Page images
PDF
[graphic]

Sir, What think you? Is there any hope? May I now go back, and go up to the Wicket-gate. ?* Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man's counsel; but may my sin be forgiven .'

Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils: thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths; yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has good-will for men; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, lest thou perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.1 Then did Christian address himself to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid.him God speed. So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all ther while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe till again he was got into the way which he left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman's counsel.

CHAP. IV.

Christian arrives at'the Wicket-gate, where he knocks, and is kindly received.

IN process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now over the gate there was written, Knock, and it shall be opened unto you* He knocked therefore more than eoce or twice, saying:

May I now enter here ?—Will he within
Open to sorry me, though I have been
An undeserving rebel ?—Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high.

At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked, Who was there? and whence he came, and what he would have?

1 Psalm ii. 12. 2 Matt. vii. 8.

* The Wicket-gate,] That is, the narrow road which leadeth to eveihisUng life.

Chf. lleTM ls a Poor burdened sinner. I come from the city of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would therefore, Sir, smce I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me In.

Good, I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.

So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull, I hen said Christian, What meaneth this ? The other told him, A little distance from this gate, there iserected a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain; from thence, both he, and they who are with him, shoot arrows at those who come up to this gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in. Then said Christian,, I rejoice and tremble. So when he was got in, the man of the gate asked him, who directed him thither?

Chr. Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did; and he said, that you, Sir, would tell me what I must do.

shtf °°d' A" °PCn d°°r 'S bcf°re thee' a"d no mac cafl Chr. Now I begin to reap the benefits of my hazards. Oooct. But how is it that you come alone? Chr. Because none of my neighbours saw their danger, as I saw mine.

Good. Did any of them know of your coming? Chr. Yes, my wife and children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again: also some of my neighbours stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way. Good. But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back? r

Chr. Yes, both Obstinate and Pliable: but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate went railing back, but Pliable came with me a little way. °

Good. But why did he not come through? Chr. We indeed came both together, until we came to the Slough of Despond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my neighbour Pliable, discouraged and would not adventure further. Wherefore, getting out again on that side next his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him: so he went his way, and I came mine; he after Obstinate, and I to this gate.

Then said Goodwill, Alas, poor man! is the celestial glory of so small esteem with him, that he counteth it not worth running the hazard of a few difficulties to obtain it?

Truly, said Christian, I have said the truth of Pliablt: and if I should also say all the truth of myself, it will appear that there is no difference betwixt him and myself. It is true he went back to his own house, but I also turned aside to go in the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the carnal argument of one Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

Good. Oh! did he light upon you? What, he would have had you sought for ease at the hands of Mr. Legality; they are both of them very cheats: but did you take his counsel?

Chr. Yes, as far as I durst. I went to find out Mr. Legality, until I thought that the mountain which stands . by his house, would have fallen upon my head; wherefore there I was forced to stop.

Good. That mountain has been the death of many, and will be the death of many more: It is well you escaped being dashed in pieces by it.

Chr. Why, truly, I do not know what had become of me there, had not Evangelist happily met me again as I was musing in the midst of my dumps: but it was God's mercy that he came to me again, for else I had never come hither. But, now I am come, such one as-I am, more fit indeed for death by that mountain, than thus to stand talking with my Lord. But oh! what a favour is this: to me, that yet I am admitted entrance here!

Good. We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither. They in no wise are cast out;' and therefore, good Christian, come a little way with me, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go. Look before thee; 1 John ti. 37,

« PreviousContinue »