Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

The Pilgrims encourage cach other

HOPE. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me thanı thus for ever to abide: but yet let us consider, the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said, “Thou shalt do no murder;" no, not to another man's person ; much more then are we forbidden to take the giant's counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills another can but commit murder upon his body: but for one to kill himself, is to kill body and soul at once. And moreover, my brother, thou talkest of ease in the grave; but hast thou forgotten the hell whither for certain the murderers go? for “no murderer hath eternal life," &c. And let us consider again, that all law is not in the hand of Giant Despairothers, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands. Who knows, but that God, who made the world, may cause that Giant Despair may die, or that, at some time or other, he may forget to lock us in; or that he inay in a short time have another of his fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs ? and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part, I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and try my utmost to get from under his hand?. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before ; but however, my brother, let us be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release ; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hope

- There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it," i Cor. x. 13. • Mark, how vile unbelief robs a Christian of his courage, reason, and graces. But one single thought of the love, power, and grace of God in Christ, elevates the Christian's mind with a hope of speedy deliverance.

with the Hope of future Deliverance.

ful at present did moderate the mind of his brother; so they continued together in the dark that day, in their sad and doleful condition.

Well, towards evening the giant goes down into the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel : but when he came there he found them alive; and, truly, alive was all, for now, what for want of bread and water, and by reason of the wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe. But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that, seeing they had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.

At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a swoon; but, coming a little to himself again, they rencwed their discourse about the giant's counsel : and whether yet they had best take it or no. Now Christian again seemed to be for doing it, but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth:

Hope. My brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel, in the valley of the Shadoro of Death : what hardship, terror, and amazement, hast thou already gone through, and art now nothing but fears! Thou seest that I am in the dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art: also the giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the bread and water from my mouth, and with thee I mourn without the light. But let us exercise a little more patience : remember how thou playedst the man at Vanity-fair, and wast neither afraid of the chain or cage, nor yet of bloody death: wherefore let us, at least to avoid the shame

Giant Despair, to intimidate the Pilgrims,

that becomes not a Christian to be found in, bear up with patience as well as we can.

Now night being come again, and the giant and his wife being in bed, she asked him concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel : to which he replied, They are sturdy rogues, they choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away themselves. Then said she, Take them into the castle yard to-morrow, and shew them the bones and skulls of those thou hast already dispatched, and make them believe ere a week comes to an end thou also wilt tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.

So when the morning was come, the giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle yard, and shews them as his wife had bidden him: These, said he, were pilgrims, as you are, once, and they trèspassed in my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do you: get you down into your den again :--and with that he beat them all the way thither. They therefore lay all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now, when night was

• Here is the blessing of a hopeful companion. Here is excellent counsel. Let vain professors say what they may against looking back to past experiences, it is most certainly good and right cautiously so to do; not to encourage present sloth and presumption, but to excite fresh confidence of hope in the Lord. We have David's example, and Paul's word, to encourage us to this : says David, “ The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this uncircumcised Philistine," 1 Sam. xvii. 37. And says Paul, « We have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raiseth the dead.”—There mind the alone object of faith and hope, and see a proper method of reasoning on past experiences of God's mercy; for he it is or who delivered us from so great a death ; in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us," 2 Cor. i. 10.

shews them the Bones of those he had destroyed.

hopes that wicklocks about TAnd sayest thout

come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband the giant were got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners; and, withal, the old giant wondered that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied, I fear, said she, that they live in hopes that some will come to relieve them, or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear? said the giant; I will therefore search them in the morning. · Well, on Saturday about midnight they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day. . Now a little before it was day good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stink. ing dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news, good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try'.

9 What! pray in custody of Giant Despair, in the midst of Doubting-Castle, and when their own folly brought them there too! Yes. Mind this, ye pilgrims; ye are exhorted to this, “I will that men pray every where, without doubting,” i Tim, ii. 8. We can be in no place, but God can hear; por in any circumstance, but God is able to deliver. And be assured, when the spirit of prayer comes, deliverance is nigh at hand. So it was here."

Precious promise !--The promises of God in Christ are the support of faith, and the quickeners of prayer. Oh, how often do we neglect God's great and precious promises in Christ Jesus, while doubts and fears keep us prisoners! So it was with these pilgrims : they were kept under hard bondage of soul for four days. Hence see what it is to grieve' the Spirit of God; and dread it: for he only is the Comforter. And if he withdraws his influences, who or what can comfort us? Though precious promises are revealed in the word, yet we can get no comfort from them but by the grace of the Spirit.

The Pilgrims escape from Doubting-Castle,

• Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door; whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle yard, and with this key opened that door also. After, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went very hard ; yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate as it opened made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.

Now when they were gone over the stile, they began to contrive with themselves what they should do at that stile, to prevent those that shall come after from falling into the hand of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a pillar, and to engrave upon the side thereof this sentence, * Over this stile is the way to Doubting-Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy pil. grims.” Many therefore, that followed after read what was written, and escaped the danger 3. This done, they sang as follows

% Mind, though the Spirit works deliverance, and brings comfort, yet it is by means of the word of promise ; for as we depart from and dishonour God by unbelief, so we come back to, and ho. nour him, by believing his word of grace to us in his beloved Son. In this way the Spirit brings deliverance.

* The recording our own observations, and the experience we have had of God's dealing with our souls, is made peculiarly useful to our fellow Christians. But let us ever take heed of exalting self, ever remembering, that all Christian experience is to humble

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »