For those that missed it, there’s some very brief info about Mason in a previous post.
These posts follow a sort of format: The text of Pilgrims Progress is followed by the relevant note by Mason and then some more text of PP text and another note and so on. The text of Pilgrims Progress is available from Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
PP Text: So when he was got in, the man of the Gate asked him who directed him thither.
Christian: Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did: and he said, that you, sir, would tell me what I must do.
Goodwill: An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.
Christian: Now I begin to reap
the benefits of my hazards.
Goodwill: But how is it that you came alone?
Christian: Because none of my neighbors saw their danger as I saw mine.
Goodwill: Did any of them know of your coming?
Christian: Yes, my wife and children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again: also, some of my neighbors stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way.
Goodwill: But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?
Christian: Yes, both Obstinate and Pliable; but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate went railing back; but Pliable came with me a little way.
Goodwill: But why did he not come through?
Christian: We indeed came both together until we came to the Slough of Despond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my neighbor Pliable discouraged, and would not venture farther (t). Wherefore, getting out again on the side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him: so he went his way, and I came mine; he after Obstinate, and I to this gate.
Mason’s Note (t)
A man may have company when he sets out for heaven, and yet go thither alone. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew xx.16.
Goodwill: Then said Goodwill, Alas, poor man; is the celestial glory of so little esteem with him, that he counteth it not worth running the hazard of a few difficulties to obtain it?
Christian: Truly, said Christian, I have said the truth of Pliable; and if I should also say all the truth of myself, it will appear there is no betterment betwixt him and myself. It is true, he went back to his own house, but I also turned aside to go in the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the carnal arguments of one Mr. Worldly Wiseman (u).
Mason’s Note (u)
When there is true grace in the heart, it will take shame to itself, and give all the glory to God’s sovereign grace, for any difference there is between us and others. Free-grace kills free-will and pride, and lays the sinner low, while it exalts Christ, and causes sinners to triumph in His righteousness and salvation.
Goodwill: Oh, did he light upon you? What, he would have had you seek for ease at the hands of Mr. Legality! They are both of them a very cheat. But did you take his counsel?
Christian: Yes, as far as I durst. I went to find out Mr. Legality, until I thought that the mountain that stands by his house would have fallen upon my head; wherefore there I was forced to stop (x).
Mason’s Note (x)
Though Jesus knows what is in man, and all his ways, yet He will bring the soul to confession unto Him. See the loving heart of Christ to sinners, and the free communications he admits them to with himself. Oh! “ye his people, pour out your heart before him. God-Jesus is a refuge for us.” – Psalm lxii.8.