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Let me say, however, to the young, that, although there be no foul air in the Mine, they must take with them the Safety. lamp of Discretion, if they would breathe even as freely as I have done, or walk as far safely. There is no levity in Bunyan: but he has some whims and crotchets of the brain; which, however innocent in themselves, are not suited to our times, nor in good taste even for his own times. I will not illustrate this; but finish the Chapter with a specimen of his wit, which is only a fair sample of his accurate observation of Nature, and of his acuteness in turning facts into lessons. He says of Bishop Fowler, that he “ stridles over the Atonement like a spider skipping over a wasp, and twists against Faith like an eel on angle.”-Orig. Copy, 1671.
BUNY A N'S CONCEITs,
BUNYAN spiritualized so much, and in general so well, that it is only fair to separate
between his ingenious guesses, and his whimsical fancies. True ; they run into each other often, and thus are inseparable upon his pages. But still, his whims did not warp his judgment, nor taint his theology, nor give any wrong bias to his conduct; and therefore they may now be fairly represented as nothing but whims and crotchets of a teeming brain, which neither a good conscience nor a pure heart could always detect or avoid.
“ The Tower of Lebanon" confronted, he says, “ Damas. cus, the chief city of the King of Assyria, to show that the Church is raised up to confront Antichrist.” He found also in the three rows of Pillars, on which the House of the Forest of Lebanon stood, the three Mediatorial Offices of Christ, which“
“ bear up the Church before the World.” But there were fifteen pillars in each Row; and fifteen is no mystic number! This set him fast for a time. “I can say no further than I can see,” he says. But he did not like to be baffled. He recollected that there was a reserve of seven thousand, who had not bowed the Knee to Baal, “ when that fine one, Jezebel, afflicted the Church;" and therefore he says, fourteen of the fifteen pillars were a reserve in each Row ; so that if three should be destroyed, there would still be three times fourteen behind. Thus he comforted himself, that Antichrist, however he might cut off and kill the Witnesses, could never destroy all the pillars of the Church.
The Mist which watered the face of the ground in Eden, before rain fell, was a type, he says, “ that there is sufficiency of light, even where there is not the word of the Gospel, to teach men to govern themselves in civil and natural society. But this,” he adds, “ is only a mist” from the earth, not rain from Heaven.
He finds a parallel between the hundred and fifty days, during which “ the waves of the Flood had no pity on Noah," and the apocalyptic period of the Scorpions; and thus, a clue to the duration of the persecution in his own times. Noah's sons, also, journeying westward from Ararat, and thus, “ turn. ing their back upon the Sunrising,” were types of the primitive Church, and the Restoration Church, declining from the Sun of Righteousness : and their halt in the plain of Shinar, was “ a right resemblance of degeneracy from apostolic doctrine, to the Church of Romish Babylon. What would Bunyan have said of the Oxford Tract School !
“ Moses,” he says, “ was a type of his own Law : for as his milk-white bosom could not change the swarthy skin of his Ethiopian wife,
So he that doth the Law for life adore,
Shall yet by it, be left a blackamoor." The Apocalyptic hail-stones which are to fall on Babylon, weighed a talent; and as that is just the weight of the lead laid over the Ephah, which was prepared for the woman, Wickedness (Zech. v. 6), he says that the hailstones show that Rome is to get no more good out of the Ephah, but only heavy judgments. He hated the Scarlet Lady most heartily; and hoped to see her funeral before his death.
“ She is now dying," he says; therefore “let us ring her passing-bell. When she is dead, we who live to see it, intend to ring out !" Had she died before him, not all his prejudices against bell. ringing, nor his old fears of the beam in Elstow Church Tower, would have prevented him from having another pull at the ropes !
He finds the Gospel-Net in the net-work of the Temple ; and as that work had four hundred Pomegranates hung upon it, he says, “ This was to show that the Gospel-Net was not empty, but baited with grace and glory to catch sinners.” " The alluring bait, of old, was milk and honey.' With that Moses drew the Jews into the wilderness : but we have Pome. granates—two rows of them-grace and glory,-as the bait of the holy gospel. No wonder then if, when men of skill cast that Net, great numbers of fish were caught. The Apostles baited their nets with taking things.'
Bunyan is not always least wise, when he is most fanciful. “The Temple,” he says, “ was widest upward. All other houses were widest downward. But an inch above is worth an ell below. Those who are nearest the earth are narrow
spirited. The temple was narrowest downward, to show that a little of the earth, or of this world, should content us. Thus the temple, like a lovely picture, speaks by its form to all Christians, and says, Be ye enlarged upwards.?”
The Porch of the Temple, he says, was for strangers and Beggars ; and therefore it was higher than either the Holy or the Holiest Place, that it might be seen afar off. So the charity of the Church should be as high as the Church steeple, that all may see it; as the Porch was four times higher than the temple itself.
The Golden Snuffers for trimming the lamps and candle. sticks signify, he says, Church discipline ; reproofs, rebukes, and admonitions, for edification. 6 It is not, therefore, every one that should handle the snuffers ; lest instead of mending the light, they put out the candle. Paul bids them that are • spiritual' do it. Strike at the snuff, not at the light, in all your rebukes. Snuff not your lamps for a private revenge, but to nourish grace. Curb vice, but nourish virtue. Use golden Snuffers (the laws of Christ); not your own fingers, or carnal reasonings, but godly admonitions." Thus there is more wisdom than whim in some of Bunyan's fancies ; and many such things are with him.
He was somewhat of a Millennarian, although not in the vulgar sense of that word, as used then or now. His 6 New Jerusalem” was not so like the old city as Irving's; and there was no Vennerism at all in it. Still Bunyan doated not a little on the seventh thousand years of the world, as well as dreamt of them. One of his strong reasons for this was,— that “ Enoch, the seventh from Adam, being the first prophet of the Resurrection, was thus a type of the seventh thousand years in which the Lord will reign with his Church !” We may smile at this “ strong reason ; ;” but it is quite as valid as some modern theories of the first Resurrection. Bunyan was, however, no drivelling dreamer about the Millennium.
66 Its glory will be,” he says, “ mostly, yea principally, in heavenly and spiritual things, such as faith, love, and experience of God, Grace, and Christ. It grates too near the ground, for me to rejoice or believe that the glory (of the latter Day) will consist in outward or carnal things! Can it be imagined that the chief glory the Gentiles shall bring to the Jews, after six. teen hundred years warming in the bosom of Christ, should consist in outward trumpery? Would this be a suitable medi. cine to the eyes of a wounded people, as the Jews will be,"
when they shall look on Him they have pierced ?— Works, vol. iv. p. 2401.
It will be recollected that Bunyan did not avail himself of the Great Laver in the temple, to support his own views of Baptism : he found a type of them, however, in the Deluge! “ The Flood,” he says, “was a type of three things. First, of the enemies of the Church. Second, a type of the water-baptism under the New Testament. Third, of the last overthrow of the world. He refers, of course, to 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21, where Noah's family are said to have been 6 saved by water.” Bun. yan may be forgiven this mistake. There were not so many goods sent by water, in his time, as to suggest to him that on the water, is meant.-Works, vol. iv. p. 2531.
I do not know how this passage is applied by Baptists in general : but there is a paper in the Baptist Magazine for 1816, signed W. N. Stepney, from which it appears that King James must have taken a similar view of the flood. He said in his speech on the Gunpowder plot, in 1605, “God did by a general deluge and overflowing of waters BAPTIZE the world to a general destruction, and not to general purgation.” W.
says, 6 the figurative use of the word baptize, in this pas. sage, strongly conveys the idea of immersion.” And it cer. tainly does : but of immersion by down-pouring. The King said also in the same speech, in reference to the attempt upon his life in youth, in Scotland, “I should have been baptized in blood.” The writer quotes this expression also ; but not to balance the former. He argues, indeed, as if both conveyed the idea of immersion. And if James meant that, W. N. might well say, “yet it is a remarkable fact, that in the reign of this monarch immersion began to be superseded, as we learn from Sir John Floyer.” It is really difficult to say whether such criticisms on the Verb by Baptists, or similar ones on the Prepositions by Pædobaptists, be folly or crime.
There is wit as well as whim in his personification of Rome, when “ that slut ran away with the name” of the spouse, and set herself up as Dame of the world, and Mistress in the Church. “ T'hen, she turned all things topsy-turvy in the House. She would have an altar like Tiglath Pileser's. The Lord's brazen Altar must be removed from its old place, and the molten sea taken off from the backs of the brazen oxen (where Solomon set it) and set on a pavement of stone,” « Solomon! Alas, Solomon is nobody now ! This Woman is wiser in her own conccits than seven men that can render a