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and glittering sword, adorned with precious stones, and in the other a Book.
· I am sent,” said she, “ to guide you back to the right way, which, unassisted, you could not find." Observing surprise and curiosity expressed in the looks of the two wanderers, she continued : “My name is Revelation, the sister of Truth ; follow me, and
you shall soon come out from the Labyrinth of Error (for so is this place called) into which you have plunged."
She then led the way, cutting down the thorns, thistles, and all intervening obstacles with the sword of the Spirit, the brilliancy of which seemed to disperse the fog that had enveloped them; and ever and anon repeating to them some sentence of hope and encouragement from the sacred book she bore.
Thus, in a short time, they emerged from the wood, and regained the road that Paul had quitted. Their celestial guide then mounted into the air, and gradually disappeared from their sight. They were both thankful to be set in the right way again, but as unmixed joy is rarely to be found in the Land of Imperfection, through which they were travelling, their present care was to find Luke, and it is hard say whether he was most anxiously
THEY REGAIN THE ROAD.
thought of and sought for by his fond sister, or his faithful companion and cousin. “ Alas! cried the latter, if
loved friend and fellow-traveller should be taken from me, I shall go the rest of my way in weariness and sorrow!” After a pause of reflection, however (for he was not in general given to despondency), he exclaimed: “But why this dejection? I could scarcely expect to find him on the same spot where I left him, when nearly half a day has since elapsed. I feel ashamed of my impatience; and, perhaps, even now, he may not be far off.”
Poor Grace looked rather more cheerful at these words, and said, “He may but have preceded us up yonder hill, which seems to lie in the direct road.”
“It does so," answered Paul, “and is the Hill Difficulty, of which you have probably heard ; its steepness will, I fear, be fatiguing to you."
Grace. Oh, no! the hope of again seeing my dear brother will lend me wings to mount it. Only a few hours ago I fancied I should never get out of that labyrinth, yet here I am, not only free of it, but aided by you, my cousin, whom I little thought
so near me.
Paul. Luke as little thought of your being so near, or he would have contrived to make his way to us; but neither of us recognised your voice in the cry which alarmed us.
“ That is not very surprising,” replied his companion, “for you never could have heard me cry in like manner before, and I dare say my voice sounded quite unlike itself.”
Now I saw in my dream that they had advanced as far as the spring which is at the bottom of the hill, and by it sat an old man, who seemed to have the charge of it; he was drest like a hermit, and his face was handsome even in age: with a benevolent countenance and manner, he invited them to drink of the pure water.
“I perceive," said he, “that you are pilgrims, bound for the celestial country, but,” continued he, “methinks your looks are sorrowful ; be not disheartened at the sight of the steep and rugged hill before you, for when you have tasted of this excellent spring you will feel yourselves invigorated.”
“It is not,” replied Paul, “the thought of the difficult ascent which awaits us that makes us ap
“What is it, then ? ” asked the hermit, whose name was Sure-Trust.
" Then,” said Paul, “it is the anxiety we are in respecting the brother of this young maiden, who is also my cousin, and has been my companion since the time I set out from the Town of Trouble, our native place, till this day, but now we know not where he is.”
"Sit ye down beside me," said their compassionate auditor, “ whilst we talk further of this business.”
Then I saw that they were all three seated on the bank by the way-side, the old man between the two young pilgrims, who both eagerly inquired of him if he had seen any one in the road resembling Luke, whose person they described.
He considered a few moments, and then said : “I remember, about noon, seeing afar off a youth like the figure you mention, coming, as I thought, this way, but not quickly, for he seemed ever and anon to pause, as if in doubt, and look around him; but my eyes are waxed dim from age, and the distance was too great for me to discern very distinctly, but I could perceive that during his seeming indecision one came up to him from the left side of the road, and appeared to talk with him, and after awhile walked back from whence he came, taking the other with him. Now I have a suspicion who this man is, but, as I said before, I could not see clearly enough to be certain whether my surmises were correct.”
“Oh!” cried Grace,“ tell us, dear sir, who and what the man was who persuaded my brother to turn with him out of the straight road!”
“My good maiden," replied their venerable companion, “it would be only adding to your uneasiness to mention more particularly what I feel yet doubtful about, but I tell you what I will do: though my life is usually passed in solitude and contemplation, and I have thereby acquired the name of the Hermit, I am not without a friend or relative, both which are combined in a young man named Philemon, who is the only son of my late niece. I instructed him from his childhood, and he is much attached to me - indeed, there is nothing he would not do to serve me; him will I commission to investigate this matter, for he is acquainted with all who dwell in these parts.”
“We feel thankful for your promised exertions in our cause,” replied Paul; “ but how shall we know whether they are successful ?"
· If, as I trust, they be so," answered he, uit shall not be long before you hear of, if not see, your beloved relative."