(Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress. part 13)

as we do now; but all of a sudden he grew acquainted with one Save-self,  and
then he became a stranger to me. 
HOPE.  Now, since we are talking about him, let us a little inquire 
into the reason of the sudden backsliding of him and such others. 
CHR.  It may be very profitable, but do you begin. 
HOPE.  Well, then, there are in my judgment four reasons for it:-- 
1.  Though the consciences of such men are awakened, yet their minds 
are not changed; therefore, when the power of guilt weareth away, 
that which provoked them to be religious ceaseth, wherefore they 
naturally turn to their own course again, even as we see the dog 
that is sick of what he has eaten, so long as his sickness prevails 
he vomits and casts up all; not that he doth this of a free mind 
(if we may say a dog has a mind), but because it troubleth his stomach;  but now,
when his sickness is over, and so his stomach eased, 
his desire being not at all alienate from his vomit, he turns him about  and
licks up all, and so it is true which is written, "The dog is turned  to his own
vomit again."  [2 Pet. 2:22]  Thus I say, 
being hot for heaven, by virtue only of the sense and fear 
of the torments of hell, as their sense of hell and the fears 
of damnation chills and cools, so their desires for heaven and salvation  cool
also.  So then it comes to pass, that when their guilt and fear 
is gone, their desires for heaven and happiness die, and they return 
to their course again. 
2.  Another reason is, they have slavish fears that do overmaster them;  I speak
now of the fears that they have of men, for "the fear of man 
bringeth a snare".  [Prov. 29:25]  So then, though they seem to be 
hot for heaven, so long as the flames of hell are about their ears, 
yet when that terror is a little over, they betake themselves 
to second thoughts; namely, that it is good to be wise, and not to run  (for they
know not what) the hazard of losing all, or, at least, 
of bringing themselves into unavoidable and unnecessary troubles, 
and so they fall in with the world again. 
3. The shame that attends religion lies also as a block in their way;  they are
proud and haughty; and religion in their eye 
is low and contemptible, therefore, when they have lost their sense 
of hell and wrath to come, they return again to their former course. 
4. Guilt, and to meditate terror, are grievous to them. 
They like not to see their misery before they come into it; 
though perhaps the sight of it first, if they loved that sight, 
might make them fly whither the righteous fly and are safe. 
But because they do, as I hinted before, even shun the thoughts 
of guilt and terror, therefore, when once they are rid 
of their awakenings about the terrors and wrath of God, 
they harden their hearts gladly, and choose such ways as will 
harden them more and more. 
CHR.  You are pretty near the business, for the bottom of all 
is for want of a change in their mind and will.  And therefore 
they are but like the felon that standeth before the judge, 
he quakes and trembles, and seems to repent most heartily, 
but the bottom of all is the fear of the halter; not that he hath 
any detestation of the offence, as is evident, because, 
let but this man have his liberty, and he will be a thief, 
and so a rogue still, whereas, if his mind was changed, 
he would be otherwise. 
HOPE.  Now I have showed you the reasons of their going back, 
do you show me the manner thereof. 
CHR.  So I will willingly. 
1.  They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, 
from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come. 
2.  Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, 
curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like. 
3.  Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians. 
4.  After that they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, 
godly conference, and the like. 
5.  Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats 
of some of the godly; and that devilishly, that they may have 
a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmity 
they have espied in them) behind their backs. 
6.  Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, 
carnal, loose, and wanton men. 
7.  Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; 
and glad are they if they can see such things in any 
that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it 
through their example. 
8.  After this they begin to play with little sins openly. 
9.  And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. 
Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle 
of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.   
Now I saw in my dream, that by this time the Pilgrims were got over 
the Enchanted Ground, and entering into the country of Beulah, whose air  was
very sweet and pleasant, the way lying directly through it, 
they solaced themselves there for a season.  Yea, here they heard 
continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear  on the
earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. 
[Isa. 62:4, Song of Solomon 2:10-12]  In this country 
the sun shineth night and day; wherefore this was beyond 
the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach 
of Giant Despair, neither could they from this place so much as see 
Doubting Castle.    Here they were within sight of the city 
they were going to, also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof;  for in
this land the Shining Ones commonly walked, because it was 
upon the borders of heaven.  In this land also, the contract between 
the bride and the bridegroom was renewed; yea, here, "As the bridegroom 
rejoiceth over the bride, so did their God rejoice over them." 
[Isa. 62:5]  Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place  they met
with abundance of what they had sought for in all 
their pilgrimage.  [Isa. 62:8]  Here they heard voices from 
out of the city, loud voices, saying, "`Say ye to the daughter of Zion,  Behold,
thy salvation cometh!  Behold, his reward is with him!' 
Here all the inhabitants of the country called them, `The holy people,  The
redeemed of the Lord, Sought out'", etc.  [Isa. 62:11,12] 
Now as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts  more
remote from the kingdom to which they were bound; and drawing near  to the city,
they had yet a more perfect view thereof.  It was builded  of pearls and precious
stones, also the street thereof was paved 
with gold; so that by reason of the natural glory of the city, 
and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire 
fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease. 
Wherefore, here they lay by it a while, crying out, because of 
their pangs, If ye find my beloved, tell him that I am sick of love. 
But, being a little strengthened, and better able to bear 
their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer 
and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, 
and their gates opened into the highway.  Now, as they came up 
to these places, behold the gardener stood in the way, 
to whom the Pilgrims said, Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these?  He
answered, They are the King's, and are planted here 
for his own delight, and also for the solace of pilgrims. 
So the gardener had them into the vineyards, and bid them 
refresh themselves with the dainties.  [Deut. 23:24] 
He also showed them there the King's walks, and the arbours where 
he delighted to be; and here they tarried and slept. 
Now I beheld in my dream that they talked more in their sleep 
at this time than ever they did in all their journey; 
and being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me, 
Wherefore musest thou at the matter?  It is the nature of the fruit 
of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly 
as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak. 
So I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up 
to the city; but, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the city 
(for the city was pure gold) was so extremely glorious 
that they could not, as yet, with open face behold it, but through 
an instrument made for that purpose.  So I saw, that as I went on, 
there met them two men, in raiment that shone like gold; 
lso their faces shone as the light.  [Rev. 21:18, 2 Cor. 3:18] 
These men asked the Pilgrims whence they came; and they told them. 
They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties 
and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way; 
and they told them.  Then said the men that met them, You have 
but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the city.   
Christian then, and his companion, asked the men to go along with them;  so they
told them they would.  But, said they, you must obtain it 
by your own faith.  So I saw in my dream that they went on together, 
until they came in sight of the gate. 
Now, I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river, 
but there was no bridge to go over: the river was very deep. 
At the sight, therefore, of this river, the Pilgrims were much stunned;  but the
men that went in with them said, You must go through, 
or you cannot come at the gate. 
The Pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way 
to the gate; to which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, 
save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path  since the
foundation of the world, nor shall, until the last trumpet 
shall sound.  [1 Cor. 15:51,52]  The Pilgrims then, 
especially Christian, began to despond in their minds, 
and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them 
by which they might escape the river.  Then they asked the men 
if the waters were all of a depth.   They said:  No; yet they could not help them 
in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower 
as you believe in the King of the place. 
*In the Resurrection of the Righteous.  [Rev. 20:4-6] 
They then addressed themselves to the water and, entering, 
Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, 
he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head, 
all his waves go over me! Selah. 
Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom,  and it is
good.  Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, 
the sorrows of death hath compassed me about; I shall not see the land  that
flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness 
and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. 
Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither 
remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments 
that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage.  But all the words  that he
spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, 
and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain 
entrance in at the gate.  Here also, as they that stood by perceived,  he was
much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he 
had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. 
It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions 
of hobgoblins and evil spirits, for ever and anon he would 
intimate so much by words.  Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado 
to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be 
quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again 
half dead.  Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, 
Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: 
but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; 
you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you.  And so have you, 
said he to Christian.  Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right 
he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me 
into the snare, and hath left me.  Then said Hopeful, My brother, 
you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, 
"There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. 
They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued 
like other men.  [Ps. 73:4,5]  These troubles and distresses that you  go through
in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; 
but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which 
heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him 
in your distresses. 
Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. 
To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, 
Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out 
with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, 
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, 
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee."  [Isa. 43:2] 
Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still 
as a stone, until they were gone over.  Christian therefore 
presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that 
the rest of the river was but shallow.  Thus they got over. 
  Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, 
they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; 
wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, 
We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that 
shall be heirs of salvation.  Thus they went along towards the gate. 
  Now you must note that the city stood 
upon a mighty hill, but the Pilgrims went up that hill with ease, 
because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms; 
also, they had left their mortal garments behind them in the river, 
for though they went in with them, they came out without them. 
They, therefore, went up here with much agility and speed, 
though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than 
the clouds.  They therefore went up through the regions of the air, 
sweetly talking as they went, being comforted, because they safely 
got over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them. 
     Now, now, look how the holy pilgrims ride, 
     Clouds are their chariots, angels are their guide: 
     Who would not here for him all hazards run, 
     That thus provides for his when this world's done? 
The talk they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory 
of the place; who told them that the beauty and glory of it 
was inexpressible.  There, said they, is the Mount Zion, 
the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect.  [Heb. 12:22-24] 
You are going now, said they, to the paradise of God, wherein you shall  see the
tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; 
and when you come there, you shall have white robes given you, 
and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, 
even all the days of eternity.  [Rev. 2:7, 3:4, 21:4,5] 
There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in  the lower
region upon the earth, to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction,  and death, for the
former things are passed away.  You are now going 
to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and to the prophets--men that God 
hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now resting 
upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness.  [Isa. 57:1,2,  65:17] 
The men then asked, What must we do in the holy place? 
To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comforts 
of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap 
what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, 
and sufferings for the King by the way.  [Gal. 6:7]  In that place 
you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision  of the
Holy One, for there you shall see him as he is.  [1 John 3:2] 
There also you shall serve him continually with praise, with shouting,  and
thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, 
though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. 
There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with 
hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One.  There you shall 
enjoy your friends again that are gone thither before you; 
and there you shall with joy receive, even every one that follows 
into the holy place after you.  There also shall you be clothed 
with glory and majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out 
with the King of Glory.  When he shall come with sound of trumpet 
in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall come with him;  and when
he shall sit upon the throne of judgment; you shall sit by him;  yea, and when he
shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity,  let them be angels or men,
you also shall have a voice in that judgment,  because they were his and your
enemies.  [1 Thes. 4:13-16, Jude 1:14,  Dan. 7:9,10, 1 Cor. 6:2,3]  Also, when he
shall again return to 
the city, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with him.   
Now while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company 
of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom it was said, 
by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have 
loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all 
for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have 
brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in 
and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.  Then the heavenly host  gave a
great shout, saying, "Blessed are they which are called unto 
the marriage supper of the Lamb."  [Rev. 19:9]  There came out also 
at this time to meet them, several of the King's trumpeters, 
clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises, 
and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. 
These trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand 
welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting, 
and sound of trumpet. 
This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went before,  some
behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left, 
(as it were to guard them through the upper regions), 
continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, 
in notes on high:  so that the very sight was, to them that could 
behold it, as if heaven itself was come down to meet them.  Thus, 
therefore, they walked on together; and as they walked, 
ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, 
would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, 
still signify to Christian and his brother, how welcome they were 
into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them; 
and now were these two men, as it were, in heaven, before they came 
at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing 
of their melodious notes.  Here also they had the city itself in view,  and they
thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, 
to welcome them thereto.  But above all, the warm and joyful thoughts  that they
had about their own dwelling there, with such company, 
and that for ever and ever.  Oh, by what tongue or pen can 
their glorious joy be expressed!  And thus they came up to the gate. 
Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over 
it in letters of gold, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, 
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in 
through the gates into the city."  [Rev. 22:14] 
Then I saw in my dream that the Shining Men bid them call at the gate;  the
which, when they did, some looked from above over the gate, to wit,  Enoch,
Moses, and Elijah, &c., to whom it was said, These pilgrims 
are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear 
to the King of this place; and then the Pilgrims gave in unto them 
each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning; 
those, therefore, were carried in to the King, who, when he had 
read them, said, Where are the men?  To whom it was answered, 
They are standing without the gate.  The King then commanded 
to open the gate, "That the righteous nation," said he, 
"which keepeth the truth, may enter in."  [Isa. 26:2] 
Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate: and lo,  as they
entered, they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on 
that shone like gold.  There was also that met them with 
harps and crowns, and gave them to them--the harps to praise withal, 
and the crowns in token of honour.  Then I heard in my dream 
that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that 
it was said unto them, "ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD." 
I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, 
[Rev. 5:13] 
Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, 
I looked in after them, and, behold, the City shone like the sun; 
the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men, 
with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps 
to sing praises withal. 
There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another  without
intermission, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." 
[Rev. 4:8]  And after that they shut up the gates; which, 
when I had seen, I wished myself among them. 
Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head 
to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side; 
but he soon got over, and that without half that difficulty which 
the other two men met with.   
For it happened that there was then in that place, one Vain-hope, 
a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over; so he, 
as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come up to the gate, 
only he came alone; neither did any man meet him with 
the least encouragement.  When he was come up to the gate, 
he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, 
supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him;  but he was
asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, 
Whence came you, and what would you have?  He answered, 
I have eat and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught 
in our streets.  Then they asked him for his certificate, 
that they might go in and show it to the King; so he fumbled 
in his bosom for one, and found none.  Then said they, Have you none?  But the
man answered never a word.  So they told the King, 
but he would not come down to see him, but commanded 
the two Shining Ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City,  to go out
and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, 
and have him away.  Then they took him up, and carried him 
through the air to the door that I saw in the side of the hill, 
and put him in there.  Then I saw that there was a way to hell, 
even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction.  So I
awoke, and behold it was a dream. 
The Conclusion. 
Now, Reader, I have told my dream to thee; 
See if thou canst interpret it to me, 
Or to thyself, or neighbour; but take heed 
Of misinterpreting; for that, instead 
Of doing good, will but thyself abuse: 
By misinterpreting, evil ensues. 
Take heed, also, that thou be not extreme, 
In playing with the outside of my dream: 
Nor let my figure or similitude 
Put thee into a laughter or a feud. 
Leave this for boys and fools; but as for thee, 
Do thou the substance of my matter see. 
Put by the curtains, look within my veil, 
Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail, 
There, if thou seekest them, such things to find, 
As will be helpful to an honest mind. 
What of my dross thou findest there, be bold 
To throw away, but yet preserve the gold; 
What if my gold be wrapped up in ore?-- 
None throws away the apple for the core. 
But if thou shalt cast all away as vain, 
I know not but 'twill make me dream again. 
End of The Pilgrim's Progress 

(...end, Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress)

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