« ForrigeFortsett »
Pli. Come then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.
And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate; I will be no companion of such misled fantastical fellow.
Now I saw in my dream, that, when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain: and thus they began their discourse.
Chr. Come, neighbour Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me: had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.
Pli. Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but us two here, tell me now farther, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going ?
Chr. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue; but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.
Pli. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true ?
Chr. Yes, verily; for it was made by him that cannot lie. (Tit. i. 2.) Pli. Well said; what things are they?
Chr. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever. (Isaiah xlv. 17. John x. 27–29.)
Pli. Well said; and what else?
Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven. (2 Tim. iv. 8. Rev. iii. 4. Matt. xiii. 43.)
Pli. This is very pleasant; and what else ?
Chr. There shall be no more crying nor sorrow: for he that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes. (Isa. xxv. 8. Rev. vii. 16, 17. and xxi. 4.)
1 This dialogue admirably illustrates the characters of the speakers. Christian (for so he is henceforth called) is firm, decided, bold, and sanguine: Obstinate is profane, scornful, selfsufficient, and disposed to contemn even the word of God, when it interferes with his worldly interests :—Pliable is yielding, and easily induced to engage in things of which he understands neither the nature nor the consequences.
The Slough of Despond.
Pli. And what company shall we have there?
Chr. There we shall be with Seraphims and Cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. (Isa. vi. 2. 1 Thes. iv. 17.) There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place: none of them are hurtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God, and standing in his presence with acceptance for ever. In a word, there we shall see the Elders with their golden crowns; there we shall see the holy Virgins with their golden harps; there we shall see men that, by the world, were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love they bare to the Lord of the place; all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment. (Rev. iv. 4. and xiv. 1-5. John xii. 25. 2 Cor. v. 2, 3, 5.)
Pli. The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's heart; but are these things to be enjoyed ? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?
Chr. The Lord, the governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book; the substance of which is, if we be truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely. (Isa. lv. 1–3. John vị. 37. and vii. 37. Rev. xxi. 6. and xxii. 17.)
Pli. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things. Come on, let us mend our pace!
Chr. I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back."
Now I saw in my dream, that, just as they had ended this talk, they drew nigh to a very miry Slough that was in the midst of the plain: and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog; the name of the slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wal
1 The conversation between Christian and Pliable marks the difference in their characters, as well as the measure of the new convert's attainments. The want of a due apprehension of eternal things is evidently the primary defect of all who oppose or neglect religion ; but more maturity of judgment and experience are requisite to discover, that many professors are equally strangers to a realizing view “of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen.” The men represented by Pliable inquire eagerly about the good things to be enjoyed; but not in any due proportion about the way of salvation, the difficulties to be encountered, or the danger of coming short; and being zealous, sanguine, and unsuspecting, are led to enlarge on the descriptions of heavenly felicity given in Scripture, and annexing carnal ideas to them, are greatly delighted.
? The slough of Despond represents those discouraging fears which often harass new converts.