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Not a word of comment is necessary on this exquisitely humorous passage.
The snatches of poetry in this Second Part, are certainly superior to those which are sprinkled in the pages of the First. The song of Mr. Valiantfor-truth is so much after the manner of our old English Melodists, and so valuable in itself, that it would make a gem, even in the pages of Shakspeare. There is an old melody to which this poetry is set, which has been said likewise to have been composed by Bunyan ; how true this may be, we know not; but the spirit of the music is in excellent harmony with the stanzas, the melody being such an one as any cheerful, resolute pilgrim, fond of music, might hum to himself upon his jour ney, and greatly solace himself thereby.
Who would true value see,
Let him come hither;
Come wind, come weather.
To be a Pilgrim.
Who so beset him round
With dismal stories,
His strength the morc is.
To be a Pilgrim.
Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit;
Shall life inherit.
This song brings into view another reigning trait of the pilgrimage as depicted by Bunyan, which is the passionate intensity and steadfastness of purpose requisite for its successful pursuit. In the experience of Bunyan's Pilgrims, especially the most faithful among them, there is realized that holy thirsting for God, and that earnest effort after him, of which the Psalmist speaks in so many and such striking passages, but especially in the 63d and 42d Psalms. • My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God!”
The work of finding God is justly represented in this pilgrimage as being great and arduous ; and the Pilgrims are represented as pursuing it with a single eye, and a holy intensity of purpose. If a Christian would be at all successful in this great pursuit, there must be such a habit of intensity and perseverance ; for God hath said, Ye shall
ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all the heart. In this there is brought to view what ought to be the passion of the mind, its daily, unceasing, unbroken effort, the habitual bent of its energies, the struggle of its powers. This is just as necessary to a Christian's success in the Divine Life, as enthusiasm in any path of science, or of acquisition is necessary to success in the pursuits of this life.
But it is not so common among Christians as it ought to be. In Bunyan's own experience, and in that of his favorite Pilgrims, there was a holy fixedness of purpose, and a fervent breathing of
the soul after the accomplishment of that purpose, and a perpetual return of the soul with undiminished freshness to its work, which are rarely beheld in exercise, and in the want of which it is to be feared that the piety of our own age is greatly defective. As an earthly enthusiasm it exists in men of the world ; in the pursuits of this world you may find it; and the existence or the absence of this persevering intensity of effort is the great cause of the different success which men meet with in the pursuits of life.
The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And it is precisely this enthusiasm of soul, exhibited by men who have become great in particular occupations in this world, that we speak of, as essential to success in the search after God and eternal greatness. Look over the life, for example, of a man like Sir Isaac Newton, or Sir Humphrey Davy, and what intense devotion do you find to their particular pursuits. Day and night the thirst for knowledge occupies their souls. They despise weariness, temptations, the seductive allurements of the senses, even the natural calls of appetite. They undergo what in the pursuits of religion would be accounted martyrdom, but with their enthusiastic love of science, it is nothing, it is pleasure. They encounter dangers, and subject themselves to hazardous experiments and painful toils, all submitted to with ease and even delight, in prosecution of the ruling passion of the soul, the business to which the whole energies of the being have been devoted with so much enthusiasm, that it has become a second life and nature.
Now it is just this which is needed in the effort after God. It is this turning of the whole passion and power of the soul into the business of seeking God. It is this making an acquaintance with God, and a greater love of him, and a greater knowledge of him, the passion and the business of existence. It is this passionate pursuit after holiness, never intermitted, but returned to with the recurrence of each day, and maintained with an habitual perseveranee of feeling and effort, that at length shall wear the channels of blessedness so deep in the soul, that all its energies of sensibility and activity shall pour into them; that shall make the hungering and thirsting after righteousness as inseparable a movement of the daily tide of life, as undying a passion of the heart's daily experience, as is any form whatever of this world's idolatry in the souls of its worshippers.
It is this which was David's experience when his soul was following hard after God. It is this to which he refers when he breaks out, As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God! It is this which has constituted the secret of the eminent attainments of all eminent saints, in the Scriptures and in all history. It is this which feeds the secret fire of men's souls, who have still sought God amidst terrors, sufferings and deaths. It is this which has constituted the secret power of assurance ; not so much the consciousness or the belief of holiness already attained, as the experience of this inextinguishable, unquenchable thirst, and daily intense effort of the soul after it. It is this, which in an
eminent degree is its own reward, and its own blessedness. It fulfils in its own exercise the promises of God before hand. It is a well of water, springing up to everlasting life. It brings God and heaven near to the soul day by day, in the very intensity of the effort after him. It is accompanied with a great promise, that the soul, so seeking him, shall find him, that he that thus hungers and thirsts after righteousness, shall be filled.
And this promise is fulfilling with every increase in the earnestness of the soul's desires after God, with every addition to the power of that passion, and the immutability of that habit, which binds the soul to the business of seeking God. The very intensity of this search after God is an element of power. It puts every thing else at a distance, every interference aside, every earthly glory into darkness. Its keen gaze sees God, and all things else are shadows. It gives great superiority to the world and to temptation, great clearness of view, great power to faith, great nearness to the unseen world, a great victory over things seen and temporal. It touches all experience with glory, converts all events into ministers of grace and goodness, making even sore trials the means of still greater nearness to God, and earthly disappointments but so many steps in the ladder, up which the soul is mounting to its Maker.
The positive happiness of such a life is greater than the Christian in the ordinary frame of custom can conceive. The very effort of thus seeking after God is itself positive blessedness.
And we would ask any Christian, and especially any