But, as was said at the beginning, the Grace Abounding is the best of all our commentaries on The Pilgrim’s Progress. As thus here also: ’Now had I an evidence, as I thought, of my salvation from heaven, with many golden seals thereon, all hanging in my sight. Now could I remember this manifestation and that other discovery of grace with comfort, and should often long and desire that the last day were come, that I might be for ever inflamed with the sight and joy of Him and communion with Him whose head was crowned with thorns, whose face was spit on, and body broken, and soul made an offering for my sins. For whereas, before, I lay continually trembling at the mouth of hell, now, methought, I was got so far therefrom that I could not, when I looked back, scarce discern it. And oh! thought I, that I were fourscore years old now, that I might die quickly, that my soul might be gone to rest.’
Then Christian gave three leaps for joy and went on singing:
’Thus far did I come laden
with my sin,
Nor could ought ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: . . .
Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me.’
FORMALIST AND HYPOCRISY
’A form of godliness.’—Paul.
We all began our religious life by being formalists. And we were not altogether to blame for that. Our parents were first to blame for that, and then our teachers, and then our ministers. They made us say our psalm and our catechism to them, and if we only said our sacred lesson without stumbling, we were straightway rewarded with their highest praise. They seldom took the trouble to make us understand the things we said to them. They were more than content with our correct repetition of the words. We were never taught either to read or repeat with