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.



WISE. Why, to one of his own trade, and also like himself. Thus the wicked joined hand in hand, and there he served out his time.

ATTEN. Then, sure, he had his heart's desire when he was with one so like himself.

WISE. Yes, so he had, but God gave it him in his anger.

ATTEN. How do you mean?

WISE. I mean as before, that for a wicked man to be by the providence of God turned out of a good man's doors, into a wicked man's house to dwell, is a sign of the anger of God. For God by this, and such judgments, says thus to such an one. Thou wicked one, thou lovest not me, my ways, nor my people; thou castest my law and good counsel behind thy back. Come, I will dispose of thee in my wrath; thou shalt be turned over to the ungodly, thou shalt be put to school to the devil, I will leave thee to sink and swim in sin, till I shall visit thee with death and judgment. This was, therefore, another judgment that did come upon this young Badman.

ATTEN. You have said the truth, for God by such a judgment as this, in effect says so indeed; for he take them out of the hand of the just, and binds them up in the hand of the wicked, and whither they then shall be carried a man may easily imagine.

WISE. It is one of the saddest tokens of God's anger that happens to such kind of persons: and that for several reasons. 1. Such a one, by this judgment, is put out of the way, and from under the means which ordinarily are made use of to do good to the soul. For a family, where godliness is professed, and practised, is God's ordinance, the place which he has appointed to teach young ones the way and fear of God (Gen 18:18,19). Now, to be put out of such a family, into a bad, a wicked one, as Mr. Badman was, must needs be in judgment, and a sign of the anger of God. For in ungodly families men learn to forget God, to hate goodness, and to estrange themselves from the ways of those that are good.
[30] 2. In bad families they have continually fresh examples, and also incitements to evil, and fresh encouragements to it too. Yea, moreover, in such places evil is commended, praised, well-spoken of, and they that do it are applauded; and this, to be sure, is a drowning judgment. 3. Such places are the very haunts and walks of the infernal spirits, who are continually poisoning the cogitations and minds of one or other in such families, that they may be able to poison others. Therefore observe it, usually in wicked families, some one or two are more arch for wickedness than are any other that are there. Now such are Satan's conduit pipes, for by them he conveys of the spawn of hell, through their being crafty in wickedness, into the ears and souls of their companions. Yea, and when they have once conceived wickedness, they travail with it, as doth a woman with child, till they have brought it forth; 'Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood' (Psa 7:14). Some men, as here is intimated in the text, and as was hinted also before, have a kind of mystical but hellish copulation with the devil, who is the father, and their soul the mother of sin and wickedness; and they, so soon as they have conceived by him, finish, by bringing forth sin, both it and their own damnation (James 1:15).

ATTEN. How much then doth it concern those parents that love their children, to see, that if they go from them, they be put into such families as be good, that they may learn there betimes to eschew evil, and to follow that which is good!

WISE. It doth concern them indeed; and it doth also concern them that take children into their families, to take heed what children they receive. For a man may soon, by a bad boy, be damaged both in his name, estate, and family, and also hindered in his peace and peaceable pursuit after God and godliness; I say, by one such vermin as a wicked and filthy apprentice.

ATTEN. True, for one sinner destroyeth much good, and a poor man is better than a liar. But many times a man cannot help it; for such as at the beginning promise very fair are by a little time proved to be very rogues, like young Badman.

WISE. That is true also; but when a man has done the best he can to help it, he may with the more confidence expect the blessing of God to follow, or he shall have the more peace if things go contrary to his desire.

ATTEN. Well, but did Mr. Badman and his master agree so well? I mean his last master, since they were birds of a feather, I mean since they were so well met for wickedness.

WISE. This second master was, as before I told you, bad enough; but yet he would often fall out with young Badman, his servant, and chide, yea and sometimes beat him too, for his naughty doings.

ATTEN. What! for all he was so bad himself! This is like the proverb, The devil corrects vice.

WISE. I will assure you it is as I say. For you must know that Badman's ways suited not with his master's gains. Could he have done as the damsel that we read of, Acts 16:16, did, to wit, fill his master's purse with his badness, he had certainly been his white-boy, but it was not so with young Badman; and, therefore, though his master and he did suit well enough in the main, yet in this and that point they differed. Young Badman was for neglecting of his master's business, for going to the whore-house, for beguiling of his master, for attempting to debauch his daughters, and the like. No marvel then if they disagreed in these points. Not so much for that his master had an antipathy against the fact itself, for he could do so when he was an apprentice; but for that his servant by his sin made spoil of his commodities, &c., and so damnified his master.

Had, as I said before, young Badman's wickedness had only a tendency to his master's advantage, as could he have sworn, lied, cozened, cheated, and defrauded customers for his master—and indeed sometimes he did so—but had that been all that he had done, he had not had, no, not a wry word from his master; but this was not always Mr. Badman's way.

ATTEN. That was well brought in, even the maid that we read of in the Acts, and the distinction was as clear betwixt the wickedness and wickedness of servants.

WISE. Alas! men that are wicked themselves, yet greatly hate it in others, not simply because it is wickedness, but because it opposeth their interest. Do you think that that maid's master would have been troubled at the loss of her, if he had not lost, with her, his gain? No, I'll warrant you; she might have gone to the devil for him; but 'when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone,' then, then he fell to persecuting Paul (Acts 16:17-20). But Mr. Badman's master did sometimes lose by Mr. Badman's sins, and then Badman and his master were at odds.

ATTEN. Alas, poor Badman! Then it seems thou couldest not at all times please thy like.

WISE. No, he could not, and the reason I have told you.

ATTEN. But do not bad masters condemn themselves in condemning the badness of their servants?

WISE. Yes; in that they condemn that in another which they either have, or do allow in themselves (Rom 14:22). And the time will come when that very sentence that hath gone out of their own mouths against the sins of others, themselves living and taking pleasure in the same, shall return with violence upon their own pates. The Lord pronounced judgment against Baasha, as for all his evils in general, so for this in special, because he was 'like the house of Jeroboam and' yet 'killed him' (1 Kings 16:7). This is Mr. Badman's master's case; he is like his man, and yet he beats him. He is like his man, and yet he rails at him for being bad.

ATTEN. But why did not young Badman run away from this master, as he ran away from the other?

WISE. He did not. And if I be not mistaken, the reason why was this. There was godliness in the house of the first, and that young Badman could not endure. For fare, for lodging, for work, and time, he had better, and more by this master's allowance, than ever he had by his last; but all this would not content, because godliness was promoted there. He could not abide this praying, this reading of Scriptures, and hearing, and repeating of sermons; he could not abide to be told of his transgressions in a sober and godly manner.

ATTEN. There is a great deal in the manner of reproof; wicked men both can and cannot abide to hear their transgressions spoken against.

WISE. There is a great deal of difference indeed. This last master of Mr. Badman's would tell Mr. Badman of his sins in Mr. Badman's own dialect; he would swear, and curse, and damn, when he told him of his sins, and this he could bear better, than to be told of them after a godly sort. Besides, that last master would, when his passions and rage were over, laugh at and make merry with the sins of his servant Badman; and that would please young Badman well. Nothing offended Badman but blows, and those he had but few of now, because he was pretty well grown up. For the most part when his master did rage and swear, he would give him oath for oath, and curse for curse, at least secretly, let him go on as long as he would.

ATTEN. This was hellish living.

WISE. It was hellish living indeed; and a man might say, that with this master, young Badman completed himself yet more and more in wickedness, as well as in his trade: for by that he came out of his time, what with his own inclination to sin, what with his acquaintance with his three companions, and what with this last master, and the wickedness he saw in him; he became a sinner in grain.
[31] I think he had a bastard laid to his charge before he came out of his time.

ATTEN. Well, but it seems he did live to come out of his time, but what did he then?

WISE. Why, he went home to his father, and he, like a loving and tender-hearted father, received him into his house.

ATTEN. And how did he carry it there?

WISE. Why, the reason why he went home, was, for money to set up for himself; he stayed but a little at home, but that little while that he did stay, he refrained himself as well as he could, and did not so much discover himself to be base, for fear his father should take distaste, and so should refuse, or for a while forbear to give him money. Yet even then he would have his times, and companions, and the fill of his lusts with them, but he used to blind all with this, he was glad to see his old acquaintance, and they as glad to see him, and he could not in civility but accommodate them with a bottle or two of wine, or a dozen or two of drink.

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[30] Ungodly, Christless, prayerless families are little hells—filthy fountains, whose waters cast up mire and dirt; they are the blind and willing captives of sin and Satan, going down to the chambers of death and endless despair.—Ed.

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[31] 'In grain,' material dyed before it is manufactured, so that every grain receives the colour, which becomes indelible.—Ed.