Pilgrim’s Progress: Ignorance

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.

And I slept, and dreamed again, and saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city. Now, a little below these mountains, on the left hand, lieth the country of Conceit, from which country there comes into the way in which the pilgrims walked, a little crooked lane. Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad that came out of that country, and his name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him from what parts he came, and whither he was going.

‘Sir,’ said Ignorance, ‘I was born in the country that lieth off there, a little on the left hand, and I am now going to the Celestial City.’

‘But how do you think to get in at the gate, for you may find some difficulty there?’ Christian asked.

‘As other good people do,’ he said.

‘But what have you to show at that gate,’ asked Christian, ‘that may cause that the gate should be opened to you?’

‘I know my Lord’s will,’ said Ignorance, ‘and have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going.’

‘But thou camest not in at the wicket-gate, that is at the head of this way,’ Christian pointed out. Thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane, and therefore I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning-day shall come, thou wilt have laid thy charge, that thou are a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the city.’

‘Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me,’ Ignorance declared, ‘I know you not: be content to follow the religion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the gate that you talk of, all the world knows that it is a great way off of our country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it; nor need they matter whether they do or no, since we have, as you see, a fine, pleasant, green lane, that comes down from our country, the next way into the way.’

When Christian saw that the man was wise in his own conceit, he said to Hopeful whisperingly, “There is more hope of a fool than of him.” And said, moreover, “When he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. What, shall we talk further with him, or outgo him at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already, and then stop again afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good to him?”‘