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Pilgrim Runs for his Life! Part 1. | Print |

    

                                                           Part 1.  

                                 

   As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a

   certain place where was a den, [3] and laid me down in that place to

 

               

   sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw

   a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face

                 

   from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his

   back.  Isa 64:6; Luke 14:33; Psalm 38:4. I looked and saw him open the

   book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not

   being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry,

   saying, "What shall I do?"  Acts 2:37; 16:30; Habak 1:2,3.

 In this plight, therefore, he went home, and restrained himself as        

 long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his

 distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble

              

 increased. Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and

 children; and thus he began to talk to them: "O, my dear wife," said

 he, "and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in

 myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover,

 I am certainly informed that this our city will be burnt with fire from heaven;

in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet

babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yetI see not) some way

of escape can be found whereby we may be

delivered." At this his relations were sore amazed; not for that they

 believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they

 thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore,  

it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his

brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as

 troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he

spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning was come, they would

know how he did. He told them, "Worse and worse:" he also set to talking to

them again; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive

away his distemper by harsh and surly carriage to him; sometimes they

would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would

quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber

to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would

also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes

praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.

 

   Now I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was

   (as he was wont) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his

   mind; and as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying,

   "What shall I do to be saved?"  Acts 16:30,31.

 

   I saw also that he looked this way, and that way, as if he would run;

   yet he stood still because (as I perceived) he could not tell which way

   to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, and

   he asked, "Wherefore dost thou cry?"

 

   He answered, "Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am

   condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment,  Heb. 9:27; and I

   find that I am not willing to do the first,  Job 10: 21,22, nor able to

   do the second."  Ezek. 22:14.

 

   Then said Evangelist, "Why not willing to die, since this life is

   attended with so many evils?" The man answered, "Because, I fear that

   this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and

   I shall fall into Tophet.  Isa. 30:33. And Sir, if I be not fit to go to

   prison, I am not fit to go to judgment, and from thence to execution;

   and the thoughts of these things make me cry."

 

   Then said Evangelist, "If this be thy condition, why standest thou

   still?" He answered, "Because I know not whither to go." Then he gave

   him a parchment roll, and there was written within, "Fly from the wrath

   to come. "Matt. 3:7.

 

   The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully,

   said, "Whither must I fly?" Then said Evangelist, (pointing with his

              

   finger over a very wide field,) "Do you see yonder wicket-gate?"  Matt.

   7:13,14. The man said, "No." Then said the other, "Do you see yonder

   shining light?"  Psalm 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19. He said, "I think I do."

   Then said Evangelist, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly

   thereto, so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it

   shall be told thee what thou shalt do." So I saw in my dream that the          

   man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door when his

   wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but

   the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, Life! life!

   eternal life!  Luke 14:26. So he looked not behind him,  Gen. 19:17, but

   fled towards the middle of the plain.

           

   The neighbors also came out to see him run,  Jer. 20:10; and as he ran,

   some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and

   among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him

   back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate and the name of the

                          

   other Pliable. Now by this time the man was got a good distance from

   them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did,

   and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, "Neighbors,

   wherefore are you come?" They said, "To persuade you to go back with

   us." But he said, "That can by no means be: you dwell," said he, "in

   the city of Destruction, the place also where I was born: I see it to

   be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the

   grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone: be content,

   good neighbors, and go along with me."

 

   Obstinate: What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts

   behind us!

 

   Christian: Yes, said Christian, (for that was his name,) because that

   all which you forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of

   that I am seeking to enjoy,  2 Cor. 4:18; and if you will go along with

   me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is

   enough and to spare.  Luke 15:17. Come away, and prove my words.

 

   Obstinate: What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world

   to find them?

 

   Christian: I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that

   fadeth not away,  1 Peter 1:4; and it is laid up in heaven, and safe

   there,  Heb. 11:16, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that

   diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

 

   Obstinate: Tush, said Obstinate, away with your book; will you go back

   with us or no?

 

   Christian: No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to

   the plough.  Luke 9:62.

 

   Obstinate: Come then, neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home

   without him: there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that

   when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than

   seven men that can render a reason.

 

   Pliable: Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if what the good Christian

                           

   says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart

   inclines to go with my neighbor.

 

   Obstinate: What, more fools still! Be ruled by me, and go back; who

   knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back,

   and be wise.

 

   Christian: Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbor Pliable; there are

   such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides.

   If you believe not me, read here in this book, and for the truth of

   what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him

   that made it.  Heb. 9: 17-21.

 

   Pliable: Well, neighbor Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a

   point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot

   with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired

   place?

 

   Christian: I am directed by a man whose name is Evangelist, to speed me

   to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions

   about the way.

 

   Pliable: Come then, good neighbor, let us be going. Then they went both

   together.

 

   Obstinate: And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate: I will be no

   companion of such misled, fantastical fellows.

 

   Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and

   Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their

   discourse.

 

   Christian: Come, neighbor Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are

   persuaded to go along with me. Had even Obstinate himself but felt what

   I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would

   not thus lightly have given us the back.

 

   Pliable: Come, neighbor Christian, since there are none but us two

   here, tell me now farther, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed,

   whither we are going.

 

   Christian: I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of

   them with my tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will

   read of them in my book.

 

   Pliable: And do you think that the words of your book are certainly

   true?

 

   Christian: Yes, verily; for it was made by Him that cannot lie.  Tit.

   1:2.

 

   Pliable: Well said; what things are they?

 

   Christian: There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting

   life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever.  Isa.

   65:17; John 10: 27-29.

 

   Pliable: Well said; and what else?

 

   Christian: There are crowns of glory to be given us; and garments that

   will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven.  2 Tim. 4:8;

   Rev. 22:5; Matt. 13:43.

 

   Pliable: This is very pleasant; and what else?

 

   Christian: There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow; for he that is

   owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes.  Isa. 25:8; Rev

   7:16, 17; 21:4.

 

   Pliable: And what company shall we have there?

 

   Christian: There we shall be with seraphims and cherubims,  Isaiah 6:2;

   1 Thess. 4:16,17; Rev. 5:11; creatures that will dazzle your eyes to

   look on them. There also you shall meet with thousands and ten

   thousands that have gone before us to that place; none of them are

   hurtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God,

   and standing in his presence with acceptance for ever. In a word, there

   we shall see the elders with their golden crowns,  Rev. 4:4; there we

   shall see the holy virgins with their golden harps,  Rev. 14:1-5; there

   we shall see men, that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in

   flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love they bare to

   the Lord of the place,  John 12:25; all well, and clothed with

   immortality as with a garment.  2 Cor. 5:2.

 

   Pliable: The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's heart. But are

   these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?

 

   Christian: The Lord, the governor of the country, hath recorded that in

   this book,  Isaiah 55:1,2; John 6:37; 7:37; Rev. 21:6; 22:17; the

   substance of which is, if we be truly willing to have it, he will

   bestow it upon us freely.

 

   Pliable: Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things:

   come on, let us mend our pace.

 

   Christian: I cannot go as fast as I would, by reason of this burden

   that is on my back.

 

   Now I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended this talk, they drew

   nigh to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain: and they

   being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the

   slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being

   grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden

   that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.

 

   Pliable: Then said Pliable, Ah, neighbor Christian, where are you now?

 

   Christian: Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

 

   Pliable: At this Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his

   fellow, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we

   have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect

   between this and our journey's end? May I get out again with my life,

   you shall possess the brave country alone for me. And with that he gave

   a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of

   the slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and

   Christian saw him no more.

                     Click HERE to read more in "Part 2."