Chapter II

So I saw in my dream that the man began to run; now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears (a), and ran on crying, " Life! life! eternal life!" So he looked not behind him, but fled towards tiie middle of the plain {b).

The neighbours ,ilso came out to see him run; as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and soma cried alter him to return; and amongst tins; that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other Pliable. Now by this time the man was got a good distance from them : but however they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, Neighbours, wherefore are ye come? They said, To persuade you to go back with us; but he said, That can by no means be: You dwell, said be, in the city of Destruction, the place also where I was born: I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone: Be content, good neighbours, and go along with me.

What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends, and our comforts behind us!

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 which I am seeking to enjoy (c); and if you will go along with me,

(a) Luke xiv. 26. (i) Gen.xix. 17. (c) 2 Cor. iv. 18.

and hold it, you shall fare as myself; for there where I go, is enough and to spare (d.) Come away, and prove my words.

Obst. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?

Chr. I st:ek an inheritance incorruptible, undented, and that fadeth not away (c), and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on ihem thatdiligently seek it (/). Read it so, if you will, in my book.

Obst. Tush, ':iid Obstinate, away with your book! Will vou go back with us, or no?

Chr. No, not I, said the other; because I have laid my hand to the plough (g).

Obst. 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.

PH. Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the tilings he looks after are better than ours; my heart inclmes to go wkh 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 b ick, go back and be wise.

Chr. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour, Piiable; there are such tilmgs to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides; if you believe not me, re.td 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 (A).

PH. Well, neighbour Obstinate (saith Pliable), I begin to come to a point; I intended 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 ?

(d)Lukexv. 17. (e) 1 Pet. i. 4. (/) Heb. xi. 16. .(g) Luke :x. 02. [h] Heb. ix. 17, 22.

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.

Pit. Come then; good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.

Obst. And I will go back to my'place, said Obstinate: I will be no companion of such misled fantastical fellows.

Now I siw in my dream, that when Obstinate was going back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the piaiii; 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 Obstmate 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.

Pii. Co,ne, neighbour Christian, sinqe there are none i»it 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.

Pit. And do you think that the words of your book are certamly true?

Chr. Yes verily, for it was made by Him that cannot he (»).

PH. Well said: What things are they?

Chr. Tbere is an endless kingdom to be inhahited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabt'that kingdom for ever (k).

Pli. Well said: and wnat else?

Chr. There are crowns of glory to lfe given us; and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven (/).

(i) Titus i. 2. (k) Isa. xlv. !7. JohD x. 27, 28,29.
(/) 2 fun. iv. 8. Rev. xxii. 5. Matt. xiii. 43.

PH. 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, away all tears from our eyes (m).

Plt\ And what company shall we have there? Chr. There we shall bo with seraphims and cheruhims; creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them :There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands tint 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 (p): there we s!iall see men, that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love th.it they bore to the Lord of the place'; all well, and clothed with immortality, as with'a gai=ment (q.}

Ph. l he 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 th.it in this book: the substa »,e of wisich is,, ii we be truly wilUng to have it, he will bellow it upon us freely (/).

Ph. Weli, my good companion, giad am I tohearof 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 tlie midst of the plain ; and they bemg heedless, did both,fall suddenly into, the bog. The same of the slough was Despond. Here therefore

(o») Isa. xv. 8. Rev. vii. 16,.17, and xxl 4 (o) Isa. vi 2. 1 thes. iv. 16, 17. Rev. v. 11. (<?) Rev. iv. 4. (p) Rev xiv.. 1—S.-Hf) John xii. 25. 2 Cor. v. 2, 3, 4. (r> Isa. lr. 12*. John vii. 37, and vi. 37. Rev.xxi. 6. and xxii. 17.

they wallowed for a time, being grieviously bedaubed with dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his hack, began to sink in the mire.

Pli. Then said Pliable, Ah! neighbour Christian, where are you now?

Chr. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

Pli. At this 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 farthest from his own house, and next the Wicket-gate; the which he did; but could not get out because of the burden that was upon his hack: but I beheld in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him, What he did there?

Chr. Sir, said Christian, I was hid to go this way, by a man called Evangelist; who directed me also to yonder gate, that 1 might escape the wratli tocome. And as I was going thither, I fell in here.

Help. But why did you not look for the steps?

Chr. Fear folfowed 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, amd he drew him out, and set -him upon sound ground, and bid hhn go on his way.

Then 1 stepped tc him that plucked him out, and said, Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the uay from the city of Destruction to yonder gate, is it, tl»at 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 tilth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore is it 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 hadness of this ground.

It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so had (s); his labourers also have, by the directions of his Majesty's surveyors, beea for above this sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, if perhaps it might nave 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 thro'' the very -midst of this slough; but at such time as this place doth much spew out its filth, as it doth against the change of weather,, these steps-are hardly seen: or if they be, men, through the dizzinessof their heads, step besides; and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there; but the ground is good when they are oncegot in at the gate {().

Now I saw in my dream, that by this time Pliable was got honje to his house. So his neighbours came to visit him; and some of them called him wise man for coming hack; and some called him fool for', hazarding himself with Christian; others again, didi

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 arnvng them; but at last he got more confidence, and then they all turned their tales, and began to deride poor Christian behind his back. And thus much concerning Pliable.

EXPLANATORY NOTES.

THE christian no sooner sets out in good earnest for heaven, than he becomes " a gazing stock to the world." Relations, friends, and neighbours (if camal), will strive to prevent his progress ; but if the work be of God, they will strive n vain.

True grace diicovers itselfin "good-will to men." Christian 'would fain persuade his family and friends to go with him. He tries to alarm them by a view of their danger—he tries to allure them by a description of heaven; but all in vain. The dispositions of natural men are various; some are obstinate, others are pliable; but all are ignorant of divine things., and av. r<. from them. Hence Obstmate soon becomes impatient, passionate, and contemptuous; while Pliable, like the stonyground hearer in the parable, listen; to the word with joy, but having not root, soon'withers away.

Christian deals wisHy with his neighbour Obstinate. For the truth of his assertions, he refers to the Bible:—" Read-it," savs he, "in my book."—But the Bible is a bo»k so unfriendly* in its aspect to carnal men, that they cannot endure it, ard seldom attempt to answer what is plainly proved by it. He therefore cries " Away with your book, .—* Away with the Bible," is at least the practical language of too many persons who call themselves christians!

How affectionately does Christian labour lo persuade his more pliable neighbour to go with iiim. From the fulness of hit heart, he most beautifully paints the joys of the glorified.. Pliable, entertamingcarnal ideas of heaven,, asa fineplace, glittering uitb gold and pearls, seems ravished witfHhe prospect Elated with hopes of a Mahometan Paradise, be outstrip* Christian him<elf. the fleshly joys' and transports of some carnal men seem to exceed the zeal of true believers for a •t asOu, But that j^ason is short. Where s'n is not burden*oiue Lo the heart, religion., like Pliable's, is too hoi to iioiii.

By the Slough of Despond, we are to understand that state of mind, in which doubts and fears terribly prevail. Very few beginners in religion wholly escape them. Indeed they constitute no part of Religion, nor are tliey by any means the work of the spirit «f God. Tliey arise, partly from ignorance of Christ, and the way of acceptance by him; —partly from the weakness of faith, zs to what is already known ;—and partly from the artful suggestions of Sutan, suited to such a state.

The behaviour of Pliable upon this occasion, discovered his want of grace. Expecting nothing but carnal ease and pleasure, he was offended with the first d'fficulty that occurred. Hence he struggles to get out of the mire on that side he fell in. The meaning is, that when carnal men feel their miads uneasy with a sense of sin, they try to throw oif the load, b> returning to the world again. But the real christian, amidst all his desponding fears, still continues to renounce the world, struggles to get forward, and dreads the thought of peace from any other quarter, than an interest in Jesus Christ. Let no such soul be discouraged; suoiier or later Jesus will help, and deliverance shall be sung in David's words: "He brought me up out of an horrible pit, cut of "the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and hath "established my goings," Psal. xl. 2.—If the reader would avoid the slough, (and some have done i;,) let him carefully observe the " steps,'' or these precious promifes of acceptance and pardon, held Jbrth in the word to seeking souls; such as, "Seek, and je shall find—Whosoever cometh to rue, I will ."in no wise cast out."