’I was brought low, and He helped me.’—David.
The Slough of Despond is one of John Bunyan’s masterpieces. In his description of the slough, Bunyan touches his highest water-mark for humour, and pathos, and power, and beauty of language. If we did not have the English Bible in our own hands we would have to ask, as Lord Jeffrey asked Lord Macaulay, where the brazier of Bedford got his inimitable style. Bunyan confesses to us that he got all his Latin from the prescription papers of his doctors, and we know that he got all his perfect English from his English Bible. And then he got his humour and his pathos out of his own deep and tender heart. The God of all grace gave a great gift to the English-speaking world and to the Church of Christ in all lands when He created and converted John Bunyan, and put it into his head and his heart to compose The Pilgrim’s Progress. His heart-affecting page on the slough has been wetted with the tears of thousands of its readers, and their tears have been mingled with smiles as they read their own sin and misery, and the never-to-be-forgotten time and place where their sin and misery first found them out, all told so recognisably, so pathetically, and so amusingly almost to laughableness in the passage upon the slough. We see the ocean of scum and filth pouring down into the slough through the subterranean sewers of the City of Destruction and of the Town of Stupidity, which lies four degrees beyond the City of Destruction, and from many other of the houses and haunts of men. We see His Majesty’s sappers and miners at their wits’ end how to cope with the deluges of pollution that pour into this slough that they have been ordained