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2.3.9 Leaving Gaius's inn

From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 3, Step 9.

Now Mr Feeble-mind, when they were going out of the door, made as if he intended to linger. The which, when Mr Great-Heart espied, he said, Come, Mr Feeble-mind, pray do you go along with us: I will be your conductor, and you shall fare as the rest.

Mr Feeble-Mind: Alas! I want a suitable companion. You are all lusty and strong, but I, as you see, am weak; I choose, therefore, rather to come behind, lest, by reason of my many infirmities, I should be both a burden to myself and to you. I am, as I said, a man of a weak and feeble mind, and shall be offended and made weak at that which others can bear. I shall like no laughing; I shall like no gay attire; I shall like no unprofitable questions. Nay, I am so weak a man as to be offended with that which others have a liberty to do. I do not yet know all the truth: I am a very ignorant Christian man. Sometimes, if I hear some rejoice in the Lord, it troubles me because I cannot do so too. It is with me as it is with a weak man among the strong, or as with a sick man among the healthy, or as a lamp despised; so that I know not what to do. "He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease" (Job 12:5).

Great-heart: But, brother, said Mr Great-Heart, I have it in commission to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you; we will lend you our help; we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionative and practical, for your sake: we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you; we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind (1 Thess. 5:14; Rom. 14; 1 Cor. 8:9-13; 9:22). Now, all this while they were at Gaius' door; and behold, as they were thus in the heat of their discourse, Mr Ready-to-halt came by, with his crutches in his hand, and he also was going on pilgrimage.

Mr Feeble-Mind: Then said Mr Feeble-mind to him, Man, how camest thou hither? I was but now complaining that I had not a suitable companion, but thou art according to my wish. Welcome, welcome, good Mr Ready-to-halt; I hope thou and I may be some help.

Mr Ready-to-halt: I shall be glad of thy company, said the other; and, good Mr Feeble-mind, rather than we will part, since we are thus happily met, I will lend thee one of my crutches.

Mr Feeble-Mind: Nay, said he, though I thank thee for thy good-will, I am not inclined to halt before I am lame. Howbeit, I think when occasion is, it may help me against a dog.

Mr Ready-to-halt: If either myself or my crutches can do thee a pleasure, we are both at thy command, good Mr Feeble-mind.

Thus, therefore, they went on. Mr Great-Heart and Mr Honest went before, Christiana and her children went next, and Mr Feeble-mind came behind, and Mr Ready-to-halt with his crutches. Then said Mr Honest,

Mr Honest: Pray, sir, now we are upon the road, tell us some profitable things of some that have gone on pilgrimage before us.

Great-heart: With a good will. I suppose you have heard how Christian of old did meet with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, and also what hard work he had to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Also I think you cannot but have heard how Faithful was put to it by Madam Wanton, with Adam the First, with one Discontent, and Shame; four as deceitful villains as a man can meet with upon the road.

Mr Honest:Yes, I have heard of all this; but indeed good Faithful was hardest put to it with Shame: he was an unwearied one.

Great-heart: Aye; for, as the pilgrim well said, he of all men had the wrong name.

Mr Honest: But pray, sir, where was it that Christian and Faithful met Talkative? That same was also a notable one.

Great-heart: He was a confident fool; yet many follow his ways.

Mr Honest: He had like to have beguiled Faithful.

Great-heart: Aye, but Christian put him into a way quickly to find him out.

Thus they went on till they came to the place where Evangelist met with Christian and Faithful, and prophesied to them what should befall them at Vanity Fair. Then said their guide, Hereabouts did Christian and Faithful meet with Evangelist, who prophesied to them of what troubles they should meet with at Vanity Fair.

Mr Honest: Say you so? I dare say it was a hard chapter that then he did read unto them.

Great-heart: It was so, but he gave them encouragement withal. But what do we talk of them? They were a couple of lion-like men; they had set their faces like a flint. Do not you remember how undaunted they were when they stood before the judge?

Mr Honest: Well: Faithful bravely suffered.

Great-heart: So he did, and as brave things came on't; for Hopeful, and some others, as the story relates it, were converted by his death.

Mr Honest: Well, but pray go on; for you are well acquainted with things.

Great-heart: Above all that Christian met with after he had passed through Vanity Fair, one By-ends was the arch one.

Mr Honest: By-ends! what was he?

Great-heart: A very arch fellow, a downright hypocrite; one that would be religious, whichever way the world went; but so cunning, that he would be sure never to lose or suffer for it. He had his mode of religion for every fresh occasion, and his wife was as good at it as he. He would turn from opinion to opinion; yea, and plead for so doing, too. But, so far as I could learn, he came to an ill end with his by-ends; nor did I ever hear that any of his children were ever of any esteem with any that truly feared God.


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