Chapter XVII

And I slept, and dreamed again, and saw thf. same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city. Now a little below these mountains, on the left hand, lieth the country of Conceit; from whicli country there comes into the way, in which the pilgrims walked, a little crooked lane. Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad, that came out of that country, and his name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him, from what parts he came, and whither he was going.

Ignor. Sir, I was born in the country that lieth off there, a little on the left hand, and am going to the ccelestial city.

Chr. But how do you think to get in at the gate? for you may find some difficulty there. Ignor. As other good people do, said he. Chr. But what have you to show at that gate, that the gate should be opened to you?

Ignor. I know my Lord's will, and have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going.

Chr. But thou earnest not in at the Wicket-gate that is at the head of this way; thou earnest in hither through that same crooked lane, and there, fore I fear, however thou mayst think of thyself, when the reckoning-day shall come, thou shalt have laid to thy charge, that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the city.

Ignor. Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me. I know you not; be content to follow the rertgion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the gate, that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off our country. I cannot think that any men in all our parts do so much as know the way to it, nor need they matter whether they did or no, since we have, as you see, a fine pleasant . green lane, that comes down from our country, the* next way into it.

When Christian saw that the man was wise in hi* own conceit, he said to Hopeful whisperingly, "There is more hopes of a fool than ef him (a)." And said moreover, " When he that is a fool walkcth by the way, Irs wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one, that he is a fool (6)." What, shall we talk farther witli him, or out-go him at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already, and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good of kim? Then said Hopeful:

Let Ignorance a little while now muse
On what is said, and let him not refuse
Good counsel to embrace, lest he remain
Still ignorant of what's the chiefest gain.
God saith, rl hose that no understanding have,
(Altho' he made the in) them he will not save.

Hope. He farther added, it is not good, I think, to say to him all at once; let us pass him by, if you will, and talk to him anon, even as he is able to bear it.

So they went both on, and Ignorance he cam« after. Now when they had passed him a little way, they entev".d into a very dark lane, where they met

a man whom seven devils had bound with seven strong coids (c) and were carrying of him hack to the door that they saw on the side of the hill: Now good Christian began to tremble, a id so did Hopeful his companion; yet, as the devils led away the man, Christian looked to see if he knew him; and he thought it might be one Turn-away, that dwelt in the town of Apostacy. But he did not perfectly see his face; for he did hang his head like a thief that is found. But being gone past, Hopeful looked after him, and espied on his hack a paper, with this inscription :'" Wanton professor, and damnable apostate." Then said Christian to his follow, Now I call to remembrance that which was told me, of a thing that happened to a good man hereabout. The name of the man was Little-Faith, but a good man, and he dwelt in the town of Sincere. The thing was this: at the entering in at tiiis passage, there comes down from Broad-way-gate, a lane, called Dead-man's-l aie; so called, because of the murd rs that are commonly dene there; and this Little-Faith going on pilgrimage, as we do now, chanced to sit down there and slept: Now there happened at t iat time to come down the lane from Broa l-waygatr, three sturdy rogues, and their names were taint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt (three brothers), and thev espyi 'g Little-Faith, where he was, came^ galloping up with speed. Now the good man was just awakened from his sleep, a,id was getting up to go on his journey. So they came up all to him, and with threatening language bid him stand. At this, Little-Faith looked .s white as a clout, a :d had neither power to fight nor fly. 1 hen said Faint, heat, Deliver thy purse; but he making no h:i-:te to do it (for he was loath to lose his money), Mistrust ran up to him, and thrusting liis hand into iiis pocket, pulled out thence a hag of silver. Then he

Cc) Prov. v. 22.

HS

cried out, Thieves! thieves! With that Guilt, with a great club that was in his hand, struck LittleFaith on the head, and with that blow felled hiin flat to the ground; where lie lay bleeding as one that would bleed to death. All this while the thieves stood by. But at last, they hearing that some were upon the road, and fearing lest it should be one Great-Grace, that dwells in the city of Good-Confidence, the)- betook themselves to their heels, and left this good man to shift for himself. Now after a while Little-Faith came to himself, and getting up, made a shift to scramble on his way. This was the story.

Hope. But did they take from him all that ever he had?

C/ir. No: the plac?. where his jewels were they never ransacked; so these he kept still. But, as I was told, the good man was much afflicted for his loss; for the thieves got most of his spendingnioney. That which they got not (as I said) were jewels; also he had a little odd money left, but scarce enough to bring him to his journey's end; nay (if I was not misinformed) he was forced to beg as he went, to keep himself alive; for his jewels he might not sell. But beg and do what he could, he went (as we sav) with many a hungry belly, the most part of the rest of the way (d).

Hope. But is it not a wonder they got not from him his certificate, by which he was to receive his admittance at the ( celestial gate?

Chr. 'Tis a wonder; but they got not that; though they missed it not through any good cunning of his; for he being dismayed with their coming upen him, had neither power nor skill to hide Hiry thing, so it was more by good providence, than by his endeavour, that they missed of that good thing.(e).

Hope. But it must needs be a comfort to him, that they got not his jewels from him.

Chr. It might have been a great comfort to him, had he used it as he should; but they that told me the story, said, that he made but little use of it all. the rest of the way; and that because of the dismay that he hati in taking away his money; indeed he forgot it a great part of the rest of his journey ; and besides, when at any time it came into his mind, and he began to becomforted therewith, then would fresh thoughts of his loss come again upon him, and tiiose thoughts would swallow up all.

Hope. Alas, poor man! this could not but be a great grief to him.

Chr. Grief! ay, a grief indeed. Would it not have been so to any of us, had we been used as he, t(j be robbed and wounded too, and that in a strange place, as he was? 'Tis a wonder he did not die with grief, poor heart: I was told that he scattered almost all the rest of the way with nothing but doleful and bitter complaints: telling also to all that overtook him; or that he overtook in the way as he went, where he was robbed, and how; who they were that did it, and what he lost; how he was wounded, and that be hardly escaped with his life.

Hope. But it is a wonder that his necessity did not put him upon selling or pawning some of his jewels, that he might have wherewithal to relieve himself in bis journey.

Chr. Thou talkest like one upon whose head is the shell to this very day: For what should he pawn them? or to whom should he sell them? In all that country where he was robbed, his jewels were not accounted of; nor did he want that relief which could from thence be administered to him. Besides, had his jewels been missing at the gate of the ccelestial city," he had (and that he knew well enough) been excluded from an inheritance there, and that would have been worse to him than the appearance and villany of ten thousand thieves.

Hope. Why art thou so tart, my brother? Esau sold his hirth-right, and that tor a mess of pottage', and that hirth-right was his greatest jewel; and if he, why might not Little-Faith do so too (/).

'Clir. Esau did sell his hirth-right indeed, and so do many besides, and by so doing excluded themselves from the chief blessing, as also that caitiff did; but you must put a difference betwixt Esau and Little-Faith, and also betwixt their 'estate*. Esau's hirth-right was typical, but Little-faith's jewels were not so. Esau's belly was his God, but Little-Faith's belly was not so. Esau's want lay in his fleshly appetite, Little Faith's did not so: besides, Esau could see no farther than to the fulfilling of his lu.-ts: "For I am at the point to die, (said he) and what good will this hirth-right do me (g) r" But Little-Faith, though it was his lot to have but a little faith, was by his little faith kept from such extravagances, and made to see and prize his jewels more, than to sell them as Esau did his hirth-right. You read not any where that Esau had faith, ho, not so much as a little; therefore no marvel, if where the flesh only bears sway (as it will in that man where no faith is to resist), if he sells his birth right, and liis soul and all, and that to the devil of hell: for it

with such as it is with the ass, "who in her occasions cannot be turned away (h)" When their minds are set upon their lusts, they will have them, whatever they cost; but Little-Faith was of another temper; his mind was on things divine; his livelihood was upon things that were spiritual and fiom above; therefore, to wha* end shcuhl he, that is of such a temper, sell his jewels (had there been any that would have bought them) to (ill his mind with empty things? Will a man give a penny to fill his

* y

(/) lleb. xii. 16'. (g)-Gen. xxv. 32. (A) Jcr. ii. 24.

belly with hay? or can you persuade the turtle-dore to live upon carrion like the crow? Though faithless ones can, for carnal lusts, pawn, or mortgage, or sell what they have, and themselves outright to boot; yet, they that have faith, saving faith, though but a little of it, cannot do so. Here therefore, my brother, is thy mistake.

Hope. I acknowledge it; but yet your severe reflection had almost made me angry.

Chr. What, I did but compare thee to some of the hirds that are of the brisker sort, who will run to and fro, in untrodden paths, with the shell upon their heads: but pass by that, and consider the matter under debate, and all shall be well betwixt thee and me.

Hope. But, Christian, these three fellows, I am persuaded in my heart, are but a company of cowards: would they have run else, think you, as tbey did, at the noise of one that was coming on the road? Why did not Little-Faith pluck up a greater heart? He might, methinks, have stood one brush with them, and have yielded when there ha J been no remedy.

Chr. That they are cowards, many have said, but few have found it so in the time of trial. As for a great heart, Little-Faith had none; and I perceive hy thee, my brother, hadst thou been the man concerned, thou art but for a brush, and then to yield. And verily, since this is the height of thy stomach, now they are at a distance from us, should they appear to thee, as they did to him, they might put thee to second thoughts.

But.consider again, they are but journeymen thieves, they serve under the king of the bottomless pit; who, if need be, will come in to their did tiimself, and his v»ice is as the roaring of a lion (j); I myself have been engaged as this Little-Faith was,, and I found it a terrible thmg. These three villains

(*) 1 Peler v. 8.

set upon me, and I beginning like a christian to resist, they gave but a call, and in came their master; 1 would (as the saying is), have given my life for a penny; but that, as God would have it, I was clothed with armour of proof. Ay, and yet, though I was so harnessed, I found it hard work to quit myself like a man; no man can tell what in that com'bat attended us, but he that hath been in the battle fejmself.

Hope. Well, but they ran you see, when they did but suppose that one Great-Grace was in the way.

Chr. True, they have often fled, both they and their master, when Great-Grace hath but appeared: and no marvel; for he is the King's champion. But, I trow, you will put some difference between LittleFaith and the King's champion. All the King's subjects are not his champions; nor can they, when tried, do such feats of war as he. Is it meet to think, that a little child should handle Goliath ass David did? Or, that there should be the strength of an ox in a wren? Some are strong, some are weak; some have great faith, some have little; this man was one of the weak, and therefore he went to the wall.

Hope. I would it had been Great-Grace for their sakes.

Chr. If it had been he, he might have had his ( hands full: for I must tell you, that though GreatGrace is excellent good at his weapons, and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at the sword's point, do well enough with them; yet if they get within him, evenjFaint-lieart, Mistrust, or the other, it will go hard, but they will throw up his heels. And when a man is down, you know, what can he do?

Whoso looks well upon Great-Grace's face, shall see those scars and cuts there, that shall easily give demonstration of what I say. Yea, once I heard, that he should say, (and that when he was in the oombat) " We despaired even of life." How did these sturdy rogues and their fellows make David groan, mourn, and roar? Yea, Heman and Hezekiah. too, though champions in their days, were forced to bestir them, when by these assaulted; and yet, notwithstanding, they had their coats soundly brushed by them. Peter, upon a time, would go try what he could do; but though some do say of him, that he is the prince of the apostles, they handled him so, that they made him at last afraid of a sorry girl.

Besides, their king is at their whistle: he is never out of hearing; and if at any time they he put to the worst, he, if possible, comes in to help them: And of him it is said, "The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon: he esteernetb iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; sling-stones are turned with him into stubble; darts are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear (£)." What can a man do in this case? 'Tis true, if a man could at every turn have Job's horse, and had skill and courage to ride him, he might do notable things. "For his neck is clothed with thunder; he will not be afraid as the grasshopper; the glory of his nostrils is terrible: he paweth in the valley, rejoiceth in his strength, and goeth out to meet the armed men. He mocketh at tear, and is not affrighted, neither turneth back from the sword. The quiver ratileth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swallowetri the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thundering of the captains, and the shouting (/)."

But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire to meet with an enemy, nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we hear of others mat they have been forled, nor be tickled at the ihoughts

(at) Job. xli. J6, &c. (Q Job. xxxix. 19, &c.

H *

of our own manhood: for such commonly come by the worst when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before: lie would swagger, aye he would: he would, as his vain mind prompted him to say, do better, and stand more for his master than all men; but who was so foiled and run down by these villains as he?

When, therefore, we hear that such robberies are done on the King's highway, two things become us to do: 1. To go out harnessed, and to be sure to take a shield with us: for it was for want of that, that he that laid so lustily at Leviathan, could not make him yield. And, indeed, if that be wanting, lie fears us not at all. Therefore he that had skill, bath said, " Above all take the shield of faith, f/herewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked

It is good also that we desire of the King a convoy, yea, that he will go with us himsell. This made'David rejoice when in the Valley of the Shadow of Death; and Moses was rather for dying where he stood, than to go one step without his God. O my brother, if he will but go along with us, what need we be afraid of ten thousands, that shall set themselves against us, but without him "the proud helpers fall under the slain («)."

I, for my part, have been in the fray before now, and though (through the goodness of him that is best) I am as you see alive; yet I cannot boast of my manhood. Glad shall I be if 1 meet with no more such brunts, though I fear we are not got beyond all danger. However, since the lion and the bear have not as yet devoured me, I hope God will also ^deliver us from the next uncircumcised Philistine. Then sang Christian,

Poor Little-Faith! hast been among the thieves!
Wast robb'd! Remember this whoso believes,
And get more faith; then shall You victors be
Over ten thousand, else scarce over three.

So they went on, and Ignorance followed. They went then till they carpe at a place where they saw a way put itself into their way, and seemed withal to lie as straight as the way which they should go; and here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them ; therefore here they stood still to consider. And as they were thinking about the way, behold a man black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there? They answered, They were going to the ccelestial city, but knew not which of these ways to take. Follow me, said the man, it is thither that I am going. So they followed him in the way that but now came into the road, which by degrees turned, and turned them so from the city, that they desired to go to, that in a little time their faces were turned away from it; yet they followed him. But, by-and-by, before they were aware, he led them both within the compass of a net, in which they were both so entangled, that they knew not what to do; and with that the white robe fell off the black man's back: then they saw where they were. Wherefore there they lay crying sometime, for they could not get themselves out.

Chr. Then said Christian to his fellow, Now do I 'see myself in an error. Did not the Shepherds hid us beware of the Flatterer? As is the saying of the wise man, so we have found it this day: "A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a, net for his feet (o)."

Hope. They also gave us a note of directions about the way, for our more certain (indiug thereof; but therein we have also forgotten to read, ar»4

(o) Piov. Wh. 5*

y have not kept ourselves from the paths of the destroyer. Here David was wiser than we; for saith he, "Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer (p)." Thus they lay bewailing themselves f in the net. At last they espied a Shining One coming towards them, with a whip 6T small cord in his hand. When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them, Whence they came, and what they did there? They told him, that they were poor pilgrims going to Sion, but were led out of the way by a black man, clothed in white; who hid us, said they, follow him, for he was going thither too. Then said he with the whip, It is the Flatterer, a false apostle, that hath transformed himself into an angel of light (j). So he rent the net, and let the men out. Then said he to them; Follow me, that I may set you in your way again; so he led them hack to the way, which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, saying, Where did you lie the last night? They said, With the Shepherds upon the Delectable Mountains. He asked them then, If they had not a note of directions for the way? They answered, Yes. But did you, said he, when you were at a stand, pluck out and read your note? They answered, No. He asked them, Why? They said, They forgot. He asked moreover, If the Shepherds did not hid them beware of the Flatterer? They answered, Yes; but we did not imagine, said they, that this fine spoken man had been he.

Then I saw in my dream, that he commanded them to lie down; which when they did, he chastised them sore, to teach them the good way wherein they should walk (r). And as he chastised them, he said, " As many as I love I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent (s)?" This done,

(p) Psalm, xvii. 4. (q) 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14.

(s) Rev. iii. 19.

he bid them go on their way, and take good heed to the other directions of the Shepherds. So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went softly along the right way singing:

Come hither, you that walk along the way,
See how the pilgrims fare that go astray;
They catched are in an entangled net,
'Cause they good counsel lightly did forget.
^Tis true they rescued were, but yet you see
They're scourg'd to boot: let this your caution be.

Explanatory Notes.

A NEW but a very common character presents itself tu this chapter. Ignorance is the name of every natural man. We are all born in the country of Conceit. "Being igno"rant of the righteousnesness" required by the law, and therighteousness of Christ revealed in the gospel, "we go about "(as the Jews did), to establish our own righteousness, not "submitting ourselves to the righteousness of God,"Rom. x. 3. Such persons think to be saved as well as others, because they are good livers;—pay every man his own, and perform some religious duties; but they know nothing of Christ, as the Door and the Way; and will be accounted tkieves in the day of God; because they rob him of the glory of his grace, as it reigns in a sinner's salvation, through faith in the righteousness of Christ.

An awful scene was beheld by Christian and his companion. A professor named Turn-away, being bound with seven cords, was led by devils to the door of the by-way to hell. On his hack was written, "Wanton professor, and "damnable apostate." Let this striking passage impress every reader's mind! Who is a wanton professor ?—The man, who wishing to be thought a christian, discovers a light, trifling, worldly, wanton spirit;—goes to ihe utmost bounds of every thing lawful:—dreads not the appearance of evil;— pleads for compliance with the s-pirit, fashions, and amusements of the carnal world ;—freely associates with the enemies of the Lord ; and cries out amidst all, What harm This is the wanton professor; and it is an hundred to one, if, in a little time, he become not a damnabh apostate. From such a beginning, and such an end, good Lord deliver us!

A very useful lesson may lie learned from the rubbery her« related. A good man, called Little-Faith, happened to sleep on the road. Just as he awaked, three sturdy fellows attacked him, knocked him down, and robbed him of all his iilver; and liad not Great-Grace interposed, he had been murdered. The meaning is, that weak believers are very liable to lose tjjeir spiritual comforts. Faint-heartedness in the cause of Christ, and Mistrust of Ged's faithfulness, often bring Guilt upon the conscience, and deprive a sincere christian of his sensible comforts (kere compared to pocket money). But his jewels were yet safe. His new nature; and his precious faith, were in the custody of Christ, and out of the reach of thieves. It may be observed, that Little. Faith, though weak, was sincere. He mourned for the loss of God's presence, and his affliction did not drive him to the 'world for comfort. His affections were set upon things above: "he could not live upon Esau's pottage," nor " feed on car"rion like the crow." True faith, however weak, distinguishes its possessor from the world; though it may not place him above fear and disceuragtment. But let the weakest of the flock take courage; they are as dear to Christ as the strong: and his "Great-Grace" is engaged to keep them to> the end, and make them more than conquerors. Poor Hopeful boasted a little too much; as those are apt to do who never were exercised as Little-Faith was. But the best improvement we can make of the falls of others is to mistrust ourselves, watch and pray; "take care to go out •* harnessed, and to beg of Christ for a convoy, or rather "that he would go with us himself."

Thus edifying each other, by useful conversation, who could have thought our pilgrims in danger? But they had forgotten "the note of the way," and the caution of the Shepherds, "to beware of the Flatterer." Their road seemed to branch out into two, that appeared parallel. Had they examined the note of the way, or the word of God, they had kept the light path. Rut the Flatterer was consulted, whose advice and example they followed, till they were entangled in his net. By this we may understand the danger of those principles or practices which promote pride and selflove. The Arminian notion of self-righteousness leads us from Christ; and the Antinomian idea, that we are so strong in the failh that we need not be so precise and scrupulous as others, is equally dangerous. These, or the praise of men, puffup 'he mind, and -adly entangle the soul. But, happy for the pilgrims, the Shining One appeared, and set them free. Christ will not leave his people in the net, but "visit

their transgression wtth the rod, and so "restore their souls."

Often thus, thro' sin's deceit,
Grief, and shame, and loss I meet;
Like a fish, my soul mistook,
Saw the bait, but not the hook:
Made^by past experience, -wise,
Let me learn thy word to prize;'
Taught by what I've felt before,
Satan's flattery to abhor.