Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ADMITTANCE WITHIN THE GATE.

13

Paul answered humbly, that Evangelist gave them a certificate; and, turning to Luke, asked him to shew it (as to him it was given).

Luke felt for it in the folds of his vest, where he had placed it when received from the good Evangelist : he searched, but it was not there. A blush of shame suffused his countenance, which, though unmixed with guilt, might to some observers have borne its appearance.

“ Careless and thoughtless that I am!” cried he; “I cannot find it.”

Whilst, with downcast eyes, he was considering how he could have lost it, suddenly he espied it partly hidden under the leaves of the herb, where, while stooping down together (his thoughts intent on his suffering companion), it had doubtless fallen unheeded from his bosom; he caught it up joyfully and presented it to the keeper, who quickly perused it, and with a gracious smile bade them enter, which they did with gladness. Then he brought them into a pleasant summer-house adjoining the gate, where he desired them to tarry awhile ; “ for ye have walked far,” said he, “and are

weary, and I will give you rest.'” They willingly obeyed, for they were quite weary on arriving at the gate, the kind keeper of which also invited them to sup with him. They did so, and never had they tasted food so refreshing. Their entertainer, observing Paul's wrist, asked if he had hurt it? He told him it was struck by an arrow, just as they were about to knock for admittance; but they could not tell by whom it was shot. “ Did ye not,” said the other,

“observe a high wall at a short distance from the road?”

They said they believed there was one, though they did not notice it particularly.

“On the other side of it,” replied the keeper, “ is the abode of an old and inveterate enemy of pilgrims, and from thence he privily shoots at all whom he sees approach, or in some way endeavours to deter them from entering here; and so he will continue to do, for he is eager

for his

prey, 'as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.'”

“How thankful should we feel,” said Paul, we have escaped him, and are safe in this sanctuary ! But does he often succeed in entrapping those who arrive as close at the gate as we were ?”

“His cunning,” answered the keeper, “is equal to his malice, and the nearer his victims advance to the gate, the more is he bent on turning them from it."

" that

THE VICTIMS OF THE ENEMY.

15

* But,” said Luke, “methinks they must be fainthearted ones who are driven back even from the threshold.”

Keeper. There are two sorts of persons that he has been known thus to decoy: they of little faith (who observe not the words of encouragement

written over the gate), and they who trust entirely to their own strength, and consequently neglect to ask for spiritual aid. The first he intimidates, and the second he induces to hold a parley with him, when their fancied strength is soon overcome by his wicked subtlety, and turned to weakness. Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall.'”

• Indeed, sir,” said Paul, “ I have need to regard that admonition, for while we were passing near the Slough of Despond I thought I had chosen sure ground, when I found myself on the Hill of Presumption, where I might have been choked as well as blinded by the dust, had not my good cousin here helped me, and brought me back to the right path ; wherein he acted the part of a true friend."

Nay, dear Paul,” said Luke, “ you overrate my service; and I am sure you would have done the like for me, had the case been reversed."

“ That, I trust, I should,” replied the other,

"It pleaseth me," said the gatekeeper, " to see ye thus in friendly fellowship. •By love serve one another.'”

Then I saw that they began to rise (though reluctantly) to take their departure, but He said to them, —“ The night is advanced, and it is too dark for ye to see your way, therefore abide here till morning dawn, and then ye shall proceed on your road ;' and so saying, after a little more profitable discourse, he left them to their peaceful slumbers, right glad that they were kindly bidden to remain.

Before the morning twilight was past they arose invigorated, and after washing in pure water provided for them, sought. Him who had given them rest. He, who is always “ to be found of them that diligently seek Him,” was not long in appearing ; and before they departed gave them a small map of the country they were to pass through, with some brief instructions for their conduct on the way; warning them that they might encounter therein crosses, difficulties, and temptations, and at the same time advising them “ not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good :”—“ to do as they would be done by:”—“ to mind not earthly

[blocks in formation]

things,” remembering that they were but pilgrims and sojourners on the earth, which was not their abiding-place. The sun was now gradually appearing above the horizon as the travellers stood on the threshold ready to depart. “ So shall the · Sun of righteousness arise,'" said Paul to Luke; while, with grateful hearts, they took leave of the good Master of the gate; who directed them to keep in the straight narrow path, and blessed them. Then I saw in my dream that they went on their way rejoicing; though, at first, thoughtfully and in silence, each reflecting on the words of that good man, the light of whose countenance had just shone on them. At length Paul, looking over the map he held in his hand, remarked to his companion that the Interpreter's house seemed to be the next place of note they should come to.

* Ay,” said Luke, “ I have heard (and so must you) of him, and his house, and what curious and instructive things our fathers, who were boys at the time, saw there.”

Yes,” said Paul, “ and I can just remember my mother, Mercy, who was three years older than my father, telling me of the lasting impression made or her mind by the sights shewn there; though of what

66

с

« AnteriorContinuar »