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ation, nor the worst despair of pardon on repentance and true faith in the blessed Redeemer.
Stubborn. I don't deny that sinners are often converted in less time than you and I have been talking about it, and immediately become the greatest saints.
Paul. That sinners are thus converted, experience, as well as charity, will not allow us to doubt, but that those very sudden conversions you speak of are always the truest, or the most permanent, I much doubt; for the operations of the Holy Spirit, by which alone men are brought to repentance, are thought to be gradual, and sometimes even imperceptible.
Just at this point of the conversation, I observed that Stubborn missed his son Wilful, who had lingered behind, and was descried lying by the wayside. He called to him to come on, but he either did not or would not hear, so the father exclaimed, “ I must go and see after that idle boy of mine ; who, I suppose, is tired, as he often is, and, perhaps, asleep.”
Paul said he thought they could not be far from the Interpreter's house, where, if they gained admittance, he could rest from his fatigue; Stubborn
paid little attention to this, but turned back to speak to his son, and Luke asked his cousin if they should wait for him ?
No," said Paul, “ for as we are not walking fast, he can easily overtake us, if he wishes it. So they proceeded on their way, and as they did so, thought they heard tones of altercation between the father and son; and, looking back, saw that they had not advanced a step forward. Luke said he supposed the boy was weary of the sameness of the road, and wanted to go back, and his father was trying to dissuade him from it.
Paul. We shall see; but, in my opinion, neither of them have any great inclination to proceed. Let us walk leisurely on, and leave them to do as they list; for, with some people, well-meant persuasion is considered impertinent interference, and only deters them the more from compliance."
I saw then, that the two pilgrims continued their usual brotherly converse with each other, till they came to a pleasant avenue of trees, which, as they soon perceived, led to an old-fashioned but handsome house. “ This must surely be the Interpreter's," exclaimed they; and they were right. They rested for a few minutes on a grassy seat in
THE INTERPRETER'S HOUSE.
the avenue, admiring the cheerful prospect now opening on them, and then walked up to the house, where they rang at a bell, which was soon answered by a civil serving-man, to whom they told their
“ I will let my master know," said he ; and presently his master, the Interpreter, came himself to speak to them. He asked them by what way they had arrived at his house ; and when they said they had come through the Wicket Gate, and he saw in Paul's hand the map given him by the keeper thereof, he immediately let them in; and, moreover, when he found from some further discourse that they were the grandsons of Christian and Christiana, whom he so well remembered, he greeted them with most friendly kindness, and made them partake of his hospitable fare : after which he asked them if they would like to see some of those emblems usually shewn there to pilgrims, to which proposal (as may be concluded) they willingly acceded. So he took them, first, into a small square court, inclosed by walls, except on one side, which had high iron railings, on the outside of which they stood. He bade them look on the ground within ; they did so, but could see nothing.
Then,” said he, “ look more closely."
6. I can see
They obeyed; and at last Paul said, nothing but a little worm.”
“ That is it,” said the Interpreter.
They both felt surprised; and, if truth must be told, half inclined to laugh, though our two young pilgrims were by no means of that class of persons who are apt to ridicule whatever they do not understand. Their companion, guessing their thoughts, said good-naturedly, " I dare say you think to yourselves, 'Is this all we are brought here to see ?' But have patience. Look again."
Then,” said Luke, “is it my fancy only, or is the worm larger than when we first saw it?”
Indeed,” said Paul, “ it actually appears to me to be growing larger whilst I look!”
They now watched it attentively, and were not left long in doubt, for it evidently and rapidly increased in size, till, at last, with astonishment, they beheld before them a formidable serpent rearing itself on high, and darting forth its envenomed tongue : they drew back in alarm, thankful that the iron railing was between it and them; and Luke, in rather a tremulous voice, asked the Interpreter the meaning of this.
“ Perhaps you can guess ?” said he.
RAPID GROWTH OF SIN.
“I think I see,” said Paul ; but I may not be right. Will you explain it to us, good sir ?”
Interpreter. It is sin; which, at first beginning, seems an insignificant thing, and with too many passes almost unnoticed, but suffer it to continue without a check, and you see the strength, power, and magnitude it gradually, but quickly, acquires, and how hard to conquer ; whereas, at its commencement, like the worm, it might be easily crushed.
He then touched the reptile with a wand he held in his hand, and they saw it, with much satisfaction, diminish to its former size.
This,” continued the Interpreter, “should teach us to dread sin as the greatest evil, and to watch its small beginnings in our hearts, lest, by degrees, it overpower us.”
Luke said he hoped he should always remember what they had just seen, and resist every slight inclination to transgress.
But,” continued he to the Interpreter, “ how soon your touch made the snake dwindle to a worm again!"
Yes,” answered he, shewing them the stick in his hand, which was formed of the wood of the weeping willow, and surmounted by a cross ;
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