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ral effect which the Tale produces on all persons, learned and unlearned, proves that he has done well. The passages which it is most difficult to defend are those in which he altogether drops the allegory, and puts into the mouth of his pilgrims religious ejaculations and disquisitions, better suited to his own pulpit at Bedford or Reading than to the Enchanted Ground or to the Interpreter's Garden. Yet even these passages, though we will not undertake to defend them against the objections of critics, we feel that we could ill spare. We feel that the story owes much of its charm to these occasional glimpses of solemn and affecting subjects, which will not be hidden, which force themselves through the veil, and appear before us in their native aspect. The effect is not unlike that which is said to have been produced on the ancient stage, when the eyes of the actor were seen flaming through his mask, and giving life and expression to what would else have been an inanimate and uninteresting disguise.
There are, we think, some characters and scenes in the · Pilgrim's Progress' which can be fully comprehended and enjoyed only by persons familiar with the history of the times through which Bunyan lived. The character of Mr. Greatheart, the guide, is an example. His fighting is, of course, allegorical; but the allegory is not strictly preserved. He delivers a sermon on imputed righteousness to his companions; and, soon after, he gives battle to giant Grim, who had taken upon him to back the lions. He expounds the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah to the household and guests of Gaius; and then he sallies out to at tack Slaygood, who was of the nature of flesh eaters, in his den. These are inconsistencies; but they are inconsistencies which add, we think, to the interest of the narrative. We have not the least doubt that Bunyan had in view some stout old Greatheart of Naseby and Worcester, who prayed with his men before he drilled them, who knew the spiritual state of every dragoon in his troop, and who, with the praises of God in his mouth, and a two-edged sword in his hand, had turned to flight, on many fields of battle, the swearing drunken bravoes of Rupert and Lunsford.
Every age produces such men as By-ends. But the middle of the seventeenth century was eminently prolific of such men. Mr. Southey thinks that the satire was aimed at some particular individual; and this seems by no means improbable. At all events Bunyan must VOL. I.
bave known many of those hypocrites who followed religion only when religion walked in silver slippers, when the sun shone, and when the people applauded. Indeed he might have easily found all the kindred of By-ends among the public men of his time. He might have found among the Peers my Lord Turn-about, my Lord Time-server, and my Lord Fair-speech; in the House of Commons, Mr. Smooth-man, Mr. Anything, and Mr. Facing-both-ways; nor would “the parson of the parish, Mr. Two-tongues," have been wanting. The town of Bedford probably contained more than one politician, who, after contriving to raise an estate by seeking the Lord during the reign of the saints, contrived to keep what he had got by persecuting the saints during the reign of the strumpets, and more than one priest who, during the repeated changes in the discipline and doctrines of the Church, had re mained constant to nothing but his benefice.
One of the most remarkable passages in the Pilgrim's Progress' is that in which the proceedings against Faithful are described. It is impossible to doubt that Bunyan intended to satirize the mode in which state trials were conducted under Charles the Second. The licence given to the witnesses for the prosecution, the shameless partiality and ferocious insolence of the judge, the precipitancy and the blind rancour of the jury, remind us of those odious mummeries which, from the Restoration to the Revolution, were merely forms preliminary to hanging, drawing, and quartering. Lord Hategood performs the office of counsel for the prisoners as well as Scroggs himself could have performed it.
“ Judge. Thou runagate, heretic, and traitor, hast thou heard what these honest gentlemen have witnessed against thee?
“ Faithful. May I speak a few words in my own defence ?
“ Judge. Sirrah! Sirrah! thou deservest to live no longer, but to be slain immediately upon the place; yet, that all men may see our gentleness to thee, let us hear what thou, vile runagate, hast to say?"
No person who knows the state trials can be at a loss for parallel cases. Indeed, write what Bunyan would, the baseness and cruelty of the lawyers of those times “sinned up to it still," and even went beyond it. The imaginary trial of Faithful, before a jury composed of personified vices, was just and merciful, when compared with the real trial of Alice Lisle before that tribunal where all the vices sat in the person of Jefferies.
The style of Bunyan is delightful to every reader, and invaluable as a study to every person who wishes to obtain a wide command over the English language. The vocabulary is the vocabulary of the common people. There is not an expression, if we except a few technical terms of theology, which would puzzle the rudest peasant. We have observed several pages which do not contain a single word of more than two syllables. Yet no writer has said more exactly what he meant to say. For magnificence, for pathos, for vehement exhortation, for subtle disquisition, for every purpose of the fact, the orator, and the divine, this homely dialect, the dialect of plain working men, was perfectly sufficient. There is no book in our literature on which we would so readily stake the fame of the unpolluted English language, no book which shows so well how rich that language is in its own proper wealth, and how little it has been improved by all that it has borrowed.
Cowper said, forty or fifty years ago, that he dared not name John Bunyan in his verse, for fear of raising a sneer. To our refined forefathers, we suppose, Lord Roscommon's · Essay on Translated Verse,' and the Duke of Buckinghamshire's · Essay on Poetry,' appeared to be compositions infinitely superior to the allegory of the preaching tinker. We live in better times; and we are not afraid to say, that, though there were many clever men in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree. One of those minds produced the · Paradise Lost,' the other the · Pilgrim's Progress.'
78.-The Imitation of Christ.
BISHOP BEVERIDGE. [WILLIAM BEVERIDGE was born in 1638, at Barrow, in Leicestershire. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge ; received various ecclesiastical preferments; and became Bishop of St. Asaph, in 1704. In 1708 he died. He was a divine of profound learning, of exemplary holiness, and of unwearied industry in the discharge of his pastoral duties. He was called, in his own time, “the great restorer and reviver of primitive piety.” The following extract is from his admirable • Private Thoughts upon Religion and a Christian Life') :
Hoping that all who profess themselves to be the friends and disciples of Jesus Christ desire to manifest themselves to be so by following both his precepts and example, I shall give the reader a short narrative of his life and actions, wherein we may all see what true piety is, and what real Christianity requires of us; and may not content ourselves as many do, with being professors, and adhering to parties or factions amongst us, but strive to be thorough Christians, and to carry ourselves as such, by walking as Christ himself walked ; which that we may know at least how to do, looking upon Christ as a mere man, I shall show how he did, and by consequence how we ought to carry ourselves both to God and man, and what graces and virtues he exercised all along for our example and imitation.
Now for our more clear and methodical proceeding in a matter of such consequence as this is, I shall begin with his behaviour towards men, from his childhood to his death.
Just, therefore, when he was a child of twelve years of age, it is particularly recorded of him, that he was subject or obedient to his parents, his real mother and reputed father *. It is true, he knew at that time that God himself was his Father, for, said he, “Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?”+ And knowing God to be his Father, he could not but know likewise that he was in. finitely above his mother; yea, that she could never have borne him, had not himself first made and supported her. Yet, howsoever, though as God he was Father to her, yet as man she was mother to him, and therefore he honoured and obeyed both her and him to whom she was espoused. Neither did he only respect his mother whilst he was here, but he took care of her too when he was going hence. Yea, all the pains he suffered upon the cross could not make him forget his duty to her that bore him ; but seeing her standing by the cross, as himself hung on it, he committed her to the care of his beloved disciple, who “ took her to his own home.” I Now as our Saviour did, so are we bound to carry ourselves to our earthly parents, whatsoever their temper or condition be in this world. Though God hath blessed some of us perhaps with greater estates than ever he blessed them, yet we must not think ourselves above them, nor be at all the less respectful to them. Christ, we see, was infinitely above his mother, yet as she was his mother he was both subject and respectful to her. He was not ashamed to own her as she stood by the cross, but, in the view
and hearing of all there present, gave his disciple a charge to take care of her, leaving us an example, that such amongst us as have parents provide for them if they need it, as for our children, both while we live and when we come to die.
And as he was to his natural so was he too to his civil parents, the magistrates under which he lived, submissive and faithful; for though, as he was God, he was infinitely above them in heaven, yet, as he was man, he was below them on earth, having committed all civil power into their hands, without reserving any at all for himself. So that, though they received their commission from him, yet now himself could not act without receiving a commission from them. And therefore, having no commission from them to do it, he would not intrench so much upon their privilege and power as to determine the controversy betwixt the two brethren contending about their inheritance. “Man,” saith he, “ who made me a judge or a divider over you ?"* And to show his submission to the civil magistrates as highly as possibly he could, rather than offend them he wrought a miracle to pay the tax which they had charged upon him t. And when the officers were sent to take him, though he had more than twelve legions of angels at his service to have fought for him if he had pleased, yet he would not employ them, nor suffer his own disciples to make any resistance 1. And though some of late days, who call themselves Christians, have acted quite contrary to our blessed Saviour in this particular, I hope better things of my readers, even that they will behave themselves more like Christ, who, though he was supreme governor of the world, yet would not resist, but submitted to the civil power which himself had entrusted men withal.
Moreover, although whilst he was here he was really not only the best but greatest man upon earth, yet he carried himself to others with that meekness, humility and respect, as if he had been the least : as he never admired any man for his riches, so neither did he despise any man for his poverty; poor men and rich were all alike to him. He was as lowly and respectful to the lowest, as he was to the highest that he conversed with : he affected no titles of honour, nor gaped after popular air, but submitted himself to the meanest services that he could, for the good of others, even to the washing his own disciples'