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- The Junior Classics, V5 - 50/72 -
By John Bunyan
As I walk'd through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back.
I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?
I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist, coming to him, and asked, Wherefore dost thou cry?
He answered, Sir, I perceive by the Book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to Judgment, and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second.
Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a _Parchment-roll_, and there was written within, _Fly from the wrath to come_.
The Man therefore read it, and looking upon _Evangelist_ very carefully, said, Whither must I fly?
Then said _Evangelist_, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder _Wicket-gate? The Man said, No. Then sad the other, Do you see yonder shining Light? He said, I think I do. then said _Evangelist_, Keep that Light in your eye, and go up directly thereto: so shalt thou see the Gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.
So I saw in my Dream that the Man began to run.
Now he had not run far from his own door, but his Wife and Children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the Man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, _Life! Life! Eternal Life!_ So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the Plain.
The Neighbors also came out to see him run; and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and among those that did so, there were two that resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was _Obstinate_, and the name of the other was _Pliable_. Now by this time the Man was got a good distance from them; but however they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the Man, Neighbors, wherefore are you come? They said, To persuade you to go back with us. But he said, That can by no means be; be content, good Neighbors, and go along with me.
OBST. What, said _Obstinate_, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!
CHR. Yes, said _Christian_, for that was his name, because that _all_ which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a _little_ of that that I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there where I go, is enough and to spare: Come away, and prove my words. Read it so, if you will, in my Book.
OBST. Tush, said _Obstinate_, away with your Book; will you go back with us or no?
CHR. No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the Plow.
OBST. Come then, Neighbor _Pliable_, let us turn again, and go home without him.
PLI. Well, Neighbor _Obstinate_, said _Pliable_, I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him.
Now I saw in my Dream, that when _Obstinate_ was gone back, _Christian_ and _Pliable_ went talking over the Plain.
They drew near to a very miry _Slough_, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was _Dispond_. Here they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and _Christian_, because of the Burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.
PLI. Then said _Pliable_, Ah Neighbor _Christian_, where are you now?
CHR. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.
PLI. At that Pliable began to be offended, and angerly said to his fellow, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill luck at our first setting out, what may we expect 'twixt this and our Journey's end? May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the Country alone. And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the Slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.
Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Dispond alone; he endeavoured to struggle to the side of the Slough, but could not get out, because of the Burden that was upon his back: But I beheld in my Dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, who said, Give me thy hand: so he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way.
EVAN. What doest thou here, Christian? Art not thou the man that I found crying without the walls of the City of Destruction?
CHR. Yes, dear Sir, I am the man.
EVAN. Did not I direct thee the way to the little Wicket-gate?
CHR. Yes, dear Sir, said Christian.
EVAN. How is it then that thou art so quickly turned aside? for thou art now out of the way.
CHR. I met with a Gentleman so soon as I had got over the Slough of Dispond, who persuaded me that I might, in the village before me, find a man that could take off my Burden.
EVAN. What was he?
CHR. He looked like a Gentleman, and talked much to me, and got me at last to yield; so I came hither: but when I beheld this Hill, and how it hangs over the way, I suddenly made a stand, lest it should fall on my head.
EVAN. From this little Wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction; hate therefore his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.
CHR. Sir, what think you? Is there hopes? May I now go back and go up to the Wicket-gate? Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man's counsel: But may my sin be forgiven?
EVAN. Then said _Evangelist_ to him, Thy sin is very great, yet will the man at the Gate receive thee, for he has good-will for men. So _Christian_ went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; and in process of time he got up to the Gate. Now over the Gate there was written, _Knock and it shall be opened unto you._
He knocked therefore more than once or twice, and at last there came a grave person to the gate named _Good-will_, who asked Who was there? and whence he came? and what he would have?
CHR. I come from the City of _Destruction_, but am going to Mount _Zion_, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this Gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
GOOD-WILL. I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the Gate. But how is it that you came alone?
CHR. Because none of my Neighbors saw their danger, as I saw mine.
GOOD-WILL. Did any of them know of your coming?
CHR. Yes, my Wife and Children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again; also some of my Neighbors stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way.
GOOD-WILL. But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?
CHR. Yes, both _Obstinate_ and _Pliable_; but when they saw that they could not prevail, _Obstinate_ went railing back, but _Pliable_ came with me a little way.
GOOD-WILL. But why did he not come through?
CHR. We indeed came both together, until we came to the Slough of _Dispond_, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my Neighbor Pliable discouraged, and would not adventure further. Wherefore getting out again on that side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him; so he went _his_ way, and I came _mine_: he after _Obstinate_, and I to this Gate.
_Christian_ began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his Journey. So the other told him, that some distance from the Gate, he would come to the house of the _Interpreter_, at whose door he should knock, and he would shew him excellent things. Then _Christian_ took his leave of his Friend, and he again bid him God speed.
THE INTERPRETER SHOWS CHRISTIAN MANY EXCELLENT THINGS
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