What’s happening: Christian has fallen into the Slough of Despond with Pliable. After Pliable has gotten out and gone home, leaving Christian to wallow in the filth by himself, he was pulled out by a man named Help. Soon after Christian has continued on his way, he meets a man named Worldly Wiseman…
“Ahoy there! What is your name and where are you going?” he questioned.
“My name is Christian,” our burdened friend responded, “and I am on my way to the Wicket Gate where I shall be relieved from this tiresome weight on my back.”
“But why do you seek to find ease on this trail?” Wiseman asked, “For there are many trials on this road. And I see, by your clothes, that you have come through one of them already. You have fallen into the Slough of Despond, did you not?”
“Really, are there truly many trials on this path? I knew that there would be some, but are there more?”
“Oh yes, there are many trials, and the Slough of Despond is just the start of them. On this path you will meet with sickness, sorrow, suffering, hunger, pain, fear, hate, perils, nakedness, and the sword, to name a few.” responded Wiseman.
“Oh I had no idea that this trail is so dangerous! But I still seek for relief from my burden. So I guess that I will continue on my way. Although I do not wish to become a martyr.” answered he.
“There be no need to continue on in this way, for I know an easier way.”
“Oh good sir, please show me this easier way. And can I truly be free from my burden on this easier way?” asked Christian.
“Oh yes, there be freedom for all along this way. But back to showing you the way. Do you see yonder mountain? At its top is a town called Morality. Now the mayor of this said town is named Legality. His job is to bring relief to such pilgrims as you are. And if he is not home, he has a son named Civility who can help you as easily as the old man himself. And if both of them are not home, there be another son named Psychology who can help you.” instructed Worldly Wiseman.
“Okay then, I must be off on this easier trial myself. Goodbye good sir!”
Now I saw that as Christian continued, the road gradually grew steeper and steeper. Soon there came a place where the rock overhead was leaning directly over the path. At this place Christian stopped and trembled in fear of the large overhang. The mountain started belching out fire and brimstone. Christian was in dreadful fear of the mountain, and dared not go farther. However, he was fearful of turning back as the fire would come down on him to burn him up. As he was wondering what to do, who of all people, who should come along just then? Evangelist!
“What are you doing here?” he asked Christian, “Are you not the man I sent to the Wicket Gate?”
“I am sir…” sorrowfully replied Christian, “I am the one you sent to the Celestial City, and I have wandered out of the way.”
“Then why won’t you get back in the way?”
“I can’t sir. This mountain will fall on me!”
“I will protect you, just turn back and go to where you last saw the light!”
So Christian hurried down the hill to where he could see the light. And as for Legality, and his sons, they could never really help Christian if he had gotten there, for their treatment is to make one believe that the burden is not there. They cannot really free anyone from the burden of guilt.
Now once Christian had gotten back into the way, he continued on, always looking at the light. Soon he came to the Wicket Gate and read the words over it, “Knock and You Shall Enter.”
So Christian rapped on the door. He waited and yet no one came. So he rapped again, a little louder this time. A voice from within called out, “Who is there?”
Christian answered, “A pilgrim escaping from the City of Destruction!”
Suddenly, the door started to open, and a hand shot out and yanked Christian inside!