from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan:
(Evangelist findeth Christian under Mount Sinai, and looketh severely upon him)
And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly Wiseman's counsel. And with that he saw Evangelist coming to meet him; at the sight also of whom he began to blush for shame. So Evangelist drew nearer and nearer; and coming up to him, he looked upon him with a severe and dreadful countenance, and thus began to reason with Christian.
(Evangelist reasons afresh with Christian)
EVAN. "What dost thou here, Christian?", said he: at which words Christian knew not what to answer; wherefore at present he stood speechless before him. Then said Evangelist further, "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 Despond, who persuaded me that I might, in the village before me, find a man that would 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. What said that gentleman to you?
CHR. Why, he asked me whither I was going, and I told him.
EVAN. And what said he then?
CHR. He asked me if I had a family? And I told him. But, said I, I am so loaden with the burden that is on my back, that I cannot take pleasure in them as formerly.
EVAN. And what said he then?
CHR. He bid me with speed get rid of my burden; and I told him that it was ease that I sought. And said I, I am therefore going to yonder gate, to receive further direction how I may get to the place of deliverance. So he said that he would shew me a better way, and short, not so attended with difficulties as the way, Sir, that you set me in; which way, said he, will direct you to a gentleman's house that hath skill to take off these burdens, so I believed him, and turned out of that way into this, if haply I might be soon eased of my burden. But when I came to this place, and beheld things as they are, I stopped for fear (as I said) of danger: but I now know not what to do.
(Evangelist convinces Christian of his error)
EVAN. "Then", said Evangelist, "stand still a little, that I may show thee the words of God." So he stood trembling. Then said Evangelist, "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." Heb. 12:25 He said, moreover, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Heb. 10:38 He also did thus apply them: Thou art the man that art running into this misery; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the Most High, and to draw back thy foot from the way of peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition.
Then Christian fell down at his feet as dead, crying, "Woe is me, for I am undone!" At the sight of which Evangelist caught him by the right hand, saying, "All manner of sin and blasphemies shall be forgiven unto men." Matt. 12:31, Mark 3:28 "Be not faithless, but believing." John 20:27 Then did Christian again a little revive, and stood up trembling, as at first, before Evangelist.
(Mr. Worldly Wiseman described by Evangelist)
Then Evangelist proceeded, saying, "Give more earnest heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now show thee who it was that deluded thee, and who it was also to whom he sent thee. --The man that met thee is one Worldly Wiseman, and rightly is he so called; partly, because he savoureth only the doctrine of this world, 1 John 4:5 (therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church): and partly because he loveth that doctrine best, for it saveth him best from the cross. Gal 6:12 And because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to pervert my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this man's counsel, that thou must utterly abhor."
(Evangelist discovers the deceit of Mr. Worldly Wiseman)
- His turning thee out of the way.
- His labouring to render the cross odious to thee. And,
- His setting thy feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of death.
First, Thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way; and thine own consenting thereunto: because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a Worldly Wiseman. The Lord says, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate" Luke 13:24, the gate to which I sent thee; for "strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matt. 7:14 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.
Secondly, Thou must abhor his labouring to render the cross odious unto thee; for thou art to prefer it "before the treasures in Egypt." Heb. 11:25,26 Besides the King of glory hath told thee, that he that "will save his life shall lose it." Mark 8:35; John 12:25; Matt. 10:39 And, "He that cometh after me, and hateth not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 I say, therefore, for man to labour to persuade thee, that that shall be thy death, without which, THE TRUTH hath said, thou canst not have eternal life; this doctrine thou must abhor.
Thirdly, Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burden.
He to whom thou wast sent for ease, being by name Legality, is the son of the bond-woman which now is, and is in bondage with her children Gal 4:21-27; and is, in a mystery, this Mount Sinai, which thou hast feared will fall on thy head. Now, if she, with her children, are in bondage, how canst thou expect by them to be made free? This Legality, therefore, is not able to set thee free from thy burden. No man was as yet ever rid of his burden by him; no, nor ever is like to be: ye cannot be justified by the works of the law; for by the deeds of the law no man living can be rid of his burden: therefore, Mr. Worldly Wiseman is an alien, and Mr. Legality is a cheat; and for his son Civility, notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a hypocrite and cannot help thee. Believe me, there is nothing in all this noise, that thou hast heard of these sottish men, but a design to beguile thee of thy salvation, by turning thee from the way in which I had set thee. After this, Evangelist called aloud to the heavens for confirmation of what he had said: and with that there came words and fire out of the mountain under which poor Christian stood, that made the hair of his flesh stand up. The words were thus pronounced: `As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.' Gal. 3:10
Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out lamentably; even cursing the time in which he met with Mr. Worldly Wiseman; still calling himself a thousand fools for hearkening to his counsel; he also was greatly ashamed to think that this gentleman's arguments, flowing only from the flesh, should have the prevalency with him as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he applied himself again to Evangelist in words and sense as follow:
(Christian inquires if he may yet be happy)
CHR. 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 thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man's counsel. But may my sin be forgiven?
(Evangelist comforts him)
EVAN. Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils: thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths; yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has goodwill for men; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, `lest thou perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.' Ps. 2:12