The Life and Death of Mr. Badman,
Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive.
By John Bunyan
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.
The life of Badman is a very interesting description, a true and lively portraiture, of the demoralized classes of the trading community in the reign of King Charles II; a subject which naturally led the author to use expressions familiar among such persons, but which are now either obsolete or considered as vulgar. In fact it is the only work proceeding from the prolific pen and fertile imagination of Bunyan, in which he uses terms that, in this delicate and refined age, may give offence. So, in the venerable translation of the holy oracles, there are some objectionable expressions, which, although formerly used in the politest company, now point to the age in which it was written. The same ideas or facts would now be expressed by terms which could not give offence; and every reader must feel great pleasure in the improvement of our language, as seen in the contrast between the two periods, and especially in the recollection that the facts might be stated with equal precision, and reflections made with equal force, in terms at which the most delicate mind could not be offended.
Those who read the writings of Bunyan must feel continually reminded of his ardent attachment to his Saviour, and his intense love to the souls of sinners. He was as delicate in his expressions as any writer of his age, who addressed the openly vicious and profane—calling things by their most forcible and popular appellations. A wilful untruth is, with him, 'a lie.' To show the wickedness and extreme folly of swearing, he gives the words and imprecations then commonly in use; but which, happily for us, we never hear, except among the most degraded classes of society. Swearing was formerly considered to be a habit of gentility; but now it betrays the blackguard, even when disguised in genteel attire. Those dangerous diseases which are so surely engendered by filth and uncleanness, he calls not by Latin but by their plain English names. In every case, the Editor has not ventured to make the slightest alteration; but has reprinted the whole in the author's plain and powerful language.
The life of Badman forms a third part to the Pilgrim's Progress, not a delightful pilgrimage to heaven, but, on the contrary, a wretched downward journey to the infernal realms. The author's object is to warn poor thoughtless sinners, not with smooth words, to which they would take no heed; but to thunder upon their consciences the peril of their souls, and the increasing wretchedness into which they were madly hurrying. He who is in imminent, but unseen danger, will bless the warning voice if it reach his ears, however rough and startling the sound may be.
The life of Badman was written in an age when profligacy, vice, and debauchery, marched like a desolating army through our land, headed by the king, and officered by his polluted courtiers; led on with all the pomp and splendour which royalty could display. The king and his ministers well knew that the most formidable enemies to tyranny, oppression, and misgovernment, were the piety and stern morality of the Puritans, Nonconformists, and the small classes of virtuous citizens of other denominations; and therefore every effort was made by allurements and intimidation to debauch and demoralize their minds. Well does Bunyan say that 'wickedness like a flood is like to drown our English world. It has almost swallowed up all our youth, our middle age, old age, and all are almost carried away of this flood. It reels to and fro like a drunkard, it is like to fall and rise no more.' 'It is the very haunts and walks of the infernal spirits.' 'England shakes and makes me totter for its transgressions.'
The gradations of a wicked man in that evil age, from his cradle to his grave, are graphically set before the reader; it is all drawn from reality, and not from efforts of imagination. Every example is a picture of some real occurrence, either within the view of the author, or from the narratives of credible witnesses. 'All the things that here I discourse of, have been acted upon the stage of this world, even many times before mine eyes.' Badman is represented as having had the very great advantage of pious parents, and a godly master, but run riot in wickedness from his childhood. Lying and pilfering mark his early days; followed in after life by swearing, cheating, drunkenness, hypocrisy, infidelity and atheism. His conscience became hardened to that awful extent, that he had no bands in his death. The career of wickedness has often been so pictured, as to encourage and cherish vice and profanity—to excite the unregenerate mind 'to ride post by other men's sins.' Not so the life of Badman. The ugly, wretched, miserable consequences that assuredly follow a vicious career, are here displayed in biting words—alarming the conscience, and awfully warning the sinner of his destiny, unless happily he finds that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. No debauchee ever read the life of Badman to gratify or increase his thirst for sin. The tricks which in those days so generally accompanied trading, are unsparingly exposed; becoming bankrupt to make money, a species of robbery, which ought to be punished as felony; double weights, too heavy for buying, and light to sell by, overcharging those who take credit, and the taking advantage of the necessities of others, with the abuse of evil gains in debauchery, and its ensuing miseries, are all faithfully displayed.
In the course of the narrative, a variety of awful examples of divine vengeance are introduced; some from that singular compilation, Clarke's looking-glass for Saints and Sinners; others from 'Beard's theatre of God's Judgments' and many that happened under the author's own immediate knowledge. The faithfulness of his extracts from books has been fully verified. The awful death of Dorothy Mately, of Ashover, in Derbyshire, mentioned, I had an opportunity of testing, by the aid of my kind friend, Thomas Bateman, Esq., of Yolgrave. He sent me the following extract from the Ashover Register for 1660:—'Dorothy Mately, supposed wife to John Flint of this parish, forswore herself; whereupon the ground opened, and she sunk over head, March 23, and being found dead, she was buried, March 25.' Thus fully confirming the facts, as stated by Bunyan. Solemn providences, intended, in the inscrutable wisdom of God, for wise purposes, must not be always called 'divine judgments.' A ship is lost, and the good with the bad, sink together; a missionary is murdered; a pious Malay is martyred; still no one can suppose that these are instances of divine vengeance. But when the atrocious bishop Bonner, in his old age, miserably perishes in prison, it reminds us of our Lord's saying, 'with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.'
Bunyan's pictures, of which the life of Badman is a continued series, are admirably painted from life. The extraordinary depths of hypocrisy, used in gaining the affections of a pious wealthy young woman, and entrapping her into a marriage, are admirably drawn, as is its companion or counterpart, when Badman, in his widower-hood, suffers an infamous strumpet to inveigle him into a miserable marriage, as he so richly deserved. The death-bed scene of the pious broken-hearted Mrs. Badman, is a masterpiece. In fact the whole is a series of pictures drawn by a most admirable artist, and calculated to warn and attract the sinner from his downward course.
In comparison with the times of Bunyan, England has now become wonderfully reformed from those grosser pollutions which disgraced her name. Persons of riper age, whose reminiscences go back to the times of the slave trade, slavery, and war, will call to mind scenes of vice, brutality, open debauchery and profligacy, which, in these peaceful and prosperous times, would be instantly repressed and properly punished. Should peace be preserved, domestic, social, and national purity and happiness must increase with still greater and more delightful rapidity. Civilization and Christianity will triumph over despotism, vice, and false religions, and the time be hastened on, in which the divine art of rendering each other happy will engross the attention of all mankind. Much yet remains to be done for the conversion of the still numerous family connections of Mr. Badman; but the leaven of Christianity must, in spite of all opposition, eventually spread over the whole mass.
Homely proverbs abound in this narrative, all of which are worthy of being treasured up in our memories. Is nothing so secret but it will be revealed? we are told that 'Hedges have eyes and pitchers have ears.' They who encourage evil propensities are 'nurses to the devil's brats.' It is said of him who hurries on in a career of folly and sin, 'The devil rides him off his legs.' 'As the devil corrects vice,' refers to those who pretend to correct bad habits by means intended to promote them. 'The devil is a cunning schoolmaster.' Satan taking the wicked into his foul embraces is 'like to like, as the devil said to the collier.'
In two things the times have certainly improved. Bunyan describes all 'pawnbrokers' to have been 'vile wretches,' and, in extortion, the women to be worse than the men. Happily for our days, good and even pious pawnbrokers may be found, who are honourable exceptions to Mr. Bunyan's sweeping rule; nor do our women in any respect appear to be greater extortioners than our men. The instructions, exhortations, and scriptural precepts and examples to enforce honest dealing, interspersed as reflections throughout this narrative, are invaluable, and will, I trust, prove beneficial to every reader.
I have taken the liberty of dividing this long-continued dialogue into chapters, for the greater facility of reference, and as periods in the history, where the reader may conveniently rest in his progress through this deeply interesting narrative.
THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
As I was considering with myself what I had written concerning the Progress of the Pilgrim from this world to glory, and how it had been acceptable to many in this nation, it came again into my mind to write, as then, of him that was going to heaven, so now, of the life and death of the ungodly, and of their travel from this world to hell. The which in this I have done, and have put it, as thou seest, under the name and title of Mr. Badman, a name very proper for such a subject. I have also put it into the form of a dialogue, that I might with more ease to myself, and pleasure to the reader, perform the work. And although, as I said, I have put it forth in this method, yet have I as little as may be gone out of the road of mine own observation of things. Yea, I think I may truly say that to the best of my remembrance, all the things that here I discourse of, I mean as to matter of fact, have been acted upon the stage of this world, even many times before mine eyes.
Here therefore, courteous reader, I present thee with the life and death of Mr. Badman indeed; yea, I do trace him in his life, from his childhood to his death; that thou mayest, as in a glass, behold with thine own eyes the steps that take hold of hell; and also discern, while thou art reading of Mr. Badman's death, whether thou thyself art treading in his path thereto. And let me entreat thee to forbear quirking and mocking, for that I say Mr. Badman is dead; but rather gravely inquire concerning thyself by the Word, whether thou art one of his lineage or no; for Mr. Badman has left many of his relations behind him; yea, the very world is overspread with his kindred. True, some of his relations, as he, are gone to their place and long home, but thousands of thousands are left behind; as brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, besides innumerable of his friends and associates. I may say, and yet speak nothing but too much truth in so saying, that there is scarce a fellowship, a community, or fraternity of men in the world, but some of Mr. Badman's relations are there; yea, rarely can we find a family or household in a town, where he has not left behind him either a brother, nephew, or friend.
The butt therefore, that at this time I shoot at, is wide; and it will be as impossible for this book to go into several families, and not to arrest some, as for the king's messenger to rush into a house full of traitors, and find none but honest men there. I cannot but think that this shot will light upon many, since our fields are so full of this game; but how many it will kill to Mr. Badman's course, and make alive to the Pilgrim's Progress, that is not in me to determine; this secret is with the Lord our God only, and he alone knows to whom he will bless it to so good and so blessed an end. However, I have put fire to the pan, and doubt not but the report will quickly be heard.
I told you before that Mr. Badman had left many of his friends and relations behind him, but if I survive them, as that is a great question to me, I may also write of their lives; however, whether my life be longer or shorter, this is my prayer at present, that God will stir up witnesses against them, that may either convert or confound them; for wherever they live, and roll in their wickedness, they are the pest and plague of that country. England shakes and totters already, by reason of the burden that Mr. Badman and his friends have wickedly laid upon it. Yea, our earth reels and staggereth to and fro like a drunkard, the transgression thereof is heavy upon it.
Courteous reader, I will treat thee now, even at the door and threshold of this house, but only with this intelligence, that Mr. Badman lies dead within. Be pleased therefore, if thy leisure will serve thee, to enter in, and behold the state in which he is laid, betwixt his death-bed and the grave. He is not buried as yet, nor doth he stink, as is designed he shall, before he lies down in oblivion. Now as others have had their funerals solemnized, according to their greatness and grandeur in the world, so likewise Mr. Badman, forasmuch as he deserveth not to go down to his grave with silence, has his funeral state according to his deserts.
Four things are usual at great men's funerals, which we will take leave, and I hope without offence, to allude to, in the funeral of Mr. Badman.
First. They are sometimes, when dead, presented to their friends, by their completely wrought images, as lively as by cunning men's hands they can be; that the remembrance of them may be renewed to their survivors, the remembrance of them and their deeds; and this I have endeavoured to answer in my discourse of Mr. Badman, and therefore I have drawn him forth in his features and actions from his childhood to his grey hairs. Here therefore, thou hast him lively set forth as in cuts; both as to the minority, flower, and seniority of his age, together with those actions of his life, that he was most capable of doing, in and under those present circumstances of time, place, strength; and the opportunities that did attend him in these.
Second. There is also usual at great men's funerals, those badges and escutcheons of their honour, that they have received from their ancestors, or have been thought worthy of for the deeds and exploits they have done in their life; and here Mr. Badman has his, but such as vary from all men of worth, but so much the more agreeing with the merit of his doings. They all have descended in state, he only as an abominable branch. His deserts are the deserts of sin, and therefore the escutcheons of honour that he has, are only that he died without honour, 'and at his end became a fool.' 'Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial.' 'The seed of evil doers shall never be renowned' (Isa 14:20).
The funeral pomp therefore of Mr. Badman, is to wear upon his hearse the badges of a dishonourable and wicked life; since 'his bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down,' as Job says, 'with him in the dust.' Nor is it fit that any should be his attendants, now at his death, but such as with him conspired against their own souls in their life; persons whose transgressions have made them infamous to all that have or shall know what they have done.
Some notice therefore I have also here in this little discourse given the reader, of them who were his confederates in his life, and attendants at his death; with a hint, either of some high villainy committed by them, as also of those judgments that have overtaken and fallen upon them from the just and revenging hand of God. All which are things either fully known by me, as being eye and ear-witness thereto, or that I have received from such hands, whose relation, as to this, I am bound to believe. And that the reader may know them from other things and passages herein contained, I have pointed at them in the margin.
Third. The funerals of persons of quality have been solemnized with some suitable sermon at the time and place of their burial; but that I am not come to as yet, having got no further than to Mr. Badman's death; but forasmuch as he must be buried, after he hath stunk out his time before his beholders, I doubt not but some such that we read are appointed to be at the burial of Gog, will do this work in my stead; such as shall leave him neither skin nor bone above ground, but shall set a sign by it till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog (Eze 39).
Fourth. At funerals there does use to be mourning and lamentation, but here also Mr. Badman differs from others; his familiars cannot lament his departure, for they have not sense of his damnable state; they rather ring him, and sing him to hell in the sleep of death, in which he goes thither. Good men count him no loss to the world, his place can well be without him, his loss is only his own, and it is too late for him to recover that damage or loss by a sea of bloody tears, could he shed them. Yea, God has said he will laugh at his destruction; who then shall lament for him, saying, Ah! my brother. He was but a stinking weed in his life; nor was he better at all in his death; such may well be thrown over the wall without sorrow, when once God has plucked them up by the roots in his wrath.
Reader, if thou art of the race, lineage, stock, or fraternity of Mr. Badman, I tell thee, before thou readest this book, thou wilt neither brook the author nor it, because he hath writ of Mr. Badman as he has. For he that condemneth the wicked that die so, passeth also the sentence upon the wicked that live. I therefore expect neither credit of, nor countenance from thee, for this narration of thy kinsman's life. For thy old love to thy friend, his ways, doings, &c., will stir up in thee enmity rather in thy very heart against me. I shall therefore incline to think of thee, that thou wilt rend, burn, or throw it away in contempt; yea, and wish also, that for writing so notorious a truth, some mischief may befal me. I look also to be loaded by thee with disdain, scorn, and contempt; yea, that thou shouldest railingly and vilifyingly say I lie, and am a bespatterer of honest men's lives and deaths. For. Mr. Badman, when himself was alive, could not abide to be counted a knave, though his actions told all that went by, that indeed he was such an one. How then should his brethren that survive him, and that tread in his very steps, approve of the sentence that by this book is pronounced against him? Will they not rather imitate Korah, Dathan, and Abiram's friends, even rail at me for condemning him, as they did at Moses for doing execution?
I know it is ill puddling in the cockatrice's den, and that they run hazards that hunt the wild boar. The man also that writeth Mr. Badman's life had need be fenced with a coat of mail, and with the staff of a spear, for that his surviving friends will know what he doth; but I have adventured to do it, and to play, at this time, at the hole of these asps; if they bite, they bite; if they sting, they sting. Christ sends his lambs in the midst of wolves, not to do like them, but to suffer by them for bearing plain testimony against their bad deeds. But had one not need to walk with a guard, and to have a sentinel stand at one's door for this? Verily, the flesh would be glad of such help; yea, a spiritual man, could he tell how to get it (Acts 23). But I am stript naked of these, and yet am commanded to be faithful in my service for Christ. Well then, I have spoken what I have spoken, and now 'come on me what will' (Job 13:13). True, the text say, Rebuke a scorner and he will hate thee; and that he that reproveth a wicked man getteth himself a blot and shame. But what then? Open rebuke is better than secret love, and he that receives it shall find it so afterwards.
So then, whether Mr. Badman's friends shall rage or laugh at what I have writ, I know that the better end of the staff is mine. My endeavour is to stop a hellish course of life, and to 'save a soul from death' (James 5:20). And if for so doing I meet with envy from them, from whom in reason I should have thanks, I must remember the man in the dream, that cut his way through his armed enemies, and so got into the beauteous palace; I must, I say, remember him, and do myself likewise.
Yet four things I will propound to the consideration of Mr. Badman's friends before I turn my back upon them.
1. Suppose that there be a hell in very deed; not that I do question it any more than I do whether there be a sun to shine, but I suppose it for argument sake with Mr. Badman's friends. I say, suppose there be a hell, and that too such an one as the Scripture speaks of, one at the remotest distance from God and life eternal, one where the worm of a guilty conscience never dies, and where the fire of the wrath of God is not quenched. Suppose, I say, that there is such a hell, prepared of God—as there is indeed—for the body and soul of the ungodly world after this life to be tormented in; I say, do but with thyself suppose it, and then tell me is it not prepared for thee, thou being a wicked man? Let thy conscience speak, I say, is it not prepared for thee, thou being an ungodly man? And dost thou think, wast thou there now, that thou art able to wrestle with the judgment of God? why then do the fallen angels tremble there? Thy hands cannot be strong, nor can thy heart endure, in that day when God shall deal with thee (Eze 22:14).
2. Suppose that some one that is now a soul in hell for sin, was permitted to come hither again to dwell, and that they had a grant also, that, upon amendment of life, next time they die, to change that place for heaven and glory. What sayst thou, O wicked man? Would such an one, thinkest thou, run again into the same course of life as before, and venture the damnation that for sin he had already been in? Would he choose again to lead that cursed life that afresh would kindle the flames of hell upon him, and that would bind him up under the heavy wrath of God? O! he would not, he would not; Luke 16 insinuates it; yea, reason itself awake would abhor it, and tremble at such a thought.
3. Suppose again, that thou that livest and rollest in thy sin, and that as yet hast known nothing but the pleasure thereof, shouldest be by an angel conveyed to some place, where, with convenience, from thence thou mightest have a view of heaven and hell, of the joys of the one and the torments of the other; I say, suppose that from thence thou mightest have such a view thereof as would convince thy reason that both heaven and hell are such realities as by the Word they are declared to be; wouldest thou, thinkest thou, when brought to thy home again, choose to thyself thy former life, to wit, to return to thy folly again? No; if belief of what thou sawest remained with thee thou wouldest eat fire and brimstone first.
4. I will propound again. Suppose that there was amongst us such a law, and such a magistrate to inflict the penalty, that for every open wickedness committed by thee, so much of thy flesh should with burning pincers be plucked from thy bones, wouldest thou then go on in thy open way of lying, swearing, drinking, and whoring, as thou with delight doest now? Surely, surely, no. The fear of the punishment would make thee forbear; yea, would make thee tremble, even then when thy lusts were powerful, to think what a punishment thou wast sure to sustain so soon as the pleasure was over. But O! the folly, the madness, the desperate madness that is in the hearts of Mr. Badman's friends, who, in despite of the threatenings of a holy and sin-revenging God, and of the outcries and warnings of all good men, yea, that will, in despite of the groans and torments of those that are now in hell for sin, go on in a sinful course of life, yea, though every sin is also a step of descent down to that infernal cave (Luke 16:24,28). O how true is that saying of Solomon, 'The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead' (Eccl 9:3). To the dead! that is, to the dead in hell, to the damned dead, the place to which those that have died bad men are gone, and that those that live bad men are like to go to, when a little more sin, like stolen waters, hath been imbibed by their sinful souls.
That which has made me publish this book is,
1. For that wickedness, like a flood, is like to drown our English world. It begins already to be above the tops of the mountains; it has almost swallowed up all; our youth, middle age, old age, and all, are almost carried away of this flood. O debauchery, debauchery, what hast thou done in England! Thou hast corrupted our young men, and hast made our old men beasts; thou hast deflowered our virgins, and hast made matrons bawds. Thou hast made our earth 'to reel to and fro like a drunkard'; it is in danger to 'be removed like a cottage,' yea, it is, because transgression is so heavy upon it, like to fall and rise no more (Isa 24:20). O! that I could mourn for England, and for the sins that are committed therein, even while I see that, without repentance, the men of God's wrath are about to deal with us, each having his 'slaughtering weapon in his hand' (Eze 9:1,2). Well, I have written, and by God's assistance shall pray that this flood may abate in England; and could I but see the tops of the mountains above it, I should think that these waters were abating.
2. It is the duty of those that can to cry out against this deadly plague, yea, to lift up their voice as with a trumpet against it, that men may be awakened about it, fly from it, as from that which is the greatest of evils. Sin pulled angels out of heaven, pulls men down to hell, and overthroweth kingdoms. Who, that sees a house on fire, will not give the alarm to them that dwell therein? Who, that sees the land invaded, will not set the beacons on a flame. Who, that sees the devils as roaring lions, continually devouring souls, will not make an out-cry? But above all, when we see sin, sinful sin, a swallowing up a nation, sinking of a nation, and bringing its inhabitants to temporal, spiritual, and eternal ruin, shall we not cry out and cry, They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink; they are intoxicated with the deadly poison of sin, which will, if its malignity be not by wholesome means allayed, bring soul and body, and estate, and country, and all, to ruin and destruction?
3. In and by this outcry I shall deliver myself from the ruins of them that perish; for a man can do no more in this matter—I mean a man in my capacity—than to detect and condemn the wickedness, warn the evil doer of the judgment, and fly therefrom myself. But O! that I might not only deliver myself! O that many would hear, and turn at this my cry from sin! that they may be secured from the death and judgment that attend it.
Why I have handled the matter in this method is best known to myself. And why I have concealed most of the names of the persons whose sins or punishments I here and there in this book make relation of is, (1.) For that neither the sins nor judgments were all alike open; the sins of some were committed, and the judgments executed for them, only in a corner. Not to say that I could not learn some of their names, for could I, I should not have made them public, for this reason, (2.) Because I would not provoke those of their relations that survive them; I would not justly provoke them; and yet, as I think, I should, should I have entailed their punishment to their sins, and both to their names, and so have turned them into the world. (3.) Nor would I lay them under disgrace and contempt, which would, as I think, unavoidably have happened unto them had I withal inserted their names.
As for those whose names I mention, their crimes or judgments were manifest; public almost as anything of that nature that happeneth to mortal men. Such therefore have published their own shame by their sin, and God his anger, by taking of open vengeance. As Job says, God has struck 'them as wicked men in the open sight of others' (Job 34:26). So that I cannot conceive, since their sin and judgment was so conspicuous, that my admonishing the world thereof should turn to their detriment. For the publishing of these things are, so far as relation is concerned, intended for remembrances, that they may also bethink themselves, repent and turn to God, lest the judgments for their sins should prove hereditary. For the God of heaven hath threatened to visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, if they hate him, to the third and fourth generation (Exo 20:5).
Nebuchadnezzar's punishment for his pride being open—for he was for his sin driven from his kingly dignity, and from among men too, to eat grass like an ox, and to company with the beasts—Daniel did not stick to tell Belshazzar his son to his face thereof; nor to publish it that it might be read and remembered by the generations to come. The same may be said of Judas and Ananias, &c., for their sin and punishment were known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem (Acts 1:19). Nor is it a sign but of desperate impenitence and hardness of heart, when the offspring or relations of those who have fallen by open, fearful, and prodigious judgments, for their sin, shall overlook, forget, pass by, or take no notice of such high outgoings of God against them and their house. Thus Daniel aggravates Belshazzar's crime, for that he hardened his heart in pride, though he knew that for that very sin and transgression his father was brought down from his height, and made to be a companion for asses. 'And thou his son, O Belshazzar,' says he, 'hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this' (Dan 5:22). A home reproof, indeed, but home [reproof] is most fit for an open and a continued in transgression.
Let those, then, that are the offspring or relations of such, who by their own sin, and the dreadful judgments of God, are made to become a sign (Deut 16:9-12), having been swept as dung from off the face of the earth, beware, lest when judgment knocks at their door, for their sins, as it did before at the door of their progenitors, it falls also with as heavy a stroke as on them that went before them (Num 16:38-40). Lest, I say, they in that day, instead of finding mercy, find for their high, daring, and judgment-affronting sins, judgment without mercy.
To conclude; let those that would not die Mr. Badman's death, take heed of Mr. Badman's ways; for his ways bring to his end. Wickedness will not deliver him that is given to it; though they should cloak all with a profession of religion. If it was a transgression of old for a man to wear a woman's apparel, surely it is a transgression now for a sinner to wear a Christian profession for a cloak. Wolves in sheep's clothing swarm in England this day; wolves both as to doctrine and as to practice too. Some men make a profession, I doubt, on purpose that they may twist themselves into a trade; and thence into an estate; yea, and if need be, into an estate knavishly, by the ruins of their neighbour. Let such take heed, for those that do such things have the greater damnation. Christian, make thy profession shine by a conversation according to the gospel; or else thou wilt damnify religion, bring scandal to thy brethren, and give offence to the enemies; and it would be better that a millstone was hanged about thy neck, and that thou, as so adorned, was cast into the bottom of the sea, than so to do. Christian, a profession according to the gospel is, in these days, a rare thing; seek then after it, put it on, and keep it without spot, and, as becomes thee, white, and clean, and thou shalt be a rare Christian.
The prophecy of the last times is, that professing men, for so I understand the text, shall be many of them base (2 Tim 3); but continue thou in the things that thou hast learned, not of wanton men, nor of licentious times, but of the Word and doctrine of God, that is, according to godliness; and thou shalt walk with Christ in white. Now, God Almighty gave his people grace, not to hate or malign sinners, nor yet to choose any of their ways, but to keep themselves pure from the blood of all men, by speaking and doing according to that name and those rules that they profess to know and love; for Jesus Christ's sake.
CHAP. I. Badman's death and its awful consequences, This leads to the discourse of his life.
CHAP. II. Badman's wicked behavior in childhood,
CHAP. III. Badman's apprenticeship to a pious master,
CHAP. IV. He gets a new master bad as himself,
CHAP. V. Badman in business; the tricks of a wicked tradesman,
CHAP. VI. His hypocritical courtship and marriage to a pious, rich, young lady,
CHAP. VII. He throws off the mask and cruelly treats his wife. Bunyan's rules for such as think of marriage,
CHAP. VIII. Badman is a bankrupt, and gets by it hat-fulls of money,
CHAP. IX. Badman's fraudulent dealings to get money,
CHAP. X. The simple Christian's views of extortion,
CHAP. XI. Instructions for righteous trading,
CHAP. XII. Badman's pride, atheism, infidelity, and envy,
CHAP. XIII. He gets drunk and breaks his leg. God's judgments upon drunkards,
CHAP. XIV. His pretended repentings and promises of reform when death grimly stares at him,
CHAP. XV. Death leaves him for a season, and he returns to his sins, like a sow that has been washed to her wallowing in the mire,
CHAP. XVI. His pious wife dies broken-hearted. Her deathbed charge to her family,
CHAP. XVII. He is tricked into a second marriage by a woman as bad as himself,
CHAP. XVIII. He parts from his wife, diseases attack him under Captain Consumption; he rots away and dies in sinful security,
CHAP. XIX. Future happiness not to be hoped from a quiet, hardened death. Some remarkable instances,
CHAP. XX. Without godly repentance, the wicked man's hopes and life die together.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MR. BADMAN,
[BADMAN'S DEATH AND ITS AWFUL CONSEQUENCES.]
WISEMAN. Good morrow, my good neighbour, Mr. Attentive; whither are you walking so early this morning? Methinks you look as if you were concerned about something more than ordinary. Have you lost any of your cattle, or what is the matter?
ATTENTIVE. Good Sir, good morrow to you, I have not as yet lost aught, but yet you give a right guess of me, for I am, as you say, concerned in my heart, but it is because of the badness of the times. And, Sir, you, as all our neighbours know, are a very observing man, pray, therefore, what do you think of them?
WISE. Why, I think, as you say, to wit, that they are bad times, and bad they will be, until men are better; for they are bad men that make bad times; if men, therefore, would mend, so would the times. It is a folly to look for good days so long as sin is so high, and those that study its nourishment so many. God bring it down, and those that nourish it, to repentance, and then, my good neighbour, you will be concerned, not as you are now; now you are concerned because times are so bad, but then you will be so because times are so good; now you are concerned so as to be perplexed, but then you will be concerned so as to lift up your voice with shouting, for I dare say, could you see such days, they would make you shout.
ATTEN. Ay, so they would; such times I have prayed for, such times I have longed for; but I fear they will be worse before they be better.
WISE. Make no conclusions, man; for he that hath the hearts of men in his hand can change them from worse to better, and so bad times into good. God give long life to them that are good, and especially to those of them that are capable of doing him service in the world. The ornament and beauty of this lower world, next to God and his wonders, are the men that spangle and shine in godliness.
Now as Mr. Wiseman said this, he gave a great sigh.
ATTEN. Amen, amen. But why, good Sir, do you sigh so deeply; is it for ought else than that for the which, as you have perceived, I myself am concerned?
WISE. I am concerned, with you, for the badness of the times; but that was not the cause of that sigh, of the which, as I see, you take notice. I sighed at the remembrance of the death of that man for whom the bell tolled at our town yesterday.
ATTEN. Why, I trow, Mr. Goodman your neighbour is not dead. Indeed I did hear that he had been sick.
WISE. No, no, it is not he. Had it been he, I could not but have been concerned, but yet not as I am concerned now. If he had died, I should only have been concerned for that the world had lost a light; but the man that I am concerned for now was one that never was good, therefore such an one who is not dead only, but damned. He died that he might die, he went from life to death, and then from death to death, from death natural to death eternal. And as he spake this, the water stood in his eyes.
ATTEN. Indeed, to go from a deathbed to hell is a fearful thing to think on. But, good neighbour Wiseman, be pleased to tell me who this man was, and why you conclude him so miserable in his death?
WISE. Well, if you can stay, I will tell you who he was, and why I conclude thus concerning him.
ATTEN. My leisure will admit me to stay, and I am willing to hear you out. And I pray God your discourse may take hold on my heart, that I may be bettered thereby. So they agreed to sit down under a tree. Then Mr. Wiseman proceeded as followeth:—
WISE. The man that I mean is one Mr. Badman; he has lived in our town a great while, and now, as I said, he is dead. But the reason of my being so concerned at his death is, not for that he was at all related to me, or for that any good conditions died with him, for he was far from them, but for that, as I greatly fear, he hath, as was hinted before, died two deaths at once.
ATTEN. I perceive what you mean by two deaths at once; and to speak truth, it is a fearful thing thus to have ground to think of any: for although the death of the ungodly and sinners is laid to heart but of few, yet to die in such a state is more dreadful and fearful than any man can imagine. Indeed if a man had no soul, if his state was not truly immortal, the matter would not be so much; but for a man to be so disposed of by his Maker, as to be appointed a sensible being for ever, and for him too to fall into the hands of revenging justice, that will be always, to the utmost extremity that his sin deserveth, punishing of him in the dismal dungeon of hell, this must needs be unutterably sad, and lamentable.
WISE. There is no man, I think, that is sensible of the worth of one soul, but must, when he hears of the death of unconverted men, be stricken with sorrow and grief: because, as you said well, that man's state is such that he has a sensible being for ever. For it is sense that makes punishment heavy. But yet sense is not all that the damned have, they have sense and reason too; so then, as sense receiveth punishment with sorrow, because it feels, and bleeds under the same, so by reason, and the exercise thereof, in the midst of torment, all present affliction is aggravated, and that three manner of ways:—1. Reason will consider thus with himself. For what am I thus tormented? and will easily find it is for nothing but that base and filthy thing, sin; and now will vexation be mixed with punishment, and that will greatly heighten the affliction. 2. Reason will consider thus with himself. How long must this be my state? And will soon return to himself this answer: This must be my state for ever and ever. Now this will greatly increase the torment. 3. Reason. will consider thus with himself. What have I lost more than present ease and quiet by my sins that I have committed? And will quickly return himself this answer: I have lost communion with God, Christ, saints, and angels, and a share in heaven and eternal life: and this also must needs greaten the misery of poor damned souls. And this is the case of Mr. Badman.
ATTEN. I feel my heart even shake at the thoughts of coming into such a state. Hell! who knows that is yet alive, what the torments of hell are? This word HELL gives a very dreadful sound.
WISE. Ay, so it does in the ears of him that has a tender conscience. But if, as you say, and that truly, the very name of hell is so dreadful, what is the place itself, and what are the punishments that are there inflicted, and that without the least intermission, upon the souls of damned men, for ever and ever.
ATTEN. Well, but passing this; my leisure will admit me to stay, and therefore pray tell me what it is that makes you think that Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
WISE. I will tell you. But first, do you know which of the Badmans I mean?
ATTEN. Why, was there more of them than one?
WISE. O yes, a great many, both brothers and sisters, and yet all of them the children of a godly parent, the more a great deal is the pity.
ATTEN. Which of them therefore was it that died?
WISE. The eldest, old in years, and old in sin; but the sinner that dies an hundred years old shall be accursed.
ATTEN. Well, but what makes you think he is gone to hell?
WISE. His wicked life, and fearful death, especially since the manner of his death was so corresponding with his life.
ATTEN. Pray let me know the manner of his death, if yourself did perfectly know it.
WISE. I was there when he died; but I desire not to see another such man, while I live, die in such sort as he did.
ATTEN. Pray therefore let me hear it.
WISE. You say you have leisure and can stay, and therefore, if you please, we will discourse even orderly of him. First, we will begin with his life, and then proceed to his death: because a relation of the first may the more affect you, when you shall hear of the second.
ATTEN. Did you then so well know his life?
WISE. I knew him of a child. I was a man, when he was but a boy, and I made special observation of him from first to last.
ATTEN. Pray then let me hear from you an account of his life; but be as brief as you can, for I long to hear of the manner of his death.
[BADMAN'S WICKED BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDHOOD.]
WISE. I will endeavour to answer your desires, and first, I will tell you, that from a child he was very bad; his very beginning was ominous, and presaged that no good end was, in likelihood, to follow thereupon. There were several sins that he was given to, when but a little one, that manifested him to be notoriously infected with original corruption; for I dare say he learned none of them of his father and mother; nor was he admitted to go much abroad among other children that were vile, to learn to sin of them: nay, contrariwise, if at any time he did get abroad amongst others, he would be as the inventor of bad words, and an example in bad actions. To them all he used to be, as we say, the ringleader, and master-sinner from a child.
ATTEN. This was a bad beginning indeed, and did demonstrate that he was, as you say, polluted, very much polluted with original corruption. For to speak my mind freely, I do confess that it is mine opinion that children come polluted with sin into the world, and that ofttimes the sins of their youth, especially while they are very young, are rather by virtue of indwelling sin, than by examples that are set before them by others. Not but that they learn to sin by example too, but example is not the root, but rather the temptation unto wickedness. The root is sin within; 'for from within, out of the heart of men,' proceedeth sin (Mark 7:21).
WISE. I am glad to hear that you are of this opinion, and to confirm what you have said by a few hints from the Word. Man in his birth is compared to an ass, an unclean beast, and to a wretched infant in its blood (Job 11:12; Eze 16). Besides, all the first-born of old that were offered unto the Lord, were to be redeemed at the age of a month, and that was before they were sinners by imitation (Exo 13:13, 34:20). The scripture also affirmeth, that by the sin of one, judgment came upon all; and renders this reason, 'for that all have sinned' (Rom 5:12). Nor is that objection worth a rush, that Christ by his death hath taken away original sin. First. Because it is scriptureless. Secondly. Because it makes them incapable of salvation by Christ; for none but those that in their own persons are sinners are to have salvation by him. Many other things might be added, but between persons so well agreed as you and I are, these may suffice at present. But when an antagonist comes to deal with us about this matter, then we have for him often other strong arguments, if he be an antagonist worth the taking notice of.
ATTEN. But, as was hinted before, he used to be the ring-leading sinner, or the master of mischief among other children; yet these are but generals; pray therefore tell me in particular which were the sins of his childhood.
WISE. I will so. When he was but a child, he was so addicted to lying that his parents scarce knew when to believe he spake true; yea, he would invent, tell, and stand to the lies that he invented and told, and that with such an audacious face, that one might even read in his very countenance the symptoms of a hard and desperate heart this way.
ATTEN. This was an ill beginning indeed, and argueth that he began to harden himself in sin betimes. For a lie cannot be knowingly told and stood in, and I perceive that this was his manner of way in lying, but he must as it were force his own heart unto it. Yea, he must make his heart hard, and bold to do it. Yea, he must be arrived to an exceeding pitch of wickedness thus to do, since all this he did against that good education, that before you seemed to hint he had from his father and mother.
WISE. The want of good education, as you have intimated, is many times a cause why children do so easily, so soon, become bad; especially when there is not only a want of that, but bad examples enough, as, the more is the pity, there is in many families; by virtue of which poor children are trained up in sin, and nursed therein for the devil and hell. But it was otherwise with Mr. Badman, for to my knowledge this his way of lying was a great grief to his parents, for their hearts were much dejected at this beginning of their son; nor did there want counsel and correction from them to him if that would have made him better. He wanted not to be told, in my hearing, and that over and over and over, that 'all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone'; and that 'whosoever loveth and maketh a lie,' should not have any part in the new and heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:8,27, 22:15). But all availed nothing with him; when a fit, or an occasion to lie came upon him, he would invent, tell, and stand to his lie as steadfastly as if it had been the biggest of truths that he told, and that with that hardening of his heart and face, that it would be to those who stood by, a wonder. Nay, and this he would do when under the rod of correction, which is appointed by God for parents to use, that thereby they might keep their children from hell (Prov 22:15, 23:13,14).
ATTEN. Truly it was, as I said, a bad beginning, he served the devil betimes; yea, he became nurse to one of his brats, for a spirit of lying is the devil's brat, 'for he is a liar and the father of it' (John 8:44).
WISE. Right, he is the father of it indeed. A lie is begot by the devil as the father, and is brought forth by the wicked heart as the mother; wherefore another scripture also saith, 'Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie,' &c. (Acts 5:3,4). Yea, he calleth the heart that is big with a lie, an heart that hath conceived, that is, by the devil. 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.' True, his lie was a lie of the highest nature, but every lie hath the same father and mother as had the lie last spoken of. 'For he is a liar, and the father of it.' A lie then is the brat of hell, and it cannot be in the heart before the person has committed a kind of spiritual adultery with the devil. That soul therefore that telleth a known lie, has lien with, and conceived it by lying with the devil, the only father of lies. For a lie has only one father and mother, the devil and the heart. No marvel therefore if the hearts that hatch and bring forth lies be so much of complexion with the devil. Yea, no marvel though God and Christ have so bent their word against liars. A liar is wedded to the devil himself.
ATTEN. It seems a marvellous thing in mine eyes, that since a lie is in the offspring of the devil, and since a lie brings the soul to the very den of devils, to wit, the dark dungeon of hell, that men should be so desperately wicked as to accustom themselves to so horrible a thing.
WISE. It seems also marvellous to me, especially when I observe for how little a matter some men will study, contrive, make, and tell a lie. You shall have some that will lie it over and over, and that for a penny profit. Yea, lie and stand in it, although they know that they lie. Yea, you shall have some men that will not stick to tell lie after lie, though themselves get nothing thereby. They will tell lies in their ordinary discourse with their neighbours, also their news, their jests, and their tales, must needs be adorned with lies; or else they seem to bear no good sound to the ear, nor show much to the fancy of him to whom they are told. But alas! what will these liars do, when, for their lies they shall be tumbled down into hell, to that devil that did beget those lies in their heart, and so be tormented by fire and brimstone, with him, and that for ever and ever, for their lies?
ATTEN. Can you not give one some example of God's judgments upon liars, that one may tell them to liars when one hears them lie, if perhaps they may by the hearing thereof, be made afraid, and ashamed to lie.
WISE. Examples! why Ananias and his wife are examples enough to put a stop, one would think, to a spirit addicted thereto, for they both were stricken down dead for telling a lie, and that by God himself, in the midst of a company of people (Acts 5). But if God's threatening of liars with hell-fire, and with the loss of the kingdom of heaven, will not prevail with them to leave off to lie and make lies, it cannot be imagined that a relation of temporal judgments that have swept liars out of the world heretofore, should do it. Now, as I said, this lying was one of the first sins that Mr. Badman was addicted to, and he could make them and tell them fearfully.
ATTEN. I am sorry to hear this of him, and so much the more, because, as I fear, this sin did not reign in him alone; for usually one that is accustomed to lying, is also accustomed to other evils besides; and if it were not so also with Mr. Badman, it would be indeed a wonder.
WISE. You say true, the liar is a captive slave of more than the spirit of lying; and therefore this Mr. Badman, as he was a liar from a child, so he was also much given to pilfer and steal, so that what he could, as we say, handsomely lay his hands on, that was counted his own, whether they were the things of his fellow-children, or if he could lay hold of anything at a neighbour's house, he would take it away; you must understand me of trifles; for being yet but a child, he attempted no great matter, especially at first. But yet as he grew up in strength and ripeness of wit, so he attempted to pilfer and steal things still of more value than at first. He took at last great pleasure in robbing of gardens and orchards; and as he grew up, to steal pullen from the neighbourhood. Yea, what was his father's could not escape his fingers, all was fish that came to his net, so hardened, at last, was he in this mischief also.
ATTEN. You make me wonder more and more. What, play the thief too! What, play the thief so soon! He could not but know, though he was but a child, that what he took from others was none of his own. Besides, if his father was a good man, as you say, it could not be but he must also hear from him that to steal was to transgress the law of God, and so to run the hazard of eternal damnation.
WISE. His father was not wanting to use the means to reclaim him, often urging, as I have been told, that saying in the law of Moses, 'Thou shalt not steal' (Exo 20:15). And also that, 'This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off', &c. (Zech 5:3). The light of nature also, though he was little, must needs show him that what he took from others was not his own; and that he would not willingly have been served so himself. But all was to no purpose, let father and conscience say what they would to him, he would go on, he was resolved to go on in his wickedness.
ATTEN. But his father would, as you intimate, sometimes rebuke him for his wickedness; pray how would he carry it then?
WISE. How! why like to a thief that is found. He would stand gloating, and hanging down his head in a sullen, pouching manner; a body might read, as we used to say, the picture of ill-luck in his face; and when his father did demand his answer to such questions concerning his villainy, he would grumble and mutter at him, and that should be all he could get.
ATTEN. But you said that he would also rob his father, methinks that was an unnatural thing.
WISE. Natural or unnatural, all is one to a thief. Besides, you must think that he had likewise companions to whom he was, for the wickedness that he saw in them, more firmly knit, than either of father or mother. Yea, and what had he cared if father and mother had died for grief for him. Their death would have been, as he would have counted, great release and liberty to him; for the truth is, they and their counsel were his bondage; yea, and if I forget not, I have heard some say that when he was, at times, among his companions he would greatly rejoice to think that his parents were old, and could not live long, and then, quoth he, I shall be mine own man, to do what I list, without their control.
ATTEN. Then it seems he counted that robbing of his parents was no crime.
WISE. None at all; and therefore he fell directly under that sentence, 'Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith it is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer' (Prov 28:24). And for that he set so light by them as to their persons and counsels, it was a sign that at present he was of a very abominable spirit, and that some judgment waited to take hold of him in time to come (1 Sam 2:25).
ATTEN. But can you imagine what it was, I mean, in his conceit, for I speak not now of the suggestions of Satan, by which doubtless he was put on to do these things; I say what it should be in his conceit, that should make him think that this his manner of pilfering and stealing was no great matter.
WISE. It was for that the things that he stole were small; to rob orchards, and gardens, and to steal pullen, and the like, these he counted tricks of youth, nor would he be beat out of it by all that his friends could say. They would tell him that he must not covet, or desire, and yet to desire is less than to take, even anything, the least thing that was his neighbour's; and that if he did, it would be a transgression of the law; but all was one to him; what through the wicked talk of his companions, and the delusion of his own corrupt heart, he would go on in his pilfering course, and where he thought himself secure, would talk of, and laugh at it when he had done.
ATTEN. Well I heard a man once, when he was upon the ladder with the rope about his neck, confess, when ready to be turned off by the hangman, that that which had brought him to that end was his accustoming of himself, when young, to pilfer and steal small things. To my best remembrance he told us, that he began the trade of a thief by stealing of pins and points; and therefore did forewarn all the youth that then were gathered together to see him die, to take heed of beginning, though but with little sins; because by tampering at first with little ones, way is made for the commission of bigger.
WISE. Since you are entered upon stories, I also will tell you one; the which, though I heard it not with mine own ears, yet my author I dare believe. It is concerning one old Tod, that was hanged about twenty years ago, or more, at Hertford, for being a thief. The story is this:—
At a summer assizes holden at Hertford, while the judge was sitting upon the bench, comes this old Tod into court, clothed in a green suit, with his leathern girdle in his hand, his bosom open, and all on a dung sweat, as if he had run for his life; and being come in, he spake aloud as follows:—My lord, saith he, here is the veriest rogue that breathes upon the face of the earth. I have been a thief from a child. When I was but a little one, I gave myself to rob orchards, and to do other such like wicked things, and I have continued a thief ever since. My lord, there has not been a robbery committed these many years, within so many miles of this place, but I have either been at it, or privy to it.
The judge thought the fellow was mad, but after some conference with some of the justices, they agreed to indict him; and so they did of several felonious actions; to all which he heartily confessed guilty, and so was hanged, with his wife at the same time.
ATTEN. This is a remarkable story indeed, and you think it is a true one.
WISE. It is not only remarkable, but pat to our purpose. This thief, like Mr. Badman, began his trade betimes; he began too where Mr. Badman began, even at robbing of orchards, and other such things, which brought him, as you may perceive, from sin to sin, till at last it brought him to the public shame of sin, which is the gallows.
As for the truth of this story, the relater told me that he was, at the same time, himself in the court, and stood within less than two yards of old Tod, when he heard him aloud to utter the words.
ATTEN. These two sins, of lying and stealing, were a bad sign of an evil end.
WISE. So they were, and yet Mr. Badman came not to his end like old Tod; though I fear to as bad, nay, worse than was that death of the gallows, though less discerned by spectators; but more of that by and by. But you talk of these two sins as if these were all that Mr. Badman was addicted to in his youth. Alas, alas, he swarmed with sins, even as a beggar does with vermin, and that when he was but a boy.
ATTEN. Why, what other sins was he addicted to, I mean while he was but a child?
WISE. You need not ask to what other sins was he, but to what other sins was he not addicted; that is, of such as suited with his age; for a man may safely say that nothing that was vile came amiss to him, if he was but capable to do it. Indeed, some sins there be that childhood knows not how to be tampering with; but I speak of sins that he was capable of committing, of which I will nominate two or three more. And, First, He could not endure the Lord's day, because of the holiness that did attend it; the beginning of that day was to him as if he was going to prison, except he could get out from his father and mother, and lurk in by-holes among his companions, until holy duties were over. Reading the Scriptures, hearing sermons, godly conference, repeating of sermons and prayers, were things that he could not away with; and, therefore, if his father on such days, as often he did, though sometimes, notwithstanding his diligence, he would be sure to give him the slip, did keep him strictly to the observation of the day, he would plainly show, by all carriages, that he was highly discontent therewith. He would sleep at duties, would talk vainly with his brothers, and, as it were, think every godly opportunity seven times as long as it was, grudging till it was over.
ATTEN. This his abhorring of that day, was not, I think, for the sake of the day itself; for as it is a day, it is nothing else but as other days of the week. But I suppose that the reason of his loathing of it was for that God hath put sanctity and holiness upon it; also, because it is the day above all the days of the week that ought to be spent in holy devotion, in remembrance of our Lord's resurrection from the dead.
WISE. Yes, it was therefore that he was such an enemy to it; even because more restraint was laid upon him on that day, from his own ways, than were possible should be laid upon him on all others.
ATTEN. Doth not God, by instituting of a day unto holy duties, make great proof how the hearts and inclinations of poor people do stand to holiness of heart, and a conversation in holy duties?
WISE. Yes, doubtless; and a man shall show his heart and his life what they are, more by one Lord's day than by all the days of the week besides. And the reason is, because on the Lord's day there is a special restraint laid upon men as to thoughts and life, more than upon other days of the week besides. Also, men are enjoined on that day to a stricter performance of holy duties, and restraint of worldly business, than upon other days they are; wherefore, if their hearts incline not naturally to good, now they will show it, now they will appear what they are. The Lord's day is a kind of an emblem of the heavenly Sabbath above, and it makes manifest how the heart stands to the perpetuity of holiness, more than to be found in a transient duty does.
On other days, a man may be in and out of holy duties, and all in a quarter of an hour; but now, the Lord's day is, as it were, a day that enjoins to one perpetual duty of holiness. 'Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day'; which, by Christ, is not abrogated, but changed, into the first of the week, not as it was given in particular to the Jews, but as it was sanctified by him from the beginning of the world (Gen 2:2; Exo 31:13-17; Mark 16:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:1,2; Mark 2:27,28; Rev 1:10); and therefore is a greater proof of the frame and temper of a man's heart, and does more make manifest to what he is inclined, than doth his other performance of duties. Therefore, God puts great difference between them that truly call, and walk in, this day as holy, and count it honourable, upon the account that now they have an opportunity to show how they delight to honour him; in that they have not only an hour, but a whole day, to show it in (Isa 58:13). I say, he puts great difference between these, and that other sort that say, When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may be at our worldly business? (Amos 8:5). The first he calleth a blessed man, but brandeth the other for an unsanctified worldling. And, indeed, to delight ourselves in God's service upon his holy days, gives a better proof of a sanctified nature than to grudge at the coming, and to be weary of the holy duties of such days, as Mr. Badman did.
ATTEN. There may be something in what you say, for he that cannot abide to keep one day holy to God, to be sure he hath given a sufficient proof that he is an unsanctified man; and, as such, what should he do in heaven? That being the place where a perpetual Sabbath is to be kept to God; I say, to be kept for ever and ever (Heb 4:9). And, for ought I know, one reason why one day in seven hath been by our Lord set apart unto holy duties for men, may be to give them conviction that there is enmity in the hearts of sinners to the God of heaven, for he that hateth holiness, hateth God himself. They pretend to love God, and yet love not a holy day, and yet love not to spend that day in one continued act of holiness to the Lord. They had as good say nothing as to call him Lord, Lord, and yet not do the things that he says. And this Mr. Badman was such a one, he could not abide this day, nor any of the duties of it. Indeed, when he could get from his friends, and so spend it in all manner of idleness and profaneness, then he would be pleased well enough; but what was this but a turning the day into night, or other than taking an opportunity at God's forbidding, to follow our callings, to solace and satisfy our lusts and delights of the flesh? I take the liberty to speak thus of Mr. Badman, upon a confidence of what you, Sir, have said of him is true.
WISE. You needed not to have made that apology for your censoring of Mr. Badman, for all that knew him will confirm what you say of him to be true. He could not abide either that day, or anything else that had the stamp or image of God upon it. Sin, sin, and to do the thing that was naught, was that which he delighted in, and that from a little child.
ATTEN. I must say again I am sorry to hear it, and that for his own sake, and also for the sake of his relations, who must needs be broken to pieces with such doings as these. For, for these things' sake comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Eph 5:6). And, doubtless, he must be gone to hell, if he died without repentance; and to beget a child for hell is sad for parents to think on.
WISE. Of his dying, as I told you, I will give you a relation anon; but now we are upon his life, and upon the manner of his life in his childhood, even of the sins that attended him then, some of which I have mentioned already; and, indeed, I have mentioned but some, for yet there are more to follow, and those not at all inferior to what you have already heard.
ATTEN. Pray what were they?
WISE. Why he was greatly given, and that while a lad, to grievous swearing and cursing; yea, he then made no more of swearing and cursing than I do of telling my fingers. Yea, he would do it without provocation thereto. He counted it a glory to swear and curse, and it was as natural to him as to eat, and drink, and sleep.
ATTEN. O what a young villain was this! Here is, as the apostle says, a yielding of 'members, as instruments of righteousness unto sin,' indeed! (Rom 6:13). This is proceeding from evil to evil with a witness. This argueth that he was a black-mouthed young wretch indeed.
WISE. He was so; and yet, as I told you, he counted above all this kind of sinning to be a badge of his honour; he reckoned himself a man's fellow when he had learned to swear and curse boldly.
ATTEN. I am persuaded that many do think as you have said, that to swear is a thing that does bravely become them, and that it is the best way for a man, when he would put authority or terror into his words, to stuff them full of the sin of swearing.
WISE. You say right, else, as I am persuaded, men would not so usually belch out their blasphemous oaths as they do; they take a pride in it; they think that to swear is gentleman-like; and, having once accustomed themselves unto it, they hardly leave it all the days of their lives.
ATTEN. Well, but now we are upon it, pray show me the difference between swearing and cursing; for there is a difference, is there not?
WISE. Yes; there is a difference between swearing and cursing. Swearing, vain swearing, such as young Badman accustomed himself unto. Now, vain and sinful swearing is a light and wicked calling of God, &c., to witness to our vain and foolish attesting of things, and those things are of two sorts. 1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. 2. Things so sworn to, true or false.
1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. Thou swearest thou hast done such a thing, that such a thing is so, or shall be so; for it is no matter which of these it is that men swear about, if it be done lightly, and wickedly, and groundlessly, it is vain, because it is a sin against the third commandment, which says, 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain' (Exo 20:7). For this is a vain using of that holy and sacred name, and so a sin for which, without sound repentance, there is not, nor can be rightly expected, forgiveness.
ATTEN. Then it seems, though as to the matter of fact, a man swears truly, yet if he sweareth lightly and groundlessly, his oath is evil, and he by it under sin.
WISE. Yes, a man may say, 'The Lord liveth,' and that is true, and yet in so saying 'swear falsely'; because he sweareth vainly, needlessly, and without a ground (Jer 5:2). To swear groundedly and necessarily, which then a man does when he swears as being called thereto of God, that is tolerated by the Word. But this was none of Mr. Badman's swearing, and therefore that which now we are not concerned about.
ATTEN. I perceive by the prophet that a man may sin in swearing to a truth. They therefore must needs most horribly sin that swear to confirm their jests and lies; and, as they think, the better to beautify their foolish talking.
WISE. They sin with a high hand; for they presume to imagine that God is as wicked as themselves, to wit, that he is an avoucher of lies to be true. For, as I said before, to swear is to call God to witness; and to swear to a lie is to call God to witness that that lie is true. This, therefore, must needs offend; for it puts the highest affront upon the holiness and righteousness of God, therefore his wrath must sweep them away (Zech 5:3). This kind of swearing is put in with lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; and therefore must not go unpunished (Jer 7:9; Hosea 4:2,3). For if God 'will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,' which a man may do when he swears to a truth, as I have showed before, how can it be imagined that he should hold such guiltless, who, by swearing, will appeal to God for lies that be not true, or that swear out of their frantic and bedlam madness. It would grieve and provoke a sober man to wrath, if one should swear to a notorious lie, and avouch that that man would attest it for a truth; and yet thus do men deal with the holy God. They tell their jestings, tales, and lies, and then swear by God that they are true. Now, this kind of swearing was as common with young Badman, as it was to eat when he was an hungered, or to go to bed when it was night.
ATTEN. I have often mused in my mind, what it should be that should make men so common in the use of the sin of swearing, since those that be wise will believe them never the sooner for that.
WISE. It cannot be anything that is good, you may be sure; because the thing itself is abominable. 1. Therefore it must be from the promptings of the spirit of the devil within them. 2. Also it flows sometimes from hellish rage, when the tongue hath set on fire of hell even the whole course of nature (James 3:6-9). 3. But commonly, swearing flows from that daring boldness that biddeth defiance to the law that forbids it. 4. Swearers think, also, that by their belching of their blasphemous oaths out of their black and polluted mouths, they show themselves the more valiant men. 5. And imagine also, that by these outrageous kind of villainies, they shall conquer those that at such a time they have to do with, and make them believe their lies to be true. 6. They also swear frequently to get gain thereby, and when they meet with fools they overcome them this way. But if I might give advice in this matter, no buyer should lay out one farthing with him that is a common swearer in his calling; especially with such an oath-master that endeavoureth to swear away his commodity to another, and that would swear his chapman's money into his own pocket.
ATTEN. All these causes of swearing, so far as I can perceive, flow from the same root as do the oaths themselves, even from a hardened and desperate heart. But, pray, show me now how wicked cursing is to be distinguished from this kind of swearing.
WISE. Swearing, as I said, hath immediately to do with the name of God, and it calls upon him to be witness to the truth of what is said; that is, if they that swear, swear by him. Some, indeed, swear by idols, as by the mass, by our lady, by saints, beasts, birds, and other creatures; but the usual way of our profane ones in England is to swear by God, Christ, faith, and the like. But, however, or by whatever they swear, cursing is distinguished from swearing thus.
To curse, to curse profanely, it is to sentence another or ourself, for or to evil; or to wish that some evil might happen to the person or thing under the curse unjustly.
It is to sentence for or to evil, that is, without a cause. Thus Shimei cursed David; he sentenced him for and to evil unjustly, when he said to him, 'Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned, and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man' (2 Sam 16:7,8).
This David calls 'a grievous curse.' 'And behold,' saith he to Solomon his son, 'thou hast with thee Shimei,—a Benjamite,—which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim' (1 Kings 2:8).
But what was this curse? Why, First, It was a wrong sentence past upon David; Shimei called him bloody man, man of Belial, when he was not. Secondly, He sentenced him to the evil that at present was upon him for being a bloody man, that is, against the house of Saul, when that present evil overtook David for quite another thing. And we may thus apply it to the profane ones of our times, who in their rage and envy have little else in their youths but a sentence against their neighbour for and to evil unjustly. How common is it with many, when they are but a little offended with one, to cry, Hang him, Damn him, Rogue! This is both a sentencing of him for and to evil, and is in itself a grievous curse.
2. The other kind of cursing is to wish that some evil might happen to, and overtake this or that person or thing. And this kind of cursing Job counted a grievous sin. 'Neither have I suffered [says he] my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul'; or consequently to body or estate (Job 31:30). This then is a wicked cursing, to wish that evil might either befall another or ourselves. And this kind of cursing young Badman accustom himself unto. 1. He would wish that evil might befall others; he would wish their necks broken, or that their brains were out, or that the pox or plague was upon them, and the like; all which is a devilish kind of cursing, and is become one of the common sins of our age. 2. He would also as often wish a curse to himself, saying, Would I might be hanged, or burned, or that the devil might fetch me, if it be not so, or the like. We count the Damn-me-blades to be great swearers, but when in their hellish fury they say, God damn me, God perish me, or the like, they rather curse than swear; yea, curse themselves, and that with a wish that damnation might light upon themselves; which wish and curse of theirs in a little time they will see accomplished upon them, even in hell fire, if they repent them not of their sins.
ATTEN. But did this young Badman accustom himself to such filthy kind of language?
WISE. I think I may say that nothing was more frequent in his mouth, and that upon the least provocation. Yea, he was so versed in such kind of language, that neither father, nor mother, nor brother, nor sister, nor servant, no, nor the very cattle that his father had, could escape these curses of his. I say that even the brute beasts, when he drove them or rid upon them, if they pleased not his humour, they must be sure to partake of his curse. He would wish their necks broke, their legs broke, their guts out, or that the devil might fetch them, or the like; and no marvel, for he that is so hardy to wish damnation or other bad curses to himself, or dearest relations, will not stick to wish evil to the silly beast in his madness.
ATTEN. Well, I see still that this Badman was a desperate villain. But pray, Sir, since you have gone thus far, now show me whence this evil of cursing ariseth, and also what dishonour it bringeth to God; for I easily discern that it doth bring damnation to the soul.
WISE. This evil of cursing ariseth in general from the desperate wickedness of the heart, but particularly from, 1. Envy, which is, as I apprehend, the leading sin to witchcraft. 2. It also ariseth from pride, which was the sin of the fallen angels. 3. It ariseth too, from scorn and contempt of others. 4. But for a man to curse himself, must needs arise from desperate madness (Job 15; Eccl 7:22).
The dishonour that it bringeth to God is this. It taketh away from him his authority, in whose power it is only to bless and curse; not to curse wickedly, as Mr. Badman, but justly and righteously, giving by his curse, to those that are wicked, the due reward of their deeds.
Besides, these wicked men, in their wicked cursing of their neighbour, &c., do even curse God himself in his handiwork (James 3:9). Man is God's image, and to curse wickedly the image of God is to curse God himself. Therefore as when men wickedly swear, they rend, and tear God's name, and make him, as much as in them lies, the avoucher and approver of all their wickedness; so he that curseth and condemneth in this sort his neighbour, or that wisheth him evil, curseth, condemneth, and wisheth evil to the image of God, and, consequently judgeth and condemneth God himself. Suppose that a man should say with his mouth, I wish that the king's picture was burned; would not this man's so saying render him as an enemy to the person of the king? Even so it is with them that, by cursing, wish evil to their neighbour, or to themselves, they contemn the image, even the image of God himself.
ATTEN. But do you think that the men that do thus, do think that they do so vilely, so abominably?
WISE. The question is not what men do believe concerning their sin, but what God's Word says of it. If God's Word says that swearing and cursing are sins, though men should count them for virtues, their reward will be a reward for sin, to wit, the damnation of the soul. To curse another, and to swear vainly and falsely, are sins against the light of nature. 1. To curse is so, because whoso curseth another, knows that at the same time he would not be so served himself. 2. To swear also is a sin against he same law; for nature will tell me that I should not lie, and therefore much less swear to confirm it. Yea, the heathens have looked upon swearing to be a solemn ordinance of God, and therefore not to be lightly or vainly used by men, though to confirm a matter of truth (Gen 31:43-55).
ATTEN. But I wonder, since cursing and swearing are such evils in the eyes of God, that he doth not make some examples to others, for their committing such wickedness.
WISE. Alas! so he has, a thousand times twice told, as may be easily gathered by any observing people in every age and country. I could present you with several myself; but waving the abundance that might be mentioned, I will here present you with two. One was that dreadful judgment of God upon one N. P. at Wimbleton in Surrey; who, after a horrible fit of swearing at and cursing of some persons that did not please him, suddenly fell sick, and in little time died raving, cursing, and swearing.
But above all, take that dreadful story of Dorothy Mately, an inhabitant of Ashover, in the county of Derby. This Dorothy Mately, saith the relater, was noted by the people of the town to be a great swearer, and curser, and liar, and thief; just like Mr. Badman. And the labour that she did usually follow was to wash the rubbish that came forth of the lead mines, and there to get sparks of lead ore; and her usual way of asserting of things was with these kind of imprecations: I would I might sink into the earth if it be not so; or, I would God would make the earth open and swallow me up. Now upon the 23d of March, 1660, this Dorothy was washing of ore upon the top of a steep hill, about a quarter of a mile from Ashover, and was there taxed by a lad for taking of two single pence out of his pocket, for he had laid his breeches by, and was at work in his drawers; but she violently denied it; wishing that the ground might swallow her up if she had them: she also used the same wicked words on several other occasions that day.
Now one George Hodgkinson, of Ashover, a man of good report there, came accidentally by where this Dorothy was, and stood still awhile to talk with her, as she was washing her ore; there stood also a little child by her tub-side, and another a distance form her, calling aloud to her to come away; wherefore the said George took the girl by the hand to lead her away to her that called her: but behold, they had not gone above ten yards from Dorothy, but they heard her crying out for help; so looking back, he saw the woman, and her tub, and sieve twirling round, and sinking into the ground. Then said the man, Pray to God to pardon thy sin, for thou are never like to be seen alive any longer. So she and her tub twirled round and round, till they sunk about three yards into the earth, and then for a while staid. Then she called for help again; thinking, as she said, she should stay there. Now the man, though greatly amazed, did begin to think which way to help her; but immediately a great stone which appeared in the earth, fell upon her head, and broke her skull, and then the earth fell in upon her, and covered her. She was afterwards digged up, and found about four yards within ground, with the boy's two single pence in her pocket, but her tub and sieve could not be found.
ATTEN. You bring to my mind a sad story, the while I will relate unto you. The thing is this:—About a bow-shot from where I once dwelt, there was a blind ale-house, and the man that kept it had a son, whose name was Edward. This Edward was, as it were, a half fool, both in his words and manner of behaviour. To this blind ale-house certain jovial companions would once or twice a week come, and this Ned, for so they called him, his father would entertain his guests withal; to wit, by calling for him to make them sport by his foolish words and gestures. So when these boon blades came to this man's house, the father would call for Ned. Ned, therefore, would come forth; and the villain was devilishly addicted to cursing, yea, to cursing his father and mother, and any one else that did cross him. And because, though he was a half fool, he saw that his practice was pleasing, he would do it with the more audaciousness.
Well, when these brave fellows did come at their times to this tippling-house, as they cal lit, to fuddle and make merry, then must Ned be called out; and because his father was best acquainted with Ned, and best knew how to provoke him, therefore he would usually ask him such questions, or command him such business, as would be sure to provoke him indeed. Then would he, after his foolish manner, curse his father most bitterly; at which the old man would laugh, and so would the rest of the guests, as at that which pleased them best, still continuing to ask that Ned still might be provoked to curse, that they might still be provoked to laugh. This was the mirth with which the old man did use to entertain his guests.