When Christian and Hopeful lay helpless prisoners in Doubting Castle, the property of Giant Despair, Christian said, `What a fool I am, thus to be in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.' Then he pulled it out of his bosom and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle yard, and with his key opened that door also. After that he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too, but that went desperately hard; yet the key did open it.
Escaping from By-path meadow, they went over the stile, where they erected a pillar with this notice: 'Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial country and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims.'
Then they sang:
`Out of the way we went, and then we found
What it was to tread upon forbidden ground.
And let them that come after have a care
Lest they, for trespassing, his prisoners are,
Whose castle's Doubting and whose name's Despair.'—John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress
(Acts 12. 10; 2 Cor. 1. 20; 2 Pet. 1. 4)
In Augusta, Georgia, Robert Owens, 101 years old—is an old-fashioned fellow who believes a promise is a promise. When he was 45, he says, he was promised 115 years of life. Now 101, he's convinced that the promise is good at least for another 14 years. "You see, the feller making that promise to me was God," said Robert Owens. "When I was 45, the Lord stood before me and spoke, and He said: 'You keep My Commandments and do My will and I will extend your days to 115 years.' That means I have 14 more to go," declared Owens.
The weathered, slight old man, known as "Grandpa" in his neighborhood, was born "in the first year of the Confederate War in Tennessee. My daddy was in the Confederate Army. When I was a youngster, I remember seeing Negro boys twelve years old put in the market and sold like pigs, hogs, and cows. I felt kinda sorry for them—I sure did."
Over one hundred years of living have revealed to him that "this is a different nation and a different people. Parents were strict with their kids. My mother told me to do something, and I did it or I got what was coming to me. Nowadays young folks are only interested in honky-tonking."
His sight and hearing are still keen, but he admits to loss of memory. But he still managed to rattle off the names of his turn-of-the-century Atlantic Coastline railroad stops in South Carolina without hesitation: "Myrtle Beach, Horry County, Britteneck, Georgetown, Andrews, Warsaw, Huntington, Marsville, Skinner, Hemmingway, Johnsonville, Pamlico, Florence, Darlington, Hartsville, and McBee."
Married twice, Grandpa Owens has outlived one wife and eighteen children. "My first wife died in childbirth when she was thirty-nine. We had twelve children, but they all died between infancy and eighteen. I married my present wife when I was sixty-seven, and we had twelve children. Only six are living now—Lester, Frank, Mary, Louise, Lizzie, and Harlston."
Owens seemed not in the least surprised at being able to sire twelve more children beginning at age sixty-seven. "It was just the will of the Lord," said Owens, summing up his philosophy about almost everything. With that, Grandpa and his four-year-old grand-daughter, Ellen Marie Owens, hopped on their bikes and took a spin around the neighborhood.