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Faithful and Talkative. Part 14 Continued | Print |

                         

                                                                   Part 14 Continued

        

                                        

  

   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 was 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 more

   comely at a distance than at hand. To this man Faithful addressed

   himself in this manner.

 

   Faithful: Friend, whither away? Are you going to the heavenly country?

              

 

   Talkative: I am going to the same place.

 

   Faithful: That is well; then I hope we shall have your good company?

 

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

 

   Faithful: Come on, then, and let us go together, and let us spend our

   time in discoursing of things that are profitable.

 

   Talkative: To talk of things that are good, to me is very acceptable,

   with you or with any other; and I am glad that I have met with those

   that incline to so good a work; for, to speak the truth, there are but

   few who care thus to spend their time as they are in their travels, but

   choose much rather to be speaking of things to no profit; and this hath

   been a trouble to me.

 

   Faithful: That is, indeed, a thing to be lamented; for what thing so

   worthy of the use of the tongue and mouth of men on earth, as are the

   things of the God of heaven?

 

   Talkative: I like you wonderful well, for your saying is full of

   conviction; and I will add, What thing is so pleasant, and what so

   profitable, as to talk of the things of God? What things so pleasant?

   that is, if a man hath any delight in things that are wonderful. For

   instance, if a man doth delight to talk of the history, or the mystery

   of things; or if a man doth love to talk of miracles, wonders, or

   signs, where shall he find things recorded so delightful, and so

   sweetly penned, as in the holy Scripture?

 

   Faithful: That is true; but to be profited by such things in our talk,

   should be our chief design.

 

   Talkative: That's it that 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 vanity of earthly things, and the benefit of things above. Thus

   in general; but more particularly, by this a man may learn the

   necessity of the new birth, the insufficiency of our works, the need of

   Christ's righteousness, etc. Besides, by this a man may learn what it

   is to repent, to believe, to pray, to suffer, or the like: by this,

   also, a man may learn what are the great promises and consolations of

   the Gospel, to his own comfort. Farther, by this a man may learn to

   refute false opinions, to vindicate the truth, and also to instruct the

   ignorant.

 

   Faithful: All this is true; and glad am I to hear these things from

   you.

 

   Talkative: Alas! the want of this is the cause that so few understand

   the need of faith, and the necessity of a work of grace in their soul,

   in order to eternal life; but ignorantly live in the works of the law,

   by which a man can by no means obtain the kingdom of heaven.

 

   Faithful: But, by your leave, heavenly knowledge of these is the gift

   of God; no man attaineth to them by human industry, or only by the talk

   of them.

 

   Talkative: All this I know very well; for a man can receive nothing,

   except it be given him from heaven: all is of grace, not of works. I

   could give you a hundred scriptures for the confirmation of this.

 

   Faithful: Well, then, said Faithful, what is that one thing that we

   shall at this time found our discourse upon?

 

   Talkative: What you will. I will talk of things heavenly, or things

   earthly; things moral, or things evangelical; things sacred, or things

   profane; things past, or things to come; things foreign, or things at

   home; things more essential, or things circumstantial: provided that

   all be done to our profit.

 

   Faithful: Now did Faithful begin to wonder; and stepping to Christian,

   (for he walked all this while by himself,) he said to him, but 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 beguile with this tongue of his, twenty of

   them that 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 dwelleth in our town. I wonder

   that you should be a stranger to him, only I consider that our town is

   large.

 

   Faithful: Whose son is he? And whereabout doth he dwell?

 

   Christian: He is the son of one Say-well. He dwelt in Prating-Row; and

   he is known to all that are acquainted with him by the name of

   Talkative of Prating-Row; and, notwithstanding his fine tongue, he is

   but a sorry fellow.

 

   Faithful: Well, he seems to be a very pretty man.

 

   Christian: That is, to them that have not a thorough acquaintance with

   him, for he is best abroad; near home he is ugly enough. Your saying

   that he is a pretty man, brings to my mind what I have observed in the

   work of a painter, whose pictures show best at a distance; but very

   near, more unpleasing.

 

   Faithful: But I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.

 

   Christian: God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this

   matter, or that I should accuse any falsely. I will give you a further

   discovery of him. This man is for any company, and for any talk; as he

   talketh now with you, so will he talk when he is on the ale-bench; and

   the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath

   in his mouth. Religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or

   conversation; all he hath lieth in his tongue, and his religion is to

   make a noise therewith.

 

   Faithful: Say you so? Then am I in this man greatly deceived.

 

   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.

    Matt. 23:3; 1 Cor. 4:20. He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith,

   and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have

   been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and

   I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of

   religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither

   prayer, nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute, in his kind,

   serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and

   shame of religion to all that know him,  Rom. 2:24,25; it can hardly

   have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through

   him. Thus say the common people that know him, "A saint abroad, and a

   devil at home." His poor family finds it so; he is such a churl, such a

   railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither

   know how to do for or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him

   say, It is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for fairer

   dealings they shall have at their hands. This Talkative (if it be

   possible) will go beyond them, defraud, beguile, and overreach them.

   Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in

   any of them a foolish timorousness, (for so he calls the first

   appearance of a tender conscience,) he calls them fools and blockheads,

   and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their

   commendation before others. 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 prevents not, the ruin of many more.

 

   Faithful: Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you, not only because

   you say you know him, but also because, like a Christian, you make your

   reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak these things of

   ill-will, but because it is even so as you say.

 

   Christian: Had I known him no more than you, I might, perhaps, have

   thought of him as at the first you did; yea, had I received this report

   at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought

   it had been a slander-a lot that often falls from bad men's mouths upon

   good men's names and professions. But all these things, yea, and a

   great many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove him guilty of.

   Besides, good men are ashamed of him; they can neither call him brother

   nor friend; the very naming of him among them makes them blush, if they

   know him.

 

   Faithful: Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and

   hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.

 

   Christian: They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the

   soul and the body; for, as the body without the soul is but a dead

   carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also. The

   soul of religion is the practical part. "Pure religion and undefiled

   before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows

   in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

    James 1:27; see also verses 22-26. This, Talkative is not aware of; he

   thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian; and thus he

   deceiveth 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

   and life. And let us assure ourselves, that at the day of doom men

   shall be judged according to their fruits.  Matt. 13:23. It will not be

   said then, Did you believe? but, Were you doers, or talkers only? and

   accordingly shall they be judged. The end of the world is compared to

   our harvest,  Matt. 13:30, and you know men at harvest regard nothing

   but fruit. Not that any thing can be accepted that is not of faith; but

   I speak this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative

   will be at that day.

 

   Faithful: This brings to my mind that of Moses, by which he describeth

   the beast that is clean.  Lev. 11; Deut. 14. He is such an one that

   parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud; not that parteth the hoof only,

   or that cheweth the cud only. The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is

   unclean, because he parteth not the hoof. And this truly resembleth

   Talkative: he cheweth the cud, he seeketh knowledge; he cheweth upon

   the word, but he divideth not the hoof. He parteth not with the way of

   sinners; but, as the hare, he retaineth the foot of the dog or bear,

   and therefore he is unclean.

 

   Christian: You have spoken, for aught I know, the true gospel sense of

   these texts. And I will add another thing: Paul calleth some men, yea,

   and those great talkers too, sounding brass, and tinkling cymbals, 1

    Cor. 13:1, 3; that is, as he expounds them in another place, things

   without life giving sound.  1 Cor. 14:7. Things without life; that is,

   without the true faith and grace of the gospel; and consequently,

   things that shall never be placed in the kingdom of heaven among those

   that are the children of life; though their sound, by their talk, be as

   if it were the tongue or voice of an angel.

 

   Faithful: Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but I am as

   sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him?

 

   Christian: Take my advice, and do as I bid you, and you shall find that

   he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his

   heart, and turn it.

 

   Faithful: What would you have me to do?

 

   Christian: Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about

   the power of religion; and ask him plainly, (when he has approved of

   it, for that he will,) whether this thing be set up in his heart,

   house, or conversation.

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