Imágenes de páginas

it has its evils and annoyances; one is, that in some parts the water is


bitter. Paul. But you know, Luke, the Doctors say those bitter waters are very wholesome.

Evangelist. I have heard of them, for they have various springs rising in different places, and have known persons much benefited by them; indeed, they have sometimes cured when other remedies have failed; especially in the cases of ossified or stony heart, and in the plethora of pride: neither of which diseases will, I hope, attack you or your cousin.

Paul. I hope not; but I fancied I felt some symptoms of the latter when I was wandering on the Hill of Presumption; and, methinks, it would be well if the dust of that hill were to be occasionally laid, by some of these Waters of Affliction, as they are called.

Evangelist. It would so; and the showers of Penitence have sometimes fallen there with good effect. But had you any other evil to complain of in Trouble town?

Luke. Yes; one was the party-spirit, prejudice, and disputations about things of small moment, amongst our neighbours; and though Paul and myself endeavoured to avoid taking part in their disputes, we



[ocr errors]

could with difficulty escape censure, from each party fancying we inclined to the opposite one, or else accusing us of lukewarm indifference to that which most vitally concerned us : yet at the same time we knew several well-meaning persons on both sides.

Now I saw in my dream that during this conversation they came within view of the Wicket Gate, which, being still distant, the pilgrims did not perceive, till Evangelist pointed it out: then were they glad, and said to their friendly guide,“ We could scarcely doubt we were in the right way, having you with us, but the sight of that blessed gate confirms us in the opinion.”

Evangelist. Ye say well that it is a blessed gate, for it only is “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Luke. But, dear sir, shall we easily gain admittance there?

Evangelist. If you approach it in humility and trusting belief, for you will see written over the gate, “ Knock, and it shall be opened unto you;" and the compassionate Keeper has said, “ Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Luke. These are, indeed, comforting words; and perhaps you will allow us to mention your name to him ?

Evangelist. Willingly; though my power in behalf of others is only lent me from on high : but I will give you this ticket of recommendation, a few of which I keep for deserving applicants. And now that you are advancing so far on your road I will take my leave, bidding you God speed, and wishing you a safe and prosperous journey. Paul. We part


you with regret, and thank you kindly for your friendly encouragement. I saw then that he gave them the kiss of

peace, and they separated. Both looked wistfully after him, and would fain he had continued longer in their company, but expressed their hopes of possibly meeting with him again before their travels were ooncluded.

Then said Luke to his companion,—“I wish my young sister could have come with us."

Paul. Did she feel any inclination to come on pilgrimage?

Luke. Yes, I think in her heart she did; but her aunt, Mrs. Indulgence, would not hear of it, thinking her not old enough, or strong enough, for so arduous an undertaking, and she being naturally rather timid, was persuaded to remain at home. But she made me promise, if I had opportunity, to write



and inform her of my welfare; for she is much attached to me, and we have never before been parted for any length of time, as you know.

Paul. Her aunt's, was, perhaps mistaken kindness; but time must remove one, and possibly both objections.

Now I perceived that they were within a few steps of the gate, and Luke said to his fellow,- “ I pray you knock, for I feel in a tremble, and afraid I am not worthy to enter here, though I strongly desire it.”

Nay, good brother,” said Paul, “ have you so soon forgotten what our friend Evangelist said ? Neither of us can expect or presume to get in by our own merits! And in the Holy Book we are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.' Be not discouraged, then; but as you wish it, and my hand is perhaps the steadiest, I will be the first to knock.”

Whereupon he raised his arm for that purpose, but quickly withdrew it with an exclamation of surprise and pain, being suddenly struck in the wrist by an arrow from an unseen hand. An enemy hath done this!” cried he; "it is one of the darts of the wicked.'” But, casting his eyes on the ground, he


saw growing, at the foot of the gate, an herb called the “balm of meekness," some leaves of which he and Luke plucked, and applied them to the wound, which almost immediately began to heal; and while thus employed another arrow flew close by them, but missed its aim. Luke then took courage, and knocked, when a sweet voice was heard saying,

Fear not, my grace is sufficient for thee;" and presently the gate was opened to them by a dignified Person, with an aspect and manner so holy and benevolent that it inspired them with mingled awe and admiration. He inquired their names, and from whence they came, and they told him; then asked he if they met with any one on their way?

** Yes," said Paul, we met one Evangelist, who was kind to us, and gave us his company for a space."

“ And he it was,” said Luke, “who guided us to this gate." But,” said the Man,

know that ye speak truly? for in this land are many impostors."

But this he said to prove their tempers, and how they could brook suspicion, for his superior discernment enabled him easily to distinguish truth from falsehood.

[ocr errors]

- how may

« AnteriorContinuar »