Home Pilgrim and Hopeful discouraged. Part 20.

T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

Pilgrim and Hopeful discouraged. Part 20.



   Now I beheld in my dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the

   river and the way for a time parted, at which they were not a little

   sorry; yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the river

   was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels; so the

   souls of the pilgrims were much discouraged because of the way.

    Numb. 21:4.

   Wherefore, still as they went on, they wished for a better way.

   Now, a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a

   meadow, and a stile to go over into it, and that meadow is called

   By-path meadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, If this meadow lieth

   along by our wayside, let's go over into it. Then he went to the stile

   to see, and behold a path lay along by the way on the other side of the

   fence. It is according to my wish, said Christian; here is the easiest

   going; come, good Hopeful, and let us go over.


   Hopeful: But how if this path should lead us out of the way?


   Christian: That is not likely, said the other. Look, doth it not go

   along by the wayside? So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went

   after him over the stile. When they were gone over, and were got into

   the path, they found it very easy for their feet; and withal, they,

   looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, and his name was

   Vain-Confidence: so they called after him, and asked him whither that




   way led. He said, To the Celestial Gate. Look, said Christian, did not

   I tell you so? by this you may see we are right. So they followed, and

   he went before them. But behold the night came on, and it grew very

   dark; so that they that went behind lost the sight of him that went



   He therefore that went before, (Vain-Confidence by name,) not seeing

   the way before him, fell into a deep pit, which was on purpose there

   made, by the prince of those grounds, to catch vain-glorious fools

   withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall.  Isa. 9:16.


   Now, Christian and his fellow heard him fall. So they called to know

   the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning.

   Then said Hopeful, Where are we now? Then was his fellow silent, as

   mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to

   rain, and thunder, and lighten in a most dreadful manner, and the water

   rose amain.


   Then Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, Oh that I had kept on my way!


   Christian: Who could have thought that this path should have led us out

   of the way?


   Hopeful: I was afraid on't at the very first, and therefore gave you

   that gentle caution. I would have spoke plainer, but that you are older

   than I.


   Christian: Good brother, be not offended; I am sorry I have brought

   thee out of the way, and that I have put thee into such imminent

   danger. Pray, my brother, forgive me; I did not do it of an evil



   Hopeful: Be comforted, my brother, for I forgive thee; and believe,

   too, that this shall be for our good.


   Christian: I am glad I have with me a merciful brother: but we must not

   stand here; let us try to go back again.


   Hopeful: But, good brother, let me go before.


   Christian: No, if you please, let me go first, that if there be any

   danger, I may be first therein, because by my means we are both gone

   out of the way.


   Hopeful: No, said Hopeful, you shall not go first, for your mind being

   troubled may lead you out of the way again. Then for their

   encouragement they heard the voice of one saying, "Let thine heart be

   toward the highway, even the way that thou wentest: turn again."  Jer.

   31:21. But by this time the waters were greatly risen, by reason of

   which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I thought that it

   is easier going out of the way when we are in, than going in when we

   are out.) Yet they adventured to go back; but it was so dark, and the

   flood was so high, that in their going back they had like to have been

   drowned nine or ten times.


   Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the stile

   that night. Wherefore at last, lighting under a little shelter, they

   sat down there till the day brake; but being weary, they fell asleep.


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