CHEAP REPOSITORY.

SUNDAY READING. THE PILGRIMS. AN ALLEGORY.

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THE PILGRIMS, &c.

METHOUGHT I was once upon a time trave [...] ling through a certain land which was ver [...] full of people, but, what was rather odd, not o [...] of all this multitude was at home; they were a bound to a far distant country. Though it w [...] permitted by the Lord of the land that these P [...] grims might associate together for their prese [...] mutual comfort and convenience; and each w [...] not only allowed, but commanded to do the othe [...] all the services he could upon their journey, [...] it was decreed, that every individual travell [...] must enter the far country singly. There was [...] great gulf at the end of the journey which eve [...] one must pass alone, and at his own risk, and t [...] friendship of the whole united world could be no use in shooting that gulf. The exact time wh [...] each was to pass was not known to any, this the Lo [...] always kept a close secret out of kindness, [...] still they were as sure that the time must come, a [...] that at no very great distance, as if they w [...] informed of the very moment. Now, as they kn [...] they were always liable to be called away at [...] hour's notice, one would have thought they wo [...] have been chiefly employed in packing up, a [...] preparing, and getting every thing in order. [...] they indeed. It was almost the only thing wh [...] they did not think about.

Now I only appeal to you, my readers, if any [Page 3] [...] [...]ou are setting out upon a little common journey, [...]f it is only to London or York, is not all your lei­sure time employed in settling your business at [...]ome, and packing up every little necessary for [...]our expedition? And does not the fear of neglecting [...]ny thing you ought to remember or may have oc­ [...]asion for, haunt your mind, and sometimes even [...]trude upon you unseasonably? And when you [...]re actually on your journey, especially if you [...]ave never been to that place before, or are likely [...] remain there, don't you begin to think a little [...]out the pleasures and the employments of the [...]ace, and to wish to know a little what sort of a [...]y London or York is? Don't you wonder what [...] doing there, and whether you are properly qua­ [...]f [...]ed for the business or the company you expect [...] be engaged in? Do you never look at the map [...] consult Brookes's Gazetteer? And don't you try [...] pick up from your fellow passengers in the stage [...]ach any little information you can get? And [...]ough you may be obliged, out of civility, to [...]nverse with them on common subjects, yet do [...] your secret thoughts still run upon London or [...]ork, its business, or its pleasures? And above all, [...] you are likely to set out early, are you not afraid [...] oversleeping, and does not that fear keep you [...] on the watch, so that you are commonly up and [...]ady before the porter comes to summon you? [...]ader! if this be your case, how surprised will [...] be to hear that the Travellers to the far coun­ [...] have not half your prudence, though bound [...] a journey of infinitely more importance, to a [...]d where nothing can be sent after them, and [...] which when they are once settled, all errors [...] irretrievable.

[Page 4] I observed that these pilgrims, instead of bein [...] upon the watch, lest they should be ordered o [...] unprepared, instead of laying up any provision [...] or even making memorandums of what they would be likely to want, spent most of their time i [...] crowds, either in the way of traffic or diversion▪ At first, when I saw them so much engaged in co [...] versing with each other, I thought it a good sig [...] and listened attentively to their talk, not doubtin [...] but the chief turn of it would be about the cl [...] mate, or treasures, or society they should pr [...] bably meet with in the far country. I suppos [...] they might be also discussing about the best an [...] safest road to it, and that each was availing hi [...] self of the knowledge of his neighbour, on a subje [...] of equal importance to all. I listened to eve [...] party, but in scarcely any did I hear one wo [...] about the land to which they were bound, thou [...] it was their home, where their whole interest, [...] pectation, and inheritance lay; to which also gr [...] part of their friends were gone before, and w [...] ther they were sure all the rest would follo [...]. Their whole talk was about the business, or [...] pleasures, or the fashions, of the strange co [...] try which they were merely passing through, and which they had not one foot of land which th [...] were sure of calling their own for the next quar [...] of an hour. What little estate they had was perso [...] and not real, and that was a mortgaged, life-hold [...] nement of clay, not properly their own, but only [...] to them on a short uncertain lease, of which thr [...] score years and ten was considered as the long period, and very few indeed lived in it to the [...] of the term; for this was always at the will of [...] [Page 5]Lord, part of whose prerogative it was, that he [...]ould take away the lease at pleasure, knock [...]own the stoutest tenement at a single blow, and [...]urn out the poor, shivering, helpless tenant naked, [...]o that far country for which he had made no [...]rovision. Sometimes, in order to quicken the [...]ilgrim in his preparations, the Lord would break [...]own the tenement by slow degrees, sometimes he [...]ould let it tumble by its own natural decay, for as it [...]as only built to last a certain term, it would some­ [...]es grow so uncomfortable by increasing dilapida­ [...]ons even before the ordinary lease was out, that [...]e lodging was hardly worth keeping, though the [...]nant could seldom be persuaded to think so, but [...]ng to it to the last. First the thatch on the top of [...]e tenement changed colour, then it fell off and left [...] roof bare, then "the grinders ceased because [...]ey were few;" then the windows became so dark­ [...]ed that the owner could scarcely see through [...]m, then one prop fell away, then another, then [...] uprights became bent, and the whole fabric [...]mbled and tottered, with every other symptom [...] a falling house. On some occasions the Lord [...]dered his messengers, of which he had a great va­ [...]ty, to batter, injure, deface, and almost demolish [...] frail building even while it seemed new and [...]ong; this was what the landlord called giving [...]rning; but many a tenant would not take it, and [...]s so fond of staying where he was, even un­ [...] all these inconveniences, that at last he was [...] out by ejectment, not being prevailed on to [...]ve his dwelling in a proper manner, though one [...]uld have thought the fear of being turned out [...]uld have whetted his diligeace in preparing for [Page 6] a better and more enduring inheritance▪ For thoug [...] the people were only tenants at will in these cra [...] [...]enements, yet through the goodness of the sa [...] Lord, they were assured that he never turned the [...] out of these habitations before he had on his pa [...] provided for them a better, so that there was not su [...] another landlord in the world; and though their pr [...] ­sent dwelling was but frail, being only slightly [...] up to serve the occasion, yet they might hold the [...] future possession by a most certain tenure, the wo [...] of the Lord himself, which was entered in a c [...] ­venant, or title-deed, consisting of many shee [...] and because a great many good things were give [...] away in it, a book was made of which eve [...] soul might get a copy. This indeed had not a [...] ­ways been the case, because, till a few ages bac [...] there had been a sort of monopoly in the case, an [...] "the wise and prudent," that is, the cunning an [...] fraudful had hid these things from the "babes an [...] sucklings," that is, from the low and ignorant, an [...] many frauds had been practised, and the poor ha [...] been cheated of their right, so that not being allo [...] ed to read and judge for themselves, they had be [...] sadly imposed upon; but all these tricks had be [...] put an end to more than two hundred years when [...] passed through the country, and the meanest ma [...] who could read might then have a copy, so that [...] might see himself what he had to trust to, and eve [...] those who could not read, might hear it read on [...] or twice every week at least without pay. But [...] surprised me to see how few comparatively ma [...] use of these vast advantages. Of those who had [...] copy, many laid it carelessly by, expressed a gen [...] ral belief in the truth of the title-deed, a gener [...] [Page 7]satisfaction that they should come in for a share of the inheritance, a general good opinion of the Lord whose word it was, and a general disposition to take his promise upon trust, always however intending at a convenient season to inquire farther into the matter, and this neglect of theirs was con­strued into a forfeiture of the inheritance.

At the end of this country lay the vast gulf men­tioned before; it was shadowed over by a broad [...]nd thick cloud, which prevented the pilgrims from seeing in a distinct manner what was doing behind it▪ yet such beams of brightness now and [...]hen darted through the cloud as enabled those who [...]sed a telescope provided for that purpose, to [...]ee the substance of things hoped for; but it was not [...]very one who could make use of this telescope; [...]o eye indeed was naturally disposed to it; but an [...]arnest desire of getting a glimpse of the invisible [...]ealities, gave such a strength and steadiness to the [...]ye, as enabled it to discern many things which [...]ould not be seen by the natural sight. Above the [...]loud was this Inscription, The things which are [...] are temporal, but the things which are not [...]n are eternal. Of these last many glorious de­ [...]riptions had been given, but as those splendors [...]ere at a distance, and as the pilgrims in general [...]d not care to use the telescope, these distant [...]ances made little impression. The glorious [...]heritance which lay beyond the cloud, was [...]alled The things above, while a multitude of tri­ [...]ing objects, which appeared contemptibly small [...]hen looked at through the telescope were called The things below. Now as we know it is nearness which gives size and bulk to any object, it was [Page 8]not wonderful that these ill'-judging pilgrims were more struck with these baubles and trifles, which by lying close at hand, were visible and temp [...] ing to the naked eye, and which made up th [...] sum of The things below, than with the remo [...] glories of The things above: but this was chief [...] owing to their not making use of the telescope through which, if you examined thoroughly T [...] things below, they seemed to shrink almost down t [...] nothing, while The things above appeared the mo [...] beautiful and vast the more the telescope was used▪ But the surprising part of the story was this, no [...] that the pilgrims were captivated at first sight wit [...] The things below, for that was natural enough, bu [...] that when they had tried them all over and over and found themselves deceived and disappointed in almost every one of them, it did not at a [...] lessen their fondness, and they grasped at the [...] again with the same eagerness as before. Ther [...] were some gay fruits which looked alluring, but o [...] being opened instead of a kernel they were found to contain rottenness, and those which seemed th [...] fullest often proved on trial to be quite hollow an [...] empty. Those which were most tempting to the ey [...] were often found to be wormwood to the taste, o [...] poison to the stomach, and many flowers that seemed most bright and gay had a worm gnawing at th [...] root.

Among the chief attractions of The things below were certain little lumps of yellow clay, on which almost every eye and every heart was fixed. Whe [...] I saw the variety of uses to which this clay could be converted, and the respect which wa [...] shewn to those who could scrape together the greate [...] number of pieces, I did not much wonder at the general [Page 9]desire to pick up some of them. But when I be­ [...]eld the anxiety, the wakefulness, the competitions, be contrivances, the tricks, the frauds, the scuffling, [...]e pushing, the turmoiling, the kicking, the shov­ [...]g, the cheating, the circumvention, the envy, the [...]alignity, which was excited by a desire to possess [...]is article; when I saw the general scramble among [...]ose who had little to get much, and of those who [...]d much to get more, then I could not help apply­ing to these people a Proverb in use among us, [...]at gold may be bought too dear. Though I saw [...]at there were various sorts of baubles which en­ [...]ged the hearts of different Travellers, such as an [...] of red or blue ribbon, for which some were [...]ntent to forfeit their future inheritance, commit­ [...]g the sin of Esau without his temptation of hun­ [...]r; yet the yellow clay I found was the grand ob­ [...]ct for which most hands scrambled and most souls [...]re risked. One thing was extraordinary, that the [...]arer these people were to being turned out of [...]ir tenement, the fonder they grew of these pieces [...] clay, so that I naturally concluded they meant [...] take the clay with them to the far country; but [...]oon learnt this clay was not current there, the [...]rd having declared to these pilgrims, that as [...]y had brought nothing into this world, they could [...]ry nothing out.

I inquired of the different people who were rais­ [...]g the various heaps of clay, some of a larger, [...]e of a smaller size, why they discovered such [...]remitting anxiety, and for whom? Some whose [...]es were immense, told me they were heaping up [...] their children; this I thought very right, till on [...]ting my eyes round, I observed many of the chil­ [...]en of these very people had large heaps of their [Page 10]own. Others told me it was for their grand-childre [...] but on enquiry I found these were not yet born, a [...] in many cases there was little chance that they ev [...] would. The truth, on a close examination, prov [...] to be, that the true genuine heapers really heap [...] for themselves; that it was in fact neither for frie [...] or child, but to gratify an inordinate appetite [...] their own. Nor was I much surprised after this [...] see these yellow hoards at length canker, and [...] rust of them become a witness against the hoarde [...] and e [...]t their flesh as it were fire.

Many however who had set out with a high he [...] of their father's raising, before they had got o [...] third of their journey had scarcely a single pie [...] left. As I was wondering what had caused the enormous piles to vanish in so short a time, I spi [...] scattered up and down the country all sorts of o [...] inventions, for some or other of which the va [...] possessors of the great heaps of clay had truck [...] and bartered them away in fewer hours than th [...] ancestors had spent years in getting them togeth [...]. O what a strange unaccountable medley it wa [...] and what was ridiculous enough, I observed th [...] the greatest quantity of the clay was always e [...] changed for things that were of no use that I cou [...] discover, owing I suppose to my ignorance of [...] manners of that country.

In one place I saw large heaps exhausted [...] order to set two idle pampered horses a runnin [...] but the worst part of the joke was, the horses [...] not run to fetch or carry any thing, but merely let the gazers see which could run fastest. N [...] this gift of swiftness, exercised to no one use [...] purpose, was only one out of many instances [...] talents used to no end. In another place I [...] [Page 11] [...]hole piles of the clay spent to maintain long [...]anges of buildings full of dogs, on provisions [...]hich would have nicely fattened some thousands [...]f pilgrims who sadly wanted fattening, and whose [...]agged tenements were out at elbows, for want of little [...] help to repair them. Some of the piles [...]ere regularly pulled down once in seven years [...] order to corrupt certain needy pilgrims to [...] their consciences. Others were spent in play­ [...]ng with white stiff bits of paper painted over [...]ith red and black spots, in which I thought there [...]ust be some conjuring, because the very touch of [...]ese painted pasteboards made the heaps fly from [...]e to another, and back again to the same, in a [...]ay that natural causes could not account for. [...]here was another proof that there must be some [...]agic in this business, which was that if a pasteboard [...]th red spots fell into a hand which wanted a black [...]e, the person changed colour, his eyes flashed [...]e, and he discovered other symptoms of madness, [...]hich showed there was some witchcraft in the case. [...]hese clean little pasteboards, as harmless as they [...]oked, had the wonderful power of pulling down [...]e highest piles in less time than all the other [...]ses put together. I observed many small piles [...]re given in exchange for an enchanted liquor, [...]hich when the purchaser had drank to a little ex­ [...]ss, he lost all power of managing the rest of his [...]ap without losing the love of it.

Now I found it was the opinion of sober pilgrims, [...]at either hoarding the clay or trucking it for any [...]ch purposes as the above, was thought exactly [...]e same offence in the eyes of the Lord, and it is expected that when they should come under [...] more immediate jurisdiction in the far country, [Page 12]the penalty annexed to hoarding and squanderi [...] would be nearly the same. While I examined t [...] countenances of the owners of the heaps, I o [...] served that those who I well knew never intend [...] to make any use at all of their heap, were f [...] more terrified at the thought of losing it, or of bei [...] torn from it, than those were who were employi [...] it in the most useful manner. Those who [...] knew what to do with it, set their hearts least upo [...] it, and were always most willing to leave it. B [...] such riddles were common in this odd country.

Now I wondered why these Pilgrims, who we [...] naturally made erect with an eye formed to loo [...] up to The things above, yet had their eyes almo [...] constantly bent in the other direction rivetted [...] the earth, and fastened on things below, just lik [...] those animals who walk on all four. I was to [...] they had not always been subject to this weakne [...] of sight and proneness to earth: That they ha [...] originally been upright and beautiful, having be [...] created after the image of the Lord who was himself the perfection of beauty, that he had place [...] them in a far superior situation which he had give [...] them in perpetuity, but that their first ancesto [...] fell from it through pride and carelessness; th [...] upon this the freehold was taken away, they lo [...] their original strength, brightness and beauty, an [...] were driven out into this strange country; whe [...] however they had every opportunity given them [...] recovering their health, and the Lord's favo [...] and likeness, for they were become so disfigured, an [...] were grown so unlike him, that you would hard [...] believe they were his own children, though, in som [...] the resemblance was become again visible. Th [...] Lord, however, was so merciful, that instead [...] [Page 13] [...]iving them up to the dreadful consequences of [...]eir own folly, as he might have done without any [...]peachment of his justice, he gave them immedi­e comfort, and promised them, that in due time, [...] own Son should come down and restore them [...] the future inheritance which he should purchase [...]r them. And now it was that in order to keep up [...]ir spirits, after they had lost their estate through [...]e folly of their ancestors, that he began to give [...]em a part of their former Title Deed. He con­ [...]ued to send them portions of it from time to [...]e by different faithful servants, whom, however, [...]ese ungrateful people generally used ill, and [...]me of whom they murdered. But for all this [...] Lord was so very forgiving, that he at length [...] these mutineers a Proclamation of full and free [...]rdon by his Son, who, though they used him in [...] more cruel manner than they had done any of [...] servants, yet after having finished the work his [...]ther had given him to do, went back into [...] country to prepare a place for all them who [...]lieve in him; and there he still lives, begging [...]d pleading for those unkind people whom he [...]ll loves and forgives, and will restore to the [...]chased inheritance on the easy terms of their [...]ing heartily sorry for what they have done, tho­ [...]ghly desirous of pardon and convinced that He [...] able and willing to save to the utmost all them that [...] unto him.

I saw indeed that many old offenders appeared [...] be sorry for what they had done; that is, they did [...] like to be punished for it. They were willing [...]ough to be delivered from the penalty of their [...], but they did not heartily wish to be delivered [...] the power of it. Many declared, in the most [Page 14]public manner, once every week, that they we [...] very sorry they had done amiss; but it was [...] enough to declare their sorrow ever so often [...] they gave no other sign of their penitence. [...] there was so little truth in them, that the Lord r [...] quired other proofs of their sincerity beside the [...] own word, for they often lied with their lips an [...] dissembled with their tongue. But those who pr [...] fessed to be penitents were neither allowed [...] raise heaps of clay, by circumventing their neig [...] bours, or to have great piles lying by them usele [...] nor must they barter them for any of these id [...] vanities, which reduced the heaps on a sudden for I found that among the grand articles of futu [...] reckoning, the use they had made of the hea [...] would be a principal one.

I was sorry to observe many of the fairer pa [...] of these Pilgrims spend too much of their hea [...] in adorning and beautifying their tenements [...] clay, in painting, and white washing, and ename [...] ling them. All those tricks, however, did not pr [...] serve them from decay, and when they grew ol [...] they even looked worse for all this cost and va [...] nish. Some, however, acted a more sensible pa [...] and spent no more upon their mouldering te [...] ments than just to keep them whole and clean, an [...] in good repair, which is what every tenant oug [...] to do; and I observed that those who were mod [...] rate in the care of their own tenements, were mo [...] attentive to repair and warm the ragged tenements [...] others. But none did this with much zeal or acce [...] ance, but those who had acquired a habit of ov [...] looking the things below, and also by the consta [...] use of the Telescope, had got their natural we [...] and dim sight so strengthened, as to be able to [...] [Page 15]pretty distinctly the nature of the things above. [...]e habit of fixing their eyes on these glories, [...]ade all the shining trifles which composed the [...] of things below at last appear in their own [...]minutive littleness. For it was in this case parti­ [...]ularly true, that things are only big or little by [...]mparison; and there was no other way of mak­ [...]g the things below appear as small as they really [...]re, but by comparing them by means of the Tele­ [...]ope with the things above. But I observed that [...]e false judgment of the Pilgrims ever kept pace [...]th their wrong practices, for those who kept their [...]es fastened on the things below, were reckoned [...] in their generation, while the few who look­ [...] forward to the future glories, were account­ [...] by the bustlers or heapers, to be either fools [...] mad.

Well—most of these Pilgrims went on in adorn­ [...]g their tenements, adding to their heaps, grasp­ [...]g the things below as if they would never let [...]em go, shutting their eyes instead of using their te­ [...]scope, and neglecting their Title Deed, as if it was [...] Parchment of another man's estate and not their [...]n; till one after another each felt his tenement [...]mbling about his ears.—O [...]! then what a busy, [...]stling, anxious, terrifying, distracting moment was [...]at! What a deal of business was to be done, and [...]hat a strange time was this to do it in! Now to [...]e the confusion and dismay occasioned by having [...] every thing to the last minute. First some [...] was sent for to make over the yellow heaps to [...]other, which the heaper now found would be of [...] use to himself in shooting the gulf; a transfer [...]hich ought to have been made while the tenement [...]s sound. Then there was a consultation between [Page 16]two or three masons at once, perhaps to try to pat [...] up the walls, and strengthen the props, and stop [...] decays of the tumbling tenement; but not till [...] masons were forced to declare it was past repairing (a truth they were rather too apt to keep back) di [...] the tenant seriously think it was time to pac [...] up, prepare, and begone. Then what sending [...] the wise men who professed to explain the Tit [...] Deed! And oh, what remorse that they had ne [...] lected to examine it till their senses were too confused for so weighty a business! What reproache [...] or what exhortations to others to look better after their own affairs! Even to the wisest of the inh [...] bitants the falling of their tenements was a solemn thing; solemn but not surprising; they had lo [...] been packing up and preparing; they praised the Lord's goodness that they had been suffered to sta [...] so long; many acknowledged the mercy of thei [...] frequent warnings, and confessed that those ver [...] dilapidations which had made the house uncomfortable had been a blessing, as it had set them [...] diligent preparation for their future inheritance▪ had made them more earnest in examining their titl [...] to it, and had set them on such a frequent application to the telescope, that The things above ha [...] seemed every day nearer and nearer. These desired not to be uncloathed but to be cloathed upon for they knew that if their frail Tabernacle was dissolved they had an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

THE END.

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