saw, that between them and the fruits thereof; and when you come gate was a river ; but there was no there, you shall have white robes bridge to go over, and the river was given you, and your walk and talk very deep. At the sight, therefore, shall be every day with the King, of this river, the pilgrims were even all the days of eternity.” much stunned; but the men that “And now were these two men, as went with them said, You must go it were, in heaven, before they came through, or you cannot come at the at it; being swallowed up with gate.

the sight of angels, and with hearThen they addressed themselves ing of their melodious notes. Here to the water; and, entering, Christian also they had the city itself in view, began to sink; and crying out to and they thought they heard all the his good friend Hopeful, he said, bells therein to ring, to welcome • I sink in deep waters; the billows them thereto; but, above all, the go over my head ; all the waves go warm and joyful thoughts that they over me. Selah.'

had about their own dwelling there Then I saw in my dream that with such company, and that for Christian was in a muse awhile; ever and ever : Oh! by what tongue to whom also Hopeful added these or pen can their glorious joy be exwords, • Be of good cheer, Jesus pressed ! Thus they came up to the Christ maketh thee whole;' and, gate. with that, Christian brake out with “ Now I saw in my dream that a loud voice, ‘Oh! I see Him again! these two men went in at the gate; and he tells me, When thou passestand, lo! as they entered they were through the waters, I will be with transfigured, and they had raiment thee; and through the rivers, they put on that shone like gold. There shall not overflow thee.' Then they were also that met them with harps both took courage, and the enemy and crowns, and gave them to them; was after that as still as a stone, the harps to praise withal, and the until they were gone over. Christian, crowns in token of honour. Then therefore, presently found ground I heard in my dream that all the to stand upon; and so it followed bells in the city rang again for joy; that the rest of the ground was but and that it was said unto them, shallow; thus they got over. Now 'Enter ye into the joy of our Lord.' upon the banks of the river, on the I also heard the men themselves sing other side, they saw the two shining with a loud voice, saying, ' Blessing, men again, who there waited for and honour, and glory, and power them ; wherefore, being come out be unto Him that sitteth


the of the river, they saluted them, throne, and unto the Lamb for ever saying, ' We are ministering spirits, and ever.' sent forth to minister to those Now just as the gates were that shall be heirs of salvation.' opened to let in the men, I looked Thus they went along towards the in after them, and, behold, the city gate.

shone like the sun; the streets also “ The talk that they had with the were paved with gold, and in them shining ones was about the glory of walked many men with crowns upon the place, who told them that the their heads, palms in their hands, beauty and glory of it was inex. and golden harps to sing praises pressible. There, said they, is withal." Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusa- As my friend bade me adieu at lem, the innumerable company of night, he smiled and said, “Well, we angels, and the spirits of just men shall know these things better when made perfect. You are going now, we have crossed the river.” We said they, to the Paradise of God, shall see and know," I replied, wherein you shall see the tree of even as we are seen and known." life, and cat of the never-fading “ Yes," said he playfully," and


you will then leave behind you your think of their joys, and try to echo incredulity.”“ And you, it may be," at a distance a few feeble notes of replied I, your modern miracles.” the song of victory which resounded Thus ended our discourse; but the from their lips. subject dwelt on my mind as I retired But after a while, as I began to to rest, and the impression it left make more particular observations may perhaps account for the follow- on the travellers and the country, I ing dream.

remarked all along, on both sides of I thought I stood on the margin the road, and on the banks of the of the river of death as described river, a variety of heaps or hillocks, by Bunyan, and saw before me, on of which I did not at first underthe distant heights on the other side, stand the nature. Atlength, however, the heavenly city. Martin's en- as I looked more narrowly, I saw chanting picture in Southey's Pil- that they were caused by the pilgrim's Progress presented itself to grims, who, as they passed along on my eye in my sleep, and lovely was their journey, doffed one and anothe prospect that extended before ther incumbrance, till at length they

had less and less left as they adBut soon my attention was drawn vanced, except the wedding-garto the numerous travellers who ap- ment, which none of them threw proached the stream ; some crossing away; no, not even in the river, it willingly, nay, joyfully ; others, where they often made the last alas! forced into it with reluctant struggle to keep a few articles struggles, "driven away in their wick- which they peculiarly valued and edness, and without hope in their had hitherto firmly retained, but death.” Some of this last class I which they were always glad to regazed at till they came to the gate linquish before they arrived on the of the city, where I saw them turn other side. The margin of the pale and tremble, as they read in stream, as I said, was covered with letters of fire the awful sentence these little heaps, as the road had that excluded them from its felici- been before. ties : “ Without are dogs, and sor- I observed that there were some cerers, and whoremongers, and mur- of the larger hillocks, especially early derers, and idolaters, and whosoever on the journey, which none of the loveth and maketh a lie." I shud- pilgrims passed without depositing dered as I beheld the vast multitudes on them some burden or superfluity. thus shut out, and saw them with These heaps, being common to all, I weeping, wailing, and gnashing of shall not particularly describe ; but teeth turn to the left hand, where it will be easily understood that the quickly they were lost from my better knowledge a traveller obtained sight in the lake that burneth with of the heavenly city, and the warmer fire and brimstone. It is not my his aspirations after it, the more purpose to depict these wretched ready was he to cast away whatever groups; which, alas! comprised more he learned would be inadmissible than those who seemed verbally to within its walls. Every known sin, be included in the above inscription; imperfection, and infirmity, most and to consist of all, however high- gladly did he, when in his right mind, sounding their claims, who had not try to get rid of; but it was only on that wedding-robe, which is the gradually that he obtained knowrighteousness of the saints. I turned ledge and resolution for this purmy eyes from them, that I might pose: so that it often happened that contemplate the blessed spectacle of a little further on the road a pilgrim those who were entering through was seen to divest himself of what the gates into the city; and so just before he had carefully cherished; entranced was I with the glorious and even on the borders of the prospect, that for a time I could only stream itself, some travellers could

not be persuaded to give up all but are yonder strandings and wavetheir wedding-garment.

drifts that so thickly line the margin I saw a joyful band of infants, and of the river?” “ They are,” said he, these needed to cast away nothing, “ the failings, oddities, over-statebut the burden of the flesh and the ments, misconceptions, and peculiariguilt of original sin ; and then, in- ties of good men.

See how tightly vested with the robe necessary for some of the travellers button them up all, they were fit at once for the hea- to the last—but, look! there they go, venly mansions. Another group of one after another—not a vestige, you little ones followed ; and these at see, reaches the opposite shore. Mark first sight appeared innocent, and yon sedate pilgrim.” “ Yes,” said free from incumbrance, like the I, “I know him well: he is a beloved former; but upon closer inspection I friend of mine ; a Quaker, I am sorry found, that, besides swelling the great to say, but I doubt not he is bapheaps just mentioned, to which all tized with the Holy Ghost, and spialike contributed, they had acquired ritually, though not literally, with saa few things which needed to be cramental purification.” “The same," cast away; so that many a deposit replied my companion;“but, see! he was there by these little ones of intended, I have no doubt, to carry proud looks, and selfish passions, his broad brim across the stream and lisping falsehoods, and impotent with him; but it will not do-no; revenges. The other larger heaps there it floats; and has drifted away along the road I stay not to de- to yonder enormous heap of cassocks, scribe ; they comprised every weight mitres, crucifixes, and Methodist that could stay the traveller, and bonnets.” How will yonder divine, every sin that easily beset him, but thought I, get over with that enorwhich he had laid aside as he mous heap of sermons ? He is, I thought of the King of the promised well know, a sincere servant of land, and hastened on his way to Christ; a man anxious for the glory behold Him in his glory.

of God and the souls of his flock; But what, as I said, struck me but with what strange and novel chiefly, was an accumulation of these notions does he interlard his disheaps—some of them not little ones courses! Look! there is the whole -on the very margin of the stream bundle afloat ! he has recovered here itself, nay, floating on its mid waves. and there one, much water-soaked For I observed that it often happened and torn ; but scarcely a trace of that a traveller, after he divested others is left, except the text and the himself of his more obvious incum- doxology. But, happily, he himself brances, had ignorantly or obstinately is safe, and has entered the city, and retained to the last moment some little heeds he now the trifles which favourite article, which he fondly he has left floating on the current. fancied would not be excluded as David, I doubt not, carried over his contraband on the other side of the harp, for it was already attuned to stream. These articles were not, the melodies of heaven ; and St. indeed, like those first thrown off, Paul his “books and parchments," so heavy as inevitably to sink him for they were of Divine inspiration ; in the billows, or to cause him to be but he lost his thorn in the flesh, as rejected at the gate of the city as a he long before had resigned his phathief and a robber; but they were risaism, and whatever else was constill of a style and fabric wholly un- trary to the name of Jesus of Nazasuitable for admission into a land of reth. A zealous Anti-pædobaptist, perfection. I examined several of I remarked, had oddly enough prothese heaps, and was almost in- cured a portable adult font; and an clined to smile at the singularity of acquaintance of mine, an ultra-Hightheir contents. “What,” said I, to a churchman, whose name I shall not pilgrim who happened to approach, mention, an enormous model of a


steeple; but they were both glad to Absalom's barrow; but I believe it let them go when mid-way in the looked larger than it was, being river, and to lay hold of the same much tumified, though of little plank, and get over safely together. weight. Zealously and conscienWhat heaps of theological contro- tiously did some of the pilgrims, and versy were there scattered all along true pilgrims too, struggle to hold the shore! I saw Mr. Fletcher land it together ; but it was too unwieldy arm in arm with Mr. Hervey, and in mass, and separately much of Mr. Wesley with Mr. Toplady; but a it was lighter than the froth and fine confusion of mutual rubbish straws floating on the river ; so that they all left behind them: still, what I apprehend very little of it was they rescued in common was of landed. inestimable value. Fenelon had in- It was truly delightful to hear the tended to get over a few consecrated good men who arrived safely over wafers and hallowed relics: they conversing together in brotherly were but light, hethought, of floatage: mood, as each had now forgotten his but he was glad at length to get over former peculiarities and failings, and himself without them; and get over common topic engrossed all he did, and had a joyful seat assign- voices. When Watts and Doded him; but his wafers and relics dridge began a sacred chorus, I exdrifted far away down the stream. pected to hear some friends of mine A somewhat erratic friend of mine protest against joining with them, as made sure footing on the blissful they had worked their way to heaven shore ; and happy was I to see him illegitimately, not being entitled to arrive there, though almost destitute, covenant mercies; but so it was that except of that wedding garment, all parties took up the strain, nothing which, amidst many alarming strug- reluctant, and the Hosannah went gles, I trusted he had never relin- round in the full diapason of heaquished: but, alas! what a medley venly harmony. Bishop Hooper, I did he leave behind him of “ora- observed, had not on his sacerdotal tions,” and “homilies," and multi- robes, which he used to protest so form books of quaint device and pe- much against; but then Cranmer rilous concoction. I observed that had not his : so that they made a some writings, which I had thought very good picture together. In short, would have done very well to go I perceived, that, as long as there over entire, had lost many leaves ; existed none of the causes of disquaamong which I noticed even Hook- lification which were written on the er's Polity, and Luther on the Gala- gate, or elsewhere in the heavenly tians. The Bibles which floated over records, there wanted nothing but had all parted from their Apocryphas; the waters of the river to wash off and the Prayer-Books from their incumbrances, and bring all to uniCompanions to the Altar, though va- formity of thought and feeling ; so rious pages of the latter were re- that each forsook his whimsies as coverable.

heartily as he had before forsaken Many of the heaps were nearly his sins. And then, when these decayed, so that I could scarcely dis- exuviæ had been sloughed off, how cern their contents; some perhaps free, how graceful did the glorified from age, such as pilgrims' shoes and spirit appear, clothed in the royal anchorites' wallets, which have not robes of investiture of its new celesbeen much used, except in the Church tial dignity! of Rome, since the dark ages ; but As I was intently gazing on these others had perished prematurely, things, I saw approach the friend from natural intrinsic decay, being with whom I had spent the evening, nearly new, yet mouldy. One of with his three miracles buckled in a the most recent heaps was a pile of new satchel on his back. Tightly prophetic speculations, as large as did he grasp them, and gaily did he Christ. Observ, No. 357.

3 Y

plunge in with them strapped on discrepancies upon earth ; neither his shoulders; but I observed that of us conceding what he believes to they soon burst the bag by their be a portion of the great mass of own volatility, and ascended to the truth, but each bearing and forbearclouds, lighter than air-balloons. I ing with the other in love. I do not was about to exclaim, not very good- expect to find all the contents of Mr. naturedly, “ Be thankful, my friend, Nisbet's book catalogue in heaven ; that you have escaped yourself, and but I will not therefore anathematize that from fancies you have not been any really faithful servant of Christ permitted to glide to worse,” when it because he entertains what appear to became my own turn to pass over; me some odd notions on Prophecy and large, far larger than I had ever and the Millennium ; and I think he thought of, was the load which I had ought not to anathematize me beto throw off ; far larger, I am sure, cause I do not see my way clearly to than that of my beloved friend. As his conclusion. I will not call another I threw off the whole and plunged brother a hypocrite, because he says in, the shock awoke me.

he can conscientiously unite with One lesson, among others, I have Neologians and idolaters, with drunklearned from my dream-namely, ards and swearers, for the distributhat we ought to be content to for- tion of Bibles, but would feel consake every thing for the excellency taminated by the approach of Locke, of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our or Lardner, or Milton: only let him Lord: not merely to acknowledge not think me an oppugner of Scripthe doctrines of grace, to discard ture, and an enemy to the Godhead of known sins, and to trust in the Christ, because I do not see the conrighteousness of the Redeemer ; but sistency of his scruples. I cannot to look to our ways in minor matters; follow some of my friends to what to avoid those lesser incumbrances appear to me their semi-Popish which appear so conspicuously in my views of the sacrament of Baptism; dream, and willingly to cherish no- I think them superstitious, and opthing, professing to be religion, here, posed to the spiritual character of which we do not hope may be trans- the Gospel; but I will not therefore ported, in spirit at least, to a better place them beyond the gate of salvaworld. I do not mean that we tion: only let them not reprobate me should be indifferent to any thing as an infidel, because my notion of a that we consider to be truth, or in- sign and a seal approaches less visibly dulge in licentious laxity of opinion, the doctrine of the opus operatum. or esteem all notions alike, or revel And so, again, of some nice questions in the latitudinarian candour of a on assurance, Calvinism, and other time-serving generation : far, very points; things, I mean, not absolutely far from it: but, still, it may soften essential to salvation, and on which asperities, and promote Christian af- good men have differed, and profection, to distinguish between those bably ever will differ. At all events, things which we must cast one after let each begin with casting the beam another upon the heap, and those out of his own eye, and then shall he which we expect in common to re- see more clearly to remove the mote tain. I do not think that I ought, in from his brother's eye.

W. 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

INQUIRY FOR BIEKIUS's “ organ very melodious, my Oxford cap

INTERIM,” &c. very convenient, and even a mitre not mis-shapen : but if we are to

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. meet in heaven, as I trust we shall, A CORRESPONDENT, in your Number there should be some limits to our for July 1830, referred me (after


« VorigeDoorgaan »