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principles of our nature, it is contrary to sound philosophy to look beyond nature for its cause. Bunyan himself appears to have sometimes doubted the reality of these supernatural visitations.
'Once,' says he, as I was walking to and fro in a good man's shop, bemoaning of myself in my sad and doleful state, afflicting myself with self-abhorrence for this wicked and ungodly thought; (he alludes to a fearful temptation to sell the Saviour, and to words which had seemed to pass through his mind, to the effect, · let him go if he will,' in consequence of which he had been long in bitter distress ;) lamenting also this hard hap of mind, for that I should commit so great a sin, greatly fearing that I should not be pardoned ; praying also in my heart, that if this sin of mine did differ from that against the Holy Ghost, the Lord would show it me. And being now ready to sink with fear, suddenly there was, as if there had rushed in at the window, the noise of wind upon me, but very pleasant, and as if I heard a voice speaking, didst thou ever refuse to be justified by the blood of Christ?' And withal, my whole life of profession past, was in a moment opened to me, wherein I was made to see, that designedly I had not: so my heart answered groaningly, No! Then fell
, with power, that word of God upon me, "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.' This made a strange seizure upon my spirit ; it brought light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart, of all those tumul. tuous thoughts that did before use, like masterless hell-hounds, to roar and bellow, and make an hideous noise within me.
It showed me also, that Jesus Christ had yet a word of grace and mercy for me ; that he had not, as I had feareil, quite forsaken and cast off my soul; yea, this was a kind of check for my proneness to desperation ; a kind of threatening of me, if I did not, notwithstanding my sins, and the heinousness of them, venture my salvation upon the Son of God. But as to my determining about this strange dispensation, what it was, I know not; or from whence it came, I know not; I have not yet in twenty years' time been able to make a judgment of it. I thought then what here I should be loath to speak. But verily that sudden rushing wind was, as if an angel had come upon me; but both it, and the salvation, I will leave until the day of judgment : only this I say, it commanded a great calm in my soul; it persuaded me there might be hope: it showed me, as I thought, what the unpardonable sin was, and that my soul had yet the blessed privilege to fee to Jesus Christ for mercy. But I say, concerning this dispensation, I know not yet what to say unto it: which was also, in truth, the cause, that at first I did not speak of it in the book ; I do now also leave it to be thought on by men of sound judgment. I lay not the stress of my salvation thereupon, but upon the Lord Jesus, in the promise ; yet seeing I am here unfolding of my secret things, I thought it might not be altogether inexpedient to let this also show itself, though I cannot now relate the matter as then I did experience it. This lasted in the savour of it for about three or four days, and then I began to mistrust, and to despair again.'— pp. 176-177.
The contrary error of those who disbelieve in the reality of diabolic temptations, and who even question the existence of angels and demons, is more serious than the former; inasmuch as scepticism is more dangerous and fatal than superstition. This affectation of a superiority to common opinions, this immolation of faith at the altar of reason, is but too prevalent amongst well educated men. But both scripture and reason are in favor of the popular creed on this subject. The consent of all nations and all ages bears witness ó millions of spiritual beings walk the * earth unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.' According to the Grecian mythology, the earth and the ocean were peopled with beings distinct from the human race, and possessed of supernatural powers. The mountain, the grove, and the rivulet, bad each its appropriate inhabitants, of a nature indeed strangely undefined; not purely spiritual but yet superior to humanity. All nations have cherished fictions of the same kind; and have believed that these mighty beings bave had occasional intercourse with men. The tales of the eastern world are rich in gorgeous descriptions of both good and evil genii, who have poured blessings on the human race by their kindness, or have exercised an unwearied and blasting malevolence. The fairy tales, and the unnumbered stories of witchcraft which abound in Europe, all teach the general belief that there is a world of spiritual beings pervading the mass of human society, interfering in human affairs, and influencing the minds and actions of men. It is difficult to account for a belief so general among men of all creeds, without supposing it to have been transmitted from the first parents of mankind by tradition. It is evidently a portion of that bright gem of truth which was broken and lost at the fall; but precious fragments of which have been preserved and scattered among all nations. It might have been expected that, if ever it pleased the God of Truth to make a revelation to mankind, these articles of universal belief would have a place in that revelation. And we find, accordingly, the doctrine of supernatural agency distinctly recognized in the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures.
Nor is any truth revealed with greater clearness than the existence and temptations of Satan : so that it becomes a matter of extreme astonishment how a professed believer can disbelieve or overlook this doctrine, can take all the various descriptions of Saian for poetical figures, and call the arch deceiver 'the personified principle of evil.' We cannot understand the Scriptures ou this principle of interpretation, nor can we possibly conceive why this grim shadow should have been introduced, nor what good purpose such a personification can answer. Admitting the existence of Satan, his vast empire of kindred but subordinate spirits, his malevolence, and his activity in the work of destruction, we
see at once the wise and kind purposes which may be answered by exposing his devices. How unutterably absurd the opposite opinion appears when it is brought to the test of Scrip. ture! The personified principle of evil' tempted our first parents, and destroyed the property and the children of Job. • The personified principle of evil' goes to and fro in the earth, walks up and down in it; and is as a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour. • The personified principle of evil ’ is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; it desired to have Peter, that it might sift him as wheat; and Michael, contending with it concerning the body of Moses, said the Lord rebuke thee, Satan. It entered into human bodies at the time of the incarnation ; spoke by an audible voice when adjured by Christ and his apostles; threw down a child and tore him, leaving him as dead; entered into an herd of swine, and caused them to perish in the sea. And to complete the climax of this absurdity, we are required to believe that the lake of fire and brimstone is prepared for the personified principle • of evil' and its angels, who, of course, must be personified principles of evil of inferior rank. To such a wretched degree of meanness does man reduce his mind when he abandons the rational mode of interpreting Scripture, and attempts to become wise above that which is written.
Mr. Philip has treated this mysterious topic with great judgment; yet we could have wished that the extraordinary struggles of Bunyan's mind had been less prominently brought forward. We have no doubt concerning the agency of Satan in this case, nor in the case of any other believer. Yet we know little of the mode of his temptations, but little beyond the mere fact that he does tempt: and this knowledge is sufficient to induce a holy watchfulness and prayer. The Scriptures themselves have left us nothing analogous to the experience of Bunyan in the case of Paul, or any other great sinner who became a saint; and good men would have acted more wisely had they concealed these secret conflicts, which can effect but a questionable kind of good by exposure. Mr. Philip appears to be much of our opinion on this subject.
I have often thought, whilst analyzing and recording these strange and startling temptations, that I durst not have published them had I alone been possessed of Bunyan's autobiography. It is, however, in the hands of thousands, and will never pass out of print ; and, therefore, I pass by nothing it contains. Besides, his high and holy character is sufficiently known to all readers, by his Pilgrim : so that there is no danger of sinking him, or of injuring religion, by any disclosure of his woes and weakness, however full, minute, or familiar it may be. The recollection, that he wrote the Pilgrim's Progress, corrects or counterbalances all unfavourable impressions.'-p. 124.
Bunyan became one of the first victims at the Restoration of the Stuart family; and this sufferer for conscience' sake was confined twelve years in Bedford jail. Yet in this very fact we have one of the most remarkable instances of the power of Providence to produce good by means of evil: for it was during his imprisonment that his great work was composed. Had this confinement not taken place, or had it been very short, the Pilgrim's Progress might never have been written; and many other of Bunyan's most useful writings would perhaps have been lost to the world. So that the very event which appeared to becloud and darken so much of the prime of his life, and to destroy his usefulness, increased it a thousand fold; for no life of active labour could have equalled the influence his immortal allegory, by which he, being dead, yet speaketh.
Bunyan was twice married : and in the choice of both his wives was singularly happy. His second wife made many spirited attempts to procure her husband's liberty; and in her application to Sir Matthew Hale she appears in a very interesting light. After she had presented many petitions in vain, Bunyan says,
“Well, after this, she yet again presented another to Judge Hale as he sat on the bench, who, as it seemed, was willing to give her audience ; only Justice Chester being present, stept up and said, that I was convicted in the court, and that I was a hol-spirited fellow, (or words to that purpose,) whereat he waved it, and did not meddle therewith. But yet, my wife being encouraged by the high-sheriff, did venture once more into their presence, (as the poor widow did before the unjust judge,) to try what she could do with them for my liberty, before they went forth of the town. The place where she went to them, was to the Swan-chamber, where the two judges, and many justices and gentry of the county, were in company together. She then coming into the chanıber with abashed face, and a trembling heart, began her errand to them in this manner.
• Woman. My lord, (directing herself to Judge Hale,) I make bold to come once again to your lordship, to know what may be done
husband.' • Judge Hale. “To whom he said, woman, I told thee before I could do thee no good ; because they have taken that for a conviction which thy husband spoke at the sessions : and unless there be something done to undo that, I can do thee no good.'
· Woman. My lord, said she, he is kept unlawfully in prison : they clapped him up before there were any proclamations against the meetings: the indictment also is false : besides, they never asked him whether he was guilty or no: neither did he confess the indictment.
One of the Justices. Then one of the justices that stood by, whom she knew not, said, “ My lord, he was lawfully convicted.
· Woman. “It is false,' said she, for when they said to him, do you confess the indictment, he said only this, that he had been at several
meetings, both where there were preaching the word and prayer,
and that they had God's presence among them.'
• Judge Twisdon. Whereat Judge Twisdon answered very angrily, saying, "What, you think we can do what we list ; your husband is a breaker of the peace, and is convicted by the law,' &c. Whereupon Judge Hale called for the statute-book.
· Woman. • But,' said she, “my lord, he was not lawfully convicted.'
Chester. Then Justice Chester said, My lord, he was lawfully convicted.'
"Woman. It is false,' said she, it was but a word of discourse that they took for a conviction (as you have heard before).
• Chester. But it is recorded, woman, it is recorded,' said Justice Chester. As if it must be of necessity true because it was recorded ! With which words he often endeavoured to stop her mouth, having no other argument to convince her but it is recorded, it is recorded.
· Woman. • My lord,' said she, “I was a while since at London, to see if I could get my husband's liberty, and there I spoke with my Lord Barkwood, one of the House of Lords, for my husband's releasement; who, when they had seen it, they said, that they could not release him, but had committed his releasement to the JUDGES, at the next assizes. This he told me ; and now I am come to you to see if any thing may be done in this business, and you give neither releasement nor relief! To which they gave her no answer, but made as if they heard her not. Only Justice Chester was often up with this, · He is convicted,' and it is recorded.'
• Woman. •If it be, it is false,' said she.
• Chester. 'My lord,' said Justice Chester,' he is a pestilent fellow; there is not such a fellow in the county again.'
* Twisdon. What, will your husband leave preaching? If he will do so, then send for him.'
* Woman. · My lord,' said she," he dares not leave preaching as long as he can speak.'
· Twisdon. “See here, what should we talk any more about such a fellow? Must he do what he lists ? He is a breaker of the peace.
• Woman. She told him again, that he desired to live peaceably, and to follow his calling, that his family might be maintained ; and moreover, said she, my lord, 'I have four small children, that cannot help themselves, one of which is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people.'
· Hale. * Hast thou four children ?' said Judge Hale ; “thou art but a young woman to have four children.'
· Woman. “My lord,' said she, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young, and unaccustomed to such things, said she, I being smayed at the news, fell into labour, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered, but my child died.'
* Hale. Whereat, he looking very soberly on the mother, said, • Alas, poor woman!