Meditation for Sunday, May 10.

Description of Mr. Fearing from Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2 by John Bunyan

But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back–that he always abhorred,–but he was ready to die for fear. ‘Oh, the hobgoblins will have me, the hobgoblins will have me!’ cried he; and I could not beat him out of it. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us.

“But this I took very great notice of: that this valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose those enemies here had now a special check from our Lord; and a command not to meddle until Mr. Fearing was passed over it.

“It would be too tedious to tell you of all, we will therefore only mention a passage or two more. When he was come at Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all the men in the fair; I feared there we should both have been knocked over the head, so hot was he against their fooleries. Upon the enchanted ground he was also very wakeful. But when he was come at the river where was no bridge, there again he was in a heavy case; now, now, he said, he should be drowned forever, and so never see that face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold.

“And here also I took notice of what was very remarkable: the water of that river was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life; so he went over at last not much above wetshod. When he was going up to the gate, Mr. Great-Heart began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above; so he said, ‘I shall, I shall.’ Then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more.”

Honest. Then it seems he was well at last.

Great-heart. Yes, yes; I never had a doubt about him. He was a man of a choice spirit, only he was always kept very low; and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so troublesome to others.

He was, above many, tender of sin; he was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he often would deny himself of that which was lawful because he would not offend.

Honest. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark?

Great-heart. There are two sorts of reasons for it: one is, the wise God will have it so; some must pipe, and some must weep.

Now Mr. Fearing was one that played upon the bass. He and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other music are. Though, indeed, some say, the bass is the ground of music. And for my part, I care not at all for that profession that begins not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the musician usually touches is the bass, when he intends to put all in tune; God also plays upon this string first when he sets the soul in tune for himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr. Fearing: he could play upon no other music but this till towards his latter end.

I make bold to talk thus metaphorically for the ripening of the wits of young readers; and because, in the book of the Revelation, the saved are compared to a company of musicians that play upon their trumpets and harps, and sing their songs before the throne.

Honest. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him. Difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all; it was only sin, death, and hell that were to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that celestial country.

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