« ZurückWeiter »
Yes, said CHRISTIAN (for that was his name); because that all which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there where I go is enough and to spare': come away, and prove my words.
OBsT. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
CHR. I seek an “ inheritance incorruptible, uncle. “ filed, and that fadeth not away; and it is laid up in "‘ heaven‘,” and safe there, to be bestowed at the time appointed on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Tush, said Oasrnurn, away with your book: will you go back with us or no?
No, not I, said the other, becauseI have laid my hand to the plough ’.
0351‘. Come then, neighbour PLIABLE, let us turn again and go home without him: there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason. t
Then said-PLIABLE, Don’t revile; if what the good CHRISTIAN says is true, the things he looks after are ’ better than ours; my heart inclines to go with my neighbour.
OBsT. What! more fools still? be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back and be wise_
CHR. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour PLIABLE; there are such things to be had which I spake of, and many more glories besides: if you believe not me read here in-this book; and, for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold all is confirmed by the blood of him that made it‘.
Well, neighbour OBSTINATE, saith PLIABLE, I begin to come to a point: I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place? ‘
CHR. I am directed by a man, whose name is EVANGELIST, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.
PLI. Come then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.
And Iwill go back to my place, said OBSTINATE; I will be no companion of such misled fantastical fellows.
NowI 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 Ons'rr NATE 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.
PM. Come, neighbour CHRISTIAN, since there are none but us two here, tell me now further, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are
THEIR CONVERSATION. 7
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, Iwill 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 Iie‘.
Pu. 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'.
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’.
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
PL 1. 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‘. 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 aword, there we
8 THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND.
' shall see the elders with their golden crowns‘; there we ‘ shall see 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 that they bare to the Lord of the place; all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment'.
Pm. 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‘.
PLI. Well, my good companion, glad am Ito hear of these things; come on, let us mend our pace.
Can. 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 DES POND. Here therefore they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with dirt; and CHRISTIAN because of the burden that was on his 'back began to sink in the mire.
Then said PLIABLE, Ah! neighbour CHRISTIAN, where are you now?
Truly, said CHRISTIAN, I do not know.
' Rev. iv. 4. 9 Rcv.1iv. 1—5. 3 John xii. 25. aCur. v. 2—4.
4 Isai. lv. 1—3. John vi. 37. \ii. 37. Rev. ui. 6. MN. :7.
At that Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, 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 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 furthest from his own house, and next to the WICKar-GATE: the which he did, but could not get outbecause 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 \Vhat 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 you not look for the steps?
CHR. FEAR followed me so hard that I fled the next way and fell in.
HELP. Then said he, Give me thy 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 '.
Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way
1 Psnl. xi. 2.