Trivium Pursuit

Part 30 Pilgrim’s Progress — The Celestial City

December 10th, 2017

Part 30 — The Celestial City by John Bunyan audio

The Celestial City by John Bunyan read-along text

Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side — they saw the two Shining Men again, who were waiting for them. Therefore, having come out of the river, the Shining Men greeted them, saying, “We are ministering spirits, sent forth to serve those who are heirs of salvation!” Thus they went along together towards the gate.

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Now that City stood upon a mighty hill — but the Pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two Shining Men to lead them up by their hands. Also, they left their mortal garments behind them in the river — for though they went in with them, they came out without them.

They, therefore, went up towards the City with much agility and speed — though the foundation upon which the City was framed, was higher than the clouds. They went up through the regions of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted — because they had safely gotten over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.

The conversation they had with the Shining Ones was about the splendor of that place. They told the Pilgrims that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible.

“There,” said they, “is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect! You are now going to the paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of its never-fading fruits! When you arrive there, you shall have white robes given to you, and you shall walk and talk with the King every day — even through all the days of eternity!

“There you shall never again see such things as you saw when you were in the lower region of earth, namely — sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death, for the former things have passed away! You are now going to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to the prophets — men whom God has taken away from the evil to come, and who are now at rest, each one walking in his righteousness.”

The Pilgrims then asked, “What will we do in the holy City?”

The Shining Ones answered, “You will there receive the comforts of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow! You will reap what you have sown — even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King along the way! In that place you will wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One, for there you shall see Him as He is!

“You shall also serve Him — whom you desired to serve while in the world, though with much difficulty because of the infirmity of your flesh. There you shall continually worship Him with praise, and shouting and thanksgiving! There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing Him — and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One!

“There you shall enjoy your friends again, who have gone there before you — and you shall joyfully receive everyone who follows you into that holy place.

“There also, you shall be clothed with glory and majesty — fit to accompany the King of glory. When He shall come with trumpet sound in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind — you shall come with Him! And when He shall sit upon the throne of judgment — you shall sit with Him. Yes, and when He shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, whether they are angels or men — you also shall have a voice in that judgment, because they were both His and your enemies. And so you will be with the Lord forever!”

Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly hosts came out to meet them.

The two Shining Ones exclaimed, “These are the men who have loved our Lord while they were in the world, and who have left all for His holy name. He has sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey — that they may go in and look upon their Redeemer’s face with joy!”

Then the heavenly hosts gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”

At this time, several of the King’s trumpeters came out to meet them. They were arrayed in shining white clothing — and with loud and melodious voices, they made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters greeted Christian and Hopeful with ten thousand welcomes! This done, they surrounded the Pilgrims — so as to guard them through the upper regions, continually singing with melodious voices as they went — as if Heaven itself had come down to meet them!

Bunyan One of the Kings trumpeters

Thus, therefore, they walked on together. As they walked, these trumpeters, with joyful sound, would always by mixing their music with pleasant looks and gestures — signify to Christian and Hopeful, how welcome they were in their company, and with what gladness they came to receive them.

Bunyan The Kings Trumpeter

Now Christian and Hopeful were as if in Heaven, before they came there — being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with the hearing of their melodious voices. Here also they had the City itself fully in view, and they thought that they heard all the City bells ringing to welcome them in. But above all, they were encouraged by the warm and joyful thoughts of their own dwelling there, with such company — and that forever and ever! O what tongue or pen could express their glorious joy! And thus they came up to the gate.

Now, there was written over the gate, in letters of gold, “Blessed are those who obey His commandments — that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the City!”

Then I saw in my dream, that the Shining Men bid them to call at the gate. And when they did, some looked over the gate — namely Enoch, Moses, Elijah and others, to whom it was told: “These Pilgrims have come from the city of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place!”

Then each Pilgrim handed in their certificate which they had received in the beginning of their journey. These certificates were carried to the King, who, when He had read them, said, “Where are the men?”

To whom it was answered, “They are standing outside the gate.”

The King then commanded, “Open the gates to all who are righteous — allow the faithful to enter in!”

Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate. And behold! as they entered, they were transfigured, and they were arrayed with clothing which shone like gold. Some met them with harps and crowns, which were given to the Pilgrims. The harps were given for worship — and the crowns were given as a token of honor.

Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said to the Pilgrims, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!”

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I also heard Christian and Hopeful themselves singing with a loud voice, saying, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power — be unto Him who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Now just as the gates were opened to let the men in, I looked in after them — and, behold, the City shone like the sun! The streets also were paved with gold, and on them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises with! There were also some angelic beings with wings, and they sang back and forth without intermission, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord!” After that, they closed up the gates. When I had seen all of this — I wished that I myself was among them.

Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side. He soon got over the river, and without half of the difficulty which Christian and Hopeful met with. For it happened that one called Vain-hope, a ferryman, was there — and with his boat he helped Ignorance cross the river.

Then I saw that Ignorance ascended the hill, and came up to the gate all alone. There was no man to meet him with the least encouragement. When he arrived at the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above it, and then began to knock — supposing that entrance would quickly be given to him. But he was asked by the men who looked over the top of the gate, “Where have you come from? What do you want?”

He answered them, “I have eaten and drank in the presence of the King — and He has taught in our streets!”

Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King. So he fumbled in his bosom for one — but found none.

Then they asked, “Have you no certificate?”

But the man answered not a word.

So they told the King about Ignorance — but He would not go down to see him. Instead He commanded the two Shining Ones who had conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City — to go out and take Ignorance, bind him hand and foot, and cast him away.

So they took Ignorance up, and carried him through the air, to the door which I had seen in the side of the hill — and threw him in there!

Bunyan Then

Then I saw that there was a way to Hell, even from the very gates of Heaven — as well as from the city of Destruction!

So I awoke, and behold — it was a dream!

 

Part 29 Pilgrim’s Progress — The River of Death

December 10th, 2017

Part 29 — The River of Death by John Bunyan audio

The River of Death by John Bunyan read-along text

Now, I further saw, that between them and the gate was a river — but there was no bridge to pass over it, and the river was very deep. At the sight of this river, the Pilgrims were bewildered.

But the men said to them, “You must go through the river — or you cannot enter in at the gate.”

The Pilgrims then began to inquire if there was any other way to the gate — to which the men answered, “Yes, but only two since the foundation of the world have been permitted to tread that path — namely, Enoch and Elijah. Nor shall any others go that way until the last trumpet shall sound!”

crossing the river

The Pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to lose heart. They looked this way and that — but they could find no way by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all the same depth.

“No,” they replied, “You shall find it deeper or shallower — just as you believe in the King of the City.”

The Pilgrims then approached the water. Upon entering it, Christian began to sink! Crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he shouted, “I am sinking in deep waters! The billows are rolling over my head — all His waves are washing over me!”

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Then Hopeful replied, “Take courage, my brother — I feel the bottom, and it is firm!”

Christian then cried out, “Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death have compassed me about! I shall not see the land which flows with milk and honey!”

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With that, a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see ahead of him. He also, in great measure, lost his senses — so that he could neither remember, nor talk coherently of any of those sweet refreshments which he had met with along the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spoke still tended to manifest his horror of mind and heart-fears — that he would die in that river, and never obtain entrance at the gate.

Here also, as those two men who stood by perceived, Christian was much in troublesome thoughts concerning the sins that he had committed — both before and since he began to be a Pilgrim. It was also observed by his words, that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits.

Hopeful, therefore, labored hard to keep his brother’s head above water. Yes, sometimes Christian almost drowned — but then, in a short time, he would surface again, half dead.

Hopeful helps Christian

Hopeful would also endeavor to encourage him, saying, “Brother, I see the gate — and men standing ready to receive us!”

But Christian would answer, “It is you — it is you they are waiting for! You have been Hopeful ever since I first knew you!”

“And so have you,” responded Hopeful.

“Ah, brother!” cried Christian, “Surely if I were right with Him — then He would now arise to help me. Because of my sins, He has brought me into the snare, and has left me.”

Hopeful reminded him, “My brother, you have quite forgotten the text where it is said of the wicked, ‘They have no struggles in their death — but their strength is firm. They are not troubled as other men, neither are they plagued like other men.’ These troubles and distresses that you are going through in these waters, are no indication that God has forsaken you. Rather, they are only sent to test you — as to whether you will call to mind what you have hitherto received of His goodness, and live upon Him in your present distresses.”

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was in deep thought for a while.

Hopeful then added this word, “Take courage — Jesus Christ makes you whole!”

With that, Christian cried out with a loud voice, “O! I see Him again, and He tells me, ‘When you pass through the waters — I will be with you. When you go through the rivers — they shall not overflow you!'”

Bunyan Christian brake out with a loud voice Oh I see him again

Then they both took courage. After that, the enemy was as still as a stone, and could no longer hinder them. Christian therefore felt firm ground to stand upon — and found that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they both crossed over the river.

Bunyan Thus they got over

 

Part 28 Pilgrim’s Progress — Beulah Land

December 10th, 2017

Part 28 — Beulah Land by John Bunyan audio

Beulah Land by John Bunyan read-along text

Now I saw in my dream, that by this time the Pilgrims were now beyond the Enchanted Ground, and had entered into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant. As their way went directly through Beulah Land — they delighted themselves there for a season. Yes, here they continually heard the singing of birds, and every day saw new flowers appear, and heard the song of the turtle-dove in the land. In this country the sun shines night and day. As it was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair — they could not so much as see Doubting Castle.

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Here they were within sight of the City they were traveling to. They also met some of the inhabitants of that City — for in this land the Shining Ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of Heaven.

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In this land also, the contract between the Bride and the Bridegroom was renewed. Yes, here, ‘As the Bridegroom rejoices over His Bride — so does their God rejoice over them.’ Here they had no lack of grain or wine — for in this place they met with abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage. Here they heard voices from out of the City — loud voices, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion: Behold, your salvation comes! Behold, His reward is with Him!’ Here all the inhabitants of the country called them, ‘The holy people.’ ‘The redeemed of the Lord.’ ‘Sought out ones.’

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Now, as they walked in this land, they rejoiced more than they had in all the former parts of their journey. Drawing near to the City, they had even a more perfect view of it. It was built of pearls and precious stones — and the great street of the City was pure gold. So that by reason of the natural splendor of the City, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it — Christian became lovesick with longing for it. Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same lovesickness. Therefore, they stayed here for a while, calling out, because of their longings, “If you find my Beloved — tell Him that I am lovesick!”

Now, being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their lovesickness — they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer. They saw orchards, vineyards, and gardens — and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold, the gardener was standing there — and the Pilgrims asked, “Whose lovely vineyards and gardens are these?”

The gardener answered, “They are the King’s, and are planted here for His own delight — and also for the refreshment of Pilgrims.”

So the gardener brought them into the vineyards, and bid them to refresh themselves with the delicacies. He also showed them the King’s walkways, and the arbors, where He delighted to be. So here they tarried and slept.

Now I beheld in my dream, that they talked more in their sleep at this time, than they ever did in all their journey.

As I was in deep thought about this, the gardener said to me: “Why are you pondering the matter? It is the nature of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly, as to cause the lips of those who are asleep, to speak.”

So I saw that when the Pilgrims awoke, they prepared to go up to the City. But, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the City — for ‘the City was pure gold’ — was so resplendent, that they could not, as yet, behold it with open face — but only through an instrument made for that purpose.

So I saw, that as they went on — that two men, in clothing which shone like gold, met them. Their faces also shone as the light.

These men asked the Pilgrims where they came from — and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, and what comforts and pleasures they met with along the way — and they told them.

Then the men said, “You have but two more difficulties to meet with — and then you are in the City!”

Christian and Hopeful asked the men to go along with them — and they told them that they would.

“But,” said they, “you must obtain it by your own faith.”

So I saw in my dream that they went on together, until they came within sight of the gate of the City.

 

Part 27 Pilgrim’s Progress — Ignorance Rejoins the Pilgrims

December 10th, 2017

Part 27 — Ignorance Rejoins the Pilgrims by John Bunyan audio

Ignorance Rejoins the Pilgrims by John Bunyan read-along text

Then I saw in my dream, that Hopeful looked back and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, following after them.

“Look,” he said to Christian, “Ignorance is still lagging behind us!”

CHRISTIAN: “Yes, yes, I see him — he does not care for our company.”

HOPEFUL: “It would not have hurt him — had he stayed with us thus far.”

CHRISTIAN: “That is true — but I guarantee that he thinks otherwise.”

HOPEFUL: “I agree — however, let us wait for him.”

So they did.

Then Christian called to Ignorance, “Come join us — why do you stay so far behind?”

IGNORANCE: “It pleases me to walk alone, rather than in company — unless of course, the company suits me better.”

Then Christian whispered to Hopeful, “Did I not tell you that he did not care for our company?”

Then, calling out to Ignorance, Christian said, “Come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Say, how are you doing? How does it now stand between God and your soul?”

IGNORANCE: “I hope well — for I am always full of good notions that come into my mind, to comfort me as I walk.”

Bunyan I Am Always Full Of Good Motions

CHRISTIAN: “What good notions? Please tell us.”

IGNORANCE: “Why, I think of God and Heaven.”

CHRISTIAN: “So do the devils and damned souls.”

IGNORANCE: “But I think of them — and desire them.”

CHRISTIAN: “So do many who are never likely to get to Heaven. The soul of the sluggard desires — and gets nothing!”

IGNORANCE: “But I think of God and Heaven — and leave all for them.”

CHRISTIAN: “That I doubt, for leaving all is a hard matter — yes, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why do you think that you have left all for God and Heaven?”

IGNORANCE: “Because my heart tells me so.”

CHRISTIAN: “But the wise man says, ‘He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.'”

IGNORANCE: “That was spoken of an evil heart — but mine is a good one.”

CHRISTIAN: “But how do you prove that?”

IGNORANCE: “It comforts me in hopes of Heaven.”

CHRISTIAN: “That may be through your heart’s deceitfulness; for a man’s heart may minister comfort to him in the hope of Heaven — and yet be a false hope.”

IGNORANCE: “But my heart and my life agree together — and therefore my hope is well grounded.”

CHRISTIAN: “Who told you that your heart and life agree together?”

IGNORANCE: “My heart tells me so.”

CHRISTIAN: “Your heart tells you so! Except the Word of God bears witness in this matter — any other testimony is of no value!”

IGNORANCE: “But is it not a good heart, which has good thoughts? And is it not a good life, which is according to God’s commandments?”

CHRISTIAN: “Yes, that is a good heart, which has good thoughts; and that is a good life, which is according to God’s commandments. But it is one thing, indeed, to have a good heart and life — and it is another thing only to think so.”

IGNORANCE: “Tell me please, what you think are good thoughts, and a life according to God’s commandments?”

CHRISTIAN: “There are good thoughts of many kinds — some respecting ourselves, some of God, some of Christ, and some of other things.”

IGNORANCE: “What are good thoughts respecting ourselves?”

CHRISTIAN: “Such as agree with the Word of God.”

IGNORANCE: “When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the Word of God?”

CHRISTIAN: “When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves, which the Word passes. To explain myself — the Word of God says of people in their natural condition, ‘There are none righteous, there are none who do good.’ It says also, that ‘every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually.’ And again, ‘The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’ Now then, when we think thus of ourselves — then our thoughts are good ones, because they are according to the Word of God.”

IGNORANCE: “I will never believe that my heart is that bad!”

CHRISTIAN: “Therefore you never had one good thought concerning yourself in all of your life! But let me go on. As the Word passes a judgment upon our heart — so it passes a judgment upon our ways. When our thoughts concerning our hearts and our ways agree with the judgment which the Word gives of both — then are both good, because they are in agreement with the Word of God.”

IGNORANCE: “Explain what you mean by this.”

CHRISTIAN: “Why, the Word of God says that man’s ways are crooked and perverse — and not good. It says that no one seeks God — but all have turned away from Him. Now, when a man sincerely thinks thus of his ways, and with heart humiliation — then his thoughts now agree with the judgment of the Word of God.”

IGNORANCE: “Further, what are good thoughts concerning God?”

CHRISTIAN: “Just as I have said concerning ourselves — when our thoughts of God agree with what the Word says of Him. That is, when we think of His being and attributes just as the Word teaches, of which I cannot presently discourse at length.

“To speak of Him with reference to ourselves — we have right thoughts of God, when we understand that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and can see sin in us when and where we can see no sin in ourselves. Also when we realize that He knows our inmost thoughts — and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open before His eyes. Also, when we think that all our righteousness is a stench in His nostrils — and that, therefore, He cannot endure to have us stand before Him in any self-confidence, even in all our best duties.”

IGNORANCE: “Do you think that I am such a fool as to imagine that God can see no further than I can — or, that I would come to God in the best of my duties?”

CHRISTIAN: “Well, what do you think concerning this matter?”

IGNORANCE: “Why, to be brief, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.”

CHRISTIAN: “How can you believe in Christ — when you do not see your need of Him? You neither see your original nor actual sins! You have such a high opinion of yourself, and of what you do — so that you never see the necessity of Christ’s personal righteousness to justify you before God. How, then, can you say that you believe in Christ?”

IGNORANCE: “My beliefs are fine — in spite of all that you have just said.”

CHRISTIAN: “What exactly then, do you believe?”

IGNORANCE: “I believe that Christ died for sinners — and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through His gracious acceptance of my obedience to His law. To state it another way, Christ makes my religious duties acceptable to His Father, by virtue of His merits — and so I shall be justified.”

CHRISTIAN: “Let me give an answer to your beliefs on this issue.

“First, you believe with an imaginary faith — for this kind of faith is nowhere described in the Word.

“Secondly, you believe with a false faith — because you trust that you are justified by your own righteousness, rather than the righteousness of Christ.

“Thirdly, your beliefs make Christ a justifier of your actions — but not of your person. You think that your person is justified for your action’s sake, which is false.

“Therefore, your faith is deceitful — even such as will leave you under divine wrath, in the day of Almighty God’s judgment. For true justifying faith causes the soul, being sensible of its lost condition by the law, to flee for refuge unto Christ’s righteousness. It is not that Christ graciously makes a person’s obedience acceptable to God — but true faith accepts Christ’s righteousness by His personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that law required at our hands. The soul, thus covered in Christ’s righteousness and presented as spotless before God — is accepted by God and acquitted from condemnation.”

IGNORANCE: “What! Would you have us trust to only what Christ, in His own person, has done for us? This belief would loosen the reins of our lusts, and allow us to live any sinful way we desire. For what would it matter how we live — if we believe that we are justified by Christ’s personal righteousness alone?”

CHRISTIAN: “Ignorance is your name — and as your name is, so you are! Your answer demonstrates what I say. You are ignorant of what justifying righteousness is — and just as ignorant how to secure your soul from the dreadful wrath of God, through Christ’s righteousness alone. Yes, you are also ignorant of the true effects of saving faith, such as — to submit the heart to God, to love His Name, His Word, His ways and His people — and not as you ignorantly imagine.”

Hopeful then joined in and asked, “Ignorance — has God ever revealed Christ to your heart?”

IGNORANCE: “What! You are a man for revelations! I think that what both of you, and all the rest of your kind say — is but the fruit of your disordered brains!”

HOPEFUL: “Why, Sir! Christ is so hidden from the natural understanding of men — that He cannot be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals Him to them.”

IGNORANCE: “That is your belief — but not mine! My beliefs are as good as yours — though I do not have so many foolish notions in my head as you do.”

CHRISTIAN: “Allow me to put in a word. You ought not to speak of this matter so lightly. I will boldly affirm, even as my good companion has done — that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father.

“Also, that faith by which a soul truly lays hold upon Christ, must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of God’s mighty power. Poor Ignorance, I perceive that you are ignorant of the working of this faith in your own soul. Be awakened then — see your own wretchedness and flee to the Lord Jesus! By His divine righteousness alone, can you be delivered from condemnation.”

IGNORANCE: “You go too fast — I cannot keep pace with you. Go ahead of me — I must stay behind for a while.”

Then they said,

“Well, Ignorance — will you yet foolish be,
To slight good counsel, ten times given thee?
And if you yet refuse it, you shall know,
Before long, the evil of your doing so.
Remember, man, in time, bow, do not fear,
Good counsel taken well, saves — therefore hear.
But if you yet shall slight it, you will be
The loser (Ignorance) I’ll warrant thee.”

Christian then addressed Hopeful: “Come, my good fellow, I see that you and I must walk by ourselves again.”

So I saw in my dream that they went on quickly — while Ignorance lagged behind.

Then Christian said to his companion, “I feel much pity for this poor man — it will certainly go badly with him at the last.”

HOPEFUL: “Alas! There are many in our town in his condition — whole families, yes, whole streets, and some claiming to be Pilgrims also. If there are so many in our parts, how many, do you think — must there be in the place where Ignorance was born?”

CHRISTIAN: “Indeed the Word says, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts — lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their hearts, and turn — and I would heal them.’ But now that we are by ourselves — what do you think of such men as Ignorance? Do you think that they ever have real convictions of sin — and subsequent fears that their state is dangerous?”

HOPEFUL: “Nay, I think that you should answer that question yourself, for you are older in experience.”

CHRISTIAN: “Then, I think that they may sometimes have convictions of sin; but being naturally ignorant, they do not understand that such convictions tend to their good. Therefore they desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts.”

HOPEFUL: “I do believe, as you say, that fear tends much to men’s good — to set them right at their beginning to go on pilgrimage.”

CHRISTIAN: “Without doubt it does — if it is right fear; for so says the Word, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'”

HOPEFUL: “How would you describe the right fear?”

CHRISTIAN: “True or right fear is manifested by three things:

“First. By its rise — it is caused by saving convictions for sin.

“Second. It drives the soul to lay fast hold on Christ for salvation.

“Third. It begets and continues in the soul a great reverence of God, His Word, and His ways — keeping the soul tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left — to anything that may dishonor God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully.”

HOPEFUL: “Well said! I believe you have explained the truth. Have we now almost gotten past the Enchanted Ground?”

CHRISTIAN: “Why, are you weary of this discourse?”

HOPEFUL: “No, truly — I would only like to know where we are.”

CHRISTIAN: “We have less than two miles further to go. So let us return to our discussion. Now the ignorant do not understand that such convictions which tend to put them in fear, are for their good — and therefore they seek to stifle them.”

HOPEFUL: “How do they seek to stifle them?”

So Christian explained,

“First, they think that those fears are wrought by the devil (though they are actually wrought by God); and, thinking so, they resist them as things which directly tend to their overthrow.

“Secondly, they also think that these fears tend to the destruction of their faith — when, alas for them, poor men that they are — they have no faith at all! So therefore they harden their hearts against them.

“Thirdly, they presume that they ought not to fear. Therefore, despite their fears — they increasingly become more presumptuous and self-confident.

“Finally, they see that those fears tend to take away their pathetic former self-righteousness, and therefore they resist them with all their might.”

HOPEFUL: “I know something of this myself — for, before I truly knew myself, it was the same with me.”

CHRISTIAN: “Well, let us now leave our neighbor Ignorance to himself, and talk about another profitable question.”

HOPEFUL: “With all my heart — and you shall begin.”

CHRISTIAN: “Well then, did you know, about ten years ago, one named Temporary in your parts — who was then a prominent man in religion?”

HOPEFUL: “Know him! Yes, he dwelt in Graceless — a town about two miles away from Honesty, and he lived next door to a person named Turnback.”

CHRISTIAN: “Yes, and he actually dwelt under the same roof with Turnback. Well, that man was once much awakened — I believe that he then had some sight of his sins, and of the wages which were due for them.”

HOPEFUL: “I agree, for my house, being less than three miles from his — he would often visit me with many tears. Truly, I pitied the man, and had some hope for him. But, as you know, not everyone who cries, ‘Lord, Lord!’ is saved.”

CHRISTIAN: “He once told me that he was resolved to go on pilgrimage, just as we are now doing. But all of a sudden he grew acquainted with one named Save-self — and then he became as a stranger to me.”

HOPEFUL: “Now, since we are talking about him — let us investigate into the reason of his sudden backsliding, and others like him.”

CHRISTIAN: “This may be very profitable — so please begin.”

HOPEFUL: “Well then, in my judgment there are four reasons for backsliding:

“First, though the consciences of such men are awakened — yet their minds are not changed. Therefore, when the power of guilt wears off — then that which caused them to become religious ceases, and they naturally turn to their own sinful course again. We see this illustrated in how a sick dog vomits what he has eaten, because it troubles his stomach. When his sickness is over, and his stomach is eased — the desire for what he has vomited returns and he licks it all up. And so that which is written is true, ‘The dog returns to its own vomit!’

“They initially are eager for Heaven — but only out of the fear of the torments of Hell. But when their sense of Hell, and their fears of damnation chill and cool — so their desires for Heaven and salvation cool also. It then comes to pass, that when their guilt and fear is gone — their desires for Heaven and its happiness die, and they return to their sinful course again.

“Another reason for backsliding, is that they have slavish fears which overmaster them. I speak now of the fears that they have of men — for ‘the fear of man brings a snare.’ Though they seem to be eager for Heaven, so long as the flames of Hell are about their ears — yet, when that terror diminishes, they begin to have second thoughts. They then think that it is wise not to run the hazard of losing all — or, at least, of bringing themselves into unavoidable and unnecessary troubles — and so they return to their worldly ways again.

“Another stumbling-block which lies in their way, is the shame which attends religion. They are proud and haughty — and religion is base and contemptible in their eyes. Therefore, when they have lost their sense of Hell and the wrath to come — they return again to their former sinful course.

“And finally, the feelings of guilt, and meditation on terrifying things — are grievous to them. They do not like to see their misery before they come into it; though perhaps, if they truly believed the sight of their coming misery — it might make them flee where the righteous flee and are safe. But, as I hinted before, because they shun even the thoughts of guilt and terror — when once they are rid of their awakenings about the terrors and wrath of God, they gladly harden their hearts, and choose such ways as will harden them more and more.”

CHRISTIAN: “You are pretty near the root of the issue — which is their lack of a true change of mind and will. They are therefore like the felon who quakes and trembles before the judge, and seems to repent most heartily; but the reason is his fear of the noose — not that he has any true remorse for his crime. This is evident, because, if you but let this man have his liberty — he will continue to be a thief and a rogue. Whereas, if his mind and heart were really changed, he would be far otherwise.”

HOPEFUL: “I have shown you my reasons for their going back to their sinful course. Now, please show me the path of their backsliding.”

CHRISTIAN: “So I will, gladly.

1. They purposely draw off their thoughts from any remembrance of God, death, and the judgment to come.

2. Then by degrees, they cast off private religious duties — such as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.

3. Then they shun the company of enthusiastic and fervent Christians.

4. After that, they grow cold in public religious duties — such as hearing the Word preached, reading the Word, godly fellowship, and the like.

5. Then they begin, as we say, to pick holes in the coats of some of the godly — trying to find some blemish in them. They do so devilishly — that they may have an excuse to throw religion behind their backs.

6. Then they begin to associate and join themselves with fleshly, immoral, and worldly men.

7. Then they give way to fleshly and immoral discourses in secret. They are glad if they can see such things in any who are reputed to be honest — for the example of these hypocrites emboldens them.

8. After this, they begin to openly play with little sins.

9. Being hardened, they then show themselves as they truly are.

“Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, they will everlastingly perish by their own deceptions — unless a miracle of grace prevents it.”

 

Part 26 Pilgrim’s Progress — The Enchanted Ground

December 10th, 2017

Part 26 — The Enchanted Ground by John Bunyan audio

The Enchanted Ground by John Bunyan read-along text

Then I saw in my dream, that they went on until they came to a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make travelers drowsy.

So Hopeful began to be very dull and sleepy, and said to Christian, “I am starting to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold my eyes open. Let us lay down here, and take a nap.”

enchanted

CHRISTIAN: “By no means — lest by sleeping, we never wake up again!”

HOPEFUL: “Why, my brother? Sleep is sweet to the laboring man — we may be refreshed if we take a nap.”

CHRISTIAN: “Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds warned us to beware of the Enchanted Ground? Therefore let us not sleep, as others do — but let us keep awake and watch.”

HOPEFUL: “I acknowledge my fault. Had I been here alone, I would have slept and been in danger of death. I see that what the wise man said is true: ‘Two are better than one.’ Your company been a mercy to me — and you shall have a good reward for your labor.”

“Now then,” Christian said, “to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us have a wholesome discussion.”

“With all my heart,” said Hopeful.

CHRISTIAN: “Where shall we begin?”

HOPEFUL: “Where God began with us. Please start.”

CHRISTIAN: “First I will sing this song to you:

When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,

And hear how these two Pilgrims talk together.

Yes, let them learn of them, in any wise,

Thus to keep open their drowsy, slumbering eyes.

Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,

Keeps them awake, and that in spite of Hell.”

Then Christian began, “I will ask you a question. How did you come at first, to think of going on this pilgrimage?”

HOPEFUL: “Do you mean, how did I first come to look after the good of my soul?”

CHRISTIAN: “Yes, that is my meaning.”

HOPEFUL: “I continued a great while in the delight of those vain things which were seen and sold at our fair. These things I now believe, had I continued in them still, would have drowned me in perdition and destruction!”

CHRISTIAN: “What things were they?”

HOPEFUL: “All the treasures and riches of the world. I also delighted much in carousing, drinking, swearing, lying, impurity, Sabbath-breaking, and what not — all of which lead to the destruction of the soul. But I found at last, by hearing and considering divine things, which I heard from you and beloved Faithful, (who was put to death for his faith and holy living in Vanity Fair) that the end of these things is death! And that for these things, the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience!”

CHRISTIAN: “Did you immediately fall under the power of this conviction?”

HOPEFUL: “No, I was not initially willing to know the evil of sin, nor the damnation which follows the commission of sin. Rather, when my mind at first began to be shaken with the Word, I endeavored to shut my eyes against its light.”

CHRISTIAN: “But what was the cause for your resistence to the first workings of God’s blessed Spirit upon you?”

HOPEFUL: “There were several causes:

“First, I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. I never thought that God begins the conversion of a sinner through convictions of sin.

“Secondly, sin was yet very sweet to my flesh — and I was reluctant to leave it.

“Thirdly, I could not tell how to part with my old companions — their presence and actions were so desirable to me.

“Finally, my convictions of sin were so troublesome and heart-affrighting — that I could not endure the thought of them in my heart.”

CHRISTIAN: “Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your convictions of sin?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes, truly — but they would come into my mind again, and then I would be as bad — nay, worse than I was before.”

CHRISTIAN: “Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?”

HOPEFUL: “Many things, such as,

1. If I did but meet a godly man in the streets; or,

2. If I heard anyone read in the Bible; or,

3. If my head began to ache; or,

4. If I was told that some of my neighbors were sick; or,

5. If I heard the death-bell toll for someone who had died; or,

6. If I thought of dying myself; or,

7. If I heard that another had died by sudden death.

8. But especially, when I thought of myself — that I must quickly come to judgment!”

CHRISTIAN: “And could you easily at any time, get off the guilt of sin — when, by any of these ways, conviction came upon you?”

HOPEFUL: “No, not I — for then they got a tighter hold on my conscience. And then, if I did but think of going back to sin — though my mind was turned against it — it would be double torment to me.”

CHRISTIAN: “And what did you do then?”

HOPEFUL: “I reckoned that I must endeavor to mend my life — for I thought that otherwise, I was sure to be damned.”

CHRISTIAN: “And did you ever attempt to mend your life?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes, and I fled not only from my sins — but from sinful company too. I also began religious duties — such as prayer, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbors, and so forth. These things I did, along with many others — too many to recount.”

CHRISTIAN: “And did you think yourself well then?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes, for a while — but eventually my troubling convictions came tumbling upon me again, in spite of all my reformations.”

CHRISTIAN: “How so, since you were now reformed?”

HOPEFUL: “There were several things which brought these convictions upon me, especially such sayings as these: ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ ‘By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.’ ‘When we have done everything we should — we are unworthy servants, doing but our duty’ — along with many more similar sayings. Hence I began to reason thus with myself: If ALL my righteousnesses are filthy rags — and if, by the deeds of the law, NO man can be justified — and if, when we have done ALL our duty, we are yet unprofitable servants — then it is but folly to think of gaining Heaven by keeping the law.

“I further thought thus: If a man runs a hundred dollars into debt to the shopkeeper, and from then on, he pays for everything that he purchases; yet, if his old debt still remains unpaid in the ledger book — the shopkeeper will sue him for that, and cast him into prison until he shall pay the full debt.”

CHRISTIAN: “So how did you apply this to yourself?”

HOPEFUL: “Why, I thought thus with myself: I have, by my sins, accumulated a great debt in God’s Book — and that my now reforming will not pay off that debt. Therefore even with all my present amendments — I would not be freed from that damnation which my former transgressions still deserved.”

CHRISTIAN: “A very good application — but please go on.”

HOPEFUL: “Another thing which troubled me, even since my recent amendments, is that if I look closely into the best of whatever I do — I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with my best deeds. So I am forced to conclude, that notwithstanding my former good opinion of myself and my duties, I have committed enough sin in one duty to send me to Hell — even if my former life had been faultless!”

CHRISTIAN: “And what did you do then?”

HOPEFUL: “Do! I did not know what to do, until I shared my thoughts with Faithful — for we were well acquainted. He told me that unless I could obtain the righteousness of a Man who never had sinned — that neither my own, nor all the righteousness of the world, could save me.”

CHRISTIAN: “And did you think he spoke the truth?”

HOPEFUL: “Had he told me this while I was yet pleased and satisfied with my own amendments — I would have called him a fool for his counsel. But now, since I see my own error, and the sin which cleaves to even my best performances — I was forced to embrace his opinion.”

CHRISTIAN: “But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you — that there was such a Man to be found, of whom it might justly be said, that He never committed any sin?”

HOPEFUL: “I must confess that his words did sound strange at first — but after a little more conversation with him, I was fully convinced.”

CHRISTIAN: “And did you ask Faithful who this Man was — and how you must be justified by Him?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, who dwells on the right hand of the Most High God. And thus he said that I must be justified by Him — even by trusting in what He Himself has done during His earthly life — and what He suffered when He hung on the tree.

“I asked him further — how that Man’s righteousness could be effectual to justify another before God? And he told me that He was the mighty God, and that both His life and His death, was not for Himself — but for me, to whom the worthiness of His doings would be imputed, if I believed on Him.”

CHRISTIAN: “And what did you do then?”

HOPEFUL: “I made objections against my believing — for I thought that He was not willing to save me.”

CHRISTIAN: “And what did Faithful say to you then?”

HOPEFUL: “He bid me to go to Him and see. And I told him that this would be presumption. But he said, ‘Not so — for I was invited to come.’ Then he gave me a Book of Jesus, in His own words, to encourage me to come the more freely. He also said, concerning that Book, that its every jot and tittle stood firmer than Heaven and earth.

Bunyan He said no for I was invited to come

“Then I asked Faithful what I must do when I go to Him. He told me that I must entreat the Father upon my knees and with all my heart and soul — to reveal the Lord Jesus to me.

“Then I asked him further, how I must make my petition to Him? And he said, ‘Go, and you shall find Him upon a mercy-seat, where He sits all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to those who come.’

“I told him that I did not know what to say when I go. And he bid me to say something to this effect: ‘God be merciful to me a sinner — and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ. For I see that if He had not provided His perfect righteousness, or if I have not faith in His righteousness — then I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that You are a merciful God, and have ordained that Your Son Jesus Christ should be the Savior of the world; and moreover, that you are willing to bestow Him upon such a poor sinner as I am — and I am a poor sinner indeed. Lord, be pleased to magnify Your grace in the salvation of my soul, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.'”

CHRISTIAN: “And did you do as you were bidden?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes — over, and over, and over.”

CHRISTIAN: “And did the Father reveal His Son to you?”

HOPEFUL: “Not at the first, nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth, nor the fifth — no, not even at the sixth time.”

CHRISTIAN: “What did you do then?”

HOPEFUL: “What! Why I could not tell what to do!”

CHRISTIAN: “Did you ever consider giving up praying?”

HOPEFUL: “Yes, a hundred times, twice over!”

CHRISTIAN: “And what was the reason why you did not?”

HOPEFUL: “I believed that what Faithful told me was true, namely, that without the righteousness of Christ — all the world could not save me. Therefore, I thought that if I cease praying, I would die — and I dare not die, except at the throne of grace. Then this thought came into my mind, ‘Though it seems slow in coming — wait patiently, for it will surely take place.’ So I continued praying until the Father revealed His Son to me.”

CHRISTIAN: “And how was He revealed unto you?”

HOPEFUL: “I did not see Him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of my understanding. It happened in this way: One day I was very sad, perhaps sadder than at any other time in my life. This sadness sprang from a fresh sight of the immensity and vileness of my sins. As I was then expecting nothing but Hell and the everlasting damnation of my soul — suddenly I thought I saw the Lord Jesus look down from Heaven upon me, and say, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ — and you shall be saved.’

“But I replied, ‘Lord, I am a dreadful sinner — a very dreadful sinner.’

“And He answered, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’

“Then I said, ‘but, Lord, what is believing?’

“And then I saw from that saying, ‘He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst’ — that believing and coming were one and the same; and that he who came, that is, he who ran out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ — he indeed believed in Christ.

“Then the water stood in my eyes, and I asked further: ‘But Lord, may such a vile sinner as I am — indeed be accepted by You, and be saved by You?’

“And I heard Him say, ‘Whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out.’

“Then I said, ‘But how Lord, in my coming to You, must I properly think of You — that my faith may be rightly placed upon You?’

“And He said, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ ‘He is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.’ ‘He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.’ ‘He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.’ ‘He is the mediator between God and men.’ ‘He ever lives to make intercession for us.’

“From all of this, I gathered that I must look for righteousness in His person, and for atonement for my sins by His blood. Also, that what He did in obedience to His Father’s law, and in submitting to its penalty, was not for Himself — but for the one who will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful.

“And now my heart was full of joy, my eyes were full of tears, and my affections were running over — with love to the name, ways and people of Jesus Christ.”

CHRISTIAN: “This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed! But tell me particularly, what effect this encounter had upon your spirit.”

HOPEFUL: “First, it made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all its boasted righteousness — is in a state of condemnation.

“Secondly, it made me see that God the Father is both just — and the Justifier of the one who believes in Jesus.

“Thirdly, it made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of my own ignorance; for I never had a thought in my heart before now, that so showed me the beauty of Jesus Christ.

“Lastly, it made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honor and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus. Yes, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body — I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”

 

Part 25 Pilgrim’s Progress — Atheist

December 9th, 2017

Part 25 — Atheist by John Bunyan audio

Atheist by John Bunyan read-along text

Now, after a while, they perceived afar off, one coming softly along the highway to meet them.

Then Christian said to his fellow, “Yonder is a man with his back toward the Celestial City, and he is coming to meet us.”

HOPEFUL: “I see him. Let us be careful now — lest he should prove to be a flatterer also.”

So the man drew nearer and nearer, and at last came up to them. His name was Atheist, and he asked them where they were going.

CHRISTIAN: “We are going to the Celestial City.”

Then Atheist burst into laughter.

Bunyan Then Atheist fell into a very great laughter

CHRISTIAN: “What is the meaning of your laughter?”

ATHEIST: “I laugh because I see what ignorant people you are — to take so tedious a journey, and yet are likely to gain nothing for your travel but pains.”

CHRISTIAN: “Why do you think we shall not be received?”

ATHEIST: “Received! There is no such place as you dream of in all this world!”

CHRISTIAN: “That is true — but there is in the world to come.”

ATHEIST: “When I was at home in my own country, I heard of that place which you speak of. So I went out to find it — and have been seeking this City for these past twenty years; but I have not found it in all this time!”

CHRISTIAN: “We have both heard and believe that there is such a place to be found!”

ATHEIST: “Had not I, when at home, also believed — I would not have come thus far to seek it. If there had been such a place, I would have surely found it by now — for I have gone much further than you. So not finding it, I am going back home again, and will seek the pleasures which I had then cast away — for the vain hope of a world to come.”

Then Christian said to Hopeful, “Do you think that what this man has said is true?”

HOPEFUL: “Take heed — he is one of the flatterers! Remember what it has cost us once already for our hearkening to such a fellow. What! No Celestial City? Did we not see, from the Delectable Mountains, the gate of the City? Also, we are now to walk by faith. Let us go on, lest the man with the whip overtake us again.

“You should have taught me that lesson, which I will now remind you of: ‘Do not listen to any advice which would lead you to stray from the words of knowledge.’ I say, my brother — do not listen to him — but let us believe to the saving of our souls!”

CHRISTIAN: “My brother, I did not ask the question of you, because I doubted the truth myself — but to test you, and to hear your heartfelt response. As for this man, I know that he is blinded by the god of this world. Let us go on, knowing that we believe the truth, and that no lie is of the truth.”

HOPEFUL: “Now I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God!”

So they turned away from the man — and he, laughing at them, went on his way back home.

 

Part 24 Pilgrim’s Progress — The Flatterer

December 8th, 2017

Part 24 — The Flatterer by John Bunyan audio

The Flatterer by John Bunyan read-along text

So the Pilgrims went on, and Ignorance followed. They came to a path which seemed to go as straight as the way which they were on — and hence they did not know which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them. Therefore, they stood still to consider.

As they were thinking about the way, behold a black man clothed with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they were standing there. They answered that they were going to the Celestial City — but did not know which of these ways to take.

“Follow me,” the man said, “I am going there also.”

So they followed him into the adjoining way, which slowly by degrees turned them away from the Celestial City — so that, in a little time, their faces were completely turned away from it; yet they continued to follow him. By and by, before they were aware, he led them into a net, in which they were both so entangled, that they did not know what to do. With that, the white robe fell off the black man’s back. Then they saw where they were. There they lay crying for some time, for they could not extricate themselves from the net.

Then Christian said to his fellow, “Now I see my error. Did not the Shepherds bid us to beware of the Flatterer? As is the saying of the wise man — so we have found it this day: ‘Whoever flatters his neighbor, is spreading a net for his feet!'”

HOPEFUL: “They also gave us a note with directions so that we could surely find the way — but we forgot to read it, and have wandered into the paths of the destroyer. Here David was wiser than we; for he said, ‘By the word of Your lips, I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer.'”

Thus they lay in the net, bewailing themselves. At last they sighted a Shining One coming towards them, with a whip of small cords in his hand. When he arrived at the place where they were, he asked them where they came from, and what they were doing there.

christianreleasedfromthenet

They told him that they were poor Pilgrims going to the Celestial City — but were led out of their way by a black man who was clothed in white, who bid them to follow him, for he was going there also.

net2

Then the Shining One replied, “That was the Flatterer! He is a false apostle, who transforms himself into an angel of light.”

net

So he cut the net, and freed the Pilgrims. Then he said to them, “Follow me, so that I may place you in the right path again.”

So he led them back to the way which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, “Where did you stay last night?”

They answered, “With the Shepherds, upon the Delectable Mountains.”

He then asked if the Shepherds had given them a note with directions for the way.

“Yes,” they responded.

“Did you not read your note?” he questioned.

“No,” they replied.

“And why not?” He asked them.

They answered that they had forgotten.

He asked, moreover, if the Shepherds told them to beware of the Flatterer.

“Yes,” they explained, “but we did not imagine that he was this fine-spoken man.”

Then I saw in my dream, that he commanded the Pilgrims to lie down. Having done this, he grievously chastised them, to teach them the good way in which they should walk. As he chastised them, he declared, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent.”

This done, he bid them to go on their way, and to pay close attention to the other directions which the Shepherds had given them. So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went carefully along the right way, singing:

“Come here, you who walk along the way;
See how Pilgrims fare, who go astray!
They are catched in an entangling net,
Cause they good counsel, did forget.
‘Tis true, they were rescued — but yet you see,
They’re scourged to boot—let this your caution be.”

 

Part 23 Pilgrim’s Progress — Ignorance

December 8th, 2017

Part 23 — Ignorance by John Bunyan audio

Ignorance by John Bunyan read-along text

Then I slept, and dreamed again. I saw the same two Pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the Celestial City. Now, a little below these mountains, on the left hand, lies the country of Conceit. From this country a little crooked lane enters the narrow way in which the Pilgrims were walking. Here they met with a very boisterous lad named Ignorance, who came out of that country. So Christian asked him where he came from — and where he was going.

Bunyan Ignorance

IGNORANCE: “Sir, I was born in the country which lies yonder, a little on the left hand — and I am going to the Celestial City.”

CHRISTIAN: “You may find some difficulty there. How do you suppose that you will enter the gate of the Celestial City?”

IGNORANCE: “Just as other good people do.”

CHRISTIAN: “But what have you to show at that gate, which will allow you to enter there?”

IGNORANCE: “I know my Lord’s will, and have lived a good life. I pay every man his due. I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms. Also, I have left my country for the very purpose of going there.”

CHRISTIAN: “But you did not come in at the narrow-gate at the head of this way. You came into the way through that crooked lane. Therefore, I fear, however you may think of yourself — when the reckoning day shall come — that you will be charged with being a thief and a robber, rather than being admitted into the city.”

IGNORANCE: “Gentlemen, I do not know you, for you are utter strangers to me. You be content to follow the religion of your country — and I will follow the religion of mine. I trust that all will be well for each of us. And as for the narrow gate which you speak of — all the world knows that it is a great way off from our country. I do not think that any of my countrymen even know the way to it. Nor does it matter whether they do or not — since we have, as you see, a fine pleasant green lane, which comes down from our country into the way.”

When Christian saw that the man was wise in his own eyes, he whispered to Hopeful, “There is more hope for a fool, than for him! Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and demonstrates how foolish he is. Shall we talk with him more — or leave him to think about what he has already heard, and then afterwards see if we can help him any further?”

Then Hopeful answered,

“Let Ignorance a little while now muse,
On what is said, and let him not refuse
Good counsel to embrace, lest he remain,
Still ignorant of what’s the chief gain.
God says, those who no understanding have,
Although He made them — them He will not save.”

Hopeful further added, “I do not think that it is good to tell him everything at once. Let us pass him by and talk with him later — as he is able to bear it.”

So the two Pilgrims went on, and Ignorance followed after them.

When they had traveled a little way, they entered into a very dark lane, where they met a man whom seven devils had bound with seven strong cords, and were carrying him back to the door which they had seen on the side of the hill. Now good Christian began to tremble — and so did his companion Hopeful! As the devils carried the man away, Christian looked to see if he knew him — and he thought it might be Turn-away, who dwelt in the town of Apostasy. But he did not see his face perfectly, for the man hung his head like a thief who has been caught.

Bunyan A man whom seven devils had bound

Once passed them, Hopeful looked at the man, and spotted a placard on his back with this inscription, “Debauched professor, and damnable apostate!”

Then Christian said to Hopeful, “Now I remember what was told to me about something which happened to a good man named Little-faith who dwelt in the town of Sincere. As Little-faith entered this dark passage, there came down from Broad-way Gate, an alley called Dead Man’s Lane — so called because of the many murders done there. This Little-faith, going on pilgrimage, just as we are, happened to sit down there, and fell asleep. Just at that time, three sturdy rogues, who were brothers, came down the lane from Broad-way Gate. Their names were Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt. Spotting Little-faith asleep, they quickly ran up to him.

“Now Little-faith was just awakening from his sleep, and was about to resume his journey. So the rogues came up to him, and with threatening language ordered him to stand still. At this, Little-faith turned as white as a sheet, and had neither power to fight nor flee.

bid-him-stand

“Then Faint-heart demanded, ‘Hand over your purse!’

“But Little-faith did not do it — for he was reluctant to lose his money. Mistrust therefore ran up to him, and thrusting his hand into his pocket, pulled out a bag of silver.

“Then Little-faith cried out, ‘Thieves! Thieves!’

“With that, Guilt, with the large club in his hand, struck Little-faith on the head, knocking him flat to the ground! There he lay bleeding, as though he would bleed to death.

little faith3

“All this while the thieves stood nearby. But hearing someone on the road, and fearing that it might be a man called Great-grace, who dwells in the city of Good-confidence — they fled and left Little-faith to fend for himself. Then, after a while, Little-faith revived, and getting up, attempted to continue on his way.”

HOPEFUL: “Did they take all of Little-faith’s money?”

CHRISTIAN: “No, they did not find the place where he kept his jewels — so those he still retained. But, as I was told, Little-faith was much afflicted by his loss, for the thieves got most of his spending-money. That which they did not get, were his jewels, and a little spare money — but these were scarcely enough to sustain him to his journey’s end. Nay, if I am not misinformed, he was forced to beg as he went, just to keep himself alive — for he would not sell his jewels. But begging, and doing whatever he could, he traveled with a hungry belly the rest of the way.”

HOPEFUL: “It is a wonder that they did not get his certificate from him — by which he would receive admittance at the Celestial Gate.”

CHRISTIAN: “Yes, it is a wonder — though they did not get it through any cleverness on his part. For he, being bewildered by their coming upon him so quickly — had neither power nor skill to hide anything. So it was more by good Providence, than by any wise endeavor on his part — that they did not rob him of his certificate.”

HOPEFUL: “But it must be a comfort to him, that they did not get his jewels.”

CHRISTIAN: “It might have been great comfort to him, had he used his jewels as he should have. Those who told me the story, said that he made but little use of them because he was so discouraged from being robbed of his money. Indeed, he forgot about his jewels for a great part of the rest of his journey. Whenever they came to his mind, and he began to be comforted with them — then fresh thoughts of his loss would again come upon him, and those thoughts would swallow up all comfort.”

HOPEFUL: “Alas! poor man. This must have been a great grief to him.”

CHRISTIAN: “Grief! Yes, a grief indeed. It would have been so to any of us — had we been robbed and wounded as he was — and that in a strange place! It is a wonder that he did not die from grief, poor heart! I was told that he traveled almost all the rest of the way with nothing but doleful and bitter complaints — telling to all who overtook him, or whom he overtook as he journeyed — where and how he was robbed; who they were that did it; what he lost; how he was wounded; and that he hardly escaped with his life!”

HOPEFUL: “But it is a wonder that his necessity did not make him sell or pawn some of his jewels — that he might have something to sustain him along his journey.”

CHRISTIAN: “You are talking childishly; for what could he pawn them for, or to whom could he sell them? In all that country where he was robbed, his jewels were not considered valuable; nor did he desire that kind of help which that country would offer. Besides, had his jewels been missing at the gate of the Celestial City, he knew that he would be excluded from an inheritance there — and that would have been worse to him than the villainy of ten thousand thieves!”

HOPEFUL: “Why are you so short with me, my brother? Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew — and that birthright was his greatest jewel. If he could do this — then why might not Little-faith also?”

CHRISTIAN: “Esau indeed sold his birthright, and so do many others besides — but by doing so, they exclude themselves from their chief blessing, as despicable Esau did. There are differences between Esau and Little-faith, and also between their conditions. Esau’s belly was his god — but not so with Little-faith. Esau’s desire was his fleshly appetite — but not so with Little-faith. Besides, Esau could see no further than the fulfilling of his lusts, and said, ‘Behold, I am at the point of death — what good can this birthright be to me?’ But Little-faith, though it was his lot to have but a little faith — was by his little faith kept from Esau’s base behavior. He prized his jewels, and would not consider selling them.

“You nowhere read that Esau had faith — no, not so much as a little. As he was controlled by his fleshly appetites, and had no faith to resist — it is no wonder that he sold his birthright, and his soul and all, and that to the devil of Hell. Like a wild donkey in heat, when people like Esau have their minds set upon their lusts — they are determined to have them whatever the cost.

But Little-faith was of another temperament — his mind was on divine things; his desire was for things that were spiritual, and from above. Even if there had been any who would have bought his jewels — he had no desire to sell them — only to fill his mind with trifles. Would a man give a penny — to fill his belly with hay? Could you persuade the turtle-dove — to live upon carrion like the crow? Though faithless ones can, for carnal lusts, pawn or sell what they have, and themselves to boot — yet those who have faith, saving faith, though but a little of it, cannot do so. Here, therefore, my brother, is your mistake.”

HOPEFUL: “I acknowledge it — but yet your severe admonition almost made me angry.”

CHRISTIAN: “If we only consider the matter under debate — then all shall be well between you and me.”

HOPEFUL: “But, Christian, I am persuaded in my heart that these three rogues who attacked Little-faith were but a company of cowards — for they ran away merely at the sound of someone coming on the road. Why did Little-faith not have more courage? I think he might have withstood one skirmish — and only have yielded when he could no longer resist them.”

CHRISTIAN: “Though many have said that these three rouges are cowards — few have been willing to actually resist them. As for courage, Little-faith had none; and I perceive that you, my brother, if you had been the man concerned — you think that you could have withstood a skirmish before yielding. And since this is the height of your courage, now that they are at a distance from us — should they appear to you now as they did to him then, you might have second thoughts!

“Consider again, they are but amateur thieves who serve under the king of the bottomless pit, whose voice is like that of a roaring lion — who will himself come to their aid, if need be.

“I myself have been assaulted just as Little-faith was — and I found it to be a terrible thing! These three villains assailed me, and as a Christian, I began to resist them. But they called out — and in came their evil master. I would, as the saying goes, have given my life for a penny — but as God would have it, I was clothed with armor. Yet, though I was so well arrayed, I found it hard work to stand firm and be courageous. No man can tell how strenuous that combat is — except he who has been in the battle himself.”

HOPEFUL: “Well, but they ran, you see — when they thought that Great-grace was coming.”

CHRISTIAN: “True, they have often fled, both they and their master, when Great-grace has but appeared — and no wonder, for he is the King’s Champion. But I trust that you will see some difference between Little-faith and the King’s Champion. All the King’s subjects are not His champions — nor can they, when tried, do such feats of war as Great-grace. Is it reasonable to think that a little child could handle Goliath, as David did — or that there should be the strength of an ox, in a bird? Some are strong — some are weak; some have great faith — some have little faith. Little-faith was one of the weak — and therefore he fared so poorly.”

HOPEFUL: “I wish it had been Great-grace, for their sakes.”

CHRISTIAN: “If it had been, he might have had his hands full; for I must tell you, that though Great-grace is excellent at his weapons, and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at sword’s point — do well enough with them; yet, if Faint-heart, Mistrust, or Guilt get within his heart — they will be able to throw him down. And when a man is down — what can he do?

“Whoever looks closely upon Great-grace’s face, shall see those scars and cuts there — which demonstrates what I am saying. Yes, I once heard that he would say, when he was in combat, ‘We despaired even of life!’

“How these sturdy rogues and their fellows made David groan and mourn! Yes, Heman and Hezekiah also, though champions in their day — were assaulted by these three rogues. Yet, notwithstanding, they had their coats soiled and torn by them. Peter also, whom some say that he is the prince of the apostles — thought that he could stand fast. But these rogues so handled him — that they even made him afraid of a poor maiden.

“Besides, their evil king is at their beck and call. When they whistle for him, he is never out of hearing. And if at any time they are being defeated, he will come in to help them. He esteems iron as straw — and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee — and he turns sling stones into chaff. He counts darts as stubble — and he laughs at the shaking of a spear! What can a Pilgrim do in this case?

“But for such footmen as you and I are — let us never desire to meet with an enemy. Nor let us boast as if we could do better, when we hear of others who have been foiled; nor let us be proud of our own strength — for such overconfident fellows are commonly overcome when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I just mentioned. He would boast — yes, his vain mind prompted him to say that though all denied his Master, that he never would. But who has ever been so foiled by these villains, as Peter?

“When, therefore, we hear that such robberies are done on the King’s highway, there are two things that we should do:

“First, to go out with our armor on — and to be sure to take our shield with us. It is for lack of this, that many Pilgrims are foiled. Only the shield of faith can quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. If that is lacking, the wicked one does not fear us at all.

“Secondly, it is good, also, that we ask the King for a guide as we journey — yes, that He Himself would go with us. This made David rejoice when in the Valley of the Shadow of Death — and Moses would rather die where he stood, rather than to go one step without God. O my brother, if He will but go with us — then we will not be afraid of tens of thousands who set themselves against us. But, without Him, we will only stumble along, or lie among the dead.

“Previously I myself have been in the fray — and through the mercy of our good Master, I am still alive. Yet I cannot boast of having any courage. I would be glad to meet with no further attacks — though, I fear, we have not gotten beyond all danger. However, since the lion and the bear have not as yet devoured us — I trust God will also deliver us from the next uncircumcised Philistine.”

Then Christian sang:

“Poor Little-faith has been among the thieves,
Was robbed — remember this; whosoever believes
And gets more faith, shall then a victor be
Over ten thousand — otherwise not even three.”

 

Part 22 Pilgrim’s Progress — The Delectable Mountains

December 6th, 2017

Part 22 — The Delectable Mountains by John Bunyan audio

The Delectable Mountains by John Bunyan read-along text

Christian and Hopeful then went on until they came to the Delectable Mountains, which belong to the Lord of that hill of which we have spoken of before. So they went up to the mountains to behold the gardens, the orchards, the vineyards and the fountains of water. There they also washed themselves — and freely drank and ate from the vineyards.

Now on the tops of these mountains, there were shepherds feeding their flocks while they stood by the highway side. The Pilgrims therefore went to them, and leaning upon their staffs — as is common with weary Pilgrims, when they stand to talk with any along the way — they asked, “Whose Delectable Mountains are these? And whose are these sheep which feed upon them?”

delectible mountains H. Melville

SHEPHERDS: “These mountains are Immanuel’s Land, and they are within sight of His City. The sheep are His also — for He laid down His life for them.”

delectible mountain

CHRISTIAN: “Is this the way to the Celestial City?”

SHEPHERDS: “Yes, this is the right way.”

CHRISTIAN: “How far is it to the City?”

SHEPHERDS: “Too far for any — except for those who shall get there indeed.”

CHRISTIAN: “Is the way safe or dangerous?”

SHEPHERDS: “The way is safe for those for whom it is meant to be safe. The righteous walk in it — but transgressors stumble in it.”

CHRISTIAN: “Is there any relief in this place, for Pilgrims who are weary and faint?”

SHEPHERDS: “The Lord of these mountains has given us a charge to show hospitality to strangers — therefore the refreshment of the place is available for your welfare.”

Thomas Stothard shepherds

I saw also in my dream, that when the Shepherds perceived that they were Pilgrims, they questioned them, “Where did you come from? How did you get into the way? By what means have you persevered in the narrow way — for few of those who begin to come here, ever show their face on these mountains.” To all these questions, the Pilgrims answered as they had done previously.

When the Shepherds heard their answers — they were pleased and looked very lovingly upon them. They exclaimed, “Welcome to the Delectable Mountains!”

shepherds

The Shepherds, whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere — took them by the hand, brought them to their tents, and bid them to partake of a meal which had been prepared.

They said, moreover, “We desire that you should stay here a while, to become acquainted with us — and also to refresh yourselves with the good things of these Delectable Mountains.”

Then the Pilgrims told the Shepherds that they were content to stay. So they went to their rest that night, because it was very late.

Then I saw in my dream, that in the morning the Shepherds called Christian and Hopeful to walk with them upon the mountains. So they went forth with them, and walked a while, having a pleasant view on every side.

delectible mountain2

Then the Shepherds said to one another, “Shall we show these Pilgrims some wonders?”

When they concluded to do so, they first took them to the top of the Hill Error, which was very steep on the furthest side — and bid the Pilgrims to look down to the bottom. So Christian and Hopeful looked down, and saw at the bottom, several men who had been dashed to pieces — having fallen from the top of the hill.

hill of error

Then Christian asked, “What does this mean?”

hill error

The Shepherds responded, “Have you not heard of those who erred by hearkening to Hymeneus and Philetus — as concerning the belief of the resurrection of the body?”

“Yes,” they replied.

Then the Shepherds explained, “These are who you see dashed in pieces at the bottom of this mountain. They have continued to this day unburied, as you see, for an example to others to take heed not to come too near to the brink of Hill Error.”

Then I saw that the Shepherds brought them to the top of another mountain, named Caution — and entreated them to look afar off. When they looked, they observed what they thought were several men walking up and down among the tombs that were there. They perceived that the men were blind, because they stumbled upon the tombstones, and could not find their way out from among them.

blind men in tombs

Then Christian questioned, “What does this mean?”

The Shepherds then explained, “Did you not see that a little below these mountains, there was a stile which led into a meadow, on the left hand of the way?”

“Yes,” the Pilgrims replied.

The Shepherds then continued, “From that stile leads a path which goes directly to Doubting Castle — which is kept by Giant Despair. These blind men among the tombs were once on pilgrimage — just as you are now. When they came to that stile — because the right way was rough — they chose to go out of it, and into that meadow. They were then captured by Giant Despair, and cast into Doubting Castle.

“After they had been kept a while in the Giant’s dungeon, he gouged out their eyes, and led them among those tombs, where he has left them to wander to this very day. So the saying of the wise man is fulfilled, ‘Whoever strays out of the way of wisdom, shall remain in the congregation of the dead!'”

Then Christian and Hopeful looked upon one another with tears gushing out — yet they said nothing to the Shepherds.

Then I saw in my dream, that the Shepherds led them to another place, where there was a door in the side of a hill. They opened the door, and bid the Pilgrims to look in. Peering in, they saw that it was very dark and smoky. They also thought that they heard a rumbling noise as of fire, and a cry of some who were tormented, and that they smelled the scent of brimstone.

“What does this mean?” Christian inquired.

The Shepherds told them, “This is a Byway to Hell — a way that hypocrites go. Namely, such as sell their birthright — with Esau. And such as sell their master — with Judas. And such as blaspheme the Gospel — with Alexander. And such as lie and deceive — with Ananias and his wife Sapphira.”

Then Hopeful questioned the Shepherds, “I perceive that all of these once had a reputation as being Pilgrims, just as we do — had they not?”

SHEPHERDS: “Yes, and some held to it for a long time, too.”

HOPEFUL: “How far they went on in pilgrimage — yet notwithstanding, they were thus miserably cast away!”

SHEPHERDS: “Some not so far as these mountains — and some went further.”

Then the Pilgrims said to each another, “We had need to cry to the Strong One for strength!”

SHEPHERDS: “Yes, and you will also have need to use that strength, when you have it.”

By this time the Pilgrims desired to resume their journey, and the Shepherds agreed. So they walked together towards the end of the mountains.

The Shepherds then said to each other, “Let us here show the Pilgrims the gates of the Celestial City — if they have skill to look through our special telescope.”

telescope shepherds bartuoft

The Pilgrims cordially agreed — and were taken to the top of a high hill, called Clear, and were given the telescope. When they attempted to look — the remembrance of that last thing that the Shepherds had shown them, made their hands shake. With this impediment, they could not look steadily through the telescope. Yet they thought they saw something like the gate of the City, and also some of the glory of that place.

Then they went away, and sang this song:

“Thus, by the Shepherds, secrets are revealed,
Which from all other men are kept concealed.
Come to the Shepherds, then, if you would see,
Things deep, things hid, and that mysterious be.”

When they were about to depart, one of the Shepherds gave them a note with directions for the way. Another warned them to beware of the Flatterer. The third bid them to take heed that they do not sleep upon the Enchanted Ground. And the fourth Shepherd bid them Godspeed.

So I awoke from my dream.

 

Part 21 Pilgrim’s Progress — Doubting Castle

December 5th, 2017

Part 21 — Doubting Castle by John Bunyan audio

Doubting Castle by John Bunyan read-along text

Not far from the place where they slept — there was a castle called Doubting Castle — whose owner was Giant Despair. It was on his grounds that the Pilgrims were now sleeping.

giant despair

Giant Despair, getting up early in the morning, and walking up and down in his fields — caught Christian and Hopeful asleep on his grounds. Then, with a grim and surly voice, he ordered them to awake. He asked them where they came from — and what they were doing on his grounds.

giant despair Dowland

They told him that they were Pilgrims, and that they had lost their way.

giant despair by David Scott

Henry Justice Ford giant despair

Then the Giant declared, “You are trespassing on my grounds — and therefore you must come along with me!”

giantdespair1

So they were forced to go with him, because he was stronger than they. The Pilgrims had but little to say, for they knew themselves to be at fault. The Giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into a very dark, nasty and stinking dungeon of his castle.

giant despair William Bell Scott

Here then they lay from Wednesday morning until Saturday night — without one bit of bread, or drop of water, or light, or anyone to help them. Therefore they were in a dreadful state — being far from friends and assistance.

Xian and Hopeful in Prison

Now in this place Christian had a double sorrow — for it was through his ill-advised counsel that they were brought into this distress.

Comptons-Pictured-Encyclopedia-Vol-02-BRO-EDI-P1_Picture9

Now, Giant Despair had a wife whose name was Diffidence. When he had gone to bed, he told his wife what he had done — namely, that he had taken a couple of prisoners, and cast them into his dungeon for trespassing on his grounds. He also asked her what he should further do to them.

So she asked him who they were, where they came from, and where they were going — and he told her. Then she counseled him that when he awoke in the morning, he should beat them without mercy.

Giant Despair Beats.Them.Fearfully

So, when he arose in the morning, he took a large crab-tree cudgel, and went down into the dungeon to them. He began to berate them as if they were dogs — even though they never gave him any reason for doing so.

giant despair2

Then he fell upon them, and beat them mercilessly with the cudgel — and in such a way that they were not able to defend themselves or escape the Giant’s clutches.

giant despair3

This done, he withdrew and left them there to commiserate their wretchedness, and to mourn over their distress. So all that day they spent the time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations.

sad-and-doleful-condition

The next night, Diffidence, talking further with her husband about the Pilgrims, and finding out that they were still alive — told him to advise them to kill themselves.

So when morning came, he went to them in the same surly manner as before. Perceiving them to be in much pain because of the beating that he had given them the day before — he told them that since they were never going to get out of that dungeon — the best thing for them would be to kill themselves — either with knife, noose or poison. “For why,” he questioned, “should you choose life — seeing it is attended with so much bitterness?”

giant despair5

But the Pilgrims begged him to let them go. With that, he looked harshly at them. Rushing upon them, he would have doubtless made an end of them — except that he fell into one of his fits — for he sometimes fell into fits in sunshiny weather, and lost the use of his hands for a time. Therefore he withdrew, and left them to consider what they would do. Then the prisoners discussed whether it was best to take his counsel or not; and thus they began to discourse:

CHRISTIAN: “Brother, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable. For my part, I do not know what is best — to live like this, or to kill ourselves. The grave seems better to me than living in this dungeon — only to be oppressed by this Giant!”

HOPEFUL: “Indeed, our present condition is dreadful — and death would be far more welcome to me than to live like this forever! Yet let us consider that the Lord of the country to which we are going has said, ‘You shall not murder.’ We are not to take another man’s life — much more, then, are we forbidden to take the Giant’s counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he who kills another, can but commit murder upon his body. But for one to commit suicide, is to kill both body and soul at once! Moreover, my brother, you talk of ease in the grave — but have you forgotten that there is a Hell where all murderers go? For no murderer has eternal life!

“And let us consider, again, that all circumstances are not in the hand of Giant Despair. Others, so far as I understand, have been captured by him, as well as we — yet they have escaped out of his clutches. Who knows, but that the God who made the world — may cause Giant Despair to die? Or that, at some time or other, he may forget to lock us in? Or that he may have another one of his fits when he is with us, and may lose the use of his limbs? If that ever happens, I am resolved to take courage, and try my utmost to escape his grasp. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before. However, my brother, let us be patient, and endure for a while. The time may come in which we may be released — but let us not be our own murderers!”

With these words, Hopeful pacified the mind of his brother. So they continued together in their sad and doleful condition.

giant despair_by_Byam_Shaw

Now, towards evening, the Giant went down into the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his advice — but when he arrived there, he found them still living. Yet they were barely alive, for they lacked bread and water. Because of the wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little more than breathe. Seeing that they were still alive — Giant Despair fell into a furious rage. He told them, that since they had not taken his advice, it would now be worse with them than if they had never been born. With that, he departed.

At this they trembled greatly, and Christian fell into a swoon. Upon reviving, they renewed their discussion about the Giant’s advice — and whether or not it was best to follow it. Once again, Christian seemed to favor suicide.

Hopeful then responded: “My brother, remember how valiant you have been up to this time! Apollyon could not crush you — nor could all that you heard, or saw, or experienced in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship and terror you have already gone through — but now are you so fearful?

“You see that I — a far weaker man by nature than yourself — am in this dungeon with you. The Giant has wounded me as well as you — and has also cut off my bread and water — and with you I mourn in this dark dungeon. Let us exercise a little more patience. Remember how courageous you were at Vanity Fair, and were neither afraid of the fetters, nor the cage, nor of a bloody death. Therefore let us bear up with patience as well as we can — for suicide is shameful, and unfitting for a Christian.”

Now, night having come, and the Giant and his wife being in bed — she asked him if the prisoners had taken his counsel. To which he replied, “They are sturdy rogues — and choose rather to bear all hardship, than to kill themselves.”

So she then said, “Take them into the castle-yard tomorrow, and show them the bones and the skulls of those whom you have already put an end to. Make them believe, that before the end of the week — you will also tear them in pieces, as you have done to the others.”

So when the morning came, the Giant went to the Pilgrims and took them into the castle-yard — just as his wife had bidden him.

giant despair The.Castle.Yard

“These,” he boasted, “were once Pilgrims as you are. They trespassed on my grounds, just as you have done — and when I saw fit, I tore them in pieces. In the same way, within ten days, I will do so to you! Now go down to your den again!”

With that, he beat them all the way back to the den. Christian and Hopeful lay, therefore, all day in the same lamentable state.

giant_despair_beats_the_pilgrims_by_John Dawson Watson

Now night had come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband, the Giant, went to bed — they began to renew their discourse about the prisoners. The old Giant wondered why he could neither, by his blows nor by his counsel, bring them to an end.

giant-despair

And with that his wife reasoned, “I fear that they live in hope that someone will come to rescue them — or that they have picklocks with them, by which they hope to escape.”

“Do you think so, my dear?” responded the Giant, “I will, therefore, search them in the morning.”

Now, about midnight, the Pilgrims began to pray — and continued in prayer until almost the break of day. Then Christian, half-bewildered, broke out in this passionate speech: “What a fool I have been, to thus lie in this stinking dungeon — when I could have been free! I have a key called Promise in my bosom — which I am persuaded will open any lock in Doubting Castle!”

Hopeful replied, “That is good news, my brother — pluck it out of your bosom, and try it!”

Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and tried to unlock the dungeon door. As he turned the key, the bolt drew back and the door flew open! Christian and Hopeful quickly came out of the dungeon, and went to the outer door which led into the castle-yard. Using his key, Christian was able to open that door also.

escape doubting castle

Next they went to the iron gate of the castle — which also needed to be unlocked. Though this lock was very difficult to turn — yet the key finally opened it. Then they pushed the gate open to make a quick escape — but the gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it awakened Giant Despair. Hastily rising to pursue his prisoners — the Giant fell into one of his fits, and felt his limbs fail him, so that he was unable to go after them.

doubting castle Escape.with.Speed

escaping giant despair

Then the Pilgrims found their way back to the King’s highway — and so were safe — being out of Giant Despair’s jurisdiction.

Now, when they had gone back over the stile, they began to discuss what they should do to prevent others who would come after them, from falling into the hands of Giant Despair.

So they agreed to erect a pillar there — and to engrave this warning upon it: “Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair — who despises the King of the Celestial Country, and seeks to destroy His holy Pilgrims!”

This being done, they sang:

“Out of the way we went, and then we found
What ’twas to tread upon forbidden ground;
And let them who come after have a care,
Lest heedlessness makes them, as we, to fare.
Lest they for trespassing his prisoners are,
Whose castle’s Doubting, and whose name’s Despair.”

Many, therefore, who later came to that place, read the warning and escaped the danger.

 

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