* The Margeut.
1 1 Bunyan’s own account of his imprisonment, vol. i. pp. 56, 57.
2 2 From a poem by Stephen Colledge, a preaching mechanic, written a few days before he suffered death, August 1681.
3 3 He was called, in Bedford, the grand informer. Such were the indignant feelings of his neighbours, that his widow was unable to hire a hearse, but took his body in a cart to the grave. See Narrative of Proceedings against the Nonconformists at Bedford, 4to, 1670, in the Editor’s possession.
4 4 A fine perfect copy is in the Editor’s library.
5 5 On an ancient painting of Tyndale, the martyr, in possession of the Editor. Under an emblematical device, on one side of the portrait, is the poetical description. The representation is of a book tide to a stake, burning, while a number of similar books are flying out of the fire.
6 6 See Preface to his ‘Confession of Faith,’ vol. ii. p. 593.
7 7 The bank of this river, Ouse, had been famous for the magnificent mausoleum of Offa, king of the Mercians, one of the illustrious murderers and robbers of his time, from whom the Editor’s family, in their, foolish vanity, claim descent; but this, as Camden says, ‘a more violent and swifter stream than ordinary in a flood swouped clean away.’ Upon the bridge being erected, a pier was raised from the river to support the two centre arches; and in this pier was Bunyan’s gloomy prison. This dark place, a fit habitation for cruelty, has also been swept away. The eye of John Howard, in 1788, penetrated into this den, and he thus described it:—‘The men and women felons associate together; their night rooms are two dungeons—only one court for debtors and felons—no infirmary—no bath.’—Howard’s Lazarettoes and Prisons, 4to, 1789, p. 150. Well might Bunyan call it ‘a den!’ the gate-house was pulled down in 1765, and the prison was demolished very soon after Howard had unveiled its gloomy wretchedness. The bridge was only fourteen feet wide; the dungeons must have been small indeed. How strange an apartment did God select for his servant, in which to write this important book!
8 8 A deeply-interesting paper usually appended to Bunyan’s Works, folio, 1692.
9 9 Upon his first release from prison, in 1666, he published ‘Grace Abounding,’ and in the title-page states ‘also what he hath met with in prison. All which was written by his own hand there.’ The Preface to ‘A Defence of Justification’ is dated from prison, 1671. So his ‘Confession:’—‘Thine in bonds for gospel.’
10 10 By Thomas Collins, written on the blank leaf of the fourth edition, 1680, presented to the Editior by—Bullar, Esq., Southampton.
11 11 Charles Doe, in the Struggler.
12 12 This controversy was, whether or not water-baptism is a pre-requisite to receiving the Lord’s Supper, and who is to be the judge as to the mode of its administration. Some of the churches agreed with the Church of England as to their power to decree rites and ceremonies. Not so John Bunyan. He considered that this question should be left to the personal decision of every candidate. The fruits of the new birth, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which alone is the door of admission to the Saviour’s family, was, in his opinion, the only question to be decided by the church, as a pre-requisite to admission to the table of his Lord. See Mat. 3:11; Mar. 1:8; Lu. 3:16; Jn. 1:26–28; compared with He. 6:2, and Eph. 4:5.
13 13 Southey’s Life of Bunyan, xxxii.
14 14 North American Review, vol. lxxix.
15 15 Bunyan’s Works, 8vo. Preface by Rylaud.
16 16 John Gifford had been a major in the King’s army; was convicted for raising an insurrection in Kent, and sentenced to die, but made his escape from prison, and settled in Bedford as a medical practitioner. He was a great persecutor, but became, after his conversion, a Baptist minister, and formed his fellow-converts into a church at Bedford, about 1650, over which he was the minister. Bunyan joined this church in 1653, and eventually became its pastor in 1671; and it continues to this day a flourishing Christian church. His pastoral letter, written a short time before his death, is one of the finest specimens of a pious shepherd’s anxiety for the happiness of his flock that has ever been published. It was printed for the first time in 1849, in A Brief History of Bunyan’s Church, by its present minister, John Jukes. Vide also Brooke’s Lives of the Paritans. vol. iii. p. 257.
17 17 ‘Gospel Truths Vindicated,’ vol. ii. p. 201.
18 18 The public were indebted to Mr. S. J. Button for a new and handsome edition of this work in 1824.
19 19 From February 13 to March 27, 1671.
20 20 Vol. ii. p. 278.
21 21 P. 283.
22 22 Vol. ii. p. 293.
23 23 Design of Christianity, 8vo, 1671, p. 239.
24 24 Ibid. p. 242.
25 25 ‘Defence of the Doctrine of Justification,’ vol. ii. p. 322.
26 26 Dirt wipt off, 4to, 1672, title.
27 27 Ibid. preface.
28 28 Ibid. p. 2.
29 29 Ibid. p. 3. This exactly agrees with the opinion of Justice Chester, expressed at the assizes when Bunyan’s wife so nobly pressed Judge Hale to release him:—‘My lord,’ said Justice Chester, ‘he is a pestilent fellow, there is not such a fellow in the country again.’—Relation of Bunyan’s, Imprisonment, vol. i. p. 57.
30 30 Dirt wipt off, p. 70.
31 31 ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ Part II., Vanity Fair.
32 32 Hat-bands were gay bunches of ribbons and rosettes fastened round the hat or cap.
‘Room for the noble gladiator! see
His coat and hat-band show his quality.’
33 33 Biog. Hist. of England.
34 34 ‘Vindication of Gospel Truths,’ query 8, vol. ii. p. 209.
35 35 See Burroughs’s Works, p. 30.
36 36 That thorough courtier, Lord Halifax, apologizes for him thus:—‘If he dissembled, let us remember that he was a king; and that dissimulation is a jewel in the royal crown.’—Harris’s Charles II, vol. ii. p. 16.
37 37 Declaration from Breda.
38 38 Meaning the restoration of the Stuart dynasty.
39 39 Mr. Roger Cook. Kennet’s History of England, vol. iii. p. 265.
40 40 ‘Grace Abounding,’ No. 335.
41 41 Crosby’s History, vol. ii. p. 184.
42 42 Dr. Cheever’s Lectures.
43 43 This book, with ‘M. Bunyan’ on the title-page, is in the Editor’s possession.
44 44 Paris, 1809, tom. x. p. 71: ‘Huit mille dissenters de toutes les eroyances perirent en prison.’
45 45 Hooke’s Address to both Houses of Parliament, 4to, 1674.
46 46 Ibid.
47 47 Besse’s Sufferings.
48 48 Ibid. vol. i. p. 191.
49 49 Devonshire House, in a volume of tracts 4to, No. 57.
50 50 Evidently written by an eye-witness.
51 51 Christian Examiner, vol. i. p. 211.
52 52 Spelt ‘Roughed’ in the Indulgence, 1672.
53 53 In the library of the Editor.
54 54 Narrative, p. 9.
55 55 Narrative, p. 4.
56 56 See ‘Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love,’ vol. ii. p. 38.
57 57 Sonthey’s Life of Bunyan, p. lxvi.
58 58 Dr. Cheever, p. 95.
59 59 England’s present Interest, 4to, 1675, by Wm. Penn.
60 60 England’s Present Interest, Preface.
61 61 Ibid. p. 39.
62 62 Ibid. p. 57.
63 63 Extracted from the Register of the Privy Council.
64 64 ‘Relation of the Imprisonment of John Bunyan,’ vol. i. pp. 40, 41; and Judge Hale’s observation, p. 42.
65 65 See a similar from of registration in Wilson’s History of Dissenting Churches, vol. iii. p. 187.—The house of Thos. Doolittle, dated April 2, 1672.
66 66 Whitehead’s Christian Progress, 8vo, 1725, p. 358.
67 67 Charles II.’s notion of being pious must have arisen from the flattery bestowed upon his father, it being, impossible to have arisen from any other source. ‘The conceptions of kings are as far above the vulgar as their condition is; for, being higher elevated, and walking upon the battlements of sovereignty, they sooner receive the inspirations of heaven.’—Howel’s Dodona’s Grove, p. 61. [Why not conduct Divine service over the dome of St. Paul’s?]
68 68 Print-room, British Museum.
69 69 See vol. ii. p. 74.
70 70 The Struggler.
71 71 Life, 18mo, 1692; re-published by Ivimey, 1532, p. 31.
72 72 The ‘Holy War,’ in which these lines were inserted.
73 73 Preface to ‘Solomon’s Temple Spiritualized.’
74 74 Vol. i. p. 153.
75 75 Bunyan’s Pilgrim: an Epic Poem by C. C. V. G., 1844, p. 44.
76 76 Montgomery’s Christian Poet.
77 77 Southey’s Life of Bunyan, p. 90.
78 78 Introductory Essay to the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ p. xxv. Collins.
79 79 Dr. Cheever.
80 80 ‘A lye;’ water impregnated with alkaline salt.
81 81 Hence ‘the descent into hell’ in a Popish creed, falsely called ‘the Apostles’ Creed.’
82 82 From a copy in the Editor’s library, printed by Wynkin de Worde.
83 83 British Museum, 21, d.
84 84 The pilgrim’s staff.
85 85 ‘Rather fylthe;’ early pollution, original sin.
86 86 Reader, this is undisguised Popery, published to the world before the Reformation, by the Church of Rome. Judge for yourself. Do Papists pray to the Virgin? Is she their intercessor and saviour?
87 87 Synderesys.
88 88 His staff or vows.
89 89 ‘Bone’ in the poem. The French word not translated.
90 90 ‘A forset;’ a bundle.
91 91 Strange perversion of the words, ‘Ye must be born again!’
92 92 Brothels.
93 93 ‘Heryed;’ praised—from which is derived hurrah.
94 94 ‘Mote;’ must.
95 95 ‘Peregal;’ equal.
96 96 Addit. MSS., Bibl. Eg. 615. It was bought of Mr. Rodd, 1836; but appears to want the first leaf of the text.
97 97 This rare book is in the library of Queen’s College, Oxford. I am indebted to my friend, Mr. Underhill, for the above analysis.
98 98 Guillaime de Guilleville, moine de chaliz. It was printed in Paris by Allerard; not dated, but about the year 1500. Mr. Greswell, in his notice of this book, says, ‘Not only in early ages, but in later also, mankind have been found less willing to be instructed by abstract reasoning, than by fables or similitudes. Hence the popularity of these old religious fictions. The “ Pilgrim’s Progress” of our day confessedly excels all others of its kind. And though some have endeavoured to trace its prototype in earlier works, it was a perfectly spontaneous and original effort of the genius of its unlettered author.’ See Annals of Parisian Typography, p. 245.
99 99 Retrospective Review, vol. ii. p. 327.
100 100 ‘Placarde;’ a stomacher or breastplate, frequently ornamented with jewels.
101 101 ‘Larges;’ a bounty bestowed, a large gift.—Imp. Dict.
102 102 ‘Consuetude;’ custom, common law or equity, as distinguished from statute law or justice.
103 103 Hist. des Hommes illustres, 44 tom. Paris, 1725.
104 104 Vol. i. p. 44.
105 105 Ibid.
106 106 Brit. Mus. Bib. Egert. 846. B.
107 107 Brit. Mus. Eg. 657.
108 108 Brit. Mus. Roy. Lib. 17, c. viii.
109 109 Copied from a fine and perfect MS. in the Editor’s library, chap. xliv.
110 110 Typographical Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 37.
111 111 Melody, from ‘streuen,’ or strain.
112 112 Cap. xliv. part 2.
113 113 It is very surprising that so little appears to be known of this good man; he was a Carthusian monk of Sion, or Shene, and author of about twelve different works.
114 114 ‘Halsed;’ bowed the head, embraced, saluted.
115 115 Richard Whytforde, a monk in the monastery of Syon, near Richmond, on the banks of the Thames.
116 116 ‘Naufrage;’ shipwreck.
117 117 In the Editor’s library. See Renonard Annales, de l’ Imprimarie des Alde, vol. i. p. 397.
118 118 Stockings.
119 119 Armour for the arms.
120 120 Mr. Lowndes, in his Bibliographical Manual, says that Bunyan, in his ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ was much indebted to this Wandering Knight!
121 121 Adieu.
122 122 Edit. Rouen, 1609, 8vo, p. 97.
123 123 P. 160.
124 124 P. 48.
125 125 P. 170.
126 126 P. 221.
127 127 Pp. 371, 372. Edit. 1625.
128 128 In the Editor’s library.
129 129 ‘Gage;’ a pledge or challenge to combat.
130 130 ‘Palmer;’ a pilgrim, from their carrying a branch of palm, especially on return.
131 131 ‘Angels;’ gold coins, one-third of a sovereign, afterwards rained to ten shillings; or the spirits of heaven.
132 132 ‘Foyling;’ pressing, creasing, rumpling.
133 133 Southey.
134 134 Report, May 1836, p. 392.
135 135 See Library of Learning, 8vo, p. 465.
136 136 Pp. 356, 357. This volume is of extreme rarity; it is in the Editor’s library.
137 137 ‘Host;’ the consecrated wafer.
138 138 This also struck Mr. Southey. See his Letter to Sir E. Brydges in his Autobiography, vol. ii. p. 285.
139 139 Lucian’s Works, translated by Tooke, with Wicland’s Notes, 4to, 1820, vol. ii. p. 268.
140 140 Postscript to Wetherall’s Life of Bunyan, prefixed to The Pilgrim, an Epic Poem, by C. C. V. G., Parsons’ Town, 1844.
141 141 Life of Bunyan, p. xci.
142 142 Acts 28:22. This slander was thus published in 1683. In the face of the Baptist Confession of Faith, printed in 1646, presented to Parliament, and many times reprinted, the eleventh Article in which is—‘In the beginning God made all things very good; created man after his own image; full with all meet perfection of nature, and free from all sin; but long he abode not in this honour, Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to seduce, first Eve, then by her, seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed the command of God and fell, whereby death came upon all his posterity, who now are conceived in sin, and, by nature, the children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and other miseries in this world, and for ever, unless the Lord Jeaus Christ set them ,free.’ How marvellous, that a pious clergyman, while presenting to the world the Trial of Sin, should be guilty of so great a piece of iniquity, as this gross and uncalled-for misrepresentation!
143 143 January 1844, p. 32.
144 144 Bolswert was an engraver of great eminence. He illtrated Sucquet’s Via Vitæ Eternœ; the plates to this book are beautifully engraved, and are remarkable for his prolifie imagination in drawing devils.
145 145 ‘Kermes;’ a Flemish fair.
146 146 ‘Anfractuous;’ winding about.
147 147 ‘Gyring;’ full of turnings.
148 148 ‘Closely;’ slily, secretly.
149 149 ‘Clipping;’ swift flying.
150 150 An original copy, in possession of the Editor, pp. 5–7.
151 151 ‘Vindication of Gospel Truths,’ vol. ii. p. 178.
152 152 Southey’s Life of Bunyan, p. 92.
153 153 A most intelligent bookseller, and a great admirer of Bunyan, lent me two volumes, observing that it was universally admitted that the triers had aided our Author; but if he had ever read the triers, it must have tried his patience, and satisfied him that there was not the slightest ground for such an admission.
154 154 Eleventh edition, pp. 135, 136.
155 155 ‘Angel;’ a gold coin, in value one-third of the ancient sovereign.
156 156 In the Editor’s library.
157 157 A copy of this book is preserved in Dunton’s Works, No. 700, A 3, in the British Museum.
158 158 London, 1687.
159 159 The same book was lent to Thos. Scott by Mrs. Gurney, Holborn. See Preface to the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress, with Notes, by the Rev. Thomas Scott.’
160 160 Lent to me by my worthy friend, Mr. Leslie, Bookseller, Great Queen Street.
161 161 Life and Errors of John Danton.
162 162 A perfect copy is also in the Editor’s library.
163 163 One of these books is the memorial of a most valuable Seventh-day Baptist: The Last Legacy of Mr. Joseph Davis, who departed this Life, Feb. 16, 1706–7;, being a Brief Account of the most Material Circumstances of his Life and Profession. Written by himself, and given at his Funeral to his Friends and Acquaintances, &c. Withia a black border. Another book used for this purpose was Dr. Bates’s Everlasting Rest of the Saints in Heaven. My copy has, within a black border, ‘In remembrance of Mrs. Mary Cross, the late wife of Mr. John Cross, &c. &c. This book she had a particular respect for; and therefore it is hoped it will by her Friends be more acceptable than Gloves.’ It is bound in black, with a gilt skull and cross-bones on the cover. Another of these volumes was Dr. Bates’s Four Last Things, with his Portrait. On the title is printed, ‘Recommended as proper to be given at Funerals.’ Second edition, 1691. It is dedicated to Rachel Lady Russel. See the bookseller’s advertisement, as to custom of giving a book at funerals.
164 164 All these editions are in the Editor’s library.
165 165 The first edition is in the British Museum, but it has no title. The Life which is appended to it has the date 1692.
166 166 Preface to the first edition of the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ with Mr. Newton’s Notes. 12mo, London, 1776. Many times reprinted.
167 167 Preface to Bunyan’s Works. 8vo, 1792.
168 168 In possession of S. J. Button, Esq., Raequet Court; of Mr. Gammon, Bethnal Green; and of the Editor. This singnlar note, by Mr. Mason, is reprinted in an edition of which many thousand copies were sold, published by Plummer and Brewis, Love Lane, Eastcheap. 12mo, 1813.
169 169 It is correct in the edition of 1728, of which Lord Ashburnham and the Editor have very fine copies.
170 170 With Scott’s Notes and Montgomery’s Essay. Glasgow, by Collins.
171 171 Editions with Mason’s Notes, and in the first with Sturt’s Plates, 1728.
172 172 Sturt’s edition, p. 167.
173 173 Editions by Birds and Co., Edinburgh, 8vo; Mosley, Gainsborough, 1792, &c.; London, with Newton’s Notes, 1776; and by D. Bunyan, 1768.
174 174 It occurs also in an edition by Hodson and Deighton, London, 1792.
175 175 Sturt’s edition, p. 9.
176 176 P. 178.
177 177 Gentleman’s Magazine, April 1844. It is in a small 12mo, the price of which is 6s.!
178 178 Buyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ Romaic, by S. J. Bilson. 8vo, Melitæ, 1824. Brit. Mus. Addl. Books.
179 179 See Lists by Tract Society, in Report, 1847; and in The Pilgrim, a tract. Also, copies in possession of the Editor.
180 180 Uniformly spelt, on this book, ceur.
181 181 A fine copy is in the library of S. J. Button, Esq., Racquet Court, Fleet street.
182 182 British Museum, 1113, b.
183 183 In possession of Mr. Thornton, the Cottage, Clapham Common.
184 184 A fine copy on possession of the Editor.
185 185 Books sold by hawkers.
186 186 Sturt and Strut were men of a different era.
187 187 The meeting of Christian and Faithful, one of them with a crucifix; the destruction of By-ends, &c.
188 188 See page 47.
189 189 Page 60.
190 190 A perfect copy in the library of W. B. Gurney, Esq.; and another in the library of Lord Ashburnham. Mr. Pickering has one without the translator’s name: this is merely a new title, probably to make the rhyme pass as Bunyan’s. It is referred to by Mr. Southey in his Life of Bunyan, p. xcvii.
191 191 Post 8vo, Harding and King, 1834.
192 192 Post 8vo, London, 1835.
193 193 Postscript to a Life of Bunyan, 1844.
194 194 Brit. Mus. 113, b.; Editor’s library.
195 195 Thomas Scott, author of the Commentary on the Bible, and other valuable works. Sir James Stephen, in his Ecclesiastical Biography, says of Thomas Scott—‘He died neglected, if not despised, by the hierarchy of the church of England; although in him she lost a teacher, weighed against whom the most reverend, right reverend, very reverend, and venerable personages, if all thrown together into the opposing scale, would at once have kicked the beam.’—Vol. ii. p. 123.
196 196 12mo, with Plates. coventry, 1797.
197 197 Pritchard’s Life of Ivimey, p. 139.
198 198 P. 245.
199 199 British Museum, 1103, e.
200 200 King’s Library. British Museum, 245, f. 7.
201 201 Page 63.
202 202 In the Editor’s Library. First Edition. 1800 and Seventh Edition, 1801.
203 203 British Museum.
204 204 Page 113.
205 205 Mrs. Piozzi’s Anecdotes.
206 206 Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 8vo, vol. ii. p.219.
207 207 Macaulay, Edinburgh Review, 1831.
208 208 At church, obliged to sit still, while a dull parson read equally dull sermons.
209 209 Private Life of Franklin.
210 210 Life and Writings of Toplady. Works, vol. i. p. 40. 8vo, 1825. It may be true that Patrick’s Pilgrim was intended as an antidote to what he considered the fanaticism of Bunyan’s other writings, but the Bishop’s Pilgrim was published prior to that of John Bunyan.
211 211 8vo. Paris, 1810, tom. iii. p. 412.
212 212 Lord Campbell’s Lives of the Chief Justices, vol. i. p. 561.
213 213 Published by Rickerby, Sherborne Lane, 1838.
214 214 See Harris’s Life of Charles II., vol. ii. p. 106, &c.
215 215 Ibid. p. 120.
216 216 Burroughs’s Works, folio, p. 305.
217 217 Relation of the life and Death of John Child, 1734.
218 218 Book i–vii.
219 219 Book ii–iii.
220 220 Edinburgh Review, December 1831.
221 221 State Trials; and also published at the time, price 2d.
222 222 Margiual note to Second Part of the ‘Pilgrim.’
223 223 See vol. ii. p. 530.
224 224 December 1831.
225 225 Donne’s Thesis, p. 26.
226 226 Page 28.
227 227 Barton’s Minor Poems, p. 75. 1824, fep. 8vo.
228 228 Vol. ii. p. 570; Treatise on ‘Christian Behaviour;’ see also the ‘Pilgrim,’ Part II., of the garden in the Interpreter’s house.
229 229 Herbert’s Synagogue, p. 1.
230 230 Herbert’s Synagogue, p. 15.
231 231 The last words of Christiana were—‘ I come, Lord, to be with thee, and bless thee.’
——‘How my heart
Longs, JESUS, for thy coming! to set free,
Th’ imprison’d pilgrim from frail flesh and sin,
From evil and from death, to wing her way,
Her joyful way, to liberty and thee!’
1 1 In 1683, the year before Bunyan published his Second Part, a little volume was printed under the same title, by some anonymous author; for a description of it, see the Introduction (p. 57)-(ED).
2 2 While the carnal heart is in a state of such bitter enmity against the Gospel, it requires wisdom to introduce the subject of religion; still we have a duty to perform, even if the truth should prove a savour of death unto death. We must live the Gospel in the sight of such, and not be daunted from inviting them to become pilgrims to the Celestial City—(ED).
3 3 I went over the Tract House in New York, and was delighted to see there six steam-presses. During the last year, they printed 17,000 copies of Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”-(American Scenes, by Eben. Davies, London, 1849, p. 299).
4 4 This poem was written within six years of the first publication of the First Part. In that short period it had become so wonderfully popular as to have been extensively circulated in the languages which the author names, and to have had a large circulation in America. After another four years, namely in 1688, upwards of 100, 00 copies had been issued in English; and to the present time it has been steadily increasing in popularity, so that, after 170 years have elapsed, it is more popular than ever. This is a fact without parallel in the annals of literature—(ED).
5 5 After the author had heard the criticisms of friends and foes upon the First Part, he adopts this second narrative to be a key explaining many things which appeared dark in Christian’s journey—(ED).
6 6 This address prepares the reader for a greater variety of experience and adventures than he meets with in the First Part; all of which are different: and the behaviour of the several pilgrims, under their various calamities, are beautifully described. Their conflicts and their consolations being manifold, convince us that the exercises of every experienced soul are for the most part dissimilar, notwithstanding, if they proceed from the operation of the Spirit, they have the same happy tendency—(Mason). The Second Part is peculiarly adapted to direct and encourage female Christians and young persons; and it is hoped will be a blessing to such—(Burder). Perhaps the Second Part of this pilgrimage comes nearer to the ordinary experience of the great multitude of Christians than the First Part; and this may have been Bunyan’s intention. The First Part shows, as in Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful, the great examples and strong lights of this pilgrimage; it is as if Paul and Luther were passing over the scene. The Second Part shows a variety of pilgrims, whose stature and experience are more on a level with our own. The First Part is more severe, sublime, inspiring; the Second Part is more soothing and comforting. The First Part has deep and awful shadows mingled with its light, terribly instructive, and like warnings from hell and the grave. The Second Part is more continually and uninterruptedly cheerful, full of good nature and pleasantry, and showing the pilgrimage in lights and shades that are common to weaker Christians—(Cheever).
7 7 The First Part had been published six years, during which time Mr. Bunyan had been so fully occupied by his pastoral labours and frequent preaching in different parts of England, that he had not been able to accomplish his design of publishing A FEMALE PILGRIM’s PROGRESS. He was without exception the most popular preacher of his day—(Ivimey).
8 8 The First Part was written in Bedford jail; this is “about a mile off the place,” at the village of Elstow, where Mr. Bunyan resided, and where his house is still standing-a very humble cottage, and an object of curiosity, as is also the very ancient church and tower. The tower answers to the description of the “steeple-house” in which Mr. Bunyan was engaged in ringing the bells. “The main beam that lay overthwart the steeple from side to side,” and under which he stood lest “one of the bells should fall and kill him,” presents exactly that appearance--(Ivimey).
9 9 This is quite natural, and very common. The men of this world will canonize those for saints, when dead, whom they stigmatized with the vilest names when living. Besides many others I could mention, this I have peculiarly remarked in respect to that man of God, that faithful minister of Christ, the late Rev. Mr. Whitefield. Scarce anyone went through more public reproach than he did; yet how often have I been amazed to hear persons who held him, his character and conduct, in the vilest contempt when living, who, now he is dead, speak in the most respectful manner of him! O let us leave our characters to Him who died for our sins, and to whom we can commit our souls—(Mason). “The memory of the just is blessed.” All men’s minds water at a pilgrim’s gains, while they are resolved never to run a pilgrim’s hazards.
O let me die his death! all nature cries:
Then live his life-all nature falters there.
10 10 These words were introduced after the author’s decease. Not being able to discover by what authority they were added, I have put them within brackets—(ED).
11 11 What a thunderbolt is this! Reader, have you ever spoken harshly to, or persecuted, a child of God-a poor penitent sinner? Hear the Word of the Judge of all the earth- “Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”-(ED). Read this and tremble, ye who speak evil of those things which ye know not—(J. B.).
12 12 Mark this well. No matter what profession we make, if the love of Christ be not its foundation, all is nothing without this love. It is this love in the heart that, like oil in the lamp, keeps the profession of Christ burning bright. The more this love is felt, the more ardent the fire of zeal burns, and the more steadily we shall follow on to know the Lord; and never leave off nor give over, till we see and enjoy the Lord in His kingdom—(Mason).
13 13 It is not improbable that Mr. Bunyan had an eye to his own wife and four children, and that these were the leading characters in this religious drama; and also that the history of Christians of his acquaintance furnished the other personages—(Ivimey). The Editor differs in this opinion, believing that all the experience narrated in the “Pilgrim’s Progress” is drawn from the Sacred Scriptures, and which fits it for every age of the church, to the final consummation of all things. Others have agreed with Mr. Ivimey. Reader, you must form your own opinion—(ED).
14 14 Though moral suasion, and all the affectionate arguments from a tender husband, or an affectionate parent, may prove ineffectual for the present; yet, when the Lord works by His mighty power, then only they prove effectual to saving purposes. Then let us not neglect our duty, but be earnest in it, and leave the event to sovereign grace—(Mason).
15 15 Those who cruelly and unkindly treat their godly relations and friends on account of their religion, must come to feel it in the bitterness of their spirit, and groan in the sorrow of their soul, if ever the Lord grants them repentance unto life—(Mason).
16 16 Happy is that death which brings the believer to Heaven, and the surviving relatives to Christ; which opens the gate of glory to one, and the door of conversion to the other—(Barder).
17 17 Is it any marvel, that a quickened enlightened sinner should be judged by those around him, who are yet dead in their sins, to Be full of whims and melancholy? No! it is very natural for them to think us fools and mad; but we know that they really are so- (Mason).
18 18 One of God’s ends in instituting marriage is, that, under a figure, Christ and His church should be set forth. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in that relation. Be such a husband to thy believing wife, that she may say, God hath given to me a husband that preacheth Christ’s carriage to the church every day.-If thy wife be unbelieving, thou hast a duty to perform under a double obligation; for she is liable every moment to eternal ruin. O how little sense of the worth of souls is there in the hearts of some husbands! This is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives.-Wives also should be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands. Why? Because, otherwise, the Word of God will he blasphemed (Titus 2:5). Take heed of an idling, talking, wrangling tongue. It is odious in maids or wives to be like parrots, not bridling the tongue. It is unseemly to see a woman, as much as once in her lifetime, to offer to over- top her husband. I do not intend that women should he slaves by this subjection: “Let every man love his wife as himself and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph. 5:33). Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband until he was in a sober temper, and his wine gone out of him—(Bunyan’s Christian Behaviour, vol. 2, pp. 558–561).
19 19 This is the first cry of an awakened sinner-mercy for the lost and miserable; and no sooner are the sinner’s eyes opened to see his ruined, desperate state, and to cry for mercy, but the god of this world, who hitherto had blinded the eyes, and kept the heart securely by presumption, now opposes the sinner’s progress to a Throne of Grace, to a God of mercy, and to the Saviour of the lost. Satan does not easily part with his prey. But Jesus, the strong man, armed with almighty power and everlasting love, will conquer and cast him out. That is the sinner’s mercy, or none could ever be saved—(Mason).
20 20 The mind, during sleep, is often occupied with those subjects that have most deeply engaged the waking thoughts; and it sometimes pleases God to make use of ideas thus suggested, to influence the conduct by exciting fears or hopes. But if we attempt to draw conclusions on doctrines, or to discover hidden things by them, it becomes a dangerous species of enthusiasm—(Scott). There is no just reason to doubt that God still employs dreams for the conversion of sinners. “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction” (Job 33:15, 16)-(Ivimey). Dreams are sometimes of use to warn and encourage a Christian, and seem to be really “from God”; but great caution is necessary, lest they mislead us, as they do weak and enthusiastic persons. They must never Be depended on as the ground of hope, or the test of our state; nothing must be put in the place of the Word of God—(Burder).
21 21 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa. 111:10); and “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him” (Psa. 25:14). The Spirit, the Comforter, never convinces the soul of sin, but He also revives and comforts the heart with glad tidings of free and full pardon of sin, through the blood of the Lamb- (Mason). Probably the name of this visitor was derived from what was said by the heavenly visitor to Manoah (Judg. 13:18)- (Ivimey). The silent influences of the Holy Spirit are here personified. The intimations of Secret represent the teachings of the Holy Spirit, by which the sinner understands the real meaning of the Sacred Scriptures as to the way of salvation—(Scott, abridged).
22 22 “Rote of heart”; “rote” is to commit to memory, so as to be able to repeat fluently, as a wheel runs round, but without attaching any idea or sense to the words; “rote of heart” is to do this with a full understanding of the meaning—(ED).
23 23 As the Spirit testifies of Christ, so He leads the soul to Christ, that He may be the sinner’s only hope, righteousness, and strength. Thus He glorifies Christ—(Mason).
But bring thou with thee a certificate,
To show thou seest thyself most desolate;
Writ by the Master, with repentance seal’d.
—(House of God, vol. 2, p. 580).
24 24 Blessed penitence! Christian’s children, when he set out in his pilgrimage, had been liable to Mr. Bunyan’s severe remarks in his valuable book on Christian Behaviour- “I observe a vile spirit amongst some children, who overlook, or have slighting or scornful thoughts of their parents. Such an one hath got just the heart of a dog or a beast, that will bite those that begot them. But my father is poor, and I am rich, and it will he a hindrance to me to respect him. I tell thee, thou arguest like an atheist and a beast, and standest full flat against the Son of God (Mark 7:9–13). Must a little of the glory of the butterfly make thee not honour thy father and mother? Little dost thou know how many prayers, sighs, and tears have been wrung from their hearts on thine account.”-(Vol. 2, pp. 562, 563)-(ED).
25 25 The awakening of a sinner may be effected by very different means. Lydia’s heart was opened through attending to Paul’s ministry; the jailer’s, through the alarm produced in his mind by the fear of disgrace and punishment. Christian was brought to a sense of his lost condition by reading the Scriptures; Christiana, by reflecting, after the death of her husband, upon her unkind treatment of him on account of his religion, the thought of which “rent the caul of her heart in sunder”; and the four boys, by the conversation of their mother with them about their departed father, and about her having neglected their souls. Religion is a personal concern, and begins with repentance and sorrow for sin. Children are not saved by the faith of their parents, but must be individually brought to feel their own sinfulness, and to confess their own guilt and danger; nor will a mother’s prayers save her children, unless they heartily unite with her in them—(Ivimey).
26 26 Reader, stop and examine. Did ever any of your carnal acquaintance take knowledge of a difference of your language and conduct? [Does it stun them?] Or do they still like and approve of you as well as ever? What reason, then, have you to think yourself a pilgrim? If the heart be ever so little acquainted with the Lord, the tongue will discover it, and the carnal and profane will ridicule and despise you for it—(Mason).
27 27 “Is willing to stay behind.” Mr. Bunyan has strongly intimated, in this account, that children, very young persons, may be the subjects of renewing grace, and may experience the power of the Gospel upon their hearts, producing that faith that is of the operation of God, and works meet for repentance. This fact is abundantly confirmed by many living instances of very young persons knowing the grace of God in truth, and adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour—(Ivimey).
28 28 This was a love-letter, full of the love of Jesus, and the precious invitations of His loving heart to sinners to come unto Him as recorded in his blessed Word. Happy sinners, whose eyes are opened to read it! But this the world calls madness—(Mason).
29 29 The observations of the unconverted, when they perceive the conscience of a poor sinner alarmed for fear of the wrath to come, are admirably put in Bunyan’s Come and Welcome, (vol. 1, p. 278): “They attribute the change to melancholy-to sitting alone- to overmuch reading-to going to too many sermons-to too much studying and musing on what they hear. They conclude that it is for want of merry company-for want of physic; and they advise them to leave off reading, going to sermons, the company of sober people, and to be merry, to go a-gossiping. But, poor ignorant sinner, let me deal with thee. It seems that thou hast turned counsellor for Satan. Thou judgest foolishly. Thou art like Elymas the sorcerer, that sought to turn the deputy from the faith, to pervert the right ways of the Lord. Take heed, lest some heavy judgment overtake thee.” Pilgrim, beware of the solemn warnings of God in Deuteronomy 13:6, and Hebrews 10:38—(ED).
31 31 It is well to be bold in the name of the Lord, and blunt with those who seek to turn us away from following on to know the Lord; for nothing less than life and salvation, or death and damnation, will be the issue of it—(Mason).
32 32 The very things which excite the rage and scorn of some persons, penetrate the hearts of others. Thus the Lord waked one to differ from another, by preparing the heart to receive the good seed of Divine truth. Yet everyone willingly chooses the way he takes, without constraint or hindrance, except his own prevailing dispositions—(Scott).
33 33 Here we see our Lord’s Word verified, “The one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matt. 24:41). Mercy is called, and Timorous left. All, to appearance, seems chance and accident; but sovereign grace overrules all things. “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18)-(Mason).
34 34 This tale, by the names, arguments, and discourse introduced into it, shows what kind of persons despise and revile all those that fear God, and seek the salvation of their souls. Profligates, who never studied religion, pass sentence upon the most difficult controversies without hesitation. Such persons call for our compassion and prayers even more than our detestation—(Scott).
35 35 O how do such carnal wretches sport with their own damnation, while they despise the precious truths of God, and ridicule His beloved, chosen, and called people! But as it was in the beginning, he who was born after the flesh persecuted Him who was born after the Spirit, so it is now, and will be as long as the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are upon the earth—(Mason). Such characters are portrayed by the apostle, in his solemn riddle (1 Tim. 5:6)-(Ivimey).
36 36 The singular dispensations of Providence, and the strong impressions made by the Word of God upon some minds, seem to amount to a special invitation; while others are gradually and gently brought to embrace the Gospel, and these are sometimes discouraged lest they have never been truly awakened. They should recollect that the Lord delighteth in mercy; that Christ will in no wise cast out any that come to Him; and that they who trust in the mercy of God, solely through the redemption of His Son, shall assuredly be saved—(Scott).
37 37 Such is the true spirit of real pilgrims, that do not love to eat their precious morsel alone. They wish others to know Christ, and to become followers of Him with themselves—(Mason).
38 38 Though Christiana clearly knew her calling of God, yet Mercy did not; therefore she is in doubt about it. Just so it is with many at their first setting out. Hence they are ready to say-and I have met with many who have said-that they could even wish to have had the most violent convictions of sin, and to have been, as it were, shook over the mouth of hell, that they might have a greater certainty of their being called of God. But this is speaking unadvisedly. Better to take the apostle’s advice- “Give all diligence to make your calling sure.”-(Mason).
39 39 Here is a precious discovery of a heart divinely instructed. Mind, here is no looking to anything Mercy was in herself, nor to anything she could do for herself, for hope. But all is resolved into this-even THE LOVE OF THE HEART OF THE KING OF HEAVEN. Reader, can you be content with this? Can you cast all, and rest all, upon the love of Christ? Then bless His loving name for giving you a pilgrim’s heart—(Mason). Mercy clearly discovered a work of grace on her heart. She was anxious about her acceptance at last; she began to pray; she threw herself on the mere mercy of Christ’s heart; and proved “the bowels of a pilgrim,” by lamenting the sad condition of her carnal relations—(Burder).
40 40 This truth is exemplified in the Holy War- “Now Mr. Desires, when he saw that he must go on this errand, besought that Mr. Wet-eyes should go with him to petition the Prince. This Mr. Wet- eyes was a poor man, a man of a broken spirit, yet one that could speak well to a petition. Then Mr. Wet-eyes fell on his face to the ground, and said, O my Lord, I see dirt in my own tears, and filthiness at the bottom of my prayers; but, I pray Thee, mercifully pass by the sin of Mansoul.”-(ED).
41 41 Perhaps the most delightful portion of the Second Dream of Bunyan is its sweet representation of the female character. There never were two more attractive beings drawn than Christiana and Mercy; as different from each other as Christian and Hopeful, and yet equally pleasing in their natural traits of character, and under the influence of Divine grace, each of them reflecting the light of Heaven in an original and lovely variety. His own conception of what constitutes a bright example of beauty and consistency of character in a Christian woman, Bunyan has here given us, as well as in his First Dream, the model of steadfast excellence in a Christian man. The delineation, in both Christiana and Mercy, is eminently beautiful. We have, in these characters, his own ideal of the domestic virtues, and his own conception of a well-ordered Christian family’s domestic happiness. Wherever he may have formed his notions of female loveliness and excellence, he has, in the combination of them in the Second Part of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” presented two characters of such winning modesty and grace, such confiding truth and frankness, such simplicity and artlessness, such cheerfulness and pleasantness, such native good sense and Christian discretion, such sincerity, gentleness, and tenderness, that nothing could be more delightful. The matronly virtues of Christiana, and the maidenly qualities of Mercy, are alike pleasing and appropriate. There is a mixture of timidity and frankness in Mercy, which is as sweet in itself as it is artlessly and unconsciously drawn; and in Christiana we discover the very characteristics that can make the most lovely feminine counterpart, suitable to the stern and lofty qualities of her husband—(Cheever).
42 42 Instead of being what they profess, the King’s labourers, Paul calls them soul-troublers (Gal. 5:10). For instead of preaching a free, full, and finished salvation, bestowed as a free gift, by rich grace, upon poor sinners who can do nothing to entitle themselves to it; behold, these wretched daubers set forth salvation to sale upon certain terms and conditions which sinners are to perform and fulfil. Thus they distress the upright and sincere, and deceive the self-righteous and unwary, into pride and delusion. Thus they mar, instead of mend, the way; and bring dirt and dung, instead of stones, to make the way sound and safe for pilgrims—(Mason).
43 43 “Looked well to the steps”; that is, “the promises,” as Bunyan explains in the margin of Part First. “Struggling to be rid of our burden, it only sinks us deeper in the mire, if we do not rest by faith upon the promises, and so come indeed to Christ. Precious promises they are, and so free and full of forgiveness and eternal life, that certainly the moment a dying soul feels its guilt and misery, that soul may lay hold upon them, and find Christ in them; and were it not for unbelief, there need be no Slough of Despond for the soul to struggle, and plunge, in its mire of depravity.”- (Cheever)-(ED).
44 44 All the varieties in the experience of those who are walking in the same path can never he enumerated; some of their sores are not only unreasonable but unaccountable, through the weakness of the human mind, the abiding effects of peculiar impressions, the remains of unbelief, and the artifices of Satan—(Scott).
45 45 No sooner does a poor sinner open his lips in prayer to Jesus, but the devil will bark at him, and by all means try to terrify and discourage him. Do you find this? What is our remedy? “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7, 8)-(Mason). When the fear of God possesses the heart, such disturbances cannot long prevent earnest cries for mercy, but will eventually render them more fervent and importunate than ever—(Scott).
46 46 Think much of them that have gone before; how safe they are in the bosom of Jesus. Would they be here again for a thousand worlds? Sometimes when my base heart hath been inclining to this world, and to loiter in my journey towards Heaven, the very consideration of the glorious saints and angels-what they enjoy, what low thoughts they have of the things of this world, how they would befool me if they did but know that my heart was drawing back-this hath made me rush forward, and disdain those beggarly things; and say to my soul, Come, soul, let us not be weary; let us see what Heaven is; let us venture all for it. Reader, what sayest thou to this? Art thou resolved to follow me? Nay, resolve to get before me if thou canst—(Heavenly Footman).
47 47 Being made to understand what great sinners the Lord hath had mercy upon, and how large His promises were still to sinners, this made me, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to cleave to Him, to hang upon Him, and yet to cry, though as yet there were no answer. The Lord help all His poor, tempted, afflicted people to do the like—(Bunyan).
48 48 Mercy’s case is not singular. Many have set out just as she did, and have been discouraged by the same reason as she was. She, as many have been, was encouraged to set out in the ways of the Lord by her neighbour and friend. Hence she, as many others also have thought, there was no cause to conclude that she was effectually called by the Lord, but it was only the effect of moral persuasion, and therefore doubted and fainted, lest she should not meet with acceptance. But her very doubts, fears, and distress, proved the earnestness of her heart, and the desire of her soul, after the Saviour; and also that His attracting love and gracious power had a hand in the work. Well therefore might Bunyan call upon his readers to mark her gracious reception by Christ. Mark this, ye poor, doubting, fearing, trembling souls, who are halting every step, and fearing you have not set out aright, hear what Christ’s angel said, and be not discouraged: “Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus!”-(Matt. 28:5)-(Mason).
49 49 The prisoners taken in the Holy War were affected like Mercy. “Why did you not cry to Me before, said the Prince, yet I will answer you so as will be for My glory. At this Mr. Wet-eyes gave a great sigh, and death seemed to sit on their eye-brows; they covered their faces, and threw themselves down before Him. Then the Prince bid them stand upon their feet, and said, I have power to forgive, and I do forgive. Moreover, He stripped the prisoners of their mourning-weeds, and gave them beauty for ashes.”-(ED).
50 50 Pardon by word seems to denote the general discovery of free salvation by Jesus Christ to all that believe, which is sealed by transient comforts and lively affections. Pardon by deed may relate to the manner in which the blessing was purchased by the Saviour; and when this is clearly understood, the believer attains to stable peace and hope—(Scott).
51 51 The devil often barks most at us, and brings his heaviest accusations against us, when mercy, peace, comfort, and salvation are nearest to us.
“Press on, nor fear to win the day,
Though earth and hell obstruct the way”—(Mason).
52 52 Many hellish darts are tipped by Apollyon’s malignant ingenuity with sentences of Scripture, made to flame just like the fiery darts of the wicked one; so that the Scriptures appear to stand against the trembling Christian—(ED).
53 53 Here is genuine humility; no replying against God-no calling in question His sovereign right to receive or to reject. No; all that this poor humble heart thought was, now is fulfilled what is written, “One shall be taken and the other left.” If so, what had she to say? No impeachment of the Lord’s dealings, but only, I am undone. But yet, on seeing what was written over the gate, “Knock, and it shall be opened,” from that, and not from any sight of worthiness in herself, but lost as she felt herself, she was encouraged to knock again, or to cry and pray more vehemently than ever. Here is a blessed example of deep humility, and of holy boldness, excited by the Divine Word. Go thou, ruined sinner, and do likewise—(Mason).
54 54 The express words of such invitations, exhortations, and promises, WRITTEN in the Bible, are more efficacious to encourage those who are ready to give up their hopes, than all the consolatory topics that can possibly he substituted in their place- (Scott).
55 55 When a mariner enters upon a voyage, or a soldier on a campaign, they know not what hardships they may encounter, nor whether their lives may be sacrificed without attaining their object; but whatever hardships the Christian has to encounter, he will come off more than conqueror-he will reach the desired haven in safety-through Him that loved us. Fear not—
“Though death and hell obstruct the way,
The meanest saint shall win the day.”—(ED).
56 56 Strive to enter in; a whole Heaven and eternal life is wrapped up in this little word IN. Strive; this calls for the mind and heart. Many professors make their striving to stand rather in an outcry of words, than in a hearty labour against the lusts and love of the world, and their own corruptions. But this kind of striving is but a beating the air, and will come to nothing at last—(Bunyan’s Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 369).
57 57 Thus the dog of hell may be of service, not only in keeping the sheep close together, but in making them keep close to their Shepherd—(J. B.).
58 58 “Plash” was, in later editions, altered to “Pluck.” To plash, is to cut hedges or trees. The boys did plash, or had a cut at the trees, to knock the fruit off—(ED).
59 59 What is this garden but the world? What is the fruit they here found? “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Of this the boys ate. The mother chides them for taking that which did not belong to them, but she did not know that it grew in the devil’s garden. Mark the consequence of their eating this fruit hereafter—(Mason). The terrifying suggestions of Satan [the dog’s barking] give believers much present uneasiness, yet they often do them great good, and seldom eventually hurt them; but the allurements of those worldly objects which he throws in their way are far more dangerous and pernicious. Many of these are very attractive to young persons; but all parents who love the souls of their children should employ all their influence and authority to restrain them from those vain pleasures which “war against the soul,” and are most dangerous when least suspected. This fruit may be found in the pilgrim’s path, but it grows in Beelzebub’s garden, and should be shunned as poison. Many diversions and pursuits, both in high and low life, are of this nature, though often pleaded for as innocent, by some persons who ought to know better—(Scott).
60 60 What are these ill-favoured ones? Such as you will be sure to meet with in your pilgrimage; some vile lusts, or cursed corruptions, which are suited to your carnal nature. These will attack you, and strive to prevail against you. Mind how these pilgrims acted, and follow their example. If one was to fix names to these ill-favoured ones, they might he called Unbelief and Licentiousness, which aim to rob Christ’s virgins of their chastity to Him—(Mason).
61 61 Here we see that the most violent temptation to the greatest evil is not sin, if resisted and not complied with. Our Lord Himself was tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, ye followers of Him, do not be dejected and cut down, though you should be exercised with temptations to the blackest crimes, and the most heinous sins. You cannot be assaulted with worse than your Lord was. He was tempted, but He resisted Satan, and overcame all, in our nature. Cry to Him; He is the Reliever who will come in the hour of distress—(Mason).
63 63 It is well to be taken with present blessings, to be joyful in them, and thankful for them; but it is wrong to forget our dangers, and grow secure—(Mason).
64 64 When the soul is happy in the love of God, it is ready to conclude that dangers are past, that doubts and fears are entirely removed; but as long as we are in this world, we shall find the expediency of our Lord’s exhortation- “Watch and pray.”-(J. B.).
65 65 Here is a display of a truly Christian spirit, in that open and ingenuous confession of her fault, taking all the blame upon herself, and excusing Mercy. This is not natural to us, but the grace of Christ humbles the heart, and silences the tongue to self- justifying pleas. O for more of this precious grace!-(Mason).
66 66 Mark those phrases- “the riches of His grace,” and “His mere good pleasure.” You cannot entertain too exalted ideas of these, nor speak too highly of them. Pilgrims should be known by their language as well as their walk. Those who talk highly of their own perfection, speak little, if at all, of the riches of God’s grace, and the good pleasure of His will. Beware of the infection of pride and self-righteous leaven—(Mason).
67 67 The Holy Spirit, the Interpreter, who was promised by the Lord Jesus to be sent in His name, guides believers into all truth. “And they shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). Humble confession, and serious consecration of heart, are sacrifices acceptable, well- pleasing to God; and such simple-hearted pilgrims are received by the church with a hearty welcome. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come” (Rev. 22:17)-(ED).
68 68 Here is joy indeed, which strangers to the love of Christ intermeddle not with. Surely, this is the joy of Heaven; and if thou hast this joy, thou hast the love that reigns in Heaven. Glory to Jesus, I think I can truly say, I have this blessed evidence in my heart, that I know somewhat of this joy arising from seeing poor lost sinners converted to Jesus, so as to love Him and follow Him. O for a spread and increase of this spirit among Christians of all denominations!-(Mason).
69 69 The emblematical instruction at the Interpreter’s house, in the former part, was so important and comprehensive, that we are astonished at the striking additions here adduced. The first emblem is very plain; and so apposite, that it is wonderful any person should read it without lifting up a prayer to the Lord, and saying, “O deliver me from this muck-rake!”-(Scott, altered by ED). Awful thought! Straws, and sticks, and dust, Preferred to Christ and salvation!
“If angels weep, it is at such a sight!”—(Burder).
70 70 Our Lord said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” To be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. If our treasure is in Heaven, we need not envy those griping muck-worms who are cursed in their basket and in their store—(J. B.).
71 The vulture of insatiate minds
Still wants, and wanting seeks, and seeking finds
New fuel to increase her rav’nous fire.
The grave is sooner cloy’d than men’s desire.
72 72 A full purse and a lean soul, is a sign of a great curse. O it is a sad grant, when the desire is only to make the belly big, the estate big, the name big; when even by this bigness the soul pines, is made to dwindle, to grow lean, and to look like an anatomy! Like a man in a dropsy, they desire this world, as he doth drink, till they desire themselves quite down to hell—(Bunyan’s Desire of the Righteous, vol. 1, p. 767).
73 73 Reader, didst thou never shed a tear for thy base and disingenuous conduct towards thy Lord, in preferring the sticks and straws of this world to the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the salvation of thy immortal soul? O this is natural to us all! and though made wise unto salvation, yet this folly cleaves to our old nature still. Let the thought humble us, and make us weep before the Lord—(Mason).
74 74 They knew the venom of sin which was in their fallen nature. This made them cover their faces with shame, and sink into deep humility of heart. Every true interpreter of God’s Word-yea, the blessed Interpreter of God’s heart, Jesus-will look pleasantly upon such who confess the truth; while He beholds the proud, self- righteous sinner afar off—(Mason).
75 75 Faith apprehends, and then the soul dwells in the best room indeed, even in the very heart of God in Christ. The Lord increase our faith in this precious truth, that we may the more love and glorify the God of grace and truth! O let not our venom of sin deject us, while there is the blood of Christ to cleanse us! O for a stronger love to Christ, and greater hatred of sin! Both spring from believing—(Mason). The emblem of the spider is illustrated in Bunyan’s invaluable treatise on the Resurrection and Eternal Judgment- “The spider will be a witness against man, for she layeth hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces. It is man only that will not lay hold on the kingdom of Heaven, as the spider doth bid him (Prov. 30:28).”—(vol. 2, p. 111)—(ED).
Call me not ugly thing;
God’ wisdom hath unto the pismire given,
And spiders may teach men the way to Heaven.
76 76 It is very humbling to human pride to be compared to chickens, as dependants on the fostering care of the hen, or as children relying upon a parent. In Bunyan’s Last Sermon, are some striking allusions to the Christian’s dependence upon his heavenly Father- “It is natural for a child, if he wants shoes, to tell his father; if he wants bread, they go and tell him. So should the children of God do for spiritual bread-strength of grace-to resist Satan. When the devil tempts you, run home and tell your heavenly Father- pour out your complaints to God; this is natural to children. If any wrong them, they tell their father; so do those that are born of God, when they meet with temptations, they go and tell God of them- (vol. 2, p. 757)-(ED).
77 77 Common call, the invitations; brooding voice, the promises; outcry, the warnings of the Gospel—(Ivimey).
78 78 Observations and experience justify this excellent simile. God’s common call is to all His creatures who live within the sound of His Gospel. His special call is when He bestows the grace, peace, and pardon of the Gospel of Christ upon His people. The brooding note is when He gathers them under His wings, warms their hearts with the comforts of His love, nourishes their souls with close fellowship with Himself, and refreshes their spirits with the overflowings of joy in the Holy Ghost. “In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice,” says David (Psa. 63:7). “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song. 2:3). O for more of these precious brooding notes, to be gathered under the wing of Immanuel! But be our frames and experiences what they may, still we are ever in danger; for our enemies surround us on every side, and our worst are within us. Therefore our Lord has an outcry; He gives the alarm, calls us, and warns us of danger. Why? That we should flee. O pilgrims, when dangers are near, run unto Him! For “the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10)-(Mason).
79 79 The church is a garden enclosed, Christ is the Gardener, His people are called God’s husbandry. The difference in the plants and flowers shows the different effects of grace upon the heart—(J. B.). When Christians stand everyone in his place, and do their own work, then they are like the flowers in the garden, that stand and grow where the Gardener hath planted them; and then they shall both honour the garden in which they are planted, and the Gardener that hath so disposed of them. From the hyssop in the wall, to the cedar in Lebanon, their fruit is their glory. Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of Heaven; which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each others’ roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another. For Christians to commune savourly of God’s matters one with another, it is as if they opened to each others’ nostrils boxes of perfume. Saith Paul to the church at Rome, “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may he established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Rom. 1:11, 12)-(Bunyan’s Christian Behaviour, vol. 2, pp. 550, 570). I have observed, that as there are herbs and flowers in our gardens, so there are their counterfeits in the field; only they are distinguished from the other by the name of wild ones. There is faith and wild faith; and wild faith is presumption. I call it wild faith, because God never placed it in His garden-His church; it is only to be found in the field-the world—(Bunyan’s Good News, vol. 1, p. 93). We ought not to be contented with a situation among the noxious weeds of the desert; but if we be planted among the ornamental and fragrant flowers of the Lord’s garden, we are honoured indeed. We should watch against envy and ambition, contempt of our brethren and contention. We ought to be satisfied in our places, doing “nothing through strife or vain glory, or with murmurings and disputings”; but endeavour, in the meekness of wisdom, to diffuse a heavenly fragrance around us, and to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things—(Scott).
80 80 The husbandman is not repaid by the straw or chaff. So the sufferings of Christ, the preaching, promises, and ordinances of the Gospel, were not intended to bring men to profess certain doctrines, or observe certain forms; but to render men fruitful in good works, by the influences of the Spirit of Christ. All profession will terminate in everlasting misery, which is not productive of this good fruit. “True religion and undefiled” consists not in forms, creeds, and ceremonies, but is “to visit and comfort the widows and the fatherless”-(Scott).
81 81 This is a necessary caution. Paul says, “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.” James has laid down an excellent rule of conduct-O that it were more attended to!- “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall he judged by the law of liberty.” How inconsistent for a pardoned malefactor to insult even those who are under condemnation! If any man seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue from commending himself and condemning others, this man’s religion is vain. He that judgeth his brother speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law—(J. B.).
82 82 A very striking emblem this, and most pertinently applied; and if your soul is sincere, it will cause a holy fear, create a godly jealousy, put you upon self-examining, and make you sigh out in some such words as David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23, 24). O what will it avail in a dying hour, or in the judgment day, that we have worn the mark of profession, and seemed to man, what we were not in heart and reality of life before God! From all self-deceiving, good Lord, deliver us! for we are naturally prone to it—(Mason).
83 83 This observation is grounded on the good old distinction, that the merit of Christ’s obedience unto death is sufficient all who by faith apply for an interest in it. Nothing but pride, the carnal mind, and enmity to God and religion, influence men to neglect so great salvation; and when the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit accompanies the Word, sinners are made willing to accept the proffered mercy, and encouraged by the invitations which before they sinfully slighted—(Scott).
84 84 That is my very character, says many a doubting, broken hearted sinner. Well, thank God, says many a self-confident, whole-hearted Pharisee, it is far from being mine. We can only say this, he that knows most of his own superlatively deceitful and desperately wicked heart, suspects himself most, and exercises most godly jealousy over himself; while persons, who see least of themselves, are most self-confident and daring. Even Judas could as boldly ask, “Master, is it I” who shall betray Thee? as any of the rest of His disciples—(Mason).
85 85 Mr. Ivimey supposes this to be intended by Mr. Bunyan to show his approbation of the practice of singing in public worship. It was then a custom which had been recently introduced, and was a subject of strong controversy. Soon after Bunyan’s death, Benjamin Keach vindicated the practice, by proving that singing is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, in answer to Marlowe’s Discourse against Singing. It must not be forgotten, that our pilgrim forefathers generally met in secret, and that singing would have exposed them to imminent peril of their lives. Now we have no such fear; we can unite heart and voice in the language of Dr. Watts—
“Lord, how delightful ‘tis to see
A whole assembly worship Thee!
At once they sing.”
That is, when singing men or women do not prevent the godly from uniting in this delightful part of Divine worship by introducing new tunes, to sing to the praise and glory of themselves. Let such as are guilty of this solemnly ask the question, Was the late Mr. Huntingdon right in estimating their piety at less than twopence per dozen?-(ED).
86 86 Ah, Mrs. Timorous, how many professed pilgrims hast thou befooled and turned back! How often does she attack and affright many real pilgrims! I am sure she has often made my poor heart ache with her ghastly looks and terrifying speeches. O may we ever say to her, in our Lord’s words, “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23)-(Mason).
87 87 A very simple and artless confession. The Lord works very differently upon His elect; but always to the same end, namely, to make us prize Christ, His salvation and His ways, and to abhor ourselves, the paths of sin, and to cast off all self-righteous hopes. If this is effected in thy heart, reader, it is no matter whether thou canst tell of visions and dreams, or talk high of experiences. Where the soul is rooted and grounded in the knowledge of Christ, and love to His ways, though there may be many fears, yet this is an indubitable proof of a real and sincere pilgrim—(Mason).
88 88 They who are acquainted with the manner in which persons are received into Congregational churches, by relating a verbal account of their experience, will recognize in this narrative a resemblance to that practice. Christiana, a grave matron, appears to have felt no difficulty in complying with the requisition; but Mercy, young and inexperienced, blushed and trembled, and for awhile continued silent. Their profession being approved, the readiness of the church to receive them is expressed by the warmest wishes for their spiritual prosperity—(Ivimey).
89 89 “Thou hast given credit to the truth”; what is this but faith-the faith of the operation of God? But some may ask, What! is justifying, saving faith, nothing more than a belief of the truth? If so, the very devils believe; yea, more, they tremble also. True; but mind how Mercy’s faith wrought by her works. She fled for refuge to the hope set before her in the Gospel. She fled from sin, from the City of Destruction, to Christ for salvation. Though she had not the joy of faith, yet she followed on to know the Lord, walking in His ways, and hoping for comfort from the Lord in His due time. O! if thou hast a grain of this precious faith in thy heart, bless Jesus for it, and go on thy way rejoicing—(Mason).
90 90 Mr. Ivimey considers that this bath in the garden refers to the baptism of the pilgrims by immersion, after having related their experience, as a publicly putting on of Christ. “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Innocent says that “her Master would have them do”; and they went out into the garden to the bath, and were much enlivened by it. Bunyan left it to the convert to act for himself as to water-baptism; all that he required, as a prerequisite to church-communion, was the new birth, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He calls this the “bath of sanctification”; no Christian considers water-baptism a source of sanctification; it is only the outward sign. It must be left to the reader’s candid judgment to decide whether baptism, upon a profession of faith, is here intended by that that the Master would have them do—(ED).
91 91 There is no travelling on pilgrimage without gathering soil. There are no pilgrims but daily need to have recourse to this bath of sanctification-the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7). Christ is the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. 13:1). Christ is the soul’s only bath. As all baths are for the purification of the body, such is this bath to our soul. But unless a bath be used, this cannot be effected; so, unless we have recourse to Christ, we cannot enjoy the purification of the soul; but the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, convinces us of sin, shows us our fresh-contracted spots and defilements, and leads us to the blood of the Lamb. O how does this enliven and strengthen our souls, by filling our conscience with joy and peace in believing!- (Mason).
92 92 Baptism and the Lord’s Supper I receive and own as signs of the covenant of grace; the former as a sign of our engrafting into Christ, and the latter to show forth His death, as an emblem or type of the benefits purchased thereby to His church and people- (Philip Henry, altered by ED).
93 93 This means the sealing of the Spirit, whereby they were sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). O this is blessed sealing! None know the comfort and joy of it but those who have experienced it. It confirms our faith, establishes our hope, and inflames our affections to God the Father for His everlasting love, to God the Son for His everlasting atonement and righteousness, and to God the Spirit for His enlightening mercy, regenerating grace, quickening, sanctifying, testifying, and assuring influences, whereby we know that we are the children of God; for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). All the comfort of our souls lies in keeping this seal clear in our view. Therefore grieve not the Holy Spirit- (Mason).
94 94 They who have put on this raiment are clothed with humility; they readily perceive the excellence of other believers, but can only discern their own in the glass of God’s Word. At the same time, they become very observant of their own defects, and severe in condemning them, but proportionally candid to their brethren; and thus they learn the hard lesson of esteeming others better than themselves—(Scott).
95 95 This is always the case when souls are clothed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. They are little, low, and mean in their own eyes, and they esteem each other better than themselves; whereas they who at all look to, or depend upon, their own righteousness for their clothing and justification before God, always look down with an air of supercilious contempt upon others who they think are not so righteous as themselves. Lord, hide self-righteous pride from my heart, and sink me into the depth of humility, that I may ever glory in Thee, in whom I am perfectly righteous!-(Mason). See also Romans 6:1–5, and Galatians 3:27—(Ivimey).
96 96 The conductor, named Great-heart, is a Gospel minister under the direction of the Holy Spirit; courageous, armed with the sword of the Spirit, enjoying the hope of salvation, and defended by the shield of faith—(Barder).
97 97 This is the comfort, joy, and glorying of a pilgrim’s heart. Hath Jesus performed righteousness to cover us, and spilled blood to wash us? Have we the faith of this? O how ought we to love Him, rejoice in Him, and study to glorify Him in every step of our pilgrimage!-(Mason).
98 98 Here Bunyan gives a very clear and distinct account of that righteousness of Christ, as Mediator, which He wrought out by His perfect obedience to the law of God for all His seed. And by this righteousness, and no other, are they fully justified from all condemnation in the sight of God. Reader, study this point deeply, so as to be established in it. It is the essence of the Gospel, enters into the life and joy of faith, brings relief to the conscience, and influence to the love of the Lord our Righteousness; and so brings forth the fruits of righteousness which are by Him to the praise and glory of God, and administers Divine consolation in the hour of death—(Mason).
99 99 Is there righteousness in Christ? That is mine, the believer may say. Did He bleed for sins? It was for mine. Hath He overcome the law, the devil, and hell? The victory is mine. And I do count this a most glorious life?-Sometimes (I bless the Lord) my soul hath this life not only imputed to me, but the glory of it upon my spirit. Upon a time, when I was under many condemnings of heart, and fearing I should miss glory, methought I felt such a secret motion as this-Thy righteousness is in Heaven. The splendour and shining of the Spirit of grace upon my soul, gave me to see clearly that my righteousness, by which I should be justified, was the Son of God Himself representing me before the mercy-seat in His own Person; so that I saw clearly, that day and night, wherever I was, and whatever I was doing, there was my righteousness, just before the eyes of the Divine glory, and continually at the right hand of God. At another time, whilst musing, being afraid to die, these words came upon my soul, “Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ.” This stayed my heart. And thus is the sinner made alive from the dead, by being justified through the righteousness of Christ, which is unto all and upon all them that believe—(Bunyan’s Law and Grace).
100 100 Sometimes I have been so loaden with my sins, that I could not tell where to rest, nor what to do; yea, at such times, I thought it would have taken away my senses; yet, at that time, God through grace hath all on a sudden so effectually applied the blood that was spilt at Mount Calvary out of the side of Jesus, unto my poor, wounded, guilty conscience, that presently I have found such a sweet, solid, sober, heart-comforting peace, that I have been in a strait to think that I should love and honour Him no more. Sometimes my sins have appeared as big as all the sins of all the men in the nation—(reader, these things be not fancies, for I have smarted for this experience); but yet the least stream of the heart- blood Jesus hath vanished all away, and I have been delivered up into sweet and heavenly peace and joy in the Holy Ghost- (Bunyan’s Law and Grace, vol. 1, p. 549).
101 101 While the soul lives upon the sweet impressions which are made by the application of the promises, it may be said to live upon frames and feelings; for as its comforts abate, so will its confidence. The heart can never be established in grace, till the understanding is enlightened to discern what it is to have pardon by the deed done—(J. B.).
102 102 O brave Christiana! See what it is to have one’s heart inflamed with a sense of the love of Christ. Christiana thinks everyone would naturally be affected as she was, if they were present; but she forgets that which she sees and feels is of special, peculiar, distinguishing grace—(Mason). Shall I have my sins and lose my soul? Would not Heaven be better to me than my sins?-the company of God, Christ, saints, and angels, than the company of Cain, Judas, Balaam, with the devils, in the furnace of fire? Canst thou now that readest, or hearest these lines, turn thy back, and go on in thy sins?-(Bunyan’s Law and Grace, vol. 1, p. 575). Reader, thus would Christiana plead with ungodly relatives and friends; and if thou art in such a case, wilt thou not listen to such a plea?-(ED).
103 103 Mind how tenderly Great-heart deals with warm-hearted Christiana. He does not attempt to throw cold water upon the fire of her affections, but gently insinuates, 1. The peculiar frame of the mind she speaks from; 2. Suggests that she must not always expect to be in such raptures; and, 3. Reminds her that her indulgences were of a peculiar nature, not common to all, but bestowed upon the faithful in Christ only; and that, therefore, amidst all her joyful feelings, she should know to whom she was indebted for them, and give all the glory to the God of all grace—(Mason).
104 104 Simple, contented in gross ignorance; Sloth, an indolence which smothers all conviction; Presumption, carnal security, which hardens against reproof—(Andronicus). These are the great opposers of vital religion. The end of these things is death- (Barder).
105 105 It was a custom, to a late period, to hang up murderers in irons, until the body dropped to pieces; that such terrible examples might deter others from the like crimes; hence, under the old wood-cut illustrating this passage, is written—
“Behold here how the slothful are a sign,
Hung up, because holy ways they did decline.”—(ED).
106 106 God, as it were, gibbets some professors, and causes their names and characters to be publicly exhibited, as a terror to others, and as a warning to His own people—(Mason). The dreadful falls and awful deaths of some professors are to put others upon their guard against superficial, slothful, and presumptuous hopes. The real occasion of turning aside lies in the concealed lusts of the heart—(Scott).
107 107 Let us consider the characters of these three professors: 1. Here is a Simple, a foolish credulous professor, ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth, so as to believe it, love it, and be established on it; hence liable to be carried away by every wind of doctrine. 2. Sloth, a quiet, easy professor, who never disturbs anyone by his diligence in the Word of God, nor his zeal for the truths and glory of God. 3. Presumption, one who expects salvation in the end, without the means prescribed by God for attaining it. O beware of these three sorts of professors, for they turn many aside!-(Mason).
108 108 What is meant by the Hill Difficulty? Christiana has set out from Destruction, been received and encouraged at the wicket-gate, and directed on her journey. The path is comparatively easy, until she is about to put on a public profession, by joining a church. This is situated upon the summit of this hill of difficult ascent. Is it intended to represent that prayerful, watchful, personal investigation into Divine truth, which ought to precede church- fellowship? Nothing is more difficult to flesh and blood than to be compelled, upon pain of endless ruin, to think for ourselves on matters of religion. The formalist and hypocrite follow the persuasions of man, and take an easier path, and are lost. The fear of man causes some to abandon the ascent. Dr. Cheever has, in his Hill Difficulty, very happily described the energy that is needful to enable the pilgrim to make the ascent. He forcibly proves the utter impossibility of making the ascent by ceremonial observances, or while encumbered with worldly cares or pride in trinkets of gold and costly array. He reminds us of the solemn advice of Peter, “be ye built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Every weight must be set aside, and salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling—(ED).
109 109 The river of life is pure and clear as crystal. Is the doctrine offered to thee so? Or is it muddy, and mixed with the doctrines of men? Look, man, and see, if the foot of the worshippers of Baal be not there, and the water fouled thereby. What water is fouled is not the water of life, or at least not in its clearness. Wherefore, if thou findest it not right, go up higher towards the spring-head, for nearer the spring the more pure and clear is the water—(Bunyan’s Water of Life).
110 110 This represents to us that some preachers, as the Prophet says, foul the water with their feet (Ezek. 24:18); that is, though they preach somewhat about Christ, and salvation by Him, yet they so clog, mire, and pollute the stream of free grace, with pre-requisites, terms, and conditions, that the poor thirsty soul cannot drink the water, nor allay his thirst with it; but is forced to let it stand, till these gross dregs sink to the bottom. Yea, we ought to beware of drinking such filthy dregs; for they will certainly swell us up with the company of pride of our free will, human merit, and self- righteousness, which oppose the glory of Jesus, and comfort of our souls—(Mason).
111 111 Although the cautious of Holy Writ are plain as posts and chains, and the warnings as a ditch, and the solemn threatenings of the New Testament against pharisaic formalism and hypocrisy are like a hedge, to prevent pilgrims wandering into paths that end in eternal misery, yet there are many who break through all these merciful restraints, and rush upon destruction—(ED).
112 112 Examine, which do you like better, self-soothing or soul- searching doctrine? Formalists and hypocrites love the former, and hate the latter. But the sincere and upright are discovered by desiring to have their hearts searched to the quick, and their ways tried to the utmost; and, therefore, with David will cry, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 129:23, 24)-(Mason).
113 113 Heart-work is hard work; it is hard work to be stripped; it is hard work to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. It is hard work to fight the fight of faith; it is hard work against hope to believe in hope. A formalist and hypocrite will go, in outward things, as far as the real Christian; but touch him on the inward work, and he will start aside—(J. B.).
114 114 He who is a stranger to the hard work of self-denial, and how difficult it is to the flesh, knows not what this Hill Difficulty means; for the nearer to the arbour of Jesus’ rest, the more difficulties in the way, but the sweeter it is when attained- (Mason).
115 115 Regard not in thy pilgrimage how difficult the passage is, but whither it tends; not how delicate the journey is, but where it ends. If it be easy, suspect it; if hard, endure it. He that cannot excuse a bad way, accuseth his own sloth; and he that sticks in a bad passage, can never attain a good journey’s end—(Quarles’ Enchiridion).
116 116 There were stairs in the temple, and but one pair, and these winding. He that went up must turn with the stairs. This is a type of a twofold repentance; that by which we turn from nature to grace, and that by which we turn from the imperfections of a state of grace to glory. But this turning and turning still, displeases some much. They say it makes them giddy; but I say, Nothing like this to make a man steady. A straight stair is like the ladder that leads to the gallows. They are turning stairs that lead to the heavenly mansion. Stay not at their foot; but go up them, and up them, and up them, till you come to Heaven—(Bunyan’s Solomon’s Temple).
117 117 When we are praised, a conscious blush should pervade us, well knowing how much we have to be ashamed of. But some have got such vain confidence in their own righteousness, merits, and perfection, that they have hereby got what the Scriptures call a whore’s forehead, and refuse to be ashamed (Jer. 3:3). O cry to the Lord continually against spiritual pride, and for an humble heart, knowing thyself to be a poor sinner!-(Mason).
118 118 Eve looking first into those worthy privileges which God had given her, and dilating delightfully of them before the devil, she lost the dread of the command from off her heart, which Satan perceiving, now added to his former forged doubt a plain and flat denial- “Ye shall not surely die.” When people dally with the devil, and sit too near their outward advantages, they fall into temptation—(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 429).
119 119 Reader, mind this well, remember it often, and it will do thee good. I am a witness against myself, of how much I have lost by indulging the flesh, and how much I have suffered by forgetfulness. But O what a gracious Lord do we serve! this is no excuse for our folly, but an aggravation of our faults; and ought to sink us lower in shame, and to excite us to greater care, diligence, and watchfulness; else we shall surely smart for our folly, if not in hell, yet in our consciences—(Mason).
120 120 This may refer to the awful end of one of Bunyan’s early friends, who became a notorious apostate-one John Child, whose sufferings were published with those of Spira. Child was so afraid of persecution, as to give up his profession; and then, overwhelmed by despair, he committed suicide. Or to such an one as the professor, in the Marian days, who recanted to save burning, but who was burnt to death by his house catching fire—(Ivimey).
121 121 It is not very easy to determine the precise idea of the author in each of the giants who assault the Pilgrims, and are slain by the conductor and his assistants. Some have supposed that unbelief is here meant, but Grim or Bloody-man seem not to be opposite names for this inward foe; nor can it be conceived, that unbelief should more violently assault those who are under the care of a valiant conductor, than it had done the solitary pilgrims. I apprehend, therefore, that this giant was intended for the emblem of certain active men who busied themselves in framing and executing persecuting statutes, which was done at the time when this was written, more violently than it had been before. Thus the temptation to fear man, which at all times assaults the believer when required to make an open profession of his faith, was exceedingly increased; and as heavy fines and severe penalties, in accession to reproach and contempt, deterred men from joining themselves in communion with dissenting churches, that way was almost unoccupied, and the travelers went through bypaths, according to the author’s sentiments on the subject. But the preaching of the Gospel, by which the ministers of Christ wielded the sword of the Spirit, overcame this enemy; for the example and exhortations of such courageous combatants animated even weak believers to overcome their fears, and to act according to their consciences, leaving the event to God. This seems to have been the author’s meaning; and perhaps he also intended to encourage his brethren boldly to persevere in resisting such persecuting statutes, confidently expecting that they should prevail for the repeal of them; by which, as by the death of the giant, the pilgrims might be freed from additional terror, in acting consistently with their avowed principles—(Scott).
122 122 This reminds us of the words of Mr. Godly-fear to Diabolus, when Captain Credence sent a petition to Immanuel for mercy- “We are resolved to resist thee as long as a captain, a man, a sling, or a stone shall be found in Mansoul to throw at thee. Then said the Lord Mayor to Diabolus, O thou devouring tyrant, be it known to thee, we shall hearken to none of thy words!”-(Bunyan’s Holy War). Happy are the Godly-fears and Great-hearts who use such decided language to the enemy of souls—(ED).
123 123 Sincere and earnest Christiana, at this time, had a proverbial expression- “It is better that the body should die to this world by the lions without, than that body and soul should die eternally by our lusts within.”-(ED).
124 124 O pilgrims, when dangers beset you, and fears arise in you, hear what the Lord speaks to you; and in the belief of his truth, quit yourselves manfully: “Fight the good fight of faith,” ever remembering that “you are more than conquerors through Christ who hath loved you!” Faith will exalt the love and power of Christ above the fear of every enemy—(Mason).
125 125 O pilgrim, it is sweet to reflect that every lion-like foe is under the control of thy God, and cannot come one link of the chain nearer to thee than thy Lord will permit! Therefore, when fears and terrors beset thee, think of thy Lord’s love to thee, His power engages to preserve thee, and His promises to comfort thee. For “the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him” (Psa. 145:18)-(Mason).
126 126 From the deeply interesting narrative of the experience of Mr. Fearing, it is plain that the lions and their backer, Giant Grim or Bloody-man, relates entirely to temporal troubles; most likely to those infamous penal statutes under which Dissenters so severely suffered. The uniting in church-fellowship was not only attended with the ordinary difficulties, but with danger from the lions- church and state; especially when backed by ferocious judges, such as Jefferies and others. Spiritual enemies-sin, death, and hell- were the only terrors under which Mr. Fearing suffered; temporal persecutions- “difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair-he feared not at all.” The battle probably refers to the flimsy sophistry used in defence of persecution, as opposed to the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, by which our Puritan heroes destroyed these anti- Christian arguments—(ED). Now that the lions are removed, may we not fear that hypocrites will thrust themselves into our churches? It is easy, cheap, and almost fashionable, to be religious: this should promote solemn investigation—(Andronicus).
127 127 How mindful is our Lord of us! How gracious is He to us! What blessed provision doth He make for us! If pilgrims are attacked by Giant Grim, and terrified with the sight of lions, they may be sure that it is only a prelude to some sweet enjoyment of their Lord’s love, and that they are near to some asylum, some sanctuary of rest, peace, and comfort. Some bitter generally precedes the sweet, and makes the sweet the sweeter—(Mason).
128 128 O it is hard work to part with Great-heart! How many blessings do we lose for want of asking! Great-heart is at the command of our Lord. O for more power to cry incessantly to the Lord for the presence of Great-heart, that we may go on more cheerfully and more joyfully in the ways of the Lord!-(Mason).
129 129 Here is a blessed mark of being vessels of the grace of God, when we delight in the sight of, salute, and welcome others in the way to Zion, and mutually have our hearts and affections drawn out to each other in love. O how sweet is the fellowship of pilgrims below! What must it be above? Infinitely above conception- (Mason).
130 130 Reader, can you feed upon Christ by faith? Is the Lamb the nourishment of thy soul, and the portion of thy heart? Canst thou say, from blessed experience, “His flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed?” Is it thy delight to think of Him, hear of Him, speak of Him, abide in Him, and live upon Him? O bless Him and praise Him for His distinguishing mercy, this spiritual appetite! It is peculiar to His beloved ones only—(Mason).
131 131 Pray mind the above note, ‘Christ’s bosom is for all pilgrims.’ [This is the room in which they all lay, and its name is Peace- ED]. It is there the weary find rest, and the burdened soul ease. O for more reclinings of soul upon the precious bosom of our Lord! We can be truly happy nowhere else—(Mason).
132 132 Immanuel also made a feast for them. He feasted them with food that grew not in the fields of Mansoul, nor in the whole kingdom of the Universe. It came from the Father’s court. There was music also all the while at the table, and man did eat angels’ food. I must not forget to tell you, that the musicians were the masters of the songs sung at the court of Shaddai—(Bunyan’s Holy War).
133 133 O what precious harmony is this! How joyful to be the subjects of it, and to join in it! The free, sovereign grace of God is the delightful theme, and glory to God in the highest the universal chorus. It is the wonder and joy of sinners on earth, and of angels in Heaven—(Mason).
134 134 Our author intimates that God sometimes communicates spiritual knowledge and heavenly joy by “dreams and visions of the night.” The Holy One “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” and employs what means He pleases to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. The effect produced by dreams must be brought to this test. It is a good maxim, that what leads to God, must have come from God- (Ivimey).
135 135 If Mercy were sweetly surprised with this dream, we are sure that nothing but the surprise of mercy can overcome the hardened sinner’s heart, who, expecting the stroke of justice, instead of the executioner with a death-warrant, finds a messenger of peace, with a pardon free and full, revealing the grace, mercy, and love of God, through the redemption which there is in the love of God—(J. B.).
136 136 O how blessed are they who are watching and waiting continually to hear the small, still voice of the Spirit, speaking rest and peace to their souls by the blood of the Lamb! O how condescending is our Lord, thus to visit us, and converse with us in the way to his kingdom!-(Mason). And how blessed is church fellowship when the members are governed by these heavenly principles, watchfulness, humility of mind, prudence, piety, and charity—(ED).
137 137 The assurance that the dream should he accomplished, is grounded on the effects produced upon Mercy’s heart; there is no danger of delusion, when so scriptural an encouragement is inferred even from a dream—(Scott).
138 138 Can we wonder that the pilgrims longed to spend some time with such lovely companions? Reader, how is your inclination? Add to these “Simplicity, Innocence, and Godly-sincerity; without which three graces thou wilt be a hypocrite, let thy notions, thy knowledge, thy profession, and commendations from others, be what they will.”-(Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 539). Christian, in choosing thy companions, specially cleave to these six virgins, for they not only have very comely and sober countenances, but Christ dwells with them—(ED).
139 139 When Christiana was admitted into the church, care was taken to inquire into the religious knowledge of her children. This is an important branch of ministerial and parental duty. The answers given by the children do their mother honour, and prove that she had not laboured in vain. Let every pious parent imitate her example, and hope for her success—(Burder).
140 140 This is a very sensible mode of catechising the boys according to their ages and acquirements, with questions, exciting their attention to subjects of the gravest importance. Compare this with the custom of asking a child its name, and requiring it to narrate circumstances which took place in the time of unconscious babyhood; instead of impressing upon it the existence of God and the solemn realities of eternity. The Assembly’s, Dr. Watts’, and especially Bunyan’s catechisms, are admirably adapted to assist a parent in these important and responsible exercises—(ED).
141 141 The young pupil is not here taught to answer, “all the elect,” but practically “those that accept of His salvation.” This is perfectly consistent with the other, while it instructs and encourages the learner without perplexing him. It is absurd to teach the hardest lessons to the youngest scholars in the school of Christ—(Scott).
142 142 Though this is answered with the simplicity of a child; yet it is, and ever will be, the language of every father in Christ. Happy those whose spirits are cast into this humble, evangelical mold! O that this Spirit may accompany us in all our researches, in all our ways, and through all our days!-(Mason). Our inability to discover the meaning of these passages should teach us humility, and submission to the decisions of our infallible Instructor- (Scott).
143 143 Here is the foundation of faith, and the triumph of hope, God’s faithfulness to His promise, and His power to perform. Having these to look to, what should stagger our faith, or deject our hope? We may, we ought to smile at all carnal objections, and trample upon all corrupt reasonings—(Mason).
144 144 This is an important lesson to young females, how they may profitably employ their time, adorn the Gospel, and be useful. It is much better to imitate Dorcas, in making garments for the poor, than to waste time and money in frivolous amusements, or needless decorations; or in more elegant and fashionable accomplishments—(Scott).
145 145 The character of Mr. Brisk is portrayed to the life in Bunyan’s Emblems—
“Candles that do blink within the socket,
And saints whose eyes are always in their pocket,
Are much alike: such candles make us fumble;
And at such saints, good men and bad do stumble.”
146 146 The character of Mercy is lovely throughout the pilgrimage; but in the important choice of a partner for life, she manifests great prudence and shrewdness; she asks the advice of those who knew Mr. Brisk, and whose names proved how capable they were to give it. And she acted upon their knowledge of his character. And when she discovered the utter selfishness of his disposition, she thankfully bid him, Good bye, sweet heart; and parts for life- (ED).
147 147 Most blessed resolution! Ah, pilgrims, if ye were more wary, lest, by your choice and conduct, ye brought clogs to your souls, how many troubles would ye escape, and how much more happy would you be in your pilgrimage! It is for want of this wisdom and conduct, that many bring evil upon themselves—(Mason).
148 148 How easily are the best of characters traduced, and false constructions put upon the best of actions! Reader, is this your lot also? Mind your duty. Look to your Lord. Persevere in His works and ways; and leave your character with Him, to whom you can trust your soul. “For if God be for us, who shall be against us? what shall harm us, if we be followers of that which is good?”- (Mason).
149 149 Crying at the cross, and turning a wife out of doors, refers to a vulgar error, which had its influence to a late period in Bedfordshire. It was a speedy mode of divorce, similar to that practised in London, by leading a wife by a halter to Smithfield, and selling her. The crying at the market cross that a man would not be answerable for the debts that might be incurred by his wife, was the mode of advertising, which was supposed to absolve a husband from maintaining his wife; a notion now fully exploded- (ED).
150 150 See the effects of sin. It will pinch and gripe the conscience, and make the heart of a gracious soul sick—(Mason). Matthew, in being admitted a member of the church, represented by the house Beautiful and its happy family, had to relate his experience, and this brought to his recollection plashing the trees, and eating the enemy’s fruit, of which his brother also reminds them—(ED).
151 151 How often do we suffer by neglecting the cautions of a pious parent or friend. “In time of temptation it is our duty to keep close to the Word, then we have Satan at the end of the staff. When Eve was tempted, she went to the outside of her liberty, and sat herself on the brink of danger, when she said, we may eat of all but one.”-(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 429). Christiana had chided the boys: “You transgress, for that fruit is none of ours.” Still the boys went on, and now Matthew feels the bitterness of repentance—(ED).
152 152 Although the mother did warn and chide her son, yet she did not use her authority to prevent his taking the fruit which belonged to another. She takes the fault home, falls under the sense of it, and is grieved for it. A tender conscience is a blessed sign of a gracious heart. Ye parents, who know the love of Christ, watch over your children; see to it, lest you smart for your sins, in not warning and preventing them, that “the fear of the Lord is to depart from all evil”; yea, to abstain from the very appearance of it—(Mason, altered by ED).
153 153 Mr. Bunyan’s great modesty and humility are truly admirable; he quotes Latin, but is careful to tell us, “The Latin I borrow” [in his notes]. The English is, “Of the flesh and of the blood of Christ.” This is the only portion for sin-sick souls. Feeding upon Christ’s flesh and blood by faith, keeps us from sinning, and when sick of sin, these, and nothing but these, can heal and restore us. Yet there is in our nature an unaccountable reluctance to receive these, through the unbelief which works in us. So Matthew found it—(Mason).
154 154 See the blessed effects of receiving Christ, when under the sense of sin, and distressed for sin. O what a precious Saviour is Jesus! What efficacy is there in His flesh and blood, to purge the conscience from guilt! Lord, what a mercy is it, that though we sin, yet Thou art abundant to pardon, yea, multipliest Thy pardons; yea, and also giveth poor, pained, broken-hearted sinners to know and feel Thy pardoning love!-(Mason).
155 155 How correctly are the effects of an indulgence in sinful lusts described. Sin and sorrow are inseparable. The burdened conscience of a backslider can be relieved in no other way, than that in which it was first “purged from dead works,” by exercising faith in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus as the only sacrifice for sin, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness” (Gal. 6:1). “Flee youthful lusts,” and be upon your guard against the fruit of Beelzebub’s orchard—(Ivimey).
156 156 The relation of Matthew’s sickness, and the method of his cure, may be justly esteemed among the finest passages of this work. He ate the fruit of Beelzebub’s orchard, sin, the disease of the soul, threatening eternal death. It is an unspeakable mercy to be exceedingly pained with it. Such need the physician, and the remedy is at hand.
Nothing but Thy blood, O Jesus!
Can relieve us from our smart;
Nothing else from guilt release us
Nothing else can melt the heart—(Hart).
It is the universal medicine; blessed are those that will never take any other physic—(Burder).
157 157 This advice should be carefully noted. Numbers abuse the doctrine of free salvation by the merits and redemption of Christ, and presume on forgiveness, when they are destitute of genuine repentance, and give no evidence of sanctification. But this most efficacious medicine in that case will do no good; or rather, the perverse abuse of it will increase their guilt, and tend to harden their hearts in sin—(Scott).
158 158 Bunyan’s bill of his Master’s water of life- “As men, in their bills, do give an account of the persons cured, and the diseases removed, so could I give you account of numberless numbers that have not only been made to live, but to live forever, by drinking this pure water of life. No disease comes amiss to it. It cures blindness, deafness, dumbness, deadness. This right holy water (all other is counterfeit) will drive away evil spirits. It will make you have a white soul, and that is better than a white skin.”-(Bunyan’s Water of Life). Whoever offers to purify the heart, and heal a wounded conscience, by any other means, is a deceiver and a soul- destroyer—(ED).
159 159 This conversation is adapted for the meditation of a restored backslider. Evangelical truth prescribes the most powerful antidotes to presumption and despair- “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1)-(Ivimey).
160 160 Having experienced the great advantage of a pious minister or elder, they were naturally desirous of having such comfort through their pilgrimage. The petition may refer to the custom, among dissenting churches, of letters of dismission given to members when they move to a distant locality—(ED).
161 161 How much is contained in that answer of Christiana as to the origin of evil- “It is food or poison, I know not which!” To believers, it will be their elevation to a degree of bliss that they would never have otherwise enjoyed; to the faithless, it will be poison of the deadliest kind. Here is no attempt to explain the origin of evil in our world; a subject far beyond all our powers of investigation—(ED).
162 162 It is not enough that the Holy Spirit convince us of sin at our first setting out on pilgrimage, and makes us sensible of our want of Christ; but He also keeps up a sight and sense of the evil of sin in its original nature, as well as actual transgressions. This often makes us wonder at sin, at ourselves, and at the love of Christ in becoming a sacrifice for our sins. And this also humbles us, makes us hate sin the more; and makes Christ, His atonement, and righteousness, more and more precious in our eyes, and inestimable in our hearts—(Mason).
163 163 The ministration of angels is an animating theme to believers, and is well adapted to promote their confidence in the care and protection of God. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)-(Ivimey).
164 164 This is the anchor of hope. This keeps the soul safe, and steady to Jesus, who is the alone object of our hopes. Hope springs from faith. It is an expectation of the fulfillment of those things that are promised in the Word of truth, by the God of all grace. Faith receives them, trusts in them, relies upon them; and hope waits for the full accomplishment and enjoyment of them—(Mason).
165 165 Bunyan loved harmony-he had a soul for music. But whether he intended by this to sanction the introduction of instrumental music into public worship, is not clear. “The late Abraham Booth and Andrew Fuller were extremely averse to it; others are as desirous of it. Music has a great effect on the nervous system, and of all instruments the organ is the most impressive. The Christian’s inquiry is, whether sensations so produced assist the soul in holding communion with the Father of spirits, or whether, under our spiritual dispensation, the Holy Ghost makes use of such means to promote intercourse between our spirits and the unseen hierarchies of Heaven—(ED).
166 166 O how reviving and refreshing are those love-tokens from our Lord! Great-heart never comes empty-handed. He always inspires with courage and confidence. Let us look more into, and heartily believe the Word of truth and grace; and cry more to our precious Immanuel, and we shall have more of Great-heart’s company. It is but sad travelling without him—(Mason).
167 167 What this great robbery was, whether spiritual or temporal, is left to the reader to imagine. The sufferings of the Dissenters were awfully severe at this time. Had it been a year later, we might have guessed it to have referred to the sufferings of that pious, excellent woman, Elizabeth Gaunt, who was burnt, October 23, 1685. She was a Baptist, and cruelly martyred. Penn, the Quaker, saw her die. “She laid the straw about her for burning her speedily, and behaved herself in such a manner that all the spectators melted in tears.”- (ED).
168 168 Mr. Ivimey is of opinion that by this Bunyan sanctioned a hireling ministry, but it appears more to refer to the common custom of rewarding servants to whom you have given trouble. He adduces Luke 10:7; 1 Timothy 5:18; and 1 Corinthians 9:11–14. It is a subject of considerable difficulty; but how is it that no minister ever thinks of referring to the plainest passage upon this subject in the New Testament? It is Acts 20:17–38, especially verses 33–35. The angel was a gold coin, in value half a sovereign—(ED).
169 Such mountains round about this house do stand
As one from thence may see the Holy Land (Psa. 125:2).
Her fields are fertile, do abound with corn;
The lilies fair her valleys do adorn (Song. 2:1).
The birds that do come hither every spring,
Her friends, her neighbours too, do call her blest (Psa. 48:2);
Angels do here go by, turn in, and rest (Heb. 13:2).
The road to paradise lies by her gate (Gen. 28:17),
Here pilgrims do themselves accommodate
With bed and board; and do such stories tell,
As do for truth and profit all excel.
Nor doth the porter here say any nay,
That hither would turn in, that here would stay.
This house is rent free; here the man may dwell
That loves his landlord, rules his passions well.
—(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2 p. 579).
170 170 It is sweet melody when we can sing with grace in the heart. The joy arising from God’s free grace and pardoning love, is greater than the joy of harvest, or of one who rejoices when he divides the spoil—(J. B.). Those joyful notes spring from a sense of nearness to the Lord, and a firm confidence in His Divine truth and everlasting mercy. O when the Sun of Righteousness shines warmly on the soul, it makes the pilgrims sing most sweetly! These songs approach very nearly to the heavenly music in the realm of glory—(Mason).
171 171 Forgetfulness makes things nothings. It makes us as if things had never been; and so takes away from the soul one great means of stay, support, and encouragement. When David was dejected, the remembrance of the hill Hermon was his stay. When he was to go out against Goliath, the remembrance of the lion and the bear was his support. The recovery of a backslider usually begins at the remembrance of former things—(Bunyan’s Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 507).
172 172 After being thus highly favoured with sensible comforts, in the views of faith, the comforts of hope, and the joy of love, the next step these pilgrims are to take is down the Hill Difficulty, into the Valley of Humiliation. What doth this place signify? A deep and abiding sight and sense of our ruined state, lost condition, and desperate circumstances, as fallen sinners. This is absolutely necessary, lest we should think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. For the Lord oft favours us with manifestations of His love, and the comforts of His Spirit; but, through the corruption of our nature, we are prone to be exalted in ourselves, and, as it were, intoxicated by them. Hence we are exhorted “to think soberly” (Rom. 12:3). This the Valley of Humiliation causes us to do—(Mason).
173 173 Thus beautifully does our author describe the grace of humility. O that every reader may know its excellence by happy experience!-(Burder).
174 174 These are the rare times; above all, when I can go to God as the Publican, sensible of His glorius majesty, sensible of my misery, and bear up and affectionately cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” For my part, I find it one of the hardest things I can put my soul upon, when warmly sesnsible that I am a sinner, to come to God for a share in mercy and grace; I cannot but with a thousand tears say, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”-(Bunyan’s Pharisee and Publican, vol. 2, p. 261).
175 175 Though this Valley of Humiliation, or a clear sight and abiding sense of the sinfulness of our nature, and the wickedness of our hearts, may be very terrifying to pilgrims, after they have been favoured with peace and joy, and comforted by the views of faith and hope, yet it is a very safe place; and though, at first entering into it, and seeing more of themselves than was ever before showed them, they may fear and tremble, yet, after some continuing here, they are more reconciled and contented; for here they find the visits of their Lord, and in the depths of their humility, they behold the heights of His love and the depths of His mercy, and cry out in joy, Where sin aboundeth, grace superabounds. Though sin abounds in me, the grace of Jesus superabounds towards me. Though I am emptied of all, yet I have an inexhaustible fullness in Jesus, to supply me with all I want and all I hope—(Mason).
176 176 The humble man is contented; if his estate be low, his heart is lower still. He that is little in his own eyes, will not be much troubled at being little in the eyes of others—(Watson). Those circumstances that will not disturb a humble man’s sleep, will break a proud man’s heart—(Matthew Henry). They that get slips in going down the hill, or would hide his descent by deception, or repine at it, must look for combats when in the valley—(Ivimey).
177 177 Perhaps the shepherd’s boy may refer to the obscure but quiet station of some pastors over small congregations, who live almost unknown to their brethren, but are, in a measure, useful and very comfortable—(Scott).
178 178 Our Lord chose retirement, poverty, and an obscure station; remote from bustle, and favourable to devotion; so that His appearance in a public character, and in crowded scenes, for the good of mankind and the glory of the Father, was a part of His self- denial, in which “He pleased not Himself.” Some are banished into this valley, but the poor in spirit love to walk in it; and though some believers here struggle with distressing temptations, others, in passing through it, enjoy much communion with God—(Scott).
179 179 Ever remember the words of our Lord, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.” If your Lord made it his chief delight to be in this Valley of Humiliation, learn from His example to prize this valley. Though you may meet with an Apollyon or a destroyer here, yet you are safe in the arms and under the power of your all-conquering Lord: “For though the Lord is high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly.” Therefore you may add with David, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me” (Psa. 138:7). Such are the confidence, the reasoning, and the pleading of humble souls in the power of faith, which leads them quite out of themselves to their Lord—(Mason).
180 180 In the first edition this name is printed “Simon”; it was corrected to Samuel in Bunyan’s later editions—(ED).
181 181 It is marvellous to see how some men are led captive by forgetfulness. Those that sometime thought no pains too much, no way too far, no hazards too great to run for eternal life, become as if they had never thought of such things. Should one say to some- Art not thou that man I saw crying out under a sermon, “What shall I do to be saved?” that I heard speak well of the holy Word of God? how askew they will look upon one. Or if they acknowledge that such things were with them once, they do it more like dejected ghosts than as men—(Bunyan’s Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 507).
182 182 O pilgrims, attend to this! Pride and ingratitude go hand in hand. Study, ever study the favours of your Lord; how freely they are bestowed upon you, and how utterly unworthy you are of the least of them. Beware of Forgetful Green. Many, after going some way on pilgrimage, get into this Green, and continue here; and talk of their own faithfulness to grace received, the merit of their works, and a second justification by their works, &c. Hence it is plain that they are fallen asleep on this Forgetful Green, and talk incoherently, as men do in their sleep; for they forget that they are still sinners-poor, needy, wretched sinners; and that they want the blood of Christ to cleanse them, the righteousness of Christ to justify them, and the Spirit of Christ to keep them humble, and to enable them to live by faith upon the fullness of Christ to sanctify them, as much as they did when they first set out as pilgrims. O it is a most blessed thing to be kept mindful of what we are, and of the Lord’s free grace and unmerited goodness to us!-(Mason).
183 183 “Trembles at God’s Word,” so as not to dare pick and choose which doctrines he will receive, and which reject. Would you act thus by God’s holy commandments? Would you choose one and reject another? Are they not all of equal authority? And are not all His holy doctrines also stamped with the same Divine sanction? Where there is true faith in them, it will make a man tremble to act thus by God’s Word!-(Mason).
184 184 We ought to study the records of the temptations, conflicts, faith, patience, and victories of believers; mark their wounds, by what misconduct they were occasioned, that we may watch and pray lest we fall in like manner. Learn how they repelled the assaults of the tempter, that we may learn to resist him steadfast in the faith. Their triumphs should animate us to keep on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day- (Scott).
185 185 If Satan be driven back from one attack, prepare for another. Bless God for your armour. Never put it off—(Mason).
186 186 If this monument refers to the experience of Bunyan, as exhibited in his Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, it is well called, “Most strange, and yet most true.”-(ED).
187 187 This valley represents the inward distress, conflict, and alarm, arising from darkness and insensibility of mind. It varies according to the constitution, animal spirits, health, education, and strength of mind of different persons—(Scott).
188 188 None know the distress, anguish, and fear that haunt pilgrims in this valley, but those who have been in it. The hissings, revilings, and injections of that old serpent, with all his infernal malice, seem to be let loose upon pilgrims in this valley. Asaph seems to be walking in this valley when he says, “As for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped” (Psa. 73:2)-(Mason).
189 189 Satan is often must dreadful at a distance, and, courageously resisted, will not advance nearer. This advice is ever needful, “Be sober; be vigilant.” These pilgrims kept up their watch. Satan did come upon them unawares; still they heard his approach; they were prepared for his attack; lo, Satan drew back—(Mason).
190 190 Miserable, uncomfortable walking, with a pit before us, mid darkness around, yea, within us, and hell seeming to move from beneath to meet us who have been left to the darkness of our nature, the terrors of a fiery law, the sense of guilt, and the fear of hell! O what an unspeakable mercy, in such a distressing season, to have an Almighty Saviour to look to and call upon for safety and salvation! “For He will hear our cry and save us” (Psa. 145:19)- (Mason).
191 191 This text has been a sheet anchor to my soul under darkness and distress. I doubt not but it has been so to many others. O there is an amazing depth of grace and a wonderful height of mercy in it. Bless God for it. Study it deeply—(Mason).
192 192 What must the pure and holy Jesus have suffered when He tasted death in all its bitterness? His soul was in an agony. Hell was let loose upon Him. This is your hour, said He, and the power of darkness, when He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It seemed as if the pains of hell had got hold of Him. O what justice and judgment! what love and mercy! what power and might were here displayed! And all this for us, and for our salvation. What shall we render to the Lord for all His benefits?-(J. B.).
193 193 Precious thought; under the worst and most distressing circumstances think of this. Their continuance is short. The appointment, love. Their end shall be crowned with glory. Our dark and distressing nights make us prize our light and joyful days the more—(Mason).
194 194 The tremendous horrors of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, figuratively represents the gloomy frame of mind in which fears rise high, and temptations greatly abound, more especially when they are augmented by bodily disease. Few Christians are wholly exempted from such distressing seasons, but all are not distressed alike—(Burder). Bunyan’s experience, recorded in his Grace Abounding, shows that he was, when under conviction, very familiar with these horrors—(ED).
195 195 Heedless professors, be warned. The doctrines of grace were never intended to lull any asleep in carnal security. If they do so by you, it is a sure sign that what should have been for your health proves an occasion of your falling—(Mason). O the miserable end of them that obey not the Gospel-punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power—(J. B.).
196 196 Prayer prevailed, and they were delivered.
By glimm’ring hopes, and gloomy fears,
We trace the sacred road;
Through dismal deeps, and dang’rous snares,
We make our way to God—(Burder).
197 197 By a good heart is here meant, that Christian was endued with boldness and courage from above; as the Psalmist says, “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart.”-(J. B.).
198 198 Satan’s master argument is, Thou art a horrible sinner, a hypocrite, one that has a profane heart, and one that is an utter stranger to a work of grace. I say this is his Maul, his club, his master-piece. He doth with this as some do by their most enchanting songs, sings them everywhere. I believe there are but few saints in the world that have not had this temptation sounding in their ears. But were they but aware, Satan by all this does but drive them to the gap, out at which they should go, and so escape his roaring. Saith he, Thou art a great sinner, a horrible sinner, a profane-hearted wretch, one that cannot be matched for a vile one in the country. The tempted may say, Aye, Satan, so I am, a sinner of the biggest size, and, therefore, have most need of Jesus Christ; yea, because I am such a wretch Jesus calls me first. I am he, wherefore stand back, Satan, make a lane; my right is first to come to Jesus Christ. This, now, would be like for like; this would foil the devil: this would make him say, I must not deal with this man thus; for then I put a sword into his hand to cut off my head- (Good News for the Vilest of Men, vol. 1, p 96).
199 199 The greatest heart cannot understand without prayer, nor conquer without the almighty power of God. The belief of this will excite prayer—(Mason).
200 200 The severity of Job’s sufferings probably suggested to the author, the idea of taking rest during the conflict. “How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?” (Job 7:19). Here is no timidly mincing the matter with sophistry or infidelity; but a manful, prayerful, fighting it out- (ED).
201 201 Mr. Ivimey considers, that in Giant Maul is characterised that erroneous but common notion, that the church of Christ consists exclusively of some one state religion, to dissent from which is to cause schism, and to rend the seamless coat of Christ. Maul dwelt in the place where Pagan and Pope had resided; the club being the temporal power to compel uniformity. If so, the declaration for liberty of conscience slew the giant, and the Act of toleration prevented his resurrection. Alas, how little do such Anti-Christians know of that spiritual kingdom which extends over all the temporal kingdoms of the earth, and which constitutes Christ the King of kings—(ED). Carnal reasoning upon the equity of the Divine proceedings have mauled many a Christian-robbed him of his comfort, and spoiled his simplicity. As soon as we turn aside to vain janglings and doubtful disputations, we get upon the devil’s ground. As Great-heart was knocked down with this giant’s club, so many a faithful minister has been confounded with the subtle arguments of a cunning disputer. The way to overcome this giant is to keep close to Scripture, and pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit—(J.B.). Though Maul was baffled, disabled, and apparently slain; it will appear that he has left a posterity on earth to revile, injure, and oppose the spiritual worshippers of God in every generation—(Scott).
202 202 Well may Giant Maul, with his sophistry, be called a dangerous enemy. Many of this tribe are mentioned in the Holy War, as Lord Cavil, the Lord Brisk, the Lord Pragmatic, the Lord Murmur, and one Clip-promise, a notorious villain. These lords felt the edge of Lord Will-be-will’s sword, for which his Prince Immanuel honoured him. Clip-promise was set in the pillory, whipped, and hanged. One clipper-of-promise does great abuse to Mansoul in a little time. Bunyan’s judgment was, that “all those of his name and life should be served even as he!”-(ED).
203 203 Light afflictions, but for a moment, and which work out for us an eternal weight of glory- “a little hurt on my flesh.” If this refers to Bunyan’s twelve years’ imprisonment under the maul of sophistry, how must his natural temper have been subdued by humility!-(ED).
204 204 This club we may suppose to mean human power, under which many godly ministers, in the seventeenth century, suffered greatly. Blessed be God, we have nothing of this to fear in our day; therefore, the more shame for such professors who desert Christ when they have nothing to fear but the breath of reproach, a nickname, or a by-word of contempt—(Mason).
205 205 The experienced Christian will be afraid of new acquaintance; in his most unwatchful seasons he is fully convinced that no enemy can hurt him, unless he is induced to yield to temptation, and commit sin—(Scott).
206 206 The character of Honesty is beautifully drawn by a masterly hand. The aged pilgrim, worn out with fatigue, can say without fear, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” He blushed when his name was mentioned, and proved to be a most valuable acquisition to the Pilgrim party—(ED).
207 207 By honesty, in the abstract, he means to distinguish between his earnest desire to be honest, and a perfect character. Every Christian is the subject of honesty or justice, uprightness and sincerity; yet when we come to describe these virtues in the abstract, or what they really are in their strict purity and utmost perfection, where is the Christian but must wear the conscientious blush, as Honesty did, under a sense of his imperfections- (Mason).
208 208 This is the confession of an honest heart. It is never afraid of ascribing too much to the sovereignty of grace; nor of giving all the glory to the Sun of Righteousness, for shining upon, and melting down its hard frozen soul—(Mason).
209 209 If the kiss of charity be given, great care should be taken that it is a “holy” kiss. “Some have urged the holy kiss, but then I have asked why they made baulks; why they did salute the most handsome, and let the ill-favoured go. This has been unseemly in my sight.”-(Grace Abounding, No. 315). However such a custom may have been innocent in the oriental scenes of apostolic labours, it has been very properly discontinued in later ages, unless it be as in the case of old Honest, or the unexpected meeting of very old friends and relatives—(ED).
210 210 The character and narrative of Fearing is drawn and arranged with great judgment, and in a very affecting manner. Little-faith, mentioned in the First Part, was faint-hearted and distrustful; and thus he contracted guilt, and lost his comfort; but Fearing dreaded sin and coming short of Heaven, more than all that flesh could do unto him. He was alarmed more at the fear of being overcome by temptation, than from a reluctance to undergo derision or persecution. The peculiarity of this description of Christians must be traced back to constitution, habit, first impressions, disproportionate and partial views of truth, and improper instructions; these, concurring with weakness of faith, and the common infirmities of human nature, give a cast to their experience and character, which renders them uncomfortable to themselves, and troublesome to others. Yet no competent judges doubt that they have the root of the matter in them; and none are more entitled to the patient, sympathizing, and tender attention of ministers and Christians—(Scott).
211 211 We cannot but admire the variety of experiences introduced into the Pilgrim’s Progress. Many have died remarkably happy in the Lord, who, till very near their last moments have been in bondage through the fear of death. We may be sure of this, that wherever the Lord has begun a work, He will carry it on to the great decisive day. The proof of this is “he would not go back!” “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed.”- (J.B.).
212 212 See all through this character, what a conflict there was between fear, and the influence of grace. Though it may not be the most comfortable, yet the end of Mr. Fearing was very joyful. O what a godly jealousy displayed itself all through his life! Better this, than strong, vain-glorious confidence. The Valley of Humiliation suits well with fearing hearts—(Mason).
213 213 When persons are naturally fearful and low-spirited, it will be found, notwithstanding the courage and comfort they sometimes are favoured with, that the constitutional bias of their tempers and dispositions will discover itself, more or less, all through their pilgrimage. Thus there is a kind of sympathy between Fearing and the Valley of Humiliation, which seems congenial to him—(J.B.).
214 214 O what a time of need is the day of death, when I am to pack up all, to be gone from hence; now a man grows near the borders of eternity; he sees into the skirts of the next world. Now death is death, and the grave the grave indeed. Has he laid up grace for this day, while cold death strokes his hand over his face, and over his heart, and is turning his blood into jelly; while strong death is loosing his silver cord, and breaking his golden bowl?-(Bunyan’s Saints’ Privilege, vol. 1, p. 678). Can a great-hearted saint wonder that Mr. Fearing was at his wit’s end?-(ED).
215 215 Here is a glorious display of a fearing heart. Full of courage against evil, and fired with zeal for God’s glory—(Mason).
216 216 O how gracious is our Lord! as thy day is, O Pilgrim, so shall thy strength be. Even the river of death, though there can be no bridge to go over, yet faith makes one; and the Lord of faith makes the waters low, to suit the state of His beloved ones—(Mason).
217 217 We know the least appearance of a sin better by its native hue, than we know a grace of the Spirit. Sin is sooner felt in its bitterness upon a sanctified soul than is the grace of God. Sin is dreadful and murderous in the sight of a sanctified soul. Grace lies deep in the hidden part, but sin floats above in the flesh, and is easier seen. Grace as to quantity, seems less than sin. What is leaven, or a grain of mustard seed, to the bulky lump of a body of death? It is a rare thing for some Christians to see their graces, but a thing very common for such to see their sins, to the shaking of their souls—(Bunyan’s Desire of the Righteous, vol. 1, p. 755).
218 218 This is an every-day character in the church, delicately and accurately drawn, a man, as Mr. Ivimey says, that “carried the Slough of Despond in his mind everywhere with him,” not from the difficulties of the way, nor the frowns of the world, but from doubts lest sin, death, and hell, should prevail over them. They walk safely, however sorrowfully; and seldom give the enemy an occasion to rejoice—(ED).
219 219 Here is a very striking lesson for professors. Talk not of your great knowledge, rich experience, comfortable frames, and joyful feelings; all are vain and delusive, if the Gospel has not a holy influence upon your practice. On the other hand, be not dejected if you are not favoured with these; for if a holy fear of God, and a godly jealousy over yourselves, possess your heart, verily you are a partaker of the grace of Christ—(Mason).
220 220 Hatred to sin can only arise from the love of God. In vain do men think of deterring others from sin, or driving them to duty by low terrors, or low requirements. The strong man armed will keep his palace, till a stronger than he cometh and taketh from him the armour wherein he trusted. But herein they err, not knowing the Scriptures, which set forth love as the constraining motive to true obedience—(J.B.).
221 221 Christians who resemble Fearing, are greatly retarded in their progress by discouraging apprehensions; they are apt to spend too much time in unavailing complaints; yet they cannot think of giving up their feeble hopes, or of returning to their forsaken worldly pursuits and pleasures. They are indeed helped forward, through the mercy of God, in a very extraordinary manner; yet they still remain exposed to alarms and discouragements, in every stage of their pilgrimage. They are afraid even of relying on Christ for salvation, because they have not distinct views of His love, and the methods of His grace; and imagine some other qualification to be necessary besides the willingness to seek, knock, and ask for the promised blessings, with a real desire of obtaining them. They imagine, that there has been something in their past life, or that there is some peculiarity in their present habits, and way of applying to Christ, which may exclude them from the benefit: so that they pray with diffidence; and, being consciously unworthy, can hardly believe that the Lord will grant their requests. They are also prone to overlook the most decisive evidences of their reconciliation to God; and to persevere in arguing with perverse ingenuity against their own manifest happiness. The same mixture of humility and unbelief renders persons of this description backward in associating with their brethren, and in frequenting those companies in which they might obtain further instruction; for they are afraid of being considered as believers, or even serious inquirers; so that affectionate and earnest persuasion is requisite to prevail with them to join in those religious exercises, by which Christians especially receive the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Yet this arises not from disinclination, but diffidence; and though they are often peculiarly favoured with seasons of great comfort, to counterbalance their dejections, yet they never hear or read of those who “have drawn back to perdition,” but they are terrified with the idea that they shall shortly resemble them; so that every warning given against hypocrisy or self-deception seems to point them out by name, and every new discovery of any fault or mistake in their views, temper, or conduct, seems to decide their doom. At the same time, they are often remarkably melted into humble, admiring gratitude, by contemplating the love and sufferings of Christ, and seem to delight in hearing of that subject above all others. They do not peculiarly fear difficulties, self-denial, reproaches, or persecution, which deter numbers from making an open profession of religion; and yet they are more backward in this respect than others, because they deem themselves unworthy to be admitted to such privileges and into such society, or else are apprehensive of being finally separated from them or becoming a disgrace to religion—(Scott).
222 222 This is a solid, scriptural definition; pray mind it. Here conditions may safely be admitted; and happy is the Christian who keeps closest to these conditions, in order to enjoy peace of conscience, and joy of heart in Christ—(Mason).
223 223 That heart, which is under the teaching and influence of the grace of God, will detect such horrid notions, and cry out against them. God forbid that ever I should listen one moment to such diabolical sentiments! for they are hatched in hell, and propagated on earth, by the father of lies—(Mason).
224 224 It is a horrible and blasphemous perversion of Scripture, to take encouragement in sin, from those sad examples of it in the saints, which are held up, in terrorem, as so many beacons by which we may avoid the same. To talk, and especially to act like Self-will affords the fullest proof that a man never came in at the gate. The Lord change every such perverse will, and preserve the church from principles and practices so diabolical—(Burder). What shall we say to these things? Lord, keep me!-(J.B.).
225 225 It may be seriously inquired as to whether in all Satan’s temptations, any one is so fatal to immortal souls as the idea of a death-bed repentance. Have not prayers against sudden death a tendency to interfere with or obstruct that daily walk with God, which alone can fit us to meet the king of terrors? When heart and strength fail; when the body is writhing in agony, or lying an insensible lump of mortality; is that the time to make peace with God? Such persons must he infatuated with strange notions of the Divine Being. No, my reader, life is the time to serve the Lord, the time to insure the great reward. Sudden death is a release from much pain and anxiety. It is the most merciful gate by which we can enter upon immortality—(ED).
226 226 Pray attentively mind, and deeply consider the six following observations; they are just; they are daily confirmed to us in the different conduct of professors. Study, and pray to improve them to your soul’s profit—(Mason).
227 227 Adam hid himself because he was naked. But how could he be naked, when before he had made himself an apron? O! the approach of God consumed and burnt off his apron! His apron would not keep him from the eye of the incorruptible God. When God deals with such men for sin, assuredly they will find themselves naked—(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 432). If the wicked flee when no man pursueth, how can they stand when God lets loose death and eternity upon their guilty souls?-(ED).
228 228 Thou art bound to Heaven, but the way thither is dangerous. It is beset everywhere with evil angels, who would rob thee of thy soul. If thou wouldest go on cheerfully in thy dangerous journey, commit thy treasure-thy soul, to God, to keep; and then thou mayest say with comfort, Well, that care is over; my soul is safe; the thieves, if they meet me, cannot come at that; God will keep it to my joy and comfort at the great day—(Bunyan’s Advice to Sufferers, vol. 2, p. 701).
229 229 The spiritual refreshment, arising from experimental conversation, seems to be especially intended; but the name of Gaius suggests also the importance of the Apostle’s exhortation, “Use hospitality without grudging.” This ought to be obeyed even to strangers, if they are certified to us as brethren in Christ- (Scott). Every Christian’s house should, so far as ability is given, be an inn for the refreshment of weary fellow-pilgrims—(ED).
230 230 This character is drawn from that of the well-beloved Gaius, in the third epistle of John. Although, in comparison with the great bulk of Christians, there are but few such in the church; yet in all ages, and in most churches, some hospitable Gaius is to be found. May their numbers be greatly increased—(ED).
231 231 Ignatius, a bishop or pastor of a church in Antioch, cruelly martyred for the truth in the second century; not Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit. Mr. Bunyan obtained all this information from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which was written before Satan had introduced the Jesuits into the world—(ED).
232 232 “Marriage is honourable in all” (Heb. 13:4). Notwithstanding all the cares of a family, while the married have many troubles, the single have few, if any, real enjoyments of life. The will of our heavenly Father is here enforced upon the pilgrims by Gaius-only let pilgrims be united together, marry in the Lord, and we may expect his blessing to fit us to do His will. Vows of celibacy are from beneath, from the father of lies-contrary to the order of nature, and the expressed will of God. “It is not good to be alone.”-(ED).
233 233 The different parts of social worship and Christian fellowship are here allegorically described. The heave-shoulder and wave- breast typify the power and love of our great High Priest; that we should devote to Him our whole heart, with fervent prayer, and grateful praise. The wine represents the exhilarating effects of the shedding of Christ’s blood, and its application to us by living faith. The milk is the simple instruction of the Scriptures. The butter and honey are animating views of God and heavenly joy. The apples are the promises and privileges of Christians (see Song. 2:3; Prov. 25:11). And the nuts those difficult doctrines, which amply repay us the trouble of penetrating their meaning. Christians so employed have far sweeter enjoyments than they ever had in the mirth, diversions, and pleasures of the world—(Scott).
234 234 Bunyan takes advantage of the common past-time of solving riddles, to teach important truth in a way calculated to be impressed on the memory. Thus, in the treatise on the Covenants of the Law and Grace, the second Adam was before the first, and also the second covenant before the first. This is a riddle—(vol. 2, p. 524)-(ED). Observe here, the feast of pilgrims was attended with mirth. Christians have the greatest reason to be merry; but then it ought to be spiritual mirth, which springs from spiritual views and spiritual conversation—(Mason).
235 235 When Christian intercourse is conducted with gravity and cheerfulness united, it is both pleasant and instructive. Speech should be “always with grace, seasoned with salt, that it may minister grace to the bearers,” and thus “provoke one another unto love, and to good works”; thus are the young encouraged to follow that which is good—(Ivimey).
236 236 Here is a genuine discovery of a gracious heart; when it is delighted with spiritual company and conversation, and longs for its continuance. Is it so with you?-(Mason).
237 237 If our love to sinners be only shown by seeking their spiritual good, it will be considered as a bigoted desire to proselyte them to our sect; but uniform diligent endeavours to relieve their temporal wants are intelligible to every man, and bring a good report on the profession of the Gospel (Matt. 5:16)-(Scott).
238 238 O, this dying to self, to self-righteous pride, vain confidence, self-love, and self-complacency, is hard work to the old man; yea, it is both impracticable and impossible to him. It is only grace that can conquer and subdue him; and where grace reigns, this work is carried on day by day. And yet the old man of sin, and self- righteousness, still lives in us—(Mason).
239 239 Old age affords advantage in overcoming some propensities, yet habits of indulgence often counterbalance the decays of nature; and avarice, suspicion, and peevishness, with other evils, gather strength as men advance in years. Some old men may imagine that they have renounced sin, because they are no longer capable of committing the crimes in which they once lived—(Scott).
240 240 The refreshment of Divine consolations, and Christian fellowship, are intended to prepare us for vigorously maintaining the good fight of faith; not only against the enemies of our own souls, but also against the opposers of our most holy religion. We are soldiers, and should unite together under the Captain of Salvation, to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, by every method authorized by the Word of God; nor must we shrink from danger and contumely in so good a cause—(Scott).
241 241 It may he asked, how for it is right to expose ourselves to danger and difficulties, since it is rashness, not courage, to expose ourselves to unnecessary danger, or to give unnecessary offence. I would answer, It can never be improper to expose error, or oppose a prevailing vice, by which God’s children are in danger of being beguiled—(J.B.).
242 242 Giant Slay-good represents a wicked, cruel man-a mere cannibal, invested with judicial authority-a selfish, malignant persecutor, who intimidated feeble-minded professors by fines and imprisonments, to the hazard of their souls. By the thieves, of whom he was master, were perhaps intended the common informers, who got their living by giving evidence against Nonconformists; some cruel magistrates pursued them to death. The attack was by scriptural and rational arguments, which led to a great alteration in these accursed laws—(Ivimey and Scott).
243 243 All pilgrims are not alike vigorous, strong, and lively; some are weak, creep and crawl on, in the ways of the Lord. No matter, if there be but a pilgrim’s heart, all shall be well at last; for Omnipotence itself is for us, and then we may boldly ask, “Who shall be against us?”-(Mason). Constitutional timidity and lowness of spirits, arising from a feeble frame, give a peculiar cast to the views and nature of religious profession, which unfits for hard and perilous service. The difference between Feeble-mind and Fearing seems to be this-the former was more afraid of opposition, and the latter more doubtful about the event, which perhaps may intimate, that Slay-good rather represents persecutors than deceivers—(Scott).
244 244 What a sweet simple relation is here! Doth it not suit many a feeble mind? Poor soul, weak as he was, yet his Lord provided against his danger. He sent some strong ones to his deliverance, and to slay his enemy. Mind his belief, even in his utmost extremity. Learn somewhat from this Feeble-mind—(Mason).
245 245 O how sweet to reflect, that the most gigantic enemies shall be conquered, and their most malicious designs be overruled for our good; yea, what they intend for our ruin shall be made to work for our health and prosperity—(Mason).
246 246 “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:25)-(ED). Here is a contrast between a feeble believer and a specious hypocrite; the latter eludes persecutions by time-serving, yet perishes in his sins; the former suffers and trembles, yet hopes to be delivered and comforted. The frequency with which this is introduced, and the variety of characters by which it is illustrated, show us how important the author deemed such warnings—(Scott).
247 247 Events, which at first appear big with misery and misfortune, have been found afterwards to have been as so many dark passages, to lead into brighter and more glorious displays of the Divine power, wisdom, and goodness—(J.B.).
248 248 “Marriage is honourable in all”; nor will Christian females find such a state any hindrance to their abounding in works of charity and mercy. By fulfilling the duties of the married life, they will cause the ways of God to be well spoken of. The desire of Paul was, “That the younger women marry, be sober, love their husbands, love their children, be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4, 5)-(Ivimey).
249 249 What an open, ingenuous confession is here! though feeble in mind, he was strong in wisdom and sound judgment—(Mason). Woe be to those who offend one of these little ones; no less dear to God than the most eminent and distinguished saints—(J.B.).
250 250 O that this were more practised among Christians of different standings, degrees, and judgments! If they who are strong were thus to bear with the weak, as they ought, how much more love, peace, and unanimity would prevail!-(Mason).
251 251 Excellent! See the nature of Christian love; even to be ready to spare to a brother, what we ourselves have occasion for. Love looketh not at the things of our own, but to provide for the wants of others—(Mason).
252 252 The character of Feeble-mind seems to coincide, in some things, with that of Fearing, and in others with the description of Little-faith. Constitutional timidity and lowness of spirits, arising from a feeble frame, and frequent sickness, while they are frequently the means of exciting men to religion, give also a peculiar cast to their views and the nature of their profession-tend to hold them under perpetual discouragements, and unfit them for hard and perilous services. This seems implied in the name given to the native place of Feeble-mind; yet this is often connected with evident sincerity, and remarkable perseverance in the ways of God—(Scott).
253 253 Here, very ingeniously, an associate is found for poor Feeble- mind; in one equally weak, lame, and limping in his religious sentiments, who, instead of forming his own sentiments from the Word of Truth, leant upon the sentiments and opinions of others. The hesitation of Feeble-mind to accept one of his crutches, is humourously conceived. He would, weak as he was, think for himself; though he had no objection to quote the opinion of another Christian against an adversary—(Ivimey). “As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” How great a comfort to find a fellow-pilgrim whose experience agrees with our own, and with whom we can take sweet counsel! Still all our dependence must be on Ready-to-halt’s crutches- “the promises.”-(ED).
254 254 The near prospect of persecution is formidable even to true believers, notwithstanding all the encouragements of God’s Word. It is useful to realize such scenes, that we may pray, without ceasing, for wisdom, fortitude, patience, meekness, faith, and love sufficient for us, should matters come to the worst—(Scott).
255 255 How happy to find a family, in Vanity Fair, whose master will receive and entertain pilgrims. Blessed be God for the present revival of religion in our day, and for the many houses that are open to friends of the Lamb—(Mason).
256 256 The inquiry of disciples, after suitable company, discovers that they, with David, love the Lord’s saints; and in the excellent of the earth is all their delight (Psa. 16:3). A genuine discovery this of a gracious heart—(Mason).
257 257 Great, indeed, was the change in the town of Vanity, when Christiana and her party of pilgrims arrived, compared with the but recent period when Faithful was martyred. The declaration of liberty of conscience had rendered the profession of vital godliness more public, still there was persecution enough to make it comparatively pure. Dr. Cheever has indulged in a delightful reverie, in his lecture on Vanity Fair, by supposing, at some length, how our glorious dreamer would now describe the face of society in our present Vanity Fair. After describing the consequences that had arisen from religion having become FASHIONABLE, he hints at the retrograde movement towards Popery, known under the name of Puseyism. “It happened, in process of time, that a part of the pilgrims who remained in Vanity Fair, began to visit the cave of Giant Pope, and it became a sort of fashionable pilgrimage to that cave. They brushed up the giant, and gave him medicines to alleviate the hurts from those bruises which he had received in his youth; and, to make the place pleasanter, they carefully cleared away the remains of the bones and skulls of burned pilgrims, and planted a large enclosure with flowers and evergreens.” “The cage in which the Pilgrims were once confined was now never used; some said it was consecrated for church purposes, and put under the cathedral, in a deep cell, from which it might again be brought forth if occasion required it.” The Doctor’s description of the present state of Vanity Fair is very deeply interesting and amusing—(ED). When religion is counted honourable, we shall not want professors; but trying times are sifting times. As the chaff flies before the wind, so will the formal professors before a storm of persecution—(J.B.).
258 258 Kindness to the poor increases and builds up the church. It conquers the prejudices of the worldly, secures their confidence, and brings them under the preaching of the Gospel. They rationally conclude that they cannot be bad people who do so much good- (Ivimey).
259 259 This monster is Antichrist. The devil is the head; the synagogue of Satan is the body; the wicked spirit of iniquity is the soul. The devil made use of the church [the clergy] to midwife this monster into the world. He had plums in his dragon’s mouth, and so came in by flatteries. He metamorphosed himself into a beast, a man, or woman; and the inhabitants of the world loved the woman dearly, became her sons, and took up helmet and shield to defend her. She arrayed herself in flesh-taking ornaments-gold, and precious stones, like an harlot. She made the kings drunken, and they gave her the blood of saints and martyrs until she was drunken, and did revel and roar. But when her cup is drunk out, God will call her to such a reckoning, that all her clothes, pearls, and jewels shall not be able to pay the shot. This beast is compared to the wild boar that comes out of the wood to devour the church of God (Psa. 80:13). The temporal sword will kill its body, but spirit can only be slain by spirit; the Lord the Spirit will slay its soul- (Bunyan on Antichrist, vol. 2, p. 47). Is not Antichrist composed of all the State religions in the world?-(ED).
261 261 And that you may be convinced of the truth of this, look back and compare Antichrist four hundred years ago, with Antichrist as he now is, and you shall see what work the Lord Jesus has begun to make with him; kingdoms and countries He hath taken from her. True, the fogs of Antichrist, and the smoke that came with him out of the bottomless pit, has eclipsed the glorious light of the Gospel; but you know, in eclipses, when they are recovering, all the creatures upon the face of the earth cannot put a stop to that course, until the sun or the moon have recovered their glory. And thus it shall be now, the Lord is returning to visit this people with His primitive lustre; he will not go back until the light of the sun shall be sevenfold—(Bunyan’s Antichrist and his ruin, vol. 2, p. 48).
262 262 When nations have restored to the people the property of which they have been plundered, under the pretence of assisting to obtain the pardon of sin and the favour of God, the monster will soon die; when neither rule, nor honour, nor pelf is to he gained by hypocrisy—(ED).
263 263 This may refer to that noble band of eminent men who, in 1675, preached the morning exercises against Popery; among others were Owen, Manton, Baxter, Doolittle, Jenkyn, Poole, and many others. They were then, and ever will be, of great fame- (ED).
264 264 The plans of Charles II and James II, to re-establish Popery in England, were defeated by the union of the eminent Nonconformists with some decided enemies to Rome in the Established Church; this brought them into esteem and respect. Mr. Scott’s note on this passage is- “The disinterested, and bold decided conduct of many dissenters, on this occasion, procured considerable favour both to them and their brethren, with the best friends of the nation; but the prejudices of others prevented them from reaping all the advantage from it that they ought to have done.”-(ED).
265 265 David Hume, in his History of England, admitted the invaluable services of the Puritans, “By whom the precious spark of liberty was kindled and preserved, and to whom the English owe all the blessings of their excellent constitution.”-(ED).
266 266 This is a most encouraging view of the tender care of the Saviour, to the children of believers committed to His care, by godly parents. Not by any ceremonial observance, but by constant fervent supplications to the Throne of Grace on their behalf, and by a consistent pious example to train them up in the way in which they should go, that when they are old they should not depart from the new and living way—(ED).
267 267 Here we frequently find our author speaking of our God and Saviour as Man; he excels in this. It is to be wished that authors and preachers wrote and spake of the manhood of Jesus, who was a perfect Man, like unto us in all things except sin. The view and consideration of this is sweet to faith, and endears our Saviour to our hearts—(Mason).
268 268 What cannot Great-heart do? what feats not perform? what victories not gain? Who can stand before Great-heart? Diffidence shall fall, and Giant Despair be slain by the power of Great-heart, with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17); even Despondency, though almost starved, shall be delivered, and his daughter Much-afraid shall be rescued. O for more of Great-heart’s company!-(Mason). The struggle with Despair may be dangerous, and painful, and long-continued, but it shall he finally successful. “I am persuaded,” saith the Apostle, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul demolished the castle, and slew the giant; but,
“Sin can rebuild the castle, make’t remain,
And make Despair the Giant live again.”—ED.
269 269 How well does Mr. Bunyan describe the experience of the Much-afraids, Ready-to-halts, and the Feeble-minds, in the Come and Welcome. “Poor coming soul, thou art like the man that would ride full gallop, whose horse will hardly trot! Now, the desire of his mind is not to be judged of by the slow pace of the dull jade he rides on, but by the hitching, and kicking, and spurring, as he sits on his back. Thy flesh is like this dull jade; it will not gallop after Christ, it will be backward, though thy soul and Heaven lie at stake. But be of good comfort, Christ judgeth according to the sincerity of the heart.”-(vol. 1, p. 252).
270 270 This is the work and aim of every faithful minister of Christ, to destroy Giant Despair, and demolish Doubting Castle, in the hearts of God’s children. A more awful character is not in the world, than the man who assumes the ministerial name and character, without understanding the nature of that ministry of reconciliation which is committed to everyone who is really called and sent of God- (J.B.).
271 271 “The wain,” seven bright stars in the constellation of Ursa Major, called by country people, the plough, or the wain, or Charles I’s chariot—(ED).
272 272 Those ministers who exercise the greatest affection towards weak and upright Christians, are most according to the description of pastors, after God’s own heart, given in the Scriptures of truth- (Ivimey).
273 273 Bunyan was peculiarly tender with the weak; they are to be received, but not to doubtful disputations. Thus, with regard to the great cause of separation among Christians, he says, “If water- baptism” (whether by sprinkling of infants, or immersing of adults) “trouble their peace, wound the consciences of the godly, and dismember their fellowships, it is although an ordinance, for the present to be prudently shunned, for the edification of the church.” “Love is more discovered when we receive, for the sake of Christ, than when we refuse his children for want of water.”-(Bunyan on Baptism, vol. 2, p. 608). When will such peaceful sentiments spread over the church?-(ED).
274 274 There are things taught by the Gospel, here called “rarities,” which, though high and mysterious, will yet, when clearly stated, prove the means of exciting Christians to live by faith, and to cultivate whatsoever things are lovely and of good report- (Ivimey).
275 275 Strong faith, in the words of Christ, will “believe down” mountains of afflictions, or tumble them out of the Christian’s way. Though it will not perform miracles, it will remove difficulties resembling mountains—(Ivimey).
276 276 The history of Joseph, with that of Mr. Bunyan, and of thousands besides, proves, that charges against a godly, innocent man, arising from the prejudice, ill-will, and malice of his enemies, shall eventually turn out to his honour, and to their confusion. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against yon FALSELY, for My sake” (Matt. 5:11)-(ED).
277 277 This represents the folly of those who go about to reform the manners, without aiming at the conversion of the heart. Nature, in its highest state of cultivation and improvement, is nature still. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit—(J.B.).
278 278 O, damned souls will have thoughts that will clash with glory, clash with justice, clash with law, clash with itself, clash with hell, and with the everlastingness of misery; but the point, the edge, and the poison of all these thoughts will still be galling, and dropping their stings into the sore, grieved, wounded, fretted place, which is the conscience, though not the conscience only; for I may say of the souls in hell, that they, all over, are but one wound, one sore- (Bunyan’s Greatness of the Soul, vol. 1, p. 119). Well might Mercy say, “Blessed are they that are delivered from this place!”-(ED).
279 279 O what a blessed thing it is to long for the Word of God so as not to be satisfied without it, and to prize it above and beyond all other things! Love to the Word excites the soul to say with David, “I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord” (Psa. 119:174). This is a special mark of a gracious soul—(Mason). Every true believer longs to be more completely acquainted with the Scriptures from day to day, and to look into them continually—(Scott). Abraham Cheer, who perished in prison for nonconformity in Bunyan’s time, published a little volume of Poems, in which he compares the Bible to a looking-glass, in these very appropriate lines- “If morn by morn you in this glass will dress you, I have some hopes that God by it may bless you.”-(P. 37)-(ED).
280 280 This doubtless is meant to intimate, that in times of great anxiety, and in prospect of seasons of difficulty, Christians desire above all things the special supports and consolations of the Word of God—(Ivimey).
281 281 By this jewelry is probably intimated, that they gave them written testimonials of possessing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, that they might he recognized as Christian women by other churches—(Ivimey).
282 282 From the names given to these opposers, they appear to represent certain wild enthusiasts who intrude themselves in the way of professors, to perplex their minds, and persuade them that, unless they adopt their reveries or superstitions, they cannot be saved. An ungovernable imagination, a mind incapable of sober reflection, and a dogmatizing spirit, characterize these enemies of the truth; they assault religious persons with specious reasonings, caviling objections, confident assertions, bitter reproaches, proud boastings, sarcastic censures, and rash judgments. They endeavour to draw them to their party, or drive them from attending to religion at all. But the Word of God, used with fervent, persevering prayer, will silence such dangerous assailants, and confirm others also—(Scott).
283 283 Truth will make a man valiant; and valour for truth will make a pilgrim fight with wild-headed, inconsiderate, and pragmatic opposers. The blood he loses in such a battle is his honour, the scars he gets are his glory—(Mason). He does not attempt to hide himself, or run from his and his Lord’s enemies. O that pilgrims, especially those that are young were better trained to this battle! In Bunyan’s time, there were comparatively few of these cavilers; now their name is Legion—(ED).
284 284 In this battle, this striving for the truth, three considerations strike the mind—(1). Reliance upon Divine aid, without which we can do nothing. (2). A right Jerusalem weapon, forged in the fire of love, well tempered with Bible truths. Such a sword will make even the angel of the bottomless pit flee, its edge will never blunt, and it will cut through everything opposed to it. (3). Decision of character, perseverance to the utmost; no trimming or meanly compounding for truth, but a determination, in the Lord’s strength, to come off more than conquerors. It is blessed fighting when hand and heart are engaged, and the sword grows united to both—(ED).
285 285 The church of Christ has produced heroes of the first class in point of courage, which they have displayed in circumstances of great danger. Luther and Knox, and Latimer and Bunyan, were men of this stamp, each of whom might, with great propriety, have been named Valiant-for-the-truth—(Ivimey).
286 286 The reason why so many professors set out, and go on for a season, but fall away at last, is, because they do not enter into the pilgrim’s path by Christ, who is the gate. They do not see themselves quite lost, ruined, hopeless, and wretched; their hearts are not broken for sin; therefore they do not begin by receiving Christ as the only Saviour of such miserable sinners. But they set out in nature’s strength; and not receiving nor living upon Christ, they fall away. This is the reason of this inquiry, Did you come in at the gate? A question we ought to put to ourselves, and be satisfied about—(Mason).
287 287 Among many puzzling questions which agitate the Christian’s mind, this is very generally a subject of inquiry. At the mount of transfiguration, the Apostles knew the glorified spirits of Moses and Elias. The rich man and Lazarus and Abraham knew each other. The most solemn inquiry is, to reconcile with the bliss of Heaven the discovery that some dear relative has been shut out. Shall we forget them? or will all our exquisite happiness centre in the glory of God? Bunyan has no doubt upon personal identity in Heaven—
“Our friends that lived godly here
Shall there be found again;
The wife, the child, and father dear,
With others of our train.
Those God did use us to convert
We there with joy shall meet.
And jointly shall, with all our heart,
In life each other greet.”
—(One Thing Needful, ver. 69, 71)—(ED).
288 288 A sound Christian is not afraid to be examined, and sifted to the bottom, for he can give reason of the hope that is in him. He knows why and wherefore he commenced his pilgrimage- (Mason).
289 289 This is a reproach cast upon religion in every age. Pharaoh said to Moses and the Israelites, “Ye are idle, ye are idle.” Men by nature imagine, that time spent in reading the Bible and in prayer is wasted. It behooves all believers to avoid every appearance of evil; and, by exemplary diligence, frugality, and good management, to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—(Scott).
290 290 Worldly people, in opposing the Gospel, descant upon the hypocrisy of religious persons; they pick up every vague report that they hear to their disadvantage, and narrowly watch for the halting of such as they are acquainted with; and then they form general conclusions from a few distorted and uncertain stories. Thus they endeavour to prove that there is no reality in religion. This is a frivolous sophistry, often employed after all other arguments have been silenced—(Scott).
291 291 If Judas the traitor, or Francis Spira the backslider, were alive, to whisper these men in the ear a little, and to tell them what it hath cost their souls for turning back, it would surely stick by them as long as they have a day to live in the world. Agrippa gave a fair step on a sudden; he stepped almost into the bosom of Christ in less than half an hour. “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” It was but almost, and so he had as good been not at all. He stepped fair, but stepped short. He was hot whilst he ran, but he was quickly out of breath. O this but ALMOST! I tell you, it lost his soul. What a doom they will have, who were almost at Heaven’s gate, but ran back again!-(Bunyan’s Heavenly Footman).
292 292 How natural is it for carnal men to give an evil report of the ways of the Lord; and to discourage those who are just setting out, by telling of the dangers and difficulties they shall meet with! But here is not one word of the pleasures, comforts, and joys, that are experienced in the ways of the Lord. No, they feel them not, they believe not one word about them; therefore they cannot speak of them—(Mason).
293 293 Here we see that valiant soldiers of Christ ascribe all to faith. They set out with faith, and they hold on and hold out by believing. Thus they give all the glory to Christ, who is the object, author, and finisher of faith—(Mason).
294 294 Various are the enemies we meet with in our Christian warfare. The world, with its enchantments, has a tendency to stupefy, and bring on a fatal lethargy. How many professors receive principles, by which they harden themselves in carnal pursuits and sensual gratifications; and others, still preserving a religious name and character, are as dead in their souls, as devoted to the world as these, though contending for legal principles, and high in their religious pretensions!-(J.B.).
295 295 It behooves all who love their souls to shun that hurry of business, and multiplicity of affairs and projects, into which many are betrayed by degrees, in order to supply increasing expenses, that might be avoided by strict frugality; for they load the soul with thick clay, are a heavy weight to the most upright, render a man’s way doubtful and joyless, and drown many in perdition—(Scott).
296 296 Old pilgrims, ye who have set out well, and gone on well for a long season, consider ye are yet in the world, which is enchanted ground. Know your danger of seeking rest here, or of sleeping in any of its enchanting arbours. Though the flesh may be weary, the spirit faint, and the arbours inviting, yet beware. Press on. Look to the Strong for strength; and to the Beloved for rest in His way- (Mason).
297 Mark how the ready hands of death prepare;
His bow is bent, and he hath notch’d his dart;
He aims, he levels at thy slumb’ring heart.
The wound is posting; O be wise, beware!
What, has the voice of danger lost the art
To raise the spirit of neglected care?
Well, sleep thy fill, and take thy soft reposes;
But know, withal, sweet tastes have sour closes;
And he repents in thorns that sleeps in beds of roses.
—(Quarles’ Emblems, 1–7).
298 298 This inculcates the duty of constant attention to the precepts and counsels of Scripture, as well as reliance on its promises; and a habitual application to the Lord by prayer, to teach us the true meaning of His Word, that we may learn the way of peace and safety in the most difficult and doubtful cases—(Scott).
299 299 The Word of God is compared to a map and a lantern; to these we shall do well to take heed, as to light shining in a dark place. Let this be the pilgrim’s guide, when the light of spiritual joy or sensible comfort is withdrawn—(Burder).
300 To follow Christ.
HE is to them instead of eyes,
HE must before them go in any wise;
And He must lead them by the water side,
This is the work of Him our faithful guide.
Since snares, and traps, and gins are for us set,
Since here’s a hole, and there is spread a net,
O let nobody at my muse deride,
No man can travel here without a guide.
—(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 582.)
301 301 Ignorance and pride may long maintain a form of godliness, though it be a weariness to them; but after a time they will be gradually drawn back into the world, retaining nothing of their religion except certain distorted doctrinal notions—(Scott).
302 302 It is the duty, and will be the practice of pilgrims, to strive to be instrumental to the good of others. But, at the same time, it behooves them to take heed to themselves, and watch, lest they catch harm from them and their conduct—(Mason).
303 303 What a sound sleep of infatuation hath this enchanting world cast many a professor into! They are proof against all warnings, and dead as to any means of arousing them. When this sleep of death seizes the soul, it destroys faith, infatuates reason, and causes men to talk incoherently. They have lost the language of pilgrims. Their state is awful; beware of it; pray against it. For “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15)-(Mason).
304 304 This view of the Enchanted Ground seems to vary from that which has been considered in the First Part. The circumstances of believers who are deeply engaged in business, and constrained to spend much of their time among worldly people, may here be particularly intended. This may sometimes be unavoidable; but it is enchanted ground. Many professors, fascinated by the advantages and connections thus presented to them, fall asleep, and wake no more; and others are entangled by those thorns and briers which “choke the Word, and render it unfruitful.” The more soothing the scene the greater the danger, and the more urgent need is there for watchfulness and circumspection—(Scott).
305 305 This is a solemn period in the Christian’s pilgrimage. In the Heavenly Footman, Bunyan has given some admirable general directions- “Because I would have you think of them, take all in short in this little bit of paper-1. Get into the way. 2. Then study on it. 3. Then strip and lay aside everything that would hinder. 4. Beware of by-paths. 5. Do not gaze and stare much about thee; but be sure to ponder the path of thy feet. 6. Do not stop for any that call after thee, whether it be the world, the flesh, or the devil; for all these will hinder thy journey if possible. 7. Be not daunted with any discouragements thou meetest with as thou goest. 8. Take heed of stumbling at the Cross. And, 9. Cry hard to God for an enlightened heart and a willing mind, and God give thee a prosperous journey. Yet, before I do quite take my leave of thee, a few motives. It may be they will be as good as a pair of spurs, to prick on thy lumpish heart in this rich voyage. If thou winnest, then Heaven, God, Christ, glory eternal is thine. If thou lose, thou procurest eternal death.”-(ED).
306 306 The Word of God is the only light to direct our steps. He who neglects this is a fool. He who sets up and looks for any other light to direct him is mad, and knows not what he does. As folly and madness beset him, danger and distress will come upon him. Trembling souls will attend closely to God’s Word—(Mason).
307 307 He who fears always, will pray evermore. The fear of the heart will bring pilgrims on their knees. He who fears to be or go wrong, will pray to be set right. The Lord will direct the heart, and order the goings of all who cry to Him. Fear and prayer go hand in hand. Joy shall attend them—(Mason).
308 308 No more money than an owl loves light. “The antiquarian, who delights to solace himself in the benighted days of monkish owl- light, sometimes passes for a divine.”-(Warburton)-(ED).
309 My soul, what’s lighter than a feather? Wind.
Than wind? The fire. And what than fire?
The mind. What’s lighter than the mind?
A thought. Than thought?
This bubble world. What than this bubble? Naught.
310 Prayer’s arrow drawn
Down to the head by nervous penitence,
Or meek humility’s compliant strings,
Wings to the destin’d mark its certain way,
And ne’er was shot in vain!
—(Dodd’s Epiphany, p. 32, 4to).
311 311 O pilgrims, beware of this Madam Bubble! Know and consider well, that ye have a nature exactly suited to accept of her offers, and to fall in love with her promises. The riches, honours, and pleasures of this world, what mortal can withstand? or who can forego them? No one but he who sees more charms in Jesus, more glory in His Cross, and more comfort in the enjoyment of His love and presence; and therefore, is continually looking and crying to Him, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.”-(Mason). Many, indeed, are her fair promises and golden dreams. Many hath she brought to the halter, and ten thousand times more to Hell. O for precious faith, to overcome the world; and to pass through it, in pursuit of a nobler portion, as strangers and pilgrims!-(Burder).
312 312 Is she not rightly named Bubble? Art thou convinced that she is nothing more? Why then dost thou not break loose from her hold? I ask, Why has the world such hold of thee? Why dost thou listen to her enchantments? For shame! Stir up thy strength, call forth thy powers! What! be convinced that the world is a bubble, and be led captive by her. Shake her off, you ought, you should, it is your duty. Let Mr. Stand-fast answer these questions. His earnest and solemn prayers plainly prove the sense he had of his own weakness and inability to extricate himself from her enchantments. Though some may appear to despise the dominion of sin, I am convinced that it must be a Divine power to deliver me from it—(J.B.).
313 313 It was amidst this Enchanted Ground that good Mr. Stand-fast, whom the Pilgrims there found upon his knees, was so hard beset and enticed by Madam Bubble; and indeed it is by her sorceries that the ground itself is enchanted. Madam Bubble is the world, with its allurements and vanities; and whosoever, as Mr. Great- heart said, do lay their eyes upon her beauty are counted the enemies of God; for God hath said that the friendship of the world is enmity against God; and he hath said furthermore, “Love not the world, nor the things of the world; if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” So Mr. Stand-fast did well to betake him to his knees, praying to Him that could help him. So if all pilgrims, when worldly proposals and enticements allure them, and they feel the love of the world tempting them, and gaining on them, would thus go to more earnest prayer, and be made more vigilant against temptations, Madam Bubble would not gain so many victories—(Cheever).
314 314 The ensuing description represents the happy state of those that live in places favoured with many lively Christians, united in heart and judgment; and where instances of triumphant deathbed scenes are often witnessed. Aged believers, in such circumstances, have been remarkably delivered from fears and temptations, and animated by the hopes and earnests of Heaven; so that, while death seemed bitter to nature, it became pleasant to the soul to think of the joy and glory that would immediately follow it—(Scott).
O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true!
Scenes of accomplished bliss, which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refresh’d with foretaste of the joy?
Bright as a sun the sacred City shines;
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth
Flock to that light, the glory of all lands
Flows into her; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kellar there;
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba’s spicy groves pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard Salvation!
315 315 These messengers are the diseases or decays by which the Lord takes down the earthly tabernacle, when He sees good to receive the souls of His people into His immediate presence. In plain language, it was reported that Christiana was sick and near death, and she herself became sensible of her situation. “The arrow sharpened by love” implies, that the time, manner, and circumstances of the believer’s death, are appointed by Him “who loved us, and gave Himself for us.” He, as it were, says to the dying saint, “It is I, be not afraid.”-(Scott).
316 316 This is the faith and patience of this dying Christian heroine, who began her pilgrimage with trembling steps, maintained her journey with holy zeal, and thus finished her course with joy- (Ivimey).
317 317 O how blessed is the death of the righteous, who die in the Lord! Even a wicked Balaam could wish for this. But it will be granted to none but those who have lived in the Lord; whose souls have been quickened by His Spirit to come unto Jesus, believe in Him, and glory of Him as their righteousness and salvation- (Mason).
318 318 Evident decays of natural powers as effectually convince the observing person, as if a messenger had been sent to inform him. But men in general cling to life, willfully overlook such tokens, and try to keep up to the last the vain hope of recovering; those around them, by a cruel compassion, soothe them in the delusion; so that numbers die of chronic diseases as suddenly as if they had been shot through the heart. Perhaps the author had some reference to those inexplicable presages of death which some persons evidently experience—(Scott).
319 319 See the joyful end of one ready to halt at every step. Take courage hence, ye lame, halting pilgrims—(Mason).
320 320 The tokens are taken from that well-known portion of Scripture, Ecclesiastes 12:1–7; in which the dealings of the Lord are represented as uniformly gentle to the feeble, trembling, humble believer; and the circumstances of their deaths comparatively encouraging and easy—(Scott).
321 321 In the Holy War, the doubters having been dispersed, three or four thrust themselves into Mansoul. Now, to whose house should these Diabolic doubters go, but to that of Old Evil-questioning. So he made them welcome. Well, said he, be of what shire yon will, you have the very length of my foot, are one with my heart. So they thanked him. I, said one, am an election-doubter; I, said another, am a vocation-doubter; then said the third, I am a salvation-doubter; and the fourth said, I am a grace-doubter. I am persuaded you are down boys, and are one with my heart, said the old gentleman—(ED).
322 322 Pilgrims, mind this. It is as much your duty to strive, in the strength of the Lord, against unreasonable doubts and slavish fears, as against sin; nay, are they not, in their own nature, the worst of sins, as they spring from infidelity, and dishonour God’s precious truth, glorious grace, and everlasting salvation? Never, never, then, cherish or give way to them, but resist, and shut the door of your hearts against them—(Mason).
323 323 How various is the experience of Christians in the hour of death. Christian and Hopeful inquired “if the waters were all of a depth.” The answer was, “You shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place.” “What ailed thee, O Jordan, that thou wast driven back?” The answer is, “At the presence of the Lord: at the presence of the God of Jacob.” In proportion as a Christian can say, “for me to live is Christ,” in that proportion may he hope to find the water shallow, and feel support to his feet in the trying passage—(ED).
324 324 In the truth of Jesus is victory. He who is valiant for it shall share most of its comforts in life, and in death. O Lord, increase our faith in the never-failing Word of truth and grace, for Thy glory and our soul’s triumph!-(Mason).
325 325 Such is the joy and blessedness of faith! How does it bring near and realize the sight of Christ in glory! Do we indeed see Christ by the eye of faith? Is He the one, the chief object of our soul? Verily, then we shall count our days on earth toilsome ones, and long for the full fruition of Him in glory. O it will be our great glory to see that dear Man, whose blessed head was crowned with thorns, and whose lovely face was spit upon, for us. O that we may be living every day upon Him and to Him, till we see Him as He is!- (Mason).
326 326 This speech has been justly admired as one of the most striking passages in the whole work; but it is so plain that it only requires an attentive reader. It may, however, be worthy of our observation, that, in all the instances before us, the pilgrims are represented as resting their only dependence, at the closing scene, on the mercy of God, through the righteousness and atonement of His Son; and yet recollecting their conscious integrity, boldness in professing and contending for the truth, love to the cause, example, and words of Christ, obedience to His precepts, delight in His ways, preservation from their own iniquities, and consistent behaviour, as evidences that their faith was living, and their hope warranted; and in this way the retrospect conduced to their encouragement. Moreover, they all concur in declaring that, while they left their infirmities behind them, they should take their graces along with them, and that their works would follow them.”-(Scott).
327 327 O who is able to conceive the inexpressible, inconceivable joys of Heaven! How will the heavens echo with joy, when the bride, the Lamb’s wife, shall come to dwell with her husband forever! Christ, the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father; what solace then must the soul be filled with, that hath the possession of Him to all eternity! O what acclamations of joy will there be, when all the children of God shall meet together, without fear of being disturbed by the anti-Christian and Cainish brood! If you would be better satisfied what the beatific vision means, my request is, that you would live holily, and go and see—(Bunyan’s Dying Sayings, vol. 1, p. 65).
328 328 It was not without design that our excellent author tells us, that the four boys, with their wives and children, were suffered to continue in life for a time, for the increase of the church in the place where they dwelt. He doubtless intended to write a Third Part of his “Pilgrims Progress,” founded upon this circumstance, with a design, probably to show the influence of real religion and evangelical sentiments on persons in business and in domestic life—(Ivimey).
329 329 The view of the peaceful and joyful death of the pilgrims, cannot but affect every reader; and many, perhaps, may be ready to say, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his”; but, except they make it their principal concern to live the life of the righteous, such a wish will be frustrated. If any man, therefore, doubt whether this allegory do indeed describe the rise and progress of religion in the soul-the beginning, continuance, and termination of the godly man’s course to Heaven, let him diligently search the Scriptures, and fervently pray to God, from whom alone “cometh every good and perfect gift,” to enable him to determine this question. But let such as own themselves to be satisfied that it does, beware lest they rest in the pleasure of reading an ingenious work on the subject, or in the ability of developing many of the author’s emblems. Let them beware lest they be fascinated, as it were, into a persuasion that they actually accompany the pilgrims in the life of faith and walking with God, in the same measure as they keep pace with the author in discovering and approving the grand outlines of His plan. And let everyone carefully examine his state, sentiments, experience, motives, tempers, affections, and conduct, by the various characters, incidents, and observations, that pass under his review-assured that this is a matter of the greatest consequence. We ought not, indeed, to call any man master, or subscribe absolutely to all his sentiments; yet the diligent practical student of Scripture can scarcely doubt that the warnings, counsels, and instructions of this singular work agree with that sacred touchstone, or that characters and actions will at last be approved or condemned by the Judge of the world, in a great degree according to the sentence passed on them in this wise and faithful book. The Lord grant that both the writer and readers of these observations “may find mercy in that day,” and be addressed in these gracious words, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”- (Scott).
1 1 The jail. Mr. Bunyan wrote this precious book in Bedford jail, where he was imprisoned 12 years for preaching the Gospel. His bonds were those of the Gospel; and, like Peter, he could sleep soundly in prison. Blessed be God for even the toleration and religious privileges we now enjoy in consequence of it. Our author, thus prevented from preaching, turned his thoughts to writing; and, during his confinement, composed “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” and many other useful works. Thus the Lord causes “the wrath of man to praise Him.” The servants of Christ, when restrained by wicked laws from publishing the word of life from the pulpit, have become more abundantly useful by their writings-(G. Burder).
2 2 You will observe what honour, from his Pilgrim’s first setting out, Bunyan puts upon the Word of God. He would give to no inferior instrumentality, not even to one of God’s providences, the business of awakening his Pilgrim to a sense of his danger; but he places him before us reading his book, awakened by the Word. And he makes the first efficacious motive in the mind of this Pilgrim a salutary fear of the terrors of that Word, a sense of the wrath to come, beneath the burden of sin upon his soul-(Cheever, Lect. 6). The alarms of such an awakened soul are very different from the terrors of superstitious ignorance, which, arising from fright or danger, are easily quitted, with the silly mummeries of priestcraft-(Andronicus).
3 3 “What shall I do?” This is his first exclamation. He has not as yet advanced so far as to say, What shall I do to be saved?-(Cheever, Lect. 6).
4 4 Sometimes I have been so loaden with my sins, that I could not tell where to rest, nor what to do; yea, at such times, I thought it would have taken away my senses- (Bunyan’s Law and Grace).
5 5 See the picture of a true penitent; a deep sense of danger, and solemn concern for his immortal soul, and for his wife and children; clothed with rags; his face turned from his house; studying the Bible with intense interest; a great burden on his back; praying; “the remembrance of his sins is grievous, and the burden of them is intolerable.” Reader, have you felt this?-(Dr. Dodd).
6 6 Reader! be persuaded to pause a moment, and ask yourself the question-What is my case? Did I ever feel a deep concern about my soul? Did I ever see my danger as a sinner? Did I ever exclaim, in the agony of my spirit, “What must I do to be saved?” Be assured that real godliness begins in feeling the burden of sin-(G. Border).
7 7 The advice is to fly at once to Christ, and that he will then be told what to do. He is not told to get rid of his burden first, by reforming his life, and then to apply for further instruction to the Saviour-(J. B.).
8 8 When a sinner begins to fly from destruction, carnal relations will strive to prevent him; but the sinner who is in earnest for salvation will be deaf to invitations to go back. The more he is solicited by them, the faster he will fly from them-(Mason).
9 9 The names of these two neighbours are admirably characteristic, not confined to any age or place, but always accompany the young convert to godliness, as the shadow does the substance. Christian is firm, decided, bold, and sanguine. Obstinate is profane, scornful, self- sufficient, and contemns God’s Word. Pliable is yielding, and easily induced to engage in things of which he understands neither the nature nor the consequences-(Thomas Scott).
10 10 Objection. If I would run as you would have me, then I must run from all my friends, for none of them are running that way. Answ. And if thou dost, thou wilt run into the bosom of Christ, and of God. And what harm will that do thee? Objec. But if I ran this way, I must run from all my sins. Answ. That’s true indeed; yet if thou dost not, thou wilt run into hell-fire. Objec. But I shall be mocked of all my neighbours. Answ. But if thou lose the benefit of Heaven, God will mock at thy calamity. Objec. But, surely, I may begin this, time enough a year or two hence. Answ. Hast thou any lease of thy life? Did ever God tell thee thou shalt live half a year or two months longer? Art thou a wise man to let thy immortal soul hang over hell by a thread of uncertain time, which may soon be cut asunder by death?-(Bunyan’s Preface to the Heavenly Footman).
11 11 It is interesting to compare this account of Heaven with that which Bunyan gave in the Preface to his “Sighs from Hell,” published 20 years before-”O sinner, sinner, there are better things than hell to be had, and at a cheaper rate by the thousandth part than that. O there is no comparison; there is Heaven, there is God, there is Christ, there is communion with an innumerable company of saints and angels”-(ED).
12 12 Here you have another volume of meaning in a single touch of the pencil. Pliable is one of those who is willing, or think they are willing, to have Heaven, but without any sense of sin, or of the labour and self-denial necessary to enter Heaven. But now his heart is momentarily fired with Christian’s ravishing descriptions, and as he seems to have nothing to trouble his conscience, and no difficulties to overcome, the pace of an honest, thorough inquirer, the movement of a soul sensible of its distresses and its sins, and desiring comfort only in the way of healing and of holiness, seems much too slow for him. He is for entering Heaven at once, going much faster than poor Christian can keep up with him. Then, said Christian, I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back- (Cheever).
13 13 Satan casts the professor into the mire, to the reproach of religion, the shame of their brethren, the derision of the world, and the dishonour of God. He holds our hands while the world buffets us. He puts bears’ skins upon us, and then sets the dogs at us. He bedaubeth us with his own foam, and then tempts us to believe that that bedaubing comes from ourselves-(Good News to the Vilest of Men, vol. 1, P. 69).
14 14 Guilt is not so much a wind and a tempest, as a load and burden. The devil, and sin, and the curse of the law, and death, are gotten upon the shoulders of this poor man, and are treading of him down, that he may sink into, and be swallowed up of, his miry place (Job 41:30)-(Bunyan’s Saints’ Know ledge of Christ’s Love, vol. 2, p. 6).
15 15 In this Slough of Despond there were good and firm steps, sound promises to stand upon, a causeway, indeed, better than adamant, clear across the treacherous quagmires; but mark you, fear followed Christian so hard, that he fled the nearest way, and fell in, not stopping to look for the steps, or not thinking of them. Now this is often just the operation of fear; it sets the threatenings against the promises, when it ought simply to direct the soul from the threatenings to the promises. It is the object of the threatenings to make the promises shine, and to make the soul lay hold upon them, and that is the purpose and the tendency of a salutary fear of the Divine wrath on account of sin, to make the believer flee directly to the promises, and advance on them to Christ-(Cheever).
16 16 Signifying that there is nothing but despondency and despair in the fallen nature of sinful man: the best that we can do, leaves us in the Slough of Despond, as to any hope in ourselves-(Mason).
17 17 That is, the Lord Jesus Christ. We never find good ground, nor safe sounding, nor comfortable walking, till we enter into possession of Christ by faith, and till our feet are set upon Christ, who is the Rock of ages-(Mason).
18 18 And now you may think, perhaps, that Christian having got out of the Slough of Despond, and fairly on his way, it is all well with him; but not so, for now he comes into a peril that is far greater than the last-a peril through which we suppose that every soul that ever goes on pilgrimage passes, and a peril in which multitudes that get safely across the Slough of Despond, perish forever- (Cheever).
19 19 “Some inkling”; some intimation, hint, or slight knowledge: obsolete-(ED).
20 20 There is great beauty in this dialogue, arising from the exact regard to character preserved throughout. Indeed, this forms one of our author’s peculiar excellencies; as it is a very difficult attainment, and always manifests a superiority of genius-(Scott).
21 21 Mr. Worldly-wiseman prefers morality to Christ the strait gate. This is the exact reasoning of the flesh. Carnal reason ever opposes spiritual truth. The notion of justification by our own obedience to God’s Law ever works in us, contrary to the way of justification by the obedience of Christ. Self-righteousness is as contrary to the faith of Christ as indulging the lusts of the flesh. The former is the white devil of pride, the latter the black devil of rebellion and disobedience. See the awful consequences of listening to the reasonings of the flesh- (Mason).
22 22 And “wotted”: and knew. From the Saxon witen, to know; see Imperial Dictionary-(ED).
23 23 Beware of taking men by their looks. They may look as gentle as lambs, while the poison of asps is under their tongue; whereby they infect many souls with pernicious errors and pestilent heresies, turning them from Christ and the hope of full justification and eternal life through Him ONLY, to look to, and rely upon, their own works, in whole, or in part, for salvation-(Mason).
24 24 As the belief of the truth lies at the fountain of the hope of eternal life, and is the cause of anyone becoming a pilgrim; so the belief of a lie is the cause of anyone’s turning out of the way which leads to glory-(Mason).
25 25 See the glory of Gospel grace to sinners. See the amazing love of Christ in dying for sinners. O remember the price, which obtained the pardon of our sins, at nothing less than His most precious blood! Believe His wonderful love. Rejoice in His glorious salvation. Live in the love of Him, in the hatred of your sins, and in humbleness of mind before Him-(Mason).
26 26 Legality is as great an enemy to the cross of Christ as licentiousness; for it keeps the soul from coming to, believing in, and trusting wholly in the blood of Christ for pardon, and the righteousness of Christ for justification! so that it keeps the soul in bondage, and swells the mind with pride, while licentiousness brings a scandal on the cross- (Mason).
27 27 The straitness of this gate is not to be understood carnally, but mystically. This gate is wide enough for all the truly sincere lovers of Jesus Christ, but so strait that it will keep all others out. The gate of Eden was wide enough for Adam and his wife to go out at, yet it was too strait for them to go in at. Why? They had sinned; and the cherubim and the flaming sword made it too strait for them. The gates of the temple were six cubits wide, yet they were so strait that none who were unclean might enter them-(Bunyan’s Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 367).
28 28 Here behold the love of Jesus, in freely and heartily receiving every poor sinner who comes unto Him; no matter how vile they have been, nor what sins they have committed, He loves them freely and receives them graciously; for He has nothing but GOOD-WILL to them. Hence, the heavenly host sang at his birth, “Good-will towards men” (Luke 2:14)- (Mason).
29 29 As sinners become more decided in applying to Christ, and assiduous in the means of grace, Satan, if permitted, will be more vehement in his endeavours to discourage them, that, if possible, he may induce them to desist, and so come short of the prize-(Scott). A whole Heaven and eternal life is wrapped up in this little word-”Strive to enter in”; this calls for the mind and heart. Many professors make their striving to stand rather in an outcry of words, than in a hearty labour against the lusts and love of the world. But this kind of striving is but a beating the air, and will come to nothing at last-(Bunyan’s Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 366). Coming souls will have opposition from Satan. He casts his fiery darts at them; wanderings in prayer, enticements to old sins, and even blasphemous thoughts, assail the trembling penitent, when striving to enter into the strait gate, to drive him from “the way and the life”-(ED).
30 30 “No betterment” is an admirable expression of the Christian’s humility-he set out in company, but reached the gate alone; still it is not unto me, but unto Thy name be all the glory-(ED).
31 31 “Carnal arguments” is altered to “carnal agreement,” in several of Mr. Bunyan’s editions: see third to the ninth-(ED).
32 32 Christian, when admitted at the strait gate, is directed in the narrow way; not in the broad fashionable religion. In the broad road, every man may choose a path suited to his inclinations, shift about to avoid difficulties, or accommodate himself to circumstances; and he may be sure of company agreeable to his taste. But Christians must follow one another in the narrow way on the same track, facing enemies, and bearing hardships, without attempting to evade them; nor is any indulgence given to different tastes, habits, or propensities-(Scott).
33 33 With gnat propriety Bunyan places the house of the Interpreter beyond the strait gate; for the knowledge of Divine things, that precedes conversion to God by faith in Christ, is very scanty, compared with the diligent Christian’s subsequent attainments-(Scott).
34 34 It would be difficult to find 12 consecutive pages in the English language, that contain such volumes of meaning, in such beautiful and instructive lessons, with such heavenly imagery, in so pure and sweet a style, and with so thrilling an appeal to the best affections of the heart, as these pages descriptive of Christian’s sojourning in the house of the Interpreter. This good man of the house, the Interpreter, we are, without doubt, to take as the representative of the Holy Spirit, with His enlightening and sanctifying influences on the heart-(Cheever). The order in which these heavenly lessons are taught, is worthy of our admiration-(ED).
35 35 As in creation, so in conversion, God’s command is, “Let there be light”; it comes by the Word; no Bible, no light. God divided the light from the darkness; a blessed mystery to prove the Christian indeed-light in his mind at variance with his native darkness-(Bunyan, on Genesis).
36 36 The FIRST object presented by the Holy Spirit to the mind of a young believer, is the choice of his minister; not to be submissive to human orders, but to choose for himself. The leading features are, that he be grave, devotional, a lover of his Bible, one who rejects error and preaches the truth; uninfluenced by paltry pelf or worldly honours; pleading patiently to win souls; seeking only his Master’s approbation; souls, and not money, for his hire; an immortal crown for his reward. With the laws of men and friendship to mislead us, how essential is the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this important choice!-(ED). And whose portrait is Bunyan describing here? We think he had only Mr. Gifford in his eye as a faithful minister of Christ; but Bunyan too had been the pleader with men, and over his own head the crown of gold was shining, and while he wrote these words, you may be sure that his spirit thrilled within him as he said, And I too am a minister of Jesus Christ-(Cheever).
37 37 Christian well knew this in his own deep experience; for the burden of sin was on him still, and sorely did he feel it while the Interpreter was making this explanation; and had it not been for his remembrance of the warning of the man at the gate, he would certainly have besought the Interpreter to take off his burden. The law could not take it off; he had tried that; and grace had not yet removed it; so he was forced to be quiet, and to wait patiently. But when the damsel came and sprinkled the floor, and laid the dust, and then the parlour was swept so easily, there were the sweet influences of the Gospel imaged; there was Divine grace distilling as the dew; there was the gentle voice of Christ hushing the storm; there were the corruptions of the heart, which the law had but roused into action, yielding under the power of Christ; and there was the soul made clean, and fit for the King of glory to inhabit. Indeed, this was a most instructive emblem. O that my heart might be thus cleansed, thought Christian, and then I verily believe I could bear my burden with great ease to the end of my pilgrimage; but I have had enough of that fierce sweeper, the Law. The Lord deliver me from his besom!-(Cheever).
38 38 This was a vivid and striking emblem, and one which, in its general meaning, a child could understand. Passion stands for the men of this world, Patience of that which is to come; Passion for those who will have all their good things now, Patience for those who are willing, with self- denial, to wait for something better; Passion for those who are absorbed in temporal trifles, Patience for those whose hearts are fixed upon eternal realities; Passion the things which are seen, and the impatient eagerness with which they are followed, Patience the things which are unseen, and the faith, humility, and deadness to the world exercised in order to enjoy them. It is a good commentary upon Psalm 73- (Cheever).
39 39 This instructive vision springs from the author’s painful, but blessed experience. The flame of love in a Christian’s heart is like the fire of despair in Satan’s spirit-unquenchable. Before Bunyan had been behind the wall, the tempter suggested to him-”You are very hot for mercy, but I will cool you, though I be seven years in chilling your heart, I can do it at last; I will have you cold before long”-(Grace Abounding, No. 110). He is the father of lies. Thus he said to Christian in the fight, “Here will I spill thy soul”; instead of which, Apollyon was put to flight.
We cannot fail with such a prop,
That bears the earth’s huge pillars up.
Satan’s water can never be so powerful to quench, as Christ’s oil and grace are to keep the fire burning. Sinner, believe this, and love, praise, and rejoice in thy Lord. He loves with an everlasting love; He saves with an everlasting salvation; without His perpetual aid, we should perish; Christ is the Alpha and Omega of our safety; but how mysterious is the Saint’s perseverance until we have seen the secret supply!- (ED).
40 40 For a man to fight his way through infernal enemies, is in every age a fearful battle; but in addition to this, to enter his name as a nonconformist in Bunyan’s time, demanded intrepidity of no ordinary degree; their enemies were the throne, the laws, and the bishops, armed with malignity against these followers of Jesus Christ. But there were noble spirits, “of very stout countenance,” that by the sword of the Spirit cut their way through all opposition. Bunyan was one of these worthies-(Ivimey).
41 41 Verily thou didst, noble Christian! And who is there that does not know the meaning of it, and what heart so cold as not to be ravished by it! Yea, we should think that this passage alone might set any man out on this pilgrimage, might bring many a careless traveler up to the gate of this glorious palace to say, Set down my name, Sir! How full of instruction is this passage! It set Christian’s own heart on fire to run forward on his journey, although the battle was before him-(Cheever).
42 42 All these deeply interesting pictures are intended for every age and every clime. This iron cage of despair has ever shut up its victims. Many have supposed that it had a special reference to one John Child, who, under the fear of persecution, abandoned his profession, and, in frightful desperation, miserably perished by his own hand. See Introduction, page 73; see also the sickness and death of Mr. Badman’s brother-(ED).
43 43 Bunyan intended not to represent this man as actually beyond the reach of mercy, but to show the dreadful consequences of departing from God, and of being abandoned of Him to the misery of unbelief and despair-(Cheever).
44 44 “An everlasting caution”-”God help me to watch.” The battle with Apollyon, the dread valley, the trying scene at Vanity Fair, the exhilarating victory over By-ends and Demas, dissipated the painful scene of the iron cage; and want of prayerful caution led Christian into the dominion of Despair, and he became for a season the victim shut up in this frightful cage. Reader, may we be ever found “looking unto Jesus,” then shall we be kept from Doubting Castle and the iron cage-(ED).
45 45 “In the midst of these heavenly instructions, why in such haste to go? Alas! the burden of sin upon his back pressed him on to seek deliverance-(ED).
46 46 “Rack.” Driven violently by the wind-(ED).
47 47 We go about the world in the day time, and are absorbed in earthly schemes; the world is as bright as a rainbow, and it bears for us no marks or predictions of the judgment, or of our sins; and conscience is retired, as it were, within a far inner circle of the soul. But when it comes night, and the pall of sleep is drawn over the senses, then conscience comes out solemnly, and walks about in the silent chambers of the soul, and makes her survey and her comments, and sometimes sits down and sternly reads the record of a life that the waking man would never look into, and the catalogue of crimes that are gathering for the judgment. Imagination walks tremblingly behind her, and they pass through the open gate of the Scriptures into the eternal world-for thither all things in man’s being naturally and irresistibly tend-and there, imagination draws the judgment, the soul is presented at the bar of God, and the eye of the Judge is on it, and a hand of fire writes, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting!” Our dreams sometimes reveal our character, our sins, our destinies, more clearly than our waking thoughts; for by day the energies of our being are turned into artificial channels, by night our thoughts follow the bent that is most natural to them; and as man is both an immortal and a sinful being, the consequences both of his immortality and his sinfulness will sometimes be made to stand out in overpowering light, when the busy pursuits of day are not able to turn the soul from wandering towards eternity-(Cheever). Bunyan profited much by dreams and visions. “Even in my childhood the Lord did scare and affright me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with dreadful visions.” That is a striking vision of church fellowship in the Grace Abounding, (Nos. 53–56); and an awful dream is narrated in the Greatness of the Soul-”Once I dreamed that I saw two persons, whom I knew, in hell; and methought I saw a continual dropping from Heaven, as of great drops of fire lighting upon them, to their sore distress” (vol. 1, p. 148)-(ED).
48 48 Our safety consists in a due proportion of hope and fear. When devoid of hope, we resemble a ship without an anchor; when unrestrained by fear, we are like the same vessel under full sail without ballast. True comfort is the effect of watchfulness, diligence, and circumspection. What lessons could possibly have been selected of greater importance or more suited to establish the new convert, than these are which our author has most ingeniously and agreeably inculcated, under the emblem of the Interpreter’s curiosities?-(Scott).
49 49 This is an important lesson, that a person may be in Christ and yet have a deep sense of the burden of sin upon the soul-(Cheever). So also Bunyan-”Every height is a difficulty to him that is loaden; with a burden, how shall we attain the Heaven of heavens?”-(Knowledge of Christ’s Love).
50 50 This efficacious sight of the cross is thus narrated in Grace Abounding, (No. 115)-”Traveling in the country, and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, that scripture came in my mind-”Having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). I saw that day again and again, that God and my soul were friends by His blood; yea, that the justice of God and my soul could embrace and kiss each other. This was a good day to me; I hope I shall not forget it.” He was glad and lightsome, and had a merry heart; he was before inspired with hope, but now he is a happy believer-(ED).
51 51 None but those who have felt such bliss, can imagine the joy with which this heavenly visitation fills the soul. The Father receives the poor penitent with, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” The Son clothes him with a spotless righteousness. “The prodigal when he returned to his father was clothed with rags; but the best robe is brought out, also the gold ring and the shoes; yea, they are put upon him to his rejoicing” (Come and Welcome, vol. 1, p. 265). The Holy Spirit gives him a certificate; thus described by Bunyan in the House of God—
“But bring with thee a certificate,
To show thou seest thyself most desolate;
Writ by the Master, with repentance seal’d;
To show also, that here thou would’st be healed
By those fair leaves of that most blessed tree
By which alone poor sinners healed be:
And that thou dost abhor thee for thy ways,
And would’st in holiness spend all thy days;
And here be entertained; or thou wilt find
To entertain thee here are none inclined!
(vol. 2, p. 680).
Such a certificate, written upon the heart by the Holy Spirit, may be lost for a season, as in the arbour on the hill, but cannot be stolen even by Faith- heart, Mistrust, and Guilt. For the mark in his forehead, see 2 Corinthians 3:2, 3; “not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, known and read of all men”-(ED).
52 52 He that has come to Christ, has cast his burden upon Him. By faith he hath seen himself released thereof; but he that is but coming, hath it yet, as to sense and feeling, upon his own shoulders-(Come and Welcome, vol. 1, p. 264).
53 53 “Fat”; a vessel in which things are put to be soaked, or to ferment; a vat-(ED).
54 54 No sooner has Christian “received Christ” than he at once preaches to the sleeping sinners the great salvation. He stays not for human calls or ordination, but attempts to awaken them to a sense of their danger, and presently exhorts with authority the formalist and hypocrite. So it was in the personal experience of Bunyan; after which, when his brethren discovered his talent, they invited him to preach openly and constantly. Dare anyone find fault with that conduct, which proved so extensively useful?-(ED).
55 55 The formalist has only the shell of religion; he is hot for forms because it is all that he has to contend for. The hypocrite is for God and Baal too; he can throw stones with both hands. He carries fire in one hand, and water in the other-(Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 389). These men range from sect to sect, like wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. They are barren trees; and the axe, whetted by sin and the law, will make deep gashes. Death sends Guilt, his first-born, to bring them to the King of terrors-(Barren Fig-tree).
56 56 “We trow”; we believe or imagine: from the Saxon. See Imperial Dictionary-(ED).
57 57 These men occupied the seat of the scorner; they had always been well dressed. His coat might do for such a ragamuffin as he had been, but they needed no garment but their own righteousness-the forms of their church. The mark, or certificate of the new birth, was an object of scorn to them. Probably they pitied him as a harmless mystic, weak in mind and illiterate. Alas! how soon was their laughter turned into mourning. Fear and calamity overwhelmed them. They trusted in themselves, and there was none to deliver-(ED).
58 58 The Christian can hold no communion with a mere formal professor. The Christian loves to be speaking of the Lord’s grace and goodness, of his conflicts and consolations, of the Lord’s dealings with his soul, and of the blessed confidence which he is enabled to place in Him-(J. B.).
59 59 Such is the fate of those who keep their sins with their profession, and will not encounter difficulty in cutting them off. “Not all their pretences of seeking after and praying to God will keep them from falling and splitting themselves in sunder”-(A Holy Life the Beauty of Christianity). There are heights that build themselves up in us, and exalt themselves to keep the knowledge of God from our hearts. They oppose and contradict our spiritual understanding of God and His Christ. These are the dark mountains at which we should certainly stumble and fall, but for one who can leap and skip over them to our aid- (Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love, vol. 2, p. 8).
60 60 Pleased with the gifts of grace, rather than with the gracious giver, pride secretly creeps in; and we fall first into a sinful self-complacence, and then into indolence and security. This is intended by his falling fast asleep-(Dr. Dodd).
61 61 Sinful sloth deprives the Christian of his comforts. What he intended only for a moment’s nap, like a man asleep during sermon-time in church, became a deep sleep, and his roll fell out of his hand; and yet he ran well while there was nothing special to alarm him. Religious privileges should refresh and not puff up-(Cheever).
62 62 But why go back again? That is the next way to hell. Never go over hedge and ditch to hell. They that miss life perish, because they will not let go their sins, or have no saving faith-(Bunyan’s Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 388).
63 63 To go forward is attended with the fear of death, but eternal life is beyond. I must venture.
My hill was further: so I slung away,
Yet heard a cry
Just as I went, “None goes that way
And lives.” If that be all, said I,
After so foul a journey, death is fair
And but a chair.
—(G. Herbert’s Temple-The Pilgrimage)
64 64 He is perplexed for his roll; this is right. If we suffer spiritual loss, and are easy and unconcerned about it, it is a sad sign that we indulge carnal security and vain confidences-(Mason).
65 65 The backslider is attended with fears and doubts such a he felt not before, built on the vileness of his backsliding; more dreadful scriptures look him in the face, with their dreadful physiognomy. His new sins all turn talking devils, threatening devils, roaring devils, within him. Besides, he doubts the truth of his first conversion, and thus adds lead to his heels in returning to God by Christ. He can tell strange stories, and yet such as are very true. No man can tell what is to be seen and felt in the whale’s belly but Jonah-(Bunyan’s Christ a Complete Saviour, vol. 1, p. 224).
66 66 “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion; God is known in her palaces for a refuge.” Those who enter must joyfully submit to the laws and ordinances of this house-(Andronicus).
67 67 The two lions, civil despotism and ecclesiastical tyranny, terrified many young converts, when desirous of joining a Christian church, here represented by the Beautiful Palace. In the reign of the Tudors they committed sad havoc. In Bunyan’s time, they were chained, so that few suffered martyrdom, although many were ruined, imprisoned, and perished in dungeons. When Faithful passed they were asleep. It was a short cessation from persecution. In the Second Part, Great-heart slew Giant Bloody-man, who backed the lions; probably referring to the wretched death of that monster, Judge Jefferies. And in the experience of Mr. Fearing, it is clear that the Hill Difficulty and the lions were intended to represent temporal and bodily troubles, and not spiritual difficulties-”When we came at the Hill Difficulty, he made no stick at that, nor did he much fear the lions; for you must know that his trouble was not about such things as these; his fear was about his acceptance at last”-(ED).
68 68 Christian, after feeling the burden of sin, entering by Christ the gate, taught by the Holy Spirit lessons of high concern in the Bible or House of the Interpreter; after losing his burden by faith in his crucified Saviour, his sins pardoned, clothed with his Lord’s righteousness, marked by a godly profession, he becomes fit for church- fellowship; is invited by Bishop Gifford, the porter; and, with the consent of the inmates, he enters the house called Beautiful. Mark, reader, not as essential to salvation; it is by the side of the road, not across it; all that was essential had taken place before. Faithful did not enter. Here is no compulsion either to enter or pay: that would have converted it into the house of arrogance or persecution. It is upon the Hill Difficulty, requiring personal, willing efforts to scramble up; and holy zeal and courage to bear the taunts of the world and the growling frowns of the lions. Here he has new lessons to learn of Discretion, Piety, Prudence, and Charity, to bear with his fellow-members, and they with him; and here he is armed for his journey. Many are the blessed enjoyments of church- fellowship. “Esther was had to the house of the women to be purified, and so came to the king. God also hath appointed that those who come into His royal presence should first go to the house of the women, the church.” (See Bunyan’s Greatness of the Soul, vol. 1, p. 145). Every soul must be fitted for the royal presence, usually in church fellowship: but these lovely maidens sometimes wait on and instruct those who never enter the house Beautiful; who belong to the church universal, but not to any local body of Christians. John directs his Revelations to the seven churches in Asia; Paul, his epistles to the churches in Galatia, or to the church at Corinth-all distinct bodies of Christians; James to the 12 tribes; and Peter to the strangers, and “to them that have obtained like precious faith,” of all churches-(ED).
69 69 The true Christian’s inmost feelings will best explain these answers, which no exposition can elucidate to those who are unacquainted with the conflict to which they refer, the golden hours, fleeting and precious, are earnests of the everlasting holy felicity of Heaven-(Scott).
70 70 The only true mode of vanquishing carnal thoughts is looking at Christ crucified, or dwelling upon His dying love, the robe of righteousness which clothes his naked soul, his roll or evidence of his interest, and the glory and happiness of Heaven! Happy souls who THUS oppose their corruptions!-(Dr. Dodd).
71 71 This was the fact as it regards Bunyan when he was writing the “Pilgrim.” He had a wife, two sons, and two daughters. This conversation was first published in the second edition, 1678; and if he referred to his own family, it was to his second wife, a most worthy and heroic woman; but she and some of his children were fellow-pilgrims with him. His eldest son was a preacher 11 years before the Second Part of the “Pilgrim” was published-(ED).
72 72 O soul! consider this deeply. It is the life of a Christian that carries more conviction and persuasion than his words-(Mason).
73 73 Those that religiously name the name of Christ, and do not depart from iniquity, cause the perishing of many. A professor that hath not forsaken his iniquity is like one that comes out of a pest-house to his home, with all his plague-sores running. He hath the breath of a dragon, and poisons the air round about him. This is the man that slays his children, his kinsmen, his friends, and himself. O! the millstone that God will shortly hang about your necks, when you must be drowned in the sea and deluge of God’s wrath- (Bunyan’s Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 530).
74 74 How beautiful must that church be where Watchful is the porter; where Discretion admits the members; where Prudence takes the oversight; where Piety conducts the worship; and where Charity endears the members one to another! They partake of the Lord’s Supper, a feast of fat things, with wine well refined-(J.B.).
75 Ah! theirs was converse such as it behooves
Man to maintain, and such as God approves—
Christ and His character their only scope,
Their subject, and their object, and their hope.
O days of Heaven, and nights of equal praise!
Serene and peaceful as those heavenly days
When souls drawn upwards in communion sweet,
Enjoy the stillness of some close retreat,
Discourse, as if releas’d and safe at home,
Of dangers past, and wonders yet to come—(Cowper).
76 76 When Christiana and her party arrived at this house Beautiful, she requested that they might repose in the same chamber, called Peace, which was granted. The author, in his marginal note, explains the nature of this resting- place by the words, “Christ’s bosom is for all pilgrims”- (ED).
77 How suddenly that straight and glittering shaft
Shot ‘thwart the earth! In crown of living fire
Up comes the day! As if they, conscious, quaff’d
The sunny flood, hill, forest, city, spire,
Laugh in the wakening light. Go, vain Desire!
The dusky lights have gone; go thou thy way!
And pining Discontent, like them expire!
Be called my chamber Peace, when ends the day,
And let me, with the dawn, like Pilgrim, sing and pray.
Great is the Lord our God,
And let His praise be great:
He makes His churches His abode,
His most delightful seat-(Dr. Watts).
78 78 Should you see a man that did not go from door to door, but he must be clad in a coat of mail, and have a helmet of brass upon his head, and for his life-guard not so few as a thousand men to wait on him, would you not say, Surely this man has store of enemies at hand? If Solomon used to have about his bed no less than threescore of the most valiant of Israel, holding swords, and being expert in war, what guard and safeguard doth God’s people need, who are, night and day, roared on by the unmerciful fallen angels? Why, they lie in wait for poor Israel in every hole, and he is forever in danger of being either stabbed or destroyed-(Bunyan’s Israel’s Hope, vol. 1, p. 602).
79 79 Christ himself is the Christian’s armoury. When he puts on Christ, he is then completely armed from head to foot. Are his loins girt about with truth? Christ is the truth. Has he on the breastplate of righteousness? Christ is our righteousness. Are his feet shod with the Gospel of peace? Christ is our peace. Does he take the shield of faith, and helmet of salvation? Christ is that shield, and all our salvation. Does he take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God? Christ is the Word of God. Thus he puts on the Lord Jesus Christ; by his Spirit fights the fight of faith; and, in spite of men, of devils, and of his own evil heart, lays hold of eternal life. Thus Christ is all in all-(J. B.).
80 80 The church in the wilderness, even her porch, is full of pillars-apostles, prophets, and martyrs of Jesus. There are hung up also the shields that the old warriors used, and on the walls are painted the brave achievements they have done. There, also, are such encouragements that one would think that none who came thither would ever attempt to go back. Yet some forsake the place-(Bunyan’s House of Lebanon).
81 81 The Delectable Mountains, as seen at a distance, represent those distinct views of the privileges and consolations, attainable in this life, with which believers are sometimes favoured. This is the pre-eminent advantage of Christian communion, and can only be enjoyed at some special seasons, when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon the soul-(Scott).
82 82 Thus it is, after a pilgrim has been favoured with any special and peculiar blessings, there is danger of his being puffed up by them, and exalted on account of them; so was even holy Paul; therefore, the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet him (2 Cor. 3:7)-(Mason). We are not told here what these slips were; but when Christian narrates the battle to Hopeful, he lets us into the secret- “These three villains,” Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, “set upon me, and I beginning, like a Christian, to resist, they gave but a call, and in came their master. I would, as the saying is, have given my life for a penny, but that, as God would have it, I was clothed with armour of proof.” In the Second Part, Great-heart attributed the sore combat with Apollyon to have arisen from “the fruit of those slips that he got in going down the hill.” Great enjoyments need the most prayerful watchfulness in going down from them, lest those three villains cause us to slip. Christian’s heavenly enjoyment in the communion of saints was followed by his humbling adventures in the valley-a needful proof of Divine love to his soul. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth”-(ED). “A broken heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Has He given it to thee, my reader? Then He has given thee a cabinet to hold His grace in. True, it is painful now, it is sorrowful, it bleeds, it sighs, it sobs, well, very well; all this is because He has a mind that thou mayest rejoice in Heaven-(Bunyan’s Acceptable Sacrifice).
83 83 “No armour for his back”; to desist is inevitable ruin. He sees no safety except in facing his enemy. Fear itself creates additional courage, and induces him to stand his ground-(Drayton).
84 84 The description of Apollyon is terrible. This dreadful imagery is collected from various parts of Scripture, where the attributes of the most terrible animals are given him; the attributes of leviathan, the dragon, the lion, and the bear; to denote his strength, his pride, his rage, his courage, and his cruelty-(Andronicus).
85 85 In our days, when emigration is so encouraged by the state, it may be difficult for some youthful readers to understand this argument of Apollyon’s. In Bunyan’s time, every subject was deemed to be Crown property, and no one dared depart the realm without a license. Thus, when Cromwell and his heroes had hired ships, and were ready to start for America, Charles II providentially detained them, to work out the great Revolution-(ED).
86 86 Promises or vows, whether made by us or by others on our behalf, before we possessed powers of reason or reflection, cannot be binding. The confirmation or rejection of all vows made by or for us in our nonage, should, on arriving at years of discretion, be our deliberate choice, for we must recollect that no personal dedication can be acceptable to God unless it is the result of solemn inquiry-(ED).
87 87 Mark the subtlety of this gradation in temptation. The profits of the world and pleasures of sin are held out as allurements. The apostasy of others suggested. The difficulties, dangers, and sufferings of the Lord’s people, are contrasted with the prosperity of sinners. The recollections of our sins and backslidings, under a profession of religion. The supposition that all our profession is founded in pride and vain-glory. All backed by our own consciences; as if Apollyon straddled quite across the way, and stopped us from going on-(Andronicus).
88 88 This dialogue is given, in different words, in the Jerusalem Sinner Saved, Volume 1, pages 79, 80. Satan is loath to part with a great sinner. What, my true servant, quoth he, my old servant, wilt thou forsake me now? Having so often sold thyself to me to work wickedness, wilt thou forsake me now? Thou horrible wretch, dost not know that thou hast sinned thyself beyond the reach of grace, and dost thou think to find mercy now? Art not thou a murderer, a thief, a harlot, a witch, a sinner of the greatest size, and dost thou look for mercy now? Dost thou think that Christ will foul His fingers with thee? It is enough to make angels blush, saith Satan, to see so vile a one knock at Heaven’s gates for mercy, and wilt thou be so abominably bold to do it? Thus Satan dealt with me, says the great sinner, when at first I came to Jesus Christ. And what did you reply? saith the tempted. Why, I granted the whole charge to be true, says the other. And what, did you despair, or how? No, saith he, I said, I am Magdalene, I am Zaccheus, I am the thief, I am the harlot, I am the publican, I am the prodigal, and one of Christ’s murderers- yea, worse than any of these; and yet God was so far off from rejecting of me, as I found afterwards, that there was music and dancing in His house for me, and for joy that I was come home unto Him. When Satan charged Luther with a long list of crimes, he replied, This is all true; but write another line at the bottom, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin”-(ED).
89 89 The devil is that great and dogged leviathan, that “spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire” (Job 40:30). For be the spreading nature of our corruptions never so broad, he will find sharp pointed things enough to stick in the mire of them for our affliction; they are called fiery darts, and he has abundance of them with which he can and will sorely prick and wound our spirits-(Bunyan on Christ’s Love, vol. 2, p. 65).
90 90 When infidel thoughts prevail, so that doubts of the truth of Scripture take hold of the mind, the sword of the Spirit flies out of the hand. Unarmed before a ferocious enemy, it was an awful moment; but God revives his faith in the Divine Word, he recovers his sword, and gives his enemy a deadly plunge-I shall rise-(Drayton).
91 91 “For a season,” is only found in the first edition. These words may have been omitted, in Bunyan’s subsequent editions, by a typographical error, or have been struck out by him. My impression is, that they were left out by the printer in error; because, in the Second Part, when the pilgrims pass the spot and talk of the battle, we are told that “when Apollyon was beat, he made his retreat to the next valley.” And there poor Christian was awfully beset with him again-(ED).
92 92 You will find, from the perusal of Bunyan’s own spiritual life, that he has here brought together, in the assault of Apollyon upon Christian, many of the most grievous temptations with which his own soul was beset, as also, in Christian’s answers against them, the very method of defence which he himself was taught by Divine grace in the midst of the conflict. It is here condensed into a narrow and vivid scene, but it extended over years of Bunyan’s life; and the wisdom that is in it, and the points of experience illustrated, were the fruit of many months of painfulness, danger, and desperate struggle with the adversary, which he had to go through-(Cheever).
93 93 The literal history of this terrific conflict may be found in Bunyan’s experience recorded in Grace Abounding, (Nos. 131–173), when he recovered his sword, and put his enemy to flight. He describes his agonies in the combat as if he were being racked upon the wheel, and states that it lasted for about a year. Floods of blasphemies were poured in upon him, but he was saved from utter despair, because they were loathsome to him. Dr. Cheever eloquently says, “What made the fight a thousand times worse for poor Christian was, that many of these hellish darts were tipped, by Apollyon’s malignant ingenuity, with sentences from Scripture”; so that Christian thought the Bible was against him. One of these fiery darts penetrated his soul with the awful words, “no place for repentance”; and another with, “hath never forgiveness.” The recovery of his sword was by a heavenly suggestion that He BEGIN did not “refuse him that speaketh”; new vigour was communicated. “When I fall, I SHALL arise,” was a home-thrust at Satan; who left him, richly to enjoy the consolations of the Gospel after this dreadful battle-(ED).
94 94 By “leaves” here (Rev. 22: 2), we are to understand the blessed and precious promises, consolations, and encouragements, that, by virtue of Christ, we find everywhere growing on the new covenant, which will be handed freely to the wounded conscience that is tossed on the reckless waves of doubt and unbelief. Christ’s leaves are better than Adam’s aprons. He sent His Word, and healed them-(Bunyan’s Holy City).
95 95 However terrible these conflicts are, they are what every Christian pilgrim has to encounter that is determined to win Heaven. Sin and death, reprobates and demons, are against him. The Almighty, all good angels and men, are for him. Eternal life is the reward. Be not discouraged, young Christian! “If God be for us, who can be against us?” We shall come off more than conquerors, through him that hath loved us. Equal to our day so shall be our strength. The enemies had a special check from our Lord, while Mr. Fearing passed through.
“Though death and hell obstruct the way
The meanest saint shall win the day”-(ED).
96 96 “Desired Heaven,” in some of Bunyan’s editions-(ED).
97 97 The ditch on the right hand is error in principle, into which the blind, as to spiritual truth, fall. The ditch on the left hand means outward sin and wickedness, which many fall into. Both are alike dangerous to pilgrims: but the Lord “will keep the feet of his saints” (1 Sam. 2:9)-(Mason). Dr. Dodd considers that by the deep ditch is intended “presumptuous hopes,” and the no less dangerous quag to be “despairing fears”-(ED).
98 98 The sight of an immortal soul in peril of its eternal interests, beset with enemies, engaged in a desperate conflict, with hell opening her mouth before, and fiends and temptations pressing after, is a sublime and awful spectacle. Man cannot aid him; all his help is in God only- (Cheever).
99 99 And as for the secrets of Satan, such as are suggestions to question the being of God, the truth of His Word, and to be annoyed with devilish blasphemies, none are more acquainted with these than the biggest sinners at their conversion; wherefore thus also they are prepared to be helps in the church to relieve and comfort others- (Jerusalem Sinner Saved, vol. 1, p. 80). See also a very interesting debate upon this subject in Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, volume 1, page 250. O, no one knows the terrors of these days but myself-(Grace Abounding, Nos. 100–102). Satan and his angels trouble his head with their stinking breath. How many strange, hideous, and amazing blasphemies have some, that are coming to Christ, had injected upon their spirits against Him-(Christ a Complete Saviour, vol. 1, p. 209). He brought me up also out of a horrible pit; a pit of noise of devils, and of my heart answering them with distrust and fear-(Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love).
100 100 The experience of other saints is very encouraging; for the soul finds that others have gone before him in dreadful, dark, and dreary paths-(Mason).
101 101 To walk in darkness, and not be distressed for it, argues stupidity of the soul. To have the light of God’s countenance shine upon us, and not to rejoice and be thankful for it, is impossible-(Mason).
102 102 I would not be too confident, but I apprehend that by this second part of the valley we are taught that believers are not most in danger when under the deepest distress; that the snares and devices of the enemy are so many and various, through the several stages of our pilgrimage, as to baffle all description; and that all the emblems of these valleys could not represent the thousandth part of them. Were it not that the Lord guides His people by the light of His Word and Spirit, they never could possibly escape them-(Scott).
103 103 The wicked spirits have made and laid for us snares, pits, holes, and what not, if peradventure by something we may be destroyed. Yea, and we should most certainly be so, were it not for the Rock that is higher than they-(Bunyan’s Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love, vol. 2, p. 8).
104 104 Alas, my dear country! I would to God it could not be said to thee, since the departure of paganism and popery, “The blood of the poor innocents is found in thy skirts, not by a secret search, but upon thy kings, princes, priests, and prophets” (Jer. 2:34, 26). Let us draw a veil over the infamy of PROTESTANT PERSECUTION, and bless Jehovah, who has broken the arrow and the bow-(Andronicus). It may be questioned whether popery may not yet so far recover its vigour as to make one more alarming struggle against vital Christianity, before that Man of Sin be finally destroyed. Our author, however, has described no other persecution than what Protestants, in his time, carried on against one another with very great alacrity- (Scott).
105 105 The quaint and pithy point of this passage stamps it as one of Bunyan’s most felicitous descriptions. We who live in a later age may, indeed, suspect that he has somewhat antedated the death of Pagan, and the impotence of Pope; but his picture of their cave and its memorials, his delineation of the survivor of this fearful pair, rank among those master-touches which have won such lasting honour for his genius-(Bernard Barton).
106 106 Christian having passed the gloomy whirlwind of temptation to despair, now walks in the light of the Sun of Righteousness, through the second part of the valley. There he encounters the persecution of the state church. Act after act of Parliament had been passed-full of atrocious penalties, imprisonments, transportation, and hanging-to deter poor pilgrims from the way to Zion. “The way was full of snares, traps, gins, nets, pitfalls, and deep holes.” Had the darkness of mental anguish been added to these dangers, he must have perished. The butcheries of Jefferies strewed the way with blood, bones, ashes, and mangled bodies of pilgrims. Pope reared his ugly head, and growled out, “More of you must be burned.” The desolating tyranny of the church was curbed by the King’s turning papist, which paved the way for the glorious Revolution of 1688. It appears from the Grace Abounding, that to the time of Bunyan’s imprisonment for preaching the Gospel, he was involved frequently in deeply-distressing spiritual darkness; but, from his entering the prison, be walked in the light of God’s countenance to his dying day-(ED).
107 107 We are now to be introduced to a new pilgrim, and Christian is no more to go on his way alone. The sweet Christian communion depicted in this book forms one of the most delightful features in it, and Faithful and Hopeful are both of them portraits that stand out in as firm relief as that of Christian himself. Faithful is the Martyr Pilgrim, who goes in a chariot of fire to Heaven, and leaves Christian alone; Hopeful springs, as it were, out of Faithful’s ashes, and supplies his place all along the remainder of the pilgrimage. The communion between these loving Christians, their sympathy and share in each other’s distresses, their mutual counsels and encouragements, temptations and dangers, experience and discipline, their united joys and sorrows, and their very passing of the river of death together, form the sweetest of all examples of the true fellowship of saints, united to the same Saviour, made to drink into the same Spirit, baptized with the same sufferings, partakers of the same consolations, crowned with the same crown of life, entering together upon glory everlasting-(Cheever). The author has displayed great skill in introducing a companion to his Pilgrim in this place. Thus far the personal adventures of Christian had been of the most extraordinary kind, and sufficient of themselves to exercise the reader’s sympathies for him; but these feelings would have languished from weariness, however intensely the sequel might have been wrought, had attention been claimed for a solitary wanderer to the end of the journey. Here then the history, which had probably reached its climax in the preceding scenes, revives, by taking a new form, and exciting a fresh interest, rather doubled than divided, though two have thenceforward to share it instead of one. Besides, the individual experience of one man, however varied, would not have been sufficient to exemplify all the most useful lessons of the Gospel, unless the trials of many persons, of different age, sex, and disposition, were interwoven. The instance at hand will illustrate this point-(Montgomery).
108 108 Ah, what a smile was that! How much sin was there in it, instead of humble spiritual gratitude, and joy. Now see how he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and how surely, along with spiritual pride, comes carelessness, false security, and a grievous fall-(Cheever). The very person’s hand we need to help us, whom we thought we had exceeded-(Mason). When a consciousness of superiority to other Christians leads to vain glory, a fall will be the consequence; but while it excites compassion, it also cements Christian friendship-(Ivimey).
109 109 Mr. Anything became a brisk man in the broil; but both sides were against him, because he was true to none. He had, for his malapertness, one of his legs broken, and he that did it wished it had been his neck-(Holy War).
110 110 “I trow,” I believe or imagine (Imp. Dict.)-(ED).
111 111 If the experience of Christian is an exhibition of Bunyan’s own feelings, the temptations of Madam Wanton are very properly laid in the way of Faithful, and not of Christian. She would have had no chance with the man who admired the wisdom of God in making him shy of women, who rarely carried it pleasantly towards a woman, and who abhorred the common salutation of women-(Grace Abounding, No. 316)-ED.
112 112 “All” is omitted from every edition by Bunyan, except the first; probably a typographical error.
114 114 That sinner who never had a threatening fiery visit from Moses, is yet asleep in his sins, under the curse and wrath of the law of God-(C.C.V.G.).
115 115 As the law giveth no strength, nor life to keep it, so it accepteth none of them that are under it. Sin and Die, is forever its language. There is no middle way in the law. It hath not ears to hear, nor heart to pity, its penitent ones- (Bunyan on Justification, vol. 1, p. 316).
116 116 The delineation of this character is a masterly grouping together of the arguments used by men of this world against religion, in ridicule and contempt of it. Faithful’s account of him, and of his arguments, is a piece of vigorous satire, full of truth and life-(Cheever).
117 117 Nothing can be a stronger proof that we have lost the image of God, than shame 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: for Christ says (awful words): “Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father” (Mark 8:38). It is one thing to be attacked by shame, and another to be conquered by it-(Mason).
118 118 Christian in a great measure escaped the peculiar temptations that assaulted Faithful, yet he sympathized with him; nor did the latter deem the gloomy experiences of his brother visionary or imaginative, though he had been exempted from them. One man, from a complication of causes, is exposed to temptations of which another is ignorant; and in this case he needs much sympathy, which he seldom meets with; while they, who are severe on him are liable to be baffled in another way, which, for want of coincidence in habit, temperature, and situation, he is equally prone to disregard. Thus Christians are often led reciprocally to censure, suspect, or dislike each other, on those very grounds which would render them useful and encouraging counselors and companions!-(Scott).
119 119 Bunyan, in his Pilgrim’s Progress, places the Valley of the Shadow of Death, not where we should expect it, at the end of Christian’s pilgrimage, but about the middle of it. Those who have studied the history of Bunyan and his times will hardly wonder at this. It was then safer to commit felony than to become a Dissenter. Indeed, a felon was far surer of a fair trial than any Dissenting minister, after the restoration of Charles II. This Bunyan found. Simply and solely for preaching, he was condemned by Keeling to imprisonment. That was to be followed by banishment if he did not conform, and, in the event of his return from banishment without license from the King, the judge added, “You must stretch by the neck for it; I tell you plainly.” Christian endured, in the first portion of this dismal valley, great darkness and distress of mind about his soul’s safety for eternity; and, in the latter part of the valley, the dread of an ignominious, and cruel, and sudden execution in the midst of his days-a fear more appalling than the prospect of a natural death. This he was enabled to bear, because he then enjoyed the light, the presence, and the approbation of his God-(ED).
120 120 The character now introduced under a most expressive name, is an admirable portrait, drawn by a masterly hand, from some striking original, but exactly resembling numbers in every age and place, where the truths of the Gospel are generally known. Such men are more conspicuous than humble believers, but their profession will not endure a strict investigation-(Scott). Reader, be careful not to judge harshly, or despise a real believer, who is blessed with fluency of utterance on Divine subjects-(ED).
121 121 As an outward profession, without a holy life, is no evidence of religion, neither are excellent gifts any proof that the persons who possess them are partakers of grace: so it is an awful fact, that some have edified the church by their gifts, who have themselves been destitute of the spirit of life-(Ivimey). I concluded, a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all gifts-(Grace Abounding).
122 122 The Pharisee goes on boldly, fears nothing, but trusteth in himself that his state is good; he hath his mouth full of many fine things, whereby he strokes himself over the head, and calls himself one of God’s white boys, that, like the Prodigal’s brother, never transgressed- (Pharisee and Publican, vol. 2, p. 215).
123 123 Talkative seems to have been introduced on purpose that the author might have a fair opportunity of stating his sentiments concerning the practical nature of evangelical religion, to which numbers in his day were too inattentive; so that this admired allegory has fully established the important distinction between a dead and a living faith, on which the whole controversy depends- (Scott). “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Just thus it is with him who has gifts, but wants grace. Shall I be proud, because I am sounding brass? Is it so much to be a fiddle? Hath not the least creature that hath life, more of God in it than these?-(Grace Abounding, No. 297–300). Some professors are pretty busy and ripe, able to hold you in a very large discourse of the glorious Gospel; but, if you ask them concerning heart work, and its sweet influences and virtues on their souls and consciences, they may answer, I find by preaching that I am turned from my sins in a good measure, and have learned [in tongue] to plead for the Gospel. This is not far enough to prove them under the covenant of grace-(Law and Grace, vol. 1, p. 515).
124 124 Read this, and tremble, ye whose profession lies only on your tongue, but who never knew the love and grace of Christ in your souls. O how do you trifle with the grace of God, with precious Christ, and with the holy Word of truth! O what an awful account have you to give hereafter to a holy, heart-searching God! Ye true pilgrims of Jesus, read this, and give glory to your Lord, for saving you from resting in barren notions, and taking up with talking of truths; and that he has given you to know the truth in its power, to embrace it in your heart, and to live and walk under its constraining, sanctifying influences. Who made you to differ?-(Mason).
125 125 This spiritual application of the law of Moses is found in the narrative of Bunyan’s experience in the Grace Abounding, (No. 71): “I was also made, about this time, to see something concerning the beasts that Moses counted clean and unclean. I thought those beasts were types of men: the clean, types of them that were the people of God; but the unclean, types of such as were the children of the wicked one. Now, I read, that the clean beasts chewed the cud; that is, thought I, they show us we must feed upon the Word of God; they also parted the hoof, I thought that signified we must part, if we would be saved with the ways of ungodly men.”
126 126 True faith will ever show itself by its fruits; real conversion, by the life and conversation. Be not deceived; God is not to be mocked with the tongue, if the heart is not right towards Him in love and obedience-(Mason).
127 127 This distinction between speaking against sin, and feeling a hatred to it, is so vastly important, that it forms the only infallible test to distinguish between those who are “quickened” by the Spirit of God, and those who “have a name to live and are dead.” It is a very awful statement, but, it is to be feared, strictly correct, that ministers may declaim against sin in the pulpit, who yet indulge it in the parlour. There may be much head knowledge, where there is no heart religion-(Ivimey).
128 128 Christian faithfulness detects mere talkatives, and they complain, “in so saying thou condemnest us also”; they will bear no longer, but seek refuge under more comfortable preachers, or in more candid company, and represent those faithful monitors as censorious, peevish, and melancholy men-lying at the catch-(Scott).
129 129 In the Jerusalem Sinner Saved, Bunyan explains his meaning of “lying at the catch” in these solemn words, referring to those who abide in sin, and yet expect to be saved by grace: “Of this sort are they that build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity; that judge for reward, and teach for hire, and divine for money, and lean upon the Lord (Micah 3:10, 11). This is doing things with a high hand against the Lord our God, and a taking Him, as it were, at the catch! This is, as we say among men, to seek to put a trick upon God, as if He had not sufficiently fortified his proposals of grace by his Holy Word, against all such kind of fools as these”-(vol. 1, p. 93).
130 130 Blessed faithful dealing! O that it were more practised in the world, and in the church! How then would vain talkers be detected in the one, and driven out of the other-(Mason).
131 131 Heart searching, soul examining, and close questioning of the conduct of life, will not do with talkative professors. Ring a peal on the doctrines of grace, and many will chime in with you; but speak closely how grace operates upon the heart, and influences the life to follow Christ in self-denying obedience, they cannot bear it; they are offended with you, and will turn away from you, and call you legal-(Mason).
132 132 I observe that, as there are trees wholly noble, so there are also their semblance; not right, but ignoble. There is the grape, and the wild grape; the rose, and the canker rose; the apple and the crab. Now, fruit from these wild trees, however it may please children to play with, yet the prudent count it of no value. There are also in the world a generation of professors that bring forth nothing but wild olive berries; saints only before men, devils and vipers at home; saints in word, but sinners in heart and life. Well, saith God, this profession is but a cloak: I will loose the reins of this man, and give him up to his own vile affections. “I will answer him by Myself” (Ezek. 14:7). Thou art too hard for the church: she knows not how to deal with thee. Well, I will deal with that man Myself- (Bunyan’s Barren Fig-tree).
133 133 Where the heart is rotten, it will ward off conviction, turn from a faithful reprover, condemn him, and justify itself. Faithful dealing will not do for unfaithful souls. Mind not that, but be faithful to the truth-(Mason).
134 134 How they rejoiced again to meet Evangelist, and listen to his encouraging and animating exhortations; of which, as they were now near the great town of Vanity Fair, they would stand in special need. Indeed, it was to forewarn them of what they were to meet with there, and to exhort them, amidst all persecutions, to quit themselves like men, that Evangelist now came to them. His voice, so solemn and deep, yet so inspiring and animating, sounded like the tones of a trumpet on the eve of battle-(Cheever).
135 135 The pilgrims are now about to enter upon a new era-to leave their privacy in the wilderness, and commence a more public scene-perhaps alluding to Bunyan’s being publicly set apart to the work of the ministry. It was in the discharge of these public duties that he was visited with such severe persecution. This interview with Evangelist reminds one of the setting apart of Dissenting ministers. It is usual, on these occasions, for the Christians entering on such important duties, to give a short account of what “had happened in the way,” and their reasons for hoping that they were called by God to the work. They receive the advice of their ministering elder, and the pastor prays for their peace and prosperity. Evangelist’s address would make a good outline of an ordination sermon. Bunyan’s account of his being thus set apart in 1656 (with seven other members of the same church) is narrated in Grace Abounding, Nos. 266–270. The second address of Evangelist peculiarly relates to the miseries endured by Nonconformist ministers in the reign of Charles II-(ED).
136 136 Shall the world venture their soul’s ruin for a poor corruptible crown; and shall not we venture the loss of a few trifles for an eternal crown? Shall they venture the loss of eternal life for communion with base, drunken, covetous wretches; and shall we not labour as hard, run as fast, nay, a hundred times more diligently, for such glorious and eternal friends as God to love, Christ to redeem, the Holy Spirit to comfort, and saints and angels in Heaven for company? Shall it be said at the last day, that the wicked made more haste to hell than you to Heaven? O let it not be so, but run with all might and main! They that will have Heaven must run for it, because the devil will follow them. There is never a poor soul that is gone to it, but he is after that soul. And I assure them the devil is nimble; he is light of foot, and can run apace. He hath overtaken many, tripped up their heels, and given them an everlasting fall- (Heavenly Footman).
137 137 Bunyan illustrates the care of Christ for his afflicted ones with striking simplicity. “I love to play the child with children. I have met with a child that had a sore finger, so that it was useless. Then have I said, Shall we cut off this finger, and buy my child a better, a brave golden finger? At this he started, and felt indignation against me. Now, if a child has such tenderness for a useless member, how much more tender is the Son of God to his afflicted members?”-(Saint’s Privilege, vol. 1, p. 674). The text here quoted forms the foundation of Bunyan’s admirable Advice to Sufferers, in which he delightfully dwells upon the topics which Evangelist addresses to the Pilgrims, when on the verge of bitter persecution-(ED).
138 138 Vanity Fair is the City of Destruction in its gala dress, in its most seductive and sensual allurements. It is this world in miniature, with its various temptations. Hitherto we have observed the pilgrims by themselves, in loneliness, in obscurity, in the hidden life and experience of the people of God. The allegory thus far has been that of the soul, amidst its spiritual enemies, toiling towards Heaven; now there comes a scene more open, tangible, external; the allurements of the world are to be presented, with the manner in which the true pilgrim conducts himself amidst them. It was necessary that Bunyan should show his pilgrimage in its external as well as its secret spiritual conflicts; it was necessary that he should draw the contrast between the pursuits and deportment of the children of this world and the children of light; that he should show how a true pilgrim appears, and is likely to be regarded, who, amidst the world’s vanities, lives above the world, is dead to it, and walks through it as a stranger and a pilgrim towards Heaven-(Cheever).
139 139 A just description of this wicked world. How many, though they profess to be pilgrims, have never yet set one foot out of this fair; but live in it all the year round! They “walk according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2); for “the god of this world hath blinded their minds” (1 Cor. 4:4). But all those for whose sins Jesus hath died “He delivers from this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4). You cannot be a pilgrim, if you are not delivered from this world and its vanities; for if you love the world, if it has your supreme affections, the love of God is not in you, (1 John 2:15); you have not one grain of precious faith in precious Jesus-(Mason).
140 140 Mr. James, who, in 1815, published the “Pilgrim” in verse, conjectures that Bunyan’s description of the Fair arose from his having been at Sturbridge Fair, near Cambridge. It was thus described in 1786-”The shops or booths are built in rows like streets, having each its name; as Garlick Row, Bookseller’s Row, Cook Row, &c. Here are all sorts of traders, who sell by wholesale or retail; as goldsmith’s toymen, braziers, turners, milliners, haberdashers, hatters, mercers, drapers, pewterers, china warehouses, and in a word, most trades that can be found in London. Here are also taverns, coffee-houses, and eating- houses, in great plenty. The chief diversions are puppets, rope-dancing, and music booths. To this Fair, people from Bedfordshire and the adjoining counties still resort. Similar kinds of fairs are now kept at Frankfort and Leipzig. These mercantile fairs were very injurious to morals; but not to the extent of debauchery and villany, which reign in our present annual fairs, near the metropolis and large cities.” See an account of this fair in Hone’s Year Book, page 1538-(ED). Our author evidently designed to exhibit in his allegory the grand outlines of the difficulties, temptations, and sufferings, to which believers are exposed in this evil world; which, in a work of this nature, must be related as if they came upon them one after another in regular succession; though in actual experience several may meet together, many may molest the same person again and again, and some harass him in every stage of his journey. We should, therefore, singly consider the instruction conveyed by every allegorical incident, without measuring our experience, or calculating our progress, by comparing them with circumstances which might be reversed or altered with almost endless variety. In general, Vanity Fair represents the wretched state of things in those populous places especially, where true religion is neglected and persecuted; and, indeed, “in the whole world lying in wickedness,” as distinguished from the church of “redeemed sinners”-(Scott).
141 141 Christ wiI1 not allow his followers to bury their talent in the earth, or to put their light under a bushel; they are not to go out of the world, or to retire into cloisters, monasteries, or deserts; but they MUST all go through this fair. Thus our Lord endured all the temptations and sufferings of this evil world, without being impeded or entangled by them, or stepping in the least aside to avoid them; and he was exposed to greater enmity and contempt than any of His followers-(Scott).
142 142 The world will seek to keep you out of Heaven with mocks, flouts, taunts, threatenings, jails, gibbets, halters, burnings, and deaths. There ever was enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, and no endeavours can reconcile them. The world says, They will never come over to us; and we again say, By God’s grace we will not go over to them.
143 143 Holy Hunt of Hitchin, as he was called, a friend of Bunyan’s, passing the market-place where mountebanks were performing, one cried after him, “Look there, Mr. Hunt! Turning his head another way, he replied, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity”-(Ivimey).
144 144 An odd reply. What do they mean? That they are neither afraid nor ashamed to own what was the one subject of their souls’ pursuit-the truth. Understand hereby, that the whole world, which lieth in wickedness, is deceived by a lie, and is under the delusion of the father of lies. In opposition to this, all believers in Christ are said to be of the truth (1 John 3:19). They know and believe that capital truth with which God spake from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). This truth-that Jesus is the Son of God, and our only Saviour- lies at the foundation of all their hope; and to get more and more acquainted with Him, is the grand object of their pursuits. For this the world hates them; and Satan, who is an enemy to this truth, stirs up the world against them. “For,” says our Lord, “they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16)-(Mason).
145 145 In 1670, the town porters of Bedford being commanded to assist in a brutal attack upon the Nonconformists, ran away, saying, “They would be hanged, drawn, and quartered, before they would assist in that work”; for which cause the justices committed two of them (which they could take) to the jail. The shops were shut up, so that it seemed like a place visited with the pest, where usually is written upon the door, “Lord, have mercy upon us!”-(Narrative of Proceedings against Nonconformists, p. 5. 4to, 1670).
146 146 This is a true representation of what took place in England in Bunyan’s time. It was a disgrace to our nation, that Englishmen, urged on by a fanatic church, treated two young and interesting women with a barbarity that would make savages (so called) blush. It was at Carlisle that two female pilgrims, Dorothy Waugh and Ann Robinson, were dragged through the streets, with each an iron instrument of torture, called a bridle, upon their heads; and were treated with gross indecency-(ED).
147 147 The great object of the Gospel is to fit man for his active duties in this world, and prepare him for heavenly enjoyments in the world to come. Not like those lazy creeping things that shut themselves up in nunneries or monasteries to avoid the temptations and troubles, the resistance or hearing of which glorifies God. Christians are to be as lights-not hid under a bushel but seen of all men. The prayer of their Lord was and is, not that they should be taken out of the world, but kept from its evil contaminations-(ED).
148 148 In Bunyan’s account of his imprisonment, he closes it with these words-”Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my being in prison; where I lie waiting the good will of God to do with me as He pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to the ground without the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Let the rage and malice of men be ever so great, they can do no more, nor go any further, than God permits them. When they have done their worst, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8:28).
149 149 The description of the process against the pilgrims, is framed in such a manner as emphatically to expose the secret reasons which influence men thus to persecute their innocent neighbours. The very names employed declare the several corrupt principles of the heart from whence this atrocious conduct results-(Scott).
150 150 This is one of Satan’s lies, much used by his emissaries, to the present day. A Christian fears God, and honours the king; he renders unto civil government that which belongs to civil and temporal things, but he dares not render unto Caesar the things that belong to God; and for thus righteously doing he is called disloyal-(ED).
151 151 Superstition, or false devotion, is a most bitter enemy to Christ’s truth and his followers. This fellow’s evidence is very true; for as the lawyer said of Christ’s doctrine, “Master, thus saying, thou reproachest us also” (Luke 11:45). So false worshippers, who rest in forms, and rites, and shadows, are stung to the quick at those who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; such a conduct pours the utmost contempt upon all the will-worship, and doctrines, and superstition of carnal men-(Mason). With such, traditions, human inventions, forms, and externals, appear venerable and sacred; and they are mistaken with pertinaceous ignorance for the substance of religion. What is pompous and burdensome appears to such men meritorious; and the excitement of mere natural passions, as at a tragedy, is falsely deemed a needful help to true devotion. Their zeal hardens their hearts, and causes bitter rage, enmity, and calumny, against the pious Christians-(Scott).
152 152 As soon as the poor sinner says, “O Lord our God, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us: but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name” (Isa. 26:13), your officious Pickthanks are always ready to bear testimony against him; and a blessed testimony this is; it is well worth living to gain, and dying in the cause of. If we are real disciples of Christ, we shall, as He did, testify of the world that the works thereof are evil, and the world will hate us for His sake (John 7:7)-(Mason). Pickthank has no real principle, but puts on zeal for any party that will promote his interests; he inwardly despises both the superstitious and the spiritual worshipper- (Scott).
153 153 This is the Christian’s plea and glory. While he knows “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:10), yet he also knows that the “merciful kindness of the Lord is great, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever” (Psa. 118:2)-(Mason).
154 154 A more just and keen satirical description of such legal iniquities can scarcely be imagined, than that contained in this passage. The statutes and precedents adduced, with a humourous reference to the style in which charges are commonly given to juries, show what patterns persecutors choose to copy, and whose kingdom they labour to uphold. Nor can any impartial man deny that the inference is fair, which our author meant the reader to deduce, namely, that nominal Protestants, enacting laws requiring conformity to their own creeds and forms, and inflicting punishments on such as peaceably dissent from them, are actually involved in the guilt of these heathen persecutors- (Scott).
155 155 These words, and this trial, were quoted (January 25, 1848) by the Attorney-General, at Westminster Hall, in answer to the manner in which Dr. Hampden was then charged with heresy by the Puseyites-(ED).
156 156 If the Lord were to leave us in the hands of men, we should still find that their tender mercies are cruel. Such a jury as tried Faithful might be found in every county of Britain-(Burder). To this may be added, that the witnesses are still living-(ED).
157 157 Nothing can be more masterly than the satire contained in this trial. The judge, the witnesses, and the jury, are portraits sketched to the life, and finished, every one of them, in quick, concise, and graphic touches; the ready testimony of Envy is especially characteristic. Rather than anything should be wanting that might be necessary to despatch the prisoner, he would enlarge his testimony against him to any requisite degree. The language and deportment of the judge are a copy to the life of some of the infamous judges under King Charles, especially Jefferies. You may find, in the trial of the noble patriot Algernon Sidney, the abusive language of the judge against Faithful almost word for word. The charge to the jury, with the Acts and laws on which the condemnation of the prisoner was founded, wax full of ingenuity and meaning-(Cheever).
158 158 Bunyan gives a good portrait of Faithful in his Howe of Lebanon, referring to the character of Pomporius Algerius, mentioned in Fox’s Book of Martyrs. “Was not this man, think you, a giant? did he not behave himself valiantly? was not his mind elevated a thousand degrees beyond sense, carnal reason, fleshly love, and the desires of embracing temporal things? This man had got that by the end that pleased Him; neither could all the flatteries, promises, threats, reproaches, make him once listen to, or inquire after, what the world, or the glory of it could afford. His mind was captivated with delights invisible. He coveted to show his love to his Lord, by laying down his life for His sake. He longed to be where there shall be no more pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing, nor tears, nor troubles. He was a man of a thousand!” Speaking of the pillars in that house at Lebanon, he says, “These men had the faces of lions, they have triumphed in the flames.”
159 159 This is a most exquisitely beautiful sketch; it is drawn to the life from many an era of pilgrimage in this world; there are in it the materials of glory, that constituted spirits of such noble greatness as are catalogued in the eleventh of Hebrews-traits of cruel mockings and scourgings, bonds and imprisonments-(Cheever).
160 160 Political interests engage ungodly princes to promote toleration, and chain up the demon of persecution. The cruelties they exercise disgust the people, and they are disheartened by the ill success of their efforts to extirpate the hated sect-(Scott).
161 161 I have often recorded it with thankfulness, that though in the dreary day of my pilgrimage, the Lord hath taken away a dear and faithful Christian friend, yet he has always raised up another. A very great blessing this, for which Christians can never be thankful enough-(Mason).
162 162 Is not this too much the case with professors of this day? The Spirit of truth says, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). But how many act as if they had found the art of making the Spirit of truth a liar! for they can so trim and shape their conduct, as they vainly think to follow Christ, and yet to keep in with the world, which is at enmity against Him-a most fatal and soul-deceiving error-(Mason).
163 163 What is this something that By-ends knew more than all the world? How to unite Heaven and hell-how to serve God and Mammon-how to be a Christian and a hypocrite at the same time. O the depth of the depravity of the human heart; alas! how many similar characters now exist, with two tongues in one mouth, looking one way and rowing another- (ED).
164 Fear not, therefore, in her for to abide,
She keeps her ground, come weather, wind, or tide.
—(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 579).
If we will follow Christ, He tells us that we must take up our cross. The wind sets always on my face; and the foaming rage of the sea of this world, and the proud and lofty waves thereof do continually beat upon the sides of the bark, or ship, that myself, my cause, and my followers are in-(Bunyan’s Greatness of the Soul, vol. 1, p. 107).
165 165 Mind how warily these pilgrims acted to this deceitful professor. They did not too rashly take up an ill opinion against him; but when they had full proof of what he was, they did not hesitate one moment, but dealt faithfully with him, and conscientiously withdrew from him- (Mason). In a letter written in 1661, from Exeter jail, by Mr. Abraham Chear, a Baptist minister of Plymouth, who suffered greatly for nonconformity, and at length died in a state of banishment, there is this remark, “We have many brought in here daily, who go out again almost as soon, for a week in a prison tries a professor more than a month in a church”-(Ivimey).
166 166 It might have been supposed that the persons here introduced were settled inhabitants of the town of Vanity, or the City of Destruction; but, indeed, they professed themselves pilgrims, and desired, during the “sunshine,” to associate with pilgrims, provided they would allow them to hold the world, love money, and save all, whatever became of faith and holiness, of honesty, piety, truth, and charity?-(Scott).
167 167 Pretended friends come with such expostulations as these: Why, dear Sir, will you give such offence? How much would it be for your comfort and interest in the world if you would but be a little more complying, and give way in some particular points and phrases. O what a syren’s song! May the Lord enable every faithful servant to reply, “Get thee behind me, Satan”-(J. B.).
168 168 These words of Solomon are thus wickedly misapplied by many to the present day. Ecclesiastes 7:16, 17 probably refers to the administration of justice which should be tempered with mercy, but not with laxity; or it may refer to the foolish opinions expressed upon the characters of Pharisee and publican, exalting the one or decrying the other overmuch. It cannot be meant to censure the utmost efforts after true righteousness, nor to sanction the slightest degree of wickedness-(ED).
169 Woe unto them who wander from the way.
Art bound for hell, against all wind and weather?
Or art thou one agoing backward thither?
Or dost thou wink, because thou would’st not see?
Or dost thou sideling go, and would’st not be
Suspected Yet these prophets can thee tell,
Which way thou art agoing down to hell.
-(Acts 7:20–22. Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 582).
170 170 Notwithstanding By-ends could be reserved with faithful pilgrims, yet he can speak out boldly to those of his own spirit sad character. O the treacherous deceivings of the desperate wickedness of the human heart! Who can know it? No one but the heart-searching God-(Mason).
171 171 Some men’s hearts are narrow upwards, and wide downwards: narrow as for God, but wide for the world. They gape for the one, but shut themselves up against the other. The heart of a wicked man is widest downward; but it is not so with the righteous man. His desires, like the temple Ezekiel saw in the vision, are still widest upwards, and spread towards Heaven. A full purse, with a lean soul, is a great curse. Many, while lean in their estates, had fat souls; but the fattening of their estates has made their souls as lean as a rake as to good-(Bunyan’s Righteous Man’s Desires, vol. 1, p. 745).
172 172 This dialogue is not in the least more absurd and selfish than the discourse of many who now attend on the preaching of the Gospel. If worldly lucre be the honey, they imitate the bee, and only attend to religion when they can gain by it; they determine to keep what they have at any rate, and to get more, if it can be done without open scandal-(Scott).
173 173 There is a fund of satirical humour in the supposed case here very gravely stated; and if the author, in his accurate observations on mankind, selected his example from among the mercenaries that are the scandal of the Established Church, her most faithful friends will not greatly resent this conduct of a dissenter-(Scott). Dr. Paley would have done well to have read this chapter in Bunyan before composing some of the chapters in his Moral Philosophy, and his Sermon on the Utility of Distinctions in the Ministry-(Cheever).
174 174 Here is worldly wisdom, infernal logic, and the sophistry of Satan. We hear this language daily, from money-loving professors, who are destitute of the power of faith. But in opposition to all this, the Holy Ghost testifies, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10), and a covetous man is an idolater (Col. 3:5). Hear this, and tremble, ye avaricious professors. Remember, ye followers of the Lamb, ye are called to “let your conversation be without covetousness” (Heb, 13:5); your Lord testifies, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon” (Luke 16:13)- (Mason).
175 175 How doth this commend itself to those who make merchandise of souls. What swarms of such locusts are there in this day!-(J.B.).
176 If thou art one who tradeth in both ways:
God’s now, the devil’s then; or if delays
Thou mak’st of coming to thy God for life;
Or if thy light and lusts are at a strife
About who should be master of thy soul,
And lovest one, the other dost control;
These prophets tell thee can which way thou bendest,
On which thou frown’st, to which a hand thou lendest.
-(Titus 1:16. See vol. 2, p. 582).
177 177 Bunyan, in his Holy Life the Beauty of Christianity, thus addresses such characters: “This is the man that hath the breath of a dragon; he poisons the air round about him. This is the man that slays his children, his kinsmen, his friend, and himself-he that offends God’s little ones. O the millstone that God will shortly hang about your neck, when the time is come that you must be drowned in the sea and deluge of God’s wrath!-(See vol. 2, p. 539). The answer of Christian, though somewhat rough, is so conclusive as to fortify every honest mind against all the arguments which the whole tribe of time-serving professors ever did, or ever can adduce, in support of their ingenious schemes and insidious efforts to reconcile religion with covetousness and the love of the world, or to render it subservient to their secular interests-(Scott).
178 178 Here see the blessedness of being mighty in the Scripture, and the need of that exhortation, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword; it pierces through all the subtle devices of Satan, and the cunning craftiness of carnal professors; and divideth asunder the carnal reasonings of the flesh, and the spiritual wisdom which cometh from above.
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things THEE to see,
And what I do in any thing
To do it as for thee—(Mason).
179 179 The Hill Lucre stands somewhat out of the way, but temptingly near. They that will profit by the mine must turn aside for it (Prov. 28:20, 22). Sir J. Mandeville, in his Travels, says, that in the Vale Perilous is plenty of gold and silver, and many Christian men go in for the treasure, but few come out again, for this are strangled of the devil. But good Christian men, that are stable in the faith, enter without peril-(ED).
180 180 Eve expected some sweet and pleasant sight, that would tickle and delight her deluded fancy; but, behold sin, and the wrath of God, appear to the shaking of her heart; and thus, even to this day, doth the devil delude the world. His temptations are gilded with sweet and fine pretences, that men shall be wiser, richer, more in favour, live merrier, fare better, or something; and by such like things the fools are easily allured. But when their eyes are opened, instead of seeing what the devil falsely told them, they see themselves involved in wrath-(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2. p. 431).
181 181 Here you see the end of double-minded men, who vainly attempt to temper the love of money with the love of Christ. They go on with their art for a season, but the end makes it manifest what they were. Take David’s advice, “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers” (Psa. 37:1) “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased” (Psa. 49:16). But go thou into the sanctuary of thy God, read His Word, and understand the end of these men-(Mason). Often, as the motley reflexes of my experience move in long processions of manifold groups before me, the distinguished and world-honoured company of Christian mammonists appear to the eye of my imagination as a drove of camels heavily laden, yet all at full speed; and each in the confident expectation of passing through the eye of the needle, without stop or halt, both beasts and baggage-(Coleridge).
182 182 I have sometimes wondered at Lot. His wife looked behind her, and died immediately; but he would not so much as look behind him to see her. We do not read that he did so much as once look where she was, or what was become of her. His heart was set upon his journey; and well it might. There were the mountains before him, and the fire and brimstone behind him. His life lay at stake; and had he looked behind him he had lost it. Do thou so run, and “remember Lot’s wife”-(Bunyan’s Heavenly Footman).
183 183 In former times, the purse was carried hanging to a girdle round the waist, and great dexterity was requisite to cut and carry it away without the knowledge of the owner. Public executions for theft had so little effect in repressing crime, that thefts were committed in sight of, or even under the gallows-(ED).
184 184 Alas! poor pilgrims, like Peter, you soon forgot the judgment, although your sight of Lot’s wife had so affected your spirits. How soon yon went into By-path Meadow! “wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12)-(ED).
185 185 By this river, which is called “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), we may understand clear and comfortable views of God’s everlasting love and electing grace. They could see in it God’s glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ, and view their own faces in it, to their inexpressible joy. This is the river “the streams whereof make glad the city of God” (Psa. 46:4). The stream which flow from this river of electing love, are vocation to Christ, justification by Christ, sanctification in Christ, perseverance through Christ, glorification with Christ, and all joy and peace in believing on Christ. All this these pilgrims now enjoyed, and all this every fellow- citizen of the saints is called to enjoy in his pilgrimage to Zion. God hath chosen us in Christ, and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Him. O how happy, peaceful, and joyful are pilgrims, when the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, shows them to us, and blesses us with a sense of interest in all the love of God, and finished salvation of Jesus!-(Mason).
186 186 Blessed state indeed, but of short duration! Too often these desirable consolations of the Spirit render the Christian careless and unwatchful-(Burder).
187 187 A scene to soothe and calm a mind fretted and harassed with the cares and turmoils of this every-day world; a sunny vista into the future, welcome in a weary hour to the worn spirit, which longs, as for the wings of the dove, that it may flee away, and be at rest; a glimpse of Sabbath quietness on earth, given as a pledge and foretaste of the more glorious and eternal Sabbath of Heaven-(Bernard Barton).
188 188 Now had I an evidence, as I thought, of my salvation from Heaven, with many golden seals thereon, all hanging in my sight. Now could I remember the manifestations of grace with comfort; and longed that the last day were come, that I might forever be inflamed with the sight, and joy, and communion with Him, whose soul was made an offering for my sins. Before this I lay trembling at the mouth of hell; now I had got so far therefrom that I could scarce discern it. O, thought I, that I were fourscore years old, that I might die quickly, and my soul be gone to rest- (Grace Abounding, No. 128).
189 189 They should have said, It is true this way is not so pleasant as the meadow, but it is the Lord’s way, and the best, doubtless, for us to travel in. A man speedily enters into temptation when he becomes discontented with God’s allotments; then Satan presents allurements, and from wishing for a better way, the soul goes into a worse. The discontented wish is father to a sinful will; I wish for a better is followed by, I will have a better, and so the soul goes astray-(Cheever).
190 190 The transition into the by-path is easy, for it lies close to the right way; only you must get over a stile, that is, you must quit Christ’s imputed righteousness, and trust in your own inherent righteousness; and then you are in By-path Meadow directly-(Mason).
191 191 The best caution I can give to others, or take myself, is, not to be guided in matters of faith by men, but to make the Scriptures our only rule-to look to God for the teaching of His blessed Spirit, that He may keep our feet from the ways of death-(J.B.).
192 192 “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). Vain confidence is this very way. O how easy do professors get into it! yea, real pilgrims are prone also to take up with it, owing to that legality, pride, and self-righteousness, which work in their fallen nature. See the end of it, and tremble; for it leads to darkness, and ends in death. Lord, humble our proud hearts, and empty us of self- righteousness, pride, and vain confidence-(Mason).
193 193 So, sometimes, real pilgrims take counsel and example of strangers, of worldly men, and of presumptuous careless persons. Vain confidence is a sad guide anywhere, but especially when one has wandered out of the way- (Cheever).
194 194 If thou be prying into God’s secret decrees, or entertain questions about nice curiosities, thou mayest stumble and fall to thine eternal ruin. Take heed of that lofty spirit, that, devil-like, cannot be content with its own station- (Heavenly Footman).
195 195 The thunder and lightning plainly show that this by- path leads to Sinai, not to Zion. One step over the stile, by giving way to a self-righteous spirit, and you enter the territories of despair-(J. B.).
196 196 How varied is the experience of a Christian! he had just before overcome Demas, and conquered By-ends and his companions; is warned by Lot’s wife, and now elated with the strength of his principles; boldness takes the place of caution; he ventures upon an easier path, and is involved in misery-(ED).
197 197 When Bunyan pleaded, so energetically, for the communion of saints, irrespective of water-baptism, one of his arguments was, “The strongest may sometimes be out of the way.” “Receive ye one another as Christ also received us”-(vol. 2, p. 610).
198 198 Here see, that as Christians are made helpful, so also, through prevailing corruptions, they are liable to prove hurtful to each other. But observe how grace works: it humbles, it makes the soul confess and be sorry for its misfortunes. Here is no reviling one another; but a tender sympathy and feeling concern for each other. O the mighty power of that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ! How does it cement souls in the fellowship of love!- (Mason).
199 199 How easy it is to trace the path that led the pilgrims astray! To avoid the roughness of the way, they entered the by-path, that by measures of carnal policy they might avoid afflictions. Guided by Vain-confidence, they were led from the road, and when this Vain-confidence was destroyed, they were involved in distress and danger- (Ivimey).
200 200 The personification of Despair is one of the most instructive and beautiful portions of Bunyan’s allegory. It appeals either to every man’s experience, or to every man’s sense of what may come upon him, on account of sin. It is at once, in some respects, the very gloomiest and very brightest part of the “Pilgrim’s Progress”; for it shows at once to what a depth of misery sin may plunge the Christian, and also to what a depth the mercy of God in Christ may reach. The colouring of the picture is extremely vivid, the remembrance of it can never pass from the mind; and, as in a gallery of beautiful paintings, there may often be one that so strongly reminds you of your own experience, or that in itself is so remarkably beautiful as to keep you dwelling upon it with unabated interest; so it is with this delineation of Giant Despair, among the many admirable sketches of Bunyan’s piety and genius. It is so full of deep life and meaning that you cannot exhaust it, and it is of such exquisite propriety and beauty that you are never tired with examining it-(Cheever).
201 201 Sooner or later Doubting Castle will be the prison, and Giant Despair the keeper of all those who turn aside from Christ and His righteousness, to trust in any wise in themselves, and to their righteousness. “Our God is a jealous God,” ever jealous of His own glory, and of the honour of His beloved Son-(Mason). So under the old cut, illustrating the Pilgrims in Doubting Castle, are these lines—
“The pilgrims now, to gratify the flesh,
Will seek its ease; but O! how they afresh
Do thereby plunge themselves new griefs into!
Who seek to please the flesh, themselves undo.”
202 202 Blessed sorrow! how many are there who never tasted the bread of Heaven, nor the water of life from the wells of salvation; who are strangers to the communion of saints, but do not feel themselves to be “in evil case,” nor have wept under a sense of their wretched state-(ED).
203 203 What! such highly-favoured Christians in Doubting Castle? After having traveled so far in the way of salvation, seen so many glorious things in the way, experienced so much of the grace and love of their Lord, and having so often proved His faithfulness? Is not this strange? No; it is common-the strongest Christians are liable to err and get out of the way, and then to be beset with very great and distressing doubts-(Mason). Despair, like a tremendous giant, will at last seize on the souls of all unbelievers; and when Christians conclude, from some misconduct, that they belong to that company, they are exposed to be taken captive by him. They do not, indeed, fall and perish with Vain-confidence; but for a season they find it impossible to rise superior to prevailing gloomy doubts bordering on despair, or to obtain the least comfortable hope of deliverance, or encouragement to use the proper means of seeking it-(Scott).
204 204 The wife of Despair is Diffidence, or a distrust of God’s faithfulness, and a want of confidence in His mercy. When a Christian follows such counsels, gloom and horror of mind will be produced, and life become a burden- (Ivimey).
205 205 Bunyan, in one of his delightful treatises of comfort against despair, introduces the following striking colloquy-”Says Satan, Dost thou not know that thou art one of the vilest in all the pack of professors? Yes, says the soul, I do. Says Satan, Dost thou not know that thou hast horribly sinned? Yes, says the soul, I do. Well, saith Satan, now will I come upon thee with my appeals. Art thou not a graceless wretch? Yes. Hast thou an heart to be sorry for this wickedness? No, not as I should. And albeit, saith Satan, thou prayest sometimes, yet is not thy heart possessed with a belief that God will not regard thee? Yes, says the sinner. Why, then, despair, and go hang thyself, saith the devil. And now we are at the end of the thing designed and driven at by Satan. But what shall I now do, saith the sinner? I answer, take up the words of the text against him, “That ye may be able to comprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge-(Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love, vol. 2, p. 37).
206 206 Giant Despair, it seems, has fits in sunshiny weather; that is, a gleam of hope, from Christ the Sun of righteousness, sometimes darted into their minds-(Burder).
207 207 Satan and his angels will not be wanting to help forward the calamity of the man, who, in coming to Christ, is beat out of breath, out of heart, out of courage, by wind that blows him backward. They will not be wanting to throw up his heels in their dirty places, nor to trouble his head with the fumes of their foul breath. And now it is hard coming to God; Satan has the art of making the most of every sin; he can make every hair on the head as big as a cedar. But, soul, Christ can save unto the uttermost! come, man, come. He can do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think!-(Bunyan’s Complete Saviour, vol. 1, p. 209). Poor Christian! What! tempted to destroy thyself? Lord, what is man! But see, despairing souls, mark the truth of that word, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13)-(Mason).
208 208 Bunyan had an acute sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and no saint had suffered more severely from despair. One of his great objects, in most of his works, is to arm poor pilgrims against desponding fears. Thus, in his first treatise on Gospel Truths-”He (the devil) will be sure to present to thy conscience the most sad sentences of the Scripture; yea, and set them home with such cunning arguments, that if it be possible he will make thee despair, and make away thyself as did Judas”-(Vol. 2, p.132). Sin, when seen in its colours, and when appearing in its monstrous shape and hue, frighteth all mortals out of their wits, away from God, and, if He stops them not, also out of the world. This is manifest by Cain, Judas, Saul, and others. They fly from before God, one to one fruit of despair, and one to another-(Pharisee and Publican, vol. 2, p. 260).
209 209 An admirable chain of reasoning, pointing out the evils of despair, is to be found in the Jerusalem Sinner Saved (vol. 1, pp. 91, 92), under the head Fifthly. “It will make a man his own tormentor, and flounce and fling like a wild bull in a net (Isa. 51:20). Despair! it drives a man to the study of his own ruin, and brings him at last to be his own executioner” (2 Sam. 17:3–5)-(ED).
210 Alas, how chang’d! Expressive of his mind,
His eyes are sunk, arms folded, head reclin’d;
Those awful syllables, hell, death, and sin,
Though whisper’d, plainly tell what works within.
“A wounded spirit who can bear?”
211 211 To bring the state of Christian’s mind before us, read the lamentations of the Psalmist, when he was a prisoner in Doubting Castle, under Giant Despair, in Psalm 88; and Bunyan’s experience, as narrated in No. 163 of Grace Abounding. Despair swallowed him up, and that passage fell like a hot thunderbolt upon his conscience, “He was rejected, for he found no place for repentance”-(Ivimey).
212 212 Dr. Donne, the celebrated Dean of St. Paul’s, had recently published a thesis, to prove that suicide, under some circumstances, was justifiable. Hopeful answers all his arguments, and proves it to be the foulest of murders. Bunyan, in his treatise on Justification, volume 1, page 314, thus notices the jailer’s intent to commit suicide, when the doors of the prison in which Paul was confined were thrown open-”Even now, while the earthquake shook the prison, he had murder in his heart-murder, I say, and that of a high nature, even to have killed his own body and soul at once”-(ED).
213 213 Here is the blessing of a hopeful companion; here is excellent counsel. Let vain professors say what they may against looking back to past experiences, it is most certainly good and right so to do; not to encourage present sloth and presumption, but to excite fresh confidence of hope in the Lord. We have David’s example, and Paul’s word to encourage us to this, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:37); and says Paul, “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9)-(Mason).
214 214 It is a curious picture which Bunyan has drawn of the intercourse between the giant and his wife Diffidence. They form a very loving couple in their way; and the giant takes no new step in the treatment of the pilgrims without consulting Mrs. Diffidence over night, so that the curtain lectures to which we listen are very curious. But Mrs. Diffidence ought rather to have been called Dame Desperation, or Desperate Resolution; for she seems, if anything, the more stubborn genius of the two-(Cheever). By these conversations between Diffidence and Despair, after they had retired to bed, Bunyan perhaps designed to intimate that, as melancholy persons seldom get rest at night, the gloominess of the season contributes to the distress of their minds. So Asaph complains: “My sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted” (Psa. 67:2)-(Ivimey).
215 215 How would the awful lesson of the man in the iron cage, at the Interpreter’s house, now recur to poor Christian’s mind: “I cannot get out, O now I cannot! I left off to watch, and am shut up in this iron cage, nor can all the men in the world let me out.” Christian’s answer to the despairing pilgrim now soon broke upon his memory: “The Son of the Blessed is very pitiful”-(ED).
216 216 What! Pray in the custody of Giant Despair, in the midst of Doubting Castle, and when their own folly brought them there too? Yes; mind this, ye pilgrims, ye are exhorted, “I will that men pray everywhere, without doubting” (1 Tim. 2:8). We can be in no place but God can hear, nor in any circumstance but God is able to deliver us from. And be assured, that when the spirit of prayer comes, deliverance is nigh at hand-(Mason). Perhaps the author selected Saturday at midnight for the precise time when the prisoners began to pray, in order to intimate that the preparation for the Lord’s day, which serious persons are reminded to make for its sacred services, are often the happy means of recovering those that have fallen into sin and despondency-(Scott).
217 217 All at once, by a new revelation, which none but the Saviour could make, Christian finds the promises. Christ had been watching over his erring disciples-He kept back the hand of Despair from destroying them-He binds up the broken heart, and healeth all their wounds-(Cheever). As a key enters all the intricate wards of a lock, and throws back its bolts, so the precious promises of God in his Word, if turned by the strong hand of faith, will open all the doors which unbelief and despair have shut upon us- (Burder).
218 218 Bunyan was a plain-spoken man, and feared not to offend delicate ears when truth required honest dealing. In his treatise on the Law and Grace, he says: “And therefore, my brethren, seeing God, our Father, hath sent us, damnable traitors, a pardon from Heaven, even all the promises of the Gospel, and hath also sealed to the certainty of it with the heart-blood of His dear Son, let us not be daunted-(vol. 1, p. 562).
219 219 Precious promise! The promises of God in Christ are the life of faith, and the quickeners of prayer. O how oft do we neglect God’s great and precious promises in Christ Jesus, while doubts and despair keep us prisoners! So it was with these pilgrims; they were kept under hard bondage of soul for four days. Hence see what it is to grieve the Spirit of God: for He only is the Comforter: and if He withdraws His influences, who or what can comfort us? Though precious promises are revealed in the Word, yet we can get no comfort from them but by the grace of the Spirit-(Mason).
220 220 It was Sabbath morning. The sun was breaking over the hills, and fell upon their pale, haggard countenances, it was to them a new creation; they breathed the fresh, reviving air, and brushed, with hasty steps, the dew from the untrodden grass, and fled the nearest way to the stile, over which they had wandered. They had learned a lesson by suffering, which nothing else could have taught them, and which would remain with them to the day of their death- (Cheever). The experience of these “three or four” dreadful days is specially recorded in Grace Abounding, (Nos. 261–263). The key which opened the doors in Doubting Castle was these words, applied with power to his soul, “I must go to Jesus,” in connection with Hebrews 12:22–24. Of the first night of his deliverance he says, “I could scarcely lie in my bed for joy and peace, and triumph through Christ”-(ED).
221 221 They fell to devising what soldiers, and how many, Diabolus should go against Mansoul with, to take it; and after some debate, it was concluded that none were more fit for that expedition than an army of terrible DOUBTERS. They therefore concluded to send against Mansoul an army of sturdy doubters. Diabolus was to beat up his drum for 20 or 30,000 men in the Land of Doubting, which land lieth upon the confines of a place called Hell-gate Hill. Captain Rage was over the election doubters; his were the red colours; his standard-bearer was Mr. Destructive; and the great red dragon he had for his scutcheon. Captain Fury was over the vocation doubters; his standard-bearer was darkness; his colours were pale; and his scutcheon the fiery flying serpent. Captain Damnation was over the grace doubters; his were the red colours; Mr. No-life bore them; his scutcheon was the Black Den, &c.-(Holy War).
222 222 When offending Christians are brought to deep repentance, renewed exercises of lively faith, and willing obedience in those self-denying duties which they had declined, the Lord “restores to them the joy of His salvation,” and their former comforts become more abundant and permanent. The Delectable Mountains seem intended to represent those calm seasons of peace and comfort-(Scott).
223 223 O how many professors grow weary of the way, fall short, and fail of coming to the end! Though the way be too far, too strait, and too narrow for many who set out, and never hold out to the end; yet all who are begotten by the Word of grace, and born of the Spirit of truth, shall persevere to the end, being kept by the mighty power of God, through faith, unto eternal salvation (1 Peter 1:5)- Mason).
224 224 There is in this laconic description of the homely dreamer a richness of beauty which no efforts of the artist can adequately portray; and in the concise dialogue of the speakers, a simple sublimity of eloquence which any commentary could only weaken. While our feelings are excited by this description, we cannot but remember that “eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man: the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”-(Bernard Barton).
225 225 Precious names! What is a pilgrim without knowledge? What is head-knowledge without heart-experience? And watchfulness and sincerity ought to attend us every step. When these graces are in us and abound, they make delectable mountains indeed-(Mason).
226 226 Fine-spun speculations and curious reasonings lead men from simple truth and implicit faith into many dangerous and destructive errors-(Mason).
227 227 It is well for us to be much on this mount. We have constant need of caution. Take heed and beware, says our Lord. Paul takes the Corinthians up to this Mount Caution, and shows them what awful things have happened to professors of old; and he leaves this solemn word for us, “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12)-(Mason).
228 228 O the unthought-of imaginations, frights, fears, and terrors, that are effected by a thorough application of guilt, yielding to desperation! This is the man that hath his dwelling among the tombs with the dead, that is always crying out, and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:3). But all in vain; desperation will not comfort him, the old covenant will not save him-(Grace Abounding, No. 185).
229 229 Some retain the name of Christ, and the notion of Him as a Saviour; but cast Him off in the very things wherein the essential parts of His sacrifice, merits, and priesthood consist. In this lies the mystery of their iniquity. They dare not altogether deny that Christ doth save His people, as a Priest; but then their art is to confound His offices, until they jostle out of doors the merit of His blood and the perfection of His justifying righteousness. Such draw away the people from the cross (put out their eyes), and lead them among the infidels- (Bunyan’s Israel’s Hope, vol. 1, p. 615).
230 230 Probably to guard pilgrims against the Popish doctrine of auricular confession-(ED).
231 231 Those seem to shun the common broad road; but having only the mark of religion, while their hearts are not right with God, are as effectually ruined as the most profligate and open offenders-(Burder).
232 232 Thus we read of some who were once enlightened, and had tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the world to come (Heb. 6:6). It is hard to say how far or how long a person may carry on a profession, and yet fall away, and come short of the kingdom at last. This should excite to diligence, humility, and circumspection, ever looking to Jesus to keep us from falling-(Mason).
233 233 It reflects the highest credit on the diffidence of Bunyan’s genius-a genius as rich in its inventions, and as aspiring in its imaginative flights, as ever poet could possess or lay claim to-that, after such an exordium, he should have made no effort minutely to describe what was in its own splendour of glory indescribable. How beautifully, without exciting any disappointment in a reader of taste, feeling, and judgment, does he, by a few artless words, render most impressive and sublime, what more elaborate description could only have made confused and unsatisfactory. Nothing can be more admirable than this brief and indistinct report of the perspective glass, it cannot offend the most fastidious taste, yet leaves scope for the exercise of the most ardent and aspiring imagination-(Bernard Barton).
234 Such mountains round about this house do stand.
As one from thence may see the Holy Land.
—(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 579).
235 235 After going through the conflict with Apollyon, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, the scenes in Vanity Fair, and the dread experience of the pilgrims in Giant Despair’s Castle, it is well to note what a gallery of solemn REALITIES is here, what a system of Divine truth, commending itself to all men’s consciences. It is not so much the richness of imagination, nor the tenderness of feeling here exhibited, nor the sweetness and beauty of the imagery, with which this book is filled, as it is the presence of these REALITIES that constitutes the secret of its unbounded power over the soul. Walk up and down in this rich and solemn gallery. How simple are its ornaments! How grave, yet beautiful, its architecture! Amidst all this deep, serene beauty to the imagination, by how much deeper a tone do these pictures speak to the inner spiritual being of the soul! When you have admired the visible beauty of the paintings, turn again to seek their meaning in that light from eternity by which the artist painted them, and by which he would have all men examine their lessons, and receive and feel the full power of their colouring. In this light, the walls of this gallery seem moving with celestial figures speaking to the soul. They are acting the drama of a life which, by most men, is only dreamed of; but the drama is the reality, and it is the spectators only who are walking in a vain show-(Cheever).
236 236 This is the first break in the dream, and, doubtless, had an important meaning. Perhaps the pilgrimage may be divided into four parts: 1. The convert flying from the wrath to come; instructed at the Interpreter’s house; relieved of his burden at the cross; ascends the Hill Difficulty; overcomes his timidity; and, 2. Enters a church at the House Beautiful; and, as a private member, continues his journey, until, 3. He meets Evangelist, near Vanity Fair, and is found fit to become an itinerant preacher; in which calling he suffers persecution, and obtains that fitness which enables him, 4. On the Delectable Mountains, to enter upon the responsible duties of a ministering elder or pastor of a church, and is ordained by Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere. Is this commencement of his public labours the important point when the author “awoke from his dream”?-(ED).
237 237 This country we are all born in; all are ignoramuses by nature. Some live long in the country of Conceit, and many end their days in it. Are you come out of it? So was Ignorance; but he breathed his native air. So long as a sinner thinks he can do anything towards making himself righteous before God, his name is Ignorance; he is full of self-conceit, and destitute of the faith of Christ-(Mason).
238 238 Now, is it not very common to hear professors talk at this rate? Yes, and many who make a very high profession too; their hopes are plainly grounded upon what they are in themselves, and how they differ from their former selves and other sinners, instead of what Christ is to us and what we are in Christ. But the profession of such is begun with an ignorant, whole, self-righteous heart; it is continued in pride, self-seeking, and self-exalting, and ends in awful disappointment. For such are called by our Lord thieves and robbers; they rob Him of the glory of His grace and the gift of His imputed righteousness-(Mason).
239 239 It is best not to converse much at once with persons of this character, but, after a few warnings, to leave them to their reflections; for their self-conceit is often cherished by altercations, in which they deem themselves very expert, however disgusting their discourse may prove to others-(Scott).
240 240 An awful scene was beheld by the pilgrims. A professor, named Turn-away, bound with seven cords, was led by devils to the by-way to hell. Let everyone inquire, Who is this wanton professor?-He who discovers a trifling, worldly, wanton spirit, dreads not the appearance of evil, complies with the fashions of the carnal world, and associates with the enemies of our Lord; and, in time, becomes a damnable apostate. Lord, keep us from such a beginning and such an end!-(Burder).
241 241 The “very dark lane” in which “Turn-away” was met by the pilgrims, represents the total darkness of the minds of such wicked professors; for “if the light that is in them be darkness, how great is that darkness!” When their characters are made manifest, they are ashamed to look their former pious friends in the face. “The wicked shall be holden with the cords of his sins” (Prov. 5:22)- (Ivimey).
242 242 O beware of a light trifling spirit and a wanton behaviour. It is often the forerunner of apostasy from God. It makes one tremble to hear those who profess to follow Christ in the regeneration, crying, What harm is there in this game and the other diversion? The warmth of love is gone, and they are become cold, dead, and carnal. O how many instances of these abound!-(Mason).
243 243 In times of persecution, loose professors are driven down Dead Man’s Lane to Broad-way Gate; thus Satan murders the souls of men, by threatening to kill their bodies. Believers that are weak in faith are betrayed into sinful compliances; they sleep when they ought to watch, they conceal or deny their profession, and thus contract guilt; Faint-heart assaults them, Mistrust plunders them, and Guilt beats them down-(Scott).
244 244 The fly in the spider’s net is the emblem of the soul in such a condition. If the soul struggleth, Satan laboureth to hold it down. If it make a noise, he bites it with blasphemous mouth; insomuch that it must needs die at last in the net, if the Lord Jesus help not. Believing is sure sweating work. Only strong faith can make Satan flee. O the toil of a gracious heart in this combat, if faith be weak! The man can get no higher than his knees, till an arm from Heaven help him up-(Bunyan’s Holy City).
245 245 When Bunyan was imprisoned, his sentence was-To be transported, if he did not conform in three months; and then, if found as a Nonconformist, in this country, he should be hung. Determined at all hazards not to be a traitor to his God, he anticipated being hung; and was anxious, in such a cause, to meet death with firmness. When his fears prevailed, he dreaded lest he should make but a scrabbling shift to clamber up the ladder-(See Grace Abounding, No. 334).
246 246 Where there is a faint heart in God’s cause, and mistrust of God’s truths, there will be guilt in the conscience, and but little faith. These rogues will prevail over, and rob such souls of the comforts of God’s love and of Christ’s salvation. By his jewels, we may understand those radical graces of the Spirit-faith, hope, and love. By his spending-money, the sealing and earnest of the Spirit in his heart (2 Cor. 1:22). Of this Divine assurance, and the sense of the peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, he was robbed; so that, though he still went on in the ways of the Lord, yet he dragged on but heavily and uncomfortably-(Mason).
247 247 Bunyan throws great light upon this subject in his Christ a Complete Saviour, (vol. 1, p. 215)-”We are saved by Christ; brought to glory by Christ; and all our works are no otherwise made acceptable to God, but by the person and excellencies of Christ. Therefore, whatever the jewels are, and the bracelets and the pearls that thou shalt be adorned with, as a reward of service done to God in this world, for them thou must thank Christ, and, before all, confess that He was the meritorious cause thereof.”
248 248 What was this good thing? His precious faith, whose author, finisher, and object is precious Jesus. And where he gives this precious gift of faith, though it be but little, even as a grain of mustard-seed, not all the powers of earth and hell can rob the heart of it. Christ prayed for His disciple that his faith should not fail, or be totally lost; therefore, though Peter lost his comforts for a season, yet not his faith totally, not his soul eternally; for, says Jesus, of all his dear flock, yea, of those of little faith too, None shall pluck them out of My hand. There is one blessed security, not in ourselves, but in our Lord-(Mason).
249 249 Hope, love, humility, meekness, patience, longsuffering, compassion, and mercy, are gracious dispositions wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost. These are the believer’s jewels; and it is his duty to keep them clean, that their beauty and lustre may be apparent- (Andronicus).
250 250 Little-faith cannot come all the way without crying. So long as its holy boldness lasts, so long it can come with peace, but it will go the rest of the way with crying- (Bunyan’s Come and Welcome, vol. 1, p. 288).
251 251 Bunyan shows the difference between “his spending- money,” or that treasure which the Christian carries in his earthen vessel, and his jewels, in Grace Abounding (No. 232)-”It was glorious to me to see His [Christ’s] exaltation. Now I could look from myself to Him, and should reckon that all those graces of God that now were green in me, were yet but like those cracked groats and fourpence- halfpennies, (Irish sixpences, which, in the dearth of silver coin in England, were made current at fourpence- halfpenny-ED), that rich men carry in their purses, when their GOLD is in their trunks at home. Oh! I saw that my gold was in my trunk at home, in Christ my Lord and Saviour. Now, Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.”
252 252 Hopeful was not the first pilgrim who has been “almost made angry” while holding a friendly debate upon that highly-important subject, the doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance. Pilgrims ought to debate upon those subjects without being angry-(ED).
253 253 Hopeful here expresses himself as if he had read Bunyan on Christ’s Love-”But to fear man is to forget God. He taketh part with them that fear HIM; so that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:6). Would it not be amazing to see a man encompassed with chariots, and horses, and weapons of defence, yet afraid of being sparrow-blasted, or overrun by a grasshopper?”-(vol. 2, p. 13).
254 254 Who can stand in the evil day of temptation, when beset with Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, backed by the power of their master, Satan? No one, unless armed with the whole armour of God; and even then, the power of such infernal foes makes it a hard fight to the Christian. But this is our glory, the Lord shall fight for us, and we shall hold our peace. We shall be silent as to ascribing any glory to ourselves, knowing our very enemies are part of ourselves, and that we are more than conquerors over all these (only) through HIM who loved us (Rom. 8:37)-(Mason).
255 255 “One Great-grace”; a believer, or minister, who having honourably stood his ground, endeavours to restore the fallen. The remembrance of such, helps to drive away despondency, and inspires the trembling penitent with hope of mercy-(Scott).
256 256 “I trow”; I imagine or believe: nearly obsolete-(ED).
257 257 Now here you see what is meant by Great-grace, who is so often mentioned in this book, and by whom so many valiant things were done. We read, “With great power the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of Jesus.” Why was it? Because “great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). So you see all is of grace, from first to last, in salvation. If we do great things for Christ, yet, not unto us, but unto the great grace of our Lord, be all the glory- (Mason).
258 258 If we saw our own weakness, we should never court dangers, nor run in the way of temptation; yet, if our temptations be ever so sharp and strong, and our dangers ever so great, if the Lord is our strength, we need not fear-(J. B.).
259 259 From this sweet and edifying conversation, learn not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think; but to think soberly, according to the measure of faith which God hath dealt to you (Rom. 12:3). Now, it is of the very essence of faith to lead us out of all self-confidence and vain vaunting. For we know not how soon Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt may spring up in us, and rob us of our comforts, and spoil our joys-(Mason).
260 260 Instead of saying, “Though all men deny thee, yet will not I,” it behooves us to use all means of grace diligently, and to be instant in prayer, that the Lord Himself may protect us by His power, and animate us by His presence, and then only shall we be enabled to overcome both the fear of man and the temptations of the devil- (Scott).
261 261 But how contrary to this is the walk and conduct of some who profess to be pilgrims, and yet can willfully and deliberately go upon the devil’s ground, and indulge themselves in carnal pleasures and sinful diversions! Such evidently declare in plain language, that they desire not the presence of God, but that He should depart from them; but a day will come which will bring on terrible reflections of mind for such things-(Mason).
262 262 Mr. Ivimey’s opinion is, that this “way which put itself into their way,” and the flatterer, relates to Antinomianism. Of this I can form no accurate judgment, never having met with an Antinomian, or one who professed to be against the law of God. I have met with those who consider that believers are bound to prefer the law of God as revealed by Jesus Christ, in Matthew 22:37–40, to be their rule of life, instead of limiting themselves to the law of God as given by Moses, in Exodus 20; but it has been for this reason, that the law proclaimed by Christ unites in it the law given by Moses, and ALL the law and the prophets. This law, as given by Christ, is in a few words of beautiful simplicity, which can neither be misunderstood nor be forgotten. Mason says, “It is plain the author means the way of self-righteousness,” into which the flatterer enticed the pilgrims, out of the Scripture highway to Heaven, in the righteousness of Christ. When ministers differ, private Christians must think for themselves. My judgment goes with Mr. Mason-(ED). This way, which seemed as straight as the right way, and in entering on which there was no stile to be passed, must denote some very plausible and gradual deviation from the simplicity of the Gospel, in doctrine or practice. If, in such a case, instead of a personal prayerful searching the Scripture, we rely upon the opinion of our friends, and listen to the flatterer, we shall certainly be misled-(Scott).
263 263 Luther was wont to caution against the white devil as much as the black one; for Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14, 15). And how do they deceive souls? By flattery. Leading poor sinners into a fine notion of some righteous character they have in themselves, what great advances they have made, and what high attainments they have arrived to, even to be perfect in themselves, to be free from sin, and full of nothing but love. These are black men clothed in white-(Mason).
264 264 By this shining one understand the loving Lord the Holy Ghost, the leader and guide of Christ’s people. When they err and stray from Jesus the way, and are drawn from Him as the truth, the Spirit comes with His rod of convic- tion and chastisement, to whip souls for their self- righteous pride and folly, back to Christ, to trust wholly in Him, to rely only on Him, and to walk in sweet fellowship with Him. So he acted by the Galatian church, which was flattered into a notion of self-righteousness, and self- justification. So David, when he found himself nearly lost, cries out, “He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psa. 23:3)-(Mason). The devil, in his attempts after our destruction, maketh use of the most suitable means. The serpent, Adam knew, was subtle, therefore Satan useth him, thereby to catch this goodly creature, man. Hereby the devil least appeared [this fine-spoken man], and least appearing, the temptation soonest took the tinder-(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 428).
265 265 The backsliding of a Christian comes through the overmuch persuading of Satan and lust; that the man was mistaken, and that there was no such horror in the things from which he fled; nor so much good in the things to which he hosted. Turn again, fool, says the devil. I wonder what frenzy it was that drove thee to thy heels, and that made thee leave so much good behind thee as other men find in the lusts of the flesh and the good of the world. As for the law, and death, and the day of judgment, they are but mere scarecrows, set up by politic heads, to keep the ignorant in subjection. Well, he goes back, fool as he is, conscience sleeps, and flesh is sweet; but, behold, he again sees his own nakedness-he sees the law whetting his axe-the world is a bubble. He also smells the brimstone which begins to burn within him. Oh! saith he, I am deluded! “Have mercy upon me, O God!”-(Christ a Complete Saviour, vol. 1, p. 223).
266 266 A wicked man, though he may hector it at times with his proud heart, as though he feared neither God nor hell; yet again, at times, his soul is even drowned with terrors. If one knew the wicked, when they are under warm convic- tions, then the bed shakes on which they be; then the proud tongue doth falter in their mouth, and their knees knock one against another. Then their conscience stares, and roars, and tears, and arraigns them. O! none can imagine what fearful plights a wicked man is in at times!-(Bunyan’s Desires of the Righteous, vol. 1, p. 746).
267 267 On the Delectable Mountains, the pilgrims had a sight of the Celestial City. No matter if it were but a glimpse; still they saw it, they really saw it, and the remembrance of that sight never left them. There it was in glory! Their hands trembled, their eyes were dim with tears, but still that vision was not to be mistaken. There, through the rifted clouds, for a moment, the gates of pearl were shining, the jasper walls, the endless domes, the jeweled battlements! The splendour of the city seemed to pour, like a river of light, down upon the spot where they were standing- (Cheever).
268 268 See how we are surrounded with different enemies! No sooner have they escaped the self-righteous flatterer, but they meet with the openly profane and licentious mocker- aye, and he set out, and went far too; yea, further than they. But, behold, he has turned his back upon all; and though he had been 20 years a seeker, yet now he proves, that he has neither faith nor hope, but ridicules all as delusion. Awful to think of! O what a special mercy to be kept believing and persevering, and not regarding the ridicule of apostates!-(Mason).
269 269 “To round”; to be open, sincere, candid. “Maister Bland answered flatly and roundly”-(Fox’s Book of Martyrs).
270 270 Upon the declaration for liberty of conscience, the church for a season was free from persecution. It was like enchanted ground; and some, who had been watchful in the storm, became careless and sleepy in this short deceitful calm-(ED).
271 271 Ah, these short naps for pilgrims! The sleep of death, in the enchanted air of this world, usually begins with one of these short naps-(Cheever).
272 272 The Enchanted Ground may represent worldly prosperity; agreeable dispensations succeeding long- continued difficulties. This powerfully tends to produce a lethargic frame of mind; the man attends to religious duties more from habit, than from delight in the service of God. No situation requires so much watchfulness. Other experiences resemble storms, which keep a man awake; this is a treacherous calm, which lulls him to sleep-(Scott).
273 273 O Christian, beware of sleeping on this enchanted ground! When all things go easy, smooth, and well, we are prone to grow drowsy in soul. How many are the calls in the Word against spiritual slumber! and yet how many professors, through the enchanting air of this world, are fallen into the deep sleep of formality! Be warned by them to cry to thy Lord to keep thee awake to righteousness, and vigorous in the ways of thy Lord-(Mason).
274 274 Here you see, as our Lord says, “It is the Spirit who quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). Our carnal nature is so far from profiting in the work of conversion to Christ, that it is at enmity against Him, and opposes the Spirit’s work in showing us our want of Him, and bringing us to Him. Man’s nature and God’s grace are two direct opposites. Nature opposes, but grace subdues nature, and brings it to submission and subjection. Are we truly convinced of sin, and converted to Christ? This is a certain and sure evidence of it-we shall say from our hearts, Not unto us, nor unto any yieldings and compliances of our nature, free-will, and power, but unto Thy name, O Lord, be all the glory. For it is by Thy free, sovereign, efficacious grace, we are what we are. Hence, see the ignorance, folly, and pride of those who exalt free-will, and nature’s power, &c. Verily they do not know themselves, even as they are known-(Mason).
275 275 Not the evil of sin in the sight of God, but the remorse and fear of wrath, with which the convinced sinner is oppressed, and from which he, at times, seeks relief by means which exceedingly increase his actual guilt. Nothing but a free pardon, by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, can take away guilt; but the uneasiness of a man’s conscience may be for a time removed by various expedients- (Scott).
276 276 In modern editions, this has been altered to “sin enough in one day.” But in any period of time, selecting that duty in the discharge of which we have felt the most pure, there has been a mixture of sin. “For there is not a day, nor a duty; not a day that thou livest, nor a duty that thou dost, but will need that mercy should come after to take away thy iniquity”-(Bunyan’s Saints’ Privilege, vol. 1, p. 679). These are solemn and humbling reflections- (ED).
277 277 Thus, you see, in conversion, the Lord does not act upon us as though we were mere machines. No, we have understanding; He enlightens it. Then we come to a sound mind; we think right, and reason justly. We have wills; what the understanding judges best, the will approves, and then the affections follow after; and thus we choose Christ for our Saviour, and glory only in His righteousness and salvation. When the heavenly light of truth makes manifest what we are, and the danger we are in, then we rationally flee from the wrath to come, to Christ the refuge set before us-(Mason).
278 278 Pray mind this. The grand object of a sensible sinner is righteousness. He has it not in himself; this he knows. Where is it to be found? In Christ only. This is a revealed truth; and without faith in this, every sinner must be lost. Consider, it is at the peril of your soul that you reject the righteousness of Christ; and do not believe that God imputeth it without works for the justification of the ungodly. O ye stout-hearted, self-righteous sinners, ye who are far from righteousness, know this and tremble!-(Mason).
279 279 The true nature of faith is to believe and rest upon the Word of truth, and wait for the promised comfort. That faith which is the gift of God leads the soul to wait upon and cry to God, and not to rest till it has some blessed testimony from God of interest in the love and favour of God in Christ Jesus. But O how many professors rest short of this!-(Mason).
280 280 As I thought my case most sad and fearful, these words did with great power suddenly break in upon me, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” three times together. O! methought every word was a mighty word for me; as My, and grace, and sufficient, and for thee; they were then, and sometimes are still, far bigger than others be-(Grace Abounding, No. 206).
281 281 The Lord’s dealings with his children are various, but all lead to the same end; some are shaken with terror, while others are more gently drawn, as with cords of love. In these things believers should not make their experiences standards one for another; still there is a similarity in their being brought to the same point of rejecting both sinful and righteous self, and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as their complete salvation-(Andronicus).
282 282 Christ did not appear to Hopeful’s senses, but to his understanding; and the words spoken are no other than texts of Scripture taken in their genuine meaning-not informing him, as by a new revelation, that his sins were pardoned, but encouraging him to apply for this mercy, and all other blessings of salvation-(Scott).
283 Since the dear hour that brought me to
Thy foot, And cut up all my follies by the root,
I never trusted in an arm but Thine,
Nor hoped, but in Thy righteousness Divine.
My prayers and alms, imperfect and defiled,
Were but the feeble efforts of a child.
Howe’er perform’d, it was their brightest part
That they proceeded from a grateful heart.
Cleans’d in Thine own all-purifying blood,
Forgive their evil, and accept their good.
I cast them at Thy feet-my only plea
Is what it was, DEPENDENCE UPON THEE!
284 284 Not governed by the Word of God, but by his own will, his grounds of confidence for salvation unfitted him for Christian fellowship, unless he happened to fall in with a man who had imbibed his own notions-(ED).
285 285 The desire of Heaven-when its nature is not understood, the proper means of obtaining it are neglected, other objects are preferred to it-is no proof that a man will be saved. The expression, “The desire of grace is grace,” is very fallacious. But to hunger and thirst for God, and His righteousness, His favour, image, and service, as the supreme good, so that no other object can satisfy the heart, is grace indeed, and shall be completed in glory-(Scott).
286 286 Real Christians are often put to a stand, while they find and feel the workings of all corruptions and sins in their nature; and when they hear others talk so highly of themselves, how full their hearts are of love to God, and of good motions, without any complainings of their hearts. But all this is from the ignorance of their own hearts; and pride and self-righteousness harden them against feeling its desperate wickedness-(Mason).
287 287 I saw that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8)-(Grace Abounding, No. 229).
288 288 Here we see how naturally the notion of man’s righteousness blinds his eyes to, and keeps his heart from believing, that Christ’s personal righteousness alone justifies a sinner in the sight of God; and yet such talk bravely of believing, but their faith is only fancy. They do not believe unto righteousness; but imagine they have now, or shall get, a righteousness of their own, some how or other. Awful delusion!-(Mason).
289 289 Here is the very essence of that delusion which works by a lie, and so much prevails, and keeps up an unscriptural hope in the hearts of so many professors. Do, reader, study this point well; for here seems to be a show of scriptural truth, while the rankest poison lies concealed in it. For it is utterly subversive of, and contrary to, the faith and hope of the Gospel-(Mason).
290 290 The way of being justified by faith for which Ignorance pleads may well be called “fanatical,” as well as “false”; for it is nowhere laid down in Scripture; and it not only changes the way of acceptance, but it takes away the rule and standard of righteousness, and substitutes a vague notion, called sincerity, in its place, which never was, nor can be, defined with precision-(Scott).
291 291 Justification before God comes, not by imitating Christ as exemplary in morals, but through faith in His precious blood. To feed on Jesus is by respecting Him as made of God a curse for our sin. I have been pleased with observing, that none of the signs and wonders in Egypt could deliver the children of Israel thence, until the lamb was slain- (Bunyan on Justification, vol. 2, p. 330).
292 292 Under these four heads, we have a most excellent detection of a presumptive and most dangerous error which now greatly prevails, as well as a scriptural view of the nature of true faith, and the object it flies on wholly and solely for justification before God, and acceptance with God. Reader, for thy soul’s sake, look to thy foundation. See that thou build upon nothing in self, but all upon that sure foundation which God hath laid, even his beloved Son, and his perfect righteousness-(Mason).
293 293 This, by all natural men, is deemed the very height of enthusiasm; but a spiritual man knows its blessedness, and rejoices in its comfort. It is a close question. What may we understand by it? Doubtless, what Paul means when he says, “It pleased God to reveal His Son in me,” (Gal. 1:15, 16): that is, he had such an internal, spiritual, experimental sight, and knowledge of Christ, and of salvation by Him, that his heart embraced Him, his soul cleaved to Him, his spirit rejoiced in Him; his whole man was swallowed up with the love of Him, so that he cried out in the joy of his soul, This is my Beloved and my Friend-my Saviour, my God, and my Salvation. He is the chief of ten thousand, and altogether lovely. We know nothing of Christ savingly, comfortably, and experimentally, till He is pleased thus to reveal Himself to us (Matt. 11:27). This spiritual revelation of Christ to the heart is a blessing and comfort agreeable to, and consequent upon, believing on Christ, as revealed outwardly in the Word. Therefore, every believer should wait, and look, and long, and pray for it. Beware you do not despise it; if you do, you will betray your ignorance of spiritual things, as Ignorance did- (Mason).
294 294 Many of these revelations appear in the Grace Abounding, as “that scripture fastened on my heart” (No. 201); “that sentence darted in upon me” (No. 204); “these words did with great power break in upon me” (No. 206); “suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul” (No. 229); and many others-(ED).
295 295 That sinner is not thoroughly awakened, who does not see his need of Christ’s righteousness to be imputed to him. Nor is he quickened, who has not fled to Christ as “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4)-(Mason).
296 296 Ignorant professors cannot keep pace with spiritual pilgrims, nor can they relish the doctrine of making Christ all in all, in the matter of justification and salvation, and making the sinner nothing at all, as having no hand in the work, nor getting any glory to himself by what he is able to do of himself. Free grace and free will; Christ’s imputed righteousness, and the notion of man’s personal righteousness, cannot accord-(Mason).
297 297 Take heed of hardening thy heart at any time, against convictions or judgments. I bid you before to beware of a hard heart; now I bid you beware of hardening your soft heart. The fear of the Lord is the pulse of the soul. Pulses that beat best are the best signs of life; but the worst show that life is present. Intermitting pulses are dangerous. David and Peter had an intermitting pulse, in reference to this fear-(Bunyan on the Fear of God, vol. 1, pp. 487, 489).
298 298 Mark well Christian’s definition of “fear.” It is one of those precious passages in which our author gives us the subject matter of a whole treatise in a few short and plain sentences. Treasure it up in your heart, and often ponder it there. It will prove, through the blessing of the Spirit, a special means of enlivening, when spiritual langour, in consequence of worldly ease, is creeping upon your soul-(Andronicus).
299 299 “Pitiful old self-holiness.” Mind this phrase. Far was it from the heart of good Mr. Bunyan to decry personal holiness. It is nothing but self-holiness, or the holiness of the old man of sin; for true holiness springs from the belief of the truth, and love to the truth. All besides this only tends to self-confidence, and self-applause- (Mason).
300 300 It is good to call to mind one’s own ignorance, when in our natural estate, to excite humility of heart, and thankfulness to God, who made us to differ, and to excite pity towards those who are walking in nature’s pride, self- righteousness, and self-confidence-(Mason).
301 301 “Temporary”; one who is doctrinally acquainted with the Gospel, but a stranger to its sanctifying power. The reasons and manner of such men’s declensions and apostasy are very justly and emphatically stated-(Scott).
302 302 In Hoffman’s poetical version of the “Pilgrim,” this sentence is, “And nature will return, like Pope, to pork”; alluding to one of the Popes, who used daily to have a dish of pork; but, being sick, his physicians forbade it, when the Pope, in a rage, cried out, “Give me my pork, in spite of God”-(ED).
303 303 A true description of the state of some professors. Here see the reason why so many saints, as they are called, fall away. From hence, some take occasion to deny the scriptural, soul-comforting doctrine, of the certain perseverance of God’s saints unto eternal glory. So they display the pride of their own hearts, their ignorance of God’s Word, while they make God’s promises of no effect, and the Gospel of his grace, only much ado about nothing- (Mason).
304 304 Three young fellows, Mr. Tradition, Mr. Human-wisdom, and Mr. Man’s-invention, proffered their services to Shaddai. The captains told them not to be rash; but, at their entreaty, they were listed into Boanerges’ company, and away they went to the war. Being in the rear, they were taken prisoners. Then Diabolus asked them if they were willing to serve against Shaddai. They told him, that as they did not so much live by religion as by the fates of fortune, they would serve him. So he made two of them sergeants; but he made Mr. Man’s-invention his ancient- bearer [standard-bearer]-(Bunyan’s Holy War).
305 305 See how gradually, step by step, apostates go back. It begins in the unbelief of the heart, and ends in open sins in the life. Why is the love of this world so forbidden? Why is covetousness called idolatry? Because, whatever draws away the heart from God, and prevents enjoying close fellowship with him, naturally tends to apostasy from him. Look well to your hearts and affections. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). If you neglect to watch, you will be sure to smart under the sense of sin on earth, or its curse in hell. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15, 16)-(Mason).
306 306 O what a blessed state! what a glorious frame of soul is this! Job speaks of it as the candle of the Lord shining upon his head (29:3). The church, in a rapture, cries out, “Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people” (Isa. 49:13). Paul calls this, “The fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29). O rest not short of enjoying the full blaze of Gospel peace and spiritual joy-(Mason). During the last days of that eminent man of God, Dr. Payson, he once said, “When I formerly read Bunyan’s description of the Land of Beulah, where the sun shines and the birds sing day and night, I used to doubt whether there was such a place; but now my own experience has convinced me of it, and it infinitely transcends all my previous conceptions.” The best possible commentary on the glowing descriptions in Bunyan is to be found in that very remarkable letter dictated by Dr. Payson to his sister, a few weeks before his death-”Were I to adopt the figurative language of Bunyan, I might date this letter from the Land Beulah, of which I have been for some weeks a happy inhabitant. The Celestial City is full in my view. Its glories have been upon me, its breezes fan me, its odours are wafted to me, its sounds strike upon my ears, and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the River of Death, which now appears but as an insignificant rill, that may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission. The Sun of Righteousness has been gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as He approached, and now He fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of glory, in which I seem to float, like an insect in the beams of the sun; exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness, and wondering, with unutterable wonder, why God should deign thus to shine upon a sinful worm”-(Cheever).
307 307 In the immediate view of heavenly felicity, Paul “desired to depart hence, and be with Christ, as far better” than life. David “fainted for God’s salvation.” In the lively exercise of holy affections, the believer grows weary of this sinful world, longs to have his faith changed for sight, his hope swallowed up in enjoyment, and his love perfected- (Scott).
308 308 No other language than that of Bunyan himself, perused in the pages of his own sweet book, could be successful in portraying this beauty and glory; for now he seems to feel that all the dangers of the pilgrimage are almost over, and he gives up himself without restraint so entirely to the sea of bliss that surrounds him, and to the gales of Heaven that are wafting him on, and to the sounds of melody that float in the whole air around him, that nothing in the English language can be compared with this whole closing part of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” for its entrancing splendour, yet serene and simple loveliness. The colouring is that of Heaven in the soul; and Bunyan has poured his own Heaven-entranced soul into it. With all its depth and power, there is nothing exaggerated, and it is made up of the simplest and most scriptural materials and images. We seem to stand in a flood of light, poured on as from the open gates of paradise. It falls on every leaf and shrub by the way-side; it is reflected from the crystal streams that, between grassy banks, wind amidst groves of fruit-trees into vineyards and flower-gardens. These fields of Beulah are just below the gate of Heaven; and with the light of Heaven there come floating down the melodies of Heaven, so that here there is almost an open revelation of the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him- (Cheever).
309 This is the place, this is the state,
Of all that fear the Lord;
Which men nor angels may relate
With tongue, or pen, or word.
No night is here for to eclipse
Its spangling rays so bright;
Nor doubt, nor fear, to shut the lips
Of those within this light.
The strings of music here are timed
For heavenly harmony,
And every spirit here perfumed
With perfect sanctity.
Here run the crystal streams of life,
Quite thorow all our veins;
And here by love we do unite
With glory’s golden chains.
-(Bunyan’s One Thing Needful).
310 310 Mr. Flavel, being on a journey, set himself to improve the time by meditation; when his mind grew intent, till at length he had such ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such full assurance of his interest therein, that he utterly lost the sight and sense of this world and all its concerns, so that for hours he knew not where he was. At last, perceiving himself faint, he alighted from his horse and sat down at a spring, where he refreshed himself, earnestly desiring, if it were the will of God, that he might there leave the world. His spirit reviving, he finished his journey in the same delightful frame; and all that night passed without a wink of sleep, the joy of the Lord still overflowing him, so that he seemed an inhabitant of the other world-(Pneumatologia, 4to, 2d edit. p. 210).
311 311 Who are these ministering spirits, that the author calls “men”? Are they the glorified inhabitants of the Celestial City? Moses and Elias appeared at the transfiguration; so the spirit who spake with John (Rev. 20:10), was his fellow-servant. Are these “spirits of just men made perfect”-the angel-ministering spirits which are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Heb. 1:14; 12:22, 23)-(ED).
312 312 What are these two difficulties? Are they not death without, and unbelief within? It is through the latter that the former is all-distressing to us. O for a strong, world- conquering, sin-subduing, death-overcoming faith, in life and death! Jesus, Master, speak the word, unbelief shall flee, our faith shall not fail, and our hope shall be steady-(Mason).
313 313 Well, now the pilgrims must meet with, and encounter, their last enemy, death. When he stares them in the face, their fears arise. Through the river they must go. What have they to look at? What they are in themselves, or what they have done and been? No. Only the same Jesus who conquered death for us, and can overcome the fear of death in us-(Mason).
314 But tim’rous mortals start and shrink
To cross this narrow sea;
They linger, shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away—(Watts).
Evodias could not join in the petition of the Liturgy-”From sudden death, good Lord, deliver us.” He had his wish; and expired suddenly on a Lord’s-day morning, while thousands were assembling to hear him preach-(Andronicus).
315 315 Bunyan died in perfect peace, though it is probable that he expected darkness in the trying hour. Thus he says, in his treatise on Paul’s Departure, “Aye, this will make thee cry, though thou be as good as David. Wherefore learn by his sorrows to serve thy generation, by the will of God, before falling asleep. God can pardon thy sins, and yet make them a bitter thing and a burden at death. It is easy to HIM to pardon, and yet break all thy bones; or show Himself in such dreadful majesty, that Heaven and earth shall tremble at His presence. Let the thoughts of this prevail with thee to manage thy time and work in wisdom, while thou art well” (vol. 1, p. 730)-(ED).
316 316 Satan is suffered to be very busy with God’s people in their last moments, but he too, like death, is a conquered enemy by our Jesus; therefore, amidst all his attacks, they are safe. He cannot destroy them whom Jesus hath redeemed, for He is faithful to them, and almighty to save-(Mason).
317 317 Hopeful, agreeably to his name, was not only preserved from terror, but enabled to encourage his trembling companion telling him the welcome news that “he felt the bottom, and it was good.” Blessed experience! If Christ is our foundation, we have nothing to fear, even in the swellings of Jordan, for death itself cannot separate us from the love of Christ-((Burder).
318 318 When you visit a sick or death bed, be sure that you take God’s Word with you, in your heart and in your mouth. It is from that only that you may expect a blessing upon, and to the soul of, the sick or the dying; for it is by the Word of God faith came at the first; it is by that, faith is strengthened at the last; and Jesus is the sum and substance of the Scriptures-(Mason).
319 319 Jesus Christ, He is indeed the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning of our hope, and the end of our confidence. We begin and end the Christian pilgrimage with Him; and all our temptations and trials speak loudly, and fully confirm to us that truth of our Lord, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)-(Mason).
320 320 The temporary distresses of dying believers often arise from bodily disease, which interrupt the free exercise of their intellectual powers. Of this Satan will be sure to take advantage, as far as he is permitted, and will suggest gloomy imaginations, not only to distress them, but to dishearten others by their example. Generally they who, for a time, have been most distressed, have at length died most triumphantly-(Scott).
321 321 I cannot trust myself to read the account of Christian going up to the Celestial Gate, after his passage though the River of Death-(Arnold).
322 322 Bunyan, in his Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love, describes the feelings of the pilgrim, while clothed with mortality, looking up to the heights of Heaven. Christ could mount up-Elijah had a chariot of fire-Enoch was taken by God. But I, poor I, how shall I get thither? How often are considering thoughts wanting in professors! The question is happily solved in Christian and Hopeful’s experience; they left all their mortal garments and burdens behind them in the river, and their free spirits for the first time felt the sweets of liberty in their perfection- (ED).
323 323 I know that all who go to paradise, are conducted thither by these holy ones; but yet, for all that, such as die under the cloud, for unchristian walking with God, may meet with darkness on that day, and go heavily hence. But as for those who have been faithful to their God, they shall see before them, or from earth see glory-(Bunyan’s Paul’s Departure, vol. 1, p. 741).
324 324 Ah, Christian! None can conceive or describe what it is to live in a state separate from a body of sin and death. Surely in some happy, highly-favoured moments, we have had a glimpse, a foretaste of this, and could realize it by faith. O for more and more of this, till we possess and enjoy it in all its fullness! If Jesus be so sweet to faith below, who can tell what He is in full fruition above? This we must die to know-(Mason).
325 325 Bunyan has, with great beauty and probability, brought in the ministry of angels, and regions of the air, to be passed through in their company, rising, and still rising, higher and higher, before they come to that mighty mount on which He has placed the gates of the Celestial City. The angels receive His pilgrims as they come up from the River of Death, and form for them a bright, glittering, seraphic, loving convoy, whose conversation prepares them gradually for that exceeding and eternal weight of glory which is to be theirs as they enter in at the gate. Bunyan has thus, in this blissful passage from the river to the gate, done what no other devout writer, or dreamer, or speculator, that we are aware of, has ever done; he has filled what perhaps in most minds is a mere blank, a vacancy, or at most a bewilderment and mist of glory, with definite and beatific images, with natural thoughts, and with the sympathizing communion of gentle spirits, who form, as it were, an outer porch and perspective of glory, through which the soul passes into uncreated light. Bunyan has thrown a bridge, as it were, for the imagination, over the deep, sudden, open space of an untried spiritual existence; where it finds, ready to receive the soul that leaves the body, ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them who are to be heirs of salvation- (Cheever).
326 Glory beyond all glory ever seen
By waking sense, or by the dreaming soul!
The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
Was of a mighty City—boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far,
And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
Far sinking into splendour without end!
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
With alabaster domes and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted: here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
With battlements, that on their restless fronts
Bore stars—illumination of all gems!
327 A certificate,
To show thou seest thyself most desolate;
Writ by the Master, with repentance seal’d.
To show also that here [by Christ] thou would’st be healed.
And that thou dost abhor thee for thy ways,
And would’st in holiness spend all thy days.
—(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 580).
328 328 Blessed indeed is that man who, while encumbered with a sinful body, can truly say, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” In Him all the commandments are obeyed-all my sins washed away by His blood-and my soul clothed with righteousness and immortality. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: they enter the Celestial City. This is the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth. O my reader, would you be one of the glorified inhabitants of that city whose builder and maker is God? Then must you live the life of faith; so run that ye may obtain; ever be found looking unto Jesus-(ED).
Prepare me, Lord, for Thy right hand,
Then come the joyful day;
Come death, and some celestial hand,
And fetch my soul away.”
329 329 O what acclamations of joy will there be, when all the children of God meet together, without the fear of being disturbed by Antichrist! How will the heavens echo of joy, when the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, shall come to dwell with her Husband! If you would be better satisfied what the beatific vision means, my request is, that you would live holily, and thus go and see. Christ is the desire of all nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father. What solace, then, must that soul be filled with, which hath the possession of Christ to all eternity?-(Bunyan’s Dying Sayings, vol.1, pp. 64, 65).
330 330 When a formal visit from a minister, a few general questions, and a prayer, with or without the sacrament, calm the mind of a dying person, whose life has been unsuitable to the Christian profession; no doubt, could we penetrate the veil, we should see him wafted across the river in the boat of Vain-hope, and meeting with the awful doom that is here described. From such fatal delusions, good Lord, deliver us!-(Scott).
331 331 Vain-hope ever dwells in the bosom of fools, and is ever ready to assist Ignorance. He wanted him at the last, and he found him. He had been his companion through life, and will not forsake him in the hour of death. You see Ignorance had no pangs in his death, no fears, doubts, and sorrows, no terror from the enemy, but all was serene and happy. Vain-hope was his ferryman; and he, as the good folks say, died like a lamb. Ah, but did such lambs see what was to follow, when Vain-hope had wafted them over the river, they would roar like lions!-(Mason).
332 332 This is a most awful conclusion. Consider it deeply. Weigh it attentively, so as to get good satisfaction from the Word to these important questions-Am I in Christ, the way, the only way, to the kingdom, or not? Do I see that all other ways, whether of sin or self-righteousness, lead to hell? Does Christ dwell in my heart by faith? Am I a new creature in Him? Do I renounce my own righteousness, as well as abhor my sins? Do I look alone to Christ for righteousness, and depend only on Him for holiness? Is He the only hope of my soul, and the only confidence of my heart? And do I desire to be found in Him; knowing by the Word, and feeling by the teaching of His Spirit, that I am totally lost in myself? Thus, is Christ formed in me, the only hope of glory? Do I study to please Him, as well as hope to enjoy Him? Is fellowship with God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, so prized by me, as to seek it, and to esteem it above all things? If so, though I may find all things in nature, in the world, and from Satan, continually opposing this, yet I am in Christ the way, and He is in me the truth and the life-(Mason). How far may such an one go? This important question is very solemnly argued in Bunyan’s Law and Grace. He may be received into church-fellowship- and, like the foolish virgins, be clear from outward pollution-have gone forth from the rudiments and traditions of men-and had their lamps, but still lost their precious souls. They may bear office in the church, as Judas carried the bag, and as Demas! They may become preachers and ministers of the Gospel, with rare gifts, and a fluent tongue, like an angel, to speak of the hidden mysteries; but may die under the curse. They may have the gifts of the Spirit and prophecy, and be but a Balaam. They may stand thus until Christ come and reveal them. They may, with confidence, say, Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drank in Thy presence, and taught in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils? and yet, poor creatures, be shut out!- (ED).