Home Pilgrim meets Faithful and Talkative. Part 14.

T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

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                                                                               Part 14.



   Now, as Christian went on his way, he came to a little ascent, which

   was cast up on purpose that pilgrims might see before them: up there,

   therefore, 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; to

   whom Christian cried again, Stay, stay, till I come up to you. But

   Faithful answered, No, I am upon my life, and the avenger of blood is

   behind me.


   At this Christian was somewhat moved, and putting to all his strength,

   he quickly got up with Faithful, and did also overrun him; so the last

   was first. Then did Christian vaingloriously smile, because he had

   gotten the start 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 had

   sweet discourse of all things that had happened to them in their

   pilgrimage; and thus Christian began.


   Christian: My honored and well-beloved brother Faithful, I am glad that

   I have overtaken you, and that God has so tempered our spirits that we

   can walk as companions in this so pleasant a path.


   Faithful: I had thought, my dear friend, to have had your company quite

   from our town, but you did get the start of me; wherefore I was forced

   to come thus much of the way 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 a great talk

   presently after you were gone out, that our city would, in a short

   time, with fire from heaven, be burnt down to the ground.


   Christian: What, did your neighbors talk so?


   Faithful: Yes, it was for a while in every body's mouth.


   Christian: What, and did no more of them but you come out to escape the



   Faithful: Though there was, as I said, a great talk thereabout, yet I

   do not think they did firmly believe it; for, in the heat of the

   discourse, I heard some of them deridingly speak of you and of your

   desperate journey, for so they called this your pilgrimage. But I did

   believe, and do still, that the end of our city will be with fire and

   brimstone from above; and therefore I have made my escape.


   Christian: Did you hear no talk of neighbor 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; but he would

   not be known to have so done: but I am sure he was soundly bedabbled

   with that kind of dirt.


   Christian: And what said the neighbors to him?


   Faithful: He hath, since his going back, been had greatly in derision,

   and that among all sorts of people: some do mock 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.


   Christian: But why should they be so set against him, since they also

   despise the way that he forsook?


   Faithful: O, 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.  Jer.



   Christian: Had you no talk with him before you came out?


   Faithful: 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.


   Christian: 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 has

   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.

    2 Pet. 2:22.


   Faithful: These are my fears of him too; but who can hinder that which

   will be?


   Christian: Well, neighbor 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.


   Faithful: I escaped the slough that I perceive 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 mischief.


   Christian: 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.  Gen. 39:11-13. But what did she do to you?


   Faithful: 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 content.


   Christian: Nay, she did not promise you the content of a good



   Faithful: You know what I mean; all carnal and fleshly content.


   Christian: Thank God that you escaped her: the abhorred of the Lord

   shall fall into her pit.  Prov. 22:14.


   Faithful: Nay, I know not whether I did wholly escape her or no.


   Christian: Why, I trow you did not consent to her desires?


   Faithful: No, not to defile myself; for I remembered an old writing

   that I had seen, which said, "Her steps take hold on Hell."  Prov. 5:5.

   So I shut mine eyes, because I would not be bewitched with her looks.

    Job 31:1. Then she railed on me, and I went my way.


   Christian: Did you meet with no other assault as you came?


   Faithful: When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty, I met

   with a very aged 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 fellow; wilt thou be content

   to dwell with me for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked his

   name, and where he dwelt? He said his name was Adam the First, and that

   he dwelt in the town of Deceit.  Eph. 4:22. 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 him, what house he kept, and what other servants

   he had. So he told me that his house was maintained with all the

   dainties of 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 Life,  1 John, 2:16; 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



   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 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 give me such

   a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after

   himself: this made me cry, "O wretched man."  Rom. 7:24.

   So I went on myway up the hill.


   Now, when I had got above 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.


   Christian: Just there, said Christian, 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, it 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 First. And with that he struck me another deadly blow on the

   breast, and beat me down backward; so I lay at his foot as dead as

   before. So when I came to myself again I cried him 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 bid him



   Christian: Who was that that bid him forbear?


   Faithful: 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.


   Christian: That man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none;

   neither knoweth he how to shew mercy to those that transgress the law.


   Faithful: I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has

   met with me. Twas 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 stayed there.


   Christian: But did you not see the house that stood there on the top of

   the hill, on the side of which Moses met you?


   Faithful: Yes, and the lions too, before I came at it. But, for the

   lions, I think they were asleep, for it was about noon; and because I

   had so much of the day before me, I passed by the Porter, and came down

   the hill.


   Christian: He told me, indeed, that he saw you go by; but I wish you

   had called at the house, for they would have showed you so many

   rarities that you would scarce have forgot them to the day of your

   death. But pray tell me, Did you meet nobody in the Valley of Humility?


   Faithful: Yes, I met with one Discontent, who would willingly have

   persuaded me to go back again with him: his reason was, for that the

   valley was altogether without honor. He told me, moreover, that to go


   there was the way to disoblige all my friends, as Pride, Arrogancy,

   Self-Conceit, Worldly Glory, with others, who he knew, as he said,

   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 although all these that he named, might

   claim a kindred of me, and that rightly, (for indeed they were my

   relations according to the flesh,) yet since I became a pilgrim they

   have disowned me, and I also have rejected them; and therefore they

   were to me now no more than if they had never been of my lineage. I

   told him, moreover, that as to this valley, 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 to the

   honor that was so accounted by the wisest, than choose that which he

   esteemed most worthy of our affections.


   Christian: Met you with nothing else in that valley?


   Faithful: Yes, I met with Shame; but of all the men that I met with on

   my pilgrimage, he, I think, bears the wrong name. The other would be

   said nay, after a little argumentation, and somewhat else; but this

   bold-faced Shame would never have done.


   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 tie up himself from that

   hectoring liberty that the brave spirits of the times accustomed

   themselves unto, would make him the ridicule of the times. He objected

   also, that but few of the mighty, rich, or wise, were ever of my

   opinion; nor any of them neither, before they were persuaded to be

   fools, and to be of a voluntary fondness to venture the loss of all for

   nobody knows what.  1 Cor. 1:26; 3:18; Phil. 3:7-9; John 7:48. He,

   moreover, objected the base and low estate and condition of those that

   were chiefly the pilgrims of the times in which they lived; also their

   ignorance and want of understanding in all natural science. Yea, he did

   hold me to it at that rate also, about a great many more things than

   here I relate; as, that it was a shame to sit whining and mourning

   under a sermon, and a shame to come sighing and groaning home; that it

   was a shame to ask my neighbor forgiveness for petty faults, or to make

   restitution where I have taken from any. 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 made him own and respect the base, because

   of the same religious fraternity: 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 put me so

   to it, that my blood came up in my face; even this Shame fetched it up,

   and had almost beat me quite off. But at last I began to consider, that

   that which is highly esteemed among men, is had in abomination with

   God.  Luke 16:15. And I thought again, this Shame tells me what men are;

   but he tells me nothing what God, or the word of God is. And I thought,

   moreover, that at the day of doom we shall not be doomed to death or

   life according to the hectoring spirits of the world, but according to

   the wisdom and law of the Highest. Therefore, thought I, what God says

   is best, is indeed 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. Shall I entertain thee

   against my sovereign Lord? How then shall I look him in the face at his

   coming?  Mark 8:38. Should I now be ashamed of his ways and servants,

   how can I expect the blessing? But indeed this Shame was a bold

   villain; I could scarcely shake him out of my company; yea, he would be

   haunting of me, and continually whispering me in the ear, with some one

   or other of the infirmities that attend religion. But at last I told

   him, that it was but in vain to attempt farther in this business; for

   those things that he disdained, in those did I see most glory: and so

   at last I got past this importunate one. And when I had shaken him off,

   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.


   O let the pilgrims, let the pilgrims then,


   Be vigilant, and quit themselves like men."


   Christian: I am glad, my brother, that thou didst withstand this

   villain so bravely; for of all, as thou sayest, I think he has the

   wrong name; for he is so bold as to follow us in the streets, and to

   attempt to put us to shame before all men; that is, to make us ashamed

   of that which is good. But if he was not himself audacious, he would

   never attempt to do as he does. But let us still resist him; for,

   notwithstanding all his bravadoes, he promoteth the fool, and none

   else. "The wise shall inherit glory," said Solomon; "but shame shall be

   the promotion of fools."  Prov. 3:35.


   Faithful: I think we must cry to Him for help against Shame, that would

   have us to be valiant for truth upon the earth.


   Christian: You say true; but did you meet nobody else in that valley?


   Faithful: No, not I; for I had sunshine all the rest of the way through

   that, and also through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.


   Christian: Twas well for you; I am sure it fared far otherwise with me.

   I had for a long season, as soon almost as I entered into that valley,

   a dreadful combat with that foul fiend Apollyon; yea, I thought verily

   he would have killed me, especially when he got me down, and crushed me

   under him, as if he would have crushed me to pieces; for as he threw

   me, my sword flew out of my hand: nay, he told me he was sure of me;

   but I cried to God, and he heard me, and delivered me out of all my

   troubles. Then I entered into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and

   had no light for almost half the way through it. I thought I should

   have been killed there over and over; but at last day brake, and the

   sun rose, and I went through that which was behind with far more ease

   and quiet.

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