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minating and sanctifying influences of his Spirit. In our first ignorance and darkness how greatly they are needed no language can tell. The young convert will make but a poor soldier of Jesus Christ, but a weak and lagging pilgrim, if he does not go directly to the House of the Interpreter. Ah, what earnest prayer is needed, that the soul, having come to Christ, may be filled with the Spirit, be rooted and grounded in love, and built up in him, and prepared to show forth his praises. Be assured that the immediate time which passes after a soul's conversion is of indescribable importance for all after life. If it be passed in the House of the Interpreter, and under his divine instruction, if the soul is much in prayer for divine grace and illumination, then will there be a rich and precious preparation for a joyful and triumphant pilgrimage, in which the path of the soul shall be as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. But if joy comes first, without the instruction and discipline of the Interpreter, then will there be trouble afterwards, a great many falls by the way, a great many Hill Difficulties, and perhaps a great many weeks instead of days passed in the Castle of Giant Despair. When a soul first comes to Christ, then for many days it ought to abide with the Holy Spirit, and when this is done, who shall say how many sights of glory may be seen, how many rich and refining experiences be enjoyed; how rapidly the soul may grow, and be transfigured, as it were, with the influences of divine truth, while thus it is alone with God; how it may be knit and strengthened for all future toils
and combats, and prepared to go through the world almost as a seraph of light, prepared at any rate, like Paul, so to run not as uncertainly, so to fight not as one that beateth the air.
The first sight which Christian saw “ brave picture,” an exquisite portrait of a grave and saintly man, who had his eyes lifted up to Heaven, the best of books in his hand, the Law of Truth was written upon his lips, the world was behind his back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head. And whose portrait is Bunyan describing here? Again, we think he had only Mr. Gifford in his eye as a faithful minister of Christ ; but Bunyan too had been the pleader with men, and over his own head the crown of gold was shining, and while he wrote these words you may be sure that his spirit thrilled within him as he said, And I too am a minister of Jesus Christ! This picture was shown by the Interpreter to Christian, in order that he might know the true from the false guide in the way to the City of Immanuel.
The next scene, which the Interpreter showed Christian, went, you may be sure, to his heart; for it displayed the inward corruptions of the soul, and the different effects, first of the Law and afterwards of the Gospel upon them; and Christian, it must be remembered, had not yet got rid of his burden of sin, and had in his mind in great freshness the terrors of Sinai in the way to Mr. Legality's house, and his distressing experience in the Slough of Despond, besides his deep convictions of sin and wrath in the City of Destruction. He had known
most thoroughly what the Law could do with a burdened conscience; he had but begun to know what grace could do to ease it. The Interpreter carried him into a larger parlor whereof the floor was thick with dust, because it had never been swept. So the moment a man began to sweep it, the dust flew about in such clouds that Christian was well nigh stified; but so soon as a damsel was called to sprinkle the room with water, then it was swept and cleansed easily.
The sweeper was the Law, stirring up the corruptions in the parlor of the heart; trying to sweep them, but only stirring them up, and raising a suffocating cloud in the atmosphere. This is the work of the Law in the conscience, to reveal sin, to make the sinner sensible of it; and this is all that the Law can do; it can only convince and condemn, for we have broken every one of its precepts, and the more its light shines in upon the soul, the more manifest our iniquities become. If we strive to keep it and so to gain peace, we may keep it in some points outwardly, but inwardly we break it; we are defiled in every part, and our very morality condemns us, as not springing from the love of God. The voice of the law is, The soul that sinneth it shall die, and he that offendeth in one point is guilty of all; and what a broom this is to introduce into the heart to sweep it of its sins, you may well judge; every movement of it is as the besom of destruction ; it is indeed condemnation and death
perpetually. The Law is holy, and just, and good; but its very holiness and goodness, laid along side with our depravity, make the revelation within us ap
pear like the uncovering of hell; it fills us with anguish and terror in the sight of what we are, and what we deserve.
Christian well knew this in his own deep experience; for the burden of sin was on him still, and sorely did he feel it while the Interpreter was making this explanation; and had it not been for his remembrance of the warning of the Man at the Gate, he would certainly have besought the Interpreter to take off his burden. The Law could not take it off; he had tried that; and grace had not yet removed it, so he was forced to be quiet and to wait patiently. But when the Damsel came and sprinkled the floor and laid the dust, and then the parlour was swept so easily, there were the sweet influences of the Gospel imaged, there was divine grace distilling as the dew, there was the gentle voice of Christ hushing the storm ; there were the corruptions of the heart, which the Law had but roused into action, yielding under the power of Christ, and there was the soul made clean and fit for the King of Glory to inhabit. Indeed this was a most instructive emblem. Oh that my heart might be thus cleansed, thought Christian, and then I verily believe I could bear my burden with great ease to the end of my pilgrimage, but I have had enough of that fierce Sweeper, the Law. The Lord deliver me from his besom!
The next emblem was Passion and Patience, two little children, the very reverse in their chaTracters, one of whom would have every thing now, the other would quietly wait. So Passion had his desire and Christian looked and saw him with a
bag of treasure exulting over Patience and laughing him to scorn, but Patience sat still, and answered nothing. So Christian looked again, and behold Passion had lavished all his treasure in a moment, and now had nothing but rags.
This was a vivid and striking emblem, and one which in its general meaning a child could understand. Passion stands for the men of this world, Patience of that which is to come, Passion for those who will have all their good things now, Patience for those who are willing with self-denial to wait for something better ; Passion for those who are absorbed in temporal trifles, Patience for those whose hearts are fixed upon eternal realities; Passion the things which are seen, and the impatient eagerness with which they are followed, Patience the things which are unseen, and the faith, humility, and deadness to the world exercised in order to enjoy them.
Besides, Passion shows the scorn of Patience by prosperous men of this world in their bravery, Patience shows the gentle forbearance and endurance, which the love of Christ, and the promise of eternal glory, do, by divine grace, enable the soul even of a persecuted Christian to exercise.
This beautiful passage is a good commentary on the seventy-third Psalm; it is good for those to read and meditate upon, who are at any time envious at the foolish, when they see the prosperity of the wicked; and there are times when the best of men fall into such a vein of murmuring and repining; they become foolish and ignorant, and as a beast before God, losing all sight and sense of eternal realities for a season, when they get to