with such fragrant spicy airs, that a single breath of them makes the soul recognize its immortal Paradise, and almost transports it thither.
When shall the day break, and the shadows flee away! It is night here, but there the sun shall never go down. Light is sown for the righteous, and in the harvest time it shall come up; but as Goodwin beautifully remarks in his “Child of Light Walking in Darkness," we must be content to let it lie under ground; and the longer it doth so, the greater crop and harvest will spring up in the end.
In the Pilgrim's Progress there is a charming passage descriptive of the Pilgrim's entertainment in the House Beautiful, which was thus :-“ The Pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, whose windows opened towards the sunrising; the name of the chamber was Peace; where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sang.” A great and thoughtful poet has written a poem with this description as its motto, which he has entitled “Day-break," and which closes with the following stanza :
How suddenly that strait and glittering shaft
Be called my chamber PEACE, when ends the day,
ΟΕΩ ΜΟΝΩ ΔΟΞΑ. .