Bunyan Characters (2nd Series) by Alexander Whyte


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Bunyan Characters (Second Series), by
Alexander Whyte


This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net





Title: Bunyan Characters (Second Series)


Author: Alexander Whyte

Release Date: April 13, 2005 [eBook #1886]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BUNYAN CHARACTERS (SECOND SERIES)***






Transcribed from the 1894 Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier edition by David
Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk





BUNYAN CHARACTERS--SECOND SERIES
Lectures delivered in St. George's Free Church Edinburgh
By Alexander Whyte, D.D.


IGNORANCE


"I was alive without the law once."--_Paul_.

"I was now a brisk talker also myself in the matter of
religion."--_Bunyan_.

This is a new kind of pilgrim. There are not many pilgrims like this
bright brisk youth. A few more young gentlemen like this, and the
pilgrimage way would positively soon become fashionable and popular, and
be the thing to do. Had you met with this young gentleman in society,
had you noticed him beginning to come about your church, you would have
lost no time in finding out who he was. I can well believe it, you would
have replied. Indeed, I felt sure of it. I must ask him to the house. I
was quite struck with his appearance and his manners. Yes; ask him at
once to your house; show him some pointed attentions and you will never
regret it. For if he goes to the bar and works even decently at his
cases, he will be first a sheriff and then a judge in no time. If he
should take to politics, he will be an under-secretary before his first
parliament is out. And if he takes to the church, which is not at all
unlikely, our West-end congregations will all be competing for him as
their junior colleague; and, if he elects either of our Established
churches to exercise his profession in it, he will have dined with Her
Majesty while half of his class-fellows are still half-starved
probationers. Society fathers will point him out with anger to their
unsuccessful sons, and society mothers will smile under their eyelids as
they see him hanging over their daughters.

Well, as this handsome and well-appointed youth stepped out of his own
neat little lane into the rough road on which our two pilgrims were
staggering upward, he felt somewhat ashamed to be seen in their company.
And I do not wonder. For a greater contrast you would not have seen on
any road in all that country that day. He was at your very first sight
of him a gentleman and the son of a gentleman. A little over-dressed
perhaps; as, also, a little lofty to the two rather battered but
otherwise decent enough men who, being so much older than he, took the
liberty of first accosting him. "Brisk" is his biographer's description
of him. Feather-headed, flippant, and almost impudent, you might have
been tempted to say of him had you joined the little party at that
moment. But those two tumbled, broken-winded, and, indeed,
broken-hearted old men had been, as an old author says, so emptied from
vessel to vessel--they had had a life of such sloughs and stiff
climbs--they had been in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness so
often--that it was no wonder that their dandiacal companion walked on a
little ahead of them. 'Gentlemen,' his fine clothes and his cane and his
head in the air all said to his two somewhat disreputable-looking fellow-
travellers,--"Gentlemen, you be utter strangers to me: I know you not.
And, besides, I take my pleasure in walking alone, even more a great deal
than in company, unless I like it better." But all his society manners,
and all his costly and well-kept clothes, and all his easy and
self-confident airs did not impose upon the two wary old pilgrims. They
had seen too much of the world, and had been too long mixing among all
kinds of pilgrims, young and old, true and false, to be easily imposed
upon. Besides, as one could see from their weather-beaten faces, and
their threadbare garments, they had found the upward way so dreadfully
difficult that they both felt a real apprehension as to the future of
this light-hearted and light-headed youth. "You may find some difficulty
at the gate," somewhat bluntly broke in the oldest of the two pilgrims on
their young comrade. "I shall, no doubt, do at the gate as other good
people do," replied the young gentleman briskly. "But what have you to
show at the gate that may cause that the gate be opened to you?" "Why, I
know my Lord's will, and I have been a good liver all my days, and I pay
every man his own. I pray, moreover, and I fast. I pay tithes, and give
alms, and have left my country for whither I am going." Now, before we
go further: Do all you young gentlemen do as much as that? Have you
always been good livers? Have you paid every man and woman their due? Do
you pray to be called prayer? And, if so, when, and where, and what for,
and how long at a time? I do not ask if your private prayer-book is like
Bishop Andrewes' _Devotions_, which was so reduced to pulp with tears and
sweat and the clenching of his agonising hands that his literary
executors were with difficulty able to decipher it. Clito in the
_Christian Perfection_ was so expeditious with his prayers that he used
to boast that he could both dress and do his devotions in a quarter of an
hour. What was the longest time you ever took to dress or undress and
say your prayers? Then, again, there is another Anglican young gentleman
in the same High Church book who always fasts on Good Friday and the
Thirtieth of January. Did you ever deny yourself a glass of wine or a
cigar or an opera ticket for the church or the poor? Could you honestly
say that you know what tithes are? And is there a poor man or woman or
child in this whole city who will by any chance put your name into their
prayers and praises at bedtime to-night? I am afraid there are not many
young gentlemen in this house to-night who could cast a stone at that
brisk lad Ignorance, Vain-Hope, door in the side of the hill, and all. He
was not far from the kingdom of heaven; indeed, he got up to the very
gate of it. How many of you will get half as far?

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