صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

live.

execution would be but the beginning of the ruin of the town of Mansoul 5. Wherefore what do they; but together, with

the men in prison, draw up a peti

a pe- tion to the prince, and sent it to tition to Imma nuel by the hand Immanuel by the hand of Mr. of Mr. Would Would-live. So he went, and came

to the prince's quarters, and presented the petition ; the sum of which was this:

“ Great and wonderful potentate, victor over Diabolus, and conqueror of the town of Mansoul : we the miserable inhabitants of that most woeful corporation, humbly beg that we may find favour in thy sight, and remember not against us our former transgressions, nor yet the sins of the chief of our town, but spare us according to the greatness of thy mercy, and let us not die, but live in thy sight;, so shall we be willing to be thy servants, and, if thou shalt think fit, to gather our meat under thy table. Amen."

So the petitioner went, as was said with his They are an, petition to the prince; and the prince swered with took it at his hand, but sent him away silence. with silence. This still afflicted the town of Mansoul; but yet considering that now they must either petition or die (for now they could not do any thing else) therefore they consulted again, and sent another petition, which was much after the form and method of the former.

5 It is no uncommon thing for convinced sinners, before they obtain clear views of the gospel, to remain under considerable terror and alarm. They feel themselves continually condemned by the faithful preaching of the word. The understanding, the conscience, and the will may be in a state of bondage, and the whole soul be terrified with fears of death and damnation. But all this will end well—will issue in fervent prayer and happy peace.

When the petition was drawn up, by whoni

... should they send it, was the next They petition question ; for they would not send it

. by him by whom they sent the first (for they thought that the prince had taken some offence at the manner of his deportment before him) so they attempted to make Captain ConThey cannot viction their messenger with it ; but tell by whom he said, that he neither durst nor to send it. would petition Immanuel for traitors, nor be to the prince an advocate for rebels . yet withal, said he, our prince is good, and you may adventure to send it by the hand of one of your town; provided he went with a rope about his head, and pleaded nothing but mercy.

Well, they made, through fear, their delays as long as they could, and longer than delays were good; but fearing at last the danger of them, they thought, but with many a fainting in their minds, to send their petition by Mr. Desires-awake; so they sent for Mr. Desires-awake. Now he dwelt in a very mean cottage in Mansoul; and he came at his neighbour's request. So they told him what they had done, and what they would do concerning petitioning, and that they desired of him that he would go therewith to the prince. Then said Mr. Desires-awake, Why should not I do the best I can to save so famous a Mr. Desires. town as Mansoul from destruction? awake goes They therefore delivered the petition with the peti- to him, and told him how he must adtion., dress himself to the prince, and wished him ten thousand good speeds. So he came to the prince's pavilion, as the first, and asked to speak with his majesty ; so word was carried to Immanuel, and the prince came out to the man. When Mr. Desires-awake saw the prince, he fell

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

flat with his face to the ground, and cried out, O that Mansoul might live before thee! and with that he presented the petition. The which when the

prince had read, he turned away for a while, and wept; but, refraining himself,

he turned again to the man (who all this while lay crying at his feet as at first), and said to him, Go thy way to thy place, and I will consider of thy requestso.

Now you may think that they of Mansoul that had sent him, what with guilt, and what with fear, lest their petition should be rejected, could not but look with many a longing look, and that too with strange workings of heart, to see what would be. come of their petition. At last they saw their messenger coming back; so when he was come, His return, and they asked him how he fared? what answer to thein. Immanuel said ? and what was bethat sent him. come of the petition? But he told them, that he would be silent till he came to the prison po my lord-mayor, my Lord Will-be-will, and Mr. Recorder. So he went forwards towards the prison-house, where the men of Mansoul lay bound. But, ()! what a multitude flocked after, to hear what the messenger said. So when he was come, and had shewed himself at the gate of the prison, my lord-mayor himself looked as white as a clout, the recorder also quaked; but they asked, and said, Come, good sir, what did the great prince say to you? Then said Mr. Desires-awake, When I came to my lord's pavilion, I called, and he came forth; so I fell prostrate at his feet, and delivered to him my petition (for the greatness of his persoli, and the glory of his countenance, would not suffer me to stand upon my legs). Now as he received the petition, I cried, () that Mansoul might live before thee! So when for a while he had looked thereon, he turned about, and said to his servant, Go thy way to thy place again, and I will consider of thy requests. The messenger added moreover, and said, The prince to whom you sent me, is such a one for beauty and glory, that whoso sees him, must love and fear him: I for my part can do no less; but I know not what will Mansoul con- be the end of these things. At this anfounded at swer they were all at a stand, both the answer. they in prison, and they that followed the messenger thither to hear the news; nor knew they what, or what manner of interpretation to put upon what the prince had said. Now when the prison was cleared of the throng, the prisoners began to comment among themselves upon ImmaThe prisonerse nuel's words. My lord-mayor said, judgment upon that the answer did not look with a the prince's an. rugged face; but Will-be-will said it

6 We must pray and pray again. We must pray in humility, confessing our desert, of punishment, as it were, with ropes about our necks. The petition is sent by Mr. Desiresawake. The desires of an awakened soul are vented in prayer, and these move the compassionate heart of Jesus.

betokened evil; and the recorder that it was a messenger of death. Now they that were. left, and that stood behind, and so could not so well hear what the prisoners said, some of them catched hold of one piece of a sentence, and some on a bit of another; some took hold of what the messenger said, and some of the prisoners' judgą

ment thereon, so none had a right thoughts breed understanding of things; but you confusion in cannot imagine what work these Mansoul.

people made, and what confusion there was in Mansoul now.

For presently they that had heard what was said, flew about the town, one crying one thing, and

swer.

another the quite contrary, and both were sure enough they told true, for they heard, they said, with their ears what was said, and therefore could not be deceived. One would say, “ We must all be killed ;” another would say, " We must all be saved;" and a third would say, “ That the prince would not be concerned with Mansoul; and a fourth, " That the prisoners must be suddenly put to death : and, as I said, every one stood to it, that he told his tale the rightest, and that all others but he were out. Wherefore Mansoul had now molestation upon molestation, nor could any man know on what to rest the sole of his foot; for one would go by now, and, as he went, if he heard bis neighbour tell his tale, to be sure he would tell the quite contrary, and both would stand in it that he told the truth. Nay, some of them had got this story by the end, " That the prince intended to

put Mansoul to the sword.” And now

in it began to be dark; wherefore poor perplexity.

" Mansoul was in sad perplexity all that night, until the next morning?

But so far as I could gather by the best information I could get, all this hubbub came through the words that the recorder said, when he told them,

that in his judgment the prince's anWhat will not swer was a messeng guilt do.

'Twas this that fired the town, and that began the fright in Mansoul; for Mansoul in former times used to count that Mr. Recorder was

Mans

? How anxious the praying soul to know whether he shall succeed or not. Perplexity and fear may greatly prevail for a season, till the truths of the gospel be clearly understood and cordially believed. But this state of fear discovers what an evil and bitter thing it is to sin against God. Thus sin is embittered, and Christ rendered more precious.

[graphic]
« السابقةمتابعة »