J SAW then in my dream, that he went on thus, even until he came at the bottom, where he saw, a little out of the way, three men fast a.leep, with fetters upon their heels. The name of the one was> Simple, another Sloth, and the third Presumption,.
Christian then seeing them lie in this case, went to them, if peradventure he might awake them ; and cried, You are like them that sleep on the top of a mast (a), for the dead sea is under you, a gulph that hath no bottom: awake, therefore, and come away ;. be willing also, and 1 will help you off with your irons. He also told them, If he that gotth about like a roaring lion (A) comes by, you will certainly become a prey to his'teeth. With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in this sort: Simple said, I see no danger: Sloth said, Yet a little more sleep: and Presumption said, Every tub must stand upon its own bottom. And so they lay down to sleep again, and ( hristian went on his way.
Yet was he troubled to think, that men in that danger should so little esteem the kindness of him that so freely offered to help them, both by the awakening of them, counselling of them, and proffering to help them off with their irons. And as he was troubled thereabout, he esjpied two men come tumbling over the wall, on the left hand of the nar-. row way; and they made up %pace to him. The name of the one was Formalist, and the name of the other Hypocrisy. So, as I said, they drew up unto him, who thus entered with them into discourse.
(a) Prov. xxiii. 34. (6) 1 Pet. v. 8.
C/ir. Gentlemen, whence came you, and whither go you?
Form, and Hyp. We were born in the land of Vain-Glory, and are going for praise to Mount Sion.
Chr. Why came you not in at the gate which standeth at the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written, " That he that cometh not in "by thedoor, but climbeth up some other way, the "same is a thief and a robber (c)."
Form, and Hyp. They said, That to go to the gate of entrance, was by all their countrymen counted too far about; and therefore their usual w ay was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall, as they had done.
Chr. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the City, whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will?
Form, and Hyp. T hey told him., That as for that, he needed not to trouble his head thereabout; for what they did, they had custom for, and could produce, if need were, testimony that woald witness it, for more than a thousand years.
Chr. But will your practice stand a trial at law?
Form, and Hyp. They told him, That custom, it being of so long standing as above a thousand years, would doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by an impartial judge: and besides, say they, if we get into the way, what matter which way we get inr If we are in, we are in: thou art but in the way, whq, as we perceive, came in at the gate: and we are also in the way, that came tumbling over the wall: Wherein now is thy condition better than ours ?
Chr. 1 walk by the rule of my Master, you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way, therefore I doubt you will not be found true men at the end.of the way. You came in by yourselves
(c) John x. 1.
without his direction; and shall go out by yourselves, without his mercy.
To this they made him but little answer; only they bid him look to himself. Then baw that they went on every man in his way, without much conference one with another; save that these two men told Christian, that as to laws and ordinances, they doubted not but they should as conscientiously do them as he. Therefore, said they, we see not wherein thou differest from us, but by the coat that is on thy hack, which was, as Me trow, given thee by some of thy neighbour to hide the shame of thy nakedness. 3
Chr. By laws and ordinances you will not be saved (rf), since you cam* not in by the door. And as for this coat that is on my hack, it was given me by the Lord of the place wbithtr 1 go; and that, as you say, to cover my nakedness with. And I take it as a token of kindness to tne; for I had nothing but rags before; and besides, thus I comfort myself as I go: Surely, think I, when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me for good, since I have his coat on my hack! a coat that he gave me freely on the day that he stript me of my rags. I have moreover a mark in my forehead, of which perhaps you have t<ken no notice, which one of my Lord's most intimate associates fixed there in the day that my burden fell off my shoulders. I will tell you,moreover, that I had then given me a roll, sealed, to comfort me by reading as 1 go on the way; I was also bid to give it in at the coelestial gate, in token of my certain going in after it; all which things I doubt you want, and want them, because you came not in at the gate.
To these things they gave him no answer, only they looked upon each otner, and laughed. Tnen I saw that they went on all, save that Christian kept before, who had no more talk but with himself, and
that sometimes sighingly, and sometimes comfortably: also he would be often reading in the roll, that one of the S.lming Ones gave him, by which he was refreshed.
I beheld then, that they all went on till they came to the foot of the hill Difficulty, at the bottom of which was a spring. There were also in the same place two other ways besides that which came straight from the gate; one turned to the left hand, and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill; but the narrow way lay right up the hill; and the name of the way going up to the side of the hill is called Difficulty. Christian now went to the spring (e), and drank thereof to refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill, saying,
The hill, tho' high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend,
For i perceive the way to life lies here;
Come, pluck up heart, Itt's neither faint nor fear:
Better, tho' difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, tho' easy, where the end is woe.
The other two also came to the foot of the hill; but when they saw that the hill was steep and high; and that there were two other ways to go; and supposing also that these two ways meet again with that up which Christian went, on the other side of the hill: therefore they were resolved to go in those ways. Now the name of one of those ways was Danger, and the name of the other Destruction. So the one took the way which is called Danger, which led him into a great wood, and the other took directly up the way to Destruction, which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.
I looked then after Christian, to see him go up the bill, where I perceived he fell froin running to going, and from going to clambering upon his hands
and his knees, because of the steepness of the place, Now about the mid-way to the top of the hill, was a pleasant arbour, made by the Lord of the hill, for the refreshing of weary travellers; thither therefore Christian got, where also he sat down to rest him; then he pulled his roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his cemfort; he also now began afresh to take a review of the coat or garment that was given him as he stood by the cross. Thus pleasing himself a while, he at last fell into a slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him in that place until it was almost night; and in this sleep his roll fell out of his hand. Now as he was sleeping, therecameone to him, and awaked him, sayine, "Go to the ant, "thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise( /)." And with that Christian suddenly started up, and sped him on his way, and went apace till he came to the top of the hill.
Now when he was got to the top of the hillr there came two men running to meet him amain; the name of the one was Timorous, and of the other Mistrust; to whom Christian said, Sirs, what's the matter you run the wrong way; Timorous answered, that they were go;ng to the city of Zion, and had got up that difficult place: but, said he, the farther we go, the more danger we meet with; wherefore we turned, and are going back ajj.ain.
Yes, said Mistrust, for just before us lie a couple of lions in the way; (whether sleeping or waking we know not;) and we could not think, if we came within reach, but they would presently pull us in pieces.
Chr. Then said Christian, you make me afraid; but « hither shall I flee to be safe? If I go back so my own country, that is prepared for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there: If I can get to the ccelestial city, I am sure to be in safety there; 1 must venture: to go back, is nothing but death;
(J) Prov. %\. 6.
to go forward, is fear of death; and life everlasting beyond it: I will yet go forward. So Mistrust and. Timorous ran down tbe hill, and Christian went on his way. But thinking again of what he had heard from the men, he felt in his bosona for his roll, that he might read therein, and be comforted; but he felt, and found it not. Then was Christian in great distress, and knew not what to do; for he wanted that which used to relieve him; and that which should have been his pass into the ccelestial city. Here therefore he began to be much perplexed, and knew not what to do; at last be bethought himself that he had slept in the arbour that is on the side of the hill; and falling down upon his knees he asked God forgiveness for that his foolish act, and then went back tolookfor his roll. But all the way he went back, who can sufficiently set forth the sorrow of Christian's heart? Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept, and oftentimes he chid himself for being so foolish to fall asleep in that place which was erected only for a little refreshment for his weariness. Thus therefore he went back, carefully looking on this side and on that all the way he went, if happily he might fmd the roll that bad been his comfort so many times in his journey. He went on thus, till he came again in sight of the arbour where he sat and slept; but that sight renewed his sorrow the more, by bringing again, even afresh, his evil of sleeping into his mind. Thus therefore he now went on bewailing his sinful sleep, saying, O wretched man that I am! that 1 should sleep in the day time! that I should sleep in the midst of difficulty! that I should so indulge the flesh, as to use that rest for ease of my flesh, 'which the Lord of the hill hath erected only for The' relief of the spirits of pilgrims! How many steps have I took in vaini (thus it happened to Israel : for their sins they were sent back again by the way of the Red Sea) and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which I might have trod with delight, bad it not been for this sinful sleep. How far might I
have been on my wav by this time! I am made to tread those steps thrice over, which I needed not tq have trod but once; yea, now also I am like to be benighted,, for thedav is almost spent: O that I bad not slept! Now by this lime be was come to tiie arbour again, where for a while he sat down and wept; but at last (as Providence would have it) looking sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his roll; the which he with trembling and haste catched up, and put into his bosom. . But who can tell how joyful this man was, when he had gotten his roll again? For this roll was the assurance of his life, and acceptance at the desired haven. Therefore he laid it up in his bosom, gave God -Tfianks for directing his eye to the place where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again to his journey. But, O how nimbly now did he go up the rest of the hill! Yet, before he got up, the sun went down upon Christian ; and this made him again recall the vanity of his sleeping to his remembrance; and thus he again began to condole with himself: O thou sinful sleep! how for thy sike am 1 like to be benighted in my.journey! I mu*t walk without the sun, darkness most cover the path of my feet, and I must hear the noise of doleful creatures, because of my sinful sleep! Now also he remembered the story that Mistrust and Timorous told him of, how they were frighted with the sight of the lions. Then said Christian to himself ayain, these beas's range in the night for their prey, and it' they should meet with me in the dark, how should I shift them! how should I escape being by them torn in pit ces ! Thus he went on his way; but while he wi.s tlius bewailing his unhappy miscarriage, he lifted up his eyes, anil behold there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful, audit stood just by the highway side.
THE Christian, whose heart is happy in the love of God, will feel much "compassion for the ignorant, and them that are out of the way." Thus, when our Pilgrim met with Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, he faithfully warned them of their danger, and offered his kind assistance. How do such characters as these abound, even where the gospel is preached! Some, through ignorance of the law, see no danger. Others are so in love with ease, that their convictions are ineffectual. And others are so presumptuously confident, that they will not come to Christ for life. In vain is all pei•uasion with such, till the Lord open their eyes.
The awful characters of a Formalist and a Hypocrite are next described. Their religion has no other object than the praise of men. Unacquainted with the evil of sin, they see no need of Christ. They think the traditions and customs of men of greater authority than the word of God. They •xpect heaven in the way of sincere obedience 10 laws and ordinances; while they despise Christian on account of hi* greatest glory, the robe on his back, or the righteousness of Christ imputed to him. They alsa laugh at his experience of the Spirit's work, in sanctifying and sealing him to the day of redemption. Such characters as these are too common. God forhid, reader, that either of them should be thine 1
The believer's state en earth is a state of trial; he must meet with difficulties, to prove his faith and love. The hill Difficulty may signify whatever in our walk prov. s irksome lo flesh and blood. Before Christian began to ascend it, he drank of the refreshing spring at the bottom: which intimates, that the Lord often favours his people with peculiar consolation at the approach of great trouble. Thus was he animated to grapple with trials, and not to shun them for the sake of <-ase, at formalist and Hypocrite did, to their eternal ruin. Difficult as the ascent was, he was relieved in the mid-way, by a " w<rd of grace," signified by the " pleasant arbour." He was aho indulged with a fresh view of his evidences for heaven, and the glory of tbe Redeemer's rightpousniss. But even in this happy frame, danger was near. The best blessings, through the remaining cdutuptiou of our nature, may be abusi d. Pleased with the gifts of grace, rather than with the gracious Giver, pride secretly creep's in, and we fall first into a sinful self complacence, and then into indolence and security. This is intended by his falling fast asleep. No wonder that in such a state the christian loses his roll, or in other words, his evidences for heaven, and happy assurance of it.
The evil report of Timorous and Mistrust causes a monientary fear in the Pilgrim's bosom He scarcely knows what to do. liut he reasons like honest Peter; "To whom shall I go? Christ only has the words of eternal life." To go back is certain death; to go forward is indeed attended with the fear of death; but eternal life is beyond, and I must venture. Blessed resolution indeed.
Tn this slate of mind he wishes to review the marks of his adoption, but the roll is lost, and his comfort is gone. What does he do? Is he contented without it, as many antinomians in heart are? No, no, he heartily deplores his great loss; confesses and laments his sinful sloth and carnal indulgence, and accuses himself as the author of his misery. He stirs up himself diligently to recover his assurance of hope, and most thankfully acknowledges the mercy of God in restoring it. Poor backslider, go thou and do likewise!