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ready before the porter comes to summon you? Reader! if this be your case, how surprised will you be to hear that the travellers to the far country have not half your prudence, though bound on a journey of infinitely more impor. tance, to a land where nothing can be sent after them, and which when they are once settled, all errors are irretrievable.
I observed that these pilgrims, instead of be. , ing upon the watch, left they should be ordered off unprepared; instead of laying up any pro. vision, or even making memorandums of what they would be likely to want, spent most of their time in crowds, either in the way of traffic or diversion. At first, when I saw them so much engaged in conversing with each other, I thought it a good sign, and listened attentively to their talk, not doubting but the chief turn of it would be about the climate, or treasures, or society they should probably meet with in the far coun. try. I supposed they might be also discussing about the best and faselt road to it, and that each was availing himself of the knowledge of his neighbor, on a subject of equal importance to all. I listened to every party, but in fcarcely any did I hear one word about ihe land to which they were bound, though it was their home, the place where their whole interest, expe&ation, and inheritance lay; to which also great part of their friends were gone before, and whither they were sure all the rest would follow. Instead of this, their whole talk was about the business,
or the pleasures, or the fashions, of the strange country which they were merely passing through, and in which they had not one foot of land which they were sure of calling their own for the next quarter of an hour. What little estate they had was perfonal and not real, and that was a mortgaged, life-hold tenement of clay, not properly their own, but only lent to them ona short uncertain lease, of which threescore years and ten was considered as the longest period, and very few indeed lived in it to the end of the term; for this was always at the will of the Lord, part of whose prerogative it was, that he could take away the lease at pleasure, knock down the stoutest tenant at a single blow, and turn out the poor shivering, helpless tenant naked to that far country for which he had made , no provision. Sometimes, in order to quicken the Pilgrim in his preparation, the Lord would break down the tenement by slow degrees, sometimes he would let it tumble by its own natural decay, for as it was only built to last a certain term, it would sometimes grow so uncomfort. able by increasing dilapidations even before the ordinary lease was out, that the lodging was hardly worth keeping, though the tenant could seldom be persuaded to think so, but fondly clung to it to the last. First the thatch on the top of the tenament changed colour, then it fell off and left the roof bare; then the 66 grinders ceased because they were few;" then the windows became so darkened that the owner could scarcely
see through them; then one prop fell away, then another, then the uprights became bent, and the whole fabric trembled and tottered, with every other symptom of a falling house. On fome occasions the Lord ordered his messengers, of which he had a great variety, to batter, injure, deface, and almost demolish the frail building even while it seemed new and strong; this was what the landlord called giving warning ; but many a tenant would not take warning, and was so fond of staying where he was, even under all these inconveniences, that at last he was cast out by ejectment, not being prevailed on to leave his dwelling in a proper manner, though one would have thought the fear of being turned out would have whetted his diligence in preparing for 6 a better and more enduring inheritance.” For though the people were only tenants at will in these crazy tenements, yet through the good. ness of the same Lord, they were assured that he never turned them out of these habitations before he had on his part provided for them a better, so that there was not such another land. lord in the world, and though their present dwelling was but frail, being only slightly run up to serve the occasion, yet they might hold their future possession by a most certain tenure, the word of the Lord himself, which was entered in a covenant, or title-deed, consisting of many sheets, and because a great many good things were given away in this deed, a book was made of which every soul might get a copy. This indeed had not always been the case, be.' cause, till a few ages back, there had been a fort of monopoly in the case, and “ the wise and prudent," that is, the cunning and fraudful, had hid these things from the “ babes and sucklings." that is, from the low and ignorant, and many frauds had been practised, and the poor had been cheated of their right; so that not being al. lowed to readand judge for themselves, they had been sadly imposed upon : but all these tricks had been put an end to more than two hundred years when I passed through the country, and the meanest man who could read might then have a copy, so that he might see himlelf what he had to trust to, and even those who could not read, might hear it read once or twice.every week,' at least, without pay, by learned men. whose business it was. But it surprised me to fee how few comparatively made use of these vast advantages. Of those who had a copy, many laid it carelessly by, expressed a general belief in the truth of the title-deed, a general fatis. fa&tion 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 feason, to enquire farther into the matter, but this convenient season feldom came, and this negle&t of theirs was construed into a forfeiture of the inheritance.
mentioned before, it was shadowed over by a broad and thick cloud, which prevented the pil. grims from seeing in a distinct manner what was doing behind it, yet such beams of brightness now and then darted through the cloud as enabled those who used a telescope provided for that purpose, to see the substance of things hoped for ; but it was not every one who could make use of this telescope ; no eye indeed was naturally disposed to it; but an earnest desire of getting a glimpse of the invisible realities, gave such a strength and steadiness to the eye, as ena. bled it to discern many things which could not be seen by the natural sight. Above the cloud was this inscription, “ The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Of these last many glorious descriptions had been given, but as those splendors were at a distance, and as the pilgrims in general did not care to use the telescope, these distant glances made little impression. The glorious inheritance which lay beyond the cloud, was called The things above, while a multitude of triflng objects, which appeared contemptibly small when looked at through the telescope, were called The things below. Now as we know it is nearnefs which gives fize and bulk to any object, it was not wonderful that these ill judging pilgrims were more struck with these baubles and tri. fles, which, by lying close at hand, were visible and tempting to the naked eye, and which made up the sum of The things below, than with the