Return to The Pilgrim's Progress: Part I: Obstinate and Pliable (idea)

As Christian tries to flee the [wicked city|City of Destruction], neighbors mock, threaten, and try to stop him. Two of his neighbors, [Obstinate] and [Pliable] set out to discourage him from making his journey to the Celestial City, but Christian is resolute. Obstinate thinks Christian to be a "[misled], [fantastical] fellow" as Pliable begins to consider going with Christian. After Obstinate finds arguing futile, he decides to head back home while Christian eventually convinces Pliable to accompany him on his [pilgrimage].

from [The Pilgrim's Progress] by [John Bunyan]:

(They that fly from the wrath to come, are a gazing-stock of the world)
The neighbours also came out to see him run [Jeremiah 20|Jer. 20:10]; 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 [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, "[Neighbours], wherefore are ye come?" They said, "To persuade you to go back with us." But he said, "That can by no means be; you dwell, said he, in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born: I see it to be so; and, dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and [brimstone]: be content, good neighbours, and go along with me."

OBSTINATE: "What?!" said Obstinate, "and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?"

CHRISTIAN: "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 which I am seeking to enjoy [2 Corinthians 4|2 Cor. 4:18]; 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. [Luke 15|Luke 15:17] Come away, and prove my words."

OBSTINATE: What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?

CHRISTIAN: I seek an inheritance [incorruptible], [undefiled], and that fadeth not away [1 Peter 1|1 Pet. 1:4], and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there [Hebrews 11|Heb. 11:16], to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

OBSTINATE: "[Tush]!", said Obstinate, "away with your book; will you go back with us or no?"

CHRISTIAN: "No, not I", said the other, "because I have laid my hand to the plough." [Luke 9|Luke 9:62]

OBSTINATE: Come, then, neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and [go home] without him; there is a company of these crazy-headed [coxcomb]s, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason. [Proverbs 26|Prov. 26:16]

PLIABLE: Then said Pliable, "Don't revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbour."

OBSTINATE: What! more fools still! Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? [Go back], go back, and be wise.

(Christian and Obstinate pull for Pliable's soul)
CHRISTIAN: Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour, Pliable; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glorious besides. If you believe not me, read here in this book; and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it. [Hebrews 9|Heb. 9:17-22; 13:20]

PLIABLE: "Well, neighbour Obstinate", said Pliable, (Pliable contented to go with Christian) "I begin to come to a point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know [the way] to this desired place?"

CHRISTIAN: I am directed by a man, whose name is [Evangelist], to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.

PLIABLE: Come, then, [America: The Good Neighbor|good neighbour], let us be going. Then they went both together.

OBSTINATE: "And I will [come back to my place|go back to my place]", said Obstinate; (Obstinate goes railing back) "I will be no companion of such misled, fantastical fellows."

Now, I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their discourse. (Talk between Christian and Pliable)

CHRISTIAN: Come, neighbour Pliable, [how do you do?] I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me. Had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of [things yet unseen|what is yet unseen], he would not thus lightly have given us the back.

PLIABLE: Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but us two here, tell me now further what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going.

(27) CHRISTIAN: I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue (God's things [unspeakable]): but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.

PLIABLE: And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, verily; for it was made by Him that cannot lie. [Titus 1|Titus 1:2]

PLIABLE: Well said; what things are they?

CHRISTIAN: There is an endless [kingdom] to be inhabited, and [everlasting life] to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever. [Isaiah 45|Isa. 45:17]; [John 10|John 10:28,29]

PLIABLE: Well said; and what else?

CHRISTIAN: There are crowns and glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the [firmament] of heaven. [2 Timothy 4|2 Tim. 4:8]; [Revelation 3|Rev. 3:4]; [Matthew 13|Matt. 13:43]

PLIABLE: This is very pleasant; and what else?

CHRISTIAN: There shall be no more crying, nor [Sorrow]: for He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes. [Isaiah 25|Isa. 25.6-8]; [Revelation 7|Rev. 7:17, 21:4]

(28) PLIABLE: And what company shall we have there?

CHRISTIAN: There we shall be with [seraphim]s and [cherubim]s, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. [Isaiah 6|Isa. 6:2] There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place; none of them are [hurtful], but loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God, and standing in his presence with acceptance for ever. [1 Thessalonians 4|1 Thess. 4:16,17]; [Revelation 5|Rev. 5:11] In a word, there we shall see [the elders] with their golden crowns [Revelation 4|Rev. 4:4], there we shall see the holy [virgin]s with their golden harps [Revelation 14|Rev. 14:1-5], there we shall see men that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love that they bare to the Lord of the place, all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment. [John 12|John 12:25]; [2 Corinthians 5|2 Cor. 5:4]

PLIABLE: The hearing of this is enough to [ravish] one's heart. But are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?

CHRISTIAN: [The Lord], the Governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book; the substance of which is, If we be truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely.

PLIABLE: Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things: come on, let us mend our pace.

CHRISTIAN: I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this [Burden in my hand|burden that is on my back].

[The Pilgrim's Progress: Part I: Evangelist directs him|Back] [The Pilgrim's Progress|Index] [The Pilgrim's Progress: Part I: Slough of Despond|Onward]