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saw, that between them and the gate was a river; but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river, the pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.
"Then they addressed themselves to the water; and, entering, Christian began to sink; and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, 'I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all the waves go over me. Selah.'
Then I saw in my dream that Christian was in a muse awhile; to whom also Hopeful added these words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole;' and, with that, Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh! I see Him again! and he tells me, When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.' Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian, therefore, presently found ground to stand upon; and so it followed that the rest of the ground was but shallow; thus they got over. Now upon the banks of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those that shall be heirs of salvation.' Thus they went along towards the gate.
The talk that they had with the shining ones was about the glory of the place, who told them that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. You are going now, said they, to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading
fruits thereof; and when you come there, you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity."
And now were these two men, as it were, in heaven, before they came at it; being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing of their melodious notes. Here also they had the city itself in view, and they thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome them thereto; but, above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there with such company, and that for ever and ever: Oh! by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed! Thus they came up to the gate.
"Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate; and, lo! as they entered they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy; and that it was said unto them,
Enter ye into the joy of our Lord.' I also heard the men themselves sing with a loud voice, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.'
I Now just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and, behold, the city shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men with crowns upon their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal.'
As my friend bade me adieu at night, he smiled and said, “Well, we shall know these things better when we have crossed the river." "We shall see and know," I replied, even as we are seen and known." Yes," said he playfully, and
you will then leave behind you your incredulity."" And you, it may be," replied I,'". your modern miracles." Thus ended our discourse; but the subject dwelt on my mind as I retired to rest, and the impression it left may perhaps account for the following dream.
I thought I stood on the margin of the river of death as described by Bunyan, and saw before me, on the distant heights on the other side, the heavenly city. Martin's enchanting picture in Southey's Pilgrim's Progress presented itself to my eye in my sleep, and lovely was the prospect that extended before
But soon my attention was drawn to the numerous travellers who approached the stream; some crossing it willingly, nay, joyfully; others, alas! forced into it with reluctant struggles, "driven away in their wickedness, and without hope in their death." Some of this last class I gazed at till they came to the gate of the city, where I saw them turn pale and tremble, as they read in letters of fire the awful sentence that excluded them from its felici
ties: " I Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." I shuddered as I beheld the vast multitudes thus shut out, and saw them with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth turn to the left hand, where quickly they were lost from my sight in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. It is not my purpose to depict these wretched groups; which, alas! comprised more than those who seemed verbally to be included in the above inscription; and to consist of all, however highsounding their claims, who had not on that wedding-robe, which is the righteousness of the saints. I turned my eyes from them, that I might contemplate the blessed spectacle of those who were entering through the gates into the city; and so entranced was I with the glorious prospect, that for a time I could only
think of their joys, and try to echo at a distance a few feeble notes of the song of victory which resounded from their lips.
But after a while, as I began to make more particular observations on the travellers and the country, I remarked all along, on both sides of the road, and on the banks of the river, a variety of heaps or hillocks, of which I did not at first understand the nature. Atlength, however, as I looked more narrowly, I saw that they were caused by the pilgrims, who, as they passed along on their journey, doffed one and another incumbrance, till at length they had less and less left as they advanced, except the wedding-garment, which none of them threw away; no, not even in the river, where they often made the last struggle to keep a few articles which they peculiarly valued and had hitherto firmly retained, but which they were always glad to relinquish before they arrived on the other side. other side.
The margin of the
stream, as I said, was covered with these little heaps, as the road had been before.
I observed that there were some of the larger hillocks, especially early on the journey, which none of the pilgrims passed without depositing on them some burden or superfluity. These heaps, being common to all, I shall not particularly describe; but it will be easily understood that the better knowledge a traveller obtained of the heavenly city, and the warmer his aspirations after it, the more ready was he to cast away whatever he learned would be inadmissible within its walls. Every known sin, imperfection, and infirmity, most gladly did he, when in his right mind, try to get rid of; but it was only gradually that he obtained knowledge and resolution for this purpose: so that it often happened that a little further on the road a pilgrim was seen to divest himself of what just before he had carefully cherished; and even on the borders of the stream itself, some travellers could
not be persuaded to give up all but their wedding-garment.
I saw a joyful band of infants, and these needed to cast away nothing, but the burden of the flesh and the guilt of original sin; and then, invested with the robe necessary for all, they were fit at once for the heavenly mansions. Another group of little ones followed; and these at first sight appeared innocent, and free from incumbrance, like the former; but upon closer inspection I found, that, besides swelling the great heaps just mentioned, to which all alike contributed, they had acquired a few things which needed to be cast away; so that many a deposit was there by these little ones of proud looks, and selfish passions, and lisping falsehoods, and impotent revenges. The other larger heaps along the road I stay not to describe; they comprised every weight that could stay the traveller, and every sin that easily beset him, but which he had laid aside as he thought of the King of the promised land, and hastened on his way to behold Him in his glory.
But what, as I said, struck me chiefly, was an accumulation of these heaps-some of them not little ones -on the very margin of the stream itself, nay, floating on its mid waves. For I observed that it often happened that a traveller, after he divested himself of his more obvious incumbrances, had ignorantly or obstinately retained to the last moment some favourite article, which he fondly fancied would not be excluded as contraband on the other side of the stream. These articles were not, indeed, like those first thrown off, so heavy as inevitably to sink him in the billows, or to cause him to be rejected at the gate of the city as a thief and a robber; but they were still of a style and fabric wholly unsuitable for admission into a land of perfection. I examined several of these heaps, and was almost inclined to smile at the singularity of their contents. "What," said I, to a pilgrim who happened to approach,
"are yonder strandings and wavedrifts that so thickly line the margin of the river?" "They are," said he, "the failings, oddities, over-statements, misconceptions, and peculiarities of good men. See how tightly some of the travellers button them up to the last-but, look! there they go, one after another-not a vestige, you see, reaches the opposite shore. Mark yon sedate pilgrim." "Yes," said I, "I know him well: he is a beloved friend of mine; a Quaker, I am sorry to say; but I doubt not he is baptized with the Holy Ghost, and spiritually, though not literally, with sacramental purification." "The same," replied my companion; "but, see! he intended, I have no doubt, to carry his broad brim across the stream with him; but it will not do-no; there it floats; and has drifted away to yonder enormous heap of cassocks, mitres, crucifixes, and Methodist bonnets." How will yonder divine, thought I, get over with that enormous heap of sermons? He is, I well know, a sincere servant of Christ; a man anxious for the glory of God and the souls of his flock; but with what strange and novel notions does he interlard his discourses! Look! there is the whole bundle afloat! he has recovered here and there one, much water-soaked and torn; but scarcely a trace of others is left, except the text and the doxology. But, happily, he himself is safe, and has entered the city, and little heeds he now the trifles which he has left floating on the current. David, I doubt not, carried over his harp, for it was already attuned to the melodies of heaven; and St. Paul his "books and parchments," for they were of Divine inspiration ; but he lost his thorn in the flesh, as he long before had resigned his pharisaism, and whatever else was contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. A zealous Anti-pædobaptist, I remarked, had oddly enough procured a portable adult font; and an acquaintance of mine, an ultra-Highchurchman, whose name I shall not mention, an enormous model of a
steeple; but they were both glad to let them go when mid-way in the river, and to lay hold of the same plank, and get over safely together. What heaps of theological controversy were there scattered all along the shore! I saw Mr. Fletcher land arm in arm with Mr. Hervey, and Mr. Wesley with Mr. Toplady; but a fine confusion of mutual rubbish they all left behind them: still, what they rescued in common was of inestimable value. Fenelon had intended to get over a few consecrated wafers and hallowed relics: they were but light, he thought, of floatage: but he was glad at length to get over himself without them; and get over he did, and had a joyful seat assigned him; but his wafers and relics drifted far away down the stream. A somewhat erratic friend of mine made sure footing on the blissful shore; and happy was I to see him arrive there, though almost destitute, except of that wedding garment, which, amidst many alarming struggles, I trusted he had never relinquished: but, alas! what a medley did he leave behind him of "orations," and "homilies," and multiform books of quaint device and perilous concoction. I observed that some writings, which I had thought would have done very well to go over entire, had lost many leaves; among which I noticed even Hooker's Polity, and Luther on the Galatians. The Bibles which floated over had all parted from their Apocryphas; and the Prayer-Books from their Companions to the Altar, though various pages of the latter were recoverable.
Many of the heaps were nearly decayed, so that I could scarcely discern their contents; some perhaps from age, such as pilgrims' shoes and anchorites' wallets, which have not been much used, except in the Church of Rome, since the dark ages; but others had perished prematurely, from natural intrinsic decay, being nearly new, yet mouldy. One of the most recent heaps was a pile of prophetic speculations, as large as CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 357.
Absalom's barrow; but I believe it looked larger than it was, being much tumified, though of little weight. Zealously and conscientiously did some of the pilgrims, and true pilgrims too, struggle to hold it together; but it was too unwieldy in mass, and separately much of it was lighter than the froth and straws floating on the river; so that I apprehend very little of it was landed.
It was truly delightful to hear the good men who arrived safely over conversing together in brotherly mood, as each had now forgotten his former peculiarities and failings, and
common topic engrossed all voices. When Watts and Doddridge began a sacred chorus, I expected to hear some friends of mine protest against joining with them, as they had worked their way to heaven illegitimately, not being entitled to covenant mercies; but so it was that all parties took up the strain, nothing reluctant, and the Hosannah went round in the full diapason of heavenly harmony. Bishop Hooper, I observed, had not on his sacerdotal robes, which he used to protest so much against; but then Cranmer had not his so that they made a very good picture together. In short, I perceived, that, as long as there existed none of the causes of disqualification which were written on the gate, or elsewhere in the heavenly records, there wanted nothing but the waters of the river to wash off incumbrances, and bring all to uniformity of thought and feeling; so that each forsook his whimsies as heartily as he had before forsaken his sins. And then, when these exuvia had been sloughed off, how free, how graceful did the glorified spirit appear, clothed in the royal robes of investiture of its new celestial dignity!
As I was intently gazing on these things, I saw approach the friend with whom I had spent the evening, with his three miracles buckled in a new satchel on his back. Tightly did he grasp them, and gaily did he
his shoulders; but I observed that they soon burst the bag by their own volatility, and ascended to the clouds, lighter than air-balloons. I was about to exclaim, not very goodnaturedly, "Be thankful, my friend, that you have escaped yourself, and that from fancies you have not been permitted to glide to worse," when it became my own turn to pass over; and large, far larger than I had ever thought of, was the load which I had to throw off; far larger, I am sure, than that of my beloved friend. As I threw off the whole and plunged in, the shock awoke me.
plunge in with them strapped on discrepancies upon earth; neither of us conceding what he believes to be a portion of the great mass of truth, but each bearing and forbearing with the other in love. I do not expect to find all the contents of Mr. Nisbet's book catalogue in heaven ; but I will not therefore anathematize any really faithful servant of Christ because he entertains what appear to me some odd notions on Prophecy and the Millennium; and I think he ought not to anathematize me because I do not see my way clearly to his conclusion. I will not call another brother a hypocrite, because he says he can conscientiously unite with Neologians and idolaters, with drunkards and swearers, for the distribution of Bibles, but would feel contaminated by the approach of Locke, or Lardner, or Milton: only let him not think me an oppugner of Scripture, and an enemy to the Godhead of Christ, because I do not see the consistency of his scruples. I cannot follow some of my friends to what appear to me their semi-Popish views of the sacrament of Baptism; I think them superstitious, and opposed to the spiritual character of the Gospel; but I will not therefore place them beyond the gate of salvation: only let them not reprobate me as an infidel, because my notion of a sign and a seal approaches less visibly the doctrine of the opus operatum. And so, again, of some nice questions on assurance, Calvinism, and other points; things, I mean, not absolutely essential to salvation, and on which good men have differed, and probably ever will differ. At all events, let each begin with casting the beam out of his own eye, and then shall he see more clearly to remove the mote from his brother's eye.
One lesson, among others, I have learned from my dream—namely, that we ought to be content to forsake every thing for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord: not merely to acknowledge the doctrines of grace, to discard known sins, and to trust in the righteousness of the Redeemer; but to look to our ways in minor matters; to avoid those lesser incumbrances which appear so conspicuously in my dream, and willingly to cherish nothing, professing to be religion, here, which we do not hope may be transported, in spirit at least, to a better world. I do not mean that we should be indifferent to any thing that we consider to be truth, or indulge in licentious laxity of opinion, or esteem all notions alike, or revel in the latitudinarian candour of a time-serving generation: far, very far from it: but, still, it may soften asperities, and promote Christian affection, to distinguish between those things which we must cast one after another upon the heap, and those which we expect in common to retain. I do not think that I ought, in order to please my pious Dissenting friend, to cast away my Prayer-Book, or to blow up the church tower: I think a surplice very comely, an organ very melodious, my Oxford cap very convenient, and even a mitre not mis-shapen: but if we are to meet in heaven, as I trust we shall, there should be some limits to our
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