« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Faithful gives an Account of himself.
it:-but, for the lions, I think they were asleep; for it was about noon:-and, because I had so much of the day before me, I passed the Porter, and came down the hill.
Chr. He told me, indeed, that he saw you go by; but I wish you had called at the house, for they would have shewed you so many rarities, that you would scarce have forgot them to the day of your death.—Put pray tell me, did you meet nobody in the Valley of H mility ?
Faith. Yes, I met with one Discontent, who would willingly have persuaded me to go back again with him : his reason was, for that the valley was altó. gether without honour. He told me, moreover, that there to go was the way to disoblige all my friends, as Pride, Arrogancy, Self-conceit, Worldly-glory, with others, who he knew, as he said, would be very much offended if I made such a fool of myself as to wade through this valley.
Chr. Well, and how did you answer him ?
Faith. I told him, that although all these that he named might claim kindred of me, and that rightly (for indeed they were my relations according to the flesh;) yet since I became a pilgrim they have disowned me, as I also have rejected them, and there. fore they are to me now no more than if they had never been of my lineage. I told him, moreover, that as to this valley, he had quite misrepresented the thing; for “before honour is humility,” and "a haughty spirit before a fall.” Therefore, said I; I had rather go through this valley to the honour
6 Here observe the difference of experience of divers Christians in regard to the enemies they meet with. We do not read that Christian was so attacked by Discontent as Faithful was; but yet Faithful reasoned, and got the better of his enemy. Some pilgrims have much fewer temptations tò discontent than others.
Faithful meets with Shame.
HR. Mere esteemed by th
that was so accounted by the wisest, than choose that which he esteemed most worthy our affections.
Chr. Met you with nothing else in that valley ?
Faith. Yes, I met with Shame ; but of all the men that I met with in my pilgrimage, he, I think, bears the wrong name. The other would be said nay, after a little argumentation and somewhat else; but that bold-faced Shame would never have done.
Chr. Why, what did he say to you?
Faith. What! why he objected against religion itself: he said, it was a pitiful, low, sneaking business for a man to mind religion; he said, that a tender conscience was an unmanly thing; and that for a man to watch over his words and ways, so as to tie up himself from that hectoring liberty that the brave spirits of the times accustom themselves unto, would make him the ridicule of the times. He objected also, that but few mighty, rich, or wise, were ever of my opinion ; nor any of them neither, before they were persuaded to be fools, and to be of a voluntary fondness to venture the loss of all for nobody knows what'. He moreover objected the base and low estate and condition of those that were chiefly the pilgrims of the times in which they lived ; also their ignorance, and want of understanding in all natural science. Yea, he did hold me to it at that rate also about a great many more things than here I relate : as, that it was a shame to sit whining and mourning under a sermon, and a shame to come sighing and groaning home; that it was a shame to ask my neighbour forgiveness for petty faults, or to make restitution where I have taken from any. He said also, that religion made a man grow strange to the great, because of a few vices, which he called by finer names; and made him own and respect the
• John vii. 48. i Cor. i. 26, iii. 18. Phil. iïi. 7-9.
Faithful meets with Shame..
base, because of the same religious fraternity: and is not this, said he, a shame?? CHR. And what did you say to him?
Faith. Say! I could not tell what to say at first. : Yea, he put me so to it, that my blood came up in my face; even this Shame fetched it up, and had almost beat me quite off. But at last I began to consider, that “that which is highly esteemed among .men is had in abomination with God p." And I thought again, this Shame tells me what men are ; but it tells me nothing what God or the word of God is. And I thought, moreover, that at the day of doom we shall not be doomed to death or life, according to the hectoring spirits of the world, but according to the wisdom and law of the Highest. Therefore, thought I, what God says is best, though all the men in the world are against it. Seeing then that God prefers his religion ; seeing God prefers a tender conscience; seeing they that make themselves fools for the kingdom of heaven are wisest; and that the poor man that loveth Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates him-Shame, depart, thou art an enemy to my salvation : shall I ena tertain thee against my sovereign Lord? how then shall I look him in the face at his coming ? should I now be ashamed of his ways and his servants, how. can I expect the blessing ??
But indeed this Shame was a bold villain! I could
7 Nothing can be a stronger proof that we have lost the image of God than that shame which is natural to us, concerning the things of God. This shame, joined to the fear of man, is a very powerful enemy to God's truths, Christ's glory, and our soul's comfort. Better at once get out of our pain, by declaring boldly for Christ and his cause, than stand shivering on the brink of profession, ever dreading the loss of our good name and reputation.
p Luke xvi. 15. Mark viii. 38.
Faithful overcomes Shame.
scarce shake him out of my company; yea, he would be haunting of me, and continually whispering me in the ear, with some or other of the infirmities that attend religion : but at last I told him, it was but in vain to attempt further in this business ; for those things that he disdained, in those did I see most glory: and so at last I got past this importunate one. And when I had shaken him off, then I began to sing
“ The trials that those men do meet withal,
Be vigilant, and quit themselves like men." Chr. I am glad, my brother, that thou didst withstand this villain so bravely; for of all, as thou say. est, I think he has the wrong name: for he is so bold as to follow us in the streets, and to attempt to put us to shame before all men; that is, to make us ashamed of that which is good. But if he was not himself audacious, he would never attempt to do as he does: but let us still resist him; for, notwithstanding all his bravadoes, he promoteth the fool, and none else. " The wise shall inherit glory (said Solomon ;) but shame shall be the promotion of fools"."
8 The experience of Christians perfectly agrees in regard to Shame. No one ever set out for glory, but he was attacked by it in the way. Giving way to shame prevents much glory being brought to the Lord Jesus, who is not ashamed to call us (though we are utterly unworthy of the least of his favours) Brethren, Heb. ii. 11. Alas! we are prone to glory in our shame, and to be ashamed of Christ, of his words, and of his ways, which ought to be our greatest glory.
* Prov. ii. 35,
Christian and Faithful meet with Talkative.
Faith. I think we must cry to Him for hel against Shame, that would have us be valiant for truth upon the earth.
CHR. You say true: but did you meet nobody else in that valley ?
Faith. No, not 1 ; for I had sunshine all the rest of the way through that, and also through the valley of the Shadow of Death.
CHR. It was well for you; I am sure it fared far otherwise with me: I had for a long season, as soon as almost I entered into that valley, a dreadful combat with that foul fiend Apollyon ; yea, I thought verily he would have killed me, especially when he got me down and crushed me under him, as if he would have crushed me to pieces: for as he threw me, my sword flew out of my hand; nay, he told me he was sure of me: but I cried to God, and he heard me, and delivered me out of all my troubles. Then I entered into the valley of the Shadow of Death, and had no light for almost all the way through it. I thought I should have been killed there over and over : but at last day brake, and the sun rose, and I went through that which was behind with far more ease and quiet.
Moreover, I saw in my dream that, as they went on, Faithful, as he chanced to look on one side, saw a man, whose name was Talkative, walking at a distance beside them': for in this place there was room enough for them all to walk. He was a tall man, and something more comely at a distance than at hand. To this man Faithful addressed himself in this manner:
9 There is a great difference between our having notions of, and being able to talk about, the doctrines of grace, and experiencing the grace and power of those doctrines in the heart.“ Look to yourselves, 2 John 8.