Page images
PDF
EPUB

to wit, that he had taken a couple of prisoners and cast them into his dungeon, for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best to do further to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound, and he told her. Then she counselled him, that when he arose in the morning, he should beat them without mercy. So when he arose, he getieth him a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down into the dungeon to them, and there first falls, to rating them as if they were dogs, although they never gave him a word of distaste : then he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort that they were not able to help themselves, or turn them upon the floor. This done, he withdraws, and leaves them there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress : so all that day they spent their time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she talked with her husband about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away with themselves. So when morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner, as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them, that since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with knife, halter, or poison: For why, said he, should you choose life, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness? But they desired him to let them go; with which he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his fits, (for he sometimes in sun-shiny weather fell into fits,) and lost for a time the use of his hands : wherefore he withdrew, and left them, as before, to consider what to do. Then did the prisoners consult between themselves whether it was best to take his counsel or no: and thus they began to discourse :

Chr. Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable. For my part, I know not whether it is best to live thus, or die out of hand. “My soul chooseth strangling rather than life," and the grave is more easy for me than this dungeon! Shall we be ruled by the giant ?

Hope. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me, than thus for ever to abide ; but let us consider, the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said, “ Thou shalt do no murder :" no, not to any man's person; much more then are we forbidden to take his counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills another can but commit murder on I is own body ; but for one to kill himself, is to kill body and soul at once. And, moreover, my brother, thou talkest of ease in the grave; but hast thou forgotten the hell, whither for certain the nurderers go? For no murderer hath eternal life. And let

х

us consider, again, that all laws are not in the hand of Giant De. spair : others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands. Who knows but that God, who made the world, may cause that Giant Despair may die ; or that, at some time or other, he may forget to lock us in ; or that he may in a short time have another of his fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs? and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before ; but, however, my brother, let us be patient, and endure awhile: the time may come that he may give us a happy release ; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hopeful at present did moderate the mind of his brother; so they continued together (in the dark) that day in their sad and doleful condition.

Well, towards the evening, the giant goes down into the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there he found them alive; and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of bread and water, and by reason of the wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe. But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them, that seeing they had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.

At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a swoon; but coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best take it or no. Now, Christian again seemed to be for doing it; but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth :

Hope. My brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, por could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death: what hardships, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear?

Thou seest that I am in the dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art; also this giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the bread and water from my mouth, and with thee I mourn without the light. But let us exercise a little more patience : remember how thou playedst the man at Vanity Fair, and wast neither afraid of the chain nor the cage, nor yet of bloody death; wherefore let us (at least to avoid the shame that becomes not a Christian to be found in bear up with patience as well as we can.

Now, night being come again, and the giant and his wife being a-bed, she asked concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel; to which he replied, They are sturdy rogues; they

choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away with themselves. Then said she, Take them into the castle-yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those thou hast already despatched, and make them believe, ere a week comes to an end, thou wilt also tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.

So when the morning was come, the giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle-yard, and shows them as his wife had bidden him. These, said he, were pilgrims, as you are, once : and they trespassed in my grounds, as you have done : and, when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do you; go, get ye down to your den again ; and with that he beat them all the way thither.

They lay, therefore, all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, is before. Now, when night was come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband the giant were got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners; and, withal, the old giant wondered that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied, I fear, said she, that they live in hope that some will come to relieve them, or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear? said the giant; I will therefore search them in the morning.

Well, on Saturday, about midnight, they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day.1

Now, a lilile before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool (quoth he) am I thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well waik at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news, good brother; pluck it out of thy bosom and try.?

Then Christian puiled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon-door, whose bolt (as he turned the key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outer door that leads into the castle-yard, and with his key opened that door also. After, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went very hard, yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the door to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a cracking, that it waked Giant Despair, who, hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail; for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and caine to the king's highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.

1 "What! pray in custody of Glaut Despair, in the midst of Doubting Castle; and when their folly

at them there, too! Yes. Mind this, ye pilgrims. Ye are exhorted, I will that men pray everywhere, without doubting. Tin. ii. S. We can be in no place but God can hear; nor in any circumstance but God is able to deliver frow. Anu be assured, when the spirit of prayer comes, deliverance is nigh at hand. So it was here."

1 * Precious promise! The promises of God in Christ are the life of faith, and the quickeners o: prayer. O how oft do we neglect God's great and precions promises in Christ Jesus, while doubts and despair keep us prisoners. So it was with these pilgrims: they were kept under hard bondage of soul for four days. Hence we see what it is to grieve the Spirit of God, and snoula dread it; for ne guly is the Comforter; and if he withdraws his influences, who or what can comfort us "

Now, when they were gone over the stile, they began to contrive with themselves what they should do at that stile to prevent those that should come after from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a pillar, and to engrave upon the stile thereof this sentence:-“ Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims.” Many, therefore, that followed after, read what was written, and escaped the danger.

ROBERT BARCLAY. 1648-1690.

ROBERT BARCLAY, the distinguished writer of the Society of Friends, was born in Elginshire, in the north of Scotland,? south-east of the Moray frith, December 23, 1648, of a highly respectable family. After receiving the rudiments of his education at home, he was sent to Paris to pursue his studies under the direction of his uncle, who was rector of the Scots' College in that capital. It was a dangerous experiment, and might have proved permanently injurious, had not young Barclay been possessed of the strictest moral principles, and the highest sense of filial obligation: for he, by his deportment and character, had endeared himself so to his uncle that he offered to make him his heir, and to settle a large estate immediately upon him, if he would remain in France. But his father, knowing that his son was strongly inclined to join the Papal church, directed him to return home. He did not hesitate between what seemed interest and duty, and at once abandoned all his prospects of wealth and aggrandizement, to comply with his father's wishes, Such filial obedience is never left without a witness. In Barclay's case the blessing that attended it was most signal. Had he remained in France, though his wealth might have surrounded him with a crowd of flatterers, in all probability he would never have been known after his death. But he returned, and gained a world-wide fame. He returned, and became the ablest expounder of a sect, that as a sect has taken the lead of all others in three great

1 "Recording our own observations, and the experience we have bad in God's dealing with our wuls, are made of special and peculiar use to our fellow-Christians."

? Not in Edinburgh, as stated by William Penn.

subjects, inseparably connected with practical Christianity,—Intemperance, Slavery, and War.2

A short time before young Barolay left France, his father had been converted to the views and principles of a sect which had existed only ten years

-the Quakers. On his return, Robert, after giving to the subject a degree of thought and investigation almost beyond his years, followed the example of his father, though only nineteen. He applied himself diligently to the study of the original languages of the Bible, of the Fathers, and of ecclesiastical history; and seeing how much the Friends were misunderstood and abused, he wrote several works in their defence, and in explanation of their principles. But the great work on which his fame rests is entitled “ An Apology for the true Christian Divinity, as the same is held forth and practised by the People called, in scorn, Quakers." The effect produced by this able work soon became visible, for it proved beyond dispute that this proscribed sect professed a system of theology that was capable of being defended by strong, if not unanswerable arguments. Some portions of this work became the subject of very animated controversy, not in England only, but on the continent. This occasioned Barclay to appear again in defence of his principles. He also wrote to vindicate the internal arrangements and government of the Friends. He wrote, besides, two treatises on Peace, declaring his opinion that all war is indefensible, on account of its incompatibility with the principle of universal benevolence. One of these he addressed to the ambassadors of the several princes of Europe, then assembled at Nimeguen.

- The latter years of Robert Barclay's life were spent in the quiet of his family, in which his mild and amiable virtues found their happiest sphere of exercise. He died October 3, 1690, in the forty-second year of his age-the prime of life-his death having been occasioned by a violent fever, which came on immediately after his return from a religious visit in some parts of Scotland. His moral character was free from every reproach, and his temper was so well regulated, that he was never seen in anger. In all the relations of life, and in his intercourse with the world, he was conspicuous for the exercise of those virtues which are the best test of right principles, and the most unequivocal proof of their practical influence.”

The following is a part of the Dedication of his great work, the “ Apology," to Charles II. It has been justly praised for its high and fearless tone of Christian faithfulness and independent truth; the more to be admired, as it was written and published in times of great licentiousness, and servility to the reignung monarch.

DEDICATION TO CHARLES SECOND. As it is inconsistent with the truth I bear, so it is far from me to use this epistle as an engine to flatter thee, the usual design of such works: and therefore I can neither dedicate it to thee, nor

1 And what other than practical is of any worth? “He shall reward every man according to his ORKS:" Mut. xvi. 27. "Inasmuch as ye have DONE It unto one of the least, ye have done it unto Me:* Matt. xxv. 40. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only:" James ii. 24. "What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to kalk bumbly with thy God!" Micah vi. 8. “If no faith be living nor yet available to justification without works, then works are necessary to justification."-Barclay.

The three great scourges of the human race, which have done more than every thing else . drgrade and brutalize man, and therefore are most diametrically opposed to the principles and teachings of Him, who came to bring "PEACE on earth and GOOD-WILL to man."

« PreviousContinue »