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Demas and the pillar of salt. Part 19. | Print |

         

                                                                    Part 19.                    

 

                              

 

    Then I saw in my dream, that a little off the road, over against the

   silver-mine, stood Demas (gentleman-like) to call passengers to come

   and see; who said to Christian and his fellow, Ho! turn aside hither,

   and I will show you a thing.

       

    Christian: What thing so deserving as to turn us out of the way to see

   it?

 

   Demas: Here is a silver-mine, and some digging in it for treasure; if

   you will come, with a little pains you may richly provide for

   yourselves.

 

    Hopeful: Then said Hopeful, let us go see.

 

   Christian: Not I, said Christian: I have heard of this place before

   now, and how many there have been slain; and besides, that treasure is

   a snare to those that seek it, for it hindereth them in their

   pilgrimage.

 

   Then Christian called to Demas, saying, Is not the place dangerous?

   Hath it not hindered many in their pilgrimage?  Hosea 9:6.

 

   Demas: Not very dangerous, except to those that are careless; but

   withal he blushed as he spake.

 

   Christian: Then said Christian to Hopeful, Let us not stir a step, but

   still keep on our way.

 

   Hopeful: I will warrant you, when By-ends comes up, if he hath the same

   invitation as we, he will turn in thither to see.

 

   Christian: No doubt thereof, for his principles lead him that way, and

   a hundred to one but he dies there.

 

   Demas: Then Demas called again, saying, But will you not come over and

   see?

 

   Christian: Then Christian roundly answered, saying, Demas, thou art an

   enemy to the right ways of the Lord of this way, and hast been already

   condemned for thine own turning aside, by one of his Majesty's judges,

    2 Tim. 4:10; and why seekest thou to bring us into the like

   condemnation? Besides, if we at all turn aside, our Lord the King will

   certainly hear thereof, and will there put us to shame, where we would

   stand with boldness before him.

 

   Demas cried again, that he also was one of their fraternity; and that

   if they would tarry a little, he also himself would walk with them.

 

   Christian: Then said Christian, What is thy name? Is it not the same by

   which I have called thee?

 

   Demas: Yes, my name is Demas; I am the son of Abraham.

 

   Christian: I know you; Gehazi was your great-grandfather, and Judas

   your father, and you have trod in their steps; it is but a devilish

   prank that thou usest: thy father was hanged for a traitor, and thou

   deservest no better reward.  2 Kings 5:20-27; Matt.26:14,15; 27:3-5.

   Assure thyself, that when we come to the King, we will tell him of this

   thy behavior. Thus they went their way.

 

   By this time By-ends and his companions were come again within sight,

   and they at the first beck went over to Demas. Now, whether they fell

   into the pit by looking over the brink thereof, or whether they went

   down to dig, or whether they were smothered in the bottom by the damps

   that commonly arise, of these things I am not certain; but this I

   observed, that they were never seen again in the way. Then sang

   Christian,

 

 

   "By-ends and silver Demas both agree;

 

   One calls, the other runs, that he may be

 

   A sharer in his lucre: so these two

 

   Take up in this world, and no farther go."

            

   Now I saw that, just on the other side of this plain, the pilgrims came

   to a place where stood an old monument, hard by the highway-side, at

   the sight of which they were both concerned, because of the strangeness

   of the form thereof; for it seemed to them as if it had been a woman

                    

 

   transformed into the shape of a pillar. Here, therefore, they stood

   looking and looking upon it, but could not for a time tell what they

   should make thereof. At last Hopeful espied, written above upon the

   head thereof, a writing in an unusual hand; but he being no scholar,

   called to Christian (for he was learned) to see if he could pick out

   the meaning: so he came, and after a little laying of letters together,

   he found the same to be this, "Remember Lot's wife." So he read it to

   his fellow; after which they both concluded that that was the pillar of

   salt into which Lot's wife was turned, for her looking back with a

   covetous heart when she was going from Sodom for safety.  Gen. 19:26.

   Which sudden and amazing sight gave them occasion for this discourse.

 

   Christian: Ah, my brother, this is a seasonable sight: it came

   opportunely to us after the invitation which Demas gave us to come over

   to view the hill Lucre; and had we gone over, as he desired us, and as

   thou wast inclined to do, my brother, we had, for aught I know, been

   made, like this woman, a spectacle for those that shall come after to

   behold.

 

   Hopeful: I am sorry that I was so foolish, and am made to wonder that I

   am not now as Lot's wife; for wherein was the difference betwixt her

   sin and mine? She only looked back, and I had a desire to go see. Let

   grace be adored; and let me be ashamed that ever such a thing should be

   in mine heart.

 

   Christian: Let us take notice of what we see here, for our help from

   time to come. This woman escaped one judgment, for she fell not by the

   destruction of Sodom; yet she was destroyed by another, as we see: she

   is turned into a pillar of salt.

 

   Hopeful: True, and she may be to us both caution and example; caution,

   that we should shun her sin; or a sign of what judgment will overtake

   such as shall not be prevented by this caution: so Korah, Dathan, and

   Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men that perished in their sin, did

   also become a sign or example to others to beware.

    Numb. 16:31,32; 26:9,10. But above all, I muse at one

   thing, to wit, how Demas and his fellows can stand so confidently

   yonder to look for that treasure, which this woman but for looking

   behind her after, (for we read not that she stepped one foot out of the

   way,) was turned into a pillar of salt; especially since the judgment

   which overtook her did make her an example within sight of where they

   are; for they cannot choose but see her, did they but lift up their

   eyes.

 

   Christian: It is a thing to be wondered at, and it argueth that their

   hearts are grown desperate in the case; and I cannot tell who to

   compare them to so fitly, as to them that pick pockets in the presence

   of the judge, or that will cut purses under the gallows. It is said of

   the men of Sodom, that they were "sinners exceedingly," because they

   were sinners "before the Lord," that is, in his eyesight, and

   notwithstanding the kindnesses that he had shown them; for the land of

   Sodom was now like the garden of Eden as heretofore.  Gen. 13:10-13.

   This, therefore, provoked him the more to jealousy, and made their

   plague as hot as the fire of the Lord out of heaven could make it. And

   it is most rationally to be concluded, that such, even such as these

   are, that shall sin in the sight, yea, and that too in despite of such

   examples that are set continually before them, to caution them to the

   contrary, must be partakers of severest judgments.

 

   Hopeful: Doubtless thou hast said the truth; but what a mercy is it,

   that neither thou, but especially I, am not made myself this example!

   This ministereth occasion to us to thank God, to fear before him, and

   always to remember Lot's wife.

 

   I saw then that they went on their way to a pleasant river, which David

   the king called "the river of God;" but John, "the river of the water

   of life."  Psa. 65:9; Rev. 22:1; Ezek. 47:1-9. Now their way lay just

   upon the bank of this river: here, therefore, Christian and his

   companion walked with great delight; they drank also of the water of

           

   the river, which was pleasant and enlivening to their weary spirits.

   Besides, on the banks of this river, on either side, were green trees

   with all manner of fruit; and the leaves they ate to prevent surfeits,

   and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by

   travel. On either side of the river was also a meadow, curiously

   beautified with lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this

   meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie down safely.

    Psa. 23:2; Isa. 14:30. When they awoke they gathered again of the fruit

   of the trees, and drank again of the water of the river, and then lay

   down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights. Then they

   sang;

 

 

   "Behold ye, how these Crystal Streams do glide,

 

   To comfort pilgrims by the highway-side.

 

   The meadows green, besides their fragrant smell,

 

   Yield dainties for them; And he that can tell

 

   What pleasant fruit, yea, leaves these trees do yield,

 

   Will soon sell all, that he may buy this field."

 

   So when they were disposed to go on, (for they were not as yet at their

   journey's end,) they ate, and drank, and departed.

 

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