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principles of a good Christian education. The boys themselves are children of good sense and affectionate dispositions ; and on the whole, this domestic picture of a family travelling towards heaven is one of the most beautiful and instructive delineations drawn by Bunyan's genius.
There are two traits that ought to be particularly noted, which are, first, the uninterrupted Christian cheerfulness of the whole party, so that there is “ music in the heart, music in the house, and music in heaven," because of them; and second, the exquisite beauty of affectionate kindness and care exercised towards them, the compassionate and joyful tenderness with which they were received; and the open-hearted hospitality and love with which they are helped forward on their journey. The “meekness and gentleness of Christ," with the “love of the Spirit," and the lowly sweetness of the Gospel, especially in its condescension to the smoking flax and the bruised reed, were never more beautifully and successfully depicted. Mr. Feeble-mind is gently carried up the Hill Difficulty. At the House of the Interpreter, when Mr. Fearing stands without in the cold, long time trembling and afraid to knock, good father Honest is sent forth by the Lord of the Way to entreat him to come in. In the significant rooms of the House of the Interpreter, there are discovered new varieties to please and instruct the women and children, and beautiful indeed are some of them. Also, the Lord of the Way is constantly sending refreshments to his beloved ones, and he grants them a
heavenly Conductor to fight for them all along their pilgrimage.
Sweet dreams wait on them, the peace of God keeps them, and when the boys go astray by eating of the fruit of “Beelzebub's orchard,” the skill and efficacy of their physician are not greater than his kindness and gentleness.
As to the notable cheerfulness of this part of the pilgrimage, it is to be remarked, that it springs from the prevalence of Hope and Love. There is such constant Christian benevolence, such mutual humility, such each esteeming other better than themselves, such watchfulness for each other's good, such a Christian spirit to each other's failings, such sympathy in each other's joys and sorrows, such unselfish, unworldly hearts are mingled together, that there can hardly be a sweeter example of that Christian conversation which is always instructive, because always, with grace, seasoned with salt; and always cheerful, because always singing and making melody in the heart to the Lord. The terrors of the law are not present in this second pilgrimage, so much as the consolations of the Gospel; there is constant, serene enjoyment, and not by any means so many difficulties in the way as there are pleasures.
And it is observable that all the pilgrimage wears an aspect reflected from the gentle retiring character of the pilgrims. The very dangers that were so frightful in the first part have a gentler cast, when Christiana and Mercy pass through them ; the very fiends lose something of their ugliness and terror; in passing through Vanity Fair they meet with some good men, and are entertained with
Christian hospitality in the house of a true pilgrim; and when they come to the close of their pilgrimage, the River of Death itself, for them and for good Mr. Fearing, becomes almost dry. When they pass through the Valley of Humiliation, it is to them a sweet and quiet place, because their own spirit is so sweet and contented; no sight or semblance of Apollyon is there ; they could live there and be happy all their life long.
When they pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Christ's rod and his staff do so comfort them, and they so cling together amidst their fears, and encourage each other by their holy conversation, that it is no more the dread valley which Christian passed through alone ; it is a place where they are bid stand and see the Lord's deliverance. Their company is constantly increasing as they go, and they are all so ready to bear one another's burdens, they obey so perfectly the Apostle's injunction to put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, humbleness of mind, and the gentlest forbearance, that a more alluring picture of the pilgrimage could scarcely be drawn, and yet a most perfectly correct one, wherever the blessed Spirit of Christ prevails. The pilgrims all act according to this divine rule, Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification, for even Christ pleased not himself.
All this is delightful. It suits the pilgrimage to the walks of humble life, and holds up an example neither too high for the common multitude of Christians, nor in any way restricted to
great stations or opportunities, nor at all removed from the familiar occasions and occurrences of our every-day existence. We have here a picture of the Pilgrim in society, and how entirely it stands contrasted with the monkish and monastic piety once in fashion, and now again in some quarters beginning to be revered, I hardly need say. There is nothing severe, or stiff, or formal in it, nothing ascetic or morose, but every thing good-natured and sociable, joyful, charitable and kind. As a picture of the Pilgrim in domestic life, of the Pilgrim as the mother of a family, and of the Pilgrim, though in the world, yet living above the world, the description is as pleasing and attractive as it is true and valuable. It is what the humblest minds can understand, while the most elevated may dwell upon it with profit and delight. Perhaps to the minds of children, the Second Part proves even more attractive than the First; a striking proof of its merits, since Bunyan wrote it for childlike minds and for the common people.
One of its greatest beauties is its rich and vigorous delineation of character, and that not merely in the case of Pilgrims, but of opposers and evil-minded persons.
The sinful women who beset Christiana and Mercy at the outset to dissuade them from becoming Pilgrims, are portraits of the kind of character which those generally bear who oppose and revile any that may be fearing God and seeking the salvation of their souls. Mrs. Timorous, Mrs. Bats-eyes, Mrs. Light-mind, Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Know-nothing, and others still worse, make up the character of
those, who either do not themselves become Pilgrims, or who endeavour to turn friends or acquaintances from the ways of righteousness. But Christiana and Mercy are too much in earnest, too deeply convinced of sin, and too sincerely bent upon securing their salvation to be turned aside in the least by such opposition. So it always is where there is sin in the conscience and the motion of God's Spirit on the heart. Not all that men or devils can do, not all the power either of temptation or persuasion, or ridicule, can have the least effect where the conscience is once thoroughly awakened and burdened with a sense of guilt. To be in earnest on first setting out in this pilgrimage is a great thing, and the explicit promise of God is, Ye shall find me when ye shall search for me with all the heart.
Next to the characters of Christiana and Mercy stands that of Mr. Great-heart, their conductor, a man of great faith, a man of the same spirit as Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful. There is a combination of energy and gentleness in his character, a union of the fearless warrior and the kind and careful Shepherd. He can fight with Giant Grim, can talk with the children, can condescend to Mr. Feeble-mind, can carry the Lambs in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. His portrait is drawn with remarkable freedom, as a frank, fearless, noble, open character, with neither severity nor prejudice to mar those confiding and attractive qualities.
Mr. Honest, Mr. Valiant-for-truth, and Mr. Standfast, are men of a kindred greatness of