Adventures on the Enchanted Ground
I saw then in my dream, that they went till they came into a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of sleep; wherefore he said unto Christian, I do now begin to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes; let us lie down here, and take one nap.270
CHR. By no means, said the other; lest, sleeping, we never awake more.
HOPE. Why, my brother? Sleep is sweet to the labouring man; we may be refreshed if we take a nap.271
Christian, Hopeful and Atheist
CHR. Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground?272 He meant by that, that we should beware of sleeping; “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober”273 (1 Thess. 5:6).
HOPE. I acknowledge myself in a fault; and had I been here alone, I had by sleeping run the danger of death. I see it is true that the wise man saith, “Two are better than one.” Hitherto hath thy company been my mercy, and thou shalt have a good reward for thy labour. (Eccl. 4:9).CHR. Now then, said Christian, to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.
HOPE. With all my heart, said the other.
CHR. Where shall we begin?
HOPE. Where God began with us. But do you begin, if you please.
CHR. I will sing you first this song—
When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together:
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep ope their drowsy slumb’ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be manag’d well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.
CHR. Then Christian began, and said, I will ask you a question. How came you to think at first of so doing as you do now?
HOPE. Do you mean, how came I at first to look after the good of my soul?
CHR. Yes, that is my meaning.
HOPE. I continued a great while in the delight of those things which were seen and sold at our fair; things which, I believe now, would have, had I continued in them still, drowned me in perdition and destruction.
CHR. What things were they?
HOPE. All the treasures and riches of the world. Also I delighted much in rioting, revelling, drinking, swearing, lying, uncleanness, Sabbath-breaking, and what not, that tended to destroy the soul. But I found at last, by hearing and considering of things that are Divine, which indeed I heard of you, as also of beloved Faithful, that was put to death for his faith and good living in Vanity Fair, that “the end of these things is death” (Rev. 6:21–23). And that for these things’ sake, “cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6).
CHR. And did you presently fall under the power of this conviction?
HOPE. No, I was not willing presently to know the evil of sin, nor the damnation that follows upon the commission of it; but endeavoured, when my mind at first began to be shaken with the Word, to shut mine eyes against the light thereof.
CHR. But what was the cause of your carrying of it thus to the first workings of God’s blessed Spirit upon you?
HOPE. The causes were, 1. I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. I never thought that by awakenings for sin, God at first begins the conversion of a sinner. 2. Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was loath to leave it. 3. I could not tell how to part with mine old companions, their presence and actions were so desirable unto me. 4. The hours in which convictions were upon me, were such troublesome and such heart-affrighting hours, that I could not bear, no not so much as the remembrance of them upon my heart.274
CHR. Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your trouble?
HOPE. Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again, and then I should be as bad, nay, worse than I was before.
CHR. Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?
HOPE. Many things; as,
1. If I did but meet a good man in the streets; or,
2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or,
3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,
4. If I were told that some of my neighbours were sick; or,
5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or,
6. If I thought of dying myself; or,
7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others;
8. But especially, when I thought of myself, that I must quickly come to judgment.
CHR. And could you at any time, with ease, get off the guilt of sin,275 when, by any of these ways, it came upon you?
HOPE. No, not I, for then they got faster hold of my conscience; and then, if I did but think of going back to sin (though my mind was turned against it), it would be double torment to me.
CHR. And how did you do then?
HOPE. I thought I must endeavour to mend my life; for else, thought I, I am sure to be damned.
CHR. And did you endeavour to mend? HOPE. Yes; and fled from not only my sins, but sinful company too; and betook me to religious duties, as prayer, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbours, etc. These things did I, with many others, too much here to relate.
CHR. And did you think yourself well then?
HOPE. Yes, for a while; but, at the last, my trouble came tumbling upon me again, and that over the neck of all my reformations.
CHR. How came that about, since you were now reformed?
HOPE. There were several things brought it upon me, especially such sayings as these: “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). “When ye shall have done all those things, say, We are unprofitable” (Luke 17:10); with many more such like. From whence I began to reason with myself thus: If ALL my righteousnesses are filthy rags; if, by the deeds of the law, NO man can be justified; and if, when we have done ALL, we are yet unprofitable, then it is but a folly to think of Heaven by the law. I further thought thus: If a man runs a hundred pounds into the shopkeeper’s debt, and after that shall pay for all that he shall fetch; yet, if this old debt stands still in the book uncrossed, for that the shopkeeper may sue him, and cast him into prison till he shall pay the debt. CHR. Well, and how did you apply this to yourself?
HOPE. Why, I thought thus with myself: I have, by my sins, run a great way into God’s book, and that my now reforming will not pay off that score; therefore I should think still, under all my present amendments, But how shall I be freed from that damnation that I have brought myself in danger of, by my former transgressions?
CHR. A very good application; but, pray, go on.
HOPE. Another thing that hath troubled me, even since my late amendments, is, that if I look narrowly into the best of what I do now, I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with the best of that I do; so that now I am forced to conclude, that notwithstanding my former fond conceits of myself and duties, I have committed sin enough in one duty to send me to hell,276 though my former life had been faultless.277
CHR. And what did you do then?
HOPE. Do! I could not tell what to do, until I brake my mind to Faithful, for he and I were well acquainted. And he told me, that unless I could obtain the righteousness of a man that never had sinned, neither mine own, nor all the righteousness of the world, could save me.
CHR. And did you think he spake true?
HOPE. Had he told me so when I was pleased and satisfied with mine own amendment, I had called him fool for his pains; but now, since I see mine own infirmity, and the sin that cleaves to my best performance, I have been forced to be of his opinion.
CHR. But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you, that there was such a man to be found, of whom it might justly be said, that He never committed sin?
HOPE. I must confess the words at first sounded strangely, but after a little more talk and company with him, I had full conviction about it.
CHR. And did you ask him what man this was, and how you must be justified by Him?
HOPE. Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, that dwelleth on the right hand of the Most High. And thus, said he, you must be justified by Him, even by trusting to what He hath done by Himself in the days of His flesh, and suffered when He did hang on the tree. I asked him further, how that man’s righteousness could be of that efficacy to justify another before God? And he told me He was the mighty God, and did what He did, and died the death also, not for Himself, but for me; to whom His doings, and the worthiness of them, should be imputed, if I believed on Him (Heb. 10; Rom. 4; Col. 1; 1 Peter 1).
CHR. And what did you do then?
HOPE. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought He was not willing to save me.
CHR. And what said Faithful to you then?
HOPE. He bid me go to Him and see. Then I said it was presumption; but he said, No, for I was invited to come (Matt. 11:28). Then he gave me a book of Jesus, His inditing, to encourage me the more freely to come; and he said, concerning that book, that every jot and tittle thereof stood firmer than Heaven and earth (Matt. 24:35). Then I asked him, What I must do when I came; and he told me, I must entreat upon my knees, with all my heart and soul, the Father to reveal Him to me (Psa. 95:6; Dan. 6:10; Jer. 29:12, 13). Then I asked him further, how I must make my supplication to Him? And he said, Go, and thou shalt find Him upon a mercy-seat, where He sits all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. I told him that I knew not what to say when I came. And he bid me say to this effect, God be merciful to me a sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see, that if His righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away.278 Lord, I have heard that Thou art a merciful God, and hast ordained that Thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world; and moreover, that thou art willing to bestow Him upon such a poor sinner as I am (and I am a sinner indeed), Lord, take therefore this opportunity, and magnify Thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through Thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen. (Exo. 25:22; Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89; Heb. 4:16).
CHR. And did you do as you were bidden?
HOPE. Yes; over, and over, and over.
CHR. And did the Father reveal His Son to you?
HOPE. Not at the first, nor second, nor third, nor fourth, nor fifth; no, nor at the sixth time neither.
CHR. What did you do then?
HOPE. What! why I could not tell what to do.
CHR. Had you not thoughts of leaving off praying?
HOPE. Yes, a hundred times twice told.
CHR. And what was the reason you did not?
HOPE. I believed that that was true which had been told me, to wit, that without the righteousness of this Christ, all the world could not save me; and therefore, thought I with myself, if I leave off I die, and I can but die at the throne of grace. And withal, this came into my mind, “Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3). So I continued praying until the Father showed me His Son.279
CHR. And how was He revealed unto you?
HOPE. I did not see Him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of my understanding (Eph. 1:18, 19); and thus it was: One day I was very sad, I think sadder than at any one time in my life, and this sadness was through a fresh sight of the greatness and vileness of my sins. And as I was then looking for nothing but hell, and the everlasting damnation of my soul, suddenly, as I thought, I saw the Lord Jesus look down from Heaven upon me, and saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
But I replied, Lord, I am a great, a very great sinner. And He answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee”280 (2 Cor. 12:9). Then I said, But, Lord, what is believing? And then I saw from that saying, “He that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst”; that believing and coming was all one; and that he that came, that is, ran out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ (John 6:35). Then the water stood in mine eyes, and I asked further, But, Lord, may such a great sinner as I am, be indeed accepted of Thee, and be saved by Thee? And I heard him say, “And him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Then I said, But how, Lord, must I consider of Thee in my coming to Thee, that my faith may be placed aright upon Thee? Then He said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). “He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). “He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). “He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5). “He is mediator betwixt God and us” (1 Tim. 2:5). “He ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Heb. 7:25). From all which I gathered, that I must look for righteousness in His person, and for satisfaction for my sins by His blood; that what He did in obedience to His Father’s law, and in submitting to the penalty thereof, was not for Himself, but for him that will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful. And now was my heart full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affections running over with love to the name, people, and ways of Jesus Christ.281
CHR. This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed; but tell me particularly what effect this had upon your spirit.282
HOPE. It made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all the righteousness thereof, is in a state of condemnation. It made me see that God the Father, though He be just, can justly justify the coming sinner. It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance; for there never came thought into my heart before now, that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus; yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.283
I saw then in my dream that Hopeful looked back and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, coming after. Look, said he to Christian, how far yonder youngster loitereth behind.
CHR. Aye, aye, I see him; he careth not for our company.
HOPE. But I trow it would not have hurt him, had he kept pace with us hitherto.
CHR. That is true; but I warrant you he thinketh otherwise.
HOPE. That I think he doth; but, however, let us tarry for him. So they did.
Then Christian said to him, Come away, man, why do you stay so behind?
IGNOR. I take my pleasure in walking alone, even more a great deal than in company, unless I like it the better.284
Then said Christian to Hopeful (but softly), Did I not tell you he cared not for our company? But, however, said he, come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Then, directing his speech to Ignorance, he said, Come, how do you? How stands it between God and your soul now?
IGNOR. I hope well; for I am always full of good motions, that come into my mind, to comfort me as I walk (Prov. 28:26).
CHR. What good motions? pray, tell us.
IGNOR. Why, I think of God and Heaven.
CHR. So do the devils and damned souls.
IGNOR. But I think of them, and desire them.285
CHR. So do many that are never like to come there. “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing” (Prov. 13:4).
IGNOR. But I think of them, and leave all for them.
CHR. That I doubt; for leaving all is a hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and Heaven?
IGNOR. My heart tells me so.
IGNOR. This is spoken of an evil heart, but mine is a good one.
CHR. But how dost thou prove that?
IGNOR. It comforts me in hopes of Heaven.
CHR. That may be through its deceitfulness; for a man’s heart may minister comfort to him in the hopes of that thing, for which he yet has no ground to hope.
IGNOR. But my heart and life agree together, and therefore my hope is well grounded.
CHR. Who told thee that thy heart and life agree together?
IGNOR. My heart tells me so.
CHR. Ask my fellow if I be a thief! Thy heart tells thee so! Except the Word of God beareth witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.
IGNOR. But is it not a good heart that hath good thoughts? and is not that a good life that is according to God’s commandments?
CHR. Yea, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts, and that is a good life that is according to God’s commandments; but it is one thing, indeed, to have these, and another thing only to think so.
IGNOR. Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life according to God’s commandments?
CHR. There are good thoughts of divers kinds; some respecting ourselves, some God, some Christ, and some other thing.
IGNOR. What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?
CHR. Such as agree with the Word of God.
IGNOR. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the Word of God?
CHR. When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves which the Word passes. To explain myself—the Word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, “There is none righteous, there is none that doeth good” (Rom. 3). It saith also, that “every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually” (Gen. 6:5). And again, “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). Now then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the Word of God.
IGNOR. I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.
CHR. Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life. But let me go on. As the Word passeth a judgment upon our heart, so it passeth a judgment upon our ways; and when our thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgment which the Word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.
IGNOR. Make out your meaning.
CHR. Why, the Word of God saith that man’s ways are crooked ways; not good, but perverse (Psa. 125; Prov. 2:15). It saith they are naturally out of the good way, that they have not known it (Rom. 3). Now, when a man thus thinketh of his ways; I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart humiliation, thus think, then hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgment of the Word of God.287
IGNOR. What are good thoughts concerning God?
CHR. Even as I have said concerning ourselves, when our thoughts of God do agree with what the Word saith of Him; and that is, when we think of His being and attributes as the Word hath taught, of which I cannot now discourse at large; but to speak of Him with reference to us: Then we have right thoughts of God, when we think that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and can see sin in us when and where we can see none in ourselves; when we think He knows our inmost thoughts, and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open unto His eyes; also, when we think that all our righteousness stinks in His nostrils, and that, therefore, He cannot abide to see us stand before Him in any confidence, even in all our best performances.
IGNOR. Do you think that I am such a fool as to think God can see no further than I? or, that I would come to God in the best of my performances?
CHR. Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
IGNOR. Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.
CHR. How! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not thy need of Him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou dost, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see a necessity of Christ’s personal righteousness to justify thee before God.288 How, then, dost thou say, I believe in Christ?
IGNOR. I believe well enough for all that.
CHR. How dost thou believe?
IGNOR. I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through His gracious acceptance of my obedience to His law. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to His Father, by virtue of His merits; and so shall I be justified.289
CHR. Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.
1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the Word.
2. Thou believest with a false faith; because it taketh justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and applies it to thy own.290
3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy actions’ sake, which is false.291
4. Therefore, this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath, in the day of God Almighty; for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon flying for refuge unto Christ’s righteousness, which righteousness of His is not an act of grace, by which He maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God; but His personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands; this righteousness, I say, true faith accepteth; under the skirt of which, the soul being shrouded, and by it presented as spotless before God, it is accepted, and acquit from condemnation.292
IGNOR. What! would you have us trust to what Christ, in His own person, has done without us? This conceit would loosen the reins of our lust, and tolerate us to live as we list; for what matter how we live, if we may be justified by Christ’s personal righteousness from all, when we believe it?
CHR. Ignorance is thy name, and as thy name is, so art thou; even this thy answer demonstrateth what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is, to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love His name, His Word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest.
HOPE. Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from Heaven.293
IGNOR. What! you are a man for revelations! I believe that what both you, and all the rest of you, say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains.
HOPE. Why, man! Christ is so hid in God from the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that He cannot by any man be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals Him to them.294
IGNOR. That is your faith, but not mine; yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.
CHR. Give me leave to put in a word. You ought not so slightly to speak of this matter; for this I will boldly affirm, even as my good companion hath done, that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father (Matt. 11:27); yea, and faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon Christ, if it be right, must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of His mighty power; the working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance, thou art ignorant of (1 Cor. 12:3; Eph 1:18, 19). Be awakened then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and by His righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, for He Himself is God, thou shalt be delivered from condemnation.295
IGNOR. You go so fast, I cannot keep pace with you. Do you go on before; I must stay a while behind.296
Then they said—
Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be,
To slight good counsel, ten times given thee?
And if thou yet refuse it, thou shalt know,
Ere long, the evil of thy doing so.
Remember, man, in time, stoop, do not fear;
Good counsel taken well, saves: therefore hear.
But if thou yet shalt slight it, thou wilt be
The loser (Ignorance) I’ll warrant thee.
Then Christian addressed thus himself to his fellow—
CHR. Well, come, my good Hopeful, I perceive that thou and I must walk by ourselves again.
So I saw in my dream that they went on apace before, and Ignorance he came bobbling after. Then said Christian to his companion, It pities me much for this poor man, it will certainly go ill with him at last.
HOPE. Alas! there are abundance in our town in his condition, whole families, yea, whole streets, and that of pilgrims too; and if there be so many in our parts, how many, think you, must there be in the place where he was born?
CHR. Indeed the Word saith, “He hath blinded their eyes, lest they should see,” etc. But now we are by ourselves, what do you think of such men? Have they at no time, think you, convictions of sin, and so consequently fears that their state is dangerous?
HOPE. Nay, do you answer that question yourself, for you are the elder man.
CHR. Then I say, sometimes (as I think) they may; but they being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts.
HOPE. I do believe, as you say, that fear tends much to men’s good, and to make them right, at their beginning to go on pilgrimage.
HOPE. How will you describe right fear?
CHR. True or right fear is discovered by three things—
1. By its rise; it is caused by saving convictions for sin.
2. It driveth the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
3. It begetteth and continueth in the soul a great reverence of God, his Word, and ways, keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left, to anything, that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully.298
HOPE. Well said; I believe you have said the truth. Are we now almost got past the Enchanted Ground?
CHR. Why, art thou weary of this discourse?
HOPE. No, verily, but that I would know where we are.
CHR. We have not now above two miles further to go thereon. But let us return to our matter. Now the ignorant know not that such convictions as tend to put them in fear are for their good, and therefore they seek to stifle them.
HOPE. How do they seek to stifle them?
CHR. 1. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil (though indeed they are wrought of God); and, thinking so, they resist them as things that directly tend to their overthrow. 2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith, when, alas for them, poor men that they are, they have none at all! and therefore they harden their hearts against them. 3. They presume they ought not to fear; and therefore, in despite of them, wax presumptuously confident. 4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self-holiness,299 and therefore they resist them with all their might.
HOPE. I know something of this myself; for, before I knew myself, it was so with me.300
CHR. Well, we will leave, at this time, our neighbour Ignorance by himself, and fall upon another profitable question.
HOPE. With all my heart, but you shall still begin.
CHR. Well then, did you not know, about 10 years ago, one Temporary in your parts, who was a forward man in religion then?301
HOPE. Know him! yes, he dwelt in Graceless, a town about two miles off of Honesty, and he dwelt next door to one Turnback.
CHR. Right, he dwelt under the same roof with him. Well, that man was much awakened once; I believe that then he had some sight of his sins, and of the wages that were due thereto.
HOPE. I am of your mind, for, my house not being above three miles from him, he would ofttimes come to me, and that with many tears. Truly I pitied the man, and was not altogether without hope of him; but one may see, it is not every one that cries, Lord, Lord.
CHR. He told me once that he was resolved to go on pilgrimage, as we do now; but all of a sudden he grew acquainted with one Save-self, and then he became a stranger to me.
HOPE. Now, since we are talking about him, let us a little inquire into the reason of the sudden backsliding of him and such others.
CHR. It may be very profitable, but do you begin.
HOPE. Well then, there are in my judgment four reasons for it—
1. Though the consciences of such men are awakened, yet their minds are not changed; therefore, when the power of guilt weareth away, that which provoked them to be religious ceaseth, wherefore they naturally turn to their own course again, even as we see the dog that is sick of what he has eaten, so long as his sickness prevails, he vomits and casts up all; not that he doth this of a free mind (if we may say a dog has a mind), but because it troubleth his stomach; but now, when his sickness is over, and so his stomach eased, his desire being not at all alienate from his vomit, he turns him about and licks up all, and so it is true which is written, “The dog is turned to his own vomit again” (2 Peter 2:22).302 Thus I say, being hot for Heaven, by virtue only of the sense and fear of the torments of hell, as their sense of hell, and the fears of damnation, chills and cools, so their desires for Heaven and salvation cool also. So then it comes to pass, that when their guilt and fear is gone, their desires for Heaven and happiness die, and they return to their course again.303
2. Another reason is, they have slavish fears that do overmaster them; I speak now of the fears that they have of men, for “the fear of man bringeth a snare” (Prov. 29:25). So then, though they seem to be hot for Heaven, so long as the flames of hell are about their ears, yet, when that terror is a little over, they betake themselves to second thoughts; namely, that it is good to be wise, and not to run (for they know not what) the hazard of losing all, or, at least, of bringing themselves into unavoidable and unnecessary troubles, and so they fall in with the world again.
3. The shame that attends religion lies also as a block in their way; they are proud and haughty, and religion in their eye is low and contemptible; therefore, when they have lost their sense of hell and wrath to come, they return again to their former course.
4. Guilt, and to meditate terror, are grievous to them. They like not to see their misery before they come into it; though perhaps the sight of it first, if they loved that sight, might make them fly whither the righteous fly and are safe. But because they do, as I hinted before, even shun the thoughts of guilt and terror, therefore, when once they are rid of their awakenings about the terrors and wrath of God, they harden their hearts gladly, and choose such ways as will harden them more and more.
CHR. You are pretty near the business, for the bottom of all is, for want of a change in their mind and will. And therefore they are but like the felon that standeth before the judge, he quakes and trembles, and seems to repent most heartily, but the bottom of all is the fear of the halter; not that he hath any detestation of the offence, as is evident, because, let but this man have his liberty, and he will be a thief, and so a rogue still, whereas, if his mind were changed, he would be otherwise.
HOPE. Now, I have showed you the reasons of their going back, do you show me the manner thereof.304
CHR. So I will, willingly.
1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.
3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.
4. After that, they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.
5. Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly; and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmity they have espied in them) behind their backs.
6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.
7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.
8. After this, they begin to play with little sins openly.
9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.305
Now I saw in my dream, that by this time the Pilgrims were got over the Enchanted Ground, and entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant, the way lying directly through it, they solaced themselves there for a season (Isa. 62:4). Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land (Song. 2:10–12). In this country the sun shineth night and day; wherefore this was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair, neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle.306 Here they were within sight of the city they were going to, also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof; for in this land the Shining Ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of Heaven. In this land also the contract between the bride and the bridegroom was renewed; yea, here, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so did their God rejoice over them” (Isa. 62:5). Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place they met with abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage (v. 8). Here they heard voices from out of the city, loud voices, saying, “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh! Behold, His reward is with Him!” (v. 11). Here all the inhabitants of the country called them, “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord, Sought out,” etc. (v. 12).
Now, as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound; and drawing near to the city, they had yet a more perfect view thereof. It was builded of pearls and precious stones, also the street thereof was paved with gold; so that by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick. Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease.307 Wherefore, here they lay by it a while, crying out, because of their pangs, “If ye find my Beloved, tell Him that I am sick of love308 (Song. 5:8).
But being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold, the gardener stood in the way, to whom the Pilgrims said, Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these? He answered, They are the King’s, and are planted here for His own delight, and also for the solace of pilgrims. So the gardener had them into the vineyards, and bid them refresh themselves with the dainties (Deut. 23:24). He also showed them there the King’s walks, and the arbours, where He delighted to be; and here they tarried and slept.309
Now I beheld in my dream, that they talked more in their sleep at this time than ever they did in all their journey; and being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me, Wherefore musest thou at the matter? It is the nature of the fruit of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly, as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak.310
So I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up to the city. But, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the city (for “the city was pure gold),” (Rev. 21:18), was so extremely glorious, that they could not, as yet, with open face behold it, but through an instrument made for that purpose (2 Cor. 3:18). So I saw, that as they went on, there met them two men, in raiment that shone like gold; also their faces shone as the light.311
These men asked the Pilgrims whence they came; and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way; and they told them. Then said the men that met them, You have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the city.312
Christian then, and his companion, asked the men to go along with them; so they told them they would. But, said they, you must obtain it by your own faith. So I saw in my dream that they went on together, until they came in sight of the gate.
Now, I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over; the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river, the Pilgrims were much stunned: but the men that went with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.313
The Pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate; to which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path, since the foundation of the world, nor shall, until the last trumpet shall sound (1 Cor. 15:51, 52). The Pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them, by which they might escape the river.314 Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said, No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place.
They then addressed themselves to the water; and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head, all his waves go over me! Selah.315
Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then, said Christian, Ah! my friend, “the sorrows of death have compassed me about”; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember, nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words.316 Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother’s head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere awhile, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you.317 And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah, brother! said he, surely if I were right He would now arise to help me; but for my sins He hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, “There are no bands in their death; but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men (Psa. 73:4, 5). These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of His goodness, and live upon Him in your distresses.318 Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole;319 and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, O! I see Him again, and He tells me, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (Isa. 43:2). Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over.320 Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.321 Now you must note that the city stood upon a mighty hill, but the Pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms; also, they had left their mortal garments behind them in the river, for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They, therefore, went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds.322 They, therefore, went up through the regions of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted, because they safely got over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.323
The talk they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory of the place; who told them that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is the “Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:22–24). You are going now, said they, to the paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; and when you come there, you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity (Rev. 2:7; 3:4; 22:5). There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth, to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death, “for the former things are passed away.” You are now going to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and to the prophets—men that God hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now resting upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness324 (Isa. 57:1, 2; 65:17). The men then asked, What must we do in the holy place? To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comforts of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King by the way (Gal. 6:7). In that place you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One, for “there you shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). There also you shall serve Him continually with praise, with shouting and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again, that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy receive, even every one that follows into the holy place after you. There also shall you be clothed with glory and majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of glory. When He shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall come with Him; and when He shall sit upon the throne of judgment, you shall sit by Him; yea, and when He shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them be angels or men, you also shall have a voice in that judgment, because they were His and your enemies (1 Thess. 4:13–17; Jude 14; Dan. 7:9, 10; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3). Also when He shall again return to the city, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with Him.
MINISTERING SPIRITS MEET CHRISTIAN AND HOPEFUL
Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom it was said, by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all for His holy name; and He hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). There came out also at this time to meet them, several of the King’s trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises, and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with 10,000 welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting, and sound of trumpet.
This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left (as it were to guard them through the upper regions), continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high; so that the very sight was to them that could behold it, as if Heaven itself was come down to meet them.325 Thus, therefore, they walked on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother, how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them; and now were these two men, as it were, in Heaven, before they came at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing of their melodious notes. Here also they had the city itself in view, and they thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome them thereto. But above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there, with such company, and that forever and ever. O by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed!326 And thus they came up to the gate.
Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over it in letters of gold, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
Then I saw in my dream, that the Shining Men bid them call at the gate; the which, when they did, some looked from above over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, etc., to whom it was said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate,327 which they had received in the beginning; those, therefore, were carried into the King, who, when He had read them, said, Where are the men? To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate. The King then commanded to open the gate, “That the righteous nation,” said He, “which keepeth the truth, may enter in”328 (Isa. 26:2).
Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them—the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, “ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD.”329 I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, “BLESSING, AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND POWER, BE UNTO HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB, FOREVER AND EVER” (Rev. 5:13).
Now just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and, behold, the City shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal. There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord” (Rev. 4:8). And after that, they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side; but he soon got over, and that without half that difficulty which the other two men met with.330 For it happened that there was then in that place, one Vain-hope,331 a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over; so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come up to the gate, only he came alone; neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement. When he was come up to the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, Whence came you? and what would you have? He answered, I have eat and drank in the presence of the King, and He has taught in our streets. Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King; so he fumbled in his bosom for one, and found none. Then said they, Have you none? But the man answered never a word. So they told the King, but He would not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City, to go out and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away. Then they took him up, and carried him through the air, to the door that I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of Heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction!332 So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.