The Castle of Giant Despair 2

 

 Psalm 89:46 How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 47Remember what my span of life is; for what vanity You have created all the sons of men! 48What man can live and not see death?Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? 49Where are Your former loving kindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?

 

“Brother,” said Christian. “What shall we do? The life we now live in this place is miserable. For my part, I don’t know whether it is better to live like this or to die by our own hand. My soul chooses strangling rather than life, and the grave seems more desirable for me than this dungeon. (And my soul thought it better to be strangled and desired death more than my bones. – Job 7:15) Shall we accept the giant’s advice?”

 

The Valley: Christian looked so confused. As I watched him, it was like he didn’t even know his own voice. Just when he came to the mouth of the burning pit ,one of the wicked ones sneaked up behind him. It whispered softly into his ear with many suggestive and distressing blasphemies. Christian thought these blasphemies had originated in his own mind, and it troubled him deeply. As he continued on his journey, the thought that he could possibly blaspheme the One who loved him so much weighed heavily on him. In fact, it tested Christian more than anything he had met with before. If he could have helped it, he would not have done it, but he didn’t have the foresight to either stop his ears or to understand the real source of these blasphemies.

 

The River of Death...

 

Therefore Hopeful struggled in his attempts to keep his brother’s head above water. Sometimes Christian would seem to have sunk down for good but after a short time, he would rise to the surface again as one half-dead. Hopeful attempted to comfort him, saying, “Brother, I see the gate and men standing nearby to welcome us!” But Christian answered, “It is you … it is you they are waiting for, for you have been hopeful ever since I first knew you.” “And so have you,” Hopeful said. “Ah, brother.” Christian’s face looked deeply troubled. “Surely if I was right with the King he would rise now to rescue me, but on account of my sins he has brought me into this snare and abandoned me.”

 

Disclaimer: This Sunday School Lesson has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ...

 

 

Benjamin Fawcett - 1715 -1780 Observations on the nature, causes and cure of melancholy : especially of that which is commonly called religious melancholy.

 

The 3 symptoms according to Fawcett are. Dejection, Distress, and Despair.

 

Quote from Richard Baxter that appears to be an excellent description of John Bunyan in Grace Abounding. “some are violently haunted with blasphemous suggestions of ideas, at which they tremble, and yet cannot keep them out of their mind; either they are tempted and haunted to doubt of the Scripture, or Christianity, or the life to come, or to think some ill of God; and oftentimes they are strangely urged, as by something in them, to speak some blasphemous word of God, or to renounce him, and they tremble at the suggestion, and yet it still followeth them, and some poor souls yield to it, and say some bad word against God, and then, as soon as it is spoken, somewhat within them saith, Now thy damnation is sealed, thou hast sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no hope.

Baxter, Richard. The Cure of Melancholy and Overmuch Sorrow, by Faith

 

Presbyterian Examiner - 1858 “There is something profoundly mysterious in that state of mind which is called melancholy. It proceeds from a variety of of causes, and exists in very different degrees; but in its more prominent manifestations it exhibits remarkable uniformity. Its leading trait is thegloom it throws over whatever is most interesting to the mind.

 

When religious persons, or those inclined to religion, become melancholy, a deep gloom rests upon their religious prospects. They can find no evidences of piety'in themselves. They have no feelings of the right kind—imagine themselves perfectly hardened and abandoned of God. In its advanced stages they are harrassed by blasphemous thoughts, which they are tempted to utter. Soon they come to believe that they have committed the unpardonable sin; and deep, black despair settles upon the mind. In the progress of this terrible malady, the tendency generally, perhaps uniformly, is to commit suicide; and in multitudes of instances, this has been its sad termination.

 

John Cheyne:

 

"DIRECTIONS RELATIVE TO MY BURIAL, ETC.

" My body, attended only by my sons, is to be carried to the grave by six of the villagers, very early on the fourth or fifth morning after my decease. I would have no tolling of bells if it can be avoided. The ringers may have an order for bread, to the amount usually given upon such occasions; if they get money they will spend it in the ale-house; and I would have them told, that in life or death I would by no means give occasion for sin. My funeral must be as inexpensive as possible: let there be no attempt at a funeral sermon. I would pass away without notice from a world which, with all its pretensions, is empty. " Let not my family mourn for one whose trust is in Jesus. By respectful and tender care of their mother, by mutual affection and by irreproachable conduct, my children will best show their regard for my memory.

" My decease may be announced in the Irish newspapers in the following words— ' Died at Sherington, Newport Pagnel, Bucks, on the day of ...Dr. Cheyne, late physician-general to the forces in Ireland.' Not one word more; no panegyric.

" I believe there is a vault belonging to the manor, but if it be under the church I should not wish my body to be laid in it, but in the churchyard, two or three yards from the wicket which opens from the path through the fields. I pointed out the spot to,... and chose it as a fit place for a rustic monument, without marble or sculpture, a column such as is represented in the accompany ing sketch, about seven or eight feet high. On the column, on hard undecomposing stone, are to be engraven the following texts— St. John iii. 16, ' For God so loved the world,' &c; St. Matthew xi. 28, 29, 30, ' Come unto me, all ye that labour,' &c. ; Hebrews xii. 14, ' Follow peace with all men,' &c.

"As these texts are meant to rouse the insensible passenger, they must be distinctly seen. The following inscription is to be engraven on the opposite side of the column :—"Reader ! the name, profession, and age of him whose body lies beneath, are of little importance ; but it may be of great importance to you to know, that, by the grace of God, he was brought to look to the Lord Jesus, as the only Saviour of sinners, and that this ' looking unto Jesus' gave peace to his soul. " Reader ! pray to God that you may be instructed in the Gospel, and be assured that God will give his Holy Spirit, the only teacher of true wisdom, to them that ask him.

" If any objection be made to the spot pointed out for the interment of my body, let some other be chosen where the inscription on the column to be erected over me may be seen to advantage.

The monument is for the benefit of the living, and not in honour of the dead. " I wish the inscription to be preserved, and leave this to my children and my children's children."

Biblical Repertory - 1844 “We were once requested to visit a lady whose state of mind

had baffied every attempt made by her judicious husband; to bring her relief. She was a woman of great refinement and strength of mind, eminently pious, and devoted to her interesting young family, whose education she conducted herself. While conferring eyery accomplishment upon her children, she was mainly anxious for their spiritual wel

fare. When we saw her, she was intensely excited, and had slept little for several nights. She said she had lost all interest in the instruction of her children, and had become

utterly regardless of their personal appearance and her own. Her whole thoughts and feelings were engrossed about their salvation, her anxiety for which had become insup

portably agonizing. When instructing, or dressing, or leading them out for their accustomed exercise, she was incessantly distracted with the thought, what good will all

this do, while they are still impenitent! Though her flushed face and flashing restless eye, indicated strong physical excitement, yet her mind was so clear on every sub

ject, and all her views so rational, that we attributed the whole difficulty to excessive and protracted anxiety, for an object of peculiar interest to a pious mother—the salvation

of her children. We made repeated attempts to reason with her on the error and evils of her present state of mind. She admitted fully the justice of our reasoning, and concurred in the truth of all our positions, but we found that this was of no avail. Her excitement continued, and with it her distress, and all her difficulties. It appeared like a case of pure religious excitement, and was so looked upon by all her family. They did not deem her deranged, but it was evident she soon would be, unless relieved. Finding reasoning of no avail, and the excitement still increasing, we became convinced 0n minute examination, that the whole difficulty originated, not in religious views or feelings at all, but in a morbid increase of arterial action, arising from some physical cause. One-twelfth of a grain of tartar emetic, five or six times a day, gave perfect relief,and restored both her views and feelings to the healthy standard. Any number of instances of every variety of the disease might be cited to the same point.”

 

Presb. Examiner “We have said that melancholy is traceable to several causes. In some instances it originates in physical disease. Diseases which afflict the nervous system, produce melancholy. Some persons have a constitutional tendency of this kind, which is easily aggravated. Distress of mind, from disappointed hopes, sudden bereavement, loss of property, ill treatment on the part of relatives, and the like, often produce melancholy. In its milder forms, it frequently results from nervous exhaustion, or from slight bodily indisposition.”

 

Illustrations of Melancholy...

 

Twenty-eight years ago, we became acquainted with two young ladies, who were cousins, in an eastern city, where we were temporarily laboring. These young ladies were well educated, and highly intelligent.They had been very gay and worldly. On a visit to Philadelphia, they became interested on the subject of religion, and returned home joyful converts. One of them was exceedingly affectionate and amiable, and of a remarkably cheerful disposition. The other was of a very ardent temperament, and her nervous system was uncommonly weak. Both were very lovely christians; and we took occasion frequently to visit and converse with them.

For several weeks their happiness continued unabated. But soon the sky of the one of ardent temperament became suddenly overcast. Her delightful emotions disappeared, and were succeded by painful 'depression. She became much alarmed, and concluded that all her recent happiness was a delusion—that she was not really converted. Then her conscience was dreadfully troubled, because she had made a public profession of religion—had approached the Lord’s table, and had eat and drunk unworthily. She read her Bible, prayed and struggled to get her happy feelings back again ; but the more she struggled the worse her condition appeared, until she' became convinced that she had no feeling, was perfectly hardened. She was on the borders of despair, confined herself to her room, refusing to see company, and felt that she dared not pray for any one but herself.

This dreadful darkness continued so long, and her mental anguish was so great and constantly increasing, that we became alarmed lest she should become deranged, or sink into hopeless disease. We had no doubt of the genuineness of her conversion ; but no presentation of the Gospel or its promises that we could make, availed any thing.

She exhibited singular skill, as persons under the influence of melancholy generally do, in showing that the promises did not apply to her case. At length, we one day called to see her, to make one more effort to relieve her mind. She would scarcely consent to come into the room; and when she did, her countenance was the picture of despair.

With as much apparent cheerfulness as possible we took a seat by her, and entered into conversation,'and said to her—“If you should find a little boy running about these streets, weeping and asking every one he met, it he had seen his father, refusing to be comforted unless he could find him ,- would you denounce him as a hard-hearted wretch, and tell him 'to go about his business?” She replied, with some surprise at the question, “ Certainly not.” “Would you regard his distress at his father’s absence, and his earnest desire to find him, as affording evidence of' filial afl'ection?" “Yes—I would.” “Well, you have been, these two weeks, seeking for your Father, and have been greatly troubled that you cannot find him. You now feel that if you could find him, you would be happy; and yet you say, you do not love him!” The effect of this illustration was surprising. She at once saw in her deep distress the evidence of her love to God. A crushing weight was suddenly lifted from her heart. Her countenance put on a cheerful aspect. She put on her bonnet, and walked with us to the prayer meeting.

In this case the melancholy arose, not from disease, nor from any aflliction. It was simply the result of nervous exhaustion. Her mind had been intensely interested for weeks, first under conviction of sin, and then in the possession of the joy of a young convert. The physical system was exhausted ; and the result was sudden depression of the animal spirits. This was mistaken for the lack of religious affection; and all the eflorts to produce the desired feeling, simply increased the exhaustion, and consequently rendered the depression more painful.

A day or two of quiet and rest in the beginning of the trouble, would have relieved the mind and saved the young woman from an immense amount of suffering.

 

Thomas Halyburton 1674 – 23 September 1712

 

By the extremity of this anguish I was for some time, about the close of 1697 and beginning of 1698, dreadfully cast down. I was weary of my life. Often did I use Job's words: “I loathe it, I would not live alway.” (Job vii. 16.) And yet I was afraid to die. I had no rest; “my sore ran in the night;" and it ceased not in the day. (Ps. lxxvii. 2.) At night I wished for day; and in the day I wished for night. (Deut. xxviii. 66, 67.)

I said, “My couch shall comfort me;” but then darkness was as the “shadow of death.” (Job vii. 13, x. 21.) When I was in this case, I was often brought to the brink of despair: “He filled me with bitterness; he made me drunk with wormwood. He broke all my teeth with gravel-stones; he covered me with ashes.”

(Lam. iii. 15.) He removed my soul far from peace: I forgot prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord; remembering mine affliction, and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

My soul had them still in remembrance, and was bowed in me. (Lam. iii. 16-20.) Now I was made to think it a wonder that I was not consumed; and though I dreaded destruction from the Almighty, yet I could not but justify him, if he had destroyed me: “Righteous is the Lord, for I have rebelled.” (Lam. i. 18.) I was made to fear that the Lord would make me a “Magor-missabib,” a terror to myself (Jer. xx. 4), and all round about: and that he would make some dreadful discovery of my wickedness, that would make me a reproach to religion, and give the enemies advan

tage; which put me upon the psalmist's prayer: “Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the reproach of the foolish.” (Ps. xxxix. 8.) I was made to wonder that I was not already cut off; and indeed this was sometimes reviving: “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” (Lam. iii. 20, 21.) But this hope was easily clouded.

It amounted to no more than this: “Who can tell but he may be gracious?” (2 Sam. xii. 22.) And to this my fearful heart suggested the greatness of my sins, as above the reach of pardoning mercy; and Satan daily urged me to give over, and take some desperate course —to say, “There is no hope.” Isa. lvii. 10.) Thus I walked about, dejected, weary, and heavy laden—weary of my disease, and weary of the vain courses I had taken for relief, and uncertain what to do, what course to take: “I took counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily.” (Ps. 13:2.)

 

Princeton Review: The moral treatment best adapted to relieve the depression of melancholy, requires often the closest discrimination and the most untiring kindness and assiduity on the part of friends. On the one hand too much sympathy, and especially frequent conversation upon the subject, will increase the evil : and on the other hand if you are too lively and light-hearted, the patient not only fails to catch your spirit by sympathy, but sinks into deeper and darker gloom. When the mental stress and dejection are the result of disease, and not the natural workings of an awakened conscience and are to be treated accordingly, there is very often a striking relative disproportion between the alleged moral cause, and the degree of remorse. Indeed, as Dr. Rush somewhere justly observes, imaginary guilt is a far more frequent cause than real. The healthy conscience is alive equally to guilt of all kinds in proportion to its aggravation, while that which is morbidly affected, is distressed beyond measure with that which is either imaginary or trifling, and is insensible to a thousand offences of greater magnitude. out any assignable mental cause whatever. - Princeton Review

 

Where melancholy is not from body debilitation but from spirtual causes ...There is the instance of a young lady we have long and intimately known. Of a temperament highly nervous and sanguine, she embarked very young, with all her ardour, in the gay pleasures of fashionable life. A single season convinced her fully of their emptiness and folly. She was soon after brought under the influence of pungent preaching, and. convinced of sin. The struggle was sharp and long; but the result was, that she gave herself, with all her heart, to a course of rigid religious duties. Above all, she seemed to live in an atmosphere of prayer. Her faith in the truth_and promises of God, was without the shadow of a cloud. And yet she had not the pure enjoyment which she supposed to be the necessary fruit of real piety. She did not therefore, look upon herself, as a child of God; and her consequent anxiety wore upon her spirit, and secretly undermined her health. At length, one day, as she rose from prayer, the thought struck her like a thunder bolt, ‘ what if there is no God after all.’ She repelled the thought with horror, and went her way. But the shock had struck from her hand, “ the shield of faith,” and all her efforts were unable to grasp it again. From henceforth she found herself exposed to a constant shower of darts, fiery and poisoned, and she could not resist them. They stuck fast in her vitals, and drank up her spirits. The poison thus injected into the heart of her religious experience soon spread, and blighted the whole. She never knew a moment’s peace, when her thoughts were upon her once favourite, and still engrossing subject. She called herself an infidel, and applied to herself the dreadful threatenings and doom of the unbeliever. And yet it was evident she was not, in any sense, an unbeliever. She was one of the most devout and consistent persons we ever knew. She was conscientious even to scrupulosity. She was a most devoted and faithful Sunday school teacher, and God blessed her labours to the conversion of nearly all her scholars. She rejoiced to hear of persons becoming Christians and would often say, with despair in her tones, how she envied them. When any of her acquaintances died without giving good evidence of piety she became excited, and as she expressed it, was ready to scream aloud. She gave every possible evidence that she had not, in reality, a shadow of a doubt about the truth of revelation. And yet no one ever dreamed that her difficulties were connected with disease of any sort; for her mind was remarkably clear, and active. The advice of pious friends and ministers, therefore, based upon the supposition that her case was one of spiritual darkness, or satanic temptation, was to persevere in prayer—to struggle on more earnestly, and God would give her light after he had tried her faith and patience and love. But the more she prayed and struggled the worse she grew. She would come from her closet, exhausted with the fearful conflict, and looking ready to sink into utter despair. The Sabbath was always the worst day of the week; and the labour and exhaustion of teaching aggravated her symptoms.The only treatment which was successful, in this case, would by many have been rejected with horror. She was advised to give up the struggle which she had maintained so unequally, and which would only have resulted in disastrous consequences—to think as little as possible on the subject—to spend less time in devotional exercises, and allow her mind to gather its scattered strength by relaxation. The form of prayer advised was short and audible, and such as took for granted what she had been struggling to: convince herself of. Incessant pains were taken to present the character of God in a simple, affectionate, parental light,when any thing led to the subject. The simplicity of faith, and the certainty of salvation, were occasionally flashed across her mind, when it was in a suitable frame. The only two evidences of piety which her state of mind rendered available, were kept prominent as the basis of new feelings and hopes, viz: her love to the people of God, and the pain she felt in the absence of divine favour, and the longing for its return. These were untouched by the dismal monster that had preyed upon her hopes. By a judicious perseverance in a course like this, accompanied with well directed hygienic measures, suitable recreation, exercise, and diet, for improving the general health, and especially the tone of the nervous system, the mental energies will often, in such cases, react; and new views of truth and new hopes will then spring up in the mind. - Princeton Review

 

THE CURE

They, who are under the power of melancholy, “says Archbishop Tillot/on, are seldom fit to take that “ counsel, which alone is fit to be given them, and that is, not to believe themselves concerning themselves, but - to trust the judgment of others rather than their own apprehenſions. In other cafes every man knows himself best, but “ a melancholy man, is most in the dark as to “ himself.

 

First, We should be affectionately concerned for the distressed state of those pious perons, who are afflicted with religious melancholy.

 

Second: Perfons in these afflicted circumstances, and under such mistaken apprehenſions concerning fome religious tenets, must be urged to trust in the mercies òf God through Christ. But their darkness of mind is their grand objećtion againſt the duty of truſting in God.

 

Let not even your devotional exercifes be too intenfe, or of too long a continuance. Meditating on divine subjects, closet-prayer, or any other religious employment, eſpecially in fecret, ſhould be fhort, in fome meaſure reſembling ejaculatory prayer. If the ftomach be fickly, phyficians will wiſh to promote digeſtion by eating little and often.

 

Do not so much abound in the confeffing and aggravating the fins you have committed, as to forget or omit being thankful for the innumerable mercies you have been receiving.

Do not cheriſh, but pray and ſtrive againſt, desponding thoughts. They rob God of his glory. They give Satan an advantage over you. They unfit fit you for loving God ; they lead you to hate him, and fly from him, and to flight Christ, and undervalue the bleffings of his goſpel.

 

Take heed of concluding yourſelves the objećts of God’s everlafting diſpleaſure, only becaufe he is at prefent hiding himſelf. All the greateſt terrors and agonies of melancholy perfons, are but, comparatively, for a moment...

 

avoid folitarineſs, keep always in good company, fing the Pſalms, and converſe upon the holy Scriptures. Secondly, though it be the moſt difficult point to workupon the mind, yet it is the moſt prefent remedy, if they can, through grace, perfuade them felves, that thofe grievous thoughts are not their own, but Satan’s; and that, therefore, they ſhould

earneſtly endeavour to turn the heart to other objects, and quit thefe evil fuggeſtions: For to dwell upon them, or fight with them, or to aim to overcome them, or to wait for an end of them ; is only to irritate and ſtrengthen them.

 

We should then not fail to inform them of perfons recovered from a ſtate as bad as their own in order to encourage and revive their hopes. And among the following instances, it may pleafe God to render one or other of them more eſpecially fuitable and effećtual.

 

Welch, Edward T.. Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness “The problem with immediately opting for a medical explanation is that, once the decision is made, every other perspective seems superficial or irrelevant. Why, for example, would you bother considering other contributors when a pill might provide relief? If depressed persons assume that their problem is fundamentally medical, asking them to look at their relationships or their basic beliefs about God will seem as useful as prescribing physical exercise for baldness. Exercise is always helpful, but it won’t grow hair. One reason the previous chapter urges you to describe your feelings is that, as you do, you will begin to notice the fears, failures, losses, frustrations, and broken relationships that might be attached to your feelings. When you see this patchwork of contributions, you can see that limiting yourself to a physical explanation might oversimplify your problem and cause you to miss road signs to other answers. It is only fair to add that you should be undecided about spiritual causes too. By this I mean that you can’t immediately say that there is one core sin that has caused your depression. Some people race toward this explanation; they hope that once they discover that sin, everything will change. Others run from this perspective; they think spiritual explanations are prehistoric and misguided. The truth is in the middle of these two poles. Sin can certainly be a cause of depression, but you must be careful about connecting the dots between the two. If you are being honest, you will always find sin in your life. Everyone does. That doesn’t mean that sin caused your depression.

 

The ESCAPE

 

On Saturday, about midnight, Christian and Hopeful began to pray, and they continued in prayer until almost the break of day. A little before dawn good Christian, as one half-amazed, broke out into this passionate exclamation. “What a fool I have been to lie in a stinking dungeon like this, when I could just as well walk free! I have a key in my pocket next to my heart called Promise that will, I am sure, open any lock in Doubting Castle.” “That is good news, good brother; pluck it from your pocket and try it.” So Christian pulled the key from his chest pocket and fit it into the lock on the dungeon door. As he turned the key the bolt released and the door flew open with ease. Christian and Hopeful both fled the dark cell. Then he went to the outward door that led into the castle yard. He tried his key and it opened that door also. From there he made haste to the outer iron gate, for he knew he must open that gate to escape, but he struggled with that lock for it was desperately hard, but finally the key opened it. They thrust the gate open to make their escape, but as it opened the gate made such a creaking noise that it woke Giant Despair. He hastily left his bed and pursued his prisoners, but he felt paralysis overcoming his limbs, for one of his fits came over him again and made it impossible for him to go after them. So Christian and Hopeful hurried on until they came to the King’s highway. Once again they were safe, because they were out of the Giant’s jurisdiction. Now, when they had crossed over the stile, they began to consider what they could do at that location to prevent pilgrims coming after them from being deceived and falling into the hands of Giant Despair. They agreed between themselves to erect a pillar with a clear message engraved on its side saying: “Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despises the King of the Celestial country and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims.” As a result, many who have followed after them have read what was written and escaped the danger.

This was Saturday—the end of a weary week, four days of which had been already spent in the dark dungeon-keep. A new spirit now possesses the imprisoned Pilgrims —“they begin to pray.” Their prayer was like the wrestling of Jacob; it continued all night, even to the break of day; and that new day was the Sabbath. Bunyan evidently desires to leave on record in his immortal Allegory some testimony in honor of the Lord’s day, and of its blessed privileges. So, upon this day of rest, this day of peculiar prayer, he represents the dawn of deliverance beaming upon the prisoners of Despair, who now become “prisoners of Hope.” And is it not true that the Sabbath day, by its holy rest and hallowed ministrations of the Word and prayer, breaks many a fetter, frees many a slave, dissolves the doubts of the week past, and delivers many a soul from the bondage of Despair? A key called Promise.—In prayer comes the realization of the promises. Every prayer is founded on a promise, and every true prayer discovers this foundation. The promises of God, all of which are “yea and amen in Christ Jesus,” penetrate every gloom and look beyond the thickest darkness. The promises fringe the thunder-cloud with rays of light, and enable us to discern the “smiling face” behind the “frowning providence.” Promise sees the dawn from the midnight, anticipates the sunrise from the sunset, recognizes in the leafless trees and cheerless snows of winter the harbinger and earnest of the fruits and flowers and seasonable enjoyments of the summer-tide. The Key of Promise now opens the doors and iron gates of the dungeon of Doubting Castle, and delivers the Pilgrims out of the hands of Giant Despair. So they escaped, and once more return to the narrow way.

And now they use, as all pilgrims should do, their own bitter experience for good to others. They mean to keep others, if possible, from falling into the same snare with themselves; and so, as soon as they are got safe into the Lord's blessed highway, and out of their enemies' jurisdiction, they proceed to nail up that famous inscription, "Over this stile lies the way to Doubting Castle, kept by Giant Despair." They thought, forsooth, that no pilgrim after them, reading this inscription, would dare go out of the way. But by a strange blindness, which happens to the pilgrims whenever they are bent on self-indulgence, they are so taken with the Meadow that they do not read the inscription, and so they pass over the same stile, just as if no person had ever tried it before, and just as if there were no Giant Despair's Castle. Before Christian and Hopeful passed by, there had been just such inscriptions, but the pilgrims did not heed them. King David himself, who spent so long time in the Castle, put up just such an inscription, near three thousand years ago, and Solomon, from bitter experience, renewed it after him; but Christian and Hopeful themselves did not read it. Nor do any read it, except the Lord enlighten their darkness, and make them vigilant at the very moment temptation comes upon them. For the time when they enter into temptation is the time when this inscription disappears, and when they are once entered in as in a cloud, they can hear nothing, see nothing, but the temptation itself, and so they fall, and are afterwards made wretched. May the Lord keep us from such dreadful experience} Oh what dread meaning there is in those warnings of Christ, Pray that ye enter not into temptation! Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation! Entering into temptation is a very different thing from being assailed by temptation; but in neither case can we conquer or he delivered except by Christ.

 

Cheever, George B. . LECTURES ON THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS