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Conversation of Christian and Faithful.
be with fire and brimstone from abova; and therefore
I have made my escape. ; Chr. Did you hear no talk of neighbour Pliable ?
Faith. Yes, Christian, I heard that he followed you till he came at the Slough of Despond; where, as some said, he fell in ; but he would not be known to have so done ; but I am sure he was soundly be: daubed with that kind of dirt. i CHR. And what said the neighbours to him?
Faith. We hath since his going back been had greatly in derision, and that among all sorts of people; some do inock and despise him, and scarce will any set him on work. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the city.
CHR. But why should they be so set against him, since they also despised the way that he forsook ?
Faith. 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 make him a proverb, because he hath forsaken the way. .
CHR. Had you no talk with him before you came out?
Faith. I met him once in the streets, but he leered away on the other side, as one ashamed of what he had done : so I spake not to him”.
CHR. Well, at my first setting out, I had hopes of that man; but now I fear he will perish in the overthrow of the city: for “ it hath happened to him according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.".
• 6 Apostates from the profession of Christ cannot look the followers of Christ boldly in the face: some convictions will follow them, till their hearts are hardened, and their conscience seared.
Jer. xxix. 18, 19. 6 2 Pet. ii. 22.
Conversation of Christian and Faithful.
Faith. They are my fears of him too : but who can hinder that which will be ?
CHR. Well, neighbour Faithful, said Christian, 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 some things, or else it may be writ for a wonder.
Faith. I escaped the slough that I perceived you fell into, and got up to the gate without that danger?; only I met with one, whose name was Wanton, that had like to have done me a mischief.
Chr. It was well you escaped her net: Joseph was hard put to it by her, and he escaped her as you did: but it had like to have cost him his life". But what did she do to you?
FAITH. You cannot think, but that you know something, what a flattering tongue she had; she lay at me hard to turn aside with her, promising me . all manner of contents.
Chr. Nay, she did not promise you the content of a good conscience.
Faith. You know that I mean all carnal and fleshly content.
Chr. Thank God you have escaped her: “the abhorred of the Lord shall fall into her ditchi,”
Faith. Nay, I know not whether I did wholly escape her or no'.
7 Though no sinner will sincerely and earnestly come to Christ for salvation, till the Spirit has convinced him of sin, and deserved wrath and destruction; yet all do not fall into the like despondency of soul, either at first setting out or afterwards.
8 Fleshly lusts will plead hard, and promise fair. · Happy are they who look to the Lord for power against them, and eye his precious promises, that they may escape them.
A tender conscience is grieved for the secret inclination of the . , Gen. xxxix. 11-13. Prov. xxix. 14. ,
Faithful gives an Account of himself.
Chr. Why, I trow you did not consent to her desires. • Faith. No, not to defile myself, for I remembered an old writing that I had seen, which said, " her steps take hold of hellk.” So I shut mine eyes, because I would not be bewitched with her looks :then she railed on me, and I went my way.
Chr. Did you meet with no other assault as you came?
FAITH. When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty I met with a very good man, who asked me what I was, and whither bound? I told him, that I was a pilgrim going to the Celestial City. Then said the old man, Thou lookest like an honest fel. low; wilt thou be content to dwell with me, for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked him his "name, and where he dwelt? He said, his name was
Adam the First', and that he dwelt in the town of " Deceit'. I asked him then what was his work? and what the wages that 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, what house he kept, and what other servants he had? So he told me, that his house was maintained with all the dainties in the world ? and that his servants. were those of his own begetting. Then I asked 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 Lifem," and that I should marry them if I would. Then I asked, how long time he would have me to live with him? And he told me, as long as he lived himself.
flesh to lust, and causes the believer to apply diligently to the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin.
| That is, original sin, or indwelling corruption, which has infected our whole nature. * Prov. v, 5. Job xxxi. 1. Eph. iv. 22.. John ii. 16,
Faithful gives an Account of himself.
ohle to go with one in his foreheart the old mar
Chr. Well, and what conclusion came the old man and you to at last ?
Faith. 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?."
Chr. And how then ?
Faith. Then it came burning hot into my mind, that whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his house. Then he reviled me, and told me, that he would send such a one after me that should make my way bitter to my soul. So I turned to go away from him ; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh, and gave me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself3 : this made me cry, O wretched man"!-So I went on my way up the hill..
Now, when I had got about half way 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 settle stands.
Chr. Just there, said Christian, did I sit down to rest me; but being overcome with sleep, I there lost the roll out of my bosom. .
Faith. But, good brother, hear me out:-So soon
2 Blessed is the man who confers not with flesh and blood, but considers and obeys what is written in the book of the Lord.
. The least indulgence of an evil thought will increase its strength, and encourage the flesh to plead for gratification. Therefore we should not suffer vain thoughts to lodge within us, but as, 800n as they are perceived, should ardently cry for help against these vile intruders, these secret enemies.
" Rom. vii. 24,
as the man overtook me, he was but a word and a blow, for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again, I asked him wherefore he served me so? He said, because of my secret inclining to Adam the First4. and with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward : so I lay at his feet as dead as before. When I came to myself again, I cried him mercy: but he said, I know not how to shew mercy; and with that knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by, and bid him forbear.
Chr. Who was it that bid him forbear ?
Faith. I did not know him at first; but as he went by I perceived the holes in his hands and in his side; then I concluded that he was our Lord. So I went up the hill.
CHR. The man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none, neither knoweth hè how to shew mercy to those that transgress his law.
Faith. I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has met with me. It was he that came to me when I dwelt securely at home, and that told me he would burn my house over my head if I staid theres.
CHR. But did you not see the house that stood there on the top of the hill, on the side of which Moses met you?
Faith. Yes, and the lions too, before I came at
* This is afterwards explained to be Moses, or the law of God. Think not that the law reacheth only to outward actions ; nay, but it reacheth to the thoughts and intent: of the heart. It condemns the least inclination to evil, the rising desires of the heart, if they deviate from the rule of God's word. So strict, so spiritual, so pure, is the holy law of God. * 5 The sinner who never had a proper sense of the evil of sin by the law of Moses, is yet asleep in his sins, and in false security, though under the curse of the law of God.