Page images




ONE night as I lay upon my bed, I dreamed a dream.

Methought I was sitting upon some high place, resembling a cloud; beneath which there was spread out a very large plain, called the Plain of Destruction, containing all the towns, and villages, and dwelling-places of the children of men, with their kings' houses, and the temples of their gods.

Some of these places possessed many external advantages, and were not unpleasant to look upon; for God maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt. v. 45. Nevertheless, no man could remain in safety in any of the habitations of this plain; because, from time to time, the earth opened, and there came out fire and smoke, hell itself lying close underneath: the place therefore was properly termed the Plain of Destruction. Moreover, occasionally, dreadful storms of thunder and lightning broke over the plain ; where I saw some as they travelled through the country stricken with thunderbolts from heaven-For the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God: but they are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm xiv. 2, 3.

Now, while I looked, behold, a certain person appeared clothed in white, and bearing in his hand the Book of God. : This person's name was Evangelist; and being sent from God, he went from city to city, and from house to house, warning men to flee from the wrath to come. And these were the words in which he addressed them—“Ye are all sinful, ye are all unclean; ye have departed from the service of the Lord your Maker, and are under the condemnation of hell: nevertheless, the Lord hath prepared for you a way to escape; 'for God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' John iii. 16.

I saw, then, that to such as were disposed to inquire further into this matter, being content to turn their backs upon the world, and to take Christ for their portion, Evangelist pointed out certain hills at a great distance, over which there was stretched, straight as an arrow, and as far as the eye could reach, a narrow path, having so upward a tendency that I could not distinguish the farther end of it, by reason of the glory and brightness which were cast thereon from the heavens. Now at the entrance of this path there was a narrow pass or cut through the hills, where a little gate was placed, the Lord Jesus Christ himself mercifully providing this way for the escape of sinful men, and setting before them an open door, which no man can shut. Rev. iii. 8. So I continued to look on Evangelist; and behold, he went to the door of a small house in a certain little village, and, as his manner was, he knocked thereat.

The name of this village was Family Love. Many parts of it lay in ruins, having been destroyed by successive tempests and the heaving of the earth : nevertheless, what remained thereof was exceedingly fair and lovely, so that in all the plain I saw not such another village.

Now, as I before said, Evangelist knocked at the door of a certain small house ; when presently one coming and opening the door, he entered in.

In this house dwelt a certain young man, with his wife and their three little children. So I saw, in my dream, that Evangelist delivered his message to the young man and his wife, saying, “ Flee from the wrath to come.

These young people then put certain questions to Evangelist, saying, "Whither shall we flee? or who shall help us ?"

Upon which Evangelist gave them a book, and bade them read therein. So they opened the book, and read these words : Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also.-I am the way, the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by me. John xiv. 1-3, 6.

Then said the young man, “Where shall we find him of whom this is written ?"

In answer to which, Evangelist opened his mouth and taught them many things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ: how God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Tim. iii. 16. And behold, while Evangelist yet spake, the Holy Spirit of God entered their hearts, and they cried out, as with one voice, “ Lord, we believe ; help thou our unbelief.Mark ix. 24.

Evangelist then pointed out to them the means of escape, even the little door which the Lord had opened at the head of the way; and behold, a very bright light issued from thence. Then said Evangelist, “ Keeping that light in your eye, go up directly to it; and when ye come to the door, knock without fear. Christ is the door : by him if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” John X. 9.

So while I continued to look, the man and his wife began to put themselves in readiness for their journey ; busying themselves, at the same time, in teaching their little ones such things as they had themselves learned from Evangelist. But, while they lingered, Evangelist hastened them, saying, “ Escape for your lives; for the time is short."

To which they replied, “ Must we leave our little ones behind ?"

“ It is the will of God,” answered Evangelist, “ that, for the trial of your faith, you should give up these little ones for a season. For every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or "lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.' Matt. xix. 29. * Leave thy fatherless children; I will preserve them alive, saith the Lord.'” Jer. xlix. 11.

Now the poor parents, in obedience to the will of God, kissed their pretty babes, and with many tears and prayers charging them to follow their steps, they hast. ened away, because the messenger of God was ex. ceedingly urgent. So turning their steps towards the shining light, they speedily reached the wicket-gate : where the Lord of the way having graciously received them, and washed them from their sins, and clothed them in fair white garments, and set them in the narrow path which leadeth unto the city-they were shortly and safely conveyed through the black river of death unto everlasting glory.

Upon this I turned my eyes towards the little ones, who were left behind in their father's house—the eldest of which was a boy named Humble Mind, being not quite ten years old; and he had two little sisters, whose names were Playful and Peace, the younger of whom was of very tender age.

I saw, then, that, after their father and mother had left them, very little care was taken of these poor babes : so that their clothes were little better than rags ; while, like the prodigal son in the gospel, they would fain have filled their bellies with the husks which the swine did eat. Luke xv. 16. Moreover, I saw that they had for a companion one who had been brought up under the same roof with them, as ill-favoured and ill-conditioned an urchin as one could see, whose name was Inbred or Original Sin. His great forefather, a child of hell, came into this world at the time when Adam ate the forbidden fruit; and from that very moment he became the constant companion of our first parent. Moreover, as Adam's family increased on the earth, in like manner the family of Original Sin multiplied, filling the whole earth with violence, and leading men to the commission of every evil work (Galatians v. 19); insomuch that the history of all the kingdoms of the earth, ay, and of every individual in them, from the fall of Adam till now, is filled up with the ill-doings of this apostate family. And even now, so entirely are the sons of Adam under the power of Inbred-Sin, that they cannot even wish to do well, without the help of God; but the Lord Jesus Christ, having by his death upon the cross obtained for us the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God, we are enabled, through his help, to subdue our inbred corruption.

Having said thus much concerning the family of this Inbred-Sin, I shall now proceed to describe what I observed of his habits and tempers, wherein he differed so little from other individuals of his hated race, that in

describing one of the family I cannot fail to convey a tolerably correct idea of all the rest.

In the first place, I remarked that he never slept; but that he was on the alert, and, as it were, on the lookout for occasions of action both day and night, neither observing any Sabbath-day himself, nor allowing any season of rest to those with whom he familiarly associated : for the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Isa. lvii. 20. His grand work was that of contriving mischief, and setting others to execute it; and from this work he never ceased. Even while the children were in their beds, he would sit on their pillows and whisper all manner of evil in their ears, filling their fancies with idle dreams, and suggesting such a variety of unholy thoughts, that on their awaking they were prepared for every evil deed.

Another quality of Inbred-Sin appeared to be this, that he was a stranger to shame, and could neither be put out of countenance, nor thrown off his guard ;

so that when pursuing any object, if baffled in one way, he would instantly wheel about and come to the very same point by some other way, and that, perhaps, such a round-about one, as would make it believed that he had given up the very purpose which he was then actually carrying into effect. He had also this further quality in common with others of his family, that the more he was submitted to, the more unreasonable he became in his demands; frequently requiring such compliances as led, not only to great inconvenience, but to imminent danger.

It is true that the children had no desire to contend with him; nay, they had, in fact, great pleasure in obeying his commands. Nevertheless, there were occasions, as I said before, when he would require them to do such things as necessarily exposed them to the danger of immediate punishment; and, on these occasions, something like an argument or discussion would arise between them, when it was marvellous to observe how he would proceed till he had brought about his design.

It was also wonderful what devices he would put the little ones upon, in order to av detection: and at any time they were found out in a fault, he was never at a loss to gloss it over, by putting some plausible false

« PreviousContinue »