CharityCharity. Then said CHARITY to CHRISTIAN, "Have you a family? Are you a married man?"
Christian. I have a wife and four small children.
Charity. And why did you not bring them along with you?
Christian. Then CHRISTIAN wept, and said, "Oh, how willingly would I have done it! but they were all of them utterly averse to my going on pilgrimage."
Charity. But you should have talked to them, and have endeavoured to show them the danger of being behind.
Christian. So I did, and told them also what God had showed to me of the destruction of our city; but I seemed to them as one that mocked, and they believed me not (Ge 19:14).
Charity. And did you pray to God that he would bless your counsel to them?
Christian. Yes, and that with much affection; for you must think that my wife and poor children were very dear unto me.
Charity. But did you tell them of your own sorrow, and fear of destruction? for, I suppose, that destruction was visible enough to you.
Christian. Yes—over, and over, and over again. They might also see my fears in my countenance, in my tears, and also in my trembling under the apprehension of the judgment that did hang over our heads; but all was not sufficient to prevail with them to come with me.
Charity. But what could they say for themselves, why they came not?
Christian. Why, my wife was afraid of losing this world; and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth: so what by one thing, and what by another, they left me to wander in this manner alone.
Charity. But did you not with your vain life damp all that you by words used by way of persuasion to bring them away with you?
Christian. Indeed I cannot commend my life, for I am conscious to myself of many failings therein; I know also that a man by his conversation may soon overthrow what by argument or persuasion he doth labour to fasten upon others for their good. Yet this I can say, I was very wary of giving them occasion, by any unseemly action, to make them averse to going on pilgrimage. Yea, for this very thing, they would tell me I was too precise; and that I denied myself of sins (for their sakes), in which they saw no evil. Nay, I think I may say that if what they saw in me did hinder them, it was my great tenderness in sinning against God, or of doing any wrong to my neighbour.
Charity. Indeed, Cain hated his brother because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous (1Jo 3:12); and if thy wife and children have been offended with thee for this, they thereby show themselves to be implacable to good; and thou hast delivered thy soul from their blood (Eze 3:19).