Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[merged small][graphic]

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 Lontinually run, and therefore it was 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‘; his labourers also have, by the direction of his majesty’s surveyors, been for above this 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 the 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 law-giver, certain good and substantial steps placed even through the very midst of this slough; but at such times as this place does much spew out its filth, as it doth against change of weather, these steps are hardly seen; or if

1 Isa. xxxv. 3,4.

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors]

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'.

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 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 to have ‘ given out for a few difficulties :’ so PLIABLE sat sneaking among them. But at last he got more confi~ dence, and then they all turned their tales and began to deride poor CHRISTIAN behind his back. And thus much concerning PL IABLE. I

Now as CHRISTIAN was walking solitarily by himself, he spied one afar off 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 CiIRIsriAN’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. VVORLDLYwrsrzMAn therefore having some guess of him by beholding his laborious going, by observing his sighs

' 1 Sam. xii. u. i

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][graphic]

and groans, and the like, began thus to enter into some talk with CHRISTIAN.

\VoRLD. How now, good fellow, whither away after this burdened manner?

Can. A burdened manner indeed, as ever, I think, poor creature had! And whereas you asked me, whither away? I tell you, Sir, I am going to yonder VVICKET-GATE before me; for there, as I am informed, I shall be put in a way to be rid of my heavy burden.

WoRLD. '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'.

VVORLD. Wilt thou hearken to me if I give thee counsel?

CHR- If it be good I will; forI stand in need of good counsel. ,

WORLD. 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 of 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,

\VoaLn. Who bid you go this way to be rid of your burden? .

.CHR. A man that appeared to me to be a very great

' I Cor. vii. :9.

[merged small][graphic]

and honourable person; his name, as I remember, is EVANGELIST.

WORLD. Beshrew him for his counsel; there is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world than is that unto 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 Isee 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 on the way which thou goest, wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death, and what not! These things are certainly true, having been confirmed by many testimonies. And why 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 Imeet with in my way if so be I can also meet with deliverance from my burden.

WORLD. How camest thou by the burden at first?

CHR. By reading this book in my hand. 7

WORLD. I thought so; and it has happened unto thee as to other weak men, who meddling with things too high for them do suddenly fall into thy distrac. _ tions; 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. ‘

[merged small][graphic]

CHR. I know what I would obtain; it is case from my heavy burden. ,

YWORLD. 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.

WORLD. 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 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, asI 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 reasonable rates: provision is there also cheap and good: and that

« ZurückWeiter »