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   Chapter 17 [HE PARTS FROM HIS WIFE—DISEASES ATTACK HIM UNDER CAPTAIN CONSUMPTION, HE ROTS AWAY, AND DIES IN SINFUL SECURITY.]

Works of John Bunyan — Complete By John Bunyan Characters: 22377

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


ATTEN. And how long, I pray, did they live thus together.

WISE. Some fourteen or sixteen years, even until, though she also brought something with her, they had sinned all away, and parted as poor as howlets. And, in reason, how could it be otherwise? he would have his way, and she would have hers; he among his companions, and she among hers; he with his whores, and she with her rogues; and so they brought their[74] noble to ninepence.

ATTEN. Pray of what disease did Mr. Badman die, for now I perceive we are come up to his death?

WISE. I cannot so properly say that he died of one disease, for there were many that had consented, and laid their heads together to bring him to his end. He was dropsical, he was consumptive, he was surfeited, was gouty, and, as some say, he had a tang of the pox in his bowels. Yet the captain of all these men of death that came against him to take him away, was the consumption, for it was that that brought him down to the grave.[75]

ATTEN. Although I will not say but the best men may die of a consumption, a dropsy, or a surfeit; yea, that these may meet upon a man to end him; yet I will say again, that many times these diseases come through man's inordinate use of things. Much drinking brings dropsies, consumptions, surfeits, and many other diseases; and I doubt that Mr. Badman's death did come by his abuse of himself in the use of lawful and unlawful things. I ground this my sentence upon that report of his life that you at large have given me.

WISE. I think verily that you need not call back your sentence; for it is thought by many that by his cups and his queans he brought himself to this his destruction: he was not an old man when he died, nor was he naturally very feeble, but strong and of a healthy complexion. Yet, as I said, he moultered away, and went, when he set agoing, rotten to his grave. And that which made him stink when he was dead, I mean, that made him stink in his name and fame, was, that he died with a spice of the foul disease upon him. A man whose life was full of sin, and whose death was without repentance.

ATTEN. These were blemishes sufficient to make him stink indeed.

WISE. They were so, and they did do it. No man could speak well of him when he was gone. His name rotted above ground, as his carcase rotted under. And this is according to the saying of the wise man, 'The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot' (Prov 10:7).

This text, in both the parts of it, was fulfilled upon him and the woman that he married first. For her name still did flourish, though she had been dead almost seventeen years; but his began to stink and rot before he had been buried seventeen days.

ATTEN. That man that dieth with a life full of sin, and with a heart void of repentance, although he should die of the most golden disease, if there were any thing that might be so called, I will warrant him his name shall stink, and that in heaven and earth.

WISE. You say true; and therefore doth the name of Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Judas, and the Pharisees, though dead thousands of years ago, stink as fresh in the nostrils of the world as if they were but newly dead.

ATTEN. I do fully acquiesce with you in this. But, Sir, since you have charged him with dying impenitent, pray let me see how you will prove it; not that I altogether doubt it, because you have affirmed it, but yet I love to have proof for what men say in such weighty matters.

WISE. When I said he died without repentance, I meant so far as those that knew him could judge, when they compared his life, the Word, and his death together.

ATTEN. Well said, they went the right way to find out whether he had, that is, did manifest that he had repentance or no. Now then show me how they did prove he had none.

WISE. So I will. And first, this was urged to prove it. He had not in all the time of his sickness a sight and sense of his sins, but was as secure, and as much at quiet, as if he had never sinned in all his life.

ATTEN. I must needs confess that this is a sign he had none. For how can a man repent of that of which he hath neither sight nor sense? But it is strange that he had neither sight nor sense of sin now, when he had such a sight and sense of his evil before; I mean when he was sick before.

WISE. He was, as I said, as secure now as if he had been as sinless as an angel; though all men knew what a sinner he was, for he carried his sins in his forehead. His debauched life was read and known of all men; but his repentance was read and known of no man; for, as I said, he had none. And for ought I know, the reason why he had no sense of his sins now was, because he profited not by that sense that he had of them before. He liked not to retain that knowledge of God then, that caused his sins to come to remembrance. Therefore God gave him up now to a reprobate mind, to hardness and stupidity of spirit; and so was that scripture fulfilled upon him, 'He hath blinded their eyes' (Isa 6:10). And that, 'Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see' (Rom 11:10). O, for a man to live in sin, and to go out of the world without repentance for it, is the saddest judgment that can overtake a man.

ATTEN. But, Sir, although both you and I have consented that without a sight and sense of sin there can be no repentance, yet that is but our bare say so; let us therefore now see if by the scripture we can make it good.

WISE. That is easily done. The three thousand that were converted (Acts 2), repented not till they had sight and sense of their sins. Paul repented not till he had sight and sense of his sins (Act 9). The jailer repented not till the had sight and sense of his sins; nor could they (Act 16). For of what should a man repent? The answer is, Of sin. What is it to repent of sin? The answer is, To be sorry for it, to turn from it. But how can a man be sorry for it, that has neither sight nor sense of it? (Psa 38:18). David did not only commit sins, but abode impenitent for them, until Nathan the prophet was sent from God to give him a sight and sense of them; and then, but not till then, he indeed repented of them (2 Sam 12). Job, in order to his repentance, cries unto God, 'Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?' (Job 10:2). And again, 'That which I see not teach thou me, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more' (Job 34:32). That is, not in what I know, for I will repent of it; nor yet in what I know not, when thou shalt show me it. Also Ephraim's repentance was after he was turned to the sight and sense of his sins, and after he was instructed about the evil of them (Jer 31:18-20).

ATTEN. These are good testimonies of this truth, and do, if matter of fact, with which Mr. Badman is charged, be true, prove indeed that he did not repent, but as he lived so he died in his sin (Job 20:11). For without repentance a man is sure to die in his sin; for they will lie down in the dust with him, rise at the judgment with him, hang about his neck like cords and chains when he standeth at the bar of God's tribunal (Prov 5:22). And go with him, too, when he goes away from the judgment-seat, with a 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt 25:41). And there shall fret and gnaw his conscience, because they will be to him a never-dying worm (Mark 9:44; Isa 66:24).

WISE. You say well, and I will add a word or two more to what I have said. Repentance, as it is not produced without a sight and sense of sin, so every sight and sense of sin cannot produce it; I mean every sight and sense of sin cannot produce that repentance, that is repentance unto salvation; repentance never to be repented of. For it is yet fresh before us, that Mr. Badman had a sight and sense of sin, in that fit of sickness that he had before, but it died without procuring any such godly fruit; as was manifest by his so soon returning with the dog to his vomit. Many people think also that repentance stands in confession of sin only, but they are very much mistaken; for repentance, as was said before, is a being sorry for, and returning from transgression to God by Jesus Christ. Now, if this be true, that every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, then repentance cannot be produced there where there is no sight and sense of sin. That every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, to wit, the godly repentance that we are speaking of, is manifest in Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, and Judas, who all of them had sense, great sense of sin, but none of them repentance unto life.

Now I conclude that Mr. Badman did die impenitent, and so a death most miserable.

ATTEN. But pray now, before we conclude our discourse of Mr.

Badman, give me another proof of his dying in his sins.

WISE. Another proof is this, he did not desire a sight and sense of sins, that he might have repentance for them. Did I say he did not desire it, I will add, he greatly desired to remain in his security, and that I shall prove by that which follows. First, he could not endure that any man now should talk to him of his sinful life, and yet that was the way to beget a sight and sense of sin, and so of repentance from it, in his soul. But I say he could not endure such discourse. Those men that did offer to talk unto him of his ill-spent life, they were as little welcome to him, in the time of his last sickness, as was Elijah when he went to meet with Ahab as he went down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard. 'Hast thou found me,' said Ahab, 'O mine enemy?' (1 Kings 21:17-21). So would Mr. Badman say in his heart to and of those that thus did come to him, though indeed they came even of love to convince him of his evil life, that he might have repented thereof and have obtained mercy.

ATTEN. Did good men then go to see him in his last sickness?

WISE. Yes. Those that were his first wife's acquaintance, they went to see him, and to talk with him, and to him, if perhaps he might now, at last, bethink himself and cry to God for mercy.

ATTEN. They did well to try now at last if they could save his soul from hell. But pray how can you tell that he did not care for the company of such?

WISE. Because of the differing carriage that he had for them from what he had when his old carnal companions came to see him. When his old companions came to see him he would stir up himself as much as he could, both by words, and looks, to signify they were welcome to him; he would also talk with them freely and look pleasantly upon them, though the talk of such could be none other but such as David said carnal men would offer to him when they came to visit him in his sickness. 'If he come to see me,' says he, 'he speaketh vanity, his heart gathereth iniquity to itself' (Psa 41:6). But these kind of talks, I say, Mr. Badman better brooked than he did the company of better men.

But I will more particularly give you a character of his carriage to good men, and good talk, when they came to see him. 1. When they were come he would seem to fail in his spirits at the sight of them. 2. He would not care to answer them to an

y of those questions that they would at times put to him, to feel what sense he had of sin, death, hell, and judgment. But would either say nothing or answer them by way of evasion, or else by telling of them he was so weak and spent that he could not speak much. 3. He would never show forwardness to speak to or talk with them, but was glad when they held their tongues. He would ask them no question about his state and another world, or how he should escape that damnation that he had deserved. 4. He had got a haunt[76] at last to bid his wife and keeper, when these good people attempted to come to see him, to tell them that he was asleep, or inclining to sleep, or so weak for want thereof that he could not abide any noise. And so they would serve them time after time, till at last they were discouraged from coming to see him any more. 5. He was so hardened now in this time of his sickness, that he would talk, when his companions came unto him, to the disparagement of those good men, and of their good doctrine too, that of love did come to see him, and that did labour to convert him. 6. When these good men went away from him he would never say, Pray, when will you be pleased to come again, for I have a desire to more of your company and to hear more of your good instruction? No, not a word of that, but when they were going would scarce bid them drink,[77] or say, Thank you for your good company and good instruction. 7. His talk in his sickness with his companions would be of the world, as trades, houses, lands, great men, great titles, great places, outward prosperity or outward adversity, or some such carnal thing. By all which I conclude that he did not desire a sense and sight of his sin, that he might repent and be saved.

ATTEN. It must needs be so as you say, if these things be true that you have asserted of him. And I do the rather believe them, because I think you dare not tell a lie of the dead.

WISE. I was one of them that went to him and that beheld his carriage and manner of way, and this is a true relation of it that I have given you.

ATTEN. I am satisfied. But pray, if you can, show me now, by the

Word, what sentence of God doth pass upon such men.

WISE. Why, the man that is thus averse to repentance, that desires not to hear of his sins that he might repent and be saved, is said to be a man that saith unto God, 'Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways' (Job 21:14). He is a man that says in his heart and with his actions, 'I have loved strangers [sins] and after them will I go' (Jer 2:25). He is a man that shuts his eyes, stops his ears, and that turneth his spirit against God (Zech 7:11,12; Acts 28:26,27). Yea, he is the man that is at enmity with God, and that abhors him with his soul.

ATTEN. What other sign can you give me that Mr. Badman died without repentance?

WISE. Why, he did never heartily cry to God for mercy all the time of his affliction. True, when sinking fits, stitches, or pains took hold upon him, then he would say, as other carnal men used to do, Lord, help me; Lord, strengthen me; Lord, deliver me, and the like. But to cry to God for mercy, that he did not, but lay, as I hinted before, as if he never had sinned.

ATTEN. That is another bad sign indeed, for crying to God for mercy is one of the first signs of repentance. When Paul lay repenting of his sin upon his bed, the Holy Ghost said of him, 'Behold he prayeth' (Acts 9:11). But he that hath not the first signs of repentance, it is a sign he hath none of the other, and so indeed none at all. I do not say but there may be crying where there may be no sign of repentance. 'They cried,' says David, 'unto the Lord, but he answered them not'; but that he would have done if their cry had been the fruit of repentance (Psa 18:41). But, I say, if men may cry and yet have no repentance, be sure they have none that cry not at all. It is said in Job, 'they cry not when he bindeth them' (Job 36:13); that is, because they have no repentance; no repentance, no cries; false repentance, false cries; true repentance, true cries.

WISE. I know that it is as possible for a man to forbear crying that hath repentance, as it is for a man to forbear groaning that feeleth deadly pain. He that looketh into the book of Psalms, where repentance is most lively set forth even in its true and proper effects, shall their find that crying, strong crying, hearty crying, great crying, and incessant crying, hath been the fruits of repentance; but none of this had this Mr. Badman, therefore he died in his sins.

That crying is an inseparable effect of repentance, is seen in these scriptures-'Have mercy upon me, O God; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions' (Psa 51:1). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed, but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercies' sake' (Psa 6:1-4). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; for thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger, neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long. My loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart' (Psa 38:1-8).

I might give you a great number more of the holy sayings of good men whereby they express how they were, what they felt, and whether they cried or no when repentance was wrought in them. Alas, alas, it is as possible for a man, when the pangs of guilt are upon him, to forbear praying, as it is for a woman, when pangs of travail are upon her, to forbear crying. If all the world should tell me that such a man hath repentance, yet if he is not a praying man I should not be persuaded to believe it.

ATTEN. I know no reason why you should, for there is nothing can demonstrate that such a man hath it. But pray, Sir, what other sign have you by which you can prove that Mr. Badman died in his sins, and so in a state of damnation?

WISE. I have this to prove it. Those who were his old and sinful companions in the time of his health, were those whose company and carnal talk he most delighted in in the time of his sickness. I did occasionally hint this before, but now I make it an argument of his want of grace, for where there is indeed a work of grace in the heart, that work doth not only change the heart, thoughts, and desires, but the conversation also; yea, conversation and company too. When Paul had a work of grace in his soul he essayed to join himself to the disciples. He was for his old companions in their abominations no longer. He was now a disciple, and was for the company of disciples. 'And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem' (Acts 9:27,28).

ATTEN. I thought something when I heard you make mention of it before. Thought I, this is a shrewd sign that he had not grace in his heart. Birds of a feather, thought I, will flock together. If this man was one of God's children he would herd with God's children, his delight would be with and in the company of God's children. As David said, 'I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts' (Psa 119:63).

WISE. You say well, for what fellowship hath he that believeth with an infidel? And although it be true that all that join to the godly are not godly, yet they that shall inwardly choose the company of the ungodly and open profane, rather than the company of the godly, as Mr. Badman did, surely are not godly men, but profane. He was, as I told you, out of his element when good men did come to visit him; but then he was where he would be, when he had his vain companions about him. Alas! grace, as I said, altereth all, heart, life, company, and all; for by it the heart and man is made new. And a new heart and a new man must have objects of delight that are new, and like himself; 'Old things are passed away'; why? For 'all things are become new' (2 Cor 5:27). Now, if all things are become new, to wit, heart, mind, thoughts, desires, and delights, it followeth by consequence that the company must be answerable; hence it is said, that they 'that believed were together'; that 'they went to their own company'; that they were 'added to the church'; that they 'were of one heart and of one soul'; and the like (Acts 2:44-47, 4:23,32). Now if it be objected that Mr. Badman was sick, and so could not go to the godly, yet he had a tongue in his head, and could, had he had a heart, have spoken to some to call or send for the godly to come to him. Yea, he would have done so; yea, the company of all others, especially his fellow-sinners, would, even in every appearance of them before him, have been a burden and a grief unto him. His heart and affection standing bent to good, good companions would have suited him best. But his companions were his old associates, his delight was in them, therefore his heart and soul were yet ungodly.

ATTEN. Pray, how was he when he drew near his end; for, I perceive, that what you say of him now hath reference to him and to his actions at the beginning of his sickness? Then he could endure company and much talk; besides, perhaps then he thought he should recover and not die, as afterwards he had cause to think, when he was quite wasted with pining sickness, when he was at the grave's mouth. But how was he, I say, when he was, as we say, at the grave's mouth, within a step of death, when he saw and knew, and could not but know, that shortly he must die, and appear before the judgment of God?

WISE. Why, there was not any other alteration in him than what was made by his disease upon his body. Sickness, you know, will alter the body, also pains and stitches will make men groan; but for his mind he had no alteration there. His mind was the same, his heart was the same. He was the self-same Mr. Badman still. Not only in name but conditions, and that to the very day of his death; yea, so far as could be gathered to the very moment in which he died.

ATTEN. Pray, how was he in his death? Was death strong upon him? or did he die with ease, quietly?

WISE. As quietly as a lamb. There seemed not to be in it, to standers by, so as a strong struggle of nature. And as for his mind, it seemed to be wholly at quiet. But, pray, why do you ask me this question?

ATTEN. Not for mine own sake, but for others. For there is such an opinion as this among the ignorant, that if a man dies, as they call it, like a lamb, that is, quietly, and without that consternation of mind that others show in their death, they conclude, and that beyond all doubt, that such a one is gone to heaven, and is certainly escaped the wrath to come.

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