The Trial and Death of Faithful

There is so much symbolism bound up in the names of the characters in this next section of Pilgrim’s Progress. By the time we leave this piece, we learn why Faithful is so named: Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. . . . I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:10b, 13). At the other end of the spectrum is Faithful’s judge, Lord Hategood. Jesus told his disciples that as the world hated Him, it would also hate them. The righteousness of Christ floods the world with light, exposing everything for what it is, and the world hates that. All of the other names, those of the witnesses, jurors, and citizens, fall into their proper places, and give wonderful opportunity to show the corruption and deceitfulness of sin, as well as the animosity that the world has for Christ and His disciples. We won’t be able to nail down all of the symbols to the names, but there will be plenty of material for discussion.

At Faithful’s execution we see the world’s attempt to degrade those executed by all manner of torture and fantastic means of execution; yet note the beautiful picture of a chariot and horses waiting to take Faithful up into it and wisk him away to glory with the fanfare of trumpet blasts.

Then, a convenient time being appointed, they brought them forth to their trial, in order to their condemnation. When the time was come, they were brought before their enemies and arraigned. The judge’s name was LORD HATEGOOD. Their indictment was one and the same in substance, though somewhat varying in form; the contents thereof was this:
That they were enemies to, and disturbers of, their trade; that they had made commotions and divisions in the town, and had won a party to their own most dangerous opinions, in contempt of the law of their prince.
Then FAITHFUL began to answer, that he had only set himself against that which had set itself against him that is higher than the highest. “And,” said he, “as for disturbance, I make none, being myself a man of peace; the parties that were won to us, were won by beholding our truth and innocence, and they are only turned from the worse to the better. And as to the king you talk of, since he is BEELZEBUB, the enemy of our’ Lord, I defy him and all his angels.”
Then proclamation was made, that they that had aught to say for their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar, should forthwith appear and give in their evidence. So there came in three witnesses: to wit, ENVY, SUPERSTITION, and PICKTHANK. They were then asked if they knew the prisoner at the bar? and what they had to say for their lord the king against him?
Envy. Then stood forth ENVY, and said to this effect: “My lord, I have known this man a long time; and will attest upon my oath before this honourable bench, that he is—”
Lord Hategood, the Judge. Hold; give him his oath!
So they sware him. Then he said, “My lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is one of the vilest men in our country; he neither regards prince nor people, law nor custom; but doth all that he can to possess all men with certain of his disloyal notions, which he, in the general, calls principles of faith and holiness. And in particular, I heard him once myself affirm that Christianity and the customs of our town of Vanity were diametrically opposite, and could not be reconciled. By which saying, my lord, he doth at once not only condemn all our laudable doings, but us in the doing of them.”
Judge. Then did the judge say unto him, “Hast thou any more to say?”
Envy. “My lord, I could say much more; only I would not be tedious to the court. Yet, if need be, when the other gentlemen have given in their evidence, rather than anything shall be wanting that will dispatch him, I will enlarge my testimony against him.” So he was bidden to stand by.
Then they called SUPERSTITION, and bade him look upon the prisoner; they also asked what he could say for their lord the king against him? Then they sware him; so he began:
Superstition. My lord, I have no great acquaintance with this man; nor do I desire to have further knowledge of him. However, this I know, that he is a very pestilent fellow, from some discourse that the other day I had with him in this town; for then, talking with him, I heard him say that our religion was naught, and such by which a man could by no means please God; which sayings of his, my lord, your lordship very well knows what necessarily thence will follow: to wit, that we still do worship in vain; are yet in our sins: and finally shall be damned. And this is that which I have to say.
Then was PICKTHANK sworn, and bid say what he knew in behalf of their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar.
Pickthank. My lord, and you gentlemen all, this fellow I have known of a long time; and have heard him speak things that ought not to be spoken. For he hath railed on our noble Prince BEELZEBUB; and hath spoken contemptibly of his honourable friends, whose names are, the Lord OLDMAN; the Lord CARNALDELIGHT; the Lord LUXURIOUS; the Lord DESIRE OF VAINGLORY; my old Lord LECHERY; Sir HAVING GREEDY; with all the rest of our nobility: and he hath said moreover, that if all men were of his mind, if possible, there is not one of these noble men should have any longer a being in this town. Besides, he hath not been afraid to rail on you, my lord, who are now appointed to be his judge; calling you an ungodly villain, with many other such like defaming terms, with which he hath bespattered most of the gentry of our town.
When this PICKTHANK had told his tale, the judge directed his speech to the prisoner at the bar, saying, “Thou apostate, heretic, and traitor !–hast thou heard what these honest gentle- men have witnessed against thee?”
Faith. May I speak a few words in my own defence?
Judge. Sirrah, sirrah !–thou deservest to live no longer, but to be slain immediately upon the place; yet that all men may see our gentleness towards thee, let us hear what thou, vile apostate, hast to say.
Faith. 1. I say, then, in answer to what Mr. ENVY hath spoken, I never said aught but this: That what rule, or laws, or customs, or people, were flat against the Word of God, are diametrically opposite to Christianity. If I have said amiss in this, convince me of my error; and I am ready here before you to make my recantation.
2. As to the second, to wit, Mr. SUPERSTITION, and his charge against me, I said only this: That in the worship of God there is required a divine faith; but there can be no divine faith without a divine revelation of the will of God: therefore whatever is thrust into the worship of God that is not agreeable to a divine revelation, cannot be done but by a human faith; which faith will not profit to eternal life.
3. As to what Mr. PICKTHANK hath said, I say–avoiding terms, as that I am said to rail, and the like–that the prince of this town, with all the rabble–his attendants, by this gentleman named–are more fit for being in hell than in this town and country; and so the Lord have mercy upon me!
Then the judge called to the jury–who all this while stood by, to hear and observe,–” Gentlemen of the jury, you see this man about whom so great an uproar hath been made in this town; you have also heard what these worthy gentlemen have witnessed against him; also you have heard his reply and confession: it lieth now in your breasts to hang him, or save his life; but yet I think meet to instruct you into our law. “There was an act made in the days of Pharaoh the Great, servant to our prince, that lest those of a contrary religion should multiply and grow too strong for him, their males should be thrown into the river. (Exodus 1:7-22)
There was also an act made in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, another of his servants, that whoever would not fall down and worship his golden image should be thrown into a fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:1-18)
There was also an act made in the days of Darius, that whoso, for some time, called upon any God but his, should be cast into the lions’ den. (Daniel 6:1-9)
Now the substance of these laws this rebel has broken; not only in thought (which is not to be borne), but also in word and deed, which must therefore needs be intolerable.
“For that of Pharaoh, his law was made upon suspicion to prevent mischief, no crime yet being apparent; but here is a crime apparent. For the second and third, you see he disputes against our religion; and for the treason he hath confessed, he deserves to die the death.”
Then went the jury out, whose names were, Mr. BLIND-MAN, Mr. NO-GOOD, Mr. MALICE, Mr. LOVE-LUST, Mr. LIVE-LOOSE, Mr. HEADY, Mr. HIGH-MIND, Mr. ENMITY, Mr. LIAR, Mr. CRUELTY, Mr. HATE-LIGHT, and Mr. IMPLACABLE; who everyone gave in his private verdict, against him among themselves, and afterwards unanimously concluded to bring him in guilty before the judge. And first among themselves, Mr. BLIND-MAN the foreman said, “I see clearly that this man is a heretic.” Then said Mr. NO-GOOD, “Away with such a fellow from the earth!” “Aye,” said Mr. MALICE, “for I hate the very looks of him.” Then said Mr. LOVE-LUST, “I could never endure him.” “Nor I,” said Mr. LIVE-LOOSE; “for he would always be condemning my way,” “Hang him, hang him !” said Mr. HEADY. “A sorry scrub,” said Mr. HIGH-MIND. “My heart rises against him,” said Mr. ENMITY. “He is a rogue,” said Mr. LIAR. “Hanging is too good for him,” said Mr. CRUELTY. “Let us dispatch him out of the way,” said Mr. HATE-LIGHT. Then said Mr. IMPLACABLE, “Might I have all the world given me, I could not be reconciled to him; therefore let us forthwith bring him in guilty of death.” And so they did; therefore he was presently condemned to be had from the place where he was to the place from whence he came, and there to be put to the most cruel death that could be invented.
They therefore brought him out, to do with him according to their law; and first they scourged him, then they buffeted him, then they lanced his flesh with knives; after that they stoned him with stones, then pricked him with their swords; and last of all they burned him to ashes at the stake. Thus came FAITHFUL to his end. Now I saw that there stood behind the multitude a chariot and a couple of horses waiting for FAITHFUL, who–so soon as his adversaries had dispatched him –was taken up into it, and straightway was carried up through the clouds, with sound of trumpet, the nearest way to the Celestial Gate. But as for CHRISTIAN, he had some respite, and was remanded back to prison; so he there remained for a space. But he that overrules all things, having the power of their rage in his own hand, so wrought it about that CHRISTIAN, for that time, escaped them, and went his way.
And as he went he sang, saying:
“Well, FAITHFUL, thou hast faithfully profest
Unto thy Lord, with whom thou shalt be blest,
When faithless ones, with all their vain delight,
Are crying out under their hellish plight.
Sing, FAITHFUL, sing!–and let thy name survive;
For though they killed thee, thou art yet alive.”
Now I saw in my dream that CHRISTIAN went not forth alone; for there was one whose name was HOPEFUL (being so made by the beholding of CHRISTIAN and FAITHFUL, in their words and behaviour, in their sufferings at the fair), who joined himself unto him; and entering into a brotherly covenant, told him that he would be his companion. Thus one died to bear testimony to the truth, and another rises out of his ashes to be a companion with CHRISTIAN in his pilgrimage. This HOPEFUL also told CHRISTIAN that there were many more of the men in the fair that would take their time and follow after.
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