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The dusty Parlour.
swept; the which after he had reviewed it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now, when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choked. Then said the Interpreter to a damsel that stood by, “ Bring hither the water, and sprinkle the room;" the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure.
Chr. Then said Christian, What means this?
INTER. The Interpreter answered, This parlour is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the gospel. The dust is his original sin, and inward corruptions, that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first, is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the gospel. Now whereas thou sawest, that as soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about that the room by him could not be cleansed, but thou wast almost choked therewith; this is to shew thee, that the law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, (Rom. vii. 9.) put strength into, (l Cor. xv. 56.) and increase it in the soul, (Rom. v. 20 :) even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it!doth not give power to subdue it. Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure; this is to shew thee, that when the gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then, I say, even as thou sawest the damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with
be first began by him to therewith
A messenger of grace to guilty men.
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
The Task, Book II. The Time-piece.
Passion and Patience. water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of glory to inhabit”. (John xv. 3. Eph v. 26. Acts xv. 9. Rom. xvi. 25, 26.)
I saw moreover in my dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and had him into a little room, where sat two little children, each one in his chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontented, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, “ What is the reason of the discontent of Passion !” The interpreter answered, “ The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year ; but he will have all pow'; but Patience is willing to wait."
Then I saw that one came to Passion, and brough:
n The doctrine of the natural depravity of the human heart is very significantly represented by the “ very large parlour that was full of dust, because never swept ;" for so total is that depravity, that every imagination of the heart of man is said to be evil; only evil, and that continually. Gen. vi. 5. While unconverted men continue ignorant of the strictness, spirituality, and severity of the law of God, they are, as the Apostle expresses it; “ alive without the law,” Rom. vii. 9. But when their consciences are alarmed by a “knowledge of sin," derived from a proper understanding of the law, which condemns for evil thoughts as well as evil actions, they find that every attempt to obtain justification by fulfilling the law, only increases instead of removing their sense of guilt, and shews them the 'dominion which sin has over them, instead of enabling them to overcome it. Nothing can be more correct than the view which is here given of the influence of the gospel, when cordially received by an awakened sinner. "What the law could not do" while it was looked to for justification, the gospel immediately accomplishes ; and the same person that exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" can add with sentiments of grateful joy, “I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. vii. 25. .. " The law discovers guilt and sin,
And shews how vile our hearts have been;
Passion and Patience.
him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet: the which he took up and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld a while, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left but rags.
Chr. Then said Christian to the Interpreter, Expound this matter more fully to me.
INTER. So he said, These two lads are figures; Passion of the men of this world, and Patience of the men of that which is to come: for as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year, that is to say, in this world; so are the men of this world ; they must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, “ A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is of more authority with them, than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come. But as thou sawest that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently nothing left but rags, so will it be with all such men at the end of this world.
Chr. Then said Christian, Now I see that Pa. tience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things, 2. And also because he will have the glory of his, while the other has nothing but rags.
INTER. Nay, you may add another, to wit, the glory of the next world will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience, because he had his good things first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have its time to come; but last gives place to nothing; for there is not another to succeed; he therefore that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he that has his portion last, must have it lastingly: therefore it was said to Dives, “ In thy Passion and Patience.
life-time thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Luke xvi. 25.
Chr. Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.
INTER. You say truth: for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. iv. 18.) But though this be, yet since things present, and our fleshy appetites, are such near neighbours one to another; and again, because things to come, and carnal sense are such strangers to one another; therefore it is, that the first of these so suddenly fall into amity, and that distance is so continually between the secondo.
• In Passion, the eldest of these children, we have a picture of ~ men of the world, who have their portion in this life,” Ps. xvii. 14; and in Patience, the youngest, the full-length portrait of men of God, who, though surrounded with afflictions in the present life, are supported by the expectation of future glory. "For which cause,” says the Apostle - we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our Eght affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory : while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2 Cor. iv. 16–18. The dispositions too of these very different characters are exactly portrayed. Worldly men are determined to have the world, whatever it may cost them; for present gratification is what they supremely desire. But if they happen to possess it, they find it unsatisfying, and they soon lose it.
“ Their hope and portion lie below;
And leave the rest among their heirs." Watts. Thus the triumphing of the wicked is short, but the patience of the godly shall not be disappointed. “Blessed are all they that wait for him," Isai. xxx. 18. “ for he is faithful that hath promised,” Heb. x. 23. Under the influence of these principles, thousands of christians have “ taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they have in heaven a better and an enduring substance," Heb. x. 34. Let afflicted
Then I saw in my dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place where was a fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it, to quench it; yet did the fire burn higher and hotter.
Then said Christian, “ What means this?" .
The Interpreter answered, “ 'This fire is the work of grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts · water upon it to extinguish and put it out, is the der yil : but in that thou seest the fire notwithstanding burn higher and hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that.” So he had him about to the backside of the wall, where he saw a man witb a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast (but secretly) into the fire.
Then said Christian, “ What means this?”
The Interpreter answered, “ This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of his grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart; by the means of which, notwithstanding what the devil can do, the souls of his people prove gracious still. (2 Cor. xii. 9.) And in that thou sawest, that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the fire; this is to teach thee, that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul.p?
christians remember the exhortation; “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God; ye might receive the promise," Heb. x. 35, 36. .
p The scriptures employ many figures to shew the impossibility that the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the believer should be destroyed by the malice, the subtilty, or the power of the devil. “ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," Phil. i. 6. This “ good work” is called “ living water, springing up into everlasting life,” John iv. 14.“ incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever," i Pet. i. 23. and, “ eternal life,'' John X. 28. The experience of Paul, which is related, 2 Cor. xii. 7-10. is an exposition of this picture. Satan had been pér