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Chapter XV

I saw then, that they went on theirway to a pleasi.rftt liver, which David the King called; " the river "of God;" but John, "the river of the water of "life (<?)." Now their way lay just upon the bank of this river: here therefore Christian and Ins companion walked with great delight; they drank aibO

of the water of the river, which Wis pleasant, and enlivening to their weary spirits: besides, on the' bhnks of this river, on either side, were green trees, for all manner of fruit; and the leaves they eat to prevent surfeits, and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by travels (b). On either side of the river was also a mcadt w, curiously beautified with lilies.; and it was green till the year lonsr. In this meadow they laid down and s!ept: for here they might " lie down s- fely (eV When they awoke, they gathered agiin of the fruit of the trees, and drank again of ti e water of the river, and then lav down again to sleep. Thus they did several cUys and frights. Then they sung:

Behold ye how these crystal streams do glide,

To comfort pilgrims by the highway side.

The meadows greeu, besides their fragrant smell,

Yield dainties for them : And he that can tell

What pleasant fruit, yea, leaves, these trees do yield,

Will soon sell all, that he may buy this field.

So when they were disposed to go on (for theT were not as yet at their journey's end) they eat and drank, and departed.

Now I beheld in my drears, that they had not journeyed far, but the river and the way for a time parted, at wnich they were not a little sorrv, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the river was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels: so" the souls of the ptl"grims were much discouraged because of the "way (rf)." Wherefore still as they went on, they wished for a better way. Now a little before them, there was, on the left hand of the road, A meadow, and a stile to go over into it; and that meadow is called By-path meadow. Then said Christian to his'fel

low, if this meadow lieth along by our way-side, let us go over into it. Then he went to the stile to see, and behold a path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. "Tis according to my wish, said Christian, here is tha easiest going; come, good Hopeful, and let us go over.

Hope. But how if this path should lead us out of the way?

Chr. That's not likely, said the other. Look,doth it not go along by the way-side? So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went after him over the stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet; and withal, they looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, and his name was Vain-confiilence; so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led? He said to the ccelestial gate. Look, said Christian, did not 1 tell you so? By this you may see we are right; so they followed, and he went before them. But behold, the night came on, and it grew very dark; so that they that were behind lost the sight of him that went before.

He therefore that went before, (Vain-confidence by name) not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit, which was on purpose there made by the prince of those grounds, to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall(e).

Now Christian and his fellow heard him fall. So they called to know the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning. Then said Hopeful, Where are we now? Then was' his fellow silent, as mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to rain, and thunder and lighten in a most dreadful manner, and the waters rose amain.

Tben Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, Oh, that I had kej,t on my way!

Chr. Who would have thought that this path should have led us out of the way?

Hope. I was afraid on't at the very first, and therefore gave you that gentle caution. I would have spoke plainer, but that yon are older than I.

dir.' Good brother, be not offended, I am sorry I have brought thee out of the way, and that I have put thee into such imminent danger; pray, my brother, forgive me ; I did not do it of an evil intent.

Hope. Be comforted, my brother, for I forgive thee ; and believe too, that this shall be for our good.

Chr. I am glad I have met with a merciful brother: but we must not stand thus ; let's try to go hack again.

Hope. But, good brother, let me go before.

Chr. No, if you please, let me go first, that if there be any danger, I may be first therein, because by my means we are both gone out of the way.

Hope. No, said Hopeful, you shall not go first": for your mind being troubled, may lead you out of the way again. Then for their encouragement, they heard the voice of one saying, "Let thine heart be "towards the highway: even the way that thou "wen test: turn again (/J" But by this time the waters were greatly risen, by reason of which, the way of going hack was very dangerous. (Then I thought, that it is easier going out of the way, when we are in, than getting in when we are out.) Yet they adventured to go hack, but it was so dark, and the flood so high," that in their going back, they hud like to have been drowned nine or ten times.

Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the stile that night. Wherefore at last, lighting under a little shelter, they sat down there, till the day-break : but being weary, they fell asleep. Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting-castie, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, ai'd it was in his grounds they now were sleeping; wherefore he getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep

in his grounds: then with a grim and surly voice, he hid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds? They told him, they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their way. Then said the Giant, You have this night trespassed on me, by trampling and lying on my ground, and therefore you must go along with me. So they were forced to go, hecause he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for thev knew themselves in a fault. The Giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into his castle in a very darK" dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men: here then they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one hit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did : they were therefore here in evil case, and 'were far from friends and accquaintancc (g). Now in this place Christian had double sorrow, because, 'twas through his unadvised haste that they were 'brought into this distrefs.

Now Giant Despair had a wife, and her name was Diffidence: so when he was gone to bed, he told his wife what he had done, to wit, that he had taken a couple of prisoners, and cast them into his dun-. geon,for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also, what he had best to do further to them; So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound ? and he told her. Tiien she counselled him, that when he arose in the morning, he should beat them without mercy: so when he arose, he getteih him a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down into the dungeon to them, and there lirst fails to rating of them as if the}- were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste: then he Hills upon them, and beat them fearfully, in such sort, that they were not able to help themselves, or turn them upon the floor. This done, he withdraws, and leaves them there to condole their

misery, and to mourn under their distress: so all that day they spent their time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she calked with her hushand about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away with themselves: so when the morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner, as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them, That since they were never like to come out of that plice, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, .either with knife, halter, or poison: For why, said he, should you choose life, seeing it is attended with so much hitterness? Bjt they desired him to let them go; with . which he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his fits, (for he sometimes, in sun-shiny weather, fell into tits,) and lost for a time the use of his hand: wherefore be withdrew, and left them as before, to consider what to do. Then did the prisoners consult between themselves, whether it was best to take his counsel or no ; and thus they began to discourse.

Chr. Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable! For my part, I know not whether it is best to live thus, or die out of hand. "My soul choosctli strangling rather than life (h) " and the grave is moreeasy for ma than this dungeon! Shall we be ruled by the Giant?

Hope Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me, than thus for ever to abide: but yet let us consider; the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said, Thou shJt do no murder; no, not to another man's person; much more then are we forbidden to take hrs counsel, to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills

(h) Job. vii. 15.

another, can but commit murder upan his body: but for one to kill himself, is to kill body and soul at once. And moreover, my brother, thou talkest of ease in the ,grave, but hast thou forgotten the hell, v hither for certain the murderers go ?" for no murderers hath eternal life," &c. And let us consider a^ain, that all the law is not in the hand of Giant Despair: others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him, as well as we; and yet have escaped out of his hands. Who knows, but that God, who made the world, may cause that Giant Despair may die, or that, at some time or other, ho may forget to lock us in; or that he may in a short time have another of his fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs: and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part^I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before; but, however, my brother, let's be patient, and endure awhile, the time may come that may give us a happy release: but let us not be our own murderers. With these words, Hopeful at present did moderate the mind of his brother: so they continued together (in the dark) that day, in their sad and doleful condition.

Well, towards evening, the Giant goes down inta the dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there, he found them alive, and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of bread and water, and by reason of the wounds they received, when he beat them, they could do little but breathe. But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them, that seeing they had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.

At tiiis tiiey trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a swoon ; bat coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the Giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best take it or no. Now Christian again seemed to be for doing it; but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth:

Hope. My brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore; Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardships, tenor, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear? Thou seest that I am in the dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than ihou art. Also this Giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the bread and water from my mouth, and with thee I mourn without the light: but let us exercise a little more patience. Remember bow thou playedst the man at Vanity-Fair, and wast neither afraid of the chain, nor cage, nor yet of bloody death. Wherefore, let us, at least, to avoid the shame that becomes not a Christian to be found in, bear up with patience as well as we can.

Now, night being come again, and the Giant and his wife being in bed, she asked him concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel; to which he replied, they are sturdy rogues, they choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away with themselves. Then, said she, take them into the castle-yard to-morrow, and show them the boDes and skulls of those that thou hast already dispatched; and make them believe, ere a week comes to an end, thou wilt also tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.

'So when the morning was come, the Giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle-yard, and shows them as his wife hasi hidden him. Ttiese, said he, were once pilgrims, as you are, and they trespassed in my grounds as you have done; and 'when I thought fit I tore them in pieces, and so> within ten days I will do you. Go, get you down to your den again; and with that he beat them all the way thither: they lay, therefore, all day on Saturdaj' in lamentable case, as before. Now when night was come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband the Giant were.got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners; and-withat the old Giant wondered, that he could neither by his Hows, nor counsel, bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied, I fear, said she, that they live in hopes that some will come to relieve them, or that they have pick-locks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And say est thou so, my de»r, ?aid the Giant; I will theretore search them irv the morning.

Well, on Saturday about midnight they began to pray, and continued in prayer nil almost break of day.

Now, a little before it was day, good Christianr as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech, What a fool (cjuoth he) am I, thus to lie ir* a stinking dungeon, when I may as well wulk at liberty! J have a key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle. Then said Hopeful, that's good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try: Then Christian pulled '.tout of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt, a» he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, add Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the out ward door, that leads into the castle-yard, and with his kay opened that door also. After be w«Mt to the iron gate, for that must be opened too, but that lock went very hard, yet the key did open it, then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a cracking that it wakeJ Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners,. felt his limbs to fail; for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.

Now wtien they were gone over the stile, they began to contiive with themselves, what they should do at that stile, to prevent those that should come af:er from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a pillar, and to engrave upon the stile thereof this sentence: " Over this stile is the way to Doubting-Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the ccefestial country, and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims." Many therefore that followed after, read what was written, and escaped the da»ger, i bis done, they sang as follows:

Out of the way we went, and then we fount!

What 'twas to tread upon forbidden ground:

And let them that come after have a care,

Lest heedlessness makes them as we to fare:

Lest they, for trespassing, his prisoners are,

Whose Castle's Doubting, and whose name's Despair.

Explanatory Notes

CHRISTIAN and his companion having escaped the snares which lay in their way, and borne an honest testimony against the wisdom and spirit of the world, are now favoured with the sweet cujoyment of gospel privileges. They walk by the side of that "river, which maketh glad the city of God," Psal. xlvi. 4. The pardon of ail sin—justification of our persons —acceptance of ourservices—*with "joy and peace in the Holy Ghost," are the refreshing streams of that river. Happy is the soul that is in 5Hch a case! Blessed state indeed, but of short duration! Too often these desirable consolations of the Spirit, render the christian careless and onwatchful. The way of duty is sometimes rough and unpleasant to the flesh, and the pilgrim'is tempted to forsake it, for a smoother path. But let us beware of avoiding the cross for the sake of ease. Compliance with the smallest sins, to avoid trouble, is forsaking the King's high way of holiness, for a by-path, which will certainly mislead and injure the soul. Declensions from the right way are often small at first, and nature will plead, as Christian did, that the deviation is of little moment; but sad experience proves, that sin is of a. hardening nature, ami that "he who despiseth little things, shall ialfby little and little."

Christian and Hopeful soon perceived their mistake. Vain-Confidence was dashed in pieces, but his fall was properly improved. They vers awakened from their security, and the terrors of God effectually roused them. Happy is it, for the Lord's people, that if th"y err, God will not^utterly forsake, or leave them to final hardnes» of^heart. The remark of' the Author on this occasion, can never be too much observed: "It is easier going out of the way when in, than getting into it when we are out." The behaviour of cur pilgrims shews, that if real christians KickTde, they will take pains to recover themselves. But the Lord, to chestise them for their sin, may suffer them to fail into the hand's of Giant Despair; c in other words, he may permit doubts ::hd tears so much to prevail, that there may be a very hell in the conscience, and even strong temptations to self-murder. In this melancholy state, the pilgrims lay, "without a hit of bread ;"—the word of God afforded them no food. "They had not a ray of light;"—no comfortable sense of mercies: "Nor had they any to ask how they did ;"—they had no enjoyment of Christian fellowship. O professor I let this dismal condition make thee watchful night and day.

But God made a way for their escape. Giant Despair, it seems, had tits in sun-shiny weather ; that is, a gleam of hope, from Christ IheSon'of Righteousness, sometimes darted into their minds. The fear of God restrained them from self-murder, and the seasonable recollection of past experiences, rendered Christian hopeful again. At leng'h the pilgrims organ to pray. This was a token for good: for as Mr, Dodd says, "No man is in a sad case, but he that hath an hard heart, and cannot pray." Deliverance is not far-distant, when an afflicted and deserted soul can cry to God. The means appointed for help was—A Key—a beautiful emblem of a gospel promise; for as a key enters all the intricate wards of a lock, and throws back its bolts, so the precious promises of God in his word, if turned by the strong hand of faith, will open all the doors which unbelief and despair have shut upon us.

Thus were they delivered; filled with thankfulness for their own escape; and anxious to prevent the like mischieftoothers, Such will be the love of restored hacksliders ; like Peter of old, *' When they are converted, they will strengthen the brethren."

Reader, let us learn from this chapter, to beware of the smallest declension—to be watchful against temptation after a fall—and to remember and use the precious promises for our restoration.