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.



WISEMAN. Good morrow, my good neighbour, Mr. Attentive; whither are you walking so early this morning? Methinks you look as if you were concerned about something more than ordinary. Have you lost any of your cattle, or what is the matter?

ATTENTIVE. Good Sir, good morrow to you, I have not as yet lost aught, but yet you give a right guess of me, for I am, as you say, concerned in my heart, but it is because of the badness of the times. And, Sir, you, as all our neighbours know, are a very observing man, pray, therefore, what do you think of them?

WISE. Why, I think, as you say, to wit, that they are bad times, and bad they will be, until men are better; for they are bad men that make bad times; if men, therefore, would mend, so would the times. It is a folly to look for good days so long as sin is so high, and those that study its nourishment so many. God bring it down, and those that nourish it, to repentance, and then, my good neighbour, you will be concerned, not as you are now; now you are concerned because times are so bad, but then you will be so because times are so good; now you are concerned so as to be perplexed, but then you will be concerned so as to lift up your voice with shouting, for I dare say, could you see such days, they would make you shout.

ATTEN. Ay, so they would; such times I have prayed for, such times I have longed for; but I fear they will be worse before they be better.

WISE. Make no conclusions, man; for he that hath the hearts of men in his hand can change them from worse to better, and so bad times into good. God give long life to them that are good, and especially to those of them that are capable of doing him service in the world. The ornament and beauty of this lower world, next to God and his wonders, are the men that spangle and shine in godliness.

Now as Mr. Wiseman said this, he gave a great sigh.

ATTEN. Amen, amen. But why, good Sir, do you sigh so deeply; is it for ought else than that for the which, as you have perceived, I myself am concerned?

WISE. I am concerned, with you, for the badness of the times; but that was not the cause of that sigh, of the which, as I see, you take notice. I sighed at the remembrance of the death of that man for whom the bell tolled at our town yesterday.

ATTEN. Why, I trow, Mr. Goodman your neighbour is not dead. Indeed I did hear that he had been sick.

WISE. No, no, it is not he. Had it been he, I could not but have been concerned, but yet not as I am concerned now. If he had died, I should only have been concerned for that the world had lost a light; but the man that I am concerned for now was one that never was good, therefore such an one who is not dead only, but damned. He died that he might die, he went from life to death, and then from death to death, from death natural to death eternal. And as he spake this, the water stood in his eyes.

ATTEN. Indeed, to go from a deathbed to hell is a fearful thing to think on. But, good neighbour Wiseman, be pleased to tell me who this man was, and why you conclude him so miserable in his death?

WISE. Well, if you can stay, I will tell you who he was, and why I conclude thus concerning him.

ATTEN. My leisure will admit me to stay, and I am willing to hear you out. And I pray God your discourse may take hold on my heart, that I may be bettered thereby. So they agreed to sit down under a tree. Then Mr. Wiseman proceeded as followeth:—

WISE. The man that I mean is one Mr. Badman; he has lived in our town a great while, and now, as I said, he is dead. But the reason of my being so concerned at his death is, not for that he was at all related to me, or for that any good conditions died with him, for he was far from them, but for that, as I greatly fear, he hath, as was hinted before, died two deaths at once.

ATTEN. I perceive what you mean by two deaths at once; and to speak truth, it is a fearful thing thus to have ground to think of any: for although the death of the ungodly and sinners is laid to heart but of few, yet to die in such a state is more dreadful and fearful than any man can imagine. Indeed if a man had no soul, if his state was not truly immortal, the matter would not be so much; but for a man to be so disposed of by his Maker, as to be appointed a sensible being for ever, and for him too to fall into the hands of revenging justice, that will be always, to the utmost extremity that his sin deserveth, punishing of him in the dismal dungeon of hell, this must needs be unutterably sad, and lamentable.

WISE. There is no man, I think, that is sensible of the worth of one soul, but must, when he hears of the death of unconverted men, be stricken with sorrow and grief: because, as you said well, that man's state is such that he has a sensible being for ever. For it is sense that makes punishment heavy. But yet sense is not all that the damned have, they have sense and reason too; so then, as sense receiveth punishment with sorrow, because it feels, and bleeds under the same, so by reason, and the exercise thereof, in the midst of torment, all present affliction is aggravated, and that three manner of ways:—1. Reason will consider thus with himself. For what am I thus tormented? and will easily find it is for nothing but that base and filthy thing, sin; and now will vexation be mixed with punishment, and that will greatly heighten the affliction. 2. Reason will consider thus with himself. How long must this be my state? And will soon return to himself this answer: This must be my state for ever and ever. Now this will greatly increase the torment. 3. Reason. will consider thus with himself. What have I lost more than present ease and quiet by my sins that I have committed? And will quickly return himself this answer: I have lost communion with God, Christ, saints, and angels, and a share in heaven and eternal life: and this also must needs greaten the misery of poor damned souls. And this is the case of Mr. Badman.

ATTEN. I feel my heart even shake at the thoughts of coming into such a state. Hell! who knows that is yet alive, what the torments of hell are? This word HELL gives a very dreadful sound.

WISE. Ay, so it does in the ears of him that has a tender conscience. But if, as you say, and that truly, the very name of hell is so dreadful, what is the place itself, and what are the punishments that are there inflicted, and that without the least intermission, upon the souls of damned men, for ever and ever.

ATTEN. Well, but passing this; my leisure will admit me to stay, and therefore pray tell me what it is that makes you think that Mr. Badman is gone to hell.

WISE. I will tell you. But first, do you know which of the Badmans I mean?

ATTEN. Why, was there more of them than one?

WISE. O yes, a great many, both brothers and sisters, and yet all of them the children of a godly parent, the more a great deal is the pity.

ATTEN. Which of them therefore was it that died?

WISE. The eldest, old in years, and old in sin; but the sinner that dies an hundred years old shall be accursed.

ATTEN. Well, but what makes you think he is gone to hell?

WISE. His wicked life, and fearful death, especially since the manner of his death was so corresponding with his life.

ATTEN. Pray let me know the manner of his death, if yourself did perfectly know it.

WISE. I was there when he died; but I desire not to see another such man, while I live, die in such sort as he did.

ATTEN. Pray therefore let me hear it.

WISE. You say you have leisure and can stay, and therefore, if you please, we will discourse even orderly of him. First, we will begin with his life, and then proceed to his death: because a relation of the first may the more affect you, when you shall hear of the second.

ATTEN. Did you then so well know his life?

WISE. I knew him of a child. I was a man, when he was but a boy, and I made special observation of him from first to last.

ATTEN. Pray then let me hear from you an account of his life; but be as brief as you can, for I long to hear of the manner of his death.

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[8] 'The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:9). Instead of Christ, the Prince of peace, being theirs, the prince of the power of the air is theirs; instead of the comforts of the gospel, the curses of the law are theirs; instead of heaven, hell is theirs and an exclusion from God and happiness for ever! Sinner, think NOW on these things.—Mason.