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Christian meets with Worldly Wiseman.
called him wise man for coming back, and some called him fool for hazarding himself with Christian; others again did mock at his cowardliness, saying, Surely, since you began to venture, I would not have been so base as to have given out for a few difficulties. So Pliable sat sneaking among them. But at last he got more confidence; and then they all turned their tales and began to deride poor Christian behind his back. And thus much concerning Pliable.'
Now as Christian was walking solitarily by himself, he espied one afar off, come crossing over the field to meet him; and their hap was to meet just as they were crossing the way of each other. The gentleman's name that met him was Mr. Worldly Wiseman; he dwelt in the town of Carnal Policy, a very great town, and also hard by from whence Christian came. This man, then, meeting with Christian, and having some inkling of him, for Christian's setting forth from the city of Destruction was much noised abroad, not only in the town where he dwelt, but also it began to be the town-talk in some other places; Mr. Worldly Wiseman, therefore, having some guess of him, by beholding his laborious going, by observing his sighs and groans, and the like, began thus to enter into some talk with Christian.?
Wor. How now, good fellow, whither away after this burdened manner?
Chr. A burdened manner indeed, as ever, I think, poor creature had! And whereas you ask me, Whither away? I tell you, Sir, I am going to yonder wicket-gate before me; for there, as I am informed, I shall be put into a way to be rid of my heavy burden.
Wor. Hast thou a wife and children?
Chr. Yes; but I am so laden with this burden, that I cannot take that pleasure in them as formerly: methinks I am as if I had none. (1 Cor. vii. 29.)
Those that cast off their profession are unable, for a time, to resume their wonted confidence among their former companions.
? Worldly Wiseman is a person of consequence, a reputable and successful man; prudent, sagacious, and acquainted with mankind; moral and religious in his way, and qualified to give the very best counsel to those who wish to serve both God and mammon; but decided in his judgment against all kinds and degrees of religion which interfere with a man's worldly interest, disquiet his mind, or spoil his relish for outward enjoyments. Such men attend to the reports that are circulated about the conversion of their neighbours, and often watch their opportunity of entering into discourse with them.
Christian and Worldly Wiseman.
Wor. Wilt thou hearken to me, if I give thee counsel ?
Wor. I would advise thee, then, that thou with all speed get thyself rid of thy burden; for thou wilt never be settled in thy mind till then; nor canst thou enjoy the benefits of the blessings which God hath bestowed upon thee till then.
Chr. That is that which I seek for, even to be rid of this heavy burden; but get it off myself I cannot; nor is there any man in our country that can take it off my shoulders; therefore am I going this way, as I told you, that I may be rid of my burden. .
Wor. Who bid thee go this way to be rid of thy burden?
Chr. A man that appeared to me to be a very great and honourable person; his name, as I remember, is Evangelist.
Wor. Beshrew him for his counsel! there is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world than is that into which he hath directed thee; and that thou shalt find, if thou wilt be ruled by his counsel. Thou hast met with something, as I perceive, already; for I see the dirt of the Slough of Despond is upon thee; but that Slough is the beginning of the sorrows that do attend those that go on in that way. Hear me, I am older than thou; thou art like to meet with, in the way which thou goest, wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, swords, lions, dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death, and what not: These things are certainly true, having been confirmed by many testimonies. And should a man so carelessly cast away himself, by giving heed to a stranger?
Chr. Why, Sir, this burden upon my back is more terrible to me than are all these things which you have mentioned; nay, methinks I care not what I meet with in the way, if so be I can also meet with deliverance from my burden.
Wor. How camest thou by the burden at first?
hand. Wor. I thought so; and it is happened unto thee as to other weak men, who, meddling with things too high for them, do suddenly fall into thy distractions; which distractions do not only unman men, (as thine I perceive have done thee,) but they run them upon desperate ventures, to obtain they know not what.
Chr. I know what I would obtain; it is ease for my heavy burden. The hill over Legality's house.
Wor. But why wilt thou seek for ease this way, seeing so many dangers attend it, especially since, (hadst thou but patience to hear me,) I could direct thee to the obtaining of what thou desirest, without the dangers that thou, in this way, wilt run thyself into; yea, and the remedy is at hand: Besides, I will add, that instead of these dangers, thou shalt meet with much safety, friendship, and content.
Chr. Sir, I pray open this secret to me.
Wor. Why, in yonder village, (the village is named Morality,)? there dwells a gentleman, whose name is Legality,' a very judicious man, and a man of a very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is from their shoulders; yea, to my knowledge, he hath done a great deal of good this way: Aye, and besides, he hath skill to cure those that are somewhat crazed in their wits with their burdens. To him, as I said, thou mayest go and be helped presently. His house is not quite a mile from this place: and if he should not be at home himself, he hath a pretty young man to his son, whose name is Civility, * that can do it, (to speak on,) as well as the old gentleman himself. There, I say, thou mayest be eased of thy burden; and if thou art not minded to go back to thy former habitation, as indeed I would not wish thee, thou mayest send for thy wife and children to thee to this village, where there are houses now stand empty, one of which thou mayest have at a reasonable rate; provision is there also cheap and good; and that which will make thy life the more happy is, to be sure, there thou shalt live by honest neighbours, in credit and good fashion.
Now was Christian somewhat at a stand; but presently he concluded, if this be true which this gentleman hath said, my wisest course is to take his advice; and with that he thus farther spake.
1 There is great beauty in this dialogue, arising from the exact regard to character preserved throughout. Indeed this forms one of our author's peculiar excellencies ; as it is a very difficult attainment, and always manifests a superiority of genius.
2 The village, MORALITY, represents that large company who abstain from scandalous vices, and practise reputable duties, without any genuine fear or love of God, or regard to his authority or glory.
So called from his teaching men to depend on a defective obedience to a small part of the law, falsely explained, according to the method of the scribes and Pharisees.
* Civility represents those who persuade themselves that a decent and obliging behaviour will secure men from all future punishment, and insure an inheritance in heaven.
Evangelist interrogates Christian.
Chr. Sir, which is my way to this honest man's house?
Wor. By that hill you must go; and the first house you come at is his. So Christian turned out of his way to go to Mr. Legality's house for help; but, behold, when he was got now hard by the hill, it seemed so high, and also that side of it that was next the way-side did hang so much over, that Christian was afraid to venture further, lest the hill should fall on his head: wherefore there he stood still, and wotted not what to do. Also his burden now seemed heavier to him than while he was on his way. There came also flashes of fire out of the hill, that made Christian afraid that he should be burnt (Exod. xix. 16—18. Heb. xii. 21.); here, therefore, he did sweat and quake for fear.”
And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly Wiseman's counsel; and with that he saw Evangelist coming to meet him; at the sight also of whom he began to blush for shame. So Evangelist drew nearer and nearer, and, coming up to him, he looked upon him with a severe and dreadful countenance; and thus began to reason with Christian.
What dost thou here, Christian? said he: at which words, Christian knew not what to answer. Wherefore at present he stood speechless before him. Then said Evangelist farther, Art not thou the man that I found crying without the walls of the city of Destruction?
Chr. Yes, dear Sir, I am the man.
Evan. How is it, then, that thou art so quickly turned aside; for thou art now out of the way?
Chr. I met with a gentleman so soon as I had got over the Slough Evangelist interrogates Christian.
1 The way to establish a legal righteousness—which is to take counsel of Mr. Legality, being by the observance of the moral law, is represented as passing by a high hill, or by the hill of Sinai, from whence that law was delivered.
2 They who are not humbled in true repentance, perceiving little danger, pass by the hill of Sinai, or attempt to place their trust in the observance of the law; but the true penitent finds every attempt to “establish his own righteousness” entirely abortive; the more he compares his conduct and character with the divine law, the greater is his alarm; and he trembles lest its curses should fall upon him, with vengeance more tremendous than the most awful thunder.
of Despond, who persuaded me that I might, in the village before me, find a man that could take off my burden.
Evan. What was he?
Chr. He looked like a gentleman, and talked much to me, and got me at last to yield; so I came hither: But when I beheld this hill, and how it hangs over the way, I suddenly made a stand, lest it should fall on my head.
Evan. What said that gentleman to you?
Chr. He asked me if I had a family? and I told him: but, said I, I am so loaden with the burden that is on my back, that I cannot take pleasure in them as formerly.
Evan. And what said he then?
Chr. He bid me with speed get rid of my burden; and I told him, it was ease that I sought, and, said I, I am therefore going to yonder gate to receive farther direction how I may get to the place of deliverance. So he said that he would show me a better way, and short, not so attended with difficulties as the way, Sir, that you set me in: which way, said he, will direct you to a gentleman's house that hath skill to take off these burdens: so I believed him, and turned out of that way into this, if haply I might be soon eased of my burden. But when I came to this place, and beheld things as they are, I stopped for fear, as I said, of danger; but I now know not what to do.
Then said Evangelist, Stand still a little, that I may show thee the words of God. So he stood trembling. Then said Evangelist, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” (Heb. xii. 25.) He said, moreover, “Now, the just shall live by faith; but if
any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. x. 38.) He also did thus apply them, Thou art the man that art running into misery; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the most High, and to draw back thy foot from the
peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition.
Then Christian fell down at his feet as dead, crying, Woe is me, for I am undone! At the sight of which Evangelist caught him by