« ForrigeFortsett »
lowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.1
Then said Pliable, Ah, neighbour Christian, where are you now?
At this Pliable began to be offended, and angerly said to his fel low, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect betwixt this and our journey's end? May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone for me! And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house; so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.?
Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone; but still he endeavoured to struggle to that side of the slough that was farthest from his own house, and next to the wicket-gate; the which he did, but could not get out because of the burden that was upon his back. But I beheld, in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him, What he did there?
Sir, said Christian, I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come; and as I was going thither I fell in here.
Help. But why did not you look for the steps ? 8
Chr. Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way, and fell in. 4
Then said he, Give me thine hand! So he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him
go on his way. (Psalm xl. 2.)
Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, Sir,
1 The mire of the slough represents that idea which desponding persons entertain of themselves and their situation as altogether vile and loathsome. Though Pliable fell into the slough, Christian “by reason of his burden” sunk the deepest.
? Superficial professors like Pliable, expecting the promised happiness without trouble or suffering, are often angry at those who were the means of leading them to think of religion.
3 Our author, in a marginal note, explains the steps to mean, “ the promises of forgiveness and acceptance to life by faith in Christ.”
4 Christian dreaded the doom of his city more than the slough, and in his trepidation forgot to look for the steps (promises).
Help's account of the Slough.
wherefore, since over this place is the way from the city of Destruction to yonder gate, is it that this plat is not mended, that poor travellers might go thither with more security? And he said unto me, This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run; and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond; for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arise in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.
It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad (Isaiah xxxv. 3, 4.): his labourers also have, by the direction of his Majesty's surveyors, been for above these sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, if perhaps it might have been mended: yea, and to my knowledge, said he, here have been swallowed up at least twenty thousand cart-loads, yea, millions, of wholesome instructions, that have at all seasons been brought from all places of the King's dominions (and they that can tell, say they are the best materials to make good ground of the place,) if so be it might have been mended; but it is the Slough of Despond still, and so will be, when they have done what they can.
True, there are, by the direction of the Lawgiver, certain good and substantial steps placed even through the very midst of this slough; but at such time as this place doth much spew out its filth, as it doth against change of weather,' these steps are hardly seen; or, if they be, men, through the dizziness of their heads, step beside; and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there: but the ground is good, when they are once got in at the gate. (1 Sam. xii. 23.)
Now, I saw in my dream, that, by this time, Pliable was got home to his house: So his neighbours came to visit him; and some of them
1 It was evidently our author's opinion that the path from destruction to life lies by this slough; and that none are indeed in the narrow way, who have neither struggled through it, nor gone over it, by means of the steps. The change of weather' seems to denote those seasons, when peculiar temptations, exciting sinful passions, perplex the minds of new converts ; and so, losing sight of the promises, they sink into despondency during humiliating experi