Trivium Pursuit

Part 11 Pilgrim’s Progress — Timorous and Mistrust

Part 11 — Timorous and Mistrust by John Bunyan audio

Timorous and Mistrust by John Bunyan read-along text

Now, when he reached the top of the hill, two men came running to meet him — the name of one was Timorous, and the other Mistrust.

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Christian inquired of them, “Sirs, what is the matter? You are running the wrong way.”

Timorous answered, “We were going to the Celestial City, but, the further we go, the more dangers we meet with. Therefore we have turned around, and are going back.”

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Timorous

“Yes,” said Mistrust, “for there were lions just ahead of us on the path, and we did not know if they were asleep or awake. We were terrified that they would tear us to pieces.”

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Mistrust

Then Christian said, “You frighten me, but where shall I flee to be safe? If I go back to my own country, which shall be destroyed by fire and brimstone, I will certainly perish there. I shall only be safe if I can reach the Celestial City. I must venture onward. To go back is nothing but death — to go forward is fear of death, and everlasting life beyond it. Therefore, I must surely go forward.”

So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill, and Christian continued on the difficult way.

Thinking of what he heard from the men, he felt in his bosom for his scroll, that he might read from it and be comforted; but he could not find it. Christian was then in great distress, and did not know what to do, for the scroll was his pass into the Celestial City.

Therefore, he was fearful and bewildered, not knowing what to do. At last, he remembered that he had slept at the arbor on the side of the steep hill. Falling down upon his knees, he asked God’s forgiveness for his foolish act, and then went back to look for his scroll. Who can sufficiently set forth the sorrow of Christian’s heart as he went back. Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept, and often he rebuked himself for being so foolish as to fall asleep in that arbor which was only erected for a little refreshment for weary Pilgrims.

Thus he went back, carefully looking on this side, and on that side, all the way as he went, hoping perhaps that he might find his scroll which had been his comfort so many times on his journey.

So he went on until he again came within sight of the arbor where he had rested and slept. But that sight only increased his sorrow, by bringing his folly of sleeping once again into his mind. Thus he bemoaned, “O what a wretched man I am that I should sleep in the day time, and in the midst of difficulty that I should so indulge my flesh. For the Lord of the hill has built this arbor only for the refreshment of Pilgrims.

“How many steps have I taken in vain. Thus it happened to Israel, for their sin — they were sent back again by the way of the Red Sea. Just so, I am made to retrace those steps with sorrow, which I might have trod with delight had it not been for my folly of sleeping. How much further along my way might I have been by this time, but I had to tread these steps three times, which I only needed to have trod but once. Yes, now I must journey in the dark of night, for the daylight is almost gone. O that I had not slept.”

Reaching the arbor, he sat down and wept. Then, looking around sorrowfully under the bench, he spotted his scroll. With trembling and haste, he snatched it up and put it into his bosom.

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None can tell how joyful he then was, for this scroll was the assurance of his salvation and his pass to the Celestial City. Therefore he secured it in his bosom, gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the place where it had fallen, and with joy and tears resumed his journey.

O, how carefully now did he go up the rest of the hill. Yet, before he reached the top, the sun had gone down, and this made Christian again recall the folly of his sleeping in the arbor. Thus once more, he began to reprove himself, “O you sinful sleep! Now I must journey on in the dark and hear the frightful noises of the night creatures.”

Just then, he remembered the report that Mistrust and Timorous warned him of — how they were frightened with the sight of the lions. Then Christian thought to himself, “These beasts roam in the night for their prey; and if I should encounter them in the dark, how could I overcome them? How could I escape from being torn to pieces?”

Thus Christian went on his way. But while he was thus bemoaning his difficult situation, he lifted up his eyes, and behold, there was a very stately palace directly ahead. The name of the palace was Beautiful.

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