Home Talkative Leaving Pilgrim and Faithful. Part 15.
Talkative Leaving Pilgrim and faithful. Part 15. | Print |

                         

                                                                                Part 15.

                                                

    

    Faithful: Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative,

   Come, what cheer? How is it now?

 

   Talkative: Thank you, well: I thought we should have had a great deal

   of talk by this time.

 

   Faithful: Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left

   it with me to state the question, let it be this: How doth the saving

   grace of God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?

 

   Talkative: I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the power of

   things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to

   answer you. And take my answer in brief, thus: First, where the grace

   of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin.

   Secondly-

 

   Faithful: Nay, hold; let us consider of one at once. I think you should

   rather say, it shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.

 

   Talkative: Why, what difference is there between crying out against,

   and abhorring of sin?

 

   Faithful: Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin, of policy;

   but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I

   have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it

   well enough in the heart, house, and conversation.  Gen. 39:15. Joseph's

   mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but

   she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness

   with him. Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out

   against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty

   girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.

 

   Talkative: You lie at the catch, I perceive.

 

   Faithful: No, not I; I am only for setting things right. But what is

   the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace

   in the heart?

               

 

   Talkative: Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.

 

   Faithful: This sign should have been first: but, first or last, it is

   also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the

   mysteries of the Gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if

   a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so, consequently,

   be no child of God.  1 Cor. 13:2. When Christ said, "Do you know all

   these things?" and the disciples answered, Yes, he added, "Blessed are

   ye if ye do them." He doth not lay the blessing in the knowing of them,

   but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended

   with doing: "He that knoweth his Master's will, and doeth it not." A

   man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian: therefore your

   sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a thing that pleaseth

   talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God. Not that

   the heart can be good without knowledge, for without that the heart is

   naught. There are, therefore, two sorts of knowledge, knowledge that

   resteth in the bare speculation of things, and knowledge that is

   accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon

   doing even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will

   serve the talker; but without the other, the true Christian is not

   content. "Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall

   observe it with my whole heart."  Psa. 119:34.

 

   Talkative: You lie at the catch again: this is not for edification.

 

   Faithful: Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of

   grace discovereth itself where it is.

 

   Talkative: Not I, for I see we shall not agree.

 

   Faithful: Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it?

 

   Talkative: You may use your liberty.

 

   Faithful: A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to him

   that hath it, or to standers-by.

 

   To him that hath it, thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially

   the defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief, for the sake of

   which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God's hand,

   by faith in Jesus Christ. This sight and sense of things worketh in him

   sorrow and shame for sin.  Psa. 38:18; Jer. 31:19; John 16:8; Rom. 7:24;

   Mark 16:16; Gal. 2:16; Rev. 1:6. He findeth, moreover, revealed in him

   the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with

   him for life; at the which he findeth hungerings and thirstings after

   him; to which hungerings, etc., the promise is made. Now, according to

   the strength or weakness of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and

   peace, so is his love to holiness, so are his desires to know him more,

   and also to serve him in this world. But though, I say, it discovereth

   itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom that he is able to conclude

   that this is a work of grace; because his corruptions now, and his

   abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter: therefore in

   him that hath this work there is required a very sound judgment, before

   he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work of grace.  John

   16:9; Gal. 2:15,16; Acts 4:12; Matt. 5:6; Rev. 21:6.

 

   To others it is thus discovered:

 

   1. By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ. 2. By a life

   answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of

   holiness-heart-holiness, family-holiness, (if he hath a family,) and by

   conversation-holiness in the world; which in the general teacheth him

   inwardly to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress

   it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world: not by talk

   only, as a hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical

   subjection in faith and love to the power of the word.  Job 42:5,6; Psa.

   50:23; Ezek. 20:43; Matt. 5:8; John 14:15; Rom. 10:10; Ezek. 36:25;

   Phil. 1:27; 3:17-20. And now, sir, as to this brief description of the

   work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have aught to

   object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second

   question.

 

   Talkative: Nay, my part is not now to object, but to hear; let me,

   therefore, have your second question.

 

   Faithful: It is this: Do you experience this first part of the

   description of it; and doth your life and conversation testify the

   same? Or standeth your religion in word or tongue, and not in deed and

   truth? Pray, if you incline to answer me in this, say no more than you

   know the God above will say Amen to, and also nothing but what your

   conscience can justify you in; for not he that commendeth himself is

   approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. Besides, to say I am thus and

   thus, when my conversation, and all my neighbors, tell me I lie, is

   great wickedness.

 

   Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, thus

   he replied: You come now to experience, to conscience, and to God; and

   to appeal to him for justification of what is spoken. This kind of

   discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such

   questions, because I count not myself bound thereto, unless you take

   upon you to be a catechiser; and though you should so do, yet I may

   refuse to make you my judge. But I pray, will you tell me why you ask

   me such questions?

 

   Faithful: Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not

   that you had aught else but notion. Besides, to tell you all the truth,

   I have heard of you that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and

   that your conversation gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They

   say you are a spot among Christians, and that religion fareth the worse

   for your ungodly conversation; that some have already stumbled at your

   wicked ways, and that more are in danger of being destroyed thereby:

   your religion, and an ale-house, and covetousness, and uncleanness, and

   swearing, and lying, and vain company-keeping, etc., will stand

   together. The proverb is true of you which is said of a harlot, to wit,

   "That she is a shame to all women:" so are you a shame to all

   professors.

 

   Talkative: Since you are so ready to take up reports, and to judge so

   rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or

   melancholy man, not fit to be discoursed with; and so adieu.

 

   Then up came Christian, and said to his brother, I told you how it

   would happen; your words and his lusts could not agree. He had rather

   leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said: let

   him go; the loss is no man's but his own. He has saved us the trouble

   of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he

   is, would have been but a blot in our company: besides, the apostle

   says, "From such withdraw thyself."

 

   Faithful: But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may

   happen that he will think of it again: however, I have dealt plainly

   with him, and so am clear of his blood if he perisheth.

 

   Christian: You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is

   but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes

   religion to stink so in the nostrils of many as it doth; for they are

   these talkative fools, whose religion is only in word, and who are

   debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted

   into the fellowship of the godly) do puzzle the world, blemish

   Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal

   with such as you have done; then should they either be made more

   conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for

   them. Then did Faithful say,

 

 

   "How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!

 

   How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes

 

   To drive down all before him! But so soon

 

   As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon

 

   That's past the full, into the wane he goes;

 

   And so will all but he that heart-work know."

 

   Thus they went on, talking of what they had seen by the way, and so

   made that way easy, which would otherwise no doubt have been tedious to

   them, for now they went through a wilderness.

   Now when they were got almost quite out of this wilderness, Faithful

   chanced to cast his eye back, and espied one coming after them, and he

   knew him. Oh! said Faithful to his brother, who comes yonder? Then

   Christian looked, and said, It is my good friend Evangelist. Aye, and

   my good friend too, said Faithful, for twas he that set me on the way

   to the gate. Now was Evangelist come up unto them, and thus saluted

   them.

 

   Evangelist: Peace be with you, dearly beloved, and peace be to your

   helpers.

 

   Christian: Welcome, welcome, my good Evangelist: the sight of thy

   countenance brings to my remembrance thy ancient kindness and unwearied

   labors for my eternal good.

 

   Faithful: And a thousand times welcome, said good Faithful, thy

   company, O sweet Evangelist; how desirable is it to us poor pilgrims!

 

   Evangelist: Then said Evangelist, How hath it fared with you, my

   friends, since the time of our last parting? What have you met with,

   and how have you behaved yourselves?

 

   Then Christian and Faithful told him of all things that had happened to

   them in the way; and how, and with what difficulty, they had arrived to

   that place.

 

   Right glad am I, said Evangelist, not that you have met with trials,

   but that you have been victors, and for that you have, notwithstanding

   many weaknesses, continued in the way to this very day.

 

   I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for mine own sake and

   yours: I have sowed, and you have reaped; and the day is coming, when

   "both he that soweth, and they that reap, shall rejoice together,"  John

   4:36; that is, if you hold out: "for in due season ye shall reap, if ye

   faint not."  Gal. 6:9. The crown is before you, and it is an

   incorruptible one; "so run that ye may obtain it."  1 Cor. 9:24-27. Some

   there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for

   it, another comes in and takes it from them: "hold fast, therefore,

   that you have; let no man take your crown."  Rev. 3:11. You are not yet

   out of the gunshot of the devil; "you have not resisted unto blood,

   striving against sin." Let the kingdom be always before you, and

   believe steadfastly concerning the things that are invisible. Let

   nothing that is on this side the other world get within you. And, above

   all, look well to your own hearts and to the lusts thereof; for they

   are "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Set your

   faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your

   side.

 

   Christian: Then Christian thanked him for his exhortations; but told

   him withal, that they would have him speak farther to them for their

   help the rest of the way; and the rather, for that they well knew that

   he was a prophet, and could tell them of things that might happen unto

   them, and also how they might resist and overcome them. To which

   request Faithful also consented. So Evangelist began as followeth.

 

   Evangelist: My sons, you have heard in the word of the truth of the

   Gospel, that you must "through many tribulations enter into the kingdom

   of heaven;" and again, that "in every city, bonds and afflictions abide

   you;" and therefore you cannot expect that you should go long on your

   pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other. You have found

   something of the truth of these testimonies upon you already, and more

   will immediately follow: for now, as you see, you are almost out of

   this wilderness, and therefore you will soon come into a town that you

   will by and by see before you; and in that town you will be hardly

   beset with enemies, who will strain hard but they will kill you; and be

   you sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you

   hold, with blood; but "be you faithful unto death, and the King will

   give you a crown of life." He that shall die there, although his death

   will be unnatural, and his pain, perhaps, great, he will yet have the

   better of his fellow; not only because he will be arrived at the

   Celestial City soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that

   the other will meet with in the rest of his journey. But when you are

   come to the town, and shall find fulfilled what I have here related,

   then remember your friend, and quit yourselves like men, and "commit

   the keeping of your souls to God in well doing, as unto a faithful

   Creator."

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