As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a *Denn; and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man *cloathed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, *what shall I do? In this plight, therefore, he went home and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus he began to talk to them: O my dear wife, said he, and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our city will be burned with fire from heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered. At this his relations were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy
distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So, when the morning was come, they would know how he did. He told them, Worse and worse: he also set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened.
|Carnal physic for a sick soul||*They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh
and surly carriages to him; sometimes they would deride, sometimes they
would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began
to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to
condole his own misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes
reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.
Now, I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was wont, reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and, as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, What shall I do to be saved?
*Job 16:21, 22.
| I saw also that he looked this way and that way,
as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could
not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named
coming to him and asked, Wherefore dost thou cry?
He answered, Sir, I perceive by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and *after that to come to judgement and I find that I am not *willing to do the first, nor *able to do the second.
|| Then said Evangelist, Why
not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils? The
man answered, Because I fear that this burden is upon my back will sink
me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into *Tophet. And, Sir,
if I be not
fit to go to prison, I am not fit, I am sure, to go to judgement, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.
|*Conviction of the necessity
|Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a *Parchment-Roll, and there was written within, *Fly from the wrath to come.|
Psal. 199. 105.
2 Pe. 1. 19
Christ, and the way to Him cannot be found without the Word,
|The man therefore Read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder *Wicket-gate? The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder *shining light? He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto: *so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.|
|So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now, he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; *but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! life! eternal life! So he looked not behind him, *but fled towards the middle of the Plain.|