« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
In the Valley of Humiliation
panions; he hill, gave him ans, and then he
Piety, Charity, and Prudence, would accompany him down to the foot of the hill. So they went on together, reiterating their former discourses, till they came to go down the hill. Then said Christian, As it was difficult coming up, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down. Yes, said Prudence, so it is ; for it is a hard matter for a man to go down into the valley of Humiliation, as thou art now, and to catch no slip by the way; therefore, said they, are we come out to accompany thee down the hill. So he began to go down, but, though very warily, yet he caught a slip or twos. . Then I saw in my dream, that these good companions, when Christian was gone down to the bottom of the hill, gave him a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins, and then he went on his way.
But now, in this valley of Humiliation, poor Chris. tian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way before he spied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him: his name was Apollyon." Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground. But he considered again, that he had no armour for his back, and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts, therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground: for, thought he, had I no more in my eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand.
5 Thus it is, after Christians have been favoured with any peculiar blessings, they are in danger of being puffed up and exalted on the account of them : so was even holy Paul; therefore, the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet him, 2 Cor. xii. 7. In our present state, the Lord knows it to be the best for us to have every grace tried, that faith might be found more precious than gold, and the soul brought into the depths of humility.
Christian meets with Apollyon.
So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with scales like a fish (and they are his pride;) he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful counte. nance, and thus began to question with him.
APOL. Whence came you, and whither are you bound?
Chr. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.
APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it. How is it then that thou hast run away from thy king? Were it not for that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.
Chr. I was born indeed in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages was such as a man could not live on; “ for the wages of sin is death P," therefore when I was come to years, I did, as other considerate persons do, look out if perhaps I might mend myself?. • APOL. There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee: but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be
6 Do not be terrified, though you may be opposed by Satan, and he assaults you in the most terrible form; but mind this, before Satan was suffered to attack Pilgrim, his Lord had provided and fitted him with armour, the armour of God, wherewith he could stand his ground, conquer Satan, and repel all his fiery darts.
7 Thus when the prodigal came to himself, he said, “I perish with hunger ; I will arise and go to my father.” Truly the service of sin is hard service, and none but such as are mad will remain in it of choice.
p Rom. vi. 23,
content to go back; what our country will afford, I do here promise to give thee.
Chr. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of princes; and how can I with fairness go back with thee?
Apol. Thou hast done in this according to the proverb, “ Changed a bad for a worse;" but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me. Do thou so too, and all shall be well
Chr. I have given him my faith, and sworn my. allegiance to him: how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor ?
APOL. Thou didst the same to me, and yet I am willing to pass by all, if now thou wilt turn again, and go back.
CHR. What I promised thee was in my nonage; and besides, I count that the Prince under whose banner now I stand, is able to absolve me ; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee: and, besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; and therefore leave off to persuade me further ; I am his servant, and I will follow him. · APOL. Consider again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way that thou goest. Thou knowest that, for the most part, his servants come to an ill end, because they
8 Here the father of lies delivers a most awful truth; but, like himself, backs it with a lying promise. Most dreadful to think of, to set out in the profession of Jesus, and again to turn back to the service of Satan! yet how common is this !--Such. reject Christ's truth, and believe the devil's lie, “ that all shall be well." But their end is ill, and their lot damnation.
Apollyon tempts Christian.
are transgressors against me and my ways. How many of them have been put to shameful deaths! And besides, thou countest his service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place where he is, to deliver any that served him out of their enemies' hands : but, as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have I de. livered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them; and so I will deliver thee'.
CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end : and, as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account: but for present deliverance, they do not much expect it; for they stay for their glory, and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the glory of the angels'.
APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him: and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?
CHR. Wherein, O Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to him ? : - APOL. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the gulf of Despond : thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldst have staid till thy Prince had taken it off: thou didst sinfully sleep, and lose thy choice things : thou wast also almost persuaded to go back at the sight of the lions : and when thou talkest of thy journey, and of what thou hast heard
ang 9 Mark the many subtle ways and artful reasonings of Satan, to prevent pilgrims from persevering in the way of the Lord. Happy
for us not to be ignorant of Satani's devices ! : 1 Here is the precious fruit of living faith. Well might Paul say, “ Above all (or over all] taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one, " Eph. ví. 16., 1.
e s . ,!; no! ' s of
Apollyon defies Christian.
and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.
Chr. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out: but the Prince whom I serve and honour, is merciful and ready to forgive. But besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country: for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, being sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince?.
APOL. Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and people : I am come out on purpose to withstand thee. .
CHR. Apollyon, beware what you do; for I am in the King's highway, the way of holiness; therefore take heed to yourself.
APOL. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter. Prepare thyself to die ; for I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no further : here will I spill thy soul.
And with that he threw a flaming dart. at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that*.
2 Satan is justly styled the accuser of the brethren of Christ, Rev. x. 12 ; for he accuseth them before God, and to their own consciences. “But they overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony", Rev. xii. 11, namely, “ that they have redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of their sins,” Eph. i. 7.
s It is the best way to own Satan's charges, if they be true, and to exalt the riches of the grace of Christ in pardoning them freely. By thus humbling ourselves, and exalting Christ, Satan can get no advantage over us, though this will put him into a rage against us.
+ The shield of faith: a firm persuasion of what Christ had done for him, was to him, and what he was able and willing to do for his soul. The Lord hath delivered, and he will deliver.