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Lesson Two ― Christian's Deplorable Condition and the Slough of Despond

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 Reading: Pp. 10 ~ 19


     Lesson 2 explains the reason for Christianís flight from the City of Destruction, Obstinateís and Pliableís pursuit of Christian, and the Slough of Despond.

     The story starts out with a man, Christian, looking away from his own home, despairing that he will be destroyed along with the whole city (evidently, the City of Destruction). Yet, in his despair, he is comforted by another man, Evangelist, who directs him in the proper direction to go to reach the Celestial City, where he can be safe.

     Sadly, however, Christian cannot persuade his family or friends to go with him and give up their old lives of deceit. Two of Christianís neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, actually try to dissuade Christian from leaving, but they fail in the process. So (finally) Christian sets out with Pliable in the direction of Wicket Gate.

     Not long afterwards, Christian and Pliable fall into the Slough of Despond. Pliable, who is very easily discouraged, quickly turns back towards the City of Destruction and climbs out of the Slough. Meanwhile, Christian, who is set on not returning to the City, starts to despair about getting out of the pond. Luckily, he is rescued by Help, who helps him by showing the stairs from which he can get of the Slough. Christian didnít see these stairs before since he was in despair.

In conclusion, the lesson learned from this lesson is: Donít give up. Vicki Shen

 Main Subjects:

  1. What motivates Christian to leave his wife and children behind and set off on his journey?
  2. What do you think the Slough of Despond stands for?
  3. How do Evangelist, Obstinate, Pliable, and Help enter the path, and what is the significance of this?
  4. Verses
  5. Vocabulary

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1. What motivates Christian to leave his wife and children behind and set off on his journey? --back to top--

  • Christian was a man who had a family; he had a wife and children. Christian also had a very heavy burden, which was sin. This sin was really pressuring him, so he wanted to get rid of it. A good man named Evangelist told him that that even though neither he nor Christian could rid of it, but there was someone who could. Evangelist knew this someone, who was really God. Evangelist told Christian that God could help him with his burden. Christian had to go to the city of Zion. He started his journey with two of his neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, but they eventually leaves him. His wife and children doesnít know about this burden. Christian than sets off to leave his home and start his journey to the city of Zion.  (Jennifer Lee)

  • Christian was motivated to leave his wife and children because he had a burden of sins on his back. He wanted to free himself from this burden so he went on his journey to the Celestial city. He left his wife and children behind because when he told them of his burden and guilt, they didnít believe him and when he said more about it, they even came to ignored him. Also, the city in which he resided in before leaving on his journey was the City of Destruction.  (Emily Lu)

  • The burden of sin on Christianís back makes him leave the City of Destruction. Christian wanted his wife and children to come along although they refused. So Christian set off on his journey to the City of Zion. (Elaine Lee)

  • Christian was motivated to leave his home and family and set out on a journey because he had this awful guilt, he had a burden of sins on his back that he wanted to get rid of. (Samuel Lu)

2. What do you think the Slough of Despond stands for? --back to top--

  • The Slough of Despond is a miry slough that cannot be mended. It is the passage to where those who attend conviction of sins and a place that continually runs. It is a deep and muddy place. It is in this very place that a manís heart and soul is filled with fears, doubts, and apprehension. I personally think that the Slough of Despond stands for the worldly things in life. That the world is filled with tempting things, (like your own possessions that you simply canít give up or share with others), filled with fears and doubts, filled with sins that all people commit. Christian had a burden of sins on his back when he had fallen into the Slough of Despond and because of his burdens and fears; it makes it impossible to find a way out. But he had the determination to keep going to the yonder gate, and was therefore saved by a man named Help, who provided his hand and helped Christian get out of the miry slough. Unlike Christian, Pliable gave up at the first sight of an obstacle and didnít have the will or determination to keep fighting on. Those of us who had determination to keep going and to fight on are the ones that will surely succeed in life. (Emily Lu)

  • It probably stands that when you get very discouraged you get into a mood where you want to give up something almost impossible. Example, Christian and Pliable were in the Slough of Despond and Pliable asked Christian were they were. They had no idea and Pliable got frustrated and angry. So Pliable got up, turned back, and left Christian in the slough. Christian was in the slough and stayed there for the burden on his back made him unable to get up and possibly a bit discouraged. (Elaine Lee)

  • I think that the Slough of Despond stands for the Worldly things. There are many things that tempt us, like for me, I always want more and more toys, games, and whenever it comes to homework that I canít seem to accomplish, I just give up. I think that people who are like that cannot escape from the Slough of Despond. (Samuel Lu)

    3. How do Evangelist, Obstinate, Pliable, and Help enter the path, and what is the significance of this? --back to top--

  • Evangelist enters the path when Christian was walking in the fields, greatly distressed, Evangelist was the man that told Christian to fly from the wrath and guided him in the direction to yonder wicket-gate. Later on in Christianís journey, Evangelist puts him back on the correct path to yonder gate when he loses his way. Obstinate and Pliable enter the path when Christian runs out of the city and they decide to retrieve Christian and bring him back. Help enters the path when Christian falls into the Slough of Despond; Help is the man that saves him. These characters connect with their names because like Evangelist, his name means a spiritual leader; in the book Evangelist leads Christian on the right path to the Celestial City. Obstinate means very stubborn and it is just like Obstinate because he wouldnít agree to go along with Christian. Pliable means very receptive to change and easily persuaded. He was easily persuaded to go with Christian but also changed his mind because his didnít want to overcome the Slough of Despond. Lastly, Help means to provide assistance. Help lent his hand to Christian and pulled him out of the slough of Despond and saved Christian. (Emily Lu)

  • Evangelist enters the path by directing Christian to the wicket-gate, the start of the journey. The word evangelist is a person who preaches the gospel. This fits his name for he is "preaching" Christian to go to the gate. Obstinate tries to persuade Christian to go back to the City of Destruction. Then Christian tells Obstinate to go with him but Obstinate stubbornly refuses as his name means. Pliable was with Obstinate to persuade Christian. Though Pliable easily joined Christian, it was not long till he turned back after the Slough of Despond. Pliable always is easily turning to others, it is clear that he is bad. Help appears on the journey to help Christian get out of the Slough of Despond. It is probably that Help appears on other pilgrimsí journeys to help them. (Elaine Lee)

  • Evangelist- meaning a spiritual leader. In Christianís journey, Evangelist is there to keep Christian on the right path to the Celestial City. Obstinate- means very stubborn. In the story, obstinate is the neighbor and is so stubborn that he wonít listen to or agree with anybody but himself. Pliable- means easily influenced and changed. In Christianís journey, he is easily convinced to go along with Christian but also gives up too easily when there is trouble. Help- means giving assistance to others. In the story, Help is the man who gives Christian a hand and gets him out of the Slough of Despond. (Samuel Lu)

    Verses For The Pilgrimís Progress pgs 10-19 Michelle Lee --back to top--

    • Isaiah 64:6-All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep away.

    • Psalms 38:4-My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden heavy to bear. Acts 16: 30-31-He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be savedóyou and your household.

    • Isaiah 30:33-Topeth has long being prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.

    • Matthew 3:7-But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them:" You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

    • Matthew 7:13, 14-Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad isnít the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    • Psalms 119:105-Your word is a lamp to feet and a light for my path.

    • 2 Peter 1:19-And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

    • Genesis 19:17-As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Donít look back, and donít stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"

    • Isaiah 19:18-In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.

    • 1 Peter 1:4-And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fadeókept in heaven for you.  

    • Luke 9:62-Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

    • Proverbs 26:16-The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes, than seven men who answer discreetly.

    • Titus 1:2-A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life which God who does not lie promised before the beginning of time.

    • Revelation 21:4-He will wipe every tear from their eyes there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things passed away.

    • Revelations 5:11-Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.

    • Revelations 4:4-Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated among them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

    • Revelations 14:1-5-Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Fatherís name written on their foreheads and I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.


      Lesson 2 Vocabulary Angela Zhou --back to top--

      1. Lamentable - Something that will be regretted. Page 11
      2. Undefiled - To clean, purify. Page 14
      3. Firmament - Heavens, arch of the sky. Page 15
      4. Seraphim - An order of angels. Page 16
      5. Miry- wet spongy earth like a bog or marsh. Page 16
      6. Bedaubed- To decorate with too much. Page 16
      7. Deride- To laugh at with ugly hate. Page 18
      8. Beshrew- curse. Page 20
      9. Carnal- having a relation to the body. Page 24
      10. Sottish-Drunken. Page 25
      11. Countenance- Calm expression-Page 34
      12. Sepulchre-Tomb.Page 38
      13. Cogitations- Thoughts, meditations. Page 49

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