excerpt from John Bunyan's Allegory:
In this chapter, Mercy is the name of a single woman who is traveling
the narrow road of true Christianity. Along the way, she has stopped
with her companions at a lodge where she stays for an unspecified
amount of time. One of her hostesses in the house is named Prudence.
when the pilgrims had been at the lodge about a week, Mercy had
a visitor, Mr. Brisk, a young man of some means and culture. He
seemed to be sincerely religious, yet very much attached to the
things of the world. He came to see Mercy several times, and suggested
that they become engaged. Now, Mercy was a charming girl, and very
attractive, though of the busy type. she was always making things
for herself or others, and Mr. Brisk thought she would make a good
housewife. Now Mercy confided in the maids and inquired of them
concerning him, for they knew him better than she. They told her
that he was a nice-appearing young man, with ambition and ability,
who was formally religious, but they said they feared he was a stranger
to spiritual life and power.
Then I will not encourage him, for I do not intend to let anyone
hinder my spiritual life, or my Christian service.
Well, you need not have any sudden break with him, fraught with
tension and emotion. Your continuing to do for the poor will soon
cool his ardor.
the next time Mr. Brisk came, he found her very busy, making things
for the poor.
at it, I see," he remarked.
said she, "either for myself or for others."
how much do you earn a day?" he asked.
do these things that I may be rich in good works, laying up in store
for myself a good foundation against the time to come that I may
lay hold on eternal life."
do you do with all these things you are making?"
the naked," she said.
his countenance fell, and he was silent. He called no more, and
when his friends asked him why, he said that Mercy was a very pretty
girl, but handicapped by poor conditions.
he did not come again, Prudence said to Mercy, "Did I not tell
you that he would give you up when he found that you were true to
your religion? Now, you need not be surprised if he starts an evil
report on you, notwithstanding his seeming love for you and his
interest in formal religion. You never would have been happy with
him. You are of such different temperaments.
I might have had a husband before now (thought I have never mentioned
this to anyone before), if my boyfriends had not objected to my
standards. None of them ever found fault with my person; it was
my ideals they did not like. Therefore, we could not agree.
In this day and time, eternal things make very little impression.
With too many, Christianity is but little more than a custom, or
Well, if no one will have me because of my religious convictions,
I will die an old maid. My devotion to Christ and His service will
take the place of a husband, and I will be happier than living with
a man who is not a Christian and it always opposing my way of life.
I had a sister named Bountiful, who married one of these conceited,
self-willed egotists, and she and he never got along. He violently
opposed her becoming a Christian, and finally drove her away from
home. Afterwards her health broke, and she died.
And yet he was a professing Christian, I suppose?
Yes, a professor, not a possessor of true Christianity. Of such
the world is full, and I don't care how well educated or how wealthy
they may be, I want none of them at all.