The young man sat a few minutes by the roadside, applauding himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet the minister in his morning walk, nor shrink from the eye of good old Deacon Gookin.
Goodman Brown has complete faith in and admiration for his minister. In fact, Brown looks to his minister for spiritual guidance and views him as a role model. So Brown’s decision to stop following the Devil is influenced by the desire to maintain the minister’s esteem. Even though Brown has just realized that Goody Cloyse is a witch, this revelation never suggests to him that anyone else he regards as pious could also be wicked.
‘Mighty well, Deacon Gookin!’ replied the solemn old tones of the minister. ‘Spur up, or we shall be late. Nothing can be done, you know, until I get on the ground.’
After Deacon Gookin discusses the assembly he and the minister are riding to, the minister speaks these words. Goodman Brown overhears them and at first does not understand. Then, acknowledging that the two could not be on their way to a Christian assembly, Brown suddenly realizes that the minister is a Devil worshipper and perhaps one of the leaders of the evil congregation. Such a realization shakes Brown’s faith to the core, as he views the minister as his spiritual guide.
The good old minister was taking a walk along the graveyard to get an appetite for breakfast and meditate his sermon and bestowed a blessing as he passed, on Goodman Brown. He shrank from the venerable saint as if to avoid an anathema.
Having returned from either witnessing a real Devil worship service or just dreaming about the event, Goodman Brown feels more convinced than not by what he thinks he saw. Even if his own imagination put the minister among the Devil worshippers, Brown can no longer look at him the same way, as revealed here by the narrator. Brown feels sure the minister is sinful. In one night, Brown has gone from wanting the minister’s blessing to seeing such blessings as evil curses.
When the minister spoke from the pulpit, with power and fervid eloquence, and with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion . . . then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the grey blasphemer and his hearers.
Goodman Brown never gets over his suspicion that he saw the minister worshipping the Devil. As revealed here by the narrator, Brown worries that God, knowing the minister’s true heart, may punish him as he preaches. However, Brown has to continue to behave normally, which includes attending church services. He cannot be sure he truly saw an unholy service, and even if he was sure, since everyone else is behaving as though they don’t worship the Devil, Brown knows he too must to play along.