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the four Sons of Christiana.
Jos. That man by sin has brought himself into a state of captivity and misery.
Prud. What is supposed by his being saved by the Trinity ?
Jos. That sin is so great and mighty a tyrant, that none can pull us out of its clutches but God; and that God is so good and loving to man, as to pull him indeed out of this miserable state.
Prud. What is God's design in saving poor man?
Jos. The glorifying of his name, of his grace, and justice, &c. and the everlasting happiness of his creature.
Prud. Who are they that must be saved ?
PRUD. Good boy, Joseph; thy mother hath taught thee well, and thou hast hearkened to what she has said unto thee.
Then said Prudence to Samuel, (who was the eldest son but one,) Come, Samuel, are you willing that I should catechise you also ?
Sam. Yes, forsooth, if you please.
SAM. A place and state most blessed, because God dwelleth there.
Prud. What is hell?
SAM. A place and state most woeful, because it is. the dwelling-place of sin, the devil, and death. .
PRUD. Why wouldest thou go to heaven?
Sam. That I may see God, and serve him without weariness; that I may see Christ, and love him everlastingly; that I may have that fulness of the Holy Spirit in me, that I can by no means here enjoy.
PRUD. A very good boy, and one that has learned well.
Then she addressed herself to the eldest, whose name was Matthew; and she said to him, Come, Matthew, shall I also catechise you?
Prudence catechises Christiana's Sons.
Mat. With a very good will.
Prud. I ask, then, if there was ever any thing that had a being antecedent to, or before God?
Mat. No; for God is eternal; nor is there any thing, excepting himself, that had a being until the beginning of the first day : “ For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them isf.”
PRUD. What do you think of the Bible ? .
Prud. Is there nothing written therein but what you understand ? Mat. Yes, a great deal.
Prud. What do you do when you meet with places therein that you do not understand ?
Mat. I think God is wiser than I. I pray also that he will please to let me know all therein that he knows will be for my good'.
PRUD. How believe you as touching the resurrection of the dead ?
Mat. I believe they shall rise, the same that was buried; the same in nature, though not in corruption. And I believe this upon a double account:-First, because God has promised it :-secondly, because he is able to perform its.
Then said Prudence to the boys, You must still
9 Though this is answered with the simplicity of a child, yet it is, and ever will be, the language of every father in Christ.—Happy are those whose spirits are cast into this humble evangelical mould! Oh, that this spirit may accompany us in all our researches, in all our ways, and through all our days!
8 Here is the foundation of faith, and the triumph of hope. God's faithfulness to his promise, and his power to perform it. Having these to look to, what should stagger our faith, or deject our hope? We may, we ought, to smile at all foolish objections, and trample upon all corrupt reasonings.
... 'Exod. xx. 11.
Mr. Brisk pays a Visit to Mercy.
offerow Mercye allurineself in
hearken to your mother, for she can learn you more. You must also diligently give ear to what good talk you shall hear from others : for your sakes do they speak good things. Observe also, and that with carefulness, what the heavens and the earth do teach you; but especially be much in the meditation of that book that was the cause of your father's becoming a pilgrim. I, for my part, my children, will teach you what I can while you are here, and shall be glad if you will ask me questions that tend to godly edifying.
Now by that these pilgrims had been at this place a week, Mercy had a visitor that pretended some good will unto her, and his name was Mr. Brisk, a man of some breeding, and that pretended to religion; but a man that stuck very close to the world. So he came once or twice, or more, to Mercy, and offered love unto her.
Now Mercy was of a fair countenance, and therefore the more alluring. Her mind also was, to be always busying of herself in doing; for when she had nothing to do for herself, she would be making of hose and garments for others, and would bestow them upon them that had need. And Mr. Brisk, not knowing where or how she disposed of what she made, seemed to be greatly taken, for that he found her never idle. "I will warrant her a good housewife," quoth he to himself.
Mercy then revealed the business to the maidens that were of the house, and inquired of them concerning him, for they did know him better than she. So they told her, that he was a very busy young man, and one that pretended to religion; but was, as they feared, a stranger to the power of that which is good. Nay then, said Mercy, I will look no more on
she woli would besrisk,
Mercy discourages and dismisses him.
him; for I purpose never to have a clog to my soul.
Prudence then replied, that there needed no matter of great discouragement to be given to him ; for continuing so as she had begun, to do for the poor, would quickly cool his courage.
So the next time he comes, he finds her at her old work, a-making of things for the poor. Then said he, “ What! always at it?"-" Yes (said she) either for myself or others.”—And what canst thou earn a-day?” quoth he. “I do these things," quoth she, “ that I may be rich in good , works, laying a foundation against the time to come, that I may lay hold of eternal life."-" Why, pr’ythee, what dost thou do with them?” said he. « Clothe the naked,” said she. With that his countenance fell. So he forebore to come at her again. And when he was asked the reason why, he said, that Mercy was a pretty lass, but troubled with ill conditions!
When he had left her, Prudencé said, Did I not tell thee, that Mr. Brisk would soon forsake thee? yea, he will raise up an ill report of thee: for, notwithstanding his pretence to religion, and his seeming love to mercy, yet mercy and he are of tempers
9 Most blessed resolution! Ah, pilgrims, if ye were more wary lest, by your choice and conduct, ye brought clogs to your souls, how many troubles would you escape, and how much more happy would ye be in your pilgrimage! It is for want of this wise and prudent conduct, that many bring evil upon themselves.
| How easily are the best of characters traduced, and false constructions put upon the best of actions! Reader, is this your lot also! Mind your duty. Look to your Lord. Persevere in his works and ways; and leave your character with him, with whom you can trust your soul. For if God be for us, who shall be against us? What shall harm us, if we be followers of that which is good ?
I Tim. vi. 17-19.
Matthew falls sick.
só different, that I believe they will never come together.
MER. I might have had husbands before now, though I spoke not of it to any; but they were such as did not like my conditions, though never did any of them find fault with my person. So they and I could not agree.
PRUD. Mercy in our days is but little set by, any further than as to its name: the practice, which is set forth by the condition, there are but few that can abide.
MER. Well, said Mercy, if nobody will have me, I will die a maid, or my conditions shall be to me as a husband : for I cannot change my nature; and to have one that lies cross to me in this, that I purpose never to admit of as long as I live. I had a sister, named Bountiful, married to one of these churls: but he and she could never agree; but because my sister was resolved to do as she had begun, that is, to shew kindness to the poor, therefore her husband first cried her down at the cross, and then turned her out of his doors.
PRUD. And yet he was a professor, I warrant you!
Mer. Yes, such a one as he was, and of such as the world is now full: but I am for none of them all?
Now Matthew, the eldest son of Christiana, fell sick, and his sickness was sore upon him, for he was
2 Though we are to beware of a censorious spirit in regard to professors, yet when they give sad evidence by their walk, that they are not what they profess to be (holy followers of the Lamb). we are by no means to be deceived by them. For we have an unerring rule laid down by our Lord, to judge of them: “ Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Matt. vii. 16. Yea, and we ought to be faithful to them too, by reproving them in the spirit of humility and love. Oh, that more of this prevailed!