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The Reflections of the Pilgrims
had been forme con ay si
'« By-Ends and silver Demas did agree:
A sharer in his lucre; so these do
· Take up in this world, and no further go." Now I saw, that just on the other side of this plain, the pilgrims came to a place where stood an old monument hard by the highway side ; at the sight of which they were both concerned, because of the strangeness of the form thereof, for it seemed to them as if it had been a woman transformed into the shape of a pillar. Here therefore they stood looking and looking upon it; but could not for a time tell what they should make thereof: at last Hopeful spied written upon the head thereof a writing in an unusual hand; but he, being no scholar, called to Christian (for he was learned) to see if he could pick out the meaning: so he came, and after a little laying of the letters together, he found the same to be this, “ Remember Lot's Wife.” So hec read it to his fellow; after which they both concluded, that this was the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, for looking back with a covetous heart, when she was going from Sodom for safety? Which sudden and amazing sight gave them occasion of this discourse:
CHR. Ah! my brother, this is a seasonable sight: it came opportunely to us after the invitation which Demas gave us to come over to view the hill Lucre; and had we gone over as he desired us, and as thou wast inclined to do, my brother, we had, for
go on with their art for a season, but the end makes it manifest what they were. Take David's advice, " Fret not thyself because of evil-doers," Psal. xxxvii. 1. “ Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, and the glory of his house is increased,” Psal. xlix. 16. But go thou into the sanctuary of thy God, read his word, and understand the end of these inen.
: Gen, xix. 26.
on their happy Escape.
aught I know, been made like this woman, a spectacle for those that shall come after to behold.
HOPE. I am sorry that I was so foolish, and am made to wonder that I am not now as Lot's wife; for wherein was the difference betwixt her sin and mine ? she only looked back, and I had a desire to go see: let grace be adored, and let me be ashamed that ever such a thing should be in mine heart 3.
Chr. Let us take notice of what we see here for our help for time to come: this woman escaped one judgment, for she fell not by the destruction of Sodom, yet she was destroyed by another, as we see she is turned into a pillar of salt.
HOPE. True, and she may be to us both caution and example: caution, that we should shun her sin; or a sign of what judgment will overtake such as shall not be prevented by such caution : so Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men that perished in their sin, did also become a sign or example to bewarea. But, above all, I muse at one thing, to wit, how Demas and his fellows can stand so confidently yonder to look for that treasure, which this woman but for looking behind her after (for we read not that she stept one foot out of the way) was turned into a pillar of salt; especially since the judgment which overtook her did make her an example within sight of where they are: for they cannot choose but see her, did they but lift up their eyes.
. 3 Such is the effect of the grace of God in the heart of a pilgrim : while on the one hand he sees the propensities of his evil nature to every sin which has been committed by others, and is humbled, he also confesses, that by no power of his own he is preserved; but ever gives all the glory to the God of all grace, by whose power alone he is kept from falling. « Thou standest by faith; be not high minded, but fear,” Rom. xi. 20.
* Numb. xxvi. 9, 10,
The Pilgrims arrive at the River of the Water of Life.
Chr. It is a thing to be wondered at, and it argueth that their hearts are grown desperate in that case; and I cannot tell whom to compare them to so fitly, as to them that pick pockets in the presence of the judge, or that will cut purses under the gallows. It is said of the men of Sodom, that “ they were sinners exceedingly,” because they were sinners “ before the Lord,” that is, in his eye-sight, and notwithstanding the kindness that he had shewed them; for the land of Sodom was now like the garden of Eden heretofore b. This therefore provoked him the more to jealousy, and made their plague as hot as the fire of the Lord out of heaven could make it. And it is most rationally to be concluded that such, even such as these are, who shall sin in the sight, yea, and that too in despite of such examples as are set continually before them, to caution them to the contrary, must be partakers of the severest judgments.
HOPE. Doubtless thou hast said the truth ; but what a mercy is it, that neither thou, but especially I, am not made myself this example? This ministereth occasion to us to thank God, to fear before him, and always to remember Lot's wife.
I saw then, that they went on their way to a pleasant river, which David the king called the river of God; but John, “ the river of the water of life. 41
4 By this river, which is called “ a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb," Rev. xxii. 1, we may understand the clear and comfortable views which they were favoured with of God's infinite love, mercy, and grace. This river of God, this water of life, was clear.as crystal : they could see in it God's glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ, and view their own interest in it to their inexpres. sible joy. This is the river, “ the streams whereof make glad the city of God," Psal. xlvi. 4. The streams which flow from this: river of love, are repentance unto life, the pardon of all past sins,
Gen. xiii. 10, 13. Psal. xlvi. 4. Ezek. xlvii. Rev. xxii. 1..
The Pilgrims arrive at the River of the Water of Life.
the river their blood ases that are in
Now their way lay just upon the bank of the river; here therefore Christian and his companion walked with great delight : they drank also of the water of the river, which was pleasant, and enliven. ing to their weary spirits. Besides, on the banks of this river, on either side, were green trees for all manner of fruit ; and the leaves they ate to prevent surfeits, and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by travels. On either side of the river was also a meadow, curiously beautified with lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this meadow they lay down and slept: for here they might lay down safely. When they awoke, they gathered again of the fruits of the trees, and drank again of the water of the river, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did, several days and nights. Then they sang
“ Behold ye how those crystal streams do glide,
Will soon sell all, that he may buy this' field." So when they were disposed to go on (for they were not as yet at their journey's end) they ate, and drank, and departed.
the sanctification of the soul, and eternal glory, with every good thing in the way to it.,
All these blessings those pilgrims now enjoyed, or were entitled to, and all these every fellow-citizen of the saints is called to enjoy in his pilgrimage to Zion. These are precious privileges. This river of life proceedeth out of the throne of God and the Lamb. For God hath chosen us in Christ, and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him; and they are all freely communicated by his infinite love to us, out of Christ's fulness. Oh, how happy, peaceful, and joyful, are we pilgrims; because the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, shews them to us, and blesses us with a sense of our interest in the love of God.
* Psal. xxiii. Isa, xiv. 30.
The Pilgrims arrive at By-Path-Meadow,
Now I beheld in my dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the river and the way for a time parted; at which they were not a little sorry, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the river was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels; so the souls of the pilgrims were much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore still as they went on they wished for a better ways. Now a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a meadow, and a stile to go over into it; and that meadow is called By-PathMeadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, If this meadow lieth along by our way-side, let us go over into it. Then he went to the stile to see, and behold, a path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. 'Tis according to my wish, said Christian; here is the easiest going; come, good Hopeful, and let us go over".
HOPE. But how if this path should lead us out of the way.
Chr. That's not likely, said the other. Look, doth
5 Pilgrims have their discouragements as well as their joys; on which account they are in danger of complaining, instead of rejoicing; but yet they ought to take their way as they find it, sometimes rough, at others smooth, though they may at times be sorry to part with their comforts and wish the way was smoother: so they did here. Lo, their wishes were answered; but mark the con. sequences. Lord, lead us in the way everlasting.
6 Beware of this By-Path-Meadow; it is on the left hand. Oh, how many are walking securely, confidently, and comfortably, in it, while every step they take endangers their destruction. The transition into it is easy, for it lies close to the right way, only you must get over a stile; that is, you must quit Christ's way of the daily cross and denying of self, and live at ease, and then you are in By-Path-Meadow directly. .
i Ah! how easily are our eyes deceived, our hearts mistaken, and our feet perverted from the right way! Shepherd of Israel, thou knowest that we are prone to evil; keep us from erring, guide us continually; and, if we do stray, Lord, reclaim us.
i Nunub. xxi. 4.