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OLD SLOUGH OF DESPOND.
road to be always as smooth and pleasant as it is at this, the commencement of our journey; neither should our chief motive for going on pilgrimage be, that we are tired of our present residence.
Luke. I hope I am aware of that; nor do I forget the records we have read of what our grandfather and some of his friends underwent before us: but some of the evils they encountered are now, I believe, mitigated, if not extirpated.
Paul. More, I fear, in appearance, than reality, and externally than internally; for our great enemy still remains unchanged, and “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” And, methinks, I even now perceive something a little way before us, which looks like the Slough of Despond that we told of.
Luke. I think I can see it too; but the path at the side seems to be wide enough for us to go, if we walk carefully
I saw that they soon came up to the place, which was not quite so bad as in old Christian's time, though, as he had remarked, it never could be thoroughly mended. Then said Paul, “I am determined to keep as far from it as possible:" and with that he jumped over a low hedge by the path, which
was too narrow for both to walk side by side. Luke, who was in front, not perceiving him go, thought he was still behind, but had not gone much further, (for he walked slowly, taking heed to his steps,) when he heard a cry for help; he turned round, and saw Paul on the other side of the slight fence, on some higher ground, and floundering up to his knees in dust or sand: he hastened to his assistance, with some difficulty from the unsteady footing, and reaching him at arm's length, extricated and led him back to the path, which now began to widen, for they had passed the slough. “Dear brother," said Luke, “for I must call you so, though we are but cousins, how came you in the awkward situation wherein I found
you ? ”
Paul. First, I must thank you for getting me out of it, and though you are younger
have proved yourself wiser. I was so anxious to avoid the slough that I got on that dry-looking ground, which gradually ascended, and at the same time became so soft and crumbling, that I sank into the dust or sand, of which it seems to be composed, and whilst endeavouring to regain my footing, a gust of wind blew such a cloud of dust into my eyes that I was nearly blinded, and they feel quite sore.
than me, you
HILL OF PRESUMPTION.
Whilst they were thus talking, a grave and vene. rable man met and accosted them, inquiring from whence they came, and whither they were bound; to which Luke replied, “We come from the Town of Trouble, our native place; and are journeying to the Celestial country, whither some of our ancestors have travelled before. But my companion and cousin has just had a fall."
" Then," said Evangelist (for it was he), addressing Paul, “I see, by the dust on your garments, that you have strayed upon the Hillock of Presumption, and the redness of your eyes testifies the same.”
Paul. It is true, indeed, sir; but it was in avoiding the Slough of Despond, the perils of which we had heard of, that I ran on the opposite bank, of which I had not heard.
Evangelist. That may be; for in former times, when the slough was larger and deeper, the other was scarcely perceptible: but in the frequent attempts to mend the former, much dirt and mud were cast on one side, and by degrees formed this mound, which in spring and summer is as you found it, and rendered more obnoxious by the strong puffs of wind that occasionally blow across the plains of Self-conceit. There was once a board erected, with this notice,—“ Beware of the Hill of Presumption;" but some foolish, inconsiderate persons, passing by from time to time, defaced, and at last broke it down, saying there was no occasion for it. But you have not told me your name and family.
Paul. I am called Paul: my father's name was Matthew, and my mother's name Mercy.
Evangelist. Ay, indeed! then they were old acquaintances of mine, though your father was a boy, and your mother I well remember, as the meek young friend and faithful follower of Christiana, the wife of your grandfather Christian, for whom I felt a true interest and regard.
Paul. You surprise me! for I should not guess you could be old enough to remember him so well.
Evangelist. Your remark is natural, as, in the common course of things, such would be the case ; but I and two or three more, whom Christian met with in his journey, are gifted with patriarchal length of days. He applied to me, when heavily laden with his burden, and I gave him some advice, and pointed out the way to the Wicket Gate, as I am appointed by my Lord to do.
Paul. Then, sir, you must be Mr. Evangelist.
TOWN OF TROUBLE.
Evangelist. The same. Is this your brother who is with you?
Paul. He is, indeed, unto me as a brother, but is my cousin, being the son of my uncle Joseph.
Then Evangelist took Luke kindly by the hand, saying,—“I will go a little way with you on your road, my young friends, if agreeable to you.” To which they both replied, “ They should be happy if he would." And as they walked he asked them of their dwelling and way of life before they set out on pilgrimage.
“ The Town of Trouble, where we dwelt,” said Paul, “ is but a few miles from the “ City of Destruction,” which, as you know, is a very old place, and a good deal dilapidated from frequent fires that have occurred there, through the carelessness of the inhabitants : it is even suspected that some of these have been caused by worse motives than mere carelessness, owing to the bad characters of many that dwell therein."
Evangelist. You, then, were fortunate in not living there, as your ancestors did; for I suppose your town is more safe and quiet?
Luke. Much more so; though, like most of the towns and villages in this our Land of Imperfection,