I saw then in my dream, that Hopeful looked back, and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, coming after: Look, said he to Christian, how far yonder youngster loitereth behind.
Chr. Ay, ay, I see him; he^careth not for our company.
Hope. But I trow it would not have hurt him had he kept, with us hitherto.
Chr. That's true, but I'll warrant you he thinketh otherwise.
6 . 1
Hope. That I think he doth; but however let us tarry for him. So they did.
Then Christian said to him, Come away, man, why do you stay so behind?
Ignor. I take my pleasure in walking alone, even more a great deal than in company, unless I like it better.
Then said Christian to Hopeful (but softly), Did I not tell you he cared not for our company? But, however, said he, Come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Then directing lus speech to Ignorance, -he said, Come, how do you? how stands it between God and your soui now?
Ignor, I hope well, for I am a'ways full of good motions, that corns iuto my mind to comfort me asI walk.
C&r. What gori.-l n» tioas? pray tell as.
Ignor. Why I think of Goi ami Heaven.
Ckr. So do the devils and dawned soak.
Ignor. Bat I think of tfoetn and desire them.
Chr. So do many tltat are-never liE.eto come there. tf Tns soul of the slusyaasd desireth, and hath no"thiog(fl)."
Ignor. But I think of them, and leave alt for them. 'Chr. That I doubt; for to leare all is a very hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of: but v.-by, or by what, art thou-persuaded, that thou has left all for God and Heaven?
Ignor. My heart tells me so.
Chr. The wise man says, " He that trusts his own "' heart is a fool."
Ignor. That is spoken of an evil heart ; but mine is a good one.
Chr: But how dost thou prove that?
Ignor. It comforts me in hopes of Heaven.
Chr. That may be througa its deceitfulness; for it man's heart may minister comfort ta him in the
(d) Proy. xiii. 4.
hones of that thing for which he has yet no ground to nope.
Jgnor. But my heart and life agree together, and therefore my hope is well grounded.
Chr. Who told thee tliat thy heart and life agree together.
Ignor. My heart tells me so.
Chr. Ask my fellow, if I be a thief? Thy heart tells thee so! Except the word of God beareth witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.
Jgnor. But is it not a good heart that has goo I thoughts? and is not that a good life, that is according to God's commandments?
Chr. Yes, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts; and that is a good life, that is according to God's commandments: but it is one thing indeed to have these, and another thing only to think so.
Jgnor. Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life according to God's commandments?
Chr. Theie are good thoughts of divers kinds; some respecting ourselves, some God, soma Christ, and some other things.
Ignor. What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?'
Chr. Such as agree with the word of God.
Jgnor. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of God?
Chr. When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves .which the word passes. To explain myself: The word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, " There is rione righteous, there is none that "doth good (6)." It saith also, " That every ima*' gihation of the heart of man is only evil, and that "continualiy(f)." And again, " The imagination of "man's heart is evil from his youth." Now then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of God.
(6) Boin. iii. (c) Gtn. vi. 5.
Ignor. I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.
Chr. Therefore thou never hadst one goed thought concerning thyself in thy life. But let me go on. As the word passeth a judgment upon our heart, so it passeth judgment upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgment which the word givetii of both, then are both good, because agreeing t!fereto.
Ignor. Make out your meaning.
Chr. Why, the word of God saith, that man's ways are crooked ways; not good, but perverse : It saiih, they are naturally out of the good way; that they have not known it (d\ Now when a man thus thinketh of his ways; I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliatio i thus think, tho hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree w'th the judgment of the word of God.
Ignor. What are good thoughts concerning God?
Chr. Even (as I have said concerning ours Jvis} when cur thoughts of God ('o agree with what the word saith of him; and that is, when we think of his being and attributes as the word hath taught; of which I cannot now discourse at large: but to speak of him in reference to us, when 'we have right thoughts of God, when we think lie knows us better than we ki.ow ourselves, and can see sin in us, when and where we can see none in ourselves : when we think he knows our inmost thoughts, and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open un'o his eye^: also when we think that all our righteousness stinks in his nostrils, and that therefore he cannot ahide to see us stand before him in any confidence, even of all our best performances.
Ignor Do you think that I am such a fool as to think God can see no farther than I? Or, thr:t I would come to Gud in the best of my performances?
Chr. Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
Ignor. Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.
Chi: Haw! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not the need of him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities, but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou dost, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see t e necessity of Christ's personal righteousness to justify thec before God. How then dost th:,u say i believe" in Christ.
Jgnor. I believe well enough for all that.
Chr. How dost thou believe?
Jgnor. I believe thaf Christ died for sinners, and that I shall be justified i.efore God from the curse, tthioqgla his gracious acceptance of my obedience to Jhjsllaw; «*'s tti-ws, Cfe'tst«*i:i''es«ay wanks, ibfeaftaae
tMw, Lett ms give am su& unit this e«*Sess«w» ©f
t% tit t^k
. B. i bxaa 6»elwTe*(t T»tt$» a feoAastieal fait It; forthis faithi is, vo' wltora.describeJ fa» the wro.rdL
2. Thou: believes* with*a fats* faith, because it tnkethi justification from the personal righteousness: of Christ, and applies it to thy own.
:3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but fif thy abof ns j- and of thy person, for thy actions sake, which is false.
4. 'J herefore this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath in the day of God AU mighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul (as. sensible, of its lest condition by the raw) upon flying lor refuge unto'-.Christ's r.glitcousncss: (which, righteousness of his is not a.i act of grace, by which lie maketh, for justification, thy obedienoe accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and surlering for us what that required at ■ our hands.) This righteousness, I say, true faith accepted); under the skirt of which the soul being
shrouded, arid by it presented as spotless before God, it is accepted, and acquitted from condemnation.
Ignor. What, would you have us trust to what Christ in his own person hath done without us? This conceit would loosen the reins of our lust, and tolerate us to live as we list: for what matter how wje live, if we may be justified by Christ's personal righteousness, from*all our sins,wheu we believe it?
C/ir- Ignorance is thy name; and as thy name is, so art thou; even this thy answer demonstrated what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul through the faith of it from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorsntly imagiuest.
Hope. Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from Heaven.
Ignor. What! you are a man for revelation! I do believe that what both you and all the rest of you say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains.
Hvpe. Why man! Christ is so hid in G.^d fVom the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that he cannot, by any man, be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals him to them.
Ignor. That is your faith, but not mine; yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.
Chr. Give me leave to put in a word: you ought not to speak so slightly of this matter: For th s I will boldly affirm (even as my good companion hath done) that no man can know Jesus Christ, but by the revelation of the Father (*?). Yea, an J faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon Christ, (if it be right) must be wrought by the exceeding greatnesses) Matt xi. 27.
of his mighty power (/"). The working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance thou art ignorant of. Be awakened then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and bv his righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, (for he himself is God) thou shalt be delivered from condemnation. -'
Ignor. You go so fast, I cannot keep pice with you: do you go on before; I must stay awhile behind.
Then they said:
Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be
To-slight good counsel ten times given thee?
And it thou yet refus* it, thou shalt know,
Ere long, the evil of thy doing so,
Remember, man, in time; stoop, do not fear;
Good counsel taken well secures; then hear:
.But if thou yet shalt slight it, thou wilt be
The loser, Ignorance, I'll warrant thee.
Then Christian addressed himself thus to his fellow:
Chr. Well, come my good Hopeful, I perceive that thou and I must walk by ourselves again.
So I saw in my dream, that they went on apace before, and Ignorance he came hobbling after. Then said CTrristian to his companion, I am much grieved for thi^poor man; it will certainly go hard with him at last.
Hope. Alas! there are abundance in our town in this condition; whole families, yea. whole streets, rind that of pilgrims too; and if there^be so many in our parts, how many, think you, must there be in the place where he was born?
Chr. Indeed the word saith, "He hath blinded
their eyes, lest they should see," &c. But now we are by ourselves, what do you think of such men I Have they at no time, think you, conviction of sin, and so, consequently, fears that their state is dangerous?
Hope.. Nay,, do you answer that question yourSelf,, for you are the elder man.
C'/ir.. Then I say; sometimes (as I think) they may ; but they being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them; and presumptuously continue to Hatter themselves, in the way of their own hearts.
Hope. I do believe, as you say, that fear tends, much to men's good, and to make-them right at their beginihg to go on pilgrimage.
Chr. Without all doubt it doth, if it be right; forso says the word, " The fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom (g)"
Hope. How will you describe right fear;
Chr. True, or right fear, is discovered by three things:
1. By its rise. It is caused by saving convictions for sin.
2. It driveth the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
3. ft begettcth and continueth in the soul a great reverence of God, his word and ways, keep- . ing it tender, and making it afraid to turn from.: them to the right-hand, or to the lej*; to any thing that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproach— fully.
Hope. Well said; I believe you have said the: truth. Are we now almost got past the Enchanted. Ground?
Chr. Why, art thou weary of this discourse? (g) Job. xxviii, 28. Psa1racxi. 10, Pror. i. 7. chap, be, lft).
Hope. No, verily; but that I would know where we arc.
Chr. We have not now above two miles farther to go thereon. But let us return to our matter. Now the ignorant know not that sucli convictions as . tend to put them in fear, are for their good, and therefore they seek to stirle them.
Hope. How do they seek to stifle them? Chr. I. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil (ihough indeed they are wrought of God); and thinking so, they resist them, as things that directly tend to their overthrow. 2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith (when, alas, for them, poor men that they are! they have none at all) and therefore they harden their hearts against them. 3. They presume they ought not to fear, and therefore in despite of them wax presumptuously confident. 4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self-holiness, and therefore they resist them with all their might.
Hope. I know something of this myself; before 1 knew myself it was so with me.
dir. Well, we will leave at this time our neighbour Ignorance by himself, and fall upon another "profitable question.
Hope. With all my heart, but you shall still begin. Chr. Well then, did you know, about ten years ago, one Temporary in our parts, who was a forward man in religion then? . .
Hope. Know him! yes, he dwelt in Graceless, a town about two miles oil' of Honesty, and he dwelt next door to one Turnhack.
Chr. Ki^ht, lie dwelt under the same .roof with him. Well, that man was much awakened once; I believe that then he had some sight of his sins, and of the wages that were due thereto.
Hope. 1 am of your mind, for (my house not being above three miles from him) he would oftentimes come to me, audthat with many tears. Truly I pitied the man, and was not altogether without .. hope of him: but one may see, it is not every one' that cries, Lord, Lord.
Chr. He told me once, that he was resolved to go on pilgrimage, as we go now ; but all on a sudden he grew acquainted with one Saveself, and then he became a stranger to me.
Hope. Now since we are talking about him, let us a little inquire into the reason of the sadden hacksliding ot him and such others.
Chr. It may be very profitable, hut do you begin. Hope. Weil then, there are, in my judgment, four reasons for it.
1. Though the consciences of such men are awakened, yet their minds are not changed; therefore, when the power of guilt weareth away, that which provoketb them to be religious ceaseth: wherefore they naturally return to their own course again; even as we see the dog that is sick of what he hath eaten, so long as his sickness prevails, he vomits and casts up all: Not that he doeth this of a free mind, if we may say a dog has a mind, but because it troubleth bis stomach: but now when his sickness is over, and his stomach eased, his desire* being not at all alienated from his vomit,- he turns him about, and licks up all ; and so it is true which is written, "Tne dog is turned to his own vo:n:t again (/*)." Thus, I say, being hot for heaven by virtue only of the sense of and fear of torments of hell: as that sense of hell, and fear of damnation chills and cools, so their desires for heiven and salvation cool also. So then it comes to pass that when their guilt and fear is gone, their desires for heaven and happiness die, and they return to their course again.
2. Another reason is, they have slavish fears that do over-master them; I speak now of the fears that they have of men: "For the fear of men bt ingetbi
(A) 2 Peter ii. 22.
a snare (/).' So then, though they seem to be hot for heaven so long as the flames of hell are about their ears, yet when that terror is a little over, they betake themselves to second thoughts; namely, that 'tis good to be wise, and not to run, for they knrow not what, the hazard of losing all, or at least of bringing themselves into unavoidable and unnecessary troubles, and so they fall in with the world again.
3. The shame that attends religion lies also as a block in their way; they are proud and haughty, and religion in their eye is low and contemptible: Therefore, when they have lost their sense of hell, and wrath to come, they return again to their former course. *
4. Guilt, and to meditate terror, are grievous toi them ; they like not to see their misery before they come into it, though perhaps the sight of it at first, if they loved that sight, might make them fly whither the righteous fly and are safe; but because they do as I hinted before, even shut the thoughts of guilt and terror, therefore when once they are rid of their awakenings about the terrors and wrath of God,, they harden their hearts gladly, and choose such ways as will harden them more and more.
Chr. You are pretty near the business; for the bottom of all is, for want of a change in their mind and will. And therefore they are but like the felon that standeth before the judge ; be quakes and trembles, and seems to repent most heartily; but the bottom of all is, the fear of the halter; not that be bath any detestation of the offence, as is evident; because, let but this man have his liberty, and he will be a thief, and so a rogue still; whereas, if his mind was changed, he would be otherwise.
Hope. Now I have showed you the reasons of their going hack, do you show me the manner thereof.
Chr. So I will willingly.
(i) Prov. xxix. 25.
1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death and judgment to come.
2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lust, watching, sorrow for sin, &c.
3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm christians.
4. After that they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.
5. Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly, and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmities they have 'spied in them) behind their backs.
6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with carnal, loose, and wanton men.
7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they, if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the-more boldly do it through their example.
8. After this, they begin to play with little sins openly.
8. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perisn in their o»vn deceivings.
IT is somewhat surpri>ing that the Pilgrim's Progress should be universally esteemed, seeing that it condemns the far greater part of those who read it. To instance in this chapter only ;—Doei not Ignorance speak the language of most nominal christians? Da we not hear them tay with ldm, "They hope well, for their hearti are always full of food motioni:—they have very good beart<, and they believe in Christ for justification?" But let their condition be truly examined, and it vrill appear, " that they never had one good or right thought of themselves in their lives ;—that their faith is false, fantastical, and deceitful, and that they do not trust in Christ, but in themselves." How many deceive their own souls in this matter? They say they believe in Christ, and trust in him, though they never saw their lost condition, and consequently their need of him; are unacquainted with the nature of his righteousness, and ridicule the idea of his imputation to the believer. Their dependence is on what they do, or (which is nearly the same) on whst is done in them. They despise christian experience as enthusiasm, and think that trusting to the righteousness of Christ, leads to licentiousness. Such is the language both of the parlour and the pulpit in this day; and yet, though it is here so justly exposed, every body admires the Pilgrim's Progress! How sad, yet how true, is the reflection of Hopeful—" Alas! there are abundance in every town in this con, dition; whole families, yea, whole streets, and that of professed christians too !" The Lord lessen their number daily by the light of his glorious gospel.
Another character, if possible, more awful than that of Ignorance, next claims our attention. One Temporary, "a forward man in religion many years ago." It is said, when we are constrained to speak of any person's religion, as a past thing, not a present one; for that religien which is cf God, will continue and ahide. Divine grace in the heart, is compared by our Saviour (John iv. 14.) to "a well of water springing up to everlasting life." Final apostates prove on the other hand, that they never possessed real grace: for St. John thus argues, ** They went out from us but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not. all of us," 1 John ii. 19. The cause of Temporary's backsliding was, becoming acquainted with ene Saveself. Reader, beware of him, for he has been the ruin of many. Nothing but a new and divine nature, is sufficient to make a man persevere to the end. Temporary convictions and fears of hell often wear away. The dog and the swine, though sick, or washed, are brutes still: and will, sooner or later, return to their natural courses. The authoi has judiciously described the steps by which an apostle goes back;—Header, please to review them ; observe and remember them; and watcjk and pray, lest thou enter into temptation.