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Pilgrim's Progress - Chapter 5

CHRISTIAN MEETS FAITHFUL

As Christian went on his way, he came to a hill which was cast up on purpose that pilgrims might see before them. Up Christian went; and looking forward, he saw Faithful before him upon his journey.

Then said Christian aloud, “Ho, ho! So-ho! stay, and I will be your companion.” At that Faithful looked behind him, and Christian cried again, “Stay, stay, till I come up to you.” But Faithful answered “No, I am fleeing for my life, and the avenger of blood is behind me.”

At this Christian was somewhat moved; and putting forth all his strength, he quickly got up with Faithful, and outran him: so the last was first. Then did Christian boastfully smile, because he had gotten in front of his brother; but, not taking good heed to his feet, he suddenly stumbled and fell, and could not rise again until Faithful came up to help him.

Then I saw in my dream, they went very lovingly on together, and talked together of all things that had happened to them in their pilgrimage; and thus Christian began:

CHRISTIAN:   I am glad that I have overtaken you, and that God has so tempered our spirits that we can walk as companions in this pleasant path.

FAITHFUL:   I had thought, dear friend, to have had your company from our town; but you got the start of me, wherefore I was forced to come alone.

CHRISTIAN:   How long did you stay in the City of Destruction before you set out after me on your pilgrimage?

FAITHFUL:   Till I could stay no longer; for there was great talk after you were gone that our city would, in a short time, be burned to the ground.

CHRISTIAN:   What! did your neighbors talk so?

FAITHFUL:   Yes, it was for a while in everybody’s mouth.

CHRISTIAN:   What! and did none but you come out to escape the danger?

FAITHFUL:   Though there was, as I said, a great talk thereabout, yet, I do not think they did really believe it. For I heard some of them laughingly speak of you and of your desperate journey; for so they called this your pilgrimage. But I believe that the end of our city will be with fire and brimstone from above; therefore I have made my escape.

THEY DISCUSS PLIABLE

CHRISTIAN:   Did you hear any talk of Pliable?

FAITHFUL:   Yes, Christian; I heard that he followed you till he came to the Slough of Despond, where, as some said, he fell in.

CHRISTIAN:   And what did the neighbors say to him?

FAITHFUL:   Some mock and despise him, and scarce any will give him work. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the city.

CHRISTIAN:   But why should they be set so against him, since they dislike the way he forsook?

FAITHFUL:   Oh, they say, “Hang him; he is a turncoat! he was not true to his profession!” I think god has stirred up even his enemies to hiss at him and laugh at him, because he hath forsaken the way.

CHRISTIAN:   Had you any talk with him before you left?

FAITHFUL:   I met him once in the streets, but he shrank away, as one ashamed of what he had done, so I spake not to him.

CHRISTIAN:  Well, at my first setting out, I had hopes of that man, but now I fear he will perish in the overflow of the city.

FAITHFUL:   These are my fears of him too; but who can hinder that which will be?

CHRISTIAN:   Well, neighbor Faithful, let us leave him, and talk of things that more immediately concern ourselves. Tell me now what you have met with in the way as you came; for I know you have met with many things – some good and some hard to endure.

FAITHFUL’S EXPERIENCES

FAITHFUL:   I escaped the slough that you fell into, and got up to the gate without that danger; only I met with one whose name was Wanton, that like to have done me much harm.

CHRISTIAN:   It is well you escaped her net. Joseph was tempted by her, and he escaped her as you did; but it like to have cost him his life.

CHRISTIAN:   Did you meet with any other assault?

FAITHFUL:   When I came to the foot of the hill called difficulty, I met with a very aged man, who said his name was Adam the First, and that he dwelt in the town of Deceit. I asked him then about his work, and what wages he would give. He told me that his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his heir at last. I further asked him what house he kept, and what other servants he had. So he told me that his house was filled with all the dainties of the world and that his servants were his own children. Then I asked him how many children he had. He said that he had but three daughters, the Lust of the flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, and that I should marry them if I would. Then I asked how long time he would have me live with him? And he told me, As long as he lived himself.

CHRISTIAN:   Well, and what conclusion came the old man and you to at last?

FAITHFUL:   Why at first I found myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, “Put off the old man with his deeds.”

CHRISTIAN:   And how then?

FAITHFUL:   Then it came burning hot into my mind, that whatever he said and however he flattered, when he got home to his house he would sell me for a slave. So I told him I would not come near his house. Then he cursed me and said that he would make my way bitter to my soul. So I went on my way up the hill. When I got about halfway up, I looked behind me, and saw one coming after me, swift as the wind; so he overtook me just about the place where the arbor stands.

CHRISTIAN:   Just there did I sit down to rest me; but being overcome with sleep, I there lost this roll out of my bosom.

FAITHFUL:   But, good brother, hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me he struck me a deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down and I lay at his feet as if dead. When I came to myself, I asked him why he did me so. He replied because I had almost gone in with Adam the First. I cried out for mercy but he said, “I know not how to show mercy”; and, with that, he knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by, and bade him forbear.

CHRISTIAN:   Who was that that bade him forbear?

FAITHFUL:   I did not know Him at first; but, as He went by, I perceived the holes in His hands and His side; then I concluded that He was our Lord. So I went up the hill.

CHRISTIAN:   But tell me, did you not meet anyone in the Valley of Humiliation?

FAITHFUL:   Yes, I met with discontent, who would have persuaded me to go back with him: his reason was, that the valley was altogether without honor. He told me, moreover, that to go was the way to disoblige all my friends, as Pride, Arrogancy, Self-Conceit, Worldly-Glory, with others, who would be very much offended if I made such a fool of myself as to wade through this valley.

CHRISTIAN:   Well, and how did you answer him?

FAITHFUL:   I told him that he had quite misrepresented the thing; for before honor is humility, and a haughty spirit before a fall. “Therefore,” said I, “I had rather go through this valley for it was considered the wisest thing to do by those who know.”

CHRISTIAN:   Met you with nothing else in that valley?

FAITHFUL:   Yes, I met with Shame; but of all the men that I met with in my pilgrimage, he, I think, bears the wrong name. The others would take “No” for an answer, at least after some words of denial; but this bold faced Shame would never have done.

SHAME A BOLD VILLAIN

CHRISTIAN:  Why, what did he say to you?

FAITHFUL:   What? Why, he objected against religion itself. He said it was a pitiful, low sneaking business for a man to mind religion. He said that a tender conscience was an unmanly thing; and that for a man to watch over his words and ways, so as to deprive himself of that liberty that the brave spirits of the times accustomed themselves unto, would make him the ridicule of all the people in our time.

He said also that religion made a man grow strange to the great, because of a few vices (which he called by finer names) and because religion made him own and respect the base, who were of the same religious company; “and is not this,” said he, “a shame?”

CHRISTIAN:   And what did you say to him?

FAITHFUL:   Say? I could not tell what to say at first. Yea, he so abused me that my blood came up in my face. But at last I thought that shame tells me what men are, but it tells me nothing what God, or the World of God, is. Therefore, thought I, what god says is best – is best though all the men in the World are against it. Seeing, then, that God prefers His religion; seeing God prefers a tender conscience; seeing they that make themselves fools for the kingdom of heaven are wisest, and that the poor man that loveth Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates Him; Shame, depart! thou art an enemy to my salvation. But indeed, this Shame was a bold villain: I could hardly shake him off and get rid of him for he would follow me and whisper in my ear some of the failures of those who claim to have religion. But at last I told him it was in vain to follow me further; for what he despised, in those did I see most gory; and so, at last, I got past him. Then I began to sing:

“The trials that those men do meet withal.
That are obedient to the heavenly call,
Are manifold, and suited to the flesh,
And come, and come, and come again afresh;
That now, or some time else, we by them may
Be taken, overcome, and cast away.
Oh, let the pilgrims, let the pilgrims then,
Be vigilant and quit themselves like men!”

TALKATIVE OVERTAKEN

Moreover, I saw in my dream that, as they went on, Faithful, as he chanced to look on one side, saw a man whose name is Talkative walking at a distance beside them; for in this place there was room enough for them all to walk. He was a tall man, and something better looking at a distance than near at hand. To this man Faithful said:

FAITHFUL:   Friend, are you going to the heavenly country?

TALKATIVE:  I am going to that very place.

FAITHFUL:   That is well; then I hope we may have your good company.

TALKATIVE:  With a very good will, will I be your companion.

FAITHFUL:   Come on, then, and let us spend our time in talking of things that are profitable.

TALKATIVE:   To talk of things that are good is very acceptable to me and I am glad that I have met with those that are so inclined. Indeed, there are but few who care thus to spend their time, but rather speak of things that are of no profit.

FAITHFUL:   That is indeed a pity, for what things are so profitable to talk about as the things of the God of heaven?

TALKATIVE:   I like you wonderfully well, for your saying is full of the truth; and I will add, What is so pleasant, and what so profitable, as to talk of the things of god? What things so pleasant? that is, if a man has any delight in things that are wonderful. For instance, if a man delights to talk of the history or the mystery of things, or if a man loves to talk of miracles, wonders, or signs, where shall he find things written so delightfully, as in the Holy Scripture?

FAITHFUL:   That’s true; but to be profited by such things in our talk should be our aim.

TALKATIVE:   That is what I said; for to talk of such things is most profitable; for, by so doing, a man may get knowledge of many things; as of the folly of earthly things, and the benefit of things above. Besides, by this a man may learn what it is to turn from sin, to believe, to pray, to suffer, or the like; by this also a man may learn what are the great promises and comforts of the gospel, to his own enjoyment. Further by this a man may learn to answer false opinions, to prove the truth, and also to teach the ignorant.

FAITHFUL:   All this is true; and glad am I to hear these things from you.

TALKATIVE:   Alas! the want of this is why so few know their need of faith and grace in their hearts in order to have eternal life.

FAITHFUL:   But to know these things is God’s gift. No one can know them by talking about them.

TALKATIVE:  All that I know very well, for a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven; I could give you a hundred Scripture passages to prove this.

FAITHFUL:   “Well then,” said Faithful, “What is the one thing that we shall talk about at this time?“

TALKATIVE SELF-DECEIVED

TALKATIVE:   What you will. I will talk of things heavenly or things earthly; things in life or things in the gospel; things sacred or things worldly; things past or things to come; things foreign or things at home; things necessary or things accidental, provided that all be done to our profit.

Now Faithful began to wonder; and, stepping to Christian (for he walked all this while by himself) he said to him softly, “What a brave companion have we got! Surely this man will make a very excellent pilgrim.”

CHRISTIAN:   At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, “This man with whom you are so taken will deceive with his tongue, twenty who know him not.”

FAITHFUL:   Do you know him, then?

CHRISTIAN:   Know him? Yes, better than he knows himself.

FAITHFUL:  Pray what is he?

CHRISTIAN:   His name is Talkative; he lives in our town. I wonder that you do not know him.

FAITHFUL:   Whose son is he? and where does he dwell?

CHRISTIAN:   He is the son of Say-well. He lives in Prating Row, and is known to all that are acquainted with him by the name of Talkative of Prating Row; and in spite of this fine tongue, he is a sorry fellow.

FAITHFUL:   Well, he seems a very good man. I have been deceived by him.

CHRISTIAN:   Deceived! you may be sure of it. Remember the proverb, “They say, and do not”; but the kingdom of god is not in word, but in power.

His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither prayer nor sign of turning from sin. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion to all that know him. It can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, because of him. For my part, I am of opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall, and will be, if god prevent not, the ruin of many more.

FAITHFUL:  Well, I see that saying and doing are two different things, and hereafter I shall watch for the difference between them.

CHRISTIAN:   They are two things, indeed, and are as unlike as are the soul and the body. This, Talkative is not aware of but thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian, and thus he deceives his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart of life. And let us assure ourselves that, at the judgment, men shall be judged according to their fruits.

FAITHFUL DISPUTES TALKATIVE

FAITHFUL:   Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but I am sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him?

CHRISTIAN:  Why, go to him, and enter into some serious conversation about the power of religion and ask him plainly (when he has approved of it, for that he will) whether he sets it up in his heart and home.

FAITHFUL:   Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, “Come, what cheer? How is it now?”

TALKATIVE:   Thank you, well: I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time.

So Faithful put many questions to Talkative to draw him out and was soon convinced that he was a man who only talked – and had no deep faith in his heart that led him to act. At last Faithful said to him:

FAITHFUL:   Have you felt your own sins, and have you turned from them? And do your life and conduct show it the same? Or is your religion in word and in tongue, and not in deed and truth?

TALKATIVE:   Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, replied: this kind of discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions, because I do not feel bound to do so. Will you tell me why you ask such a question?

FAITHFUL:   Because I saw you were quite free to talk, and I feared that you had only notions about things. Besides, to tell you all the truth, I have heard of you that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your life gives your mouth-profession the lie.

TALKATIVE:   Since you are ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly, I must conclude you are some peevish or cross man, not fit to be talked with; and so adieu.

CHRISTIAN:   Then came up Christian, and said to Faithful, “I told you how it would happen; your words and his heart could not agree. He had rather leave your company than reform his life.”

“How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!
How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes
To drive down all before him! But so soon
As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon
That’s past the full, into the wane he goes;
And so will all but he who heart-work knows.”

Thus they went on, talking of what they had seen by the way, and so made that way easy, which would otherwise, no doubt, have been tedious to them; for now they went through a wilderness.


Daily Proverb

Proverbs 17:24

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.