After Christian and Hopeful encounter Ignorance on the way to the Celestial City, they fall into this discourse:
CHRISTIAN. "Indeed the Word saith, 'He hath blinded their eyes, lest they should see,' &c. But now we are by ourselves, what do you think of such men? Have they at no time, think you, convictions of sin, and so consequently fears that their state is dangerous?"
HOPEFUL. "Nay, do you answer that question yourself, for you are the elder man."
CHR. "Then I say, sometimes (as I think) they may; but they being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts."
HOPE. "I do believe, as you say, that fear tends much to men's good, and to make them right, at their beginning to go on pilgrimage."
CHR. "Without all doubt it doth, if it be right; for so says the Word, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'"
HOPE. "How will you describe right fear?"
CHR. "True or right fear is discovered by three things-
1. By its rise; it is caused by saving convictions for sin.
2. It driveth the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
3. It begetteth and continueth in the soul a great reverence of God, his Word, and ways, keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left, to anything, that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully....
...."Now the ignorant know not that such convictions as tend to put them in fear are for their good, and therefore they seek to stifle them."
HOPE. "How do they seek to stifle them?"
CHR. "1. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil (though indeed they are wrought of God); and, thinking so, they resist them as things that directly tend to their overthrow.
2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith, when, alas for them, poor men that they are, they have none at all! and therefore they harden their hearts against them.
3. They presume they ought not to fear; and therefore, in despite of them, wax presumptuously confident.
4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self-holiness, and therefore they resist them with all their might."
HOPE. "I know something of this myself; for, before I knew myself, it was so with me."