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Talkative's true character.
What a brave companion we have got? Surely this man will make very excellent Pilgrim.'
At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, This man, with whom you are so taken, will beguile, with this tongue of his, twenty of them that know him not. Faith. Do
know him then ? Chr. Know him! yes, better than he knows himself. Faith. Pray, what is he?
Chr. His name is Talkative; he dwelleth in our town: I wonder that you should be a stranger to him, only I consider that our town is large.
Faith. Whose son is he, and whereabout doth he dwell ?
Chr. He is the son of one Say-well; he dwelt in Prating-row, and he is known to all that are acquainted with him by the name of Talkative of Prating-row; and, notwithstanding his fine tongue, he is but a sorry fellow.
Faith. Well, he seems to be a very pretty man.
Chr. That is, to them that have not a thorough acquaintance with him; for he is best abroad; near home he is ugly enough. Your saying that he is a pretty man brings to my mind what I have observed in the work of the painter, whose pictures show best at a distance; but, very near, more unpleasing.
Faith. But I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.
Chr. God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse any falsely! I will give you a further discovery of him. This man is for any company, and for any talk: as he talketh now with you, so will he talk when he is on the ale-bench; and the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath in his mouth. Religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or conversation; all he hath is in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.
Faith. Say you so ? Then am I in this man greatly deceived.
1 Talkative’s discourse is copied, with surprising exactness, from that of numbers who learn doctrinally to discuss even experimental subjects, of which they never felt the energy and efficacy in their own souls.
" It is
Chr. Deceived! you may be sure of it. Remember the proverb, “They say and do not:” but “the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (Matt. xxiii. 3. 1 Cor. iv. 20.) He talketh of Prayer, of Repentance, of Faith, and of the New Birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savour.
There is there neither prayer nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion to all that know him; it can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. (Rom. ii. 23, 24.) Thus say the common people that know him, “A saint abroad, and a devil at home!" His poor family finds it so; he is such a churl, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for, or to speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say, better to deal with a Turk than with him; for fairer dealings they shall have at their hands." This Talkative, if it be possible, will go beyond them, beguile and over-reach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in any of them a foolish timorousness, (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience,) he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendation before others. For
my part, I am of opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more.
Faith. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you; not only because you say you know him, but because, like a Christian, you make
your reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak these things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say.
Chr. Had I known him no more than you, I might perhaps have thought of him as at the first you did; yea, had I received this report at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it to have been a slander (a lot that oft falls from bad men's mouths upon good men's names and professions); but all these things, yea, and a great many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove him guilty of. Besides, good men are ashamed of him; they
Talkative's true character.
can neither call him brother nor friend; the very naming of him among them makes them blush, if they know him.
Faith. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things; and hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.
Chr. They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for as the body, without the soul, is but a dead carcass; so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also. The soul of religion is the practick part; “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian, and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit indeed is in the heart and life; and let us assure ourselves that, at the day of doom, men shall be judged according to their fruit. It will not be said then, Did you believe? but were you doers or talkers only? and accordingly shall they be judged. . The end of the world is compared to our harvest; and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit. Not that any thing can be accepted that is not of faith; but I speak this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will be at that day. (James i. 27. See verses 2, 3, 24, 26. Matt. xxiii. 2.)
Faith. This brings to my mind that of Moses, by which he describeth the beast that is clean. He is such a one that parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud; not that parteth the hoof only, or that cheweth the cud only. The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is unclean, because he parteth not the hoof. (Levit. xi. Deut. xiv.) And this truly resembleth Talkative: He cheweth the cud; he seeketh knowledge, he cheweth upon the word; but he divideth not the hoof, he parteth not with the way of sinners; but, as the hare, he retaineth the foot of a dog or bear, and therefore he is unclean.
Chr. You have spoken, for ought I know, the true gospel sense of these texts. And I will add another thing: Paul calleth some men, yea and those great talkers too, “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals;” that is, as he expounds them in another place, “things without life, giving sound;" things without life, that is, without the true faith and grace of the gospel; and consequently, things that
Talkative put to the test.
shall never be placed in the kingdom of heaven among those that are the children of life; though their sound, by their talk, be as it were the tongue or voice of an angel." (1 Cor. xii. 1–3. and xiv. 7.)
Faith. Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but I am as sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him? Chr. Take my advice, and do as I bid you,
and you shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his heart and turn it.
Faith. What would you have me do?
Chr. Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about the power of religion; and ask him plainly (when he has approved of it, for that he will), whether this thing be set up in his heart, house, or conversation?
Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, Come, what cheer, how is it now? Talk. Thank
you, well. I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time. Faith. Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you
left it with me to state the question, let it be this: How doth the saving grace of God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?
Talk. I perceive then that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you, and take my answer in brief, thus: First, Where the grace of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly,
Faith. Nay, hold; let us consider of one at once. should rather say it shows itself, by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.
Talk. Why, what difference is there between crying out against and abhorring of sin?
Faith. Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin of policy; but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who
I think you How a work of grace discovers itself.
1 Talkative seems to have been introduced on purpose, that the author might have a fair opportunity of stating his sentiments concerning the practical nature of evangelical religion, to which numbers in his day were too inattentive; so that this admired allegory has fully established the important distinction, between a dead and a living faith, on which the whole controversy depends.
yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation. Joseph's mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very chaste; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. (Gen. xxxix. 15.) Some cry out against sin even as a mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kiss
Talk. You lie at the catch, I perceive.
Faith. No, not I! I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace in the heart?
Talk. Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.
Faith. This sign should have been first; but, first or last, it is also false: for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul; yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so consequently be no child of God. When Christ said, “Do you know all these things?” and the disciples had answered, “Yes,” he added, “ Blessed are ye, if ye do them.” He doth not lay the blessing in the knowledge of them, but in the doing of them; for there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: “He that knoweth his Master's will, and doeth it not.” A man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian; therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God: Not that the heart can be good without knowledge; for, without that, the heart is naught. There are therefore two sorts of knowledge; knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things, and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart. The first of these will serve the talker; but, without the other, the true Christian is not content. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” (Psalm cxix. 34.)
Talk. You lie at the catch again: this is not for edification.
Faith. Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of grace discovereth itself where it is.
Talk. Not I; for I see we shall not agree.