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the rod of godly sorrow, which, by virtue of the cross of Christ, is endued with the power you have just seen.”
After this he led them on a little further, where they saw a man lying on the ground, who every now and then made a feeble effort to rise ; but, after each short struggle, sank down again as before.
“ Then,” said Paul, “ this man seems wishing to raise himself up, but some obstacle apparently prevents him, though what it is I cannot perceive."
The Interpreter replied by taking a magnifying glass from his pocket, and desiring the pilgrims to look through; which, when they did, they saw that the man was bound by numerous diminutive chains : they begged their guide to explain this
Interpreter. The reason this man cannot rise from his low position is, that he is fettered by the chains of habit; which, though so small that you could not see them without the glass, are yet very strong; and the more so because the poor victim scarcely sees them himself, though he feels their power.
Luke. If he had been more watchful over himself at first, I suppose he would not have been thus under their dominion?”
Interpreter. No; they glided imperceptibly over
THE POWER OF HABIT.
him, one by one, as it were, till at length they pressed him down, and made him the slave he now is.
Paul. And must he always remain so ? Can nothing loosen him?
Interpreter. Nothing but the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, which may be obtained by sincere and earnest prayer, through the mediation of the merciful Redeemer.
Now I saw in my dream that the Interpreter bade the pilgrims follow him to a pleasant smooth lawn adjoining the house, where there grew a green and flourishing tree, bearing leaves, blossoms, and fruit. This object attracted the attention of them both, and they remarked to the friendly Interpreter that they had never before seen so goodly a tree.
It is, indeed," said he, most pleasing to every eye not blinded by the smoke of worldly-mindedness; and besides being highly ornamental, it is supremely beneficial to mankind.
Pray tell us its history, sir, and its name ?” asked Luke.
" The original tree (of which this is a specimen) was planted more than 1800 years ago," replied the Interpreter, “and has since been cultivated in various parts of the Land of Imperfection, through
which you are travelling: its name is Christianity; and though it has been cruelly attacked and injured in various ways by the enemy, who has done all he can to hew it down, it never has, and never will be, destroyed; but, on the contrary, good and able gardeners have gone forth at divers times to plant it in distant parts of the country, where it was before unknown. Not a few have proved their courage and faithful care of it by dying in its defence. The Lord of the land has also promised that the time will come when it shall abound over all the earth; which, indeed, without it, is little better than a desert.”
Then I saw that all three walked up close to the tree, whilst the Interpreter proceeded to explain its different parts; and as they approached it, Paul and Luke were charmed by the fragrance of its blossoms.
“ Its root,” continued he, “ is Faith, which is necessary to its existence ; its stem, naturally springing from this root, is Piety, and that is nourished and strengthened continually by its sap, which is Prayer : its leaves are Charity ; its blossoms, Holiness; its fruit, which is good both in its green and ripe state, Good Works and Godly Love; and its bark is Righteousness, in which it is clothed.”
THE TREE OF CHRISTIANITY.
Now I saw that just as the pilgrims were quitting this valuable tree, which they had contemplated with admiration, a pair of beauteous white doves flying to roost on its branches shook down two of its oranges, as I shall call them, for they appeared, in my dream, most to resemble that fruit. The Interpreter picked them up, and presented them to the travellers, saying, “ Ye have not yet ascended the Hill of Difficulty, and are, therefore, not permitted to pluck these; but if any chance to fall, I
may give them to you. Do not eat them now, though, but keep them against a time of need ; that is, should any distress or dilemma overtake you, for then you will find more benefit from them.”
They thanked him, and he took them back into the house, where he talked with them concerning the elders of their family, whom he remembered better than they could, while supper was preparing. They rested there the night; and on the morrow expressed their desire to proceed on their journey.
" That you shall do," said the Interpreter," when I have shewn you one thing more.” Now the venerable man was fond of animals and of natural history, delighting to observe the ways of the inferior creatures, their innocence, and the sagacity bestowed
on them by their wise Creator; so he shewed them an aviary, which was not, as in some cases, a prison, for the light wire-gates of it swung to and fro without fastening, so that the birds could easily push them either
and come in and out as they pleased, and being fed and kindly treated, were glad to shelter there at night, or in cold weather. There they saw a variety of the feathered tribe, some charming to the eye and some to the ear, from their exquisite plumage and melodious song; the affection, too, which they evinced towards each other, might serve as a pattern to man, who might go to the birds to learn brotherly love, as he is told to go to the ant to learn industry and prudence. In a smaller division of this aviary they saw a collection of caterpillars of different colours, all feeding eagerly on some fresh green leaves. Near them were some in the state of chrysalis; and flying about amidst the flowers of the garden, appeared some beautiful butterflies,
" There is an evident meaning in this," cried Paul.
"Explain it, then," said Luke.
Paul. The caterpillars shew mankind in the present state, intently occupied on the things of earth, as these are, in devouring leaf after leaf. The