Archives For Pilgrim’s Progress

Describing his destination, John Bunyan’s pilgrim said:

I am going now to see that head that was crowned with thorns, and that face that was spit upon for me. I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith; but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with him in whose company I delight myself. John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

Do You Know “Talkative”?

Chris —  September 25, 2013

Have you met Talkative from Pilgrim's Progress?Sadly, many will discover on Judgment Day that their name is merely “Talkative.” Matthew 7:21-23. . . 2 Cor 13:5

If your; name is “Christian,” then you will soon meet “Talkative” from Pilgrim’s Progress. He has these characteristics:

Talkative looks better from a distance than near at hand.

He was a tall man, and something better looking at a distance than near at hand.

Talkative enjoys talking about Christianity.

Talk. I like you wonderfully well, for your saying is full of the truth; and I will add, What thing is so pleasant, and what so profitable, as to talk of the things of God? What things so pleasant? that is, if a man hath any delight in things that are wonderful. For instance, if a man doth delight to talk of the history or the mystery of things, or if a man doth love to talk of miracles, wonders, or signs, where shall he find things written so delightful, or so sweetly penned, as in the Holy Scripture?

Talkative knows the Bible.

Talk. All that I know very well, for a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven; I could give you a hundred scriptures for the confirmation of this.

Talkative’s hypocrisy shows in his home life.

“His poor family finds it so: he is such a fault-finder, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him.”

Talkative is self-deceived. His prayer life and words do not match what he says.

Deceived! you may be sure of it. Remember the proverb, “They say, and do not;” but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. He talketh of prayer, of turning to God, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have seen him both at home and abroad, and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither prayer nor sign of turning from sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion to all that know him. It can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people that know him: “A saint abroad, and a devil at home.” His poor family finds it so: he is such a fault-finder, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say, it is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for fairer dealing they shall have at their hands. This Talkative, if it be possible, will go beyond them, cheat, beguile, and overreach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and, if he findeth in any of them a foolish timorousness (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience), he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendation before others. For my part, I am of opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall, and will be, if God prevent not, the ruin of many more.

Christians should speak plainly with Talkative so that he cannot easily continue in being self-deceived.

Chris. You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days; and that makes religion to be despised by so many; for they are these talkative fools, whose religion is only in word, and are vile and vain in their life, that, being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly, do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they either be made more suitable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them.

Talkative will part company soon enough

He had rather leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said: let him go; the loss is no man’s but his own: he has saved us the trouble of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he is, he would have been but a blot in our company. Besides, the Apostle says, ‘From such withdraw thyself.'”

Read below the full excerpt from Pilgrim’s Progress.

See also How Can a Person Be Sure of His Salvation?

The “Talkative” Excerpt from Pilgrim’s Progress

Moreover, I saw in my dream that, as they went on, Faithful, as he chanced to look on one side, saw a man whose name is Talkative walking at a distance beside them; for in this place there was room enough for them all to walk. He was a tall man, and something better looking at a distance than near at hand. To this man Faithful spoke himself in this manner:

Faith. Friend, whither away? Are you going to the heavenly country?

Talk. I am going to that same place. Faith. That is well; then I hope we may have your good company.

Talk. With a very good will, will I be your companion.

Faith. Come on, then, and let us go together, and let us spend our time in talking of things that are profitable.

Talk. To talk of things that are good, to me is very acceptable, with you or with any other; and I am glad that I have met with those that incline to so good a work; for, to speak the truth, there are but few who care thus to spend their time as they are in their travels, but choose much rather to be speaking of things to no profit; and this has been a trouble to me.

Faith. That is, indeed, a thing to be lamented; for what things so worthy of the use of the tongue and mouth of men on earth, as are the things of the God of heaven?

Talk. I like you wonderfully well, for your saying is full of the truth; and I will add, What thing is so pleasant, and what so profitable, as to talk of the things of God? What things so pleasant? that is, if a man hath any delight in things that are wonderful. For instance, if a man doth delight to talk of the history or the mystery of things, or if a man doth love to talk of miracles, wonders, or signs, where shall he find things written so delightful, or so sweetly penned, as in the Holy Scripture?

Faith. That’s true; but to be profited by such things in our talk should be that which we design.

Talk. That is it that I said; for to talk of such things is most profitable; for, by so doing, a man may get knowledge of many things; as of the folly of earthly things, and the benefit of things above. Besides, by this a man may learn what it is to turn from sin, to believe, to pray, to suffer, or the like; by this, also, a man may learn what are the great promises and comforts of the Gospel, to his own enjoyment. Further, by this a man may learn to answer false opinions, to prove the truth, and also to teach the ignorant.

Faith. All this is true; and glad am I to hear these things from you.

Talk. Alas! the want of this is the cause that so few understand the need of faith, and the necessity of a work of grace in their soul, in order to eternal life.

Faith. But, by your leave, heavenly knowledge of these is the gift of God; no man attaineth to them by human working, or only by the talk of them.

Talk. All that I know very well, for a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven; I could give you a hundred scriptures for the confirmation of this.

Faith. “Well, then,” said Faithful, “what is that one thing that we shall at this time found our talk upon?”

Talk. What you will. I will talk of things heavenly or things earthly; things in life or things in the gospel; things sacred or things worldly; things past or things to come; things foreign or things at home; things necessary or things accidental, provided that all be done to our profit.

Faith. Now did Faithful begin to wonder; and, stepping to Christian (for he walked all this while by himself), he said to him, but softly, “What a brave companion have we got! Surely this man will make a very excellent pilgrim.”

FAITHFUL DISPUTES TALKATIVE

Chris. At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, “This man with whom you are so taken will deceive with this tongue of his twenty of them that know him not.”

Faith. Do you know him, then?

Chris. Know him? Yes, better than he knows himself.

Faith. Pray what is he?

Chris. His name is Talkative; he dwelleth in our town. I wonder that you should be a stranger to him: only I consider that our town is large.

Faith. Whose son is he? and whereabout doth he dwell?

Chris. He is the son of one Say-well. He dwelt in Prating Row, and is known to all that are acquainted with him by the name of Talkative of Prating Row; and notwithstanding his fine tongue, he is but a sorry fellow.

Faith. Well, he seems to be a very pretty man.

Chris. That is, to them that have not a thorough acquaintance with him, for he is best abroad; near home he is ugly enough. Your saying that he is a pretty man brings to my mind what I have observed in the work of the painter, whose pictures show best at a distance, but very near more unpleasing.

Faith. But I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.

Chris. God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse any falsely. I will give you a further discovery of him. This man is for any company, and for any talk. As he talketh now with you, so will he talk when he is on the ale-bench; and the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath in his mouth. Religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or conversation: all he hath lieth in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.

Faith. Say you so? Then am I in this man greatly deceived.

Chris. Deceived! you may be sure of it. Remember the proverb, “They say, and do not;” but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. He talketh of prayer, of turning to God, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have seen him both at home and abroad, and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither prayer nor sign of turning from sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion to all that know him. It can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people that know him: “A saint abroad, and a devil at home.” His poor family finds it so: he is such a fault-finder, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say, it is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for fairer dealing they shall have at their hands. This Talkative, if it be possible, will go beyond them, cheat, beguile, and overreach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and, if he findeth in any of them a foolish timorousness (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience), he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendation before others. For my part, I am of opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall, and will be, if God prevent not, the ruin of many more.

Faith. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you, not only because you say you know him, but also because like a Christian you make your reports of men. For I cannot think you speak these things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say.

Chris. Had I known him no more than you, I might, perhaps, have thought of him as at first you did; yea, had he received this report only from those that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it had been a slander, a lot that often falls from bad men’s mouths upon good men’s names and professions. But all these things, yea, and a great many more as bad, of my own knowledge I can prove him guilty of. Besides, good men are ashamed of him: they can neither call him brother nor friend; the very naming of him among them makes them blush, if they know him. Faith. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and hereafter I shall better observe the difference between them.

Chris. They are two things, indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for, as the body without the soul is but a dead carcase, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcase also. The soul of religion is the practical part. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This, Talkative is not aware of: he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian, and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life. And let us assure ourselves that, at the day of doom, men shall be judged according to their fruits.

Faith. Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but I am as sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him?

Chris. Take my advice, and do as I bid you, and you shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his heart and turn it.

Faith. What would you have me to do?

Chris. Why, go to him, and enter into some serious conversation about the power of religion and ask him plainly (when he has approved of it, for that he will) whether this thing be set up in his heart, house or conduct.

Faith. Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, “Come, what cheer? How is it now?”

Talk. Thank you, well: I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time.
Faith. Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and, since you left it with me to state the question, let it be this: How doth the saving grace of God show itself when it is in the heart of man?

Talk. I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you. And take my answer in brief, thus. First, where the grace of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly,—

Faith. Nay, hold; let us consider of one at once. I think you should rather say, it shows itself by inclining the soul to hate its sin.

Talk. Why, what difference is there between crying out against and hating sin?

Faith. Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin in order to appear good; but he cannot hate it except by a real dislike for it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and life. Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it a naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.

Talk. You are trying to catch me, I perceive.

Faith. No, not I; I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of God in the heart?

Talk. Great knowledge of hard things in the Bible.

TALKATIVE PARTS COMPANY

Faith. This sign should have been first; but, first or last, it is also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the Gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so, consequently, be no child of God. When Christ said, “Do ye know all these things?” and the disciples had answered, “Yes,” He added, “Blessed are ye if ye do them.” He doth not lay the blessing in the knowledge of them, but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: “He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not.” A man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian; therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know, is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God.

Talk. You are trying to catch me again: this is not profitable.

Faith. Well, if you please, name another sign how this work of grace showeth itself where it is.
Talk. Not I; for I see we shall not agree.

Faith. Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it?

Talk. You may say what you please.

Faith. God’s work in the soul showeth itself either to him that hath it or to standers by. To him that has it, it is shown by making him see and feel his own sins. To others who are standing by it is shown by his life, a life of doing right in the sight of God. And now, sir, as to this brief account of the work of grace, and also the showing of it, if you have aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to ask you a second question.

Talk. Nay, my part is not now to object, but to hear; let me, therefore, have your second question.

Faith. It is this: Have you felt your own sins, and have you turned from them? And do your life and conduct show it the same? Or is your religion in word or in tongue, and not in deed and truth? Pray, if you incline to answer me in this, say no more than you know the God above will say Amen to, and also nothing but what your conscience can approve you in; for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. Besides, to say I am thus and thus, when my conduct and all my neighbors tell me I lie, is great wickedness.

Talk. Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, thus he replied: “This kind of discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions, because I count not myself bound thereto, unless you take upon you to be a questioner; and though you should do so, yet I may refuse to make you my judge. But, I pray, will you tell me why you ask me such questions?”

Faith. Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not that you had aught else but notion. Besides, to tell you all the truth, I have heard of you that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your life gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They say you are a spot among Christians, and that religion fareth the worse for your ungodly conduct; that some already have stumbled at your wicked ways, and that more are in danger of being destroyed thereby: your religion, and an alehouse, and greed for gain, and uncleanness, and swearing, and lying, and vain company-keeping, etc., will stand together. You are a shame to all who are members of the church.

Talk. Since you are ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or cross man, not fit to be talked with; and so adieu.

Chris. Then came up Christian, and said to his brother, “I told you how it would happen; your words and his heart could not agree. He had rather leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said: let him go; the loss is no man’s but his own: he has saved us the trouble of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he is, he would have been but a blot in our company. Besides, the Apostle says, ‘From such withdraw thyself.'”

Faith. But I am glad we had this little talk with him; it may happen that he will think of it again: however, I have dealt plainly with him, and so am clear of his blood, if he perisheth.

Chris. You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days; and that makes religion to be despised by so many; for they are these talkative fools, whose religion is only in word, and are vile and vain in their life, that, being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly, do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they either be made more suitable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them.

Faith. Then did Faithful say, “How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes! How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes To drive down all before him! But so soon As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon That’s past the full, into the wane he goes; And so will all but he who heart-work knows.” Thus they went on, talking of what they had seen by the way, and so made that way easy, which would otherwise, no doubt, have been tedious to them; for now they went through a wilderness.