IN THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.
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
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
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. 29:18,19.
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
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 conscience.
FAITHFUL: You know what I mean; all carnal and fleshly content.
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 last?
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
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 my way 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 forbear.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
FAITHFUL: Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, Come,
what cheer? How is it now?
TALKATIVE: Thank you, well: I thought we should have had a great deal of
talk by this time.
FAITHFUL: Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left it
with me to state the question, let it be this: How doth the saving grace of
God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?
TALKATIVE: I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the power of
things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer
you. And take my answer in brief, thus: First, where the grace of God is in
the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly-
FAITHFUL: Nay, hold; let us consider of one at once. I think you should
rather say, it shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.
TALKATIVE: Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and
abhorring of sin?
FAITHFUL: Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin, of policy; but he
cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard
many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in
the heart, house, and conversation. Gen. 39:15. Joseph’s mistress cried out
with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly,
notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. Some cry out
against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when
she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing
TALKATIVE: You lie at the catch, I perceive.
FAITHFUL: No, not I; I am only for setting things right. But what is the
second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace in the
TALKATIVE: Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.
FAITHFUL: This sign should have been first: but, first or last, it is also
false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of
the Gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all
knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so, consequently, be no child of God.
1 Cor. 13:2. When Christ said, “Do you know all these things?” and the
disciples answered, Yes, he added, “Blessed are ye if ye do them.” He doth
not lay the blessing in the knowing of them, but in the doing of them. For
there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: “He that knoweth his
Master’s will, and doeth it not.” A man may know like an angel, and yet be
no Christian: therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a
thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth
God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge, for without that the
heart is naught. There are, therefore, two sorts of knowledge, knowledge
that resteth in the bare speculation of things, and knowledge that is
accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon doing
even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will serve the
talker; but without the other, the true Christian is not content. “Give me
understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my
whole heart.” Psa. 119:34.
TALKATIVE: You lie at the catch again: this is not for edification.
FAITHFUL: Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of grace
discovereth itself where it is.
TALKATIVE: Not I, for I see we shall not agree.
FAITHFUL: Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it?
TALKATIVE: You may use your liberty.
FAITHFUL: A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to him that
hath it, or to standers-by.
To him that hath it, thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially the
defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief, for the sake of which he
is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God’s hand, by faith in
Jesus Christ. This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame
for sin. Psa. 38:18; Jer. 31:19; John 16:8; Rom. 7:24; Mark 16:16; Gal.
2:16; Rev. 1:6. He findeth, moreover, revealed in him the Saviour of the
world, and the absolute necessity of closing with him for life; at the which
he findeth hungerings and thirstings after him; to which hungerings, etc.,
the promise is made. Now, according to the strength or weakness of his faith
his desires to know him more, and also to serve him in this world. But
though, I say, it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom
that he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace; because his
corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this
matter: therefore in him that hath this work there is required a very sound
judgment, before he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work of
grace. John 16:9; Gal. 2:15,16; Acts 4:12; Matt. 5:6; Rev. 21:6.
To others it is thus discovered:
1. By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ. 2. By a life
answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of holiness-heart-holiness,
family-holiness, (if he hath a family,) and by conversation-holiness in the
world; which in the general teacheth him inwardly to abhor his sin, and
himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote
holiness in the world: not by talk only, as a hypocrite or talkative person
may do, but by a practical subjection in faith and love to the power of the
word. Job 42:5,6; Psa. 50:23; Ezek. 20:43; Matt. 5:8; John 14:15; Rom.
10:10; Ezek. 36:25; Phil. 1:27; 3:17-20. And now, sir, as to this brief
description of the work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have
aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a
TALKATIVE: Nay, my part is not now to object, but to hear; let me,
therefore, have your second question.
FAITHFUL: It is this: Do you experience this first part of the description
of it; and doth your life and conversation testify the same? Or standeth
your religion in word or tongue, and not in deed and truth? Pray, if you
incline to answer me in this, say no more than you know the God above will
say Amen to, and also nothing but what your conscience can justify you in;
for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord
commendeth. Besides, to say I am thus and thus, when my conversation, and
all my neighbors, tell me I lie, is great wickedness.
Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, thus he
replied: You come now to experience, to conscience, and to God; and to
appeal to him for justification of what is spoken. This kind of discourse I
did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions,
because I count not myself bound thereto, unless you take upon you to be a
catechiser; and though you should so do, yet I may refuse to make you my
judge. But I pray, will you tell me why you ask me such questions?
FAITHFUL: Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not that you
had aught else but notion. Besides, to tell you all the truth, I have heard
of you that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your
conversation gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They say you are a
spot among Christians, and that religion fareth the worse for your ungodly
conversation; that some have already stumbled at your wicked ways, and that
more are in danger of being destroyed thereby: your religion, and an
ale-house, and covetousness, and uncleanness, and swearing, and lying, and
vain company-keeping, etc., will stand together. The proverb is true of you
which is said of a harlot, to wit, “That she is a shame to all women:” so
are you a shame to all professors.
TALKATIVE: Since you are so ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly
as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or melancholy man, not
fit to be discoursed with; and so adieu.
Then up came Christian, and said to his brother, I told you how it would
happen; your words and his lusts could not agree. He had rather leave your
company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said: let him go; the
loss is no man’s but his own. He has saved us the trouble of going from him;
for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he is, would have been but a
blot in our company: besides, the apostle says, “From such withdraw
FAITHFUL: But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may happen
that he will think of it again: however, I have dealt plainly with him, and
so am clear of his blood if he perisheth.
CHRISTIAN: You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is but
little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes religion
to stink so in the nostrils of many as it doth; for they are these talkative
fools, whose religion is only in word, and who are debauched and vain in
their conversation, that (being so much admitted into the fellowship of the
godly) do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I
wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they
either be made more conformable to religion, or the company of saints would
be too hot for them. Then did Faithful say,
“How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!
How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes
To drive down all before him! But so soon
As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon
That’s past the full, into the wane he goes;
And so will all but he that heart-work know.”
Thus they went on, talking of what they had seen by the way, and so made
that way easy, which would otherwise no doubt have been tedious to them, for
now they went through a wilderness.