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TALK BE

TWEEN CHRIS

gelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way. .

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

And I will go back to my place, OBSTINATE said Obstinate; I will be no com- GOES RAILING panion of such misled fantastical fel- BACK lows.

Now I saw in my dream, that, when TALK BEObstinate was gone back, Christian and

TIAN AND Pliable went talking over the plain; PLIABLE. 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 Obstinate 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.

Pli. Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but 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 GOD'S THINGS with my mind, than speak of them with UN my tongue; but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book

Pli. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true ?

Chr. Yes, vexily; for it was made by him that cannot lie.

Pli. Well said ; what things are they?
Chr. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited,

8 Titus, i. 2.

UNSPEAKABLE.

and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever.9

Pli. Well said; and what else

Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven.?

Pli. 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 all tears from our eyes.

Pli. And what company shall we have there?

Chr. There we shall be with Seraphims and Cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that 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; there we shall see men that, by the world, were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love they bare to the Lord of the place; all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment.

Pli. The 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?

9 Isaiah, xlv. 17. John, x. 27–29.
12 Tim. iv. 8. Rev. xxii. 5. Matth. xiii. 43.
2 Isa. xv. 8. Rev. vii. 16, 17. and xxi. 4.
3 Isa. vi. 2. 1 Thess. iv. 17. Rev. v. 11.
4 Rev. iv. 4. and xiv. 1-5. John, xii. 25. 2 Cor. v. 2, 3. 5.

OF DESPOND.

Chr. The Lord, the governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book; the substance of which is, if we be truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely.5

Pli. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of 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 the midst of the plain : and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into

THE SLOUGH the bog; the name of the slough was of Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.

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

Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

At this Pliable began to be offended, and angerly 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 IT IS NOT again with my life, you shall possess ENOUGH TO BE the brave country alone for me! And PLIA with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house; so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.

5 Isa. lv. 12. John, vii. 37. and vi. 37. Rev. xxi. 6. and xxii. 17.

Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the CHRISTIAN IN slough of Despond alone; but still he TROUBLE, endeavoured to struggle to that side of SEEKS STILL TO

the slough that was farthest from his GET FARTHER FROM HIS OWN own house, and next to the wicket-gate; HOUSE. . the which he did, but could not get out because of the burden that was upon his back. But I beheld, in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him, What he did there?

Sir, said Christian, I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed .me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come; and, as I was going thither, I fell in here.

Help. But why did not you look for THE PROMISES.

the steps ? Chr. Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way, and fell in. HELP LIFTS HIM Then said he, Give me thine hand!

OUT. So he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way6

Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the city of Destruction to yonder gate, is it that 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: WHAT MAKES it is the descent whither the scum and THE SLOUGH OF filth that attends conviction for sin DESPOND.

doth continually run; and therefore it is

6 Psalm xl. 2.

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 badness of this ground.

It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad :his labourers also have, by the direction of his Majesty's surveyors, been for above these sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, if perhaps it might have 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 through the very midst of this slough; but at THE PROMISE such time as this place doth much spew OF FORGIVEout its filth, as it doth against change CEPTANCE TO

NESS AND ACof weather, these steps are hardly seen; LIFE, BY FAITH or, if they be, men, through the dizzi- IN CHRIST. ness of their heads, step beside; and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there: but the ground is good, when they are once got in at the gate.8

7 Isaiah, xxxv. 3, 4. 8 1 Sam. xii. 23.

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