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VISIT TO THE INTERPRETER'S HOUSE.
CHRISTIAN READER, Having lately in a dream seen one, who was called to tread the road which our old friend, Christian, the pilgrim, trode so long ago ; and having seen, when he was shown at the house of the Interpreter, things worthy of notice, I shall lay some of them before thee; praying that a gracious God will open the eyes of the understanding (Ephes. i. 18.) of thee who readest, and of me who write, that we, receiving the Spirit which is of God, may know those things that are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. ii. 12–14.)
And first of all, the pilgrim of whom I speak, whose name is called " Teachable,” was had into a room, where were windows opening different ways. And the Interpreter taking him by the hand led him to one of the windows, and bade him look out.
Then said the Interpreter to one of his servants, Bring hither the three pieces of gold which were set by. So they were brought. Now on all of them was the image and superscription of Cæsar, (Matt. xxii. 20.) but one of them was much rubbed and very dim, so that indeed the face of Cæsar could not be clearly recognised, nor the superscription easily read. Then said Teachable, “ Is that piece sterling ?”
“ There is a counterfeit among them,” answered the Interpreter; weigh them, and thou shalt know it.” Then the servants brought the scales, and the pieces were weighed, and behold, one of those two was found wanting, which were bright and unworn. Then Teachable wondered, and said, But how then shall the King's coin be known? The Master of the Mint, said the Interpreter, hath his own marks, whereby he knoweth the coin which is sterling and that which is counterfeit. And had thy senses by reason of use been exercised to discern both good and evil, (Heb. v. 14.) and hadst thou now attentively considered the two, thou hadst not so wrongly decided the matter.-Now when Teachable diligently examined the two and compared them together, he found that the imitation was by no means perfect. The letters of the superscription on the counterfeit were not well formed, and some of the words were ill-spelt; moreover the head had more ornament about it, but wanted the majesty and beauty of the true one. I observed also, that there was by no means the same comparative prominence of the parts in the two pieces. It is a hypocrite, said the Interpreter; yet such will often pass current in the world. But, said Teachable, is it not a scandal to the King, that his coin should be defaced, as the other piece is ? It is indeed, answered the Interpreter, yet is it genuine gold : and if you look at it more closely, you will find the work upon
it very different from that upon the counterfeit. How came it thus worn and dimmed ? asked Teachable. It has come into contact, answered the Interpreter, with many fingers in the world, and those not clean ones. But the Master of the Mint hath means, and sharp tools to restore the image and superscription to its original fairness. Then understood I, that this worn piece represented a true believer, in whom, through much conformity to the world, the life of God had lost some of its lustre, but which should be restored by salutary trials and afflictions.
Then was I led to another window, and I looked, and behold a large plain ; and the plain was covered with multitudes of people, and they were all going one way. And at the end of the plain ran a river black and deep. Moreover, I saw that over the plain was spread a thick mist, so that nothing could be clearly seen by those thereon; but through that mist, as through other mists, objects did appear larger than they really were, and also diversely coloured. Moreover, when I had considered awhile, I perceived that, as in other mists so in this, each one seemed to himself to have a space clear therefrom round himself; and, while he pitied those who walked at a distance as altogether blinded by the fog, yet imagined that he himself, and they who were with him, saw all things plainly. Now over the river I observed that the fog was thicker than any where else, so that few of those on the plain could at all see across; and many indeed affirmed that there was nothing beyond. Few, I perceived, turned their eyes that way, though all were journeying towards it; and the reason I found to be this, that out of the thick fog, which was over the river, appeared oftentimes strange and horrible faces and phantoms, which no one cared to look upon. So they looked any other way, but still they journeyed forwards, and sought carefully after the common pebbles and weeds, which were thickly strewed upon the plain, and which, as I said, appeared by reason of the fog larger and more beautifully coloured than they really were.
And I saw that all were very intent upon collecting them, and many were the quarrels about them, even among those who had seemed to be walking most friendlily together. But when any one came to the brink of the river, forth with he dropped them all. Then I wondered that, seeing the journey was so short, the travellers should give themselves so much trouble about that, of which I could not discover at the end any use whatever.
Then would I have looked into the parts beyond the river, but ere I had fixed my eyes steadily thereon the Interpreter called to me. Yet did I hear doleful voices from beyond the river, that sighed forth that word-ETERNITY!
Then said the Interpreter to me, Hast thou considered this? Is not this, said I, the plain of Vanity ? and are not these they whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded, (2 Cor. iv. 4.) they who are disquieted in vain, heaping up riches and not knowing who shall gather them ; (Ps. xxxix. 6.) who, having brought nothing into this world, can carry nothing out? (1 Tim. vi. 7.) Thou hast judged aright, answered the Interpreter; but look again.
So I looked again, and over the plain was a causeway thrown up, the midst of which was raised high above the plain, but the sides sloped down thereto. And I saw that the upper parts of the causeway were very much cleared from the mist that lay upon the plain, insomuch that the atmosphere on the top was almost entirely clear. And some persons were walking on this causeway; but the number was very small compared with those below in the plain. Moreover I saw that the sides of the causeway were steep and rough, and that the greater part of those who were thereon troubled not themselves to climb to the top. (where nevertheless the walking was very easy and delightful), but travelled along at the bottom; nay, many were so low down upon it, that they were walking side by side, and indeed arm in arm, with those in the plain. Of this, however, I cannot speak positively, as the fog, which lay thick at the edges of this causeway, prevented me from seeing exactly where it first began to rise.
Then said I, What is this? This, said the Interpreter, is the causeway of Salvation; the pro