An Unpardonable Offence (Pilgrims Progress)
The name of the slough was Despond. May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone for me.
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. Worldly Wiseman, Mr. His house is not quite a mile from this place, and if he should not be at home himself, he hath a pretty young man to his son, whose name is Civility, that can do it to speak on as well as the old gentleman himself; there, I say, you may be eased of your burden. Also his burden now seemed heavier to him than while he was in his way.
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There came also flashes of fire out of the hill, that made Christian afraid that he should be burned. I will now show you who it was that deluded you, and who it was also to whom he sent you. His turning you out of the way. His laboring to render the cross odious to you. And, 3. His setting your feet in that way that leads unto the administration of death. Sir, what think you? Is there hope? May I now go back and go up to the wicket-gate?
Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from here ashamed? But may my sin be forgiven? Will he within open to sorry me, though I have been an undeserving rebel? Then shall I not fail to sing his lasting praise on high. Here is a poor burdened sinner.
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? I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate. Then said Christian, What means that? The other told him.
A little distance from this gate, there is erected a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain; from there, both he and them that are with him shoot arrows at those that come up to this gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in. So he had him about to the backside of the wall, where he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast, but secretly, into the fire. He saw also, upon the top thereof, certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his inkhorn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also, that in the doorway stood many men in armor to keep it, being resolved to do the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could.
Now was Christian somewhat amazed. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, Sir: the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force.
Then Christian smiled and said; I think verily I know the meaning of this. No, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have showed you a little more, and after that you shall go on your way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage. The man said, I was once a fair and flourishing professor, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of others; I once was, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had then even joy at the thoughts that I should get there.
I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent. I have crucified him to myself afresh [Heb. For what did you bring yourself into this condition? God hath denied me repentance. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yes, he himself has shut me up in this iron cage; nor can all the men in the world let me out. O eternity, eternity!
Well, said Christian, this is fearful!
Sir, is it not time for me to go on my way now? So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now, thought he, I see the dangers that Mistrust and Timorous were driven back by.
The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains. Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them, for he thought nothing but death was before him. But the porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian made a halt as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying, Is your strength so small?
Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded
Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that had none. Keep in the midst of the path, no hurt shall come to you. Then he clapped his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the gate where the porter was. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground. But he considered again that he had no armor for his back; and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts.
Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground; for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of you now. Secondly, For that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark and dismal state; and why not, thought he, with me? So he went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what to answer; for that he also thought to be alone.
And by and by the day broke; then said Christian, He hath turned "the shadow of death into the morning". 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. But, good brother, hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, he 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. Who was that that bid him forbear?
Offences Against the Holy Spirit
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. That man that overtook you was Moses. He spares none, neither knows he how to show mercy to those that transgress his law.
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He married very young and poor. Then he fell into the Slough of Despond, then he went through the Valley of the Shadow, and battled with Apollyon.
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, by John Bunyan
People have wondered WHY he fancied himself such a sinner? He confesses to having been a liar and a blasphemer. If I may guess, I fancy that this was merely the literary genius of Bunyan seeking for expression. His lies, I would go bail, were tremendous romances, wild fictions told for fun, never lies of cowardice or for gain.
As to his blasphemies, he had an extraordinary power of language, and that was how he gave it play. Then he heard a voice dart from heaven into his soul, which said, "Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or have thy sins and go to hell? It happens to a certain proportion of men, religiously brought up, to suffer like Bunyan. They hear voices, they are afraid of that awful unknown iniquity, and of eternal death, as Bunyan and Cowper were afraid. Was it not De Quincey who was at school with a bully who believed he had been guilty of the unpardonable offence?
Bullying is an offence much less pardonable than most men are guilty of. Their best plan in Bunyan's misery is to tell Apollyon that the Devil is an ass, to do their work and speak the truth. Bunyan got quit of his terror at last, briefly by believing in the goodness of God. He did not say, like Mr.