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cizing its own warrant to appropriate the comfort. The comfort is wanted in such cases; and therefore it is wisdom to take it, “ nothing doubting.” Had Bunyan done so from the first, he might have escaped many of his pangs. It must not be supposed, however, that he made the most of this promise now, much as he needed it. He inscribed it at full length upon his Ebenezer of gratitude : but all the comfort he ventured to take from it was—“ Now I hoped long life would not destroy me, nor make me miss heaven.' Any other comfort he had at this time, was drawn from other sources, and but very evanescent. He raised, indeed, many Ebenezers, only to throw them down again.
But although still somewhat capricious, Bunyan was now a wiser man than we have hitherto found him. We shall now find him oftenest, not in the dark ravines of "secret things," nor upon the giddy heights of typical conjecture, but upon the broad and level table-land of the Gospel. The fact is, his fears of blasphemy and reprobation had taken such awful forms, that not all his power of allegorizing, or of spiritualizing typical and historical truth, could extract one hope or comfort from it. Perhaps, too, his power itself was paralyzed for the time, by his terrors. But, be this as it may, he now became a student of the New Testament ;-in the sense of looking there chiefly for promises suited to his case. As usual, how. ever, he looked, at first, in order to be electrified as well as enlightened. He had not patience to trace out the connexion or bearings of the great and precious promises. If a great truth did not strike him powerfully at the first glance, he would not study it. What it contained, was nothing to him, unless it flashed out upon him. Accordingly, his first comforts were rather momentary gleams of hope, and sudden glows of joy, than assurances of the understanding. He himself says of them, that they were “ like to Peter's sheet; of a sudden caught up again to heaven.” Acts, X. 16.
Some of these “sweet hints, touches, and short visits," as he calls them, were, however, very useful to him. The first was, happily, from that memorable oracle, “ For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. v. 12. 6 I had
says, a sweet glance from that.” He might have had many, had he looked at it with a set gaze. Even the glance, however, prepared him to lay hold, at an emergency, upon another great truth. “I remember,” he says, “ that one
day as I was sitting in a neighbour's house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many blasphemies; and as I was saying in my mind,— What ground have I to think that I, who have been so vile and abominable, should ever inherit Eternal Life ? — that word came suddenly upon me, • If God be for us, who can be against us ? Rom. viii. 39. That also was a help to me,— Because I live, ye shall live also.' John, xiv. 10.
Bunyan appears to have been much at home, during the year of his " fiery trial :" but when his hopes, and thus his spirits, began to revive, he took up his Kit again, and went his usual rounds, as a Tinker. This was advantageous to his health. He now nused, however, more than he talked, wherever he went. If not a sad, he was now a very solemn
The Ranters saw this, and shrunk from his searching eye. These “ SWEET SINGERS," as they called themselves, who combined only the sins of David with the songs of David, durst not vapour in Bunyan's presence as formerly. The Quakers, however, were attracted by his
« Leaden eye,
Which loved the ground," and by his deep solemnity. They sounded, if not assailed him, upon their favourite points : but he answered them not a word, at this time. He listened to them, however : and, at a future day, proved to them, that he remembered what they said : for he gathered now, that knowledge of their Tenets, which led him to write his " Gospel Truths Opened :" just as he picked up at Naseby, unconsciously, the plan of his Holy War.
One of his travelling days at this time, was such “a good day” to him, that he never forgot it, although he soon lost the comfort of it. “ I was musing in the conntry,” he says, “on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering the enmity that was in me to God, when that Scripture came into my mind,—He hath made peace by the Blood of his cross. Col. i. 20. By this, I was made to see, both again and again, that God and my soul were friends, by His blood. Yea, I saw that the Justice of God, and my sinful soul, could embrace and kiss each other through His blood.
This was a good day to me. I hope I shall never forget it.” No wonder, he returned home a happier man than he went out! This one discovery of the new and living way of acceptance with God, was worth more than all his other glimpses of the Gospel put together. He now saw " the glory of God in the face of Jesus,” and understood how God could " be just, even in jus. tifying the ungodly."
But although relieved from despair, Bunyan was not free from anxiety. On his return home, his mind dwelt much upon the fear of death, and the power of the devil. One day he sat musing upon them at his own fireside, until he made himself absolutely wretched. But he mused now, with the New TesTAMENT in his hand :-holding it, I grant, and regret, more as a Talisman than a lamp; as a charm, than a guide; but still, looking nowhere else for relief. On this occasion, his eye lighted upon the right spot. It fell upon the words, “ For as much as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself took part of the same, that through death, He might destroy him that had the power of death (that is the devil,) and deliver those who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage." Heb. ii. 14, 15. These words were at once “ precious and overpowering” to him. “ I thought,” he says, " that the glory of these words was so weighty on me, that I was both once and twice ready to swoon as I sat : yet not with grief and trouble ; but with solid joy
He now began to find composure and profit in the House of God, and “under the ministry of holy Mr. Gifford.” 6 To his doctrine," says Dr. Southey, “he ascribed in some degree his convalescence.” “ But that doctrine," he adds, “ a most perilous kind.” What do you suppose it was, judging from this denunciation ? Why, “the preacher exhorted his hearers not to be contented with taking any thing upon trust, nor to rest until they had received it with evidence from heaven :--that is, till their belief should be confirmed by a par. ticular revelation ! Without this, he warned them, they would find themselves wanting in strength when temptation came.”-Southey's Bunyan, p. 28.
This is nearly, but not exactly, Bunyan's account of Gif. ford's doctrine. He says of him, “ He would bid us take special heed, that we took not up any truth upon trust.-as from this, that, or any other man; but cry mightily unto God, that he would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein, by his own Spirit, in the Holy Word : for, said he, if you do otherwise, when temptations come strongly upon you,-you, not having received the Truths with evidence
from heaven, will find you want that help and strength to resist, which you once thought you had.”
This doctrine, Bunyan “ drank in ” as rain or dew. The fact is, it held then, and it holds now, the same place in the creed and cravings of pious minds, that the awen or inspira. tion of poetry holds in the estimation of poets. They know well, and few better than Dr. Southey, the immense difference between vague and vivid, tame and touching, views of Man and Nature. The Laureate has looked as often and intently from the summit of Skiddaw or Helvellyn, and from the ter. race of Lattrigg or Lodore, and from the bosom of Derwentwater and Rydal, for original views and emotions, as ever the Tinker looked to the Bible, the Sanctuary, or the Closet, for experimental and impressive views of Divine truth. Bunyan knew the difference between felt and unfelt Truth, in religion, just as well as Southey knows it in poetry. It will, therefore, be quite time enough to blame Gifford, and to pity Bunyan, for their solicitude about the witness of the Holy Spirit to give truth the force of truth, when Poets call their inspiration, “a most perilous doctrine.” Till then, we may take for granted that there is no more danger in looking for experimental seals to the volume of Revelation, than in looking for new beauties or glories in the volume of Nature. There would be but little poetry in the world, if Nature were contemplated as slightly by her professed admirers, as Revelation is by the bulk of its possessors : and there would be no commanding piety in the Church, were there not Christians, who, like Bunyan, seek the seals of the Spirit.
Bunyan is not the man, however, at this stage of his char. acter and history, upon whom it would be wise or safe to hang the vindication of this great and cardinal truth. Nothing is more true, than that the Holy Spirit manifests the things of Christ to devotional minds, with power and glory, from time to time: but, on the other hand, it is not true that Bunyan could distinguishi well, at this time, between accident and unc. tion, or natural and spiritual demonstration. He hit, however, not very wide of the mark, when he gave the following illus. trations of his own experience, under the ministry of Gifford. His doctrine, he says, “was as seasonable to my soul as the former and latter rain in their season ; for I had found, and that by sad experience, the truth of these his words ; (for I had felt that no man can say, especially when tempted by the devil, that Jesus Christ is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.) Wherefore I found my soul, through grace,' very apt to drink in this doctrine, and to incline to pray to God, that in nothing that pertained to God's glory, and my own eternal happiness, he would suffer me to be without the confirmation thereof from heaven ; for now I saw clearly, there was an exceeding difference betwixt the notion of the flesh and blood, and the revelation of God in heaven : Also a great difference betwixt that faith which is feigned and according to man's wisdom, and that which comes by a man's being born thereto of God. Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. But, oh! now, how was my soul led from truth to truth by God! Even from the birth and cradle of the Son of God to his ascension, and second coming from heaven to judge the world.
“ Truly, I then found, upon this account, the great God was very good unto me; for, to my remembrance, there was not any thing that I then cried unto God to make kpown, and reveal unto me, but he was pleased to do it for me; I mean, not one part of the gospel of the Lord Jesus, but I was orderly led into it: methought I saw with great evidence, from the four Evangelists, the wonderful works of God, in giving Jesus Christ to save us, from his conception and birth, even to his second coming to judgment : Methought I was as if I had seen him born, as if I had seen him grow up; as if I had seen him walk through this world, from the cradle to the cross; to which also, when he came, I saw how gently he gave
him. self to be hanged and nailed on it for my sins and wicked doing. Also as I was musing on this his progress, that dropped on my spirit, He was ordained for the slaughter. Thus, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ did signify.--Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world.
6 When I have considered also, the truth of his resurrec. tion, and have remembered that word, •Touch me not, Mary,' &c., I have seen as if he had leaped out of the grave's mouth, for joy that he was risen again, and had got the conquest over our dreadful foes, saying, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and to your God. I have also, in the spirit, seen him a man, on the right hand of God the Father for me; and have seen the manner of his coming from heaven, to judge the world with glory, and have been confirmed in