Pilgrims Progress

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Formalist and Hypocrisy

Yet was he troubled to think, that men in that danger should so little esteem the kindness of him that so freely offered to help them: both by awakening of them, counselling of them, and proffering to help them off with their irons. And as he was troubled thereabout, he spied two men come tumbling over the wall, on the left hand of the narrow way, and they made up apace to him. The name of the one was FORMALIST, and the name of the other HYPOCRISY. So, as I said, they drew up unto him, who thus entered with them into discourse.

Christian. Gentlemen, where did you came from, and where do you go?

Formalist and Hypocrisy. We were born in the land of Vain-glory, and are going for praise to Mount Zion.

Christian. Why came you not in at the gate which stands at the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written, that "he that enters not in by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber?" (John 10:1)

Formalist. and Hypocrisy. They said, that to go to the gate for entrance was by all their countrymen counted too far about; and that therefore their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall as they had done.

Christian. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the city where we are going, thus to violate his revealed will?

Formalist. and Hypocrisy. They told him that, as for that, he needed not to trouble his head thereabout; for what they did they had custom for, and could produce, if need were, testimony that would witness it, for more than a thousand years.

Christian. "But," said CHRISTIAN, "will your practice stand a trial at law?"

Formalist. and Hypocrisy. They told him, that custom, it being of so long a standing as above a thousand years, would doubtless now be admitted as a thing legal by any impartial judge. And besides, said they, so be we get into the way, whatís matter which way we get in? If we are in, we are in: you are but in the way, who, as we perceive, came in at the gate; and we are also in the way, that came tumbling over the wall. Wherein now is thy condition better than ours?

Christian. I walk by the rule of my Master; you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way, therefore I doubt you will not be found true men at the end of the way. You come in by yourselves without his direction, and shall go by yourselves without his mercy.

To this they made but little answer, only they bid him look to himself. Then I saw that they went on every man in his way, without much conference one with another, save that these two men told CHRISTIAN, that as to laws and ordinances, they doubted not but they should as conscientiously do them as he. "Therefore," said they, "we see not wherein you differ from us, but by the coat that is on thy back; which was, as we think, given to you by some of your neighbours to hide the shame of your nakedness."

Christian. By laws and ordinances you will not be saved, since you came not in by the door (Ga 2:16). And as for this coat that is on my back, it was given me by the Lord of the place where I am going; and that, as you say, to cover my nakedness with. And I take it as a token of his kindness to me, for I had nothing but rags before. And besides, thus I comfort myself as I go: Surely, think I, when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me for good, since I have his coat on my back, a coat that he gave me freely in the day that he stripped me of my rags. I have, moreover, a mark in my forehead, of which, perhaps, you have taken no notice, which one of my Lordís most intimate associates fixed there in the day that my burden fell off my shoulders. I will tell you, moreover, that I had then given me a roll sealed, to comfort me by reading as I go in the way; I was also bidden to give it in at the Celestial Gate, in token of my certain going in after it: all which things I doubt you want, and want them because you came not in at the gate.

To these things they gave him no answer, only they looked upon each other and laughed. Then I saw that they all went on, save that CHRISTIAN kept before, who had no more talk but with himself, and that sometimes sighingly, and sometimes comfortably; also he would be often reading in the roll that one of the shining ones gave him, by which he was refreshed.

I beheld, then, that they all went on till they came to the foot of the hill "Difficulty," at the bottom of which was a spring. There were also in the same place two other ways besides that which came straight from the gate; one turned to the left hand, and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill: but the narrow way lay right up the hill (and the name of the going up the side of the hill is called Difficulty). CHRISTIAN now went to the spring, and drank thereof to refresh himself (Isa 49:10); and then began to go up the hill, saying:

"This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;

The difficulty will not me offend,

For I perceive the way to life lies here:

Come, pluck up, heart, letís neither faint nor fear!

Better, though difficult, the right way to go,

Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."

The other two also came to the foot of the hill. But when they saw that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways to go; and supposing also that these two ways might meet again with that up which CHRISTIAN went, on the other side of the hill, therefore they were resolved to go in those ways (now the name of one of those ways was "Danger," and the name of the other "Destruction"). So the one took the way which is called Danger, which led him into a great wood; and the other took directly up the way to Destruction, which led him into a wide field full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.