Acacia John Bunyan

Life and Death
Mr. Badman,
Presented to the World in a
Familiar Dialogue Between
Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive.

By J O H N.B U N Y A N.


Published two years after Pilgrim's Progress.



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
[2] 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
[3] 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.[4] 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,[5] 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
[6] 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,[7] 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.

John Bunyan


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[2] Quirk, an artful or subtle evasion of a truthful home- thrust.–Ed.

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[3] Butt, a mark set up to shoot at. 'Some are always exposed to the wit and raillery of their well-wishers, pelted by friends and foes, in a word, stand as butts.'–Spectator, No. 47.–Ed.

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[4] The office of a Christian minister is like that of a king's messenger, not only to comfort and reward the king's friends, but to arrest his enemies. England was then overrun with the latter 'game.' Alas! there are too many of them now. May the revival of this shot 'light upon many.'–Ed.

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[5] 'Fire to the pan,' alluding to the mode of using fire-arms, by applying a lighted match to the pan, before the fire-lock was invented.–Ed.

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[6] In the single combat of quarter-staff, he who held the best end of the staff usually gained the victory.–Ed.

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[7] Pilgrim's Progress, Interpreter's House. This is a remarkable illustration of a difficult part of the allegory– faithful admonitions repaid by murderous revenge, but overcome by Christian courage.–Ed.