Gambar halaman

Nothing on earth I call my own ;
A stranger to the world, unknown,

I all their goods despise :
I trample on their whole delight,
And seek a city out of sight,

A city in the skies.

There is my house and portion fair ;
My treasure and my heart are there,

And my abiding home;
For me my elder brethren stay,
And angels beckon me away,

And Jesus bids me come!





Comparison between the First and Second Parts of the Pilgrim's Progress.—Cheerful.

ness of the Second Part.- Beauty of its delineation of the female character.-Its great variety.-Characters of Mr. Great-heart and Standfast.-Character of Mr. Fearing.-Instructive lessons from the Enchanted Ground.-Reigning traits of the Pilgrimage as delineated by Bunyan.-Closing lesson.

If only the Second Part of the Pilgrim's Progress had been written, it may well be doubted whether it would not have been regarded in a higher light than it is now.

The First Part is so superior to the Second, that this loses in the comparison, and gains not so much admiration as it really deserves. Just so, the Paradise Regained would have been esteemed a nobler Poem, had it not stood after the Paradise Lost, the splendor of Milton's genius in the first effort, quite eclipsed its milder radiance in the second. Yet the Second Part of the Pilgrim's Progress is full of instruction and beauty, and exhibits varieties of the Christian Life delineated with such truth both to nature and grace, that though there is less elevation both in thought and style, and more familiarity and homeliness, we are still delighted with our journeyings, and love to listen to the voice of our accustomed teacher.

There is not such purity and severity of taste, not such glowing fire of sentiment and feeling, not such point and condensation, not such unity and power, in the Second Part as in the First. The conversations do not possess the same richness and fulness of meaning, nor the same deep solemn blissful tones of warning and of heaven; there is sometimes almost all the difference that is found between the garrulity of men at ease, and the earnest, thoughtful talk of men pondering great themes and set upon great enterprises. Not that the journey ever ceases to be the Christian pilgrimage, but it becomes so very sociable, and at times so merry and gossiping, that it almost passes into comedy.

Perhaps the Second Part of this pilgrimage comes nearer to the ordinary experience of the great multitude of Christians, than the First Part; and this may have been Bunyan's intention. The First Part shows, as in Christian, Faithful and Hopeful, the great examples and strong lights of this pilgrimage ; it is as if Paul and Luther were passing over the scene.

The Second Part shows a variety of Pilgrims, whose stature and experience are more on a level with our own. The First Part is more severe, sublime, inspiring; the Second Part is more soothing and comforting. The First Part has deep and awful shadows mingled with its light, terribly instructive, and like warnings from hell and the grave. The Second Part is more continually and uninterruptedly cheerful, full of good nature and pleasantry, and showing the pilgrimage in lights and shades that are common to weaker Christians.

So there is a sweet tone and measure of gentleness and tenderness, in accordance with that

passage, “ Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but rather let it be healed. We have before us a company of the maimed, the halt, the lame, the blind, and a merry party it is, after all, through the magic of faith and Christian sympathy. Here are Mr. Ready-to-halt, Mr. Feeble-mind, Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-afraid, and others of like frame and mould, as well as old father Honest, resolute Mr. Standfast, discreet Christiana and the lovely Mercy. Here are canes, crutches and decrepitude, as well as young limbs, well set sinews, and fresh, elastic, tripping feet of childhood. The Canterbury Tales, themselves, have scarcely a greater variety in their pilgrimage. And all these characters are touched with great originality and power of coloring. They are separate, individual, graphic portraitures of classes.

Perhaps the most delightful portion of the Second Dream of Bunyan, is its sweet representation of the female character. There never were two more attractive beings drawn, than Christiana and Mercy; as different from each other as Christian and Hopeful, and yet equally pleasing in their natural traits of character, and, under the influence of divine grace, each of them reflecting the light of heaven in an original and lovely variety. His own conception of what constitutes a bright example of beauty and consistency of character in a Christian Woman, Bunyan has here given us, as well

as in his first Dream the model of steadfast excellence in a Christian Man. The delineation, in both Christiana and Mercy, is eminently beautiful. We have, in these characters, his own ideal of the domestic virtues, and his own conception of a wellordered Christian family's domestic happiness.

I know not why we may not suppose this picture to have been drawn from the experience of his own household, as well as that the picture of Christian in the first part was taken from his own personal experience ; and if so, he possessed a lovely wife and a lovely family. Wherever he may have formed his own notions of female loveliness and excellence, he has, in the combination of them in the Second Part of the Pilgrim's Progress, presented two characters of such winning modesty and grace, such confiding truth and frankness, such simplicity and artlessness, such cheerfulness and pleasantness, such native good sense and Christian discretion, such sincerity, gentleness and tenderness, that nothing could be more delightful.

The matronly virtues of Christiana, and the maidenly qualities of Mercy, are alike pleasing and appropriate. There is a mixture of timidity and frankness in Mercy, which is as sweet in itself as it is artlessly and unconsciously drawn; and in Christiana we discover the very characteristics that can make the most lovely feminine counterpart; suitable to the stern and lofty qualities of her husband. The characters of her boys, too, are beautifully delineated, with her own watchfulness over them as a mother. The catechising of the children is full of instruction, and every thing shows the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »