The Art Of Getting

Bunyan continues his narration:

Now I saw in my dream that Christian and Hopeful forsook him [By-ends–CD], and kept their distance before him; but one of them looking back, saw three men following Mr. By-ends, and behold, as they came up with him, he made them a very low congee; and they also gave him a compliment.

The men’s names were Mr. Hold-the-world, Mr. Money-love, and Mr. Save-all; men that Mr. By-ends had formerly been acquainted with. For in their minority they were schoolfellows, and were taught by one Mr. Gripe-man, a schoolmaster in Love-gain, which is a market town in the county of Coveting, in the north. This schoolmaster taught them the Art Of Getting, either by violence, cozenage, flattery, lying, or by putting on the guise of religion; and these four gentlemen had attained much of the art of their master, so that they could each of them have kept such a school themselves.

Well, when they had, as I said, thus saluted each other, Mr. Money-love said to Mr. By-ends, Who are they upon the road before us? (for Christian and Hopeful were yet within view).

BY-ENDS. They are a couple of far countrymen, that, after their mode, are going on pilgrimage.

MONEY-LOVE. Alas! Why did they not stay, that we might have had their good company? For they, and we, and you, sir, I hope, are all going on pilgrimage.

BY-ENDS. We are so, indeed; but the men before us are so rigid, and love so much their own notions, and do also so lightly esteem the opinions of others, that let a man be never so godly, yet if he jumps not with them in all things, they thrust him quite out of their company.

Sound familiar? Of course it all comes down to the crucial question, “By what standard?”

SAVE-ALL. That’s bad, but we read of some that are righteous overmuch; and such men’s rigidness prevails with them to judge and condemn all but themselves. But, I pray, what, and how many, were the things wherein you differed?

BY-ENDS. Why, they, after their headstrong manner, conclude that it is duty to rush on their journey all weathers; and I am for waiting for wind and tide. They are for hazarding all for God at a clap; and I am for taking all advantages to secure my life and estate. They are for holding their notions, though all other men are against them; but I am for religion in what, and so far as the times, and my safety, will bear it. They are for religion when in rags and contempt; but I am for him when he walks in his golden slippers, in the sunshine, and with applause.

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