11. The Pilgrim

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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I have wrestled on towards Heaven,
‘Gainst storm, and wind, and tide:―
Now, like a weary traveler,
That leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening,
While sinks life’s ling’ring sand,
I hail the glory dawning
From Immanuel’s land.
I persuade myself that this world is to you an unco1 inn; and that ye are like a traveler, who hath his bundle upon his back, and his staff in his hand, and his feet upon the door-threshold. Go forward, in the strength of your Lord (let the world bide at home and keep the house), with your face toward Him, who longeth more for a sight of you than ye can do for Him. Ere it be long He will see us. I hope to see you laugh as cheerfully after noon, as ye have mourned before noon. The hand of the Lord, the hand of the Lord be with you in your journey. What have ye to do here? This is not your mountain of rest. Arise, then, and set your foot up the mountain; go up out of the wilderness, leaning upon the shoulder of your Beloved. If ye knew the welcome that abideth you when ye come home, ye would hasten your pace; for ye shall see your Lord put up His own holy hand to your face, and wipe all tears from your eyes; and I trow, then ye shall have some joy at heart.
Be not cast down in heart to hear that the world barketh at Christ’s strangers; they do it because their Lord hath chosen them out of this world. And this is one of our Lord’s reproaches, to be hated and ill-entreated by men. The stranger, in an uncouth country, must take with a smoky inn and coarse cheer, a hard bed, and a barking ill-tongued host. It is not long to the day, and he will to his journey upon the morrow, and leave them all. Indeed, our fair morning is at hand, the daystar is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home. What matters ill entertainment in the smoky inns of this miserable life? We are not to stay here, and we will be dearly welcome to Him whom we go to.... When I shall see you clothed in white raiment, washed in the blood of the Lamb,... and a crown upon your head, and following our Lamb and lovely Lord whithersoever He goeth,―you will think nothing of all these days; and you shall then rejoice, and no man will take your joy from you. It is certain there is not much sand to run in your Lord’s sandglass, and that day is at hand; and till then your Lord in this life is giving you some little feasts. It is true you see Him not now as you shall see Him then. Your well-beloved standeth now behind the wall looking out at the window, and you see but a little of His face. Then, you shall see all His face and all the Savior, the loveliest person among the children of men.... You will have cause to hold up your heart in remembrance and hope of that fair, long summer day.... Remember you are in the body, and it is the lodging-house: and you may not, without offending the Lord, suffer the old walls of that house to fall down through want of necessary food. Your body is the dwelling-house of the Spirit; and therefore, for the love you carry to the sweet Guest, give a due regard to His house of clay. When He looseth the wall, why not? Welcome, Lord Jesus! But it is a fearful sin in us, by hurting the body by fasting, to loose one stone or the least piece of timber in it, for the house is not your own.
Make others to see Christ in you, moving, doing, speaking, and thinking. Your actions will smell of Him if He be in you. There is an instinct in the newborn babes of Christ, like the instinct of nature that leads birds to build their nests, and bring forth their young, and love such and such places, as woods, forests, and wildernesses, better than other places. The instinct of nature maketh a man love his mother country above all countries; the instinct of renewed nature, and supernatural grace, will lead to such and such works, as to love your country above, to sigh to be clothed with your house not made with hands, and to call your borrowed prison here below a borrowed prison, and to look upon it servant-like and pilgrim-like.
The seasick passenger shall come to land; Christ will be the first to meet you on the shore.... Keep the King’s highway. Go on (in the strength of the Lord), in haste, as if ye had not leisure to speak to the innkeepers by the way. He is over beyond time, on the other side of the water, who thinketh long for you.
I am, in this house of pilgrimage, every way in good case: Christ is most kind and loving to my soul. It pleaseth Him to feast, with His unseen consolations, a stranger and an exiled prisoner; and I would not exchange my Lord Jesus with all the comfort out of heaven.
Sit far back from the walls of this pest-house, even the pollutions of this defiling world. Keep your taste, your love, and hope in heaven; it is not good that your love and your Lord should be in two sundry countries. Up, after your lover, that ye and He may be together. A King from heaven hath sent for you: by faith He showeth you the New Jerusalem, and taketh you alongst in the Spirit, through all the ease-rooms and dwelling-houses in heaven, and saith, “All these are thine; this palace is for thee and Christ.”... Take with you in your journey what you may carry with you, your conscience, faith, hope, patience, meekness, goodness, brotherly kindness; for such wares as these are of great price in the high and new country whither ye go. As for other things, which are but the world’s vanity and trash, since they are but the house-sweepings, ye will do best not to carry them with you. Ye found them here; leave them here, and let them keep the house.... Fasten your grips fast upon Christ.... I rejoice that He is in heaven before me. God send a joyful meeting; and, in the meantime, the traveler’s charges for the way, I mean a burden of Christ’s love, to sweeten the journey, and to encourage a breathless runner; for when I lose breath, climbing up the mountain, He maketh new breath.
It is not a smooth and easy way, neither will your weather be fair and pleasant; but whosoever hath seen the invisible God, and the fair City, makes no reckoning of losses and crosses.
A borrowed lodging and some years’ houseroom, and bread and water, and fire, and bed and candle, are all a part of the pension of my King and Lord; to whom I owe thanks, and not to a creature. I thank God that God is God, and Christ is Christ, and the earth the earth, and the devil the devil, and the world the world, and that sin is sin, and that everything is what it is; because He hath taught me in my wilderness not to shuffle my Lord Jesus, nor to intermix Him with creature-vanities, nor to spin or twine Christ or His sweet love in one web, or in one thread, with the world and the things thereof. Oh, if I could hold and keep Christ all alone, and mix Him with nothing!... But we are still ill scholars, and will go in at heaven’s gates wanting the half of our lesson; and shall still be bairns, so long as we are under time’s hands, and till eternity cause a sun to arise in our souls that shall give us wit.
It were now a desirable life to send away our love to heaven. And well it becometh us to wait for our appointed change, yet so as we should be meditating thus: “Is there a new world above the sun and moon? And is there such a blessed company harping and singing hallelujahs to the Lamb up above? Why, then, are we taken with a vain life of sighing and sinning? Oh, where is our wisdom, that we sit still, laughing, eating, sleeping prisoners, and do not pack up all our best things for the journey, desiring always to be clothed with our house from above, not made with hands!” Ah! we savor not the things that are above, nor do we smell of glory ere we come thither; but we transact and agree with time, for a new lease of clay mansions. Behold, He cometh!
It is a good country we are going to, and there is ill lodging in this smoky house of the world, in which we are yet living.... My counsel is, that ye come out and leave the multitude, and let Christ have your company. Let them take clay and this present world who love it. Christ is a more worthy and noble portion: blessed are those who get Him.
1. Strange