Chapter 79

Deep interest - Goodly country - Two mansions - Welshman’s Candle - Beautiful universe - Godly discourse - Fine church - Points of doctrine - Strange adventures - Paltry cause - Roman pontiff - Evil spirit.

ON the morrow I said to my friends, ‘I am about to depart; farewell!’ ‘Depart!’ said Peter and his wife, simultaneously; ‘whither wouldst thou go?’ ‘I can’t stay here all my days,’ I replied. ‘Of course not,’ said Peter; ‘but we had no idea of losing thee so soon: we had almost hoped that thou wouldst join us, become one of us. We are under infinite obligations to thee.’ ‘You mean I am under infinite obligations to you,’ said I. ‘Did you not save my life?’ ‘Perhaps so, under God,’ said Peter; ‘and what hast thou not done for me? Art thou aware that, under God, thou hast preserved my soul from despair? But, independent of that, we like thy company, and feel a deep interest in thee, and would fain teach thee the way that is right. Hearken, to-morrow we go into Wales; go with us.’ ‘I have no wish to go into Wales,’ said I. ‘Why not?’ said Peter, with animation. ‘Wales is a goodly country; as the Scripture says - a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, that spring out of valleys and hills, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig lead.’

‘I daresay it is a very fine country,’ said I, ‘but I have no wish to go there just now; my destiny seems to point in another direction, to say nothing of my trade.’ ‘Thou dost right to say nothing of thy trade,’ said Peter, smiling, ‘for thou seemest to care nothing about it; which has led Winifred and myself to suspect that thou art not altogether what thou seemest; but, setting that aside, we should be most happy if thou wouldst go with us into Wales.’ ‘I cannot promise to go with you into Wales,’ said I; ‘but, as you depart to-morrow, I will stay with you through the day, and on the morrow accompany you part of the way.’ ‘Do,’ said Peter: ‘I have many people to see to-day, and so has Winifred; but we will both endeavour to have some serious discourse with thee, which, perhaps, will turn to thy profit in the end.’

In the course of the day the good Peter came to me, as I was seated beneath the oak, and, placing himself by me, commenced addressing me in the following manner:-

‘I have no doubt, my young friend, that you are willing to admit that the most important thing which a human being possesses is his soul; it is of infinitely more importance than the body, which is a frail substance, and cannot last for many years; but not so the soul, which, by its nature, is imperishable. To one of two mansions the soul is destined to depart, after its separation from the body, to heaven or hell; to the halls of eternal bliss, where God and His holy angels dwell, or to the place of endless misery, inhabited by Satan and his grisly companions. My friend, if the joys of heaven are great, unutterably great, so are the torments of hell unutterably so. I wish not to speak of them, I wish not to terrify your imagination with the torments of hell: indeed, I like not to think of them; but it is necessary to speak of them sometimes, and to think of them sometimes, lest you should sink into a state of carnal security. Authors, friend, and learned men, are not altogether agreed as to the particulars of hell. They all agree, however, in considering it a place of exceeding horror. Master Ellis Wyn, who by the bye was a churchman, calls it, amongst other things, a place of strong sighs, and of flaming sparks. Master Rees Pritchard, who was not only a churchman, but Vicar of Llandovery, and flourished about two hundred years ago - I wish many like him flourished now - speaking of hell, in his collection of sweet hymns called the "Welshman’s Candle," observes,

‘"The pool is continually blazing; it is very deep, without any known bottom, and the walls are so high, that there is neither hope nor possibility of escaping over them."

‘But, as I told you just now, I have no great pleasure in talking of hell. No, friend, no; I would sooner talk of the other place, and of the goodness and hospitality of God amongst His saints above.’

And then the excellent man began to dilate upon the joys of heaven, and the goodness and hospitality of God in the mansions above; explaining to me, in the clearest way, how I might get there.

And when he had finished what he had to say, he left me, whereupon Winifred drew nigh, and sitting down by me began to address me. ‘I do not think,’ said she, ‘from what I have observed of thee, that thou wouldst wish to be ungrateful, and yet, is not thy whole life a series of ingratitude, and to whom? -

  By PanEris using Melati.

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