from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan:
(By-ends and Christian part)
Now I saw in my dream that Christian and Hopeful forsook him, and kept their distance before him; but one of them looking back, saw three men following Mr. By-ends, and behold, as they came up with him, he made them a very low conge; and they also gave him a compliment. (He has new companions)
The men's names were Mr. Hold-the-world, Mr. Money-love,
and Mr. Save-all; men that Mr. By-ends had formerly been
acquainted with; for in their minority they were schoolfellows, and were taught by one Mr. Gripe-man, a schoolmaster in Love-gain, which is a market town in the county of Coveting, in the north. This schoolmaster taught them the art of getting, either by violence,
cozenage, flattery, lying, or by putting on the guise of religion; and these four gentlemen had attained much of the art of their master, so that they could each of them have kept such a school themselves.
Well, when they had, as I said, thus saluted each other,
Mr. Money-love said to Mr. By-ends, Who are they upon the road before us? (for Christian and Hopeful were yet within view).
(By-ends' character of the pilgrims)
BY-ENDS. They are a couple of far countrymen, that, after their mode, are going on pilgrimage.
MONEY-LOVE. Alas! Why did they not stay, that we might have had their good company? for they, and we, and you, Sir, I hope, are all going on pilgrimage.
BY-ENDS. We are so, indeed; but the men before us are so rigid, and love so much their own notions, and do also so lightly esteem the opinions of others, that let a man be never so godly, yet if he jumps not with them in all things, they thrust him quite out of their company.
SAVE-ALL. That is bad, but we read of some that are righteous overmuch; and such men's rigidness prevails with them to judge and condemn all but themselves. But, I pray, what, and how many, were the things wherein you differed?
BY-ENDS. Why, they, after their headstrong manner,
conclude that it is duty to rush on their journey all weathers; and I am for waiting for wind and tide. They are for hazarding all for God at a clap; and I am for taking all advantages to secure my life and estate. They are for holding their notions, though all other men are against them; but I am for religion in what, and so far as the times, and my safety, will bear it. They are for religion when in rags and contempt; but I am for him when he walks
in his golden slippers, in the sunshine, and with applause.
HOLD-THE-WORLD. Ay, and hold you there still, good Mr. By-ends; for, for my part, I can count him but a fool, that, having the liberty to keep what he has, shall be so unwise as to lose it. Let us be wise as serpents; it is best to make hay when the sun shines; you see how the bee lieth still all winter, and bestirs her only when she can have profit with pleasure. God sends sometimes rain,
and sometimes sunshine; if they be such fools to go through the first, yet let us be content to take fair weather along with us. For my part, I like that religion best that will stand with the security of God's good blessings unto us; for who can imagine, that is ruled by his reason, since God has bestowed upon us the good things of this life, but that he would have us keep them for his sake? Abraham and Solomon grew rich in religion. And Job says, that a good man shall lay up gold as dust. But he must not be such as the men before us, if they be as you have described them.
SAVE-ALL. I think that we are all agreed in this matter,
and therefore there needs no more words about it.
MONEY-LOVE. No, there needs no more words about this matter, indeed; for he that believes neither Scripture nor reason (and you see we have both on our side) neither knows his own liberty, nor seeks his own safety.
BY-ENDS. My brethren, we are, as you see, going all on pilgrimage; and, for our better diversion from things that are bad, give me leave to propound unto you this question:--
Suppose a man, a minister, or a tradesman, &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 extraordinarily zealous in some points of religion that he meddled not with before, may he not use these 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, possessed 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 a greater benefice is lawful, (this cannot
be contradicted), since it is 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, &c., 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; and so (3) 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 hands to do good.
And now to the second part of the question, which concerns
the tradesman you mentioned. Suppose such a 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 that 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's 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 stopped,
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.
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