« PreviousContinue »
pleasant, the way lying directly through it, they solaced them there for the season.' Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. In this country the sun shineth night and day; wherefore it was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair; neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle. Here they were within sight of the city they were going to; also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof; for in this land the shining ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of Heaven. In this land, also, the contract between the bride and bridegroom was renewed; yea, here,
as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so did their God rejoice over them.' Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place they met abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage. Here they heard voices from out of the city, loud voices, saying: 'Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh! Behold, his reward is with him!' Here all the inhabitants of the country called them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, sought out,' &c.
Now, as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound; and drawing nearer to the city yet, they had a more perfect view thereof: it was built of pearls and precious stones, also the streets thereof were paved with gold; so that, by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease: wherefore here they lay by it á while, crying out, because of their pangs: If you see my Beloved, tell him that I am sick of love.''
But being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold the gardener stood in the way, to whom the pilgrims said : Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these? He answered: They are the King's, and are planted here for his own delight, and also for the solace of pilgrims; so the gardener had them into the vineyards, and bid them refresh themselves with dainties; he also showed them there the King's walks and arbours, where he delighted to be; and here they tarried and slept.
Now, I beheld in my dream that they talked more in their sleep at this time than ever they did in all their journey; and being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me: Wherefore musest thou at the matter? It is the rature of the fruit of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly, as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak.
So I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up to the city. But, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the city for the city was pure goldwas so extremely glorious, that they could not as yet with open face behold it, but through an instrument made for that purpose. So I saw that, as they went on, there met him two men in raiment that shone like gold; also their faces shone as the light.
These men asked the pilgrims whence they came: and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures, they had met with in their way; and they told them. Then said the men that met them: You have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the city..
Christian and his companion then asked the men to go along with them; so they told them that they would. But, said they, you must obtain it by your own faith. So I saw in my dream that they went on together till they came in sight of the gate.
Now, I further saw that betwist 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 to the gate.
The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate : to which they answered: Yes : but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world,'nor shall, until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then-especially Christian-began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that; but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said : No; yet they could not help them in that case : for said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place,
They then 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 over my head; all the waters go over me. Selah.
Then said the other: Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian : Ah! my friend, the sorrow of death hath encompassed me about: I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey. " Then I saw in my dream that Christian was in a muse a while. 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 river was but shallow; but thus they got over. Now, upon the bank 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 toward the gate. Now, you must note that the city stood upon a mighty hill; but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms; they had likewise left their mortal garments behind them in the river; for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds; they therefore went up through the region of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted because they got safely over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend. them.
Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom it was said by the other two shining ones : These are the men who loved our Lord when they were in the world, and have left all for his holy name, and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying: “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.' There came also out at this time to meet them several of the King's trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious and loud noises, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand welcomes from the world, and this they did with shouting and sound of trumpet.
This done, they compassed them round about on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left-as it were to guard them through the upper regions-continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high ; so that the very sight was to them that could behold it as if heaven itself was come down to meet them. Thus, therefore, they walked on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them; 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 their melodious notes. Here, also, they had the city itself in view, and 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 when they were come up to the gate, there was written over in letters of gold: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Then I saw in my dream that the shining men bid them call at the gate ; the which, when they did, some from above looked over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, Elijah, &c.; to whom it was said: These pilgrims are come from the City of Dea
shinino more to meet them dhe marriage-sunnon gave a g
struction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning: those, therefore, were carried in to the King, who, when he had read them, said : Where are the men ? To whom it was answered: They are standing without the gate. The King then commanded to open the gate, “That the righteous nation, said he, 'that keepeth truth, may enter in.
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 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 your Lord.' I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying: Blessing, honour, and glory, and power be to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.'
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 on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.
DR. JOHN OWEN. DR. JOHN OWEN (1616–1683), after studying at Oxford for the Church of England, became a Presbyterian, but finally joined the Independents. He was highly esteemed by the Long Parliament, and was frequently called upon to preach before them on public occasions. Cromwell, in particular, was so highly pleased with him, that, when going to Ireland, he insisted on Dr. Owen accompanying him, for the purpose of regulating and superintending the College of Dublin. After spending six months in that city, Owen returned to his clerical duties in England, from which, however, he was again speedily called away by Cromwell, who took him in 1650 to Edinburgh, where he spent six months. Subsequently, he was promoted to the deanery of Christ Church College in Oxford, and soon after, to the vice-chancellorship of the university, which offices he held tilí Cromwell's death. After the Restoration, he was favoured by Lord Clarendon, who offered him a preferment in the church if he would conform ; but this Dr. Owen declined. The persecution of the Nonconformists repeatedly disposed him to emigrate to New England, but attachment to his native country prevailed. Notwithstanding his decided hostility to the church, the amiable dispositions and agreeable manners of Owen procured him much esteem from many eminent churchmen, among whom was the king himself, who on one occasion sent for him, and, after a conversation of two hours, gaye him a thousand guineas to be distributed among those who had suffered most from the recent persecution. He was a man of extensive learning, and most estimable character. His extreme industry is evinced by the voluminousness of his publications, which amount to no fewer than seven volumes in folio, twenty in quarto, and about thirty in octavo. Among these are a collection of 'Sermons,' 'An Exposition on the Epistle to the Hebrews,'' A Discourse of the Holy Spirit,' and 'The Divine Original and Authority of the Scriptures.'°
The style of Owen merits little praise. He wrote too rapidly and carelessly to produce compositions either vigorous or beautiful. Robert Hall entertained a decided antipathy to the writings of this celebrated divine. “I can't think how you like Dr. Owen,' said he to a friend; “I can't read him with any patience; I never read a page of Dr. Owen, sir, without finding some confusion in his thoughts, either a truism or a contradiction in terms. Sir, he is a double Dutchman, floundering in a continent of mud. For moderation in controversy, Dr. Owen was most honourably distinguished among the theological warriors of his age.
JOHN HOWE. This able and amiable Nonconformist (1630-1705) was a native of Loughborough, in Leicestershire, where his father was parish minister. He was educated at Cambridge, and was the friend of Cudworth and Henry More. In 1652, he was ordained minister of Great Torrington, in Devonshire. His severe clerical duties is thus described: Upon public fasts he used to begin at nine in the morning with a prayer of a quarter of an hour, then read and expounded Scripture for about three quarters ; prayed an hour, preached another hour, and prayed again for half an hour. The people then sung for a quarter of an hour, during which he retired and took a little refreshment: he then went into the pulpit again, prayed an hour more, preached another hour, and concluded with a prayer of halfan hour!" In 1656, Howe was selected by Cromwell to reside at Whitehall as one of his chaplains. As he had not coveted the office, he seems never to have liked it. The affected disorderliness' of the Protector's family as to religious matters made him despair of doing good in his office of chaplain, and he conscientiously opposed and preached against a doctrine which is thus stated by Mr. Henry Rogers, the biographer of Howe:
Fanaticism of Cromwell's Court. It was a very prevalent opinion in Cromwell's court, and seems to have been entertained by Cromwell himself, that whenever the special favourites' of Heaven offered up their supplications for themselves or others, secret intimations were conveved to the mind, that the particular blessings they implored would be certainly bestowed, and even indications afforded of the particular method in which their wishes would be accomplished. Howe himself confessed to Calamy, in a private conversation on this subject, that the prevalence of the notion at Whitehall, at the time he lived there, was too notorious to be denied; that great pains were taken to cherish and diffuse it; and that he himself had heard 'a person of note' preach a sermon with the avowed design of maintaining and defending it. To point out the pernicious consequences of such an opinion would be superfluous. Of course, there could be no lack of special favourites of Heaven'in an age and court like those of Cromwell; and all the dangerous illusions which a fanatical imagination might inspire, and all the consequent horrors to which a fanatical zeal could prompt, would of course plead the sanction of an express revelation.
Howe continued chaplain to the Protector, and, after Oliver's death, he resided in the same capacity with Richard Cromwell. When Richard was set aside, the minister returned to Great Torrington, but was ejected by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He subsequently officiated as minister in Ireland and London, and found leisure to write those admirable works of practical divinity which have placed him among the most gifted and eminent of the Nonconformist divines of England. He has been termed the ‘Platonic Puritan.' The principal works of John Howe are his 'Living Temple' (1676–1702), a treatise on · Delighting in God,' 'The Blessedness of the Righteous,' * The Vanity of Man as Mortal,' a ' Tractate on the Divine Presence, an ‘Inquiry into the Doctrine of the Trinity,' and 'The Redeemer's Dominion over the Invisible World' (1699). To the excellence of these works all theological writers and critics have borne testimony. Robert Hall acknowledged that he had learned more from John Howe than from any other author he ever read, and he said there was 'an astonishing magnificence in his conceptions. A collected edition of Howe's works, with a Life by Dr. Edmund Calamy, was published in 1724. Other editions followed, and the latest we have seen is one in three volumes, 8vo, 1848, with Life by Rev. J. P. Hewlett. The 'Life and Character of John Howe, with an Analysis of his Writings,' by Henry Rogers, is a valuable work, and affords a good view of the state of religious parties and controversies in England from the time of the Commonwealth down to the death of Howe.
EDMUND CALAMY-JOHN FLAVEL--MATTHEW HENRY. EDMUND CALAMY (1600–1666) was originally a clergyman of the Church of England, but had become a Nonconformist before settling in London as a preacher in 1639. A celebrated production against Episcopacy, called . Smectymnuus,' from the initials of the names of the writers, and in which Calamy was concerned, appeared in the following year. He was much in favour with the Presbyterian party; but was, on the whole, a moderate man, and disapproved of those measures which terminated in the death of the king. Having exerted himself to promote the restoration of Charles II. he subsequently received the offer of a bishopric; but, after much deliberation, it was rejected. The passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662 made him retire from his ministerial duties in the metropolis several years before his death. His sermons were of a plain and practical character ; and five of them, published under the title of “The Godly Man's Ark, or a City of Refuge in the Day of his Distress,' acquired much popularity.
John FLAVEL (1627–1691) was a zealous preacher at Dartmouth, where he suffered severely for his nonconformity. In the pulpit le was distinguished for the warmth, fluency, and variety of his devotional exercises, which, like his writings, were somewhat tinged with enthusiasm. His works, occupying two folio volumes, are written in a plain and perspicuous style, and some of them are still highly valued. Among the Scottish peasantry, many of Flavel's works are popular.