“The neighbors also came out to see him run; and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened; and some cried for him to return. Now among those that did so, there were two that were determined to fetch him back by force. The name of one was Obstinate, and the name of the other was Pliable. Now by this time the man was a good distance ahead of them; however they were resolved to pursue him, and this they did and in a little while overtook him. Then said the man, neighbors, wherefore are you come? They said, To persuade you to go back with us. But he said, That can by no means be; you dwell, said he, in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born, I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with Fire and Brimstone: be content, good neighbors, and go along with me” (Pilgrim’s Progress).
When the unregenerate elect are regenerated by God they immediately take flight out of Babylon. But the timorous tinder will try to hinder, says I:
Many are trying with pseudo-pious crying.
To force a return to a furnace of iron.
Others threaten with a different tack:
“Against the Church you are turning your back;
Against the Elders you are talking defiant smack.”
Laugh like a horse till they are hoarse.
With frivolity, jollity, hilarity, and mirth.
“Church’s been false since the time of her birth?”
Ensconced in the Devil’s lie, they do this verbal drive-by.
Filthy flatterers jettison true gospel medicine.
And imagine this will not be the end of them.
“The true gospel is an adiaphoran bore.”
Say uxorious dolts benighted by the Whore.
We continue with Bunyan’s Progress:
Obst. What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!
Thus objecteth the truth-despisers of varying stripe — from the tolerant Calvinist to the audacious Arminian to the Agnostic ignoramus.
Chr. Yes, said Christian, for that was his name, because that all which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me and hold it, you shall fare
as I myself; for there where I go, is enough and to spare: Come away, and prove my words.
At this time Bunyan’s Christian is a professing Christian who is ignorant of the Scriptural revelation of God’s everlasting righteousness revealed in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:1-4).
Obst. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
Chr. I seek an Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my Book.
Obst. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your Book; will you go back with us or no?
Chr. No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the Plow.
Obst. Come then, neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these craz’d-headed coxcombs, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
Pli. Then said Pliable, Don’t revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours; my heart inclines to go with my neighbor.
Many tolerant Calvinists abusive ad hom true Christians as “craz’d-headed coxcombs” instead of dealing with God’s Word.
I recall one pliable plant who heard the true gospel upon the rocky soil and sadly abandoned the gospel-truth for the hypothetical asininities housed in Hyper-Calvinism. Bunyan’s Pliable desires a kingdom with no King (among other things).
Obst. What! more fools still? Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise.
Obstinate, yes. But at least he has a spine. Would that many tolerant false Christians — especially the tolerant Calvinists — would take Obstinate’s lead and speak words plain and forthright, and not great and swelling bluster that is bereft of a meaningful backbone.
Chr. Come with me, neighbor Pliable; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides. If you believe not me, read here in this Book; and for the truth of what is exprest therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it.
Pli. Well, neighbor Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a point: I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?
Chr. I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little Gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.
Thus Bunyan’s Christian is still ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (cf. Romans 10:1-4).
Pli. Come then, good neighbor, let us be going. Then they went both together.
Obst. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate; I will be no companion of such mis-led, fantastical fellows.
Now I saw in my Dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the Plain; and thus they began their discourse.
And for now, we end this post here. Next Page