Chr. Come Neighbor 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 what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.
Pli. Come, Neighbor 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?
Chr. I can better conceive of them with my Mind, than speak of them with my Tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my Book.
Pli. And do you think that the words of your Book are certainly true?
Chr. Yes, verily; for it was made by him that cannot lye.
Pli. Well said; what things are they?
Chr. There is an endless Kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting Life to be given us, that may inhabit that Kingdom for ever.
Pli. Well said; and what else?
Chr. There are Crowns of glory to be given us, and Garments that will
make us shine like the Sun in the firmament of Heaven.
Pli. This is very pleasant; and what else?
I believe the following Scriptures describe those Pliable professing Christians whose theological convictions resemble a plate of jell-o or a bean-bag cushion.
“And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:16-20).
A certain group of poets have stated that many have “no spiritual-ear like when corn is cob-less.” We have experiential knowledge of a few rootless and entangled ones.
“And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:25-27).
Pliable desireth the loaves, but not the Giver of the loaves.
“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7).
Whether biologically male or female, there are many Pliable professors of true Christianity who are spiritual “silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
As a heretical poet of Pliable’s own has sung:
“So you wanna go back to Egypt where it’s warm and secure. … Eating leaks and onions by the Nile. Ooh what breath, but dining out in style. … Well there’s nothing to do but travel, and we sure travel a lot. ‘Cause it’s hard to keep your feet from moving when the sand gets so hot. … So you wanna go back to Egypt, where old friends wait for you. You can throw a big party and tell the whole gang, that what they said was all true”
We continue with the correspondence of Pliable and Christian:
Pli. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things; come on, let us mend our pace.
Chr. I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this Burden that is upon my back.
Now I saw in my Dream, that just as they had ended this talk, they drew near to a very miry Slough, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond. Here therefore they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the Burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.
Pli. Then said Pliable, Ah Neighbor Christian, where are you now?
Chr. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.
Pli. At that Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect ‘twixt this and our Journey’s end? May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave Country alone for me. And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the Slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.
I believe Bunyan would not say that his Christian was converted yet — since he’d not yet arrived at the Wicket Gate — but a “Christian” in name only (i.e., a nominal Christian). Next Page