Then Prudence thought good to ask him a few questions, and desired his answer to them.
PRUDENCE: Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence you came?
CHRISTIAN: Yea, but with much shame and detestation. Truly, if I had been mindful of that country from whence I came out, I might have had opportunity to have returned; but now I desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Heb. 11:15,16.
PRUDENCE: Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?
CHRISTIAN: Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself, were delighted. But now all those things are my grief; and might I but choose mine own things, I would choose never to think of those things more: but when I would be a doing that which is best, that which is worst is with me. Rom. 7:15, 21.
PRUDENCE: Do you not find sometimes as if those things were vanquished, which at other times are your perplexity?
CHRISTIAN: Yes, but that is but seldom; but they are to me golden hours in which such things happen to me.
PRUDENCE: Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished?
CHRISTIAN: Yes: when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.
PRUDENCE: And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?
CHRISTIAN: Why, there I hope to see Him alive that did hang dead on the cross; and there I hope to be rid of all those things that to this day are in me an annoyance to me: there they say there is no death, Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4; and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you the truth, I love Him because I was by Him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, Holy, holy, holy.
Then said Charity to Christian, Have you a family; Are you a married man?
CHRISTIAN: I have a wife and four small children.
CHARITY: And why did you not bring them along with you?
CHRISTIAN: Then Christian wept, and said, Oh, how willingly would I have done it! but they were all of them utterly averse to my going on pilgrimage.
CHARITY: But you should have talked to them, and have endeavored to show them the danger of staying behind.
CHRISTIAN: So I did; and told them also what God had shown to me of the destruction of our city; but I seemed to them as one that mocked, and they believed me not. Gen. 19:14.
CHARITY: And did you pray to God that he would bless your counsel to them?
CHRISTIAN: Yes, and that with much affection; for you must think that my wife and poor children were very dear to me.
CHARITY: But did you tell them of your own sorrow, and fear of destruction? for I suppose that destruction was visible enough to you.
CHRISTIAN: Yes, over, and over, and over. They might also see my fears in my countenance, in my tears, and also in my trembling under the apprehension of the judgment that did hang over our heads; but all was not sufficient to prevail with them to come with me.
CHARITY: But what could they say for themselves, why they came not?
CHRISTIAN: Why, my wife was afraid of losing this world, and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth; so, what by one thing, and what by another, they left me to wander in this manner alone.
CHARITY: But did you not, with your vain life, damp all that you, by words, used by way of persuasion to bring them away with you?
CHRISTIAN: Indeed, I cannot commend my life, for I am conscious to myself of many failings therein. I know also, that a man, by his conversation, may soon overthrow what, by argument or persuasion, he doth labor to fasten upon others for their good. Yet this I can say, I was very wary of giving them occasion, by any unseemly action, to make them averse to going on pilgrimage. Yea, for this very thing, they would tell me I was too precise, and that I denied myself of things (for their sakes) in which they saw no evil. Nay, I think I may say, that if what they saw in me did hinder them, it was my great tenderness in sinning against God, or of doing any wrong to my neighbor.
CHARITY: Indeed, Cain hated his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous, 1 John, 3:12; and if thy wife and children have been offended with thee for this, they thereby show themselves to be implacable to good; thou hast delivered thy soul from their blood. Ezek. 3:19.
Now I saw in my dream, that thus they sat talking together until supper was ready.