Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, , at sacred-texts.com
Section VII. Suppose a man, a Minister, or a Tradesman, E c. should have an advantage lie before him to get the good blessings of this life, yet so as that he can by no means come by them, except in appearance at least, he becomes extraordinary zealous in some points of Religion that he meddled not with before; may he not use this means to attain his end, and yet be a right honest man? Money-love. I see the bottom of your question, and, with these Gentlemen's good leave, I will endeavour to shape you an answer. And first, to speak to your question as it concerns a Minister himself: Suppose a Minister, a worthy man, possess'd but of a very small benefice, and has in his eye a greater, more fat and plump by far; he has also now an opportunity of getting of it, yet so as by being more studious, by preaching more frequently and zealously and because the temper of the people requires it, by altering of some of his principles; for my part I see no reason but a man may do this, (provided he has a Call) ay, and more a great deal besides, and yet be an honest man. For why? 1. His desire of greater benefice is lawful (this cannot be contradicted since 'tis set before him by Providence); so then he may get it if he can, making no question for Conscience sake. 2. Besides, his desire after that benefice makes him more studious, a more zealous Preacher, Ec. and so makes him a better man; yea makes him better improve his parts, which is according to the Mind of God. 3. Now as for his complying with the temper of his people, by dissenting, to serve them, some of his Principles, this argueth, 1. That he is of a self - denying temper; 2. Of a sweet and winning deportment; 3. And so more fit for the Ministerial function. 4. I conclude then, that a Minister that changes a small for a great, should not for so doing be judged as covetous; but rather, since he has improved in his parts and industry thereby, be counted as one that pursues his Call, and the opportunity put into his hand to do Good. And now to the second part of the question, which concerns the Tradesman you mentioned. Suppose such an one to have but a poor employ in the world, but by becoming Religious, he may mend his Market, perhaps get a rich Wife, or more and far better Customers to his shop; for my part I see no reason but this may be lawfully done. For why? 1. To become Religious is a Virtue, by what means soever a man becomes so. 2. Nor is it unlawful to get a rich Wife, or more Custom to my Shop. 3. Besides, the man that gets these by becoming religious, gets that which is good of them that are good, by becoming good himself; so then here is a good Wife, and good Customers, and good Gain, and all these by becoming religious, which is good; therefore to become religious, to get all these, is a good and profitable design. This answer thus made by this Mr Money-love to Mr By-ends' question was highly applauded by them all; wherefore they concluded upon the whole that it was most wholesome and advantageous. And because, as they thought, no man was able to contradict it, and because Christian and Hopeful were yet within call, they jointly agreed to assault them with the question as soon as they overtook them, and the rather because they had opposed Mr By-ends before. So they called after them, and they stopt, and stood still till they came up to them; but they concluded as they went that not Mr By-ends, but old Mr Hold-the - world, should propound the question to them, because, as they supposed, their answer to him would be without the remainder of that heat that was kindled betwixt Mr By - ends and them, at their parting a little before. So they came up to each other, and after a short salutation, Mr. Hold-the-world propounded the question to Christian and his fellow, and bid them to answer it if they could. Chr. Then said Christian, Even a babe in Religion may answer ten thousand such questions. For if it be unlawful to follow Christ for loaves, as it is John 6. how much more abominable is it to make of him and Religion a Stalking - horse, to get and enjoy the world. Nor do we find any other than Heathens, Hypocrites, Devils, and Witches, that are of this opinion. 1. Heathens; for when Hamor and Shechem had a mind to the Daughter and Cattle of Jacob, and saw that there was no ways for them to come at them, but by becoming circumcised; they said to their companions, If every male of us be circumcised, as they are circumcised, shall not their Cattle, and their substance, and every beast of theirs, be ours? Their Daughter and their Cattle were that which they sought to obtain, and their Religion the Stalking-horse they made use of to come at them. Read the whole story, Gen. 34. 20, 21, 22, 23. 2. The Hypocritical Pharisees were also of this Religion; Long Prayers were their Pretence, but to get widows' houses was their Intent; and greater damnation was from God their Judgment, Luke 20. 46,47. 3. Judas the Devil was also of this Religion; he was religious for the Bag, that he might be possessed of what was therein; but he was lost, cast away, and the very son of Perdition. 4. Simon the Witch was of this Religion too; for he would have had the Holy Ghost, that he might have got Money therewith, and his sentence from Peter's mouth was according, Acts 8. 19, 20, 21, 22. 5. Neither will it out of my mind, but that that man that takes up Religion for the World, will throw away Religion for the World; for so surely as Judas designed the World in becoming religious, so surely did he also sell Religion and his Master for the same. To answer the question therefore affirmatively, as I perceive you have done, and to accept of as authentic such answer, is both Heathenish, Hypocritical, and Devilish, and your Reward will be according to your Works. Then they stood staring one upon another, but had not wherewith to answer Christian. Hopeful also approved of the soundness of Christian's answer; so there was a great Silence among them. Mr By-ends and his company also staggered and kept behind, that Christian and Hopeful might outgo them. Then said Christian to his fellow, If these men cannot stand before the sentence of men, what will they do with the sentence of God? And if they are mute when dealt with by vessels of Clay, what will they do when they shall be rebuked by the flames of a devouring Fire? Then Christian and Hopeful out-went them again, and went till they came to a delicate Plain called Ease, where they went with much content; but that Plain was but narrow, so they were quickly got over it. Now at the further side of that Plain was a little Hill called Lucre, and in that Hill a Silver - Mine, which some of them that had formerly gone that way, because of the rarity of it, had turned aside to see; but going too near the brink of the pit, the ground being deceitful under them, broke, and they were slain; some also had been maimed there, and could not to their dying day be their own men again. Then I saw in my Dream, that a little off the road, over against the Silver-Mine, stood Demas (gentleman-like) to call to Passengers to come and see; who said to Christian and his fellow, Ho, turn aside hither, and I will shew you a thing. Chr. What thing so deserving as to turn us out of the way? Demas. Here is a Silver-Mine, and some digging in it for Treasure. If you will come, with a little pains you may richly provide for yourselves. Hope. Then said Hopeful, Let us go see. Chr. Not I, said Christian; I have heard of this place before now, and how many have there been slain; and besides that Treasure is a snare to those that seek it, for it hindereth them in their Pilgrimage. Then Christian called to Demas, saying, Is not the place dangerous? Hath it not hindered many in their Pilgrimage? Demas. Not very dangerous, except to those that are careless: but withal, he blushed as he spake. Chr. Then said Christian to Hopeful, Let us not stir a step, but still keep on our way. Hope. I will warrant you, when By-ends comes up, if he hath the same invitation as we, he will turn in thither to see. Chr. No doubt thereof, for his Principles lead him that way, and a hundred to one but he dies there. Demas. Then Demas called again, saying, But will you not come over and see? Chr. Then Christian roundly answered, saying, Demas, thou art an Enemy to the right ways of the Lord of this way, and hast been already condemned for thine own turning aside, by one of his Majesties Judges; and why seekest thou to bring us into the like condemnation? Besides, if we at all turn aside, our Lord the King will certainly hear thereof, and will there put us to shame, where we would stand with boldness before him. Demas cried again, that he also was one of their fraternity; and that if they would tarry a little, he also himself would walk with them. Chr. Then said Christian, What is thy name? Is is not the same by the which I have called thee? Demas. Yes, my name is Demas, I am the Son of Abraham. Chr. I know you, Gehazi was your Great Grandfather, and Judas your Father, and you have trod in their steps. It is but a devilish prank that thou usest; thy Father was hanged for a Traitor, and thou deservest no better reward. Assure thyself, that when we come to the King, we will do him word of this thy behaviour. Thus they went their way. By this time By-ends and his Companions were come again within sight, and they at the first beck went over to Demas. Now whether they fell into the Pit by looking over the brink thereof, or whether they went down to dig, or whether they were smothered in the bottom by the damps that commonly arise, of these things I am not certain; but this I observed, that they never were seen again in the way. Then sang Christian, By-ends and Silver Demas both Agree; One calls, the other runs, that he may be A Sharer in his Lucre; so these do Take up in this World, and no further go. Now I saw, that just on the other side of this Plain, the Pilgrims came to a place where stood an old Monument, hard by the High-way-side, at the sight of which they were both concerned, because of the strangeness of the form thereof; for it seemed to them as if it had been a Woman transformed into the shape of a Pillar; here therefore they stood looking and looking upon it, but could not for a time tell what they should make thereof. At last Hopeful espied written above upon the head thereof, a writing in an unusual hand; but he being no Scholar, called to Christian (for he was learned) to see if he could pick out the meaning; so he came, and after a little laying of letters together, he found the same to be this, Remember Lot's Wife. So he read it to his fellow; after which they both concluded that that was the Pillar of Salt into which Lot's Wife was turned, for her looking back with a covetous heart, when she was going from Sodom for safety. Which sudden and amazing sight gave them occasion of this discourse. Chr. Ah my Brother, this is a seasonable sight; it came opportunely to us after the invitation which Demas gave us to come over to view the Hill Lucre; and had we gone over as he desired us, and as thou wast inclining to do, my Brother, we had, for ought I know, been made ourselves like this Woman, a spectacle for those that shall come after to behold. Hope. I am sorry that I was so foolish, and am made to wonder that I am not now as Lot's Wife; for wherein was the difference 'twixt her sin and mine? she only looked back, and I had a desire to go see: let Grace be adored, and let me be ashamed that ever such a thing should be in mine heart. Chr. Let us take notice of what we see here, for our help for time to come: This woman escaped one Judgment, for she fell not by the destruction of Sodom; yet she was destroyed by another, as we see she is turned into a Pillar of Salt. Hope. True, and she may be to us both Caution and Example; caution, that we should shun her sin, or a sign of what Judgment will overtake such as shall not be prevented by this caution: so Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men that perished in their sin, did also become a sign or example to others to beware. But above all, I muse at one thing, to wit, how Demas and his fellows can stand so confidently yonder to look for that treasure, which this Woman, but for looking behind her after (for we read not that she stept one foot out of the way) was turned into a pillar of salt; especially since the Judgment which overtook her did make her an example, within sight of where they are: for they cannot chuse but see her, did they but lift up their eyes. Chr. It is a thing to be wondered at, and it argueth that their hearts are grown desperate in the case; and I cannot tell who to compare them to so fitly, as to them that pick pockets in the presence of the Judge, or that will cut purses under the Gallows. It is said of the men of Sodom, That they were sinners exceedingly, because they were sinners before the Lord; that is, in his eye-sight, and notwithstanding the kindnesses that he had shewed them; for the land of Sodom was now, like the Garden of Eden heretofore. This therefore provoked him the more to jealousy, and made their plague as hot as the fire of the Lord out of Heaven could make it. And it is most rationally to be concluded, that such, even such as these are, that shall sin in the sight, yea, and that too in despite of such examples that are set continually before them, to caution them to the contrary, must be partakers of severest Judgments. Hope. Doubtless thou hast said the truth; but what a mercy is it, that neither thou, but especially I, am not made myself this example: this ministreth occasion to us to thank God, to fear before him, and always to remember Lot's Wife. I saw then that they went on their way to a pleasant River, which David the King called the River of God, but John, the River of the Water of Life. Now their way lay just upon the bank of the River; here therefore Christian and his Companion walked with great delight; they drank also of the water of the River, which was pleasant and enlivening to their weary spirits: besides, on the banks of this River on either side were green Trees, that bore all manner of Fruit; and the Leaves of the Trees were good for Medicine; with the Fruit of these Trees they were also much delighted; and the Leaves they ate to prevent Surfeits, and other Diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by Travels. On either side of the River was also a Meadow, curiously beautiful with Lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this Meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie down safely. When they awoke they gathered again of the Fruit of the Trees, and drank again of the water of the River, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights. Then they sang, Behold ye how these Cristal streams do glide, (To comfort Pilgrims) by the High-way side; The Meadows green, beside their fragrant smell, Yield dainties for them: And he that can tell What pleasant fruit; yea Leaves, these Trees do yield, Will soon sell all, that he may buy this field. So when they were disposed to go on (for they were not as yet at their Journey's end) they eat and drank, and departed. Now I beheld in my Dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the River and the way for a time parted; at which they were not a little sorry, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the River was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels; so the soul of the Pilgrims was much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore still as they went on, they wished for better way. Now a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a Meadow, and a Stile to go over into it, and that Meadow is called By-path-Meadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, If this Meadow lieth along by our way-side, let's go over into it. Then he went to the Stile to see, and behold a Path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. 'Tis according to my wish, said Christian, here is the easiest going; come good Hopeful, and let us go over. Hope. But how if this Path should lead us out of the way? Chr. That's not like, said the other; look, doth 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, espied a man walking as they did, (and his name was Vain-confidence) so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led? He said, To the Coelestial Gate. Look, said Christian, did I not 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 were 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. 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 very dreadful manner, and the water rose amain. Then Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, Oh that I had kept on my way! Chr. Who could 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 that 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 by brother, for I forgive thee; and believe too that this shall be for our good. Chr. I am glad I have with me a merciful Brother; but we must not stand thus, let's 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 again. But by this time the waters were greatly risen; by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I thought that it is easier going out of the way when we are 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 brake; 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, and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping: wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in 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 grounds, 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, into a very dark Dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men. Here then they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday 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 'twas through his unadvised haste that they were brought into this distress. The Pilgrims now, to gratify the Flesh, Will seek its Ease; but oh! how they afresh Do thereby plunge themselves new Griefs into! Who seek to please the flesh themselves undo. 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 him 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 any mercy. So when he arose he getteth him a grievous Crabtree Cudgel, and goes down into the Dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them, as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste. Then he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort, that they were not able to help themselves, or to 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 the time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she talking with her 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 chuse 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-shine 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 'twas best to take his counsel or no; and thus they began to discourse: Chr. Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable: for my part I know not whether is best, to live thus, or to die out of hand. My soul chuseth strangling rather than life, and the Grave is more easy for me than this Dungeon. Shall we be ruled by the Giant? Hope. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me than thus for ever to abide; but yet let us consider, the Lord of the Country to which we are going hath said Thou shalt do no murder, no not to another man's person; much more than are we forbidden to take this counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills another can but commit murder upon his body; but for one to kill himself is to kill body and soul at once. And moreover, my Brother, thou talkest of ease in the Grave, but hast thou forgotten the Hell, whither for certain the murderers go? For no murderer hath eternal life, &c. And let us consider again, that all the Law is not in the hand of Giant Despair. Others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hand. Who knows but that God that made the world may cause that Giant Despair may die? or that at some time or other he may forget to lock us in? or but he may in short time have another of his Fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs? and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before; but however, my Brother, let's be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hopeful at present did moderate the mind of his Brother; so they continued together (in the dark) that day, in their sad and doleful condition. Well, towards evening the Giant goes down into the Dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there he found them alive, and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of Bread and Water, and by reason of the Wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe: But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that seeing they disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born. At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a Swoon; but coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the Giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best to take it or no. Now Christian again seemed to be for doing it, but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth: Hope. My Brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear? Thou seest that I am in the Dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art; also this Giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the Bread and Water from my mouth; and with thee I mourn without the light. But let's exercise a little more patience, remember how thou playedst the man at Vanity Fair, and wast neither afraid of the Chain, nor Cage, nor yet of bloody Death: wherefore let us (at least to avoid the shame, that becomes not a Christian to be found in) bear up with patience as well as we can.