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PICTURESQUE, AFFECTIONATE, VIGOROUS.
ceives an easier path, and directs his companions along its gentler slopes, and gives them a helping hand to lift them over the final obstacles; it was by giant struggles over the debris of crumbling hopes, and through jungles of despair, and up the cliffs of apparent impossibility, that Bunyan forced his way to the pinnacle of his eventual joy; but no sooner was he standing there, than his exulting eye detected the easier path, and he made it the business of his benevolent ministry to guide others into it. Though not the truth, an illustration is a stepping-stone towards it-an indentation in the rock which makes it easier to climb. No man had a happier knack in hewing out these notches in the cliff, and no one knew better where to place them, than this pilgrim's pioneer. Besides, he rightly judged that the value of these suggestive similes—these illustrative stepping-stones—depends very much on their breadth and frequency.
But Bunyan appeals not only to the intellect and imagination, but to the hearts of men. There was no bitterness in Bunyan. He was a man of kindness and compassion. How sorry he is for Mr Badman's wife! and how he makes you sympathise with Christian, and Mr Ready-to-halt, and Mr Feeble-mind, and all the other interesting companions of that eventful journey! And in his sermons how piteously he pleads with sinners for their own souls, and how impressive is the undisguised vehemency of his yearning affections ! In the same sentence, Bunyan has a word for the man of sense, and another for the man of fancy, and a third for the man of feeling; and by thus blending the intellectual, the imaginative, and the affectionate, he speaks home to the whole of man, and has made his works a lesson-book for all mankind.
Another secret of Bunyan's popularity is the felicity of his style. His English is vernacular, idiomatic, universal; varying with the subject; homely in the continuous narrative; racy and pungent in his lively and often rapid discourse; and, when
occasion requires, " a model of unaffected dignity and rhythmical flow;" but always plain, strong, and natural. However, in speaking of his style, we do not so much intend his words as his entire mode of expression. A thought is like a gem; but like a gem it may be spoiled in the setting. A careless artist may chip it and grievously curtail its dimensions; a clumsy craftsman, in his fear of destroying it, may not sufficiently polish it; or in his solicitude to shew off its beauty, may overdo the accompanying ornaments. Bunyan was too skilfiu a workman so to mismanage the matter. His expression neither curtails nor encumbers the thought, but makes the most of it; that is, presents it to the reader as it is seen by the writer. Though there is a great appearance of amplitude about his compositions, few of his words could be wanted. Some styles are an ill-spun thread, full of inequalities, and shaggy, from beginning to end, with projecting fibres which spoil its beauty, and add nothing to its strength; but in its casy continuousness and trim compactness, the thread of Bunyan's discourse flows firm and smooth from first to last. Its fulness regales the ear, and its felicity aids the understanding.
Bunyan's works have been several times reprinted; but by far the most complete and accurate collection of his various publications is contained in three royal octavos, recently edited by George Offor, Esq. of Hackney. A good selection of his minor pieces is contained in Messrs Nelsons' “Works of the Puritan Divines.” The reprints of “ The Pilgrim,” in our own and other languages, are almost innumerable ; but of the earlier editions of that, and some of his other works, the copies are now exceedingly rare. The most successful collectors, we believe, are Mr Offor of London, and Mr Lenox of New York.
TAE JERUSALEM SINNER.
The Jerusalem Sinner.
[" THE Jerusalem Sinner Saved” was published in the last year of Bunyan's life. Like his “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ," it glows with the goodwill of the gospel. Its vivid, almost dramatic, exhibitions of truth, shew how admirably its author was fitted for the work of a preacher, and it goes far to account for the thousands who flocked to hear him when he came to London.
Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the first place to the biggest sinners? then here is encouragement for you that think, for wicked hearts and lives, you have not your fellows in the world, yet to come to Him.
There is a people that therefore fear lest they should be rejected of Jesus Christ, because of the greatness of their sins; when, as you see here, such are sent to by Jesus Christ to come to Him for mercy, “Begin at Jerusalem.” Never did one thing answer another more fitly in this world than this text fitteth such kind of sinners. As face answereth face in a glass, so this text answereth the necessities of such sinners. What can a man say more, but that he stands in the rank of the biggest sinners! Let him stretch bimself whither he can, and think of himself to the utmost, he can but conclude himself to be one of the biggest sinners. And what then? Why, the text meets him in the very face, and saith, Christ offereth mercy to the biggest sinners, to the very Jerusalem sinners. What more can be objected? Nay, He doth not only offer to such His mercy, but to them it is commanded to be offered in the first place; “ Begin at Jerusalem." Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations. “Begin at Jerusalem.” Is not here encouragement for those that think, for wicked hearts and lives, they have not their fellows in the world?
Object. But I have a heart as hard as a rock.
Answ. Well, stand thou with the number of the biggest sinners.
Object. But my gray head is found in the way of wickedness Answ. Well, thou art in the rank of the biggest sinners.
Object. But I have not only a base heart, but I have lived a debauched life.
Answ. Stand thou also among those that are called the biggest sinners. And what then? Why the text swoops you all; you cannot object yourselves beyond the text. It has a particular message to the biggest sinners. I say, it swoops
Object. But I am a reprobate.
Answ. Now thou talkest like a fool, and of that thou understandest not: no sin, but the sin of final impenitence, can prove a man a reprobate; and I am sure thou hast not arrived as yet unto that; therefore thou understandest not what thou sayest, and makest groundless conclusions against thyself. Say thou art a sinner, and I will hold with thee; say thou art 3 great sinner, and I will say so too; yea, say thou art one of the biggest sinners, and spare not; for the text yet is beyond thee, is yet betwixt hell and thee; “Begin at Jerusalem,” has yet a smile upon thee; and thou talkest as if thou wast a reprobate, and that the greatness of thy sins do prove thee so to be, when yet they of Jerusalem were not such, whose sins, I daresay, were such, both for bigness and heinousness, as thoa art incapable of committing beyond them; unless now, after
THE JERUSALEM SINNER.
thou hast received conviction that the Lord Jesus is the only Saviour of the world, thou shouldst wickedly and despitefully turn thyself from Him, and conclude He is not to be trusted to for life, and so crucify Him for a cheat afresh. This, I must confess, will bring a man under the black rod, and set him in danger of eternal damnation (Heb vi. 6; chap. x. 29). This is trampling under foot the Son of God, and counting His blood an unholy thing. This did they of Jerusalem; but they did it ignorantly in unbelief, and so were yet capable of mercy; but to do this against professed light, and to stand to it, puts a man beyond the text indeed (Acts üii. 14-17; 1 Tim. i. 13).
But I say, what is this to him that would fain be saved by Christ? His sins did, as to greatness, never yet reach to the nature of the sins that the sinners intended by the text had made themselves guilty of. He that would be saved by Christ has an honourable esteem of Him; but they of Jerusalem preferred a murderer before Him; but as for Him, they cried, Away, away with Him, it is not fit that He should live. Perhaps thou wilt object, That thyself hast a thousand times preferred a stinking lust before Him : I answer, Be it so; it is but what is common to men to do; nor doth the Lord Jesus make such a foolish life a bar to thee, to forbid thy coming to Him, or a bond to His grace, that it might be kept from thee; but admits of thy repentance, and offereth Himself unto thee freely, as thou standest among the Jerusalem sinners.
Take therefore encouragement, man; mercy is, by the text, held forth to the biggest sinners; yea, put thyself into the number of the worst, by reckoning that thou mayest be one of the first, and mayest not be put off till the biggest sinners are served; for the biggest sinners are first invited; consequently, if they come, they are like to be the first that shall be served. It was so with Jerusalem ; Jerusalem sinners were they that were first invited, and those of them that came first (and there came three thousand of them the first day they were invited;