Page images
PDF

Talk. All that I know very well: for a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven ; all is of grace, not of works: I could give you an hundred scriptures for the confirmation of this.

Well then, said Faithful,' what is that one thing that we shall at tnis time found our discourse upon?

Talk. What you will: I will talk of things heavenly or things earthly; things moral or tilings evangelical; things sacred or things profane; things past or things to come; things foreign or things at home; things more essential or things circumstantial; provided that all W done to our profit.

Now did Faithful begin to wonder; and stepping to Christian (for he walked all this while by himself) he said to him, but softly, What a brave companion have we got! surely this man will make a very -excellent pilgrim.

At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, This man, with whom you are so taken, will beguile with this tongue of his twenty of them who know him not.

Faith. Do you know him then?

Chr. Know him! yes, better than he knows himself.

Faith, Pray what is he?

Chr. His name is Talkative; he dwelleth in our town; I wonder that you should be a stranger to him; only I consider that our town is large.

Faith, Whose son is he? and whereabouts doth he dwell?

Chr. He is the son of one Say-ioell; he dwelt in Pratitig-roto; and is known, of all that are acquainted with him, by the name of Talkative in Prating-row; and, notwithstanding his fine tongue, he is but a sorry fellow.

Faith. Well, he seems to be a very pretty man.

Chr. That is, to them that have not a thorough ao quaintance with him; for he is best abroad, near home he is ugly enough: your saying that he is a pretty man, brings to my mind what I have observed in the work of the painter, whose pictures show best at a distance, but very near, more unpleasing

Faith. I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.

Chr. God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse any falsely.— I will give you a further discovery of him: this man it for any company, and for any talk; as he talketh now with you, so will he talk when he is on the ale-bench; and the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath in his mouth: religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or conversation; all he hath licth in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.

Faith. Say you so? then I am in this man greatly deceived.

Chr. Deceived! you may be sure of it: remember the proverb, "They say, and do not;" but "the king, dom of God is not in word, but in power1." He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new-birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savour. There is there neither prayer, nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion, to all that know him': it can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people that know him,—' A saint abroad, and a devil at home.' His poor family finds it so: he is such a churl, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for, or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say it is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for the fairer dealings they shall have at his hands. This Talkative, if it be possible, will go beyond them, defraud, beguile, and overreach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in any of them a 'foolish timorousness' (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience), he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendations before others. For my part, I am 1 Matt, xxiii. 3. 1 Cor. iv. SO. S Rom, ii. 23, 94.

of opinion that he has by his wicked life caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more.

Faith. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you; not only because you say you know him, but also because like a christian, you make your reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak those things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say.

Car. Had I known him no more than you, I might perhaps have thought of him as at the first you did: yea, had he received this report at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it had been a slander (a lot that often falls from bad men's mouths upon good men's names and professions :) but all these things, yea, and a great many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove him guilty of. Besides, good men are ashamed of him; they can neither call him brother nor friend: the very naming of him among them makes them blush if they know him.

Faith. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.

Chr. They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for as the body without the soul is but a dead carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcase also. The soul of religion is the practical part: "Pure religion, and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.1" This Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good christian; and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life: and let us assure ourselves that at the day of doom men shall be judged according to their fruits : * it will not be said then, 'Did you btheVe'^'bU^-Wereryou doers or talkers only?' and accordingly;shall;they'be judged. The end of the world is compared to our harvest; and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit. Not that any thing'can be accepted that is not of faith; but I speak1 James i. 42-^27. % Matt. iiii. 23.

this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will be at that day.

Faith. This brings to my mind that of Moses, by which he described the beast that is clean:' he is such an one that parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud; not that parteth the hoof only, or that cheweth the cud only.— The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is unclean because he parteth not the hoof. And this truly resembleth Talkative; he cheweth the cud, he seeketh knowledge; he cheweth upon the word; but he divideth not the hoof, he parteth not with the way of sinners; but, as the hare, he retaineth the foot of a dog or bear, and therefore he is unclean.

Chr. You have spoken, for aught I know, the true gospel sense of those texts. And I will add another thing: Paul calleth some men, yea, and those great talkers too, 'sounding brass and tinkling cymbals;' that is, as he compounds them in another place, ' things without life giving sound.'" 'Things without life;' that is, without the true faith and grace of the gospel; and consequently things that shall never be placed in the kingdom of heaven among those that are the children of life, though their sound, by their talk, be as it were the tongue or voice of an angel.

Faith. Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but am as sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him 1

Chr. Take my advice and do as I bid you, and you shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his heart and turn it.

Faith. What would you have me to do i

Chr. Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about the power of religion; and ask him plainly when he has approved of it, (for that he will,) whether this thing be set up in his heart, house, or conversation f

Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, Come, what cheer? how is it now?

Talk. Thank you, well; I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time.

Faith. Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left it with me to state the question, let it be 1 J.cv. xi. Deut xiy. 2 1 Cor. xiii. 1—3. xiv. 7.

this: How doth the saving grace of God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?

Talk. 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 in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin.—Secondly—

Faith. 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.

Talk. Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin.

Faith. O! 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. Joseph's mistress cried with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him.1 Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calls it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.

Talk. You lie at the catch, I perceive.

Faith. No, not I, I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you will prove a discovery of a work of grace in the heart?

Talk. Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.

Faith. 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 M no child of God. When Christ said, "Do ye know •11 these things ?" and the disciples had 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 Mtcnded with doing: "he that knoweth his master's W1'li and doeth it not." A man may know like an angel, 1 Gen. xxxix. 11—15. 2 1 Cor. Air,

« PreviousContinue »