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CHRISTIAN'S FIGHT WITH APOLLYON

IN THE

VALLEY OF HUMILIATION.

Conversation with Discretion, Prudence, Piety and Charity:-Blessedness of Chris

tian Communion.—Too much sometimes anticipated.-Danger of making Church-membership salvation.- Preparation for the Christian Conflict.— Apollo yon's assault upon Christian. The fiery darts of the Wicked One.—Entering into temptation.-Christian's passage through this valley compared with the experience of Christiana, Mercy, and the children.—Pleasantness and grace of the Valley of Humiliation to a contented and submissive mind.

We left Christian, delivered from his dangers, and relieved from his distresses for a season, at the Gate of the House Beautiful. But you will observe that the porter does not admit him at once, nor without inquiry. According to the rules of the house, Watchful, the porter, rings the bell and commends Christian to the interrogatories of a grave and beautiful damsel, called Discretion. A number of questions were put to him, and sincerely answered, and so much affectionate kindness and sympathy were manifested on the part of Discretion, that Christian had nothing to fear as to his reception. Then Discretion called for Prudence, Piety, and Charity, and after this conversation, they welcomed him into the household of

future way.

Faith. There, during his delightful abode with its happy inmates, he was entertained, as the Lord of the way had provided that all pilgrims should be in his house, with the most cordial hospitality and love. He was instructed with much godly conversation, and with many edifying sights, and he was clad in a complete suit of armor, to prepare him against the dangers of the

On his part, he entertained the household as much as they did him, by the account he gave of his own experience thus far. Piety made him tell all that had happened in his pilgrimage from his first setting out to his arrival at the House Beautiful. Prudence asked him about his feelings now in reference to the land of his nativity, and the habits he used to be in at the City of Destruction.

And here Bunyan has left us in no doubt as to his own views in the exposition of the controverted passage

in the seventh of Romans. He shows clearly that he regards the experience there recorded as a description of the conflict between good and evil still going forward in the Christian's soul. “Do you not,” asked Piety, “still bear with you some of those things that you were conversant withal in the City of Destruction ?”

Might I but choose mine own things,” answered Christian, “I would choose never to think of those things more ; but when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Bunyan was too deeply experienced in the evils of the human heart, too severely had been disciplined with the fiery darts of the Wicked One, to suffer his Christian to make

6 But do you

any pretence whatever to perfection. Too sadly did Christian find within himself the struggle between nature and grace, to suffer him to fall into any such dream or delusion. He made no pretence to have conquered all sin, or got superior to it; but his trust was in Christ; and his supreme desire was after holiness. not find sometimes," said Prudence, “as if those things were vanquished, which at other times are your perplexity ?” “Yes,” said Christian, “but that is but seldom ; but they are to me golden hours, in which such things happen to me.” Prudence then asked him how it was, by what means he ever succeeded in vanquishing his enemies and getting free from the disturbers of his peace ?

Christian's answer is very beautiful. 66 When I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and when I look at my roll that I carry

in

my busom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it." Ah yes,

it is the cross, by which we conquer sin ; it is the remembrance of Him who hung upon it. And he that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself as he is pure.

And having these evidences and these promises, faith gets the better of inward corruptions, and overcomes also the world. Nor, lastly, is there any thing more powerful to give us the victory over sin, than a clear view of heavenly realities, warm thoughts about the heaven to which we are going, visions of Mount Zion above, and the innumerable company of angels, and Jesus

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