Pilgrim’s Progress: Talkative

I am away on a mission, so while I am away I thought I’d share seven sections of the best book (save the Bible) that anyone could ever read and from which this blog acquired its name. I hope you are spurred on to pick up a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress and read it.

Now did Faithful begin to wonder… ‘What a brave companion have we got! Surely, this man will make a very excellent pilgrim.’

At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, ‘This man, with whom you are so taken, will beguile with that tongue of his, twenty of them that know him not.’

‘Do you know him, then?’

‘Know him? Yes, better than he knows himself.’

‘Pray what is he?’ enquired Faithful.

‘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.’

‘Whose son is he? And Whereabout doth he dwell?’ Faithful continued to quiz his friend.

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

‘Well,’ questioned Faithful, ‘he seems to be a very pleasing man.’

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

‘But I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled,’ Faithful said.

‘ God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse 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.’

‘Say you so? Then am I in this man greatly deceived,’ declared Faithful.

‘Deceived! You may be sure of it,’ Christian declared. ‘Remember the proverb, “They say, and do not;” but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.’

Christian spoke on, ‘He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed 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 savour. There is neither prayer, nor sign of repentance for 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 churl, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him. This Talkative (if it be possible) will go beyond the worst cheat and scoundrel, defraud, beguile, and overreach them.’

‘Besides,’ Christian continued, ‘he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds 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 the opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more.’