Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see - Let us observe the metaphor. A traveler is going to a particular city; he comes to a place where the road divides into several paths, he is afraid of going astray; he stops short, - endeavors to find out the right path: he cannot fix his choice. At last he sees another traveler; he inquires of him, gets proper directions - proceeds on his journey - arrives at the desired place - and reposes after his fatigue. There is an excellent sermon on these words in the works of our first poet, Geoffrey Chaucer; it is among the Canterbury Tales, and is called Chaucer's Tale. The text, I find, was read by him as it appears in my old MS. Bible: - Standith upon weies and seeth, and asketh of the olde pathes; What is the good weie? and goth in it, and gee schul fynden refreschimg to your soulis. The soul needs rest; it can only find this by walking in the good way. The good way is that which has been trodden by the saints from the beginning: it is the old way, the way of faith and holiness. Believe, Love, Obey; be holy, and be happy. This is the way; let us inquire for it, and walk in it. But these bad people said, We will not walk in it. Then they took another way, walked over the precipice, and fell into the bottomless pit; where, instead of rest, they find: -
- a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulfur, unconsumed.