The neighbors also came out to see him run. As he ran — some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return. Among those who did so, were two who were resolved to fetch him back by force.
The name of the one was Obstinate — and the name of the other was Pliable.
Now by this time, the man had gone a good distance away from them; but they were resolved to pursue him — and in a little while, they caught up with him.
Then the man said, “Neighbors, why have you come?”
They answered, “To persuade you to go back with us!”
But he said, “That cannot be! You dwell in the City of Destruction, the place where I also was born. I see that, sooner or later, dying there — we will sink lower than the grave — into a place which burns with fire and brimstone! Think, good neighbors, and come along with me!”
“What!” said Obstinate, “and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?”
“Yes,” said Christian, for that was his name, “because all that you shall forsake, is not worthy to be compared with a little of what I am seeking to enjoy. And if you will go along with me, and persevere — you shall fare as well as I myself. For there, where I am going, is more than enough — and to spare. Come along — and see that my words are true!”
“What are the things which you seek,” asked Obstinate, “since you are leaving all the world to find them?”
Christian answered, “I am seeking an inheritance which can never perish, spoil or fade — safe and reserved in Heaven — to be bestowed, at the appointed time — on those who diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will — here in my Book!”
“Nonsense!” cried Obstinate, “Away with your Book! Will you go back with us — or not?”
“No, not I!” said Christian, “Because I have put my hand to the plough — and will not turn back!”
“Come, then, neighbor Pliable,” said Obstinate, “let us go home without him. There are too many of these silly fools — who, when they get a crazy thought in their head — are wiser in their own eyes, than seven men who can think reasonably!”
“Do not revile him,” said Pliable, “if what Christian says is true — then the things which he follows after, are better than ours — and my heart is inclined to go with him!”
“What!” bellowed Obstinate, “More fools still! Take my word — and go back with me. Who knows where such a foolish fellow will lead you? Come back! Come back — and be wise!”
“No!” said Christian, “rather come along with me, Obstinate! We will receive such things as I spoke of — and many more indescribable blessings besides. If you do not believe me — then read here in my Book! These truths are all confirmed by the blood of Him who wrote it!”
“Well, neighbor Obstinate,” said Pliable, “I intend to go along with this good man — and to cast in my lot with him.”
Then Pliable turned to Christian and asked, “Do you know the way to this glorious place?”
Christian replied, “I have been directed by a man whose name is Evangelist, to hasten to the narrow-gate ahead of us — where we shall receive instructions about the Way.”
“Come then, good Christian — let us be going!” said Pliable. Then they began to travel along together.
“And I will go back to my place!” said Obstinate. “I will be no companion to such misled foolish fellows!”
Now I saw in my dream, that Obstinate went back — and Christian and Pliable went along towards the narrow-gate, conversing together.
“Neighbor Pliable,” said Christian, “I am glad you were persuaded to go along with me. Had Obstinate but felt what I have felt — of the powers and terrors of unseen realities — he would not have so easily turned back.”
Pliable replied, “Tell me further, Christian — what are these glorious things — and how are they to be enjoyed?”
“I can better understand them with my mind — than speak of them with my tongue!” said Christian. “But since you are desirous to know — I will describe them to you, from my Book.”
“And do you think that the words of your Book are really true?” asked Pliable.
“Yes, absolutely — for it was written by Him who cannot lie!” answered Christian.
“What are these glorious things of which you speak?” questioned Pliable.
“There is an eternal kingdom, and everlasting life — to be given to us, where we will dwell forever!” replied Christian.
“And what else is there?” asked Pliable.
“We will be given crowns of glory, and garments which shine like the sun!”
“This is wonderful!” exclaimed Pliable. “And what else will there be?”
“There will be no more crying, nor sorrow — for He who reigns over that place, will wipe all tears from our eyes!” responded Christian.
“And what company shall we have there?” Pliable inquired.
Christian answered, “There we shall be with Seraphim and Cherubim, creatures which will dazzle your eyes to look upon! There, also, you shall meet with thousands, and tens of thousands — who have gone ahead of us to that Place. They are all loving and holy — each one fully accepted by God — and standing in His presence. In a word — there we shall dwell with all the redeemed people of God, having golden crowns and golden harps! We shall also see those who — for the love which they bore to the Savior — were cut in pieces, burned in the flames, eaten by beasts, or drowned in the seas. They are all perfect, and clothed with immortality!”
“Just hearing of this, is enough to ravish one’s heart!” said Pliable. “How are these things to be enjoyed — and how can we obtain them?”
Christian responded, “The Lord, the Governor of that country, has recorded in His Book — that if we are truly willing to have it — He will bestow it upon us freely.”
“Well, my good companion,” said Pliable, “I am thrilled to hear of these things! Come — let us quicken our pace!”
“I cannot go so fast as I would,” answered Christian, “because of this burden which is on my back!”