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   Chapter 6 [HIS HYPOCRITICAL COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE TO A PIOUS RICH YOUNG LADY.]

Works of John Bunyan — Complete By John Bunyan Characters: 10992

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


ATTEN. And what was the other thing?

WISE. Why that which I hinted before, he was for looking out for a rich wife: and now I am come to some more of his invented, devised, designed, and abominable roguery, such that will yet declare him to be a most desperate sinner.

The thing was this: a wife he wanted, or rather money; for as for a woman, he could have whores enow at his whistle. But, as I said, he wanted money, and that must be got by a wife or no way; nor could he so easily get a wife neither, except he became an artist at the way of dissembling; nor would dissembling do among that people that could dissemble as well as he. But there dwelt a maid not far from him, that was both godly, and one that had a good portion, but how to get her, there lay all the craft. Well, he calls a council of some of his most trusty and cunning companions, and breaks his mind to them; to wit, that he had a mind to marry: and he also told them to whom; but, said he, how shall I accomplish my end; she is religious, and I am not? Then one of them made reply, saying, Since she is religious, you must pretend to be so likewise, and that for some time before you go to her. Mark therefore whither she goes daily to hear, and do you go thither also; but there you must be sure to behave yourself soberly, and make as if you liked the Word wonderful well; stand also where she may see you, and when you come home, be sure that you walk the street very soberly, and go within sight of her. This done for a while, then go to her, and first talk of how sorry you are for your sins, and show great love to the religion that she is of, still speaking well of her preachers and of her godly acquaintance, bewailing your hard hap that it was not your lot to be acquainted with her and her fellow-professors sooner; and this is the way to get her. Also you must write down sermons, talk of scriptures, and protest that you came a-wooing to her, only because she is godly, and because you should count it your greatest happiness if you might but have such a one. As for her money, slight it, it will be never the further off, that is the way to come soonest at it, for she will be jealous at first that you come for her money; you know what she has, but make not a word about it. Do this, and you shall see if you do not entangle the lass. Thus was the snare laid for this poor honest maid, and she was quickly catched in his pit.

ATTEN. Why, did he take this counsel?

WISE. Did he! yes, and after a while, went as boldly to her, and that under a vizard of religion, as if he had been for honesty and godliness one of the most sincere and upright-hearted in England. He observed all his points, and followed the advice of his counsellors, and quickly obtained her too; for natural parts he had; he was tall, and fair, and had plain, but very good clothes on his back; and his religion was the more easily attained; for he had seen something in the house of his father, and first master, and so could the more readily put himself into the form and show thereof.

So he appointed his day, and went to her, as that he might easily do, for she had neither father nor mother to oppose. Well, when he was come, and had given her a civil compliment, to let her understand why he was come, then he began and told her that he had found in his heart a great deal of love to her person; and that of all the damsels in the world he had pitched upon her, if she thought fit, to make her his beloved wife. The reasons, as he told her, why he had pitched upon her were her religious and personal excellencies; and therefore entreated her to take his condition into her tender and loving consideration. As for the world, quoth he, I have a very good trade, and can maintain myself and family well, while my wife sits still on her seat; I have got thus and thus much already, and feel money come in every day, but that is not the thing that I aim at; it is an honest and godly wife. Then he would present her with a good book or two, pretending how much good he had got by them himself. He would also be often speaking well of godly ministers, especially of those that he perceived she liked, and loved most. Besides he would be often telling of her what a godly father he had, and what a new man he was also become himself; and thus did this treacherous dealer deal with this honest and good girl, to her great grief and sorrow, as afterward you shall hear.

ATTEN. But had the maid no friend to look after her?

WISE. Her father and mother were dead, and that he knew well enough, and so she was the more easily overcome by his naughty lying tongue. But if she had never so many friends, she might have been beguiled by him. It is too much the custom of young people now, to think themselves wise enough to make their own choice; and that they need not ask counsel of those that are older, and also wiser than they; but this is a great fault in them, and many of them have paid dear for it. Well, to be short, in little time Mr. Badman obtains his desire, gets this honest girl, and her money, is married to her, brings her home, makes a feast, entertains her royally, but her portion must pay for all.

ATTEN. This was wonderful deceitful doings, a man shall seldom hear of the like.

WISE. By this his doing, he showed how little he feared God, and what little dread he had of his judgments. For all this carriage, and all these words were by him premeditated evil; he knew he lied, he knew he dissembled

; yea, he knew that he made use of the name of God, of religion, good men, and good books, but as a stalking-horse, thereby the better to catch his game. In all this his glorious pretence of religion, he was but a glorious painted hypocrite, and hypocrisy is the highest sin that a poor carnal wretch can attain unto; it is also a sin that most dareth God, and that also bringeth the greater damnation. Now was he a whited wall, now was he a painted sepulchre (Matt 23:27). Now was he a grave that appeared not (Luke 11:44). For this poor, honest, godly damsel, little thought that both her peace and comfort, and estate, and liberty, and person, and all, were going to her burial, when she was going to be married to Mr. Badman; and yet so it was, she enjoyed herself but little afterwards; she was as if she was dead and buried to what she enjoyed before.

ATTEN. Certainly some wonderful judgment of God must attend and overtake such wicked men as these.

WISE. You may be sure that they shall have judgment to the full, for all these things, when the day of judgment is come. But as for judgment upon them in this life, it doth not always come, no not upon those that are worthy thereof. 'they that tempt God are delivered, and they that work wickedness are set up' (Mal 3:15). But they are reserved to the day of wrath; and then, for their wickedness, God will repay them to their faces. 'The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done? Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb' (Job 21:30-32). That is, ordinarily they escape God's hand in this life, save only a few examples are made, that others may be cautioned, and take warning thereby. But at the day of judgment they must be rebuked for their evil with the lashes of devouring fire.

ATTEN. Can you give me no examples of God's wrath upon men that have acted this tragical wicked deed of Mr. Badman.

WISE. Yes; Hamor and Shechem, and all the men of their city, for attempting to make God and religion the stalking-horse to get Jacob's daughters to wife, were together slain with the edge of the sword. A judgment of God upon them, no doubt, for their dissembling in that matter (Gen 34:1). All manner of lying and dissembling is dreadful, but to make God and religion a disguise, therewith to blind thy dissimulation from others' eyes, is highly provoking to the Divine majesty. I knew one that dwelt not far off from our town, that got him a wife as Mr. Badman got his; but he did not enjoy her long; for one night as he was riding home from his companions, where he had been at a neighbouring town, his horse threw him to the ground, where he was found dead at break of day; frightfully and lamentably mangled with his fall, and besmeared with his own blood.

ATTEN. Well, but pray return again to Mr. Badman; how did he carry it to his wife, after he was married to her?

WISE. Nay, let us take things along as we go. He had not been married but a little while, but his creditors came upon him for their money. He deferred them a little while, but at last things were come to that point that pay he must, or must do worse; so he appointed them a time, and they came for their money, and he payed them down with her money, before her eyes, for those goods that he had profusely spent among his whores long before, besides the portion that his father gave him, to the value of two hundred pounds.

ATTEN. This beginning was bad, but what shall I say? It was like Mr. Badman himself. Poor woman! this was but a bad beginning for her; I fear it filled her with trouble enough, as I think such a beginning would have done one perhaps much stronger than she.

WISE. Trouble, aye, you may be sure of it, but now it was too late to repent; she should have looked better to herself when being wary would have done her good; her harms may be an advantage to others that will learn to take heed thereby, but for herself, she must take what follows, even such a life now as Mr. Badman her husband will lead her, and that will be bad enough.

ATTEN. This beginning was bad, and yet I fear it was but the beginning of bad.

WISE. You may be sure that it was but the beginning of badness, for other evils came on apace; as, for instance, it was but a little while after he was married, but he hangs his religion upon the hedge, or rather dealt with it as men deal with their old clothes, who cast them off, or leave them to others to wear; for his part he would be religious no longer.

Now therefore he had pulled off his vizard, and began to show himself in his old shape, a base, wicked, debauched fellow; and now the poor woman saw that she was betrayed indeed, now also his old companions begin to flock about him, and to haunt his house and shop as formerly. And who with them but Mr. Badman? And who with him again but they?

Now those good people that used to company with his wife began to be amazed and discouraged, also he would frown and glout[36] upon them as if he abhorred, the appearance of them, so that in little time he drove all good company from her, and made her sit solitary by herself. He also began now to go out a-nights to those drabs who were his familiars before, with whom he would stay sometimes till midnight, and sometimes till almost morning, and then would come home as drunk as a swine: and this was the course of Mr. Badman.

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