Gambar halaman

selves to go on pilgrimage. There were also many good books published in the place, and what seemed not a little surprising, the lives of some of the most noted Pilgrims who had passed through Vanity Fair were put forth, and were greatly admired even by some of those who had settled in Vanity Fair because of its merchandise. There were also persons who might be heard to speak much of the necessity of living as strangers and pilgrims in the world, who, nevertheless, kept immense warehouses in English Row and French Row, and were very busy in increasing their estates and beautifying their establishments.

From all these things you may conclude that whereas in Christian and Faithful's time the very name of a Pilgrim was enough to bring odium and disgrace, if not persecution, upon the men who entered the town in that character, it was now considered a very reputable thing, some of the very best society in Vanity Fair holding it in such esteem that the persecution of Faithful was now thought to be the greatest disgrace that had ever befallen the inhabitants. The Cage, in which the Pilgrims were once confined as madmen, was now never used, and some said that it had been broken in pieces, but others said that it had been consecrated for church purposes, and put under the Cathedral, in a deep cell, from which it might again be brought forth, if occasion required it. The old Lord of the Fair also, sceing how things were going on, now very seldom came thither in person, and was well content, it is said, to have the people appoint for their

mayors and judges persons who had either been Pilgrims themselves or greatly favored that part of the population.

There was another very singular thing, that had happened in process of time ; for a part of the Pilgrims who remained in Vanity Fair began to visit the Cave of Giant Pope, which, you remember, lay at no great distance from the town, so, instead of going farther towards the Celestial City, there became a fashionable sort of pilgrimage to that Cave. They brushed up the Giant, and gave

him medicines to alleviate the hurts from those bruises which he had received in his youth ; and to make the place pleasanter, they carefully cleared away the remains of the bones and skulls of burned Pilgrims, and planted a large enclosure with flowers and evergreens.

When this was done, they even denied that there had ever been any such cruelties practised, as were demonstrated by the bones, when Christian and Faithful passed by The Cave also they adorned, and let in just so much light upon it, as made it appear romantic and sacred, so that some Pilgrims, who came at first only to see the ceremonies, were so much attracted by them as to join in them.

What greatly aided to render this pilgrimage fashionable, was a large saloon erected about halfway between Vanity Fair and the Cave, where much good society from Vanity Fair were accustomed to stop for refreshment and social converse, where also they had little hermitages and altars, and a certain intoxicating refreshment, called, Tracts for the Times, the effect of which was

to make them feel, while pursuing their way to the Cave, as if they were stepping towards heaven. It was said also that there was an underground passage all the way between this Cave and the Cathedral, of which I have spoken, in Vanity Fair, where the twelve apostles were sculptured in stone, and the Cage was secreted; but this passage I never examined.

Is this a true or false report of some among many things that might be named in the state of society, and the reputation of the Christian pilgrimage now, in Vanity Fair? We will leave Conscience to answer this question, and pass on to the very instructive and exquisitely satirical sketches of character introduced by Bunyan, after Hopeful, rising out of Faithful's ashes, had joined Christian in the way. The martyrdom of Faithful had kindled a light in Vanity Fair that would not easily be put out, and many there were that by his example would themselves, as Hopeful did, become Pilgrims. So, by the death of one to bear testimony to the truth, many were affected by that testimony, whose hearts might otherwise have remained hardened to the end of life. Fox's Book of Martyrs, with the story of Latimer and Ridley, it must be remembered, was one of three books that consti- · tuted Bunyan's Prison Library.

There now pass before us in the Pilgrim's Progress a series of characters sketched with inimitable power and beauty, of whom Mr. By-ends is the most remarkable, standing for a class of men of no small number and influence. He got his estate by looking one way and rowing another, and he and

his family, friends and relations, differed from the stricter sort in religion only in two small points ; first, never striving against wind and water, and second, being always for Religion in his silver slippers, loving much to walk with him in the streets, of a sunshiny day, when the people applauded. It is very clear that there could be little or no communion between this man and Christian and Hopeful; for By-ends would hold to his own principles, they being, as he said, harmless and profitable, whereas the principles of Christian and Hopeful were in his view unnecessarily strict and rigid, compelling them to walk with Religion in rags and contempt, as well as in sunshine and silver slippers. When therefore they had met and conversed a little they soon separated, and speedily after Christian had asked Mr. By-ends what was his name.

But now By-ends meets a trio of more congenial companions, Mr. Hold-the-World, Mr. MoneyLove, and Mr. Save-all, the whole of them having formerly been schoolmates under Mr. Gripe-man, n the town of Love-Gain. Their schoolmaster had taught them, among other things, the art of gaining by putting on the guise of Religion ; and Bunyan seems to have designated in these men the characters of base, arrant cheats and hypocrites. Their conversation with one another is a most amusing piece of satire, developing the sheer worldliness and selfishness of their principles, and the arguments by which such men justify the service of God and Mammon. The speech of Mr. Hold-the-World is admirably characteristic, and for its string of earthly proverbs, with the selfish sagacity of which

they are all the exponent, it rivals all the delineations of Sancho Panza, by Cervantes. Hold-theWorld is indeed the very essence and personification of low worldly wisdom, and what is worse, he carries it all under the guise of piety; in this, it is to be feared, constituting an example of the real character of many who would not be willing to acknowledge such principles, either to themselves or others.

“For my own part,” said he, “I can count him but a fool, who, having the liberty to keep what he has, shall be so unwise as to lose it. Let us be wise as serpents; it is best to make hay while the sun shines : you see how the bee lieth still in winter, and bestirs her only when she can have profit with pleasure. God sends sometimes rain and sometimes sunshine : if they be such fools to go through the first, yet let us be content to take fair weather along with us. For my part, I like that religion best that will stand with the security of God's good blessings unto us; for who can imagine, that is ruled by his reason, since God has bestowed upon us the good things of this life, but that he would have us keep them for his sake? Abraham and Solomon grew rich in religion; and Job says that “a good man shall lay up gold as dust." But he must not be such as Christian and Hopeful, added Hold-the-World, if they be such rigid simpletons as you have described them.

Then By-ends proposed this question; suppose a man, a minister or a tradesman, &c., should have an advantage lie before him to get the good blessings of this life, yet so as that he can by no means

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »