And I slept, and dreamed again, and saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city. Now, a little below these mountains, on the left hand, lieth the country of Conceit; from which country there comes into the way in which the pilgrims walked a little crooked lane. Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad, that came out of that country, and his name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him from what parts he came, and whither he was going.
Ignor. Sir, I was born in the country that lieth off there a little on the left hand, and I am going to the Celestial City.
Chris. But how do you think to get in at the gate? for you may find some difficulty there.
Ignor. As other people do.
Chris. But what have you to show at the gate, that may cause that the gate should be opened to you?
Ignor. I know my Lord's will, and have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay money to the church and give to the poor, and have left my country for whither I am going.
Chris. But thou camest not in at the wicket-gate that is at the head of this way: thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane; and therefore I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning day shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the city.
Ignor. Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me: I know you not: be content to follow the custom of your country, and I will follow the custom of mine. I hope all will be well. And, as for the gate that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off of our country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it; nor need they matter whether they do or no, since we have, as you see, a fine, pleasant green lane, that comes down from our country, the next way into the way.
When Christian saw that the man was wise in his own opinion, he said to Hopeful, whisperingly, "There is more hope of a fool than of him." And said, moreover "When he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. What! shall we talk further with him, or outgo him at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already, and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good to him?"
Then said Hopeful:
"Let Ignorance a little while now muse On what is said, and let him not refuse Good counsel to embrace, lest he remain Still ignorant of what's the chiefest gain. God saith, those that no understanding have (Although He made them), them He will not save."
Hope. He further added, "It is not good, I think, to say all to him at once: let us pass him by, if you will, and talk to him by and by, even as he is able to bear it."
So they both went on, and Ignorance he came after. Now, when they had passed him a little way, they entered into a very dark lane, where they met a man whom seven devils had bound with seven strong cords, and were carrying of him back to the door that they saw on the side of the hill. Now good Christian began to tremble, and so did Hopeful his companion; yet, as the devils led away the man, Christian looked to see if he knew him; and he thought it might be one Turn-away, that dwelt in the town of Apostasy. But he did not perfectly see his face, for he did hang his head like a thief that is found; but being gone past, Hopeful looked after him, and espied on his back a paper with this inscription, "One who was wicked while claiming to be good, and turned away from God."
THREE STURDY ROGUES Then said Christian to his fellow, "Now I call to remembrance that which was told of a thing that happened to a good man hereabout. The name of that man was Little-Faith, but a good man, and dwelt in the town of Sincere. The thing was this: At the entering in at this passage, there comes down from Broad-way Gate a lane called Dead Man's Lane; so-called because of the murders that are commonly done there; and this Little-Faith, going on pilgrimage as we do now, chanced to sit down there, and slept. Now, there happened at that time to come down that lane, from Broad-way Gate, three sturdy rogues, and their names were Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, three brothers; and they espying Little-Faith, where he was, came galloping up with speed. Now, the good man was just awaked from his sleep, and was getting up to go on his journey. So they came up all to him, and with threatening language bid him stand. At this, Little-Faith looked as white as a sheet and had neither power to fight nor fly. Then said Faint-heart, 'Deliver thy purse;' but, he making no haste to do it (for he was loth to lose his money) Mistrust ran up to him, and, thrusting his hand into his pocket, pulled out thence a bag of silver. Then he cried out, 'Thieves! thieves!' With that, Guilt, with a great club that was in his hand, struck Little-Faith on the head, and with that blow felled him flat to the ground, where he lay bleeding as one that would bleed to death. All this while the thieves stood by. But, at last, they hearing that some were upon the road, and fearing lest it should be one Great-Grace, that dwells in the city of Good-Confidence, they betook themselves to their heels, and left this good man to shift for himself. Now, after a while, Little-Faith came to himself, and, getting up, made shift to scramble on his way. This was the story."
Hope. But did they take from him all that ever he had?
Chris. No; the place where his jewels were they never ransacked; so those he kept still. But as I was told, the good man was much afflicted for his loss, for the thieves got most of his spending money. That which they got not, as I said, were jewels; also he had a little odd money left, but scarce enough to bring him to his journey's end. Nay, if I was not misinformed, he was forced to beg as he went, to keep himself alive, for his jewels he might not sell; but, beg and do what he could, he went, as we say, often with a hungry stomach the most part of the rest of the way.
Hope. But is it not a wonder they got not from him his certificate, by which he was to receive admission at the Celestial Gate?
Chris. It is a wonder; but they got not that, though they missed it not through any cunning of his; for he, being dismayed by their coming upon him, had neither power nor skill to hide anything; so it was more by good providence than by his endeavor, that they missed of that good thing.
Hope. But it must needs be a comfort to him that they got not his jewels from him.
Chris. It might have been great comfort to him, had he used it as he should; but they that told me the story said, that he made but little use of it all the rest of the way, and that because of the alarm that he had in their taking away his money. Indeed, he forgot it a great part of the rest of his journey; and besides, when at any time it came into his mind, and he began to be comforted therewith, then would fresh thoughts of his loss come again upon him, and those thoughts would swallow up all.
HOPEFUL REBUKED Hope. Alas, poor man! this could not but be a great grief unto him.
Chris. Grief! ay, a grief indeed. Would it not have been so to any of us, had we been used as he, to be robbed and wounded too, and that in a strange place, as he was? It is a wonder he did not die with grief, poor heart! I was told that he scattered almost all the rest of the way with nothing but doleful and bitter complaints; telling also to all that overtook him, or that he overtook in the way as he went, where he was robbed, and how; who they were that did it, and what he had lost; how he was wounded, and that he hardly escaped with life.
Hope. But it is a wonder that his necessities did not put him upon selling or pawning some of his jewels, that he might have wherewith to relieve himself in his journey.
Chris. Thou talkest like one whose head is thick to this very day. For what should he pawn them, or to whom should he sell them? In all that country where he was robbed, his jewels were not accounted of; nor did he want that relief which could from thence be administered to him. Besides, had his jewels been missing at the gate of the Celestial City, he had (and that he knew well enough) been shut out from an inheritance there; and that would have been worse to him than the coming and villany of ten thousand thieves.
Hope. But, Christian, these three fellows, I am persuaded in my heart, are but a company of cowards: would they have run else, think you, as they did at the noise of one that was coming on the road? Why did not Little-Faith pluck up a greater heart? He might, methinks, have stood one brush with them, and have yielded when there had been no remedy.
Chris. That they are cowards many have said, but few have found it so in the time of trial. As for a great heart, Little-Faith had none; and I perceive by thee, my brother, hadst thou been the man concerned, thou art but for a brush, and then to yield. And, verily, since this is the height of thy courage now they are at a distance from us, should they appear to thee as they did to him, they might put thee to second thoughts. But consider again, they are but journeymen-thieves; they serve under the king of the bottomless pit, who, if need be, will come in to their aid himself, and his voice is as the roaring of a lion. I myself have been engaged as this Little-Faith was, and I found it a terrible thing. These three villains set upon me: and I beginning like a Christian to resist, they gave but a call, and in came their master. I would, as the saying is, have given my life for a penny, but that, as God would have it, I was clothed with armor of proof. Ay, and yet, though I was so protected, I found it hard work to quit myself like a man. No man can tell what in that combat attends us, but he that hath been in the battle himself.
LITTLE-FAITH AND GREAT-GRACE Hope. Well, but they ran, you see, when they did but suppose that one Great-Grace was in the way.
Chris. True, they have often fled, both they and their master, when Great-Grace hath but appeared; and no marvel, for he is the King's champion. But I trow you will put some difference between Little-Faith and the King's champion? All the King's subjects are not His champions, nor can they when tried do such feats of war as he. Is it meet to think that a little child should handle Goliath as David did? or that there should be the strength of an ox in a wren? Some are strong, some are weak; some have great faith, some have little: this man was one of the weak, and therefore he went to the wall.
Hope. I would it had been Great-Grace for their sakes.
Chris. If it had been he, he might have had his hands full; for I must tell you that though Great-Grace is excellent good at his weapons, and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at sword's point, do well enough with them; yet, if they get within him, even Faint-heart, Mistrust, or the other, it shall go hard but they will throw up his heels. And when a man is down, you know, what can he do?
Whoso looks well upon Great-Grace's face will see those scars and cuts there, that shall easily give proof of what I say. Yea, once I heard that he should say (and that when he was in the combat), "We despaired even of life." How did these sturdy rogues and their fellows make David groan, mourn, and roar! Yea, Heman, and Hezekiah too, though champions in their days, were forced to bestir when by these attacked; and yet, notwithstanding, they had their coats soundly brushed by them. Peter, upon a time, would go try what he could do; but though some do say of him that he is the prince of the apostles, they handled him so that they made him at last afraid of a sorry girl.
LITTLE-FAITH AMONG THIEVES Besides, their king is at their whistle—he is never out of hearing; and if at any time they be put to the worst, he, if possible, comes in to help them; and of him it is said, "The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold; the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; sling-stones are turned with him into stubble. Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear." What can a man do in this case? It is true, if a man could at every turn have Job's horse, and had skill and courage to ride him, he might do notable things. For his neck is clothed with thunder. He will not be afraid as the grasshopper: "the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted, neither turneth he his back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha! ha! and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting."
But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire to meet with an enemy, nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we hear of others that have been foiled, nor be tickled at the thoughts of our manhood; for such commonly come by the worst when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before: he would swagger, ay, he would; he would, as his vain mind prompted him to say, do better and stand more for his Master than all men; but who so foiled and run down by those villains as he?
Then Christian sang:
"Poor Little-Faith! hast been among the thieves? Wast robbed? Remember this: whoso believes And gets more faith, shall then a victor be Over ten thousand; else, scarce over three."
So they went on, and Ignorance followed. They went then till they came to a place where they saw a way put itself into their way, and seemed withal to lie as straight as the way which they should go; and here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them; therefore here they stood still to consider. And, as they were thinking about the way, behold, a man, black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there. They answered they were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take. "Follow me," said the man; "it is thither that I am going." So they followed him to the way that but now came into the road, which by degrees turned and turned them so from the city that they desired to go to, that, in a little time, their faces were turned away from it; yet they followed him. But by-and-by, before they were aware, he led them both within the folds of a net, in which they were both so entangled that they knew not what to do; and with that, the white robe fell off the black man's back. Then they saw where they were. Wherefore, there they lay crying some time, for they could not get themselves out.
Chris. Then said Christian to his fellow, "Now do I see myself in an error. Did not the shepherds bid us beware of flatterers? As is the saying of the Wise Man, so we have found it this day: 'A man that flattereth his neighbor, spreadeth a net at his feet.'"
A SHINING ONE APPEARS Hope. They also gave us a note of directions about the way, for our more sure finding thereof; but therein we have also forgotten to read, and have not kept ourselves from the paths of the destroyer. Thus they lay bewailing themselves in the net. At last they espied a Shining One coming towards them with a whip of small cord in his hand. When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them whence they came, and what they did there. They told him that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man clothed in white, "Who bid us," said they, "follow him, for he was going thither too." Then said he with the whip, "It is Flatterer, a false prophet, that hath changed himself into an angel of light." So he rent the net, and let the men out. Then said he to them, "Follow me, that I may set you in your way again." So he led them back to the way which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, saying, "Where did you lie the last night?" They said, "With the shepherds upon the Delectable Mountains." He asked them then if they had not of those shepherds a note of direction for the way. They answered, "Yes." "But did you not," said he, "when you were at a stand, pluck out and read your note?" They answered, "No." He asked them, "Why?" They said they forgot. He asked them, moreover, if the shepherds did not bid them beware of the Flatterer. They answered, "Yes; but we did not imagine," said they, "that this fine-spoken man had been he."
Then I saw in my dream, that he commanded them to lie down; which when they did, he whipped them sore, to teach them the good way wherein they should walk; and, as he whipped them, he said, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent." This done, he bid them go on their way, and take good heed to the other directions of the shepherds. So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went softly along the right way, singing:
"Come hither, you that walk along the way, See how the pilgrims fare that go astray; They catchèd are in an entangling net, 'Cause they good counsel lightly did forget; 'Tis true, they rescued were; but yet, you see, They're scourged to boot: let this your caution be."
Now, after awhile they perceived afar off, one coming softly and alone, all along the highway, to meet them. Then said Christian to his fellow, "Yonder is a man with his back towards Zion, and he is coming to meet us."
Hope. I see him: let us take heed to ourselves lest he should prove a flatterer also.
THEY MEET ATHEIST So he drew nearer and nearer, and at last came up to them. His name was Atheist, and he asked them whither they were going.
Chris. We are going to Mount Zion.
Then Atheist fell into a very great laughter.
Chris. What is the meaning of your laughter?
Atheist. I laugh to see what ignorant persons you are, to take upon yourselves so tedious a journey, and yet are like to have nothing but your travel for your pains.
Chris. Why, man, do you think we shall not be received?
Atheist. Received! There is no such a place as you dream of in all this world.
Chris. But there is in the world to come.
Atheist. When I was at home in mine own country, I heard as you now affirm, and, from that hearing, went out to see, and have been seeking this city these twenty years, but find no more of it than I did the first day I set out.
Chris. We have both heard and believe that there is such a place to be found.
Atheist. Had not I, when at home, believed I had not come thus far to seek; but, finding none (and yet I should had there been such a place to be found, for I have gone to seek it farther than you), I am going back again, and will seek to refresh myself with the things that I then cast away for hopes of that which I now see is not.
Chris. Then said Christian to Hopeful his fellow, "Is it true which this man hath said?"
Hope. Take heed; he is one of the flatterers. Remember what it hath cost us once already for hearkening to such kind of fellows. What! no Mount Zion? Did we not see from the Delectable Mountains the gate of the city? Also, are we not now to walk by faith? Let us go on, lest the man with the whip overtake us again. I say, my brother, cease to hear him, and let us believe to the saving of the soul.
Chris. My brother, I did not put the question to thee for that I doubted of the truth of our belief myself, but to prove thee, and to fetch from thee a fruit of the honesty of thy heart. As for this man, I know that he is blinded. Let thee and me go on, knowing that we have belief of the truth, and no lie is of the truth.
Hope. Now do I rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
So they turned away from the man, and he, laughing at them, went his way.
I then saw in my dream that they went till they came into a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of sleep; wherefore he said unto Christian, "I do now begin to grow so drowsy, that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes; let us lie down here, and take one nap."
Chris. "By no means," said the other, "lest sleeping, we never awake more."
Hope. Why, my brother? sleep is sweet to the laboring man: we may be refreshed if we take a nap.
Chris. Do not you remember that one of the shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that that we should beware of sleeping; wherefore let us not sleep as others, but let us watch and be sober.
Hope. I acknowledge myself in fault; and had I been here alone, I had, by sleeping, run the danger of death. I see it is true that the Wise Man saith, "Two are better than one." Hitherto hath thy company been my help; and thou shalt have a good reward for thy labor.
Chris. "Now, then," said Christian, "to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us talk about something profitable."
Hope. With all my heart.
HOPEFUL NARRATES CONVERSION Chris. Where shall we begin?
Hope. Where God began with us. But do you begin, if you please.
Chris. I will sing you first this song:
"When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither, And hear how these two pilgrims talk together; Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise, Thus to keep ope their drowsy, slumbering eyes. Saints' fellowship, if it be managed well, Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell."
Chris. Then Christian began, and said, "I will ask you a question. How came you to think at first of doing as you do now?"
Hope. Do you mean, how came I at first to look after the good of my soul?
Chris. Yes, that is my meaning.
Hope. I continued a great while in the delight of those things which were seen and sold at our fair; things which I believe now would have, had I continued in them still, drowned me in ruin and destruction.
Chris. What things were they?
Hope. All the treasures and riches of the world. Also I delighted much in rioting, revelling, drinking, swearing, lying, uncleanness, Sabbath-breaking, and what not, that tended to destroy the soul. But I found at last, by hearing and considering of things that are holy, which indeed I heard of you, as also of beloved Faithful, that was put to death for his faith, and good living in Vanity Fair, that the end of these things is death; and that, for these things' sake, the wrath of God cometh upon those who disobey him.
Chris. And did you presently fall under the power of this feeling?
Hope. No; I was not willing presently to know the evil of sin, nor the destruction that follows upon the doing of it; but tried, when my mind at first began to be shaken with the Word, to shut mine eyes against the light thereof.
Chris. But what was the cause of your waiting so long?
Hope. The causes were,—Firstly, I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. Secondly, Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was loth to leave it. Thirdly, I could not tell how to part with mine old companions, their presence and actions were so desirable unto me. Fourthly, The hours in which these feelings were upon me, were such troublesome and such heart-affrighting hours, that I could not bear, no, not so much as the remembrance of them upon my heart.
Chris. Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your trouble?
Hope. Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again, and then I should be as bad, nay, worse than I was before.
Chris. Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?
Hope. Many things; as,
1. If I did but meet a good man in the streets; or,
2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or,
3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,
4. If I were told that some of my neighbors were sick; or,
5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or,
6. If I thought of dying myself; or,
7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others;
8. But especially when I thought of myself that I must quickly come to judgment. Chris. And could you at any time with ease get off the guilt of sin, when by any of these ways it came upon you?
Hope. No, not I; for then they got faster hold of my conscience; and then, if I did but think of going back to sin (though my mind was turned against it,) it would be double torment to me.
Chris. And how did you do then?
Hope. I thought I must endeavor to mend my life; for else, thought I, I am sure to be lost forever.
Chris. And did you endeavor to mend?
Hope. Yes, and fled from not only my sins, but sinful company too, and betook me to religious duties, as praying, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbors, etc. These things did I, with many others, too much here to tell.
Chris. And did you think yourself well then?
Hope. Yes, for a while; but, at the last, my trouble came tumbling upon me again, and that over the neck of all my trying to do right.
Chris. How came that about, since you were now doing right, as far as you knew?
Hope. There were several things brought it upon me; especially such sayings as these: "All our righteousness are as filthy rags;" "By the works of the law shall no flesh be made righteous;" "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable;" with many more such like. From whence I began to reason with myself thus: If all my righteousness are filthy rags, if by the deeds of the law no man can be made righteous, and if, when we have done all, we are yet unprofitable, then it is but a folly to think of heaven by the law. I further thought thus; If a man runs a hundred pounds into the shopkeeper's debt, and after that shall pay for all that he shall buy; yet his old debt stands still in the book uncrossed; for the which the shopkeeper may sue him, and cast him into prison till he shall pay the debt.
Chris. Well, and how did you apply this to yourself?
Hope. Why, I thought thus with myself: I have by my sins run a great way into God's book, and my now reforming will not pay off that score. Therefore I should think still, under all my present trying. But how shall I be freed from that punishment that I have brought myself in danger of by my former sins.
Chris. A very good application; but pray go on.
Hope. Another thing that hath troubled me ever since my late turning from sin is, that if I look narrowly into the best of what I do now, I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with the best of that I do; so that now I am forced to conclude that, notwithstanding my former fond opinion of myself and duties, I have committed sin enough in one duty to send me to hell, though my former life had been faultless.
Chris. And what did you do then?
Hope. Do! I could not tell what to do, till I brake my mind to Faithful; for he and I were well acquainted. And he told me, that unless I could obtain the righteousness of a Man that never had sinned, neither mine own nor all the righteousness of the world could save me.
Chris. And did you think he spake true?
Hope. Had he told me so when I was pleased and satisfied with mine own trying, I had called him fool for his pains; but now, since I see mine own weakness and the sin which cleaves to my best performance, I have been forced to be of his opinion.
Chris. But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you, that there was such a Man to be found, of whom it might justly be said that He never committed sin?
Hope. I must confess the words at first sounded strangely; but after a little more talk and company with him I had full certainty about it.
Chris. And did you ask him what Man this was, and how you must be made righteous by Him?
Hope. Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, that dwelleth on the right hand of the Most High. And thus, said he, you must be made right by Him, even by trusting what He hath done by Himself in the days of His flesh, and suffered when He did hang on the tree. I asked him further, How that Man's righteousness could be of that power to help another before God? And he told me He was the mighty God, and did what He did, and died the death also, not for Himself, but for me; to whom His doings, and the worthiness of them, should be given if I believed on Him.
Chris. And what did you do then?
Hope. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought He was not willing to save me.
Chris. And what said Faithful to you then?
Hope. He bid me go to Him and see. Then I said it was too much for me to ask for. But he said No, for I was invited to come. Then he gave me a book of Jesus' own writing to encourage me the more freely to come; and he said concerning that book, that every word and letter thereof stood firmer than heaven and earth. Then I asked him what I must do when I came; and he told me I must entreat on my knees, with all my heart and soul, the Father to reveal Him to me. Then I asked him further how I must make my prayer to Him; and he said, Go, and thou shalt find Him upon a mercy-seat, where He sits all the year long to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. I told him that I knew not what to say when I came; and he bid me say to this effect: God be merciful to me a sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see that if His righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that Thou art a merciful God, and hast given that Thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world; and, moreover, that Thou art willing to bestow Him upon such a poor sinner as I am. And I am a sinner indeed. Lord, take therefore this opportunity, and show Thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through Thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Chris. And did you do as you were bidden?
Hope. Yes, over, and over, and over.
Chris. And did the Father show His son to you?
Hope. Not at the first, nor second, nor third, nor fourth, nor fifth; no, nor at the sixth time neither.
Chris. What did you do then?
Hope. What! why, I could not tell what to do.
Chris. Had you no thoughts of leaving off praying?
Hope. Yes; a hundred times twice told.
Chris. And what was the reason you did not?
Hope. I believed that that was true which had been told me; to wit, that without the righteousness of this Christ, all the world could not save me; and therefore, thought I with myself, if I leave off I die, and I can but die at the throne of grace. And withal, this came into my mind: "Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." So I continued praying until the Father showed me His Son.
Chris. And how was He shown unto you?
Hope. I did not see Him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of my heart, and thus it was: One day I was very sad, I think sadder than at any one time in my life; and this sadness was through a fresh sight of the greatness and vileness of my sins. And, as I was then looking for nothing but hell and the everlasting loss of my soul, suddenly, as I thought, I saw the Lord Jesus look down from heaven upon me, and saying, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
But I replied, "Lord, I am a great, a very great sinner." And He answered, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Then I said, "But, Lord, what is believing?" And then I saw from that saying, "He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," that believing and coming was all one; and that he that came, that is, ran out in his heart and desire after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ. Then the water stood in mine eyes, and I asked further, "But, Lord, may such a great sinner as I am be indeed accepted of Thee, and be saved by thee?" and I heard Him say, "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Then said I, "But how Lord, must I consider of Thee in my coming to Thee, that my faith may be placed aright upon Thee?" Then he said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. He died for our sins, and rose again for our righteousness. He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. He is Mediator between God and us. He ever liveth to plead for us." From all which I gathered that I must look for righteousness in His person, and for satisfaction for my sins by His blood; that what He did in obedience to His Father's law, and in submitting to the penalty thereof, was not for Himself, but for him that will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful. And now was my heart full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affections running over with love to the name, people, and ways of Jesus Christ.
Chris. This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed. But tell me particularly what effect this had upon your spirit.
Hope. It made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all the righteousness thereof, is in a state of condemnation. It made me see that God the Father, though He be just, can justly forgive the coming sinner. It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of my own ignorance; for there never came thought into my heart before now, that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honor and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus. Yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.