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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Pilgrim's Progress Index : Page 14
Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15

JOHN BUNYAN.
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS - PART I

THE FIFTH STAGE.

    Now, as Christian went on his way, he came to a little ascent, which was cast up on purpose that pilgrims might see before them: up there, therefore, Christian went; and looking forward, he saw Faithful before him upon his journey: Then said Christian aloud, Ho, ho; so-ho; stay, and I will be your companion. At that Faithful looked behind him; to whom Christian cried again, Stay, stay, till I come up to you. But Faithful answered, No, I am upon my life, and the avenger of blood is behind me.

At this Christian was somewhat moved, and putting to all his strength, he quickly got up with Faithful, and did also overrun him; so the last was first. Then did Christian vaingloriously smile, because he had gotten the start of his brother; but not taking good heed to his feet, he suddenly stumbled and fell, and could not rise again until Faithful came up to help him.

Then I saw in my dream, they went very lovingly on together, and had sweet discourse of all things that had happened to them in their pilgrimage; and thus Christian began.

CHR. My honored and well-beloved brother Faithful, I am glad that I have overtaken you, and that God has so tempered our spirits that we can walk as companions in this so pleasant a path.

FAITH. I had thought, my dear friend, to have had your company quite from our town, but you did get the start of me; wherefore I was forced to come thus much of the way alone.

CHR. How long did you stay in the city of Destruction before you set out after me on your pilgrimage?

FAITH. Till I could stay no longer; for there was a great talk presently after you were gone out, that our city would, in a short time, with fire from heaven, be burnt down to the ground.

CHR. What, did your neighbors talk so?

FAITH. Yes, it was for a while in every body's mouth.

CHR. What, and did no more of them but you come out to escape the danger?

FAITH. Though there was, as I said, a great talk thereabout, yet I do not think they did firmly believe it; for, in the heat of the discourse, I heard some of them deridingly speak of you and of your desperate journey, for so they called this your pilgrimage. But I did believe, and do still, that the end of our city will be with fire and brimstone from above; and therefore I have made my escape.

CHR. Did you hear no talk of neighbor Pliable?

FAITH. Yes, Christian, I heard that he followed you till he came to the Slough of Despond, where, as some said, he fell in; but he would not be known to have so done: but I am sure he was soundly bedabbled with that kind of dirt.

CHR. And what said the neighbors to him?

FAITH. He hath, since his going back, been had greatly in derision, and that among all sorts of people: some do mock and despise him, and scarce will any set him on work. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the city.

CHR. But why should they be so set against him, since they also despise the way that he forsook?

FAITH. O, they say, Hang him; he is a turncoat; he was not true to his profession! I think God has stirred up even His enemies to hiss at him, and make him a proverb, because he hath forsaken the way. Jer. 29:18,19.

CHR. Had you no talk with him before you came out?

FAITH. I met him once in the streets, but he leered away on the other side, as one ashamed of what he had done; So I spake not to him.

CHR. Well, at my first setting out I had hopes of that man; but now I fear he will perish in the overthrow of the city. For it has happened to him according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Pet. 2:22.

FAITH. These are my fears of him too; but who can hinder that which will be?

CHR. Well, neighbor Faithful, said Christian, let us leave him, and talk of things that more immediately concern ourselves. Tell me now what you have met with in the way as you came; for I know you have met with some things, or else it may be writ for a wonder.

FAITH. I escaped the slough that I perceive you fell into, and got up to the gate without that danger; only I met with one whose name was Wanton, that had like to have done me mischief.

CHR. It was well you escaped her net: Joseph was hard put to it by her, and he escaped her as you did; but it had like to have cost him his life. Gen. 39:11-13. But what did she do to you?

FAITH. You cannot think (but that you know something) what a flattering tongue she had; she lay at me hard to turn aside with her, promising me all manner of content.

CHR. Nay, she did not promise you the content of a good conscience.

FAITH. You know what I mean; all carnal and fleshly content.

CHR. Thank God that you escaped her: the abhorred of the Lord shall fall into her pit. Prov. 22:14.

FAITH. Nay, I know not whether I did wholly escape her or no.

CHR. Why, I trow you did not consent to her desires?

FAITH. No, not to defile myself; for I remembered an old writing that I had seen, which said, "Her steps take hold on Hell." Prov. 5:5. So I shut mine eyes, because I would not be bewitched with her looks. Job 31:1. Then she railed on me, and I went my way.

CHR. Did you meet with no other assault as you came?

FAITH. When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty, I met with a very aged man, who asked me what I was, and whither bound. I told him that I was a pilgrim, going to the Celestial City. Then said the old man, Thou lookest like an honest fellow; wilt thou be content to dwell with me for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked his name, and where he dwelt? He said his name was Adam the First, and that he dwelt in the town of Deceit. Eph. 4:22. I asked him then what was his work, and what the wages that he would give. He told me that his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his heir at last. I further asked him, what house he kept, and what other servants he had. So he told me that his house was maintained with all the dainties of the world, and that his servants were those of his own begetting. Then I asked how many children he had. He said that he had but three daughters, the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, 1 John, 2:16; and that I should marry them if I would. Then I asked, how long time he would have me live with him; And he told me, as long as he lived himself.

CHR. Well, and what conclusion came the old man and you to at last?

FAITH. Why, at first I found myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, "Put off the old man with his deeds."

CHR. And how then?

FAITH. Then it came burning hot into my mind, that, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his house. Then he reviled me, and told me that he would send such a one after me that should make my way bitter to my soul. So I turned to go away from him; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh, and give me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself: this made me cry, "O wretched man." Rom. 7:24. So I went on my way up the hill.

Now, when I had got above half-way up, I looked behind me, and saw one coming after me, swift as the wind; so he overtook me just about the place where the settle stands.

CHR. Just there, said Christian, did I sit down to rest me; but being overcome with sleep, I there lost this roll out of my bosom.

FAITH. But, good brother, hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, it was but a word and a blow; for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again I asked him wherefore he served me so. He said because of my secret inclining to Adam the First. And with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward; so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So when I came to myself again I cried him mercy: but he said, I know not how to show mercy; and with that he knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by and bid him forbear.

CHR. Who was that that bid him forbear?

FAITH. I did not know him at first: but as he went by, I perceived the holes in his hands and in his side: Then I concluded that he was our Lord. So I went up the hill.

CHR. That man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none; neither knoweth he how to shew mercy to those that transgress the law.

FAITH. I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has met with me. 'Twas he that came to me when I dwelt securely at home, and that told me he would burn my house over my head if I stayed there.

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