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Bunyan Characters - Third Series by Alexander Whyte

Part 3 out of 4

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to him and sticks to him, not because he pries into your affairs,
for he does not, and never did, but because he is so drawn down
into his own. Mr. Prywell has no eye for your windows and he has
no ear for your doors. If your servant is a leaky slave, Prywell,
of all your neighbours, has no ear for his idle tales. This man is
no eavesdropper; your evil secrets have only a sobering and a
saddening and a silencing effect upon him. Your house might be
full of skeletons for anything he would ever discover or remember.
The beam in his own eye is so big that he cannot see past it to
speak about your small mote. 'The inward Christian,' says A
Kempis, 'preferreth the care of himself before all other cares. He
that diligently attendeth to himself can easily keep silence
concerning other men. If thou attendest unto God and unto thyself,
thou wilt be but little moved with what thou seest abroad.' At the
same time, Mr. Prywell was no fool, and no coward, and no
hoodwinked witness. He could tell his tale, when it was demanded
of him, with such truth, and with such punctuality, and on such
ample grounds, that a conviction of the truth instantly fell on all
who heard him. 'Sirs,' said those who heard him break silence, 'it
is not irrational for us to believe it,' with such solid arguments
and with such an absence of mere suspicion and of all idle tales
did he speak. On one occasion, on a mere 'inkling,' he woke up the
guard; only, it was so true an inkling that it saved the city. But
I cannot follow Mr. Prywell any further to-night. How he went up
and down Mansoul listening; how he kept his eyes and his ears both
shut and open; what splendid services he performed in the progress,
and specially toward the end, of the war; how the thanks of the
city were voted to him; how he was made Scoutmaster-general for the
good of the town of Mansoul, and the great conscience and good
fidelity with which he managed that great trust--all that you will
read for yourselves under this marginal index, 'The story of Mr.

Now, my brethren, as the outcome of all that, we must all examine
ourselves as before God all this week. We must wait on His word
and on His providences while they examine us all this week. We
must pry well into ourselves all this week. Come, let us compel
ourselves to do it. Let us search and try our ways all this week
as we shall give an account. Let us ask ourselves how many
Communion tables we have sat at, and at how many more we are likely
to sit. Let us ask why it is that we have got so little good out
of all our Communions. Let us ask who is to blame for that, and
where the blame lies. Let us go to the bottom of matters with
ourselves, and compel ourselves to say just what it is that is the
cause of God's controversy with us. What vow, what solemn promise,
made when trouble was upon us, have we completely cast behind our
back? What about secret prayer? At what times, for what things,
and for what people do we in secret pray? What about secret sin?
What is its name, and what does it deserve, and what fruit are we
already reaping out of it? What is our besetting sin, and what
steps do we take, as God knows, to crucify it? Do we love money
too much? Do we love praise too much? Do we love eating and
drinking too much? Does envy make our heart a very hell? Let us
name the man we envy, and let us keep our Communion eye upon him.
Let us mix his name with all the psalms and prayers and sermons of
this Communion season. Or is it diabolical ill-will? Or is it a
wicked tongue against an unsuspecting friend? Let us examine
ourselves as Paul did, as Prywell did, and as God would have us do
it, and we shall discover things in ourselves so bad that if I were
to put words on them to-night, you would stop your ears in horror
and flee out of the church. Let a man see himself at least as
others see him; and then he will be led on from that to see himself
as God sees him; and then he will judge himself so severely as that
he shall not need to be judged at the Judgment Day, and will
condemn himself so sufficiently as that he shall not be condemned
with a condemned world at the last.


'If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up
his cross daily and follow Me.'--Our Lord.

'Now the siege was long, and many a fierce attempt did the enemy
make upon the town, and many a shrewd brush did some of the
townsmen meet with from the enemy, especially Captain Self-denial,
to whose care both Ear-gate and Eye-gate had been intrusted. This
Captain Self-denial was a young man, but stout, and a townsman in
Mansoul. This young captain, therefore, being a hardy man, and a
man of great courage to boot, and willing to venture himself for
the good of the town, he would now and then sally out upon the
enemy; but you must think this could not easily be done, but he
must meet with some sharp brushes himself, and, indeed, he carried
several of such marks on his face, yea, and some on some other
parts of his body.' Thus, Bunyan. I shall now go on to-night to
offer you some annotations and some reflections on this short but
excellent history of young Captain Self-denial.

1. Well, to begin with, this Captain Self-denial was still a young
man. 'And, now, it comes into my mind, said Goodman Gains after
supper, I will tell you a story well worth the hearing, as I think.
There were two men once upon a time that went on pilgrimage; the
one began when he was young and the other began when he was old.
The young man had strong corruptions to grapple with, whereas the
old man's corruptions were decayed with the decays of nature. The
young man trod his steps as even as did the old one, and was every
way as light as he; who, now, or which of them, had their graces
shining clearest, since both seemed to be alike? Why, the young
man's, doubtless, answered Mr. Honest. For that which heads
against the greatest opposition gives best demonstration that it is
strongest. A young man, therefore, has the advantage of the
fairest discovery of a work of grace within him. And thus they sat
talking till the break of day.'

Now, I have taken up Captain Self-denial to-night because the young
men and I are to begin a study to-night to which I was first
attracted because it taught me lessons about myself, and about
self-denial, and thus about both a young man's and an old man's
deepest and most persistent corruptions--lessons such as I have
never been taught in any other school. In all my philosophical,
theological, moral, and experimental reading, so to describe it, I
have never met with any school of authors for one moment to be
compared with the great evangelical mystics, especially when they
treat of self, self-love, self-denial, the daily cross, and all
suchlike lessons. Take the great doctrinal and experimental
Puritans, such as John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, Richard Baxter, John
Howe, and Jonathan Edwards, and add on to them the greatest and
best mystics, such as Jacob Behmen, Thomas A Kempis, Francis
Fenelon, Jeremy Taylor, Samuel Rutherford, Robert Leighton, and
William Law, and you will have the profoundest, the most complete,
the most perfect, and, I will add, the most fascinating and
enthralling of spiritual teaching in all the world. And I will be
bold enough to promise you that if you will but join our Young
Men's Class to-night, and will buy and read our mystical books, and
will resolve to put in practice what you hear and read in the
class, I will promise you, I say, that by the end of our short
session you will not only be ten times more open and hospitably-
minded men, but also ten times more spiritually-minded men, ten
times more Christ-like men, and with your joy in Christ and His joy
in you all but full.

2. The Captain Self-denial was a young man, and he was also a
townsman in Mansoul. Young Self-denial and one other were all of
Emmanuel's captains who were townsmen in Mansoul. All his other
captains Emmanuel had brought with him; but the Captains Self-
denial and Experience were both born and reared to their full
manhood in that besieged city. 'A townsman.' How much there is
for us all in that one word! How much instruction! How much
encouragement! How much caution and correction! Our greatest
grace; our most essential and indispensable grace; our most
experimental and evidential grace; that grace, indeed, without
which all our other graces are but specious shows and painted
surfaces of graces; that grace into which our Lord here gathers up
all our other graces;--that greatest of graces cannot be imputed,
imported, or introduced; it must be born, bred, exercised, reared
up to its full maturity, and sent forth to fight and to conquer,
and all within the walls of its own native town; in short, our
self-denial must have its beginning and middle and end in our own
heart. Antinomians there were, as our Puritan fathers nicknamed
all those persons who glorified Christ by letting Him do all things
for them, both His own things and their things too, both their
justification and their sanctification too. And there are many
good but ill-instructed men among ourselves who have just this
taint of that old heresy cleaving to them still--this taint,
namely, that they are tempted to carry over the suretyship and
substitutionary work of Christ into such regions, and to carry it
to such lengths in those regions, as, practically, to make Christ
to minister to their soft and sinful living, and to their excuse
and indulgence of themselves. I will put it squarely and plainly
to some of my very best friends here to-night. Is it not the case,
now, that you do not like this direction into which this text, and
the truth of this text, are now travelling? Is it not so that you
shift back in your seat from the approaching cross? Is it not the
very and actual fact that you have secret ways of sin, secret
habits of self-indulgence in your body and in your soul, in your
mind and in your heart, secret sins that you mantle over with the
robe of Christ's righteousness? His spotless and imputed
righteousness? In your present temper you would have disliked
deeply the Sermon on the Mount had you heard it; and I see you
shaking your head over your Sabbath-day dinner at this text when it
was first spoken. Lay this down for a law, all my brethren,--a New
Testament and a never-to-be-abrogated law,--that the best and the
safest religion for you is that way of religion that is hardest on
your pride, on your self-importance, on your self-esteem, as well
as on your purse and on your belly. You are not likely to err by
practising too much of the cross. You may very well have too much
of the cross of Christ preached to you, and too little of your own.
Why! did not Christ die for me? you indignantly say. Yes; so He
did. But only that you might die too. He was crucified, and so
must you be crucified every day before one single drop of His sin-
atoning blood shall ever be wasted on You. Be not deceived: the
cross is not mocked; for only as a man nails himself, body and
soul, to the cross every day shall he ever be saved from sin and
death and hell by means of it. And, exactly as a man denies
himself--no more and no less--his appetites, his passions, his
thoughts and words and deeds, every day and every hour of every
day, just so much shall He who searches our hearts and sees us in
secret, acknowledge us, both every day now, and at the last day of

3. This same Captain Self-denial, his history goes on, was stout,
he was an hardy man also, and a man of great courage. Stout and
hardy and of great courage at home, that is; in his own mind and
heart, soul and body, that is. Young Captain Self-denial was a
perfect hero at saying No! and at saying No! to himself. It is a
proverb that there is nothing so difficult as to say that
monosyllable. And the proverb is Scripture truth if you try to say
No! to yourself. It takes the very stoutest of hearts, the most
noble, the most manly, the most soldierly, and the most saintly of
hearts to say No! to itself, and to keep on saying No! to itself to
the bitter end of every trial and temptation and opportunity. I
remember reading long ago a page or two of a medical man's diary.
And in it he made a confession and an appeal I have never forgot;
though, to my loss, I have not always acted upon it. He said that
for many years he had never been entirely well. He had constant
headaches and depressions, and it was seldom that he was not to
some extent out of sorts. But, all the time, he had a shrewd guess
within himself as to what was the matter with him. He felt ashamed
to confess it even to himself that he over-ate himself every day at
table; till, at last, summoning up all divine and human help, he
determined that, however hungry he was, and however savoury the
dish was, and however excellent the wine was, he would never either
ask for or accept a second helping. And this was his testimony,
that from that stout and hardy day he grew better in health daily;
'my head became clear, my eye bright, my complexion pure, my mind
and feelings were redeemed from all clouds and depressions. And
to-day I am a younger man at fifty than I was at thirty.' Now, if
just saying No! to himself and to the waiter at table did work such
a new birth in a confirmed gourmand of middle life, what would it
not have wrought for him had he carried his answer stoutly and
courageously through all the other parts of his body and soul?--as
perhaps he did. Perhaps, having tasted the sweet beginnings of
salvation, he carried his short and sure regimen through. If he
has done so, let him give us his full autobiography. What a
blessed, what a priceless book it would be!

4. Stout Captain Self-denial was commanded to begin his life as an
officer in Emmanuel's army by taking especial watch over Ear-gate
and Eye-gate; and at our last accounts of our abstemious doctor he
had only got the length of Mouth-gate. But having begun so well
with those three great outposts of the soul, if those two trusty
officers only held on, and played the man courageously enough, they
would soon be promoted to still more important, still more central,
and, if more difficult and dangerous, then also much more
honourable and remunerative posts. Appetite, deep and deadly as
its evils are, is, after all, only an outwork of the soul; and the
same sharp knife that the epicure and the sot in all their stages
must put to their throat, that same knife must be made to draw
blood in all parts of their mind and their heart, in their will and
in their imagination, till a perfect chorus of self-denials rings
like noblest martial music through all the gates, and streets, and
fortresses, and strongholds, and very palaces and temples of the
soul. I shall here stand aside and let the greatest of the English
mystics speak to you on this present point. 'When we speak of
self-denial,' he says, in his Christian Perfection, 'we are apt to
confine it to eating and drinking: but we ought to consider that,
though a strict temperance be necessary in these things, yet that
these are the easiest and the smallest instances of self-denial.
Pride, vanity, self-love, covetousness, envy, and other
inclinations of the like nature call for a more constant and a more
watchful self-denial than the appetites of hunger and thirst. And
till we enter into this course of universal self-denial we shall
make no progress in real piety, but our lives will be a ridiculous
mixture of I know not what; sober and covetous, proud and devout,
temperate and vain, regular in our forms of devotion and irregular
in all our passions, circumspect in little modes of behaviour and
careless and negligent of tempers the most essential to piety. And
thus it will necessarily be with us till we lay the axe to the root
of the tree, till we deny and renounce the whole corruption of our
nature, and resign ourselves up entirely to the Spirit of God, to
think and speak and act by the wisdom and the purity of religion.'

5. Stout as Captain Self-denial was, and notable alarms and some
brisk execution as he did upon the enemy, yet he must meet with
some brushes himself; indeed, he carried several of the marks of
such brushes on his face as well as on some other parts of his
body. If I had read in his history that Young Captain Self-denial
had left his mark upon his enemies, I would have said, Well done,
and I would have added that I always expected as much. But it is
far more to my purpose to read that he had not always got himself
off without wounds that left lasting scars both where they were
seen of all, and where they were seen and felt only by Self-denial
himself. And not Self-denial only, but even Paul, in our flesh,
and with like passions with us, had the same experience and has
left us the same record. 'I keep my body under': so our
emasculated English version makes us read it. But the visual image
in the masterly original Greek is not so mealy-mouthed. I box and
buffet myself day and night, says Paul. I play the truculent
tyrant over a lewd and lazy slave. I hit myself blinding blows on
my tenderest part. I am ashamed to look at myself in the glass,
for all under my eyes I am black and blue. If David, after the
matter of Uriah, had done that to himself, and even more than that,
we would not have wondered; we would have expected it, and we would
have said, It is no more than we would have done ourselves. But
that a spotless, gentle, noble soul like Paul should so have
mangled himself,--that quite dumfounders us. If Paul, then, who,
touching the righteousness which is in the law, was blameless, had
to handle himself in that manner in order to keep himself
blameless, shall any young man here hope to escape temptation
without such blows at himself as shall leave their mark on him all
his days? Nay, not only so, but after Self-denial had thus
exercised himself and subdued himself, still his enemy sometimes
got such an advantage over him as left him as his history here
describes him. All which is surely full of the most excellent
heartening to all who read, in earnest and for an example, his fine

6. The last and crowning exploit of our matchless captain was to
capture, and execute, and quarter, and hang up on a gallows at the
market-cross, the head and the hands and the feet of his oldest,
most sworn, and most deadly enemy, one Self-love. So stout and so
insufferable was our captain in the matter of Self-love that when
it was proposed by some of his many influential friends and high-
in-place relations in the city that the judgment of the court-
martial on Self-love should be deferred, our stout soldier with the
cuts on his face and in some other parts of his body stood up, and
said that the city and the army must make up their mind either to
relieve him of his sword, hacked and broken off as it was, or else
to execute the law upon Self-love on the spot. I will lay down my
commission this very day, he said, with an extraordinary
indignation. Many rich men in the city, and many men deep in the
King's service, muttered mutinous things when their near relative
was hurried to the open cause-way, but by that time the soldiers of
Self-denial's company had brained Self-love with the butts of their
muskets. And it was the stand that our captain made in the matter
of Self-love that at last lifted the young soldier where many had
felt he should have been lifted long ago. From that day he was
made a lord, a military peer, and an adviser of the crown and the
crown officers in all the deepest counsels concerning Mansoul.
Only, with the cloak and the coronet of Self-denial the present
history all but comes to an end. For, before the outcast remains
of Self-love had mouldered to their dust on the city gate, the
King's chariot had descended into the street, had ascended up to
the palace at the head of the street, and a new age of the city
life had begun, the full history of which has yet to be told.

Remain behind, then, and begin with us to-night, all you young men.
You cannot begin this lifelong study and this lifelong pursuit of
self-denial too early. For, even if you begin to read our books
and to practise our discipline in your very boyhood, when you are
old men and very saints of God you will feel that your self-love is
still so full of life and power, that your self-denial has scarcely
begun. Ah, me! men: both old and young men. Ah, me! what a
life's task set us of God it is to make us a new heart, to cleanse
out an unclean heart, to lay in the dust a proud heart, and to keep
a heart at all times, and in all places, and toward all people,
with all diligence! Who is sufficient for these things?

'Now was Christian somewhat in a maze. But at last, when every man
started back for fear, Christian saw a man of a very stout
countenance come up to him that sat there with the inkhorn to
write, saying, Set down my name, sir! At which there was a
pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those who
walked upon the top of that place, saying,

"Come in, come in:
Eternal glory thou shalt win."

Then Christian smiled, and said: I think, verily, that I know the
meaning of all this now.'


'I took wise men and known and made them captains.'--Moses.

John Bunyan never lost his early love for a soldier's life any more
than he ever forgot the rare delights of his bell-ringing days.
John Bunyan, all his days, never saw a bell-rope that his fingers
did not tingle, and he never saw a soldier in uniform without
instinctively shouldering his youthful musket. Bunyan was one of
those rare men who are of imagination all compact; and consequently
it is that all his books are full of the scenes, the occupations,
and the experiences of his early days. Not that he says very much,
in as many words, about what happened to him in the days when he
was a soldier; it is only once in all his many books that he says
that when he was a soldier such and such a thing happened to him.
At the same time, all his books bear the impress of his early days
upon them; and as for this special book of Bunyan's now open before
us, it is full from board to board of the strife and the din of his
early battles. The Holy War is just John Bunyan's soldierly life
spiritualised--spiritualised and so worked up into this fine
English Classic.

Well, then, after Mansoul was taken and reduced, the victorious
Prince determined so to occupy the town with His soldiers that it
should never again either be taken by force from without, or ever
again revolt by weakness or by fear from within. And with this
view He chose out five of His best captains--My five pickt men, He
always called them--and placed those five captains and their
thousands under them in the strongholds of the town. On the margin
of this page our versatile author speaks of that step of Emmanuel's
in the language of a philosopher, a moralist, and a divine. 'Five
graces,' he says, 'pickt out of an abundance of common virtues.'
This summing-up sentence stands on his stiff and dry margin. But
in the rich and living flow of the text itself our author goes on
writing like the man of genius he is. With all the warmth and
colour and dramatic movement of which this whole book is full, this
great writer goes on to set those five choice captains of our
salvation before us in a way that we shall never forget.

1. 'The first was that famous captain, the noble Captain Credence.
His were the red colours, and Mr. Promise bare them. And for a
scutcheon he had the Holy Lamb and the golden shield; and he had
ten thousand men at his feet.' Now, this same Captain Credence
from first to last of the war always led the van both within and
around Mansoul. In ordinary and peaceful days; in days of truce
and parley; when the opposite armies were laid up in their winter
quarters, or were, for any cause, drawn off from one another, some
of the other captains might be more in evidence. But in every
exploit to be called an exploit; in every single enterprise of
danger; when any new position was to be taken up, or any forlorn
hope was to be led, there, in the very van of labour and of danger,
was sure to be seen Captain Credence with his blood-red colours in
his own hand. You understand your Bunyan by this time, my
brethren? Captain Credence, your little boy at school will tell
you, is just the soldier-like faith of your sanctification. Credo,
he will tell you, is 'I believe'; it is to have faith in God and in
the word of God. You will borrow your Latin from your little boy,
and then you will pay him back by telling him how Captain Credence
has always led the van in your soul. You will tell him and show
him what a wonderful writer on the things of the soul John Bunyan
is, till you make John Bunyan one of your son's choicest authors
for all his days. You will do this if you will tell him how and
when this same Captain Credence with his crimson colours first led
the van in your salvation. You will tell him this with more and
more depth and more and more plainness as year after year he reads
his Holy War, and better and better understands it, till he has had
it all fulfilled in himself as a pickt captain and good soldier of
Jesus Christ. You will tell him about yourself, till, at this
forlorn hope in his own life, and at that sounded advance, in some
new providence and in some new duty; in this commanded attack on an
inwardly entrenched enemy, and in that resolute assault on some
battlement of evil habit, he recollects his noble, confiding, and
loving father and plays the man again, and that all the more if
only for his father's sake. Ask your son what he knows and what
you do not know, and then as long as his heart and his ear are open
tell him what you know and what you have by faith come through, and
that will be a priceless possession to him, especially when he is
put in possession of it by you.

Well on toward the end of the war, the Captain Credence had so
acquitted himself that he was summoned one day to the Prince's
quarters, when the following colloquy ensued: 'What hath my Lord
to say to His servant?' And then, after a sign or two of favour,
it was said to him: 'I have made thee lieutenant over all the
forces in Mansoul; so that, from this day forward, all men in
Mansoul shall be at thy word; and thou shalt be he that shall lead
in and that shall lead out Mansoul. And at thy command shall all
the rest of the captains be.' My brethren, you will have the whole
key to all that in yourselves if this same war has gone this length
in you. Faith, your faith in God, and in the word of God, will, as
this inward war goes on, not only lead the van in your heart and in
your life, but just because your faith so leads in all things, and
is so fitted to lead in all things, it will at last be lifted up
and set over your soul, and all the things of your soul, till
nothing shall be done in any of the streets, or gates, or walls
thereof that faith in God and in His word does not first allow and
admit. And then, when it has come to that within you, that is the
best mind, that is the safest, the happiest, and the most heavenly
mind that you can attain to in this present life; and when faith
shall thus lead and rule over all things in thy soul, be thou
always ready, for thy speedy translation to a still better life is
just at the door.

2. 'The second was that famous captain, Good-hope. His were the
blue colours. His standard-bearer was Mr. Expectation, and for a
scutcheon he had three golden anchors; and he had ten thousand men
at his feet.' The time was, my brethren, when all your hopes and
mine were as yet anchored without the veil. But all that is now
changed. We still hope, in a mild kind of way, for this thing and
for that in this present life; but only in a mild kind of way. It
would not be right in us not to look forward, say, from spring-time
to summer, and from summer to harvest. If the husbandman had not
hope in the former and in the latter rain he would not sow; and as
it is with the husbandman so it is with us all: so ought it to be,
and so it must be. But we say God willing! all the time that we
plot and plan and hope. And we say God willing! no longer with a
sigh, but, now, always with a smile. In His will is our
tranquillity, we say, and we know that if it is not His will that
this and that slightly anchored hope should be fulfilled, then that
only means that all our hopes, to be called hopes, are soon to be
realised. Our green and salad days in the matter of hope are for
ever past. If we had it all absolutely secured to us that this
world is still promising to its salad dupes, it would not come
within a thousand miles of satisfying our hearts. Whether the
hopes of our hearts are to be fulfilled within the veil or no, that
remains to be seen; but all the things without the veil taken
together do not any longer even pretend to promise a hope to hearts
like ours. Our Forerunner has carried away our hearts with Him.
We have no heart left for any one but Him, or for anything without
or within the veil that He is not and is not in. And till that
hope also has made us ashamed,--till He and His promises have
failed us like all the rest,--we are going to anchor our hearts on
that, and on that only, which we believe is with Him within the
veil. If our Forerunner also disappoints us; if we enter where He
is, only to find that He is not there; or that, though there, He is
not able to satisfy our hope in Him, and make us like Himself, then
we shall be of all men the most miserable. But not till then. No;
not till then. And thus it is that Captain Good-hope has his
billet in our heart; thus it is that his blue colours float over
our house; and thus it is that his three golden anchors are blazing
out in all their beauty on the best wall of our earthly house.

3. 'The third was that valiant captain, the Captain Charity. His
standard-bearer was Mr. Pitiful, and for his scutcheon he had three
naked orphans embraced in his bosom; and he also had ten thousand
men at his feet.' O Charity! O valiant and pitiful Charity!
Divine-natured and heavenly-minded Charity! When wilt thou come
and dwell in my heart? When, by thine indwelling, shall I be able
to love my neighbour, and all my neighbours, as myself? When, in
thy strength, shall I cease from repining at my neighbour's good;
and when shall I cease secretly rejoicing over his evil? When
shall I by thee renewing me, be made able to cease in everything
from seeking first my own will and my own way; my own praise and my
own glory? When shall it be as much my new nature to love my
neighbour as it is now my old nature to hate him? When shall I
cease to be so soon angry, and hard, and bitter, and scornful, and
unrelenting, and unforgiving? When shall my neighbour's presence,
his image, and his name always call up only love and honour, good-
will and affectionate delight? When and where shall I, under thee,
feel for the last time any evil of any kind in my heart against my
brother? Oh! to see the day when I shall suffer long and be kind!
When I shall never again vaunt myself or be puffed up! When I
shall bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure
all things! O blessed, blessed Charity! with thy divine heart,
with thy dove-like eyes, and with thy bosom full of pity, when wilt
thou come into my sinful heart and bring all heaven in with thee!
O Charity! till thou so comest I shall wait for thee. And, till
thou comest, thy standard-bearer shall be my door porter, and thy
scutcheon shall hang night and day at my door-post!

4. 'The fourth captain was that gallant commander, the Captain
Innocent. His standard-bearer was Mr. Harmless; his were the white
colours, and for his scutcheon he had three golden doves.' My
brethren, how well it would have been with us to-day if we had
always lived innocently! Had we only been innocent of that man's,
and that man's, and that man's, and that man's hurt! (Let us name
all the men to ourselves.) How many men have we, first and last,
hurt! Some intentionally, and some unintentionally; some
deliberately, and some only by accident; some of malice, and some
only of misfortune; some innocently and unknowingly, and whom we
never properly hurt. Some, also, by our mere existence; some by
our best actions; some because we have helped and not hurt others;
and some out of nothing else but the pure original devilry of their
own evil hearts. And then, when we take all these men home to our
hearts, what hearts all these men give us! Who, then, is the man
here who has done to other men the most hurt? Who has caused or
been the occasion of most hurt? Let that so unhappy man just think
that the gallant commander, the Captain Innocent himself, with his
white colours and with his golden doves, is standing and knocking
at your evil door. O unhappy man! By all the hurt and harm you
have ever done--by all that you can never now undo--by those
spotless colours that are still snow and not yet scarlet as they
wave over you--by those three golden doves that are an emblem of
the life that still lies open before you, as well as an invitation
to you to enter on that life--why will you die of remorse and
despair? Open the door of your heart and admit Captain Innocent.
He knows that of all hurtful men on the face of the earth you are
the most hurtful, but he is not on that account afraid at you;
indeed, it is on that account that he has come so near to you. By
admitting him, by enlisting under him, by serving under him, some
of the most hurtful and injurious men that ever lived have lived
after to be the most innocent and the most harmless of men, with
their hands washed every day in innocency, and with three golden
doves as the scutcheon of their new nature and their Christian
character. Oh come into my heart, Captain Innocent; there is room
in my heart for thee!

5. 'And then the fifth was that truly royal and well-beloved
captain, the Captain Patience. His standard-bearer was Mr. Suffer-
long, and for a scutcheon he had three arrows through a golden
heart.' Three arrows through a golden heart! Most eloquent, most
impressive, and most instructive of emblems! First, a heart of
gold, and then that heart of gold pierced, and pierced, and then
pierced again with arrow after arrow. Patience was the last of
Emmanuel's pickt graces. Captain Patience with his pierced heart
always brought up the rear when the army marched. But when Captain
Patience and Mr. Suffer-long did enter and take up their quarters
in any house in Mansoul,--then was there no house more safe, more
protected, more peaceful, more quietly, sweetly, divinely happy
than just that house where this loyal and well-beloved captain bore
in his heart. Entertain patience, my brethren. Practise patience,
my brethren. Make your house at home a daily school to you in
which to learn patience. Be sure that you well understand the
times, the occasions, the opportunities, and the invitations of
patience, and take profit out of them; and thus both your profit
and that of others also will be great. Tribulation worketh
patience. Endure tribulation, then, for the sake of its so
excellent work. Nothing worketh patience like tribulation, and
therefore it is that tribulation so abounds in the lives of God's
people. So much does tribulation abound in the lives of God's
people that they are actually known in heaven and described there
by their experience of tribulation. 'These are they which came out
of great tribulation, and therefore are they before the throne.'
These are they with the three sharp arrows shot through and through
their hearts of gold.


'One thing have I desired.'--David.

Mr. Desires-awake dwelt in a very mean cottage in Mansoul. There
were two very mean cottages in Mansoul, and those two cottages
stood beside one another and leaned upon one another and held one
another up. Mr. Desires-awake dwelt in the one of those cottages
and Mr. Wet-eyes in the other. And those two mendicant men were
wont to meet together for secret prayer, when Mr. Desires-awake
would put a rope upon his head, while Mr. Wet-eyes would not be
able to speak for wringing his hands in tears all the time. Many a
time did those two meanest and most despised of men deliver that
city, according to the proverb of the Preacher: Wisdom is better
than strength, and the words of wisdom are to be heard in secret
places, where wisdom is far better than weapons of war. Why should
I not do all for them and the best I can? said Mr. Desires-awake
when the men of Mansoul came to him in their extremity. I will
even venture my life again for them at the pavilion of the Prince.
And accordingly this mean man put his rope upon his head, as was
his wont, and went out to the Prince's tent and asked the
reformades if he might see their Master. Then the Prince, coming
to the place where the petitioner lay on the ground, demanded what
his name was and of what esteem he was in Mansoul, and why he, of
all the multitudes of Mansoul, was sent out to His Royal tent on
such an errand. Then said the man to the Prince standing over him,
he said: Oh let not my Lord be angry; and why inquirest Thou after
the name of such a dead dog as I am? Pass by, I pray Thee, and
take not notice of who I am, because there is, as Thou very well
knowest, so great a disproportion between Thee and me. For my
part, I am out of charity with myself; who, then, should be in love
with me? Yet live I would, and so would I that my townsmen should;
and because both they and myself are guilty of great
transgressions, therefore they have sent me, and I have come in
their names to beg of my Lord for mercy. Let it please Thee,
therefore, to incline to mercy; but ask not who Thy servant is.
All this, and how Mr. Desires-awake and Mr. Wet-eyes sped in their
petition, is to be read at length in the Holy History. And now let
us take down the key that hangs in our author's window and go to
work with it on the sweet mystery of Mr. Desires-awake.

1. Well, then, to begin with, this poor man's name need not delay
us long seeking it out. In shorter time, and with surer success
than I could give you the dictionary root of his name, if you will
look within you will all see the visual image of this poor man's
name in your own heart. For our hearts are all as full as they can
hold of all kinds of desires; some good and some bad, some asleep
and some awake, some alive and some dead, some raging like a
hundred hungry lions, and some satisfied as a sleeping child.
Well, then, this mean man was called Mr. Desires-awake, and what
his desires were awake after and set upon we have already seen in
his head-dress and heard in his prayer. His house, on the other
hand, will not be so well known. For it was less a house than a
hut--a hut hidden away out of sight and back behind Mr. Wet-eyes'
hut. Mr. Desires-awake's cottage was so mean and meagre that no
one ever came to visit him unless it was his next-door neighbour.
They never left their cottages, those two poor men, unless it was
to see one another; or, strange to tell, unless it was to go out at
the city gate to see and to speak with their Prince. And at such
times their venturesomeness both astonished themselves and amused
their Prince. Sometimes he laughed to see them back at his door
again; but more often he wept to see and hear them; all which made
the guards of his pavilion to wonder who those two strange men
might be. And thus it was that if at any long interval of time any
of the men of the city desired to see Mr. Desires-awake, he was
sure to be found at the pavilion door of his Prince, or else in his
neighbour's cottage, or else at home in his own. From year's end
to year's end you might look in vain for either of those two poor
men in the public resorts of Mansoul. When all the town was abroad
on holidays and fair-days and feast-days, those two mean men were
then closest at home. And when the booths of the town were full of
all kinds of wares and merchandise, and all the greens in the town
were full of games, and plays, and cheats, and fools, and apes, and
knaves, only those two penniless men would abide shut up at home.
At home; or else together they would go to a market-stance set up
by their Prince outside the walls where one was stationed to stand
and to cry: 'Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money. Wherefore do ye spend money for that
which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
Incline your ear and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live.'
And sometimes the Prince would go out in person to meet the two men
with nothing to pay, and would Himself say to them, I counsel thee
to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, and white raiment, and anoint
thine eyes with eye-salve, till the two men, Mr. Desires-awake and
Mr. Wet-eyes, would go home to their huts laden with their Prince's
free gifts and royal bounties.

2. But, with all that, Mr. Desires-awake never went out to his
Prince's pavilion till he had again put his rope upon his head.
And, however laden with royal presents he ever returned to his mean
cottage, he never laid aside his rope. He ate in his rope, he
slept in his rope, he visited his next-door neighbour in his rope,
till the only instruction he left behind him was to bury him in a
ditch, and be sure to put his rope upon his head. The men and the
boys of the town jeered at Mr. Desires-awake as he passed up their
streets in his rope, and the very mothers in Mansoul taught their
children in arms to run after him and to cry, Go up, thou roped
head! Go up, thou roped head! We be free men, the men of the town
called after him; and we never were in bondage to any man'. Out
with him; out with him! He is beside himself. Much repentance
hath made him mad! But through all that Mr. Desires-awake was as
one that heard them not. For Mr. Desires-awake was full of louder
voices within. The voices within his bosom quite drowned the babel
around him. The voices within called him far worse names than the
streets of the city ever called him; till all he could do was to
draw his rope down upon his head and press on again to the Prince's
pavilion. You understand about that rope, my brethren, do you not?
Mr. Desires-awake's continual rope? In old days when a guilty man
came of his own accord to the judge to confess himself deserving of
death, he would put a rope upon his head. And that rope as much as
said to the judge and to all men--the miserable man as good as
said: This is my desert. This is the wages of my sin. I justify
my judge. I judge myself. I hereby do myself to death. And it
was this that so angered the happy holiday-makers of Mansoul. For
they forgave themselves. They justified themselves. They put a
high price upon themselves. Humiliation and sorrow for sin was not
in all their thoughts; and they hated and hunted back into his hut
the humble man whose gait and garb always reminded them of their
past life and of their latter end. But for all they could do, Mr.
Desires-awake would wear his rope. My soul chooseth strangling
rather than sin, he would say. My sin hath found me out, he would
say; I hate myself, he would say, because of my sin. I condemn and
denounce myself. I hang myself up with this rope on the accursed
tree. And thus it was that while other men were crucifying their
Prince afresh, Mr. Desires-awake was crucifying himself with and
after his Prince. And thus it was that while the men and the women
of the town so hated and so mocked Mr. Desires-awake, his Prince so
loved and so honoured him.

3. 'Oh let not my Lord be angry; and why inquirest Thou after the
name of such a dead dog as I am?' said Desires-awake to his Prince.
'Behold, now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord which am
but dust and ashes,' said Abraham. 'If I wash myself with snow
water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me
into the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me,' said Job.
'My wounds stink and are corrupt; my loins are filled with a
loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh,' said
David. 'But we are all as an unclean thing,' said Isaiah, 'and all
our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.' 'I am the chief of
sinners,' said the apostle. 'Hold your peace; I am a devil and not
a man,' said Philip Neri to his sons. 'I am a sinner, and worse
than the chief of sinners, yea, a guilty devil,' said Samuel
Rutherford. 'I hated the light; I was a chief--the chief of
sinners,' said Oliver Cromwell. 'I was more loathsome in my own
eyes than a toad,' said John Bunyan. 'Sin and corruption would as
naturally bubble out of my heart as water would bubble out of a
fountain. I could have changed hearts with anybody. I thought
none but the devil himself could equal me for wickedness and
pollution of mind.' 'O Despise me not,' said Bishop Andrewes, 'an
unclean worm, a dead dog, a putrid corpse. The just falleth seven
times a day; and I, an exceeding sinner, seventy times seven. Me,
O Lord, of sinners chief, chiefest, and greatest.' And William
Law, 'An unclean worm, a dead dog, a stinking carcass. Drive, I
beseech Thee, the serpent and the beast out of me. O Lord, I
detest and abhor myself for all these my sins, and for all my abuse
of Thine infinite mercy.' From all this, then, you will see that
this dead dog of ours with the rope upon his head was no strange
sight at Emmanuel's pavilion. And you and I shall still be in the
same saintly succession if we go continually with his words in our
mouth, and with his instrument in our hands and on our heads.

4. 'The Prince to whom I went,' said Mr. Desires-awake, 'is such a
one for beauty and for glory that whoso sees Him must ever after
both love and fear Him. I, for my part,' he said, 'can do no less;
but I know not what the end will be of all these things.' What
made Mr. Desires-awake say that last thing was that when he was
prostrate in his prayer the Prince turned His head away, as if He
was out of humour and out of patience with His petitioner; while,
all the time, the overcome Prince was weeping with love and with
pity for Desires-awake. Only that poor man did not see that, and
would not have believed that even if he had seen it. 'I cannot
tell what the end will be,' said Desires-awake; 'but one thing I
know, I shall never be able to cease from both loving and fearing
that Prince. I shall always love Him for His beauty and fear Him
for His glory.' Can you say anything like that, my brethren? Have
you been at His seat with sackcloth, and a rope, and ashes, and
tears, and prayers, like Abraham, and David, and Isaiah, and Paul,
and John Bunyan, and Bishop Andrewes? And, whatever may be the
end, do you say that henceforth and for ever you must both love and
fear that Prince? 'Though He slay me,' said Job, 'yet I shall both
love and trust Him.' Well, the Prince is the Prince, and He will
take both His own time and His own way of taking off your rope and
putting a chain of gold round your neck, and a new song in your
mouth, as He did to Job. There may be more weeping yet, both on
your side and on His before He does that; but He will do it, and He
will not delay an hour that He can help in doing it. Only, do you
continue and increase to love His beauty, and to fear His glory.
And that of itself will be reward and blessing enough to you. Nay,
once you have seen both His beauty and His glory, then to lie a dog
under His table, and to beg at His door with a rope on your head to
all eternity would be a glorious eternity to you. Samuel
Rutherford said that to see Christ through the keyhole once in a
thousand years would be heaven enough for him. Christ wept in
heaven as Rutherford wrote that letter in Aberdeen, and if you make
Him weep in the same way He will soon make you to laugh too. He
will soon make you to laugh as Samuel Rutherford and Mr. Desires-
awake are laughing now. Only, my brethren, answer this--Are your
desires awakened indeed after Jesus Christ? You know what a desire
is. Your hearts are full to the brim of desires. Well, is there
one desire in a day in your heart for Christ? In the multitude of
your desires within you, what share and what proportion go out and
up to Christ? You know what beauty is. You know and you love the
beauty of a child, of a woman, of a man, of nature, of art, and so
on. Do you know, have you ever seen, the ineffable beauty of
Christ? Is there one saint of God here,--and He has many saints
here--is there one of you who can say with David in the text, One
thing do I desire? There should be many so desiring saints here;
for Christ's beauty is far better and far fairer, far more
captivating, far more enthralling, and far more satisfying to us
than it could be to David. Shall we call you Desires-awake, then,
after this? Can you say--do you say, One thing do I desire, and
that is no thing and no person, no created beauty and no earthly
sweetness, but my one desire is for God: to be His, and to be like
Him, and to be for ever with Him? Then, it shall soon all be.
For, what you truly desire,--all that you already are; and what you
already are,--all that you shall soon completely and for ever be.
Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that
I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is
the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

'As for me,' says the great-hearted, the hungry-hearted Psalmist,
'I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.' One would
have said that David had all that heart could desire even before he
fell asleep. For he had a throne, the throne of Israel, and a son,
a son like Solomon to sit upon it. A long life also, full to the
brim of all kinds of temporal and spiritual blessings. Bless the
Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all
thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy
life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and
tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that
thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. All that, and yet not
satisfied! O David! David! surely Desires-awake is thy new name!
One of our own poets has said:-

'All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed His sacred flame.'

Now, if that is true, as it is true, even of earthly and ephemeral
love, how much more true is it of the love that is in the immortal
soul of man for the everlasting God? And what a blessed life that
already is when all things that come to us--joy and sorrow, good
and evil, nature and grace, all thoughts, all passions, all
delights--are all but so many ministers to our soul's desire after
God, after the Divine Likeness and for the Beatific Vision.

'Oh! Christ, He is the Fountain,
The deep sweet Well of Love!
The streams on earth I've tasted,
More deep I'll drink above;
There, to an ocean fulness,
His mercy doth expand;
And glory--glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel's land.'


'Oh that my head were waters!'--Jeremiah.

'Tears gain everything.'--Teresa.

Now Mr. Desires-awake, when he saw that he must go on this errand,
besought that they would grant that Mr. Wet-eyes might go with him.
Now this Mr. Wet-eyes was a near neighbour of Mr. Desires-awake, a
poor man, and a man of a broken spirit, yet one that could speak
well to a petition; so they granted that he should go with him.
Wherefore the two men at once addressed themselves to their serious
business. Mr. Desires-awake put his rope upon his head, and Mr.
Wet-eyes went with his hands wringing together. Then said the
Prince, And what is he that is become thy companion in this so
weighty a matter? So Mr. Desires-awake told Emmanuel that this was
a poor neighbour of his, and one of his most intimate associates.
And his name, said he, may it please your most excellent Majesty,
is Wet-eyes, of the town of Mansoul. I know that there are many of
that name that are naught, said he; but I hope it will be no
offence to my Lord that I have brought my poor neighbour with me.
Then Mr. Wet-eyes fell on his face to the ground, and made this
apology for his coming with his neighbour to his Lord:-

'Oh, my Lord,' quoth he, 'what I am I know not myself, nor whether
my name be feigned or true, especially when I begin to think what
some have said, and that is that this name was given me because Mr.
Repentance was my father. But good men have sometimes bad
children, and the sincere do sometimes beget hypocrites. My mother
also called me by this name of mine from my cradle; but whether she
said so because of the moistness of my brain, or because of the
softness of my heart, I cannot tell. I see dirt in mine own tears,
and filthiness in the bottom of my prayers. But I pray Thee (and
all this while the gentleman wept) that Thou wouldst not remember
against us our transgressions, nor take offence at the
unqualifiedness of Thy servants, but mercifully pass by the sin of
Mansoul, and refrain from the magnifying of Thy grace no longer.'
So at His bidding they arose, and both stood trembling before Him.

1. 'His name, may it please your Majesty, is Wet-eyes, of the town
of Mansoul. I know, at the same time, that there are many of that
name that are naught.' Naught, that is, for this great enterprise
now in hand. And thus it was that Mr. Desires-awake in setting out
for the Prince's pavilion besought that Mr. Wet-eyes might go with
him. Mr. Desires-awake felt keenly how much might turn on who his
companion was that day, and therefore he took Mr. Wet-eyes with
him. David would have made a most excellent associate for Mr.
Desires-awake that day. 'I am weary with my groaning; all the
night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.' And
again, 'Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not
Thy law.' This, then, was the only manner of man that Mr. Desires-
awake would stake his life alongside of that day. 'I have seen
some persons weep for the loss of sixpence,' said Mr. Desires-
awake, 'or for the breaking of a glass, or at some trifling
accident. And they cannot pretend to have their tears valued at a
bigger rate than they will confess their passion to be when they
weep. Some are vexed for the dirtying of their linen, or some such
trifle, for which the least passion is too big an expense. And
thus it is that a man cannot tell his own heart simply by his
tears, or the truth of his repentance by those short gusts of
sorrow.' Well, then, my brethren, tell me, Do you think that Mr.
Desires-awake would have taken you that day to the pavilion door?
Would his head have been safe with you for his associate? Your
associates see many gusts in your heart. Do they ever see your
eyes red because of your sin? Did you ever weep so much as one
good tear-drop for pure sin? One true tear: not because your sins
have found you out, but for secret sins that you know can never
find you out in this world? And, still better, do you ever weep in
secret places not for sin, but for sinfulness--which is a very
different matter? Do you ever weep to yourself and to God alone
over your incurably wicked heart? If not, then weep for that with
all your might, night and day. No mortal man has so much cause to
weep as you have. Go to God on the spot, on every spot, and say
with Bishop Andrewes, who is both Mr. Desires-awake and Mr. Wet-
eyes in one, say with that deep man in his Private Devotions, say:
'I need more grief, O God; I plainly need it. I can sin much, but
I cannot correspondingly repent. O Lord, give me a molten heart.
Give me tears; give me a fountain of tears. Give me the grace of
tears. Drop down, ye heavens, and bedew the dryness of my heart.
Give me, O Lord, this saving grace. No grace of all the graces
were more welcome to me. If I may not water my couch with my
tears, nor wash Thy feet with my tears, at least give me one or two
little tears that Thou mayest put into Thy bottle and write in Thy
book!' If your heart is hard, and your eyes dry, make something
like that your continual prayer.

2. 'A poor-man,' said Mr. Desires-awake, about his associate.
'Mr. Wet-eyes is a poor man, and a man of a broken spirit.' 'Let
Oliver take comfort in his dark sorrows and melancholies. The
quantity of sorrow he has, does it not mean withal the quantity of
sympathy he has, and the quantity of faculty and of victory he
shall yet have? Our sorrow is the inverted image of our nobleness.
The depth of our despair measures what capability and height of
claim we have to hope. Black smoke, as of Tophet, filling all your
universe, it can yet by true heart-energy become flame, and the
brilliancy of heaven. Courage!'

'This is the angel of the earth,
And she is always weeping.'

3. 'A poor man, and a man of a broken spirit, and yet one that can
speak well to a petition.' Yes; and you will see how true that
eulogy of Mr. Wet-eyes is if you will run over in your mind the
outstanding instances of successful petitioners in the Scriptures.
As you come down the Old and the New Testaments you will be
astonished and encouraged to find how prevailing a fountain of
tears always is with God. David with his swimming bed; Jeremiah
with his head waters; Mary Magdalene over His feet with her welling
eyes; Peter's bitter cry all his life long as often as he heard a
cock crow, and so on. So on through a multitude whose names are
written in heaven, and who went up to heaven all the way with
inconsolable sorrow because of their sins. They took words and
turned to the Lord; but,--better than the best words,--they took
tears, or rather, their tears took them. The best words, the words
that the Holy Ghost Himself teacheth, if they are without tears,
will avail nothing. Even inspired words will not pass through;
while, all the time, tears, mere tears, without words, are
omnipotent with God. Words weary Him, while tears overcome and
command Him. He inhabits the tears of Israel. Therefore, also,
now, saith the Lord, turn ye unto Me with all your heart, and with
weeping and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your
garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and
merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him
of the evil. It is the same with ourselves. Tears move us. Tears
melt us. We cannot resist tears. Even counterfeit tears, we
cannot be sure that they are not true. And that is the main reason
why our Lord is so good at speaking to a petition. It is because
His whole heart, and all the moving passions of His heart, are in
His intercessory office. It is because He still remembers in the
skies His tears, His agonies, and cries. It is because He is
entered into the holiest with His own tears as well as with His own
blood. And it is because He will remain and abide before the
Father the Man of Sorrows till our last petition is answered, and
till God has wiped the last tear from our eyes. When He was in the
coasts of Caesarea-Philippi, our Lord felt a great curiosity to
find out who the people thereabouts took Him to be. And it must
have touched His heart to be told that some men had insight enough
to insist that He was the prophet Jeremiah come back again to weep
over Jerusalem. He is Elias, said some. No; He is John the
Baptist risen from the dead, said others. No, no; said some men
who saw deeper than their neighbours. His head is waters, and His
eyes are a fountain of tears. Do you not see that He so often
escapes into a lodge in the wilderness to weep for our sins? No;
He is neither John nor Elijah; He is Jeremiah come back again to
weep over Jerusalem! And even an apostle, looking back at the
beginning of our Lord's priesthood on earth, says that He was
prepared for His office by prayers and supplications, and with
strong crying and tears. From all that, then, let us learn and lay
to heart that if we would have one to speak well to our petitions,
the Man of Sorrows is that one. And then, as His remembrancers on
our behalf, let us engage all those among our friends who have the
same grace of tears. But, above all, let us be men of tears
ourselves. For all the tears and all the intercessions of our
great High Priest, and all the importunings of our best friends to
boot, will avail us nothing if our own eyes are dry. Let us, then,
turn back to Bishop Andrewes's prayer for the grace of tears, and
offer it every night with him till our head, like his, is holy
waters, and till, like him, we get beauty for ashes, the oil of joy
for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of

4. 'Clear as tears' is a Persian proverb when they would praise
their purest spring water. But Mr. Wet-eyes has from henceforth
spoiled the point of that proverb for us. 'I see,' he said, 'dirt
in mine own tears, and filthiness in the bottom of my prayers.'
Mr. Wet-eyes is hopeless. Mr. Wet-eyes is intolerable. Mr. Wet-
eyes would weary out the patience of a saint. There is no
satisfying or pacifying or ever pleasing this morbose Mr. Wet-eyes.
The man is absolutely insufferable. Why, prayers and tears that
the most and best of God's people cannot attain to are spurned and
spat upon by Mr. Wet-eyes. The man is beside himself with his
tears. For, tears that would console and assure us for a long
season after them, he will weep over them as we scarce weep over
our worst sins. His closet always turns all his comeliness to
corruption. He comes out of his closet after all night in it with
his psalm-book wrung to pulp, and with all his righteousnesses torn
to filthy rags; till all men escape Mr. Wet-eyes' society--all men
except Mr. Desires-awake. I will go out on your errand now, said
Mr. Desires-awake, if you will send Mr. Wet-eyes with me. And thus
the two twin sons of sorrow for sin and hunger after holiness went
out arm in arm to the great pavilion together, Mr. Desires-awake
with his rope upon his head, and Mr. Wet-eyes with his hands
wringing together. Thus they went to the Prince's pavilion. I
gave you a specimen of one of Mr. Wet-eyes' prayers in the
introduction to this discourse, and you did not discover much the
matter with it, did you? You did not discover much filthiness in
the bottom of that prayer, did you? I am sure you did not. Ah!
but that is because you have not yet got Mr. Wet-eyes' eyes. When
you get his eyes; when you turn and employ upon yourselves and upon
your tears and upon your prayers his always-wet eyes,--then you
will begin to understand and love and take sides with this
inconsolable soul, and will choose his society rather than that of
any other man--as often, at any rate, as you go out to the Prince's
pavilion door.

5. 'Mr. Repentance was my father, but good men sometimes have bad
children, and the most sincere do sometimes beget great hypocrites.
But, I pray Thee, take not offence at the unqualifiedness of Thy
servant.' Take good note of that uncommon expression,
'unqualifiedness,' in Mr. Wet-eyes' confession, all of you who are
attending to what is being said. Lay 'unqualifiedness' to heart.
Learn how to qualify yourselves before you begin to pray. In his
fine comment on the 137th Psalm, Matthew Henry discourses
delightfully on what he calls 'deliberate tears.' Look up that
raciest of commentators, and see what he there says about the
deliberate tears of the captives in Babylon. It was the lack of
sufficient deliberation in his tears that condemned and alarmed Mr.
Wet-eyes that day. He felt now that he had not deliberated and
qualified himself properly before coming to the Prince's pavilion.
Do not take up your time or your thoughts with mere curiosities,
either in your Bible or in any other good book, says A Kempis.
Read such things rather as may yield compunction to your heart.
And again, give thyself to compunction, and thou shalt gain much
devotion thereby. Mr. Wet-eyes, good and true soul, was afraid
that he had not qualified himself enough by compunctious reading
and self-recollection. The sincere, he sobbed out, do often beget
hypocrites! 'Our hearts are so deceitful in the matter of
repentance,' says Jeremy Taylor, 'that the masters of the spiritual
life are fain to invent suppletory arts and stratagems to secure
the duty.' Take not offence at the lack of all such suppletory
arts and stratagems in thy servant, said poor Wet-eyes. All which
would mean in the most of us: Take not offence at my rawness and
ignorance in the spiritual life, and especially in the life of
inward devotion. Do not count up against me the names and the
numbers and the prices of my poems, and plays, and novels, and
newspapers, and then the number of my devotional books. Compare
not my outlay on my body and on this life with my outlay on my soul
and on the life to come. Oh, take not mortal offence at the
shameful and scandalous unqualifiedness of Thy miserable servant.
My father and my mother read the books of the soul, but they have
left behind them a dry-eyed reprobate in me! Say that to-night as
you look around on the grievous famine of the suppletory arts and
stratagems of repentance and reformation in your heathenish

Spiritual preaching; real face to face, inward, verifiable,
experimental, spiritual preaching; preaching to a heart in the
agony of its sanctification; preaching to men whose whole life is
given over to making them a new heart--that kind of preaching is
scarcely ever heard in our day. There is great intellectual
ability in the pulpit of our day, great scholarship, great
eloquence, and great earnestness, but spiritual preaching,
preaching to the spirit--'wet-eyed' preaching--is a lost art. At
the same time, if that living art is for the present overlaid and
lost, the literature of a deeper spiritual day abides to us, and
our spiritually-minded people are not confined to us, they are not
dependent on us. Well, this is the Communion week with us yet once
more. Will you not, then, make it the beginning of some of the
suppletory arts and stratagems of the spiritual life with
yourselves? I cannot preach as I would like on such subjects, but
I can tell you who could, and who, though dead, yet speak by their
immortal books. You have the wet-eyed psalms; but they are beyond
the depth of most people. Their meaning seems to us on the
surface, and we all read and sing them, but let us not therefore
think that we understand them. I cannot compel you to read the
books, and to read little else but the books, that would in time,
and by God's blessing, lead you into the depths of the psalms; but
I can wash my hands so far in making their names so many household
words among my people. The Way to Christ, the Imitation of Christ,
the Theologia Germanica, Tauler's Sermons, the Mortification of
Sin, and Indwelling Sin in Believers, the Saint's Rest, the Holy
Living and Dying, the Privata Sacra, the Private Devotions, the
Serious Call, the Christian Perfection, the Religious Affections,
and such like. All that, and you still unqualified! All that, and
your eyes still dry!


'Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.'--Our Lord.

'Be clothed with humility.'--Peter.

'God's chiefest saints are the least in their own eyes.'--A Kempis.

'Without humility all our other virtues are but vices.'--Pascal.

'Humility does not consist in having a worse opinion of ourselves
than we deserve.'--Law.

'Humility lies close upon the heart, and its tests are exceedingly
delicate and subtle.'--Newman.

Our familiar English word 'humility' comes down to us from the
Latin root humus, which means the earth or the ground. Humility,
therefore, is that in the mind and in the heart of a man which is
low down even to the very earth. A humble-minded man may not have
learning enough to know the etymology of the name which best
describes his character, but the divine nature which is in him
teaches him to look down, to walk meekly and softly, and to speak
seldom, and always in love. For humility, while it takes its lowly
name from earth, all the time has its true nature from heaven.
Humility is full of all meekness, modesty, submissiveness,
teachableness, sense of inability, sense of unworthiness, sense of
ill-desert. Till, with that new depth and new intensity that the
Scriptures and religious experience have given to this word, as to
so many other words, humility, in the vocabulary of the spiritual
life, has come to be applied to that low estimate of ourselves
which we come to form and to entertain as we are more and more
enlightened about God and about ourselves; about the majesty,
glory, holiness, beauty, and blessedness of the divine nature, and
about our own unspeakable evil, vileness, and misery as sinners.
And, till humility has come to rank in Holy Scripture, and in the
lives and devotions of all God's saints, as at once the deepest
root and the ripest fruit of all the divine graces that enter into,
and, indeed, constitute the life of God in the heart of man.
Humility, evangelical humility, sings Edwards in his superb and
seraphic poem the Religious Affections,--evangelical humility is
the sense that the true Christian has of his own utter
insufficiency, despicableness, and odiousness, a sense which is
peculiar to the true saint. But to compensate the true saint for
this sight and sense of himself, he has revealed to him an
accompanying sense of the absolutely transcendent beauty of the
divine nature and of all divine things; a sight and a sense that
quite overcome the heart and change to holiness all the
dispositions and inclinations and affections of the heart. The
essence of evangelical humility, says Edwards, consists in such
humility as becomes a creature in himself exceeding sinful, but at
the same time, under a dispensation of grace, and this is the
greatest and most essential thing in all true religion.

1. Well, then, our Mr. Humble was a juryman in Mansoul, and his
name and his nature eminently fitted him for his office. I never
was a juryman; but, if I were, I feel sure I would come home from
the court a far humbler man than I went up to it. I cannot imagine
how a judge can remain a proud man, or an advocate, or a witness,
or a juryman, or a spectator, or even a policeman. I am never in a
criminal court that I do not tremble with terror all the time. I
say to myself all the time,--there stands John Newton but for the
preventing grace of God. 'I will not sit as a judge to try General
Boulanger, because I hate him,' said M. Renault in the French
Senate. Mr. Humble himself could not have made a better speech to
the bench than that when his name was called to be sworn. Let us
all remember John Newton and M. Renault when we would begin to
write or to speak about any arrested, accused, found-out man. Let
other men's arrests, humiliations, accusations, and sentences only
make us search well our own past, and that will make us ever
humbler and ever humbler men ourselves; ever more penitent men, and
ever more prayerful men.

2. And then Miss Humble-mind, his only daughter, was a servant-
maid. There is no office so humble but that a humble mind will not
put on still more humility in it. What a lesson in humility, not
Peter only got that night in the upper room, but that happy
servant-maid also who brought in the bason and the towel. Would
she ever after that night grumble and give up her place in a
passion because she had been asked to do what was beneath her to
do? Would she ever leave that house for any wages? Would she ever
see that bason without kissing it? Would that towel not be a holy
thing ever after in her proud eyes? How happy that house would
ever after that night be, not so much because the Lord's Supper had
been instituted in it, as because a servant was in it who had
learned humility as she went about the house that night. Let all
our servants hold up their heads and magnify their office. Their
Master was once a servant, and He left us all, and all servants
especially, an example that they should follow in His steps.
Peter, whose feet were washed that night, never forgot that night,
and his warm heart always warmed to a servant when he saw her with
her bason and her towels, till he gave her half a chapter to
herself in his splendid First Epistle. 'Servants, be subject,' he
said, till his argument rose to a height above which not even Paul
himself ever rose. Servant-maids, you must all have your own half-
chapter out of First Peter by heart.

3. But I have as many students of one kind or other here to-night
as I have maid-servants, and they will remember where a great
student has said that knowledge without love but puffeth a student
up. Now, the best knowledge for us all, and especially so for a
student, is to know himself: his own ignorance, his own
foolishness, his blindness of mind, and, especially, his corruption
of heart. For that knowledge will both keep him from being puffed
up with what he already knows, and it will also put him and keep
him in the way of knowing more. Self-knowledge will increase
humility, and all the past masters both of science and of religion
will tell him that humility is the certain note of the true
student. You who are students all know The Advancement of
Learning, just as the servants sitting beside you all know the
second chapter of First Peter. Well, your master Verulam there
tells you, and indeed on every page of his, that it is only to a
humble, waiting, childlike temper that nature, like grace, will
ever reveal up her secrets. 'There is small chance of truth at the
goal when there is not a childlike humility at the starting-post.'
Well, then, all you students who would fain get to the goal of
science, make the Church of Christ your starting-post. Come first
and come continually to the Christian school to learn humility, and
then, as long as your talents, your years, and your opportunities
hold out, both truth and goodness will open up to you at every
step. Every step will be a goal, and at every goal a new step will
open up. And God's smile and God's blessing, and all good men's
love and honour and applause will support and reward you in your
race. And, humble-minded to the truth herself, be, at the same
time, humble-minded toward all who like yourself are seeking to
know and to do the truth. A lately deceased student of nature was
a pattern to all students as long as he waited on truth in his
laboratory; and even as long as he remained at his desk to tell the
world what he and other students had discovered in their search.
But when any other student in his search after truth was compelled
to cross that hither-to so exemplary student, he immediately became
as insolent as if he had been the greatest boor in the country.
Till, as he spat out scorn at all who differed from him we always
remembered this in A Kempis--'Surely, an humble husbandman that
serveth God is better than a proud philosopher that, neglecting
himself, laboureth to understand the course of the heavens. It is
great wisdom and perfection to esteem nothing of ourselves, and to
think always well and highly of others.' Students of arts,
students of philosophy, students of law, students of medicine, and
especially, students of divinity, be humble men. Labour in
humility even more than in your special science. Humility will
advance you in your special science; while, all the time, and at
the end of time, she will be more to you than all the other
sciences taken together. And since I have spoken of A Kempis, take
this motto for all your life out of A Kempis, as the great and good
Fenelon did, and it will guide you to the goal: Ama nescia et pro
nihilo reputari.

4. But of all the men in the whole world it is ministers who
should simply, as Peter says, be clothed with humility, and that
from head to foot. And, first as divinity students, and then as
pastors and preachers, we who are ministers have advantages and
opportunities in this respect quite peculiar and private to
ourselves. For, while other students are spending their days and
their nights on the ancient classics of Greece and Rome, the
student who is to be a minister is buried in the Psalms, in the
Gospels, and in the Epistles. While the student of law is deep in
his commentaries and his cases, the student of divinity is deep in
the study of experimental religion. And while the medical student
is full of the diseases of animals and of men, the theological
student is absorbed in the holiness of the divine nature, and in
the plague of the human heart, and, especially, he is drowned
deeper every day in his own. And he who has begun a curriculum
like that and is not already putting on a humility beyond all other
men had better lose no more time, but turn himself at once to some
other way of making his bread. The word of God and his own heart,-
-yes; what a sure school of evangelical humility to every
evangelically-minded student is that! And, then, after that, and
all his days, his congregational communion-roll and his visiting-
book. Let no minister who would be found of God clothed and
canopied over with humility ever lose sight of his communion-roll
and pastoral visitation-book. I defy any minister to keep those
records always open before him and yet remain a proud man, a self-
respecting, self-satisfied, self-righteous man. For, what secret
histories of his own folly, neglect, rashness, offensiveness, hot-
headedness, self-seeking, self-pleasing vanity, now puffed up over
one man, now cast down and full of gloom over another, what self-
flattery here, and what resentment and retaliation there; and so
on, as only his own eyes and his Divine Master's eye can read
between every diary line. What shame will cover that minister as
with a mantle when he thinks what the Christian ministry might be
made, and then takes home to himself what he has made it! Let any
minister shut himself in with his communion-roll and his visiting-
book before each returning communion season, and there will be one
worthy communicant at least in the congregation: one who will have
little appetite all that week for any other food but the broken
Body and the shed Blood of his Redeemer. But these are
professional matters that the outside world has nothing to do with
and would not understand. Only, let all young men who would have
evangelical humility absolutely secured and sealed to them,--let
them come and be ministers. Just as all young men who would have
any satisfaction in life, any sense of work well done and worthy of
reward, any taste of a goal attained and an old age earned, let
them take to anything in all this world but the evangelical pulpit
and its accompanying pastorate.

5. But humility is not a grace of the pulpit and the pastorate
only. It is not those who are separated by the Holy Ghost to study
the word of God and their own hearts all their life long only, who
are called to put on humility. All men are called to that grace.
There is no acceptance with God for any man without that grace.
There is no approach to God for any man without it. All salvation
begins and ends in it. Would you, then, fain possess it? Would
you, then, fain attain to it? Then let there be no mystery and no
mistake made about it. Would any man here fain get down to that
deep valley where God's saints walk in the sweet shade and lie down
in green pastures? Well, I warrant him that just before him, and
already under his eye, there is a flight of steps cut in the hill,
which steps, if he will take them, will, step after step, take him
also down to that bottom. The whole face of this steep and
slippery world is sculptured deep with such submissive steps.
Indeed, when a man's eyes are once turned down to that valley,
there is nothing to be seen anywhere in all this world but downward
steps. Look whichever way you will, there gleams out upon you yet
another descending stair. Look back at the way you came up. But
take care lest the sight turns you dizzy. Look at any spot you
once crossed on your way up, and, lo! every foot-print of yours has
become a descending step. You sink down as you look, broken down
with shame and with horror and with remorse. There are people,
some still left in this world, and some gone to the other world,
people whom you dare not think of lest you should turn sick and
lose hold and hope. There are places you dare not visit: there
are scenes you dare not recall. Lucifer himself would be a humble
angel with his wings over his face if he had a past like yours, and
would often enough return to look at it. And, then, not the past
only, but at this present moment there are people and things placed
close beside you, and kept close beside you, and you close beside
them, on divine purpose just to give you continual occasion and
offered opportunity to practise humility. They are kept close
beside you just on purpose to humiliate you, to cut out your
descending steps, to lend you their hand, and to say to you: Keep
near us. Only keep your eye on us, and we will see you down! And
then, if you are resolute enough to look within, if you are able to
keep your eye on what goes on in your own heart like heart--beats,
then, already, I know where you are. You are under all men's feet.
You are ashamed to lift up your eyes to meet other men's eyes. You
dare not take their honest hands. You could tell Edwards himself
things about humiliation now that would make his terribly searching
and humbling book quite tame and tasteless.

Come, then, O high-minded man, be sane, be wise. If you were up on
a giddy height, and began to see that certain death was straight
and soon before you, what would you do? You know what you would
do. You would look with all your eyes for such steps as would take
you safest down to the solid ground. You would welcome any hand
stretched out to help you. You would be most attentive and most
obedient and most thankful to any one who would assure you that
this is the right way down. And you would keep on saying to
yourself--Once I were well down, no man shall see me up here again.
Well, my brethren, humiliation, humility, is to be learned just in
the same way, and it is to be learned in no other way. He who
would be down must just come down. That is all. A step down, and
another step down, and another, and another, and already you are
well down. A humble act done to-day, a humble word spoken to-
morrow; humiliation after humiliation accepted every day that you
would at one time have spurned from you with passion; and then your
own vile, hateful, unbearable heart-all that is ordained of God to
bring you down, down to the dust; and this last, your own heart,
will bring you down to the very depths of hell. And thus, after
all your other opportunities and ordinances of humility are
embraced and exhausted, then the plunges, the depths, the abysses
of humility that God will open up in your own heart will all work
in you a meetness for heaven and a ripeness for its glory, that
shall for ever reward you for all that degradation and shame and
self-despair which have been to you the sure way and the only way
to everlasting life.


'As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.'--A Proverb.

It was a truly delightful sight to see old Mr. Meditation and his
only son, our little Think-well, out among the woods and hedgerows
of a summer afternoon. Little Think-well was the son of his
father's old age. That dry tree used to say to himself that if
ever he was intrusted with a son of his own, he would make his son
his most constant and his most confidential companion all his days.
And so he did. The eleventh of Deuteronomy had become a greater
and greater text to that childless man as he passed the mid-time of
his days. 'Therefore,' he used to say to himself, as he walked
abroad alone, and as other men passed him with their children at
their side--'Therefore ye shall teach them to your children,
speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou
walkest by the way, when thou liest down and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house and
upon thy gates.' And thus it was that, as the little lad grew up,
there was no day of all the seven that he so much numbered and
waited for as was that sacred day on which his father was free to
take little Think-well by the hand and lead him out to talk to him.
'No,' said an Edinburgh boy to his mother the other day--'No,
mother,' he said, 'I have no liking for these Sunday papers with
their poor stories and their pictures. I am to read the Bible
stories and the Bible biographies first.' He is not my boy. I
wish my boys were all like him. 'And Plutarch on week-days for
such a boy,' I said to his mother. How to keep a decent shred of
the old sanctification on the modern Sabbath-day is the anxious
inquiry of many fathers and mothers among us. My friend with her
manly-minded boy, and Mr. Meditation with little Think-well had no
trouble in that matter.

'And once I said,
As I remember, looking round upon those rocks
And hills on which we all of us were born,
That God who made the Great Book of the world
Would bless such piety;--
Never did worthier lads break English bread:
The finest Sunday that the autumn saw,
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts,
Could never keep those boys away from church,
Or tempt them to an hour of Sabbath breach,
Leonard and James!'

Think-well and that mother's son.

Old Mr. Meditation, the father, was sprung of a poor but honest and
industrious stock in the city. He had not had many talents or
opportunities to begin with, but he had made the very best of the
two he had. And then, when the two estates of Mr. Fritter-day and
Mr. Let-good-slip were sequestered to the crown, the advisers of
the crown handed over those two neglected estates to Mr. Meditation
to improve them for the common good, and after him to his son,
whose name we know. The steps of a good man are ordered of the
Lord, and He delighteth in his way. I have been young and now am
old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed
begging bread.

Now, this Think-well old Mr. Meditation had by Mrs. Piety, and she
was the daughter of the old Recorder. 'I am Thy servant,' said
Mrs. Piety's son on occasion all his days--'I am Thy servant and
the son of Thine handmaid.' And at that so dutiful acknowledgment
of his a long procession of the servants of God pass up before our
eyes with their sainted mothers leaning on the arms of their great
sons. The Psalmist and his mother, the Baptist and his mother, our
Lord and His mother, the author of the Fourth Gospel and his
mother, Paul's son and successor in the gospel and his mother and
grandmother, the author of The Confessions and his mother; and, in
this noble connection, I always think of Halyburton and his good
mother. And in this ennobling connection you will all think of
your own mother also, and before we go any further you will all
say, I also, O Lord, am Thy servant and the son of Thine handmaid.
'Fathers and mothers handle children differently,' says Jeremy
Taylor. And then that princely teacher of the Church of Christ
Catholic goes on to tell us how Mrs. Piety handled her little
Think-well which she had borne to Mr. Meditation. After other
things, she said this every night before she took sleep to her
tired eyelids, this: 'Oh give me grace to bring him up. Oh may I
always instruct him with diligence and meekness; govern him with
prudence and holiness; lead him in the paths of religion and
justice; never provoking him to wrath, never indulging him in
folly, and never conniving at an unworthy action. Oh sanctify him
in his body, soul, and spirit. Let all his thoughts be pure and
holy to the Searcher of hearts; let his words be true and prudent
before men; and may he have the portion of the meek and the humble
in the world to come, and all through Jesus Christ our Lord!' How
could a son get past a father and a mother like that? Even if, for
a season, he had got past them, he would be sure to come back.
Only, their young Think-well never did get past his father and his

There was not so much word of heredity in his day; but without so
much of the word young Think-well had the whole of the thing. And
as time went on, and the child became more and more the father of
the man, it was seen and spoken of by all the neighbours who knew
the house, how that their only child had inherited all his father's
head, and all his mother's heart, and then that he had reverted to
his maternal grandfather in his so keen and quick sense of right
and wrong. All which, under whatever name it was held, was a most
excellent outfit for our young gentleman. His old father, good
natural head and all, had next to no book-learning. He had only
two or three books that he read a hundred times over till he had
them by heart. And as he sighed over his unlettered lot he always
consoled himself with a saying he had once got out of one of his
old books. The saying of some great authority was to this effect,
that 'an old and simple woman, if she loves Jesus, may be greater
than our great brother Bonaventure.' He did not know who
Bonaventure was, but he always got a reproof again out of his name.
Think-well, to his father's immense delight, was a very methodical
little fellow, and his father and he had orderly little secrets
that they told to none. Little secret plans as to what they were
to read about, and think about, and pray about on certain days of
the week and at certain hours of the day and the night. You must
not call the father an old pedant, for the fact is, it was the son
who was the pedant if there was one in that happy house. The two
intimate friends had a word between them they called agenda. And
nobody but themselves knew where they had borrowed that uncouth
word, what language it was, or what it meant. Only in the old
man's tattered pocket-book there were things like this found by his
minister after his death. Indeed, in a museum of such relics this
is still to be read under a glass case, and in old Mr. Meditation's
ramshackle hand: 'Monday, death; Tuesday, judgment; Wednesday,
heaven; Thursday, hell; Friday, my past life back to my youth;
Saturday, the passion of my Saviour; Lord's day, creation,
salvation, and my own.--M.' And then, on an utterly illegible
page, this: 'Jesus, Thy life and Thy words are a perpetual sermon
to me. I meditate on Thee all the day. Make my memory a vessel of
election. Let all my thoughts be plain, honest, pious, simple,
prudent, and charitable, till Thou art pleased to draw the curtain
and let me see Thyself, O Eternal Jesu!' If I had time I could
tell you more about Think-well's quaint old father. But the above
may be better than nothing about the rare old gentleman.

A great authority has said--two great authorities have said in
their enigmatic way, that a 'dry light is ever the best.' That may
be so in some cases and to some uses, but nothing can be more sure
than this, that the light that little Think-well got from his
father's head was excellently drenched in his mother's heart. The
sweet moisture of his mother's heart mixed up beautifully with his
father's drier head and made a fine combination in their one boy as
it turned out. Her minister, preaching on one occasion on my text
for to-night, had said--and she had such a memory for a sermon that
she had never forgotten it, but had laid it up in her heart on the
spot--'As the philosopher's stone,' the old-fashioned preacher had
said, 'turns all metals into gold, as the bee sucks honey out of
every flower, and as the good stomach sucks out some sweet and
wholesome nourishment out of whatever it takes into itself, so doth
a holy heart, so far as sanctified, convert and digest all things
into spiritual and useful thoughts. This you may see in Psalm
cvii. 43.' And in her plain, silent, hidden, motherly way Mistress
Piety adorned her old minister's doctrine of the holy heart that he
was always preaching about, till she shared her soft and holy heart
with her son, as his father had shared his clear and deep, if too
unlearned, head.

We have one grandmother at least signalised in the Bible; but no
grandfather, so far as I remember. But amends are made for that in
the Holy War. For Think-well would never have been the man he
became had it not been for the old Recorder, his grandfather on his
mother's side. Some superficial people said that there was too
much severity in the old Recorder; but his grandson who knew him
best, never said that. He was the best of men, his grandson used
to stand up for him, and say, I shall never forget the debt I owe
him. It was he who taught me first to make conscience of my
thoughts. Indeed, as for my secret thoughts, I had taken no notice
of them till that summer afternoon walk home from church, when we
sat down among the bushes and he showed me on the spot the way.
And I can say to his memory that scarce for one waking hour have I
any day forgotten the lesson. The lesson how to make a conscience,
as he said, of all my thoughts about myself and about all my
neighbours. Such, then, were Think-well's more immediate
ancestors, and such was the inheritance that they all taken
together had left him.

Think-well! Think-well! My brethren, what do you think, what do
you say, as you hear that fine name? I will tell you what I think
and say. If I overcome, and have that white stone given to me, and
in that stone a new name written which no man shall know saving he
that receiveth it; and if it were asked me here to-night what I
would like my new name to be, I would say on the spot, Let it be
THINK-WELL! Let my new name among the saved and the sanctified
before the throne be THINK-WELL! As, O God, it will be the
bottomless pit to me, if I am forsaken of Thee for ever to my evil
thoughts. Send down and prevent it. Stir up all Thy strength and
give commandment to prevent it. Do Thou prevent it. For, after I
have done all,--after I have made all my overt acts blameless,
after I have tamed my tongue which no man can tame--all that only
the more throws my thoughts into a very devil's garden, a thicket
of hell, a secret swamp of sin to the uttermost. How, then, am I
ever to attain to that white stone and that shining name? And that
in a world of such truth that every man's name and title there
shall be a strict and true and entirely accurate and adequate
description and exposition of the very thoughts and intents and
imaginations of his heart? How shall I, how shall you, my
brethren, ever have 'Think-well' written on our forehead?--Well,
with God all things are possible. With God, with a much meditating
mind, and a true and humble and tender heart, and a pure
conscience, a conscience void of offence, working together with
Him--He, with all these inheritances and all these environments
working together with Him, will at last enable us, you and me, to
lift up such a clear and transparent forehead. But not without our
constant working together. We must ourselves make head, and heart,
and, especially, conscience of all our thoughts--for a long
lifetime we must do that. The Ductor Dubitantium has a deep
chapter on 'The Thinking Conscience.' And what a reproof to many
of us lies in the mere name! For how much evil-thinking and evil-
speaking we have all been guilty of through our unthinking
conscience and through a zeal for God, but a zeal without
knowledge. Look back at the history of the Church and see; look
back at your own history in the Church and see. Yes, make
conscience of your thoughts: but let it first be an instructed
conscience, a thinking conscience, a conscience full of the best
and the clearest light. And then let us also make ourselves a new
heart and a new spirit, as Ezekiel has it. For our hearts are
continually perverting and polluting and poisoning our thoughts.
That is a fearful thing that is said about the men on whom the
flood soon came. You remember what is said about them, and in
explanation and justification of the flood. God saw, it is said,
that every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was evil,
and only evil continually. Fearful! Far more fearful than ten
floods! O God, Thou seest us. And Thou seest all the imaginations
of the thoughts of our hearts. Oh give us all a mind and a heart
and a conscience to think of nothing, to fear nothing, to watch and
to pray about nothing compared with our thoughts. 'As for my
secret thoughts,' says the author of the Holy War and the creator
of Master Think-well--'As for my secret thoughts, I paid no
attention to them. I never knew I had them. I had no pain, or
shame, or guilt, or horror, or despair on account of them till John
Gifford took me and showed me the way.' And then when John Bunyan,
being the man of genius he was,--as soon as he began to attend to
his own secret thoughts, then the first faint outline of this fine
portrait of Think-well began to shine out on the screen of this
great artist's imagination, and from that sanctified screen this
fine portrait of Think-well and his family has shined into our
hearts to-night.


'Let the peace of God rule in your hearts,--the peace of God that
passeth all understanding.'--Paul.

John Bunyan is always at his very best in allegory. In some other
departments of work John Bunyan has had many superiors; but when he
lays down his head on his hand and begins to dream, as we see him
in some of the old woodcuts, then he is alone; there is no one near
him. We have not a few greater divines in pure divinity than John
Bunyan. We have some far better expositors of Scripture than John
Bunyan, and we have some far better preachers. John Bunyan at his
best cannot open up a deep Scripture like that prince of
expositors, Thomas Goodwin. John Bunyan in all his books has
nothing to compare for intellectual strength and for theological
grasp with Goodwin's chapter on the peace of God, in his sixth book
in The Work of the Holy Ghost. John Bunyan cannot set forth divine
truth in an orderly method and in a built-up body like John Owen.
He cannot Platonize divine truth like his Puritan contemporary,
John Howe. He cannot soar high as heaven in the beauty and the
sweetness of gospel holiness like Jonathan Edwards. He has nothing
of the philosophical depth of Richard Hooker, and he has nothing of
the vast learning of Jeremy Taylor. But when John Bunyan's mind
and heart begin to work through his imagination, then -

'His language is not ours.
'Tis my belief God speaks; no tinker hath such powers.'

1. In the beginning of his chapter on 'Speaking peace,' Thomas
Goodwin tells his reader that he is going to fully couch all his
intendments under a metaphor and an allegory. But Goodwin's reader
has read and re-read the great chapter, and has not yet discovered
where the metaphor and the allegory came in and where they went
out. But Bunyan does not need to advertise his reader that he is
going to couch his teaching in his imagination.

'But having now my method by the end,
Still, as I pulled it came: and so I penned
It down; until at last it came to be
For length and breadth the bigness that you see.'

The Blessed Prince, he begins, did also ordain a new officer in the
town, and a goodly person he was. His name was Mr. God's-peace.
This man was set over my Lord Will-be-will, my Lord Mayor, Mr.
Recorder, the subordinate preacher, Mr. Mind, and over all the
natives of the town of Mansoul. Himself was not a native of the
town, but came with the Prince from the court above. He was a
great acquaintance of Captain Credence and Captain Good-hope; some
say they were kin, and I am of that opinion too. This man, as I
said, was made governor of the town in general, especially over the
castle, and Captain Credence was to help him there. And I made
great observation of it, that so long as all things went in the
town as this sweet-natured gentleman would have them go, the town
was in a most happy condition. Now there were no jars, no chiding,
no interferings, no unfaithful doings in all the town; every man in
Mansoul kept close to his own employment. The gentry, the
officers, the soldiers, and all in place, observed their order.
And as for the women and the children of the town, they followed
their business joyfully. They would work and sing, work and sing,
from morning till night; so that quite through the town of Mansoul
now nothing was to be found but harmony, quietness, joy, and
health. And this lasted all the summer. I shall step aside at
this point and shall let Jonathan Edwards comment on this sweet-
natured gentleman and his heavenly name. 'God's peace has an
exquisite sweetness,' says Edwards. 'It is exquisitely sweet
because it has so firm a foundation on the everlasting rock. It is
sweet also because it is so perfectly agreeable to reason. It is
sweet also because it riseth from holy and divine principles,
which, as they are the virtue, so are they the proper happiness of
man. This peace is exquisitely sweet also because of the greatness
of the good that the saints enjoy, being no other than the infinite
bounty and fulness of that God who is the Fountain of all good. It
is sweet also because it shall be enjoyed to perfection hereafter.'
An enthusiastic student has counted up the number of times that
this divine word 'sweetness' occurs in Edwards, and has proved that
no other word of the kind occurs so often in the author of True
Virtue and The Religious Affections. And I can well believe it;
unless the 'beauty of holiness' runs it close. Still, this sweet-
natured gentleman will continue to live for us in his government
and jurisdiction in Mansoul and in John Bunyan even more than in
Jonathan Edwards.

2. 'Now Mr. God's-peace, the new Governor of Mansoul, was not a
native of the town; he came down with his Prince from the court
above.' 'He was not a native'--let that attribute of his be
written in letters of gold on every gate and door and wall within
his jurisdiction. When you need the governor and would seek him at
any time or in any place in all the town and cannot find him,
recollect yourself where he came from: he may have returned
thither again. John Bunyan has couched his deepest instruction to
you in that single sentence in which he says, 'Mr. God's-peace was
not a native of the town.' John Bunyan has gathered up many gospel
Scriptures into that single allegorical sentence. He has made many
old and familiar passages fresh and full of life again in that one
metaphorical sentence. It is the work of genius to set forth the
wont and the well known in a clear, simple, and at the same time
surprising, light like that. There is a peace that is native and
natural to the town of Mansoul, and to understand that peace, its
nature, its grounds, its extent, and its range, is most important
to the theologian and to the saint. But to understand the peace of
God, that supreme peace, the peace that passeth all understanding,-
-that is the highest triumph of the theologian and the highest
wisdom of the saint. The prophets and the psalmists of the Old
Testament are all full of the peace that God gave to His people
Israel. My peace I give unto you, says our Lord also. Paul also
has taken up that peace that comes to us through the blood of
Christ, and has made it his grand message to us and to all sinful
and sin-disquieted men. And John Bunyan has shown how sure and
true a successor of the apostles of Christ he is, just in his
portrait of this sweet-natured gentleman who was not a native of
Mansoul, but who came from that same court from which Emmanuel
Himself came. And it is just this outlandishness of this sweet-
natured gentleman; it is just this heavenly origin and divine
extraction of his that makes him sometimes and in some things to
surpass all earthly understanding. 'I am coming some day soon,'
said a divinity student to me the other Sabbath night, 'to have you
explain and clear up the atonement to me.' 'I shall be glad to see
you,' I said, 'but not on that errand.' No. Paul himself could
not do it. Paul said that the atonement and the peace of it passed
all his understanding. And John Bunyan says here that not the
Prince only, but his officer Mr. God's-peace also, was not native
to the town of Mansoul, but came straight down from heaven into
that town--and what can the man do who cometh after two kings like
Paul and Bunyan? I have not forgotten my Edwards where he says
that the exquisite sweetness of this peace is perfectly agreeable
to reason. As, indeed, so it is. And yet, if reason will have a
clear and finished and all-round answer to all her difficulties and
objections and fault-findings, I fear she cannot have it here. The
time may come when our reason also shall be so enlarged, and so
sanctified, and so exalted, that she shall be able with all saints
to see the full mystery of that which in this present dispensation
passeth all understanding. But till then, only let God's peace
enter our hearts with God's Son, and then let our hearts say if
that peace must not in some high and deep way be according to the
highest and the deepest reason, since its coming into our hearts
has produced in our hearts and in our lives such reasonable, and
right, and harmonious, and peaceful, and every way joyful results.

3. Governor God's-peace had not many in the town of Mansoul to
whom he could confide all his thoughts and with whom he could
consult. But there were two officer friends of his stationed in
the town with whom he was every day in close correspondence, viz.,
the Captain Credence and the Captain Good-hope. Their so close
intimacy will not be wondered at when it is known that those three
officers had all come in together with Emmanuel the Conqueror.
Those three young captains had done splendid service, each at the
head of his own battalion, in the days of the invasion and the
conquest of Mansoul, and they had all had their present titles, and
privileges, and lands, and offices, patented to them on the
strength of their past services. The Captain Credence had all
along been the confidential aide-de-camp and secretary of the
Prince. Indeed, the Prince never called Captain Credence a servant
at all, but always a friend. The Prince had always conveyed his
mind about all Mansoul's matters first to Captain Credence, and
then that confidential captain conveyed whatever specially
concerned God's-peace and Good-hope to those excellent and trusty
soldiers. Credence first told all matters to God's-peace and then
the two soon talked over Good-hope to their mind and heart. Some
say that the three officers, Credence, God's-peace, and Good-hope,
were kin, adds our historian, and I, he adds, am of that opinion
too. And to back up his opinion he takes an extract out of the
Herald's College books which runs thus: 'Romans, fifteenth and
thirteenth: Now, the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the
Holy Ghost.' Some say the three officers were of kin, and I am of
that opinion too.

4. On account both of his eminent services and his great
abilities, the Prince saw it good to set Mr. God's-peace over the
whole town. And thus it was that the governor's jurisdiction
extended and held not only over the people of the town, but also
over all the magistrates and all the other officers of the town,
such as my Lord Will-be-will, my Lord Mayor, Mr. Recorder, Mr.
Mind, and all. It needed all the governor's authority and ability
to keep his feet in his office over all the other rulers of the
town, but by far his greatest trouble always was with the Recorder.
Old Mr. Conscience, the Town Recorder, had a very difficult post to
hold and a very difficult part to play in that still so divided and
still so unsettled town. What with all those murderers and man-
slayers, thieves and prostitutes, skulkers and secret rebels, on
the one hand, and with Governor God's-peace and his so
unaccountable and so autocratic ways, on the other hand, the
Recorder's office was no sinecure. All the misdemeanours and
malpractices of the town,--and they were happening every day and
every night,--were all reported to the Recorder; they were all, so
to say, charged home upon the Recorder, and he was held responsible
for them all; till his office was a perfect laystall and cesspool
of all the scum and corruption of the town. And yet, in would come
Governor God's-peace, without either warning or explanation, and
would demand all the Recorder's papers, and proofs, and affidavits,
and what not, it had cost him so much trouble to get collected and
indorsed, and would burn them all before the Recorder's face, and
to his utter confusion, humiliation, and silence. So autocratic,
so despotic, so absolute, and not-to-be-questioned was Governor
God's-peace. The Recorder could not understand it, and could
barely submit to it; my Lord Mayor could not understand it, and his
clerk, Mr. Mind, would often oppose it; but there it was: Mr.
Governor God's-peace was set over them all.

5. But the thing that always in the long-run justified the
governorship of Mr. God's-peace, and reconciled all the other
officers to his supremacy, was the way that the city settled down
and prospered under his benignant rule. All the other officers
admitted that, somehow, his promotion and power had been the
salvation of Mansoul. They all extolled their Prince's far-seeing
wisdom in the selection, advancement, and absolute seat of Mr.
God's-peace. And it would ill have become them to have said
anything else; for they had little else to do but bask in the sun
and enjoy the honours and the emoluments of their respective
offices as long as Governor God's-peace held sway, and had all
things in the city to his own mind. Now, it was on all hands
admitted, as we read again with renewed delight, that there were no
jars, no chiding, no interferings, no unfaithful doings in the town
of Mansoul; but every man kept close to his own employment. The
gentry, the officers, the soldiers, and all in place, observed
their orders. And as for the women and children, they all followed
their business joyfully. They would work and sing, work and sing,
from morning till night, so that quite through the town of Mansoul
now nothing was to be found but harmony, quietness, joy, and
health. What more could be said of any governorship of any town
than that? The Heavenly Court itself, out of which Governor God's-
peace had come down, was not better governed than that. Harmony,
quietness, joy, and health. No; the New Jerusalem itself will not
surpass that. 'And this lasted all that summer.'


'The Highest Himself shall establish her.'--David.

The princes of this world establish churches sometimes out of piety
and sometimes out of policy. Sometimes their motive is the good of
their people and the glory of God, and sometimes their sole motive
is to buttress up their own Royal House, and to have a clergy
around them on whom they can count. Prince Emmanuel had His
motive, too, in setting up an establishment in Mansoul. As thus:
When this was over, the Prince sent again for the elders of the
town and communed with them about the ministry that He intended to
establish in Mansoul. Such a ministry as might open to them and
might instruct them in the things that did concern their present
and their future state. For, said He to them, of yourselves,
unless you have teachers and guides, you will not be able to know,
and if you do not know, then you cannot do the will of My Father.
At this news, when the elders of Mansoul brought it to the people,
the whole town came running together, and all with one consent
implored His Majesty that He would forthwith establish such a
ministry among them as might teach them both law and judgment,
statute and commandment, so that they might be documented in all
good and wholesome things. So He told them that He would
graciously grant their requests and would straightway establish
such a ministry among them.

Now, I will not enter to-night on the abstract benefits of such an
Establishment. I will rather take one of the ministers who was
presented to one of the parishes of Mansoul, and shall thus let you
see how that State Church worked out practically in one of its
ministers at any rate. And the preacher and pastor I shall so take
up was neither the best minister in the town nor the worst; but,
while a long way subordinate to the best, he was also by no means
the least. The Reverend Mr. Conscience was our parish minister's
name; his people sometimes called him The Recorder.

1. Well, then, to begin with, the Rev. Mr. Conscience was a native
of the same town in which his parish church now stood. I am not
going to challenge the wisdom of the patron who appointed his
protege to this particular living; only, I have known very good
ministers who never got over the misfortune of having been settled
in the same town in which they had been born and brought up. Or,
rather, their people never got over it. One excellent minister,
especially, I once knew, whose father had been a working man in the
town, and his son had sometimes assisted his father before he went
to college, and even between his college sessions, and the people
he afterwards came to teach could never get over that. It was not
wise in my friend to accept that presentation in the circumstances,
as the event abundantly proved. For, whenever he had to take his
stand in his pulpit or in his pastorate against any of their evil
ways, his people defended themselves and retaliated on him by
reminding him that they knew his father and his mother, and had not
forgotten his own early days. No doubt, in the case of Emmanuel
and Mansoul and its minister, there were counterbalancing
considerations and advantages both to minister and people; but it
is not always so; and it was not so in the case of my unfortunate

Forasmuch, so ran the Prince's presentation paper, as he is a
native of the town of Mansoul, and thus has personal knowledge of
all the laws and customs of the corporation, therefore he, the
Prince, presented Mr. Conscience. That is to say, every man who is
to be the minister of a parish should make his own heart and his
own life his first parish. His own vineyard should be his first
knowledge and his first care. And then out of that and after that
he will be able to speak to his people, and to correct, and
counsel, and take care of them. In Thomas Boston's Memoirs we
continually come on entries like this: 'Preached on Ps. xlii. 5,
and mostly on my own account.' And, again, we read in the same
invaluable book for parish ministers, that its author did not
wonder to hear that good had been done by last Sabbath's sermon,
because he had preached it to himself and had got good to himself
out of it before he took it to the pulpit. Boston kept his eye on
himself in a way that the minister of Mansoul himself could not
have excelled. Till, not in his pulpit work only, but in such
conventional, commonplace, and monotonous exercises as his family
worship, he so read the Scriptures and so sang the psalms that his
family worship was continually yielding him fruit as well as his
public ministry. As our family worship and our public ministry
will do, too, when we have the eye and the heart and the conscience
that Thomas Boston had. 'I went to hear a preacher,' said Pascal,
'and I found a man in the pulpit.' Well, the parish minister of
Mansoul was a man, and so was the parish minister of Ettrick. And
that was the reason that the people of Simprin and Ettrick so often
thought that Boston had them in his eye. Good pastor as he was, he
could not have everybody in his eye. But he had himself in his
eye, and that let him into the hearts and the homes of all his
people. He was a true man, and thus a true minister.

2. Both Boston and the minister of Mansoul were well-read men
also; so, indeed, in as many words, their fine biographies assure
us. But that is just another way of saying what has been said
about those two ministers over and over again already. William Law
never was a parish minister. The English Crown of that day would
not trust him with a parish. But what was the everlasting loss of
some parish in England has become the everlasting gain of the whole
Church of Christ. Law's enforced seclusion from outward
ministerial activity only set him the more free to that inward
activity which has been such a blessing to so many, and to so many
ministers especially. And as to this of every minister being well
read, that master in Israel says: 'Above all, let me tell you that
the book of books to you is your own heart, in which are written
and engraven the deepest lessons of divine instruction. Learn,
therefore, to be deeply attentive to the presence of God in your
own hearts, who is always speaking, always instructing, always
illuminating the heart that is attentive to Him.' Jonathan Edwards
called the poor parish minister of Ettrick 'a truly great divine.'
But Law goes on to say, 'A great divine is but a cant expression
unless it signifies a man greatly advanced in the divine life. A
great divine is one whose own experience and example are a
demonstration of the reality of all the graces and virtues of the
gospel. No divine has any more of the gospel in him than that
which proves itself by the spirit, the actions, and the form of his
life: the rest is but hypocrisy, not divinity.' Let all our

Book of the day: