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a safer measure than keeping to the Gospel in a Chapel ? That the Puseyite and Melville school should thus outrage common sense and Christian decency, is not surprising: but that Wil. berforce preferred the Church to the Gospel is incredible !
It was not against worldly priests only, that Bunyan launch. ed his thunderbolts. He spared no impeder of the Gospel. Landlords as well as church-lords threw hinderance in the way of Bunyan, and of such Evangelists; and he arraigned them with equal publicity and point. “0, what red-lines," he exclaims, “ there will be against those rich ungodly landlords, who so kept under their poor tenants, that they dare not go out to hear the word for fear their rent should be raised, or they turned out of their houses. What sayest thou, Landlord ; will it not cut thy soul, when thou shalt see that thou could not be content to miss of Heaven thyself, but thou must labour to hinder others also ? Will it not give thee an eternal wound in thy heart, both at death and judgment, to be accused of the ruin of thy neighbour's soul—thy servant's soul—thy wife's soul, together with the ruin of thine own? Think on this-ye drunken, proud, rich and scornful Landlords! Think on this—mad-brained and blasphemous Husbands, if ye would
ye would not howl, if you would not bear the burden of the ruin of others for ever!'
Bunyan did not spare Tenants, Servants, nor Wives, when he remonstrated thus with their Masters. He ministered as little to the passions of the mob, as to the pride of the Hierarchy, or the tyranny of Squirearchy. “Many stand in so much dread of men, and do so highly esteem their favour,” he says, 6 that they will rather venture their souls in the hands of the devil, with their favour, than fly to Jesus Christ (without it.) Nay, though they be convinced that the way is God's way, yet they turn their ears from the truth ; and all, because they will not lose the favour of an opposite neighbour. O, I dare not, for master-my Landlord. I shall lose his favour; his house of work; and so decay my calling.' 0,' saith another, ‘I would willingly go the right way, but for my Father : he chides, and tells me he will not stand my friend when I come to want; I shall never enjoy a pennyworth of his goods; - he will disinherit me.' • And I dare not for my husband ; for he will be a-railing, and tell me he will beat me, and turn me out of doors, or cut off my legs.' But I tell you—if any of these things, or any other things, keep thee from seeking Christ in his ways, they will make him cut off thy soul, be.
cause thou didst trust man rather than God. Thou shalt be tormented as many years as there are stars in the firmament, or sands on the sea-shore ; and besides all this, thou must abide it for ever!”- Works, p. 2076.
Bunyan's appeals to Transgressors are often as original as they are terrific. 6 Consider thus with thyself: would I have all - every one of my sins,—to come in against me, to inflame the justice of God against me? Would I like to be bound up in them, as the Three Children in their clothes, and then cast as really into the fiery furnace of the wrath of Almighty God, as they were into Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace ? Would I like to have all and every one of the Ten Command. ments discharge themselves against my soul ; the first say. ing, damn him ;' the second, damn him ; for he hath broken me. This would be more terrible than if thou shouldst have ten of the biggest pieces of Ordinance in England thunder—thunder -thunder against thy body, one after another. This would not be comparable to the reports that the Law will give against thy soul for ever. Mark; it is for ever, for ever!
All thy sins will be clapton thy Conscience at one time, as if one should clap a red-hot iron to thy breast, to continue there to all eternity.”—P. 2040, 65.
Some of Bunyan's poetry on this subject rises to an awful sublimity, which even his rhyme cannot spoil. Speaking of
the Lost he says,
“So that whatever they do know,
Or see, or think, or fecl,
One Thing Needful, fol. ed. 2 vol. p. 849. False maxims, however popular, could neither dupe nor si. lence Bunyan. He denounced, wherever he went, the favour. ite phrase “dying like a lamb,” whenever it was applied to the death of ungodly or inconsistent men. 66 A sinful life with a quiet death annexed to it, is,” he says, “ the ready, the open, the common highway to Hell. There is no surer sign of damnation, than for a man to die quietly after a sinful life. I do not say that all wicked men, who die molested at their death with a sense of sin and fears of hell, do, therefore, go to Heaven. Some are made to see ; not converted by seeing ; and left to despair, that they may go roaring out of this world to their own place.' But I do say, there is no surer sign of a man's damnation than to die with his eyes shut, or with a heart that cannot repent. I have seen a dog or a sheep die hardly. Thus may wicked men. But they may die like a chrisom-child in show, and yet plunge down among the flames. This child-like, lamb-like death, makes some think that all is well, with men who lived like devils incarnate. But it is a great judgment upon companions that survive. They are hardened and encouraged to go on in their course, by seeing (the wicked) die as chrisom-children."—Works, p. 949.
There is nothing more graphic in the Pilgrim's Progress, than the following picture of a fruitless professor. "God says, Come Death, smite me this barren fig-tree.' At this, Death comes into the chamber with grim looks, and Hell fol. lows him to the bedside. Both stare this fruitless professor in the face : yea, begin to lay hands upon him; one smiting him with head-ache, heart-ache, back-ache, shortness of breath, fainting, qualms, trembling of joints, stoppage at the chest, and almost all the symptoms of one past recovery; the other, casting sparks of fire into the mind and conscience. Now he begins to
spare me, spare me!' • Nay,' saith God, you have been a provocation to me these three years. Take him, Death!'“0, good Lord,' saith the Sinner, óspare me but this one time, and I will be better,' • Away, away, you are naught! If I should recover you again, you would be as bad as you were before. Good Lord, try me this once ; let me up again this once, and see if I do not mend.' (All this talk is while Death by.) · But will you promise me to mend ?' • Yes, indeed Lord, and vow it too!' • Well,' saith God, • Death, let this professor alone for this time. He hath vowed to amend his ways; and vows are solemn things ! It may be he will be afraid to break his vows. ARISE off thy bed !'
“ And now God lays down his axe. At this the poor creature is very thankful, and calls on others to thank God. One would now think him a new creature indeed. But when he
comes down from his bed, and ventures into the shop or yard, -and there sees how all things are gone to 6 sixes and sevens, he begins to have second thoughts; and says to his folks, • What have you all been doing? How are all things out of order ? I am behind hand, I cannot tell what! see that you have neither wisdom nor prudence to order things, if man be put a little aside!' But now he doubleth his dili. gence after the world! • Alas,' he says :—but all must not be lost. We must have provident care.' And thus he forgetteth the sorrows of death, and the vows he made to be better.
“These things proving ineffectual, God takes hold of his axe again, and sends Death to a wife, to a child, to the cattle. At this, the poor barren professor cries out again, Lord I have sinned ; spare me once more ! O take not away the desire of my eyes ; spare my children ; bless my labour; and I will mend and be better.' • No,' saith God, thou lied to me last time, and I will trust thee no longer :'—and He tumbleth the wife, the child, and the estate into the grave.
“On this, the poor creature, like Ahab, walks softly awhile. Now, he renews his promises :- Lord try me this one time
They go far that never turn. Take off thy hand and see !? Well, God sets down his axe again. But still, there is no fruit. Now then the axe begins to be raised higher ! Yet, before he strike the stroke, he will try one more way at last ; and if that fail-down goes the fig-tree !
“ This last way is, to tug and strive with this professor by His Spirit. But now, the mischief is, there is tugging and striving on both sides. The Spirit convinceth ; but the man turns a deaf ear. • Receive my instruction and live,' he says; but the man pulls away his shoulder. The Spirit parleyeth again, and urgeth new reasons. No,' saith the sinner, I have loved strangers, and after them I will go!' At this God's fury cometh up into his face! Now, he comes out from his holy place, and is terrible. Now, He sweareth in his wrath that they shall not enter into his rest. • Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground !!”—P. 1142.
Well might Bunyan's clerical biographer say of him, " He laid open before men the saving promises and dreadful denun. ciations of the Scripture, and sent it so home, that it not only created joy, but trembling ; each one on their departure confessing, that their hearts were moved at his words.” He adds, “ I need not tell you that he pretended not to be orthodox, as
to the Church established by the law of the nation : but all that knew him will bear witness, that his doctrine was nothing varying from the express word of God, though not complying in some things with the national Church, in manner and forms of worship."-Life, p. 22.
This was the watchman on the walls of Zion, whose trumpet was silenced, just as it had begun to alarm the men and women who were “ at ease in Zion.” It is impossible to tell, or to calculate, the consequences of the check thus given to the progress of even moral reformation in Bedfordshire, by silenc. ing John Bunyan. Such a ministry, in a county which had been highly republican and profane, was worth more to the cause of good order and virtue, than all the canon-law that could be preached or enforced in it.
Can any man wonder now—that John Bunyan would not agree to any proposals for giving up his ministry? The man who knew that he could preach thus, must have regarded with more than supreme scorn all law and logic which called upon him to desist. He must have pitied as well as despised the men who could call in question his right or his fitness to warn and woo sinners to flee from the wrath to come. For what could they show as credentials of having received “ the Holy Ghost,” that deserved more credit or deference than his aptness to teach, and his power of persuasion, and his burning zeal to win souls? If these high attributes, and holy aspirations, be not proofs of a divine call to the ministry—alas, for the weight of canonical proofs ! I do not think lightly of education or order. I revere them as, in general, essential to the efficiency of a permanent ministry. But they are ill applied, and worse advocated, when they call in question the right of holy men of talent to preach the gospel. No minister, of any church, can prove his own right to teach, from the Bible, who disputes Bunyan's right, or that of any other man who has Bunyan's spirit. I say, his spirit : for if his talents were necessary, no church could command a supply of them.
It is delightful to observe how Providence is now placing the question of holy orders. The Spirit of God is blessing alike the faithful ministers of all Protestant Churches; and leaving the unfaithful of them all, to stand unmarked by any token of the divine presence.