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spirit. It is a beautiful incident, when they find Mr. Standfast at prayer on the Enchanted Ground, and the manner of his introduction to our knowledge suits well the close of his life, which was very triumphant. There was a great calm at that time in the River of Death, and when Mr. Standfast was about half-way over, he stood firm, and spoke to those who had accompanied him to the bank of the River, in language of such glowing love to Christ, and such unshaken faith, as was enough to ravish the hearts of the survivors with joy for the prospect of the glory before him. The deaths of the Pilgrims in this Second Part are all either quiet or triumphant, and some, who had passed all their life under a cloud, beheld it break, and the mists to disperse, and the sun to shine brightly at the last hour.
The character of Mr. Fearing is also an admirable portrait. In every country where Pilgrims are sojourning, there are just such men as he is to be met with on the pilgrimage. If we all possessed Mr. Fearing's tenderness of conscience, and his dread of sinning against God, it would be well for us ; and yet, if all Christians were in all respects like him, there would not be so much good done in the world, though there might be less evil committed. Good Mr. Fearing needed confidence in God, and the spirit of adoption and of freedom in his service. There was in him so great a degree of humility and self-abasement, so great a sense of his own unworthiness, that, being unaccompanied by a corresponding sense of the free mercy of Christ to the chief of sinners,
it went over into unbelief and fear. He feared to apply to himself the promises, feared that he was too unworthy even to pray for an interest in them, feared that he should not be accepted of Christ, feared to make a profession of religion, hardly dared show himself among Christians, or permit himself to be considered as one of them. These fears and despondencies went so far in his mind, that they prevented a right view of his duties ; they made what are the duties of the Christian appear to him as such great privileges, of which he was altogether unworthy, that he hardly dared take upon himself to perform them.
Yet, he was ready for difficulty and self-denial, and was sometimes prompt and bold, where Pilgrims that were stronger than he found themselves drowsy and fearful. The Hill Difficulty he did not seem to mind at all, and in Vanity Fair his spirit was so stirred within him at the sins and fooleries of the place, that father Honest had much ado to keep him within the bounds of prudence, and feared he would have brought the whole rabble of the Fair upon them. Then on the Enchanted Ground, where many are so sleepy, he was wakeful and vigilant; so that he was always giving good evidence to others of being a true child of God, even while he had very little hope for himself, and many, very many fears, lest he should at last be refused admittance at the Gates of the Celestial City.
The humility of Mr. Fearing was good, and a precious, rare grace it is ; but it is no part of humility to distrust the mercy of the Saviour, or to
shrink from active duty for want of reliance on the strength of Christ, for want of resting on that sweet promise, My grace is sufficient for thee. Mr. Fearing's unbelief was a source of great distress to him, and deprived him of much enjoyment all the way of his pilgrimage. Persons like him, though truly fearing God, often go under a cloud all their life long, and sometimes even refuse to make a profession of religion, and to join themselves with other Christians, because of their prevailing gloom. Mr. Fearing himself, though he had much comfort in the House Beautiful, was with difficulty persuaded to enter. “I got him in," said father Honest, “at the House Beautiful, I think before he was willing; also when he was in, I brought him acquainted with the damsels that were of the place, but he was ashamed to make himself much for company.
He desired much to be alone, yet he always loved good talk, and often would get behind the screen to hear it: he also loved much to see ancient things, and to be pondering them in his mind. He told me afterward that he loved to be in those two houses from which he came last, to wit, at the Gate, and that of the Interpreter, but that he durst not be so bold as to ask.'
He had much joy in the Valley of Humiliation, but he was a man of few words, and had a habit of sighing aloud in his dejection. He was very tender of sin, and so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he would often deny himself that which is lawful, because he would not offend. This was a very precious trait, but so extreme in
him, that by the lowness of his spirits his life was made burdensome to himself, and not a little troublesome to others. They had need of great patience with him, and tenderness towards him. He carried a Slough of Despond in his mind, and was always foreboding evil to himself, especially when he saw the fall and ruin of others. When they came to where the three fellows were hanged, he said he doubted that that would be his end also ; and he was always fearing about his acceptance at last. But it is very clear that he was a person described in that passage where God says, To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word. It is evident also that he would come under the saying of the Saviour, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore, says Bunyan, the Lord of the Way carried it wonderfully loving to him, for his encouragement. For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. This character of good Mr. Fearing, in the second part of the Pilgrim's Progress, stands in a striking and instructive contrast with the characters of Talkative and Ignorance in the First, as also with the character of Self-will as described by father Honest.
In the pilgrimage of the Second Part Bunyan has introduced a most instructive variety and change in his treatment of the same subjects that came under his notice with Christian and Hope
ful. The happiness of the Valley of Humiliation to a quiet and contented mind is described with great beauty. The timid Pilgrims had daylight through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and yet they saw enough to convince them of the terrors of that place, and of the reality of Christian's fearful experience in passing through it. The ugly shapes that they saw were indistinct, but the rushing of the fiends, the roaring of flames, and the fire and smoke of the pit, were easy enough to be discerned, so that the place was a Vale of Horrors still. Among other things, “Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something almost like a lion, and it came a great padding pace after; and it had a hollow voice of roaring; and at every roar that it gave, it made the Valley echo, and all their hearts to ache, save the heart of him that was their guide. So it came up; and Mr. Great-heart went behind, and put the Pilgrims all before him. The Lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed him to give him battle. But when he saw that it was determined that resistance should be made, he also drew back and came no farther."
The Pilgrims might have thought of what Peter says concerning this Roaring Lion, Whom resist steadfast in the faith ; and also of that of James, Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.
There is also a very instructive variety in the delineation of the Enchanted Ground, a region which wears a very different aspect according to the varying condition, circumstances and habits of the Pilgrims. Christiana and her party did here