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and are misled by Vain-Confidence.
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, spied a man walking as they did, and his name was Vain-Con. fidence; so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led ? He said, To the Celestial Gate. Look, said Christian, did not I 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 went 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 8.
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'.
8 « There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Prov. xiv. 12. Vain-Confidence is this very way: oh, how easily do professors get into it : yea, real pilgrims are prone also to take up with it, owing to that proneness to pride and self-righteousness which still works in their hearts. See the end of it, and tremble: for it leads to darkness, and ends in death. Lord, humble our proud hearts, and empty us of selfrighteousness, pride, and vain-confidence.
9 Getting into By-Path-Meadow, and walking in vain-confidence, will surely bring on teriors, thunderings, and lightnings, from Mount Sinai.
? Isa. ix. 16.
The Pilgrims, trespassing on the Grounds of Giant Despair, Then Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, “ Oh, that I had kept on my way.”
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 spoken plainer, but you are older than I.
Chr. 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 bro... ther: but we must not stand thus ; let us try to go back 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 wentest turn agains.” But by this time the waters were greatly risen, by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I
Then, one saying the way
1 Here see, that as Christians are made helpful, so also, through ignorance or inattention, they are liable to prove hurtful to each other. But observe how grace works! It humbles, it makes the soul confess and be sorry for its errors : here is no reviling one an. other, but a tender sympathy and feeling concern for each other. Oh, the mighty power of that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ! how does it cement souls in the fellowship of love!
Jer. xxxi. 21.
are cast by him into the Prison of Doubting-Castle.
thought, that it is easier going out of the way when we were in, than going in when we are out.) Yet' they adventured to go back; but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that in their going back they had 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-Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair 3: and it was in his grounds where they now lay 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 bid 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 in, and lying on my ground, and therefore you must go along with me. So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they 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 Satur
he getting his fields, ca Then wi
2 No sooner are Christians made sensible of their unfaithful. ness and disobedience to God, than they are again encouraged to hope for pardon and salvation through Christ.
3 Sooner or later Doubting-Castle will be the prison, and Giant | Despair the keeper, of all those who turn aside from the path of duty, however painful to flesh and blood, to get an easier way to the kingdom. Our God is a jealous God; ever jealous of his own glory, and of the honour of his beloved Son.
day night, without one bit 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 acquaintance". Now in this place Christian had double sorrow, because it was through his unadvised counsel that they were brought into this distress 4... ... * 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 dungeon for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do further to them. So she asked what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound ? and he told her. Then she counselled him, that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without mercy. So when he arose he getteth a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down into the dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating them as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste: then he falls 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 talked with her
4 What, so highly favoured Christians in Doubting-Castle! Is it possible, after their having travelled so far in the way of salvation, seen so many glorious things in the way, experienced so much of the grace and love of their Lord, and having so often proved his faithfulness, yet after all this to get into Doubting-Castle? Is not this strange ? No: for if the strongest Christians do err, and get out of the way, they are then beset with very great and distressing doubts. But though in Doubting-Castle, yet it is their peculiar mercy not to be shut up in the iron cage of despair.
Psal, lxxxviii, 8.
and exhorts them to destroy themselves.
husband about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away themselves : so when 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 place, 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 bitterness ? But they desired him to let them go. With that 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 fits) and lost for a time the use of his hand. Wherefore he 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 5 :
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 chooseth strangling rather than life," and the grave is more easy for me than this dungeon! Shall we be ruled by the giant” ?
• See the fruit of evil reasoning. Where is now their love to, and dependence upon, their Lord? Alas! all seems as if at the last gasp. But observe, under their prevailing distress and great despondency, even when despair had almost made an end of them, they had a lucid interval when Giant Despair was seized with a fit; so that they were not left of God to total despair. Nor is the Lord unmindful of such as look to him for help, however they may have grieved his Holy Spirit, Isa. liv. 7, 8; 2 Cor. iv, 1.
6 Poor Christian, what, tempted to destroy thyself! Lord, what is man! But see, desponding souls, mark the truth of that word,
i Job vii. 15.