Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 3


The Slough of Despond

Christian and Pliable set off on their discourse. At first, Pliable is excited to hear the words that Christian shares from the book, but his excitement is short-lived when they suddenly fall into the Slough of Despond. Pliable is offended that the happiness written in the book was not a reality and decides to head back. A man named Help lifts Christian out of the slough and explains that it is a place of conviction of sin, mixed in with fears, doubts and discouraging apprehensions. Being on his way again, Christian meets Mr. Worldly-wiseman and they discuss about Christian’s heavy burden.  Mr. Worldly-wiseman advises Christian to take the easy way out, and pursue safety, friendship and contentment, instead of the dangerous way leading to the wicket gate. He directs Christian to go to a village called Morality to find Legality and his son Civility in order to remove the burden. Christian takes this advice, but feels the burden become heavier and he is regretful that he heeded this new counsel.
Reflection Questions (from the link in previous email)
1. Where did the Slough of Despond come from, and why could it not be fixed? In what ways do Christians experience the Slough of Despond today? What has God given His people to help them through the slough?
2. What is Christian’s burden? What are ways that people, both in Bunyan’s story and in actual human experience, try to escape from their burdens? What is needed for a person’s burden to be truly removed?
Library Staff
(Image credit: Answers In Genesis)

One thought on “Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 3

  1. In the second chapter of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” we are introduced to the Slough of Despond which signifies the doubts and worries of life that turn us away from Christ. Bunyan is pointing us to the fact that without Christ, we always fall back into despair. Many people in this world try their utmost to attain some level of morality in order to soothe their consciences. However, we all know full well that we can never reach the perfection that God’s law requires of us. For that, we need Christ who has obeyed God perfectly to clothe us with His righteousness. Even for Christians, when we still struggle with sin, the temptation to earn our justification comes back again. When Christian met the Worldly-Wiseman, his suggestion for Christian is to forget the cross and head to the City of Morality. The advice is for Christian to use his own efforts to get the burden off his back. However, not only is Christian unable to go up the mountain (Mount Sinai which signifies the law), the burden weighs heavier than ever before. I think Bunyan’s reminder here is very relevant to our Christian lives. Whenever we have doubts about the sin that prevails in our lives, we may be tempted to go back to self-improvement which leads us back to despair. On the contrary, when we ever have doubts, we need to always set our eyes firmly on Christ and remember that He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.


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