THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS – PART II
Table of Contents
THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
THIS WORLD TO THAT WHICH IS TO COME.
THE SECOND PART.
THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.
WHEREIN IS SET FORTH THE MANNER OF THE SETTING OUT OF CHRISTIAN’S WIFE AND
CHILDREN, THEIR DANGEROUS JOURNEY, AND SAFE ARRIVAL
AT THE DESIRED COUNTRY.
“I have used similitudes.”—Hosea 12:10.
London: Printed for Nathaniel Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, near the Church, 1684.
THE AUTHOR’S WAY
THE AUTHOR’S WAY
SENDING FORTH HIS SECOND PART OF THE PILGRIM.
Go now, my little book, to every place, Where my first Pilgrim has but shown his face, Call at their door. If any say, Who’s there? Then answer thou, CHRISTIANA is here. If they bid thee come in, then enter thou, With all thy boys; and then, as thou know’st how,
Tell who they are, also from whence they came; Perhaps they know them by their looks, or name.
But if they should not, ask them yet again If formerly they did not entertain One CHRISTIAN, a Pilgrim? If they say They did; and were delighted in his way: Then let them know, that those related were Unto him; yea, his wife and children are.
Tell them, that they have left their house and home,
Are turned Pilgrims, seek a world to come; That they have met with hardships in the way, That they do meet with troubles night and day; That they have trod on serpents, fought with devils,
Have also overcome a many evils. Yea, tell them also of the next, who have Of love to pilgrimage, been stout and brave Defenders of that way, and how they still Refuse this world, to do their Father’s will.
Go, tell them also of those dainty things, That pilgrimage unto the Pilgrim brings. Let them acquainted be, too, how they are Beloved of their King, under His care:
What goodly mansions for them He provides, Tho’ they meet with rough winds, and swelling tides,
How brave a calm they will enjoy at last, Who to their Lord, and by His ways hold fast.
Perhaps with heart and hand they will em- brace
Thee, as they did my firstling, and will grace Thee, and thy fellows, with such cheer and fare, As show will they of Pilgrims lovers are.
But how, if they will not believe of me That I am truly thine; cause some there be That counterfeit the Pilgrim and his name, Seek, by disguise, to seem the very same; And by that means have wrought themselves into
The hands and houses of I know not who?
‘Tis true, some have of late, to counterfeit My Pilgrim, to their own my title set;1 Yea others, half my name and title too Have stitched to their book, to make them do; But yet they, by their features, do declare Themselves not mine to be, whose e’er they are.
If such thou meet’st with, then thine only way
Before them all, is, to say out thy say, In thine own native language, which no man Now useth, nor with ease dissemble can. If, after all, they still of you shall doubt, Thinking that you, like gipsies, go about In naughty wise, the country to defile, Or that you seek good people to beguile With things unwarrantable; send for me, And I will testify you PILGRIMS be. Yea, I will testify that only you My Pilgrims are; and that alone will do.
But yet, perhaps, I may inquire for him, Of those that wish him damned, life and limb. What shall I do, when I at such a door For Pilgrims ask, and they shall rage the more?2
- 1 In 1683, the year before Bunyan published his Second Part, a little volume was printed under the same title, by some anonymous author; for a description of it, see the Introduction (p. 57)— (ED).
- 2 While the carnal heart is in a state of such bitter enmity against the Gospel, it requires wisdom to introduce the subject of religion; still we have a duty to perform, even if the truth should prove a savour of death unto death. We must live the Gospel in the sight of such, and not be daunted from inviting them to become pilgrims to the Celestial City— (ED).
Fright not thyself, my book, for such bugbears
Are nothing else but ground for groundless fears.
My Pilgrim’s book has travell’d sea and land, Yet could I never come to understand That it was slighted, or turn’d out of door By any kingdom, were they rich or poor.
In France and Flanders, where men kill each other,
My Pilgrim is esteem’d a friend, a brother. In Holland too, ‘tis said, as I am told, My Pilgrim is with some worth more than gold.
Highlanders and wild Irish can agree My Pilgrim should familiar with them be. ‘Tis in New England under such advance, Receives there so much loving countenance, As to be trimm’d, new cloth’d, and deck’d with gems
That it may show its features and its limbs, Yet more; so comely doth my Pilgrim walk, That of him thousands daily sing and talk.3
If you draw nearer home, it will appear, My Pilgrim knows no ground of shame or fear; City and country will him entertain With, Welcome Pilgrim; yea, they can’t refrain From smiling, if my Pilgrim be but by, Or shows his head in any company.
Brave gallants do my Pilgrim hug and love, Esteem it much, yea, value it above Things of a greater bulk: yea, with delight, Say, My lark’s leg is better than a kite.
Young ladies, and young gentlewomen too, Do no small kindness to my Pilgrim show. Their cabinets, their bosoms, and their hearts, My Pilgrim has, ’cause he to them imparts His pretty riddles in such wholesome strains, As yields them profit double to their pains Of reading; yea, I think, I may be bold To say, some prize him far above their gold.
The very children that do walk the street, If they do but my holy Pilgrim meet, Salute him well, will wish him well, and say, He is the only stripling of the day.
They that have never seen him, yet admire What they have heard of him, and much desire To have his company, and hear him tell Those pilgrim stories which he knows so well.
Yea, some who did not love him at the first, But called him fool and noddy, say they must, Now they have seen and heard him, him commend And to those whom they love, they do him send.4
Wherefore, my Second Part, thou need’st not be Afraid to show thy head; none can hurt thee, That wish but well to him that went before, ‘Cause thou com’st after with a second store Of things as good, as rich, as profitable, For young, for old, for stagg’ring, and for stable.
- 3 I went over the Tract House in New York, and was delighted to see there six steam-presses. During the last year, they printed 17,000 copies of Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”—(American Scenes, by Eben. Davies, London, 1849, p. 299).
- 4 This poem was written within six years of the first publication of the First Part. In that short period it had become so wonderfully popular as to have been extensively circulated in the languages which the author names, and to have had a large circulation in America. After another four years, namely in 1688, upwards of 100,00 copies had been issued in English; and to the present time it has been steadily increasing in popularity, so that, after 170 years have elapsed, it is more popular than ever. This is a fact without parallel in the annals of literature— (ED).
But some there he that say, He laughs too loud And some do say, His head is in a cloud. Some say, His words and stories are so dark, They know not how, by them, to find his mark.
One may, I think, say, Both his laughs and cries,
May well be guess’d at by his wat’ry eyes. Some things are of that nature, as to make One’s fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache. When Jacob saw his Rachel with the sheep, He did at the same time both kiss and weep. Whereas some say, A cloud is in his head, That doth but show how wisdom’s covered With its own mantles, and to stir the mind To a search after what it fain would find. Things that seem to he hid in words obscure, Do but the godly mind the more allure To study what those sayings should contain, That speak to us in such a cloudy strain.
I also know a dark similitude Will on the fancy more itself intrude, And will stick faster in the heart and head, Than things from similes not borrowed. Wherefore, my book, let no discouragement Hinder thy travels. Behold, thou art sent To friends, not foes; to friends that will give place To thee, thy Pilgrims, and thy words embrace.
Besides, what my first Pilgrim left conceal’d Thou, my brave second Pilgrim, hast reveal’d; What CHRISTIAN left lock’d up, and went his way, Sweet CHRISTIANA opens with her key.5
- 5 After the author had heard the criticisms of friends and foes upon the First Part, he adopts this second narrative to be a key explaining many things which appeared dark in Christian’s journey—(ED).
But some love not the method of your first; Romance they count it, throw’t away as dust, If I should meet with such, what should I say? Must I slight them as they slight me, or nay?
My CHRISTIANA, if with such thou meet, By all means, in all loving-wise, them greet; Render them not reviling for revile; But if they frown, I prithee on them smile; Perhaps ‘tis nature, or some ill report, Has made them thus despise, or thus retort.
Some love no cheese, some love no fish, and some Love not their friends, nor their own house or home;
Some start at pig, slight chicken, love not fowl, More than they love a cuckoo, or an owl; Leave such, my CHRISTIANA, to their choice, And seek those who to find thee will rejoice; By no means strive, but in humble-wise, Present thee to them in thy Pilgrim’s guise.
Go, then, my little book, and show to all That entertain, and bid thee welcome shall, What thou shalt keep close, shut up from the rest, And wish what thou shalt show them may be blest To them for good, may make them choose to be Pilgrims better by far than thee or me.
Go, then, I say, tell all men who thou art; Say, I am CHRISTIANA, and my part Is now, with my four sons, to tell you what It is for men to take a Pilgrims lot.
Go also, tell them who and what they be, That now do go on pilgrimage with thee; Say, Here’s my neighbour, Mercy, she is one That has long time with me a Pilgrim gone. Come, see her in her virgin race, and learn ‘Twixt idle ones and Pilgrims to discern. Yea, let young damsels learn of her to prize The world which is to come, in any wise. When little tripping maidens follow God, And leave old doting sinners to His rod; ‘Tis like those days wherein the young ones cried, Hosanna! to whom old ones did deride.
Next, tell them of old Honest, who you found With his white hairs, treading the Pilgrim’s ground. Yea, tell them how plain-hearted this man was, How after his good Lord he bare his cross. Perhaps with some gray head this may prevail With Christ to fall in love, and sin bewail.
Tell them also, how Master Fearing went On pilgrimage, and how the time he spent In solitariness, with fears and cries; And how, at last, he won the joyful prize. He was a good man, though much down in spirit, He is a good man, and doth life inherit.
Tell them of Master Feeble-mind also, Who, not before, but still behind would go. Show them also, how he had like been slain, And how one Great-heart did his life regain. This man was true of heart, though weak in grace, One might true godliness read in his face.
Then tell them of Master Ready-to-halt, A man with crutches, but much without fault; Tell them how Master Feeble-mind and he Did love, and in opinions much agree. And let all know, though weakness was their chance, Yet sometimes one could sing, the other dance.
Forget not Master Valiant-for-the-truth, That man of courage, though a very youth. Tell everyone his spirit was so stout, No man could ever make him face about; And how Great-heart and he could not forbear, But put down Doubting Castle, slay Despair.
Overlook not Master Despondency, Nor Much-afraid, his daughter, though they lie Under such mantles, as may make them look (With some) as if their God had them forsook. They softly went, but sure, and at the end, Found that the Lord of Pilgrims was their friend. When thou hast told the world of all these things, Then turn about, my book, and touch these strings, Which, if but touch’d, will such music make, They’ll make a cripple dance, a giant quake.
These riddles that lie couch’d within thy breast, Freely propound, expound; and for the rest Of thy mysterious lines, let them remain For those whose nimble fancies shall them gain.
Now may this little book a blessing be To those who love this little book and me; And may its buyer have no cause to say, His money is but lost or thrown away; Yea, may this Second Pilgrim yield that fruit, As may with each good Pilgrim’s fancy suit; And may it persuade some that go astray, To turn their feet and heart to the right way,
Is the hearty prayer of The Author, JOHN BUNYAN.
Chap 1. SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.
THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS;
SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.
THE SECOND PART.
Some time since, to tell you my dream that I had of Christian the Pilgrim, and of his dangerous journey towards the Celestial Country, was pleasant to me, and profitable to you. I told you then, also, what I saw concerning his wife and children, and how unwilling they were to go with him on pilgrimage, insomuch that he was forced to go on his progress without them; for he durst not run the danger of that destruction which he feared would come by staying with them in the City of Destruction. Wherefore, as I then showed you, he left them and departed.6
Now it hath so happened, through the multiplicity of business, that I have been much hindered and kept back from my wonted travels into those parts whence he went, and so could not, till now, obtain an opportunity to make further inquiry after whom he left behind, that I might give you an account of them.7 But having had some concerns that way of late, I went down again thitherward. Now, having taken up my lodgings in a wood, about a mile off the place, as I slept, I dreamed again.8
- 6 This address prepares the reader for a greater variety of experience and adventures than he meets with in the First Part; all of which are different: and the behaviour of the several pilgrims, under their various calamities, are beautifully described. Their conflicts and their consolations being manifold, convince us that the exercises of every experienced soul are for the most part dissimilar, notwithstanding, if they proceed from the operation of the Spirit, they have the same happy tendency—(Mason). The Second Part is peculiarly adapted to direct and encourage female Christians and young persons; and it is hoped will be a blessing to such—(Burder). Perhaps the Second Part of this pilgrimage comes nearer to the ordinary experience of the great multitude of Christians than the First Part; and this may have been Bunyan’s intention. The First Part shows, as in Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful, the great examples and strong lights of this pilgrimage; it is as if Paul and Luther were passing over the scene. The Second Part shows a variety of pilgrims, whose stature and experience are more on a level with our own. The First Part is more severe, sublime, inspiring; the Second Part is more soothing and comfort The First Part has deep and awful shadows mingled with its light, terribly instructive, and like warnings from hell and the grave. The Second Part is more continually and uninterruptedly cheerful, full of good nature and pleasantry, and showing the pilgrimage in lights and shades that are common to weaker Christians—(Cheever).
- 7 The First Part had been published six years, during which time Mr. Bunyan had been so fully occupied by his pastoral labours and frequent preaching in different parts of England, that he had not been able to accomplish his design of publishing A FEMALE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS. He was without exception the most popular preacher of his day— (Ivimey).
- 8 The First Part was written in Bedford jail; this is “about a mile off the place,” at the village of Elstow, where Mr. Bunyan resided, and where his house is still standing—a very humble cottage, and an object of curiosity, as is also the very ancient church and tower. The tower answers to the description of the “steeple-house” in which Mr. Bunyan was engaged in ringing the bells. “The main beam that lay overthwart the steeple from side to side,” and under which he stood lest “one of the bells should fall and kill him,” presents exactly that appearance-—(Ivimey).
And as I was in my dream, behold, an aged gentleman came by where I lay; and because he was to go some part of the way that I was travelling, methought I got up and went with him. So as we walked, and as travelers usually do, I was as if we fell into discourse, and our talk happened to be about Christian and his travels; for thus I began with the old man:
Sir, said I, what town is that there below, that lieth on the left hand of our way?
Then said Mr. Sagacity (for that was his name), It is the City of Destruction, a populous place, but possessed with a very ill-conditioned and idle sort of people.
I thought that was that city, quoth I; I went once myself through that town, and, therefore, know that this report you give of it is true.
SAG. Too true; I wish I could speak truth in speaking better of them that dwell therein.
Well, Sir, quoth I, then I perceive you to be a well-meaning man; and so one that takes pleasure to hear and tell of that which is good. Pray, did you never hear what happened to a man some time ago in this town, whose name was Christian, that went on pilgrimage up towards the higher regions?
SAG. Hear of him! Aye, and I also heard of the molestations, troubles, wars, captivities, cries, groans, frights, and fears that he met with and had in his journey; besides, I must tell you, all our country rings of him. There are but few houses that have heard of him and his doings but have sought after and got the records of his pilgrimage; yea, I think I may say that that his hazardous journey, has got a many well-wishers to his ways; for though, when he was here, he was fool in every man’s mouth, yet, now he is gone, he is highly commended of all. For, it is said, he lives bravely where he is; yea, many of them that are resolved never to run his hazards, yet have their mouths water at his gains.9
Christians are well spoken of when gone;
though called fools while they are here.
They may, quoth I, well think, if they think anything that is true, that he liveth well where he is; for he now lives at and in the Fountain of Life, and has what he has without labour and sorrow, for there is no grief mixed therewith. But, pray, what talk have the people about him?10
SAG. Talk! the people talk strangely about him; some say that he now walks in white (Rev. 3:4; 6:11); that he has a chain of gold about his neck; that he has a crown of gold, beset with pearls, upon his head. Others say that the Shining Ones, that sometimes showed themselves to him in his journey, are become his companions, and that he is as familiar with them in the place where he is as here one neighbour is with another. Besides, it is confidently affirmed concerning him, that the King of the place where he is has bestowed upon him already a very rich and pleasant dwelling at court (Zech. 3:7); and that he every day eateth (Luke 14:15), and drinketh, and walketh, and talketh with Him; and receiveth of the smiles and favours of Him that is Judge of all there. Moreover, it is expected of some, that his Prince, the Lord of that country, will shortly come into these parts, and will know the reason, if they can give any, why his neighbours set so little by him, and had him so much in derision, when they perceived that he would be a pilgrim (Jude 14, 15). For, they say, that now he is so in the affections of his Prince, and that his Sovereign is so much concerned with the indignities that were cast upon Christian, when he became a pilgrim, that He will look upon all as if done unto Himself;11 and no marvel, for it was for the love that he had to his Prince that he ventured as he did12 (Luke 10:16).
Christian’s King will take Christian’s part.
I dare say, quoth I, I am glad on it; I am glad for the poor man’s sake, for that he now has rest from his labour (Rev. 14:13); and for that he now reapeth the benefit of his tears with joy (Psa. 126:5, 6); and for that he has got beyond the gunshot of his enemies, and is out of the reach of them that hate him. I also am glad, for that a rumour of these things is noised abroad in this country; who can tell but that it may work some good effect on some that are left behind? But, pray Sir, while it is fresh in my mind, do you hear anything of his wife and children? Poor hearts! I wonder in my mind what they do.13
- 9 This is quite natural, and very common. The men of this world will canonize those for saints, when dead, whom they stigmatized with the vilest names when living. Besides many others I could mention, this I have peculiarly remarked in respect to that man of God, that faithful minister of Christ, the late Rev. Mr. Whitefield. Scarce anyone went through more public reproach than he did; yet how often have I been amazed to hear persons who held him, his character and conduct, in the vilest contempt when living, who, now he is dead, speak in the most respectful manner of him! O let us leave our characters to Him who died for our sins, and to whom we can commit our souls—(Mason). “The memory of the just is blessed.” All men’s minds water at a pilgrim’s gains, while they are resolved never to run a pilgrim’s hazards.: – O let me die his death! all nature cries: Then live his life—all nature falters there.
- 10 These words were introduced after the author’s decease. Not being able to discover by what authority they were added, I have put them within brackets—(ED).
- 11 What a thunderbolt is this! Reader, have you ever spoken harshly to, or persecuted, a child of God—a poor penitent sinner? Hear the Word of the Judge of all the earth—“Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”—(ED). Read this and tremble, ye who speak evil of those things which ye know not—(J. B.).
- 12 Mark this well. No matter what profession we make, if the love of Christ be not its foundation, all is nothing without this love. It is this love in the heart that, like oil in the lamp, keeps the profession of Christ burning bright. The more this love is felt, the more ardent the fire of zeal burns, and the more steadily we shall follow on to know the Lord; and never leave off nor give over, till we see and enjoy the Lord in His kingdom—(Mason).
- 13 It is not improbable that Mr. Bunyan had an eye to his own wife and four children, and that these were the leading characters in this religious drama; and also that the history of Christians of his acquaintance furnished the other personages— (Ivimey). The Editor differs in this opinion, believing that all the experience narrated in the “Pilgrim’s Progress” is drawn from the Sacred Scriptures, and which fits it for every age of the church, to the final consummation of all things. Others have agreed with Mr. Ivimey. Reader, you must form your own opinion—(ED).
SAG. Who! Christiana and her sons? They are like to do as well as did Christian himself; for though they all played the fool at the first, and would by no means be persuaded by either the tears or entreaties of Christian, yet second thoughts have wrought wonderfully with them; so they have packed up, and are also gone after him.14
Good tidings of Christian’s wife and children.
Better and better, quoth I. But what! wife and children, and all?
SAG. It is true; I can give you an account of the matter, for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair.
Then, said I, a man, it seems, may report it for a truth?
SAG. You need not fear to affirm it; I mean that they are all gone on pilgrimage, both the good woman and her four boys. And being (we are, as I perceive) going some considerable way together, I will give you an account of the whole of the matter.
This Christiana (for that was her name from the day that she, with her children, betook themselves to a pilgrim’s life), after her husband was gone over the river, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind. First, for that she had lost her husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them. For you know, said he to me, nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations. This, therefore, of her husband did cost her many a tear. But this was not all; for Christiana did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behaviour towards her husband was not one cause that she saw him no more; and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this, came into her mind, by swarms, all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriages to her dear friend; which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was, moreover, much broken with calling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her husband, and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties, and loving persuasions, of her and her sons, to go with him; yea, there was not anything that Christian either said to her or did before her all the while that his burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent the caul of her heart in sunder. Specially that bitter outcry of his, “What shall I do to he saved?” did ring in her ears most dolefully.15
Then said she to her children, Sons, we are all undone. I have sinned away your father, and he is gone; he would have had us with him, but I would not go myself. I also have hindered you of life.16 With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their father. O! said Christiana, that it had been but our lot to go with him, then had it fared well with us, beyond what it is like to do now; for though I formerly foolishly imagined, concerning the troubles of your father, that they proceeded of a foolish fancy that he had, or for that he was overrun with melancholy humours; yet now it will not out of my mind but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, for that the Light of light was given him (James 1:23-25); by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death.17 Then they all wept again, and cried out, O woe worth the day!18
The next night Christiana had a dream; and, behold, she saw as if a broad parchment was opened before her, in which were recorded the sum of her ways (Luke 18:13); and the times, as she thought, looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, “Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner!”19 and the little children heard her.
- 14 Though moral suasion, and all the affectionate arguments from a tender husband, or an affectionate parent, may prove ineffectual for the present; yet, when the Lord works by His mighty power, then only they prove effectual to saving pur Then let us not neglect our duty, but be earnest in it, and leave the event to sovereign grace—(Mason).
- 15 Those who cruelly and unkindly treat their godly relations and friends on account of their religion, must come to feel it in the bitterness of their spirit, and groan in the sorrow of their soul, if ever the Lord grants them repentance unto life—(Mason).
- 16 Happy is that death which brings the believer to Heaven, and the surviving relatives to Christ; which opens the gate of glory to one, and the door of conversion to the other—(Barder).
- 17 Is it any marvel, that a quickened enlightened sinner should be judged by those around him, who are yet dead in their sins, to Be full of whims and melancholy? No! it is very natural for them to think us fools and mad; but we know that they really are so—(Mason).
- 18 One of God’s ends in instituting marriage is, that, under a figure, Christ and His church should be set forth. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in that relation. Be such a husband to thy believing wife, that she may say, God hath given to me a husband that preacheth Christ’s carriage to the church every day.—If thy wife be unbelieving, thou hast a duty to perform under a double obligation; for she is liable every moment to eternal ruin. O how little sense of the worth of souls is there in the hearts of some husbands! This is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives.— Wives also should be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands. Why? Because, otherwise, the Word of God will he blasphemed (Titus 2:5). Take heed of an idling, talking, wrangling tongue. It is odious in maids or wives to be like parrots, not bridling the tongue. It is unseemly to see a woman, as much as once in her lifetime, to offer to over-top her husband. I do not intend that women should he slaves by this subjection: “Let every man love his wife as himself and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph. 5:33). Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband until he was in a sober temper, and his wine gone out of him—(Bunyan’s Christian Behaviour, vol. 2, pp. 558-561).
- 19 This is the first cry of an awakened sinner—mercy for the lost and miserable; and no sooner are the sinner’s eyes opened to see his ruined, desperate state, and to cry for mercy, but the god of this world, who hitherto had blinded the eyes, and kept the heart securely by presumption, now opposes the sinner’s progress to a Throne of Grace, to a God of mercy, and to the Saviour of the lost. Satan does not easily part with his prey. But Jesus, the strong man, armed with almighty power and everlasting love, will conquer and cast him out. That is the sinner’s mercy, or none could ever be saved— (Mason).
After this, she thought she saw two very illfavoured ones standing by her bedside, and saying, What shall we do with this woman? for she cries out for mercy waking and sleeping; if she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by one way or other, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter, else all the world cannot help it but she will become a pilgrim.
Now she awoke in a great sweat, also a trembling was upon her; but after a while she fell to sleeping again. And then she thought she saw Christian her husband in a place of bliss, among many immortals, with a harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat on a throne, with a rainbow about His head. She saw also as if he bowed his head, with his face to the paved work that was under the Prince’s feet, saying, I heartily thank my Lord and King, for bringing of me into this place. Then shouted a company of them that stood round about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said, but Christian and his companions.20
Next morning, when she was up, had prayed to God, and talked with her children a while, one knocked hard at the door, to whom she spake out, saying, If thou comest in God’s name, come in. So he said, Amen, and opened the door, and saluted her with “Peace be to this house.” The which, when he had done, he said, Christiana, knowest thou wherefore I am come? Then she blushed and trembled, also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, My name is Secret;21 I dwell with those that are high. It is talked of, where I dwell, as if thou hadst a desire to go thither; also, there is a report, that thou art aware of the evil thou hast formerly done to thy husband, in hardening of thy heart against his way, and in keeping of these thy babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful One has sent me to tell thee, that He is a God ready to forgive, and that He taketh delight to multiply to pardon offences. He also would have thee know, that He inviteth thee to come into His presence, to His table, and that He will feed thee with the fat of His house, and with the heritage of Jacob thy father.
There is Christian thy husband (that was), with legions more, his companions, ever beholding that face that doth minister life to beholders; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of thy feet step over thy Father’s threshold.
Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself, and bowing her head to the ground, this Visitor proceeded, and said, Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought from thy husband’s King. So she took it and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume (Song. 1:3); also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter was, That the King would have her do as did Christian her husband; for that was the way to come to His city, and to dwell in His presence with joy forever. At this the good woman was quite overcome; so she cried out to her visitor, Sir, will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship this King?
Then said the visitor, Christiana, the bitter is before the sweet. Thou must through troubles, as did he that went before thee, enter this Celestial City. Wherefore I advise thee to do as did Christian thy husband. Go to the wicket-gate yonder, over the plain, for that stands in the head of the way up which thou must go, and I wish thee all good speed. Also I advise that thou put this letter in thy bosom; that thou read therein to thyself, and to thy children, until you have got it by rote of heart,22 for it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this house of thy pilgrimage (Psa. 119:54); also this thou must deliver in at the further gate.23
Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentleman, as he told me this story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He, moreover, proceeded and said, So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them: My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul, about the death of your father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness, for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have been also much affected with the thoughts of mine own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriages, also, to your father in his distress, is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both my own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.24
The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but for the encouragement that this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up and begone to the gate that leads to the Celestial Country, that we may see your father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.
Then did her children burst out into tears for joy, that the heart of their mother was so inclined.25 So their visitor bade them farewell; and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.
- 20 The mind, during sleep, is often occupied with those subjects that have most deeply engaged the waking thoughts; and it sometimes pleases God to make use of ideas thus suggested, to influence the conduct by exciting fears or hopes. But if we attempt to draw conclusions on doctrines, or to discover hidden things by them, it becomes a dangerous species of enthusiasm—(Scott). There is no just reason to doubt that God still employs dreams for the conversion of sinners. “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction” (Job 33:15, 16)—(Ivimey). Dreams are sometimes of use to warn and encourage a Christian, and seem to be really “from God”; but great caution is necessary, lest they mislead us, as they do weak and enthusiastic persons. They must never Be depended on as the ground of hope, or the test of our state; nothing must be put in the place of the Word of God—(Burder).
- 21 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa. 111:10); and “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him” (Psa. 25:14). The Spirit, the Comforter, never convinces the soul of sin, but He also revives and comforts the heart with glad tidings of free and full pardon of sin, through the blood of the Lamb—(Mason). Probably the name of this visitor was derived from what was said by the heavenly visitor to Manoah (Judg. 13:18)— (Ivimey). The silent influences of the Holy Spirit are here personified. The intimations of Secret represent the teachings of the Holy Spirit, by which the sinner understands the real meaning of the Sacred Scriptures as to the way of salvation—(Scott, abridged)
- 22 “Rote of heart”; “rote” is to commit to memory, so as to be able to repeat fluently, as a wheel runs round, but without attaching any idea or sense to the words; “rote of heart” is to do this with a full understanding of the meaning—(ED).
- 23 As the Spirit testifies of Christ, so He leads the soul to Christ, that He may be the sinner’s only hope, righteousness, and strength. Thus He glorifies Christ—(Mason). — But bring thou with thee a certificate, To show thou seest thyself most desolate; Writ by the Master, with repentance seal’d. —(House of God, vol. 2, p. 580).
- 24 Blessed penitence! Christian’s children, when he set out in his pilgrimage, had been liable to Mr. Bunyan’s severe remarks in his valuable book on Christian Behaviour—“I observe a vile spirit amongst some children, who overlook, or have slighting or scornful thoughts of their parents. Such an one hath got just the heart of a dog or a beast, that will bite those that begot them. But my father is poor, and I am rich, and it will he a hindrance to me to respect him. I tell thee, thou arguest like an atheist and a beast, and standest full flat against the Son of God (Mark 7:9-13). Must a little of the glory of the butterfly make thee not honour thy father and mother? Little dost thou know how many prayers, sighs, and tears have been wrung from their hearts on thine account.”—(Vol. 2, pp. 562, 563)—(ED).
- 25 The awakening of a sinner may be effected by very different means. Lydia’s heart was opened through attending to Paul’s ministry; the jailer’s, through the alarm produced in his mind by the fear of disgrace and punishment. Christian was brought to a sense of his lost condition by reading the Scriptures; Christiana, by reflecting, after the death of her husband, upon her unkind treatment of him on ac- count of his religion, the thought of which “rent the caul of her heart in sunder”; and the four boys, by the conversation of their mother with them about their departed father, and about her having neglected their souls. Religion is a personal concern, and begins with repentance and sorrow for sin. Children are not saved by the faith of their parents, but must be individually brought to feel their own sinfulness, and to confess their own guilt and danger; nor will a mother’s prayers save her children, unless they heartily unite with her in them— (Ivimey).
But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women, that were Christiana’s neighbours, came up to her house, and knocked at her door. To whom she said as before, If you come in God’s name, come in. At this the women were stunned; for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Christiana.26 Yet they came in; but, behold, they found the good woman a-preparing to be gone from her house.
So they began and said, Neighbour, pray what is your meaning by this?
Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, I am preparing for a journey. (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the Hill Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions).
Tim. For what journey, I pray you?
CHRIST. Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a-weeping.
Tim. I hope not so, good neighbour; pray, for your poor children’s sakes, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.
CHRIST. Nay, my children shall go with me, not one of them is willing to stay behind.27
Tim. I wonder, in my very heart, what, or who has brought you into this mind.
CHRIST. Oh! neighbour, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go with me.
Tim. Prithee, what new knowledge hast thou got, that so worketh off thy mind from thy friends, and that tempteth thee to go, nobody knows where?
CHRIST. Then Christiana replied, I have been sorely afflicted since my husband’s departure from me; but especially since he went over the river. But that which troubleth me most, is my churlish carriages to him, when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then; nothing will serve me but going on pilgrimage. I was a-dreaming last night that I saw him. O that my soul was with him! He dwelleth in the presence of the King of the country; he sits and eats with Him at His table; he is become a companion of immortals (1 Cor. 5:1-5), and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palaces on earth, if compared, seem to me to be but as a dunghill. The Prince of the place has also sent for me, with promise of entertainment if I shall come to Him; His messenger was here even now, and has brought me a letter, which invites me to come. And with that she plucked out her letter,28 and read it, and said to them, What now will ye say to this?
Tim. O the madness that has possessed thee and thy husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even, in a manner, at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbour Obstinate can yet testify, for he went along with him; yea, and Pliable too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any further. We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death, and many other things. Nor is the danger that he met with at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by thee; for if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou, being but a poor woman, do? Consider also, that these four sweet babes are thy children, thy flesh and thy bones. Wherefore, though thou shouldest be so rash as to cast away thyself; yet, for the sake of the fruit of thy body, keep thou at home.29
But Christiana said unto her, Tempt me not, my neighbour. I have now a price put into my hand to get gain, and I should he a fool of the greatest size, if I should have no heart to strike in with the opportunity.30 And for that you tell me of all these troubles that I am like to meet with in the way, they are so far off from being to me a discouragement, that they show I am in the right. “The bitter must come before the sweet,” and that also will make the sweet the sweeter. Wherefore, since you came not to my house in God’s name, as I said, I pray you to be gone, and not to disquiet me farther.31
Then Timorous also reviled her, and said to her fellow, Come, neighbour Mercy, let us leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company. But Mercy was at a stand, and could not so readily comply with her neighbour, and that for a twofold reason. First, her bowels yearned over Christiana. So she said within herself, If my neighbour will needs be gone, I will go a little way with her and help her. Secondly, her bowels yearned over her own soul, for what Christiana had said had taken some hold upon her mind.32 Wherefore she said within herself again, I will yet have more talk with this Christiana, and if I find truth and life in what she shall say, myself with my heart shall also go with her. Wherefore Mercy began thus to reply to her neighbour Timorous.
MERCY. Neighbour, I did, indeed, come with you to see Christiana this morning; and since she is, as you see, a-taking of her last farewell of her country, I think to walk, this sun-shine morning, a little way with her, to help her on the way. But she told her not of the second reason, but kept that to herself.
TIM. Well, I see you have a mind to go a-fooling too, but take heed in time, and be wise. While we are out of danger, we are out; but when we are in, we are in. So Mrs. Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey.33 But when Timorous was got home to her house, she sends for some of her neighbours, to wit, Mrs. Bat’s-eyes, Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Light-mind, and Mrs. Know-nothing. So when they were come to her house, she falls to telling of the story of Christiana, and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale.34
TIM. Neighbours, having had little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and when I came at the door, I knocked, as you know it is our custom. And she answered, If you come in God’s name, come in. So in I went, thinking all was well. But when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she, and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that. And she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was, had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.
Then said Mrs. Know-nothing, what! do you think she will go?
TIM. Aye, go she will, whatever come on’t; and methinks I know it by this; for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way) is one great argument with her to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, “The bitter goes before the sweet.” Yea, and forasmuch as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.
MRS. BAT’S-EYES. O, this blind and foolish woman! said she; will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.
MRS. INCONSIDERATE also replied, saying, Away with such fantastical fools from the town! A good riddance, for my part, I say, of her. Should she stay where she dwells, and retain this her mind, who could live quietly by her? for she will either be dumpish or unneighbourly, or talk of such matters as no wise body can abide; wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure. Let her go, and let better come in her room. It was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.35
Then Mrs. Light-mind added as followeth— Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton’s, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I and Mrs. Love-the-flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others. So there we had music, and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And, I dare say, my lady herself is an admirably well-bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.
By this time, Christiana was got on her way, and Mercy went along with her. So as they went, her children being there also, Christiana began to discourse. And, Mercy, said Christiana, I take this as an unexpected favour, that thou shouldst set foot out of doors with me, to accompany me a little in my way.
MERCY. Then said young Mercy (for she was but young), If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you, I would never go near the town any more.
CHRIST. Well, Mercy, said Christiana, cast in thy lot with me; I well know what will be the end of our pilgrimage. My husband is where he would not but be for all the gold in the Spanish mines. Nor shalt thou be rejected, though thou goest but upon my invitation.36 The King who hath sent for me and my children is one that delighteth in mercy. Besides, if thou wilt, I will hire thee, and thou shalt go along with me as my servant; yet we will have all things in common betwixt thee and me; only, go along with me.37
MERCY. But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained ? Had I this hope but from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all, but would go, being helped by him that can help, though the way was never so tedious.38
CHRIST. Well, loving Mercy, I will tell thee what thou shalt do. Go with me to the wicket-gate, and there I will further inquire for thee; and if there thou shalt not meet with encouragement, I will be content that thou shalt return to thy place. I also will pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to me and my children, in thy accompanying us in our way, as thou dost.
MERCY. Then will I go thither, and will take what shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall, even as the King of Heaven shall have His heart upon me.39
Christiana then was glad at her heart, not only that she had a companion, but also that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation. So they went on together, and Mercy began to weep. Then said Christiana, Wherefore weepeth my Sister so?
- 26 Reader, stop and examine. Did ever any of your carnal acquaintance take knowledge of a difference of your language and conduct? Does it stun them? Or do they still like and approve of you as well as ever? What reason, then, have you to think yourself a pilgrim? If the heart be ever so little acquainted with the Lord, the tongue will discover it, and the carnal and profane will ridicule and despise you for it—(Mason).
- 27 “Is willing to stay behind.” Mr. Bunyan has strongly intimated, in this account, that children, very young persons, may be the subjects of renewing grace, and may experience the power of the Gospel upon their hearts, producing that faith that is of the operation of God, and works meet for repentance. This fact is abundantly confirmed by many living instances of very young persons knowing the grace of God in truth, and adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour—(Ivimey).
- 28 This was a love-letter, full of the love of Jesus, and the precious invitations of His loving heart to sinners to come unto Him as recorded in his blessed Word. Happy sinners, whose eyes are opened to read it! But this the world calls madness—(Mason).
- 29 The observations of the unconverted, when they perceive the conscience of a poor sinner alarmed for fear of the wrath to come, are admirably put in Bunyan’s Come and Welcome, (vol. 1, p. 278): “They attribute the change to melancholy—to sitting alone—to overmuch reading—to going to too many sermons—to too much studying and musing on what they hear. They conclude that it is for want of merry company—for want of physic; and they advise them to leave off reading, going to sermons, the company of sober people, and to be merry, to go a-gossiping. But, poor ignorant sinner, let me deal with thee. It seems that thou hast turned counsellor for Satan. Thou judgest foolishly. Thou art like Elymas the sorcerer, that sought to turn the deputy from the faith, to pervert the right ways of the Lord. Take heed, lest some heavy judgment overtake thee.” Pilgrim, beware of the solemn warnings of God in Deuteronomy 13:6, and Hebrews 10:38—(ED).
- 30 Bunyan probably alludes to Proverbs 17:16: “Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?”— (Ivimey).
- 31 It is well to be bold in the name of the Lord, and blunt with those who seek to turn us away from following on to know the Lord; for nothing less than life and salvation, or death and damnation, will be the issue of it—(Mason).
- 32 The very things which excite the rage and scorn of some persons, penetrate the hearts of others. Thus the Lord waked one to differ from another, by preparing the heart to receive the good seed of Divine truth. Yet everyone willingly chooses the way he takes, without constraint or hindrance, except his own prevailing dispositions—(Scott).
- 33 Here we see our Lord’s Word verified, “The one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matt. 24:41). Mercy is called, and Timorous left. All, to appearance, seems chance and accident; but sovereign grace overrules all things. “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18)—(Mason).
- 34 This tale, by the names, arguments, and discourse introduced into it, shows what kind of persons despise and revile all those that fear God, and seek the salvation of their souls. Profligates, who never studied religion, pass sentence upon the most difficult controversies without hesitation. Such persons call for our compassion and prayers even more than our detestation—(Scott).
- 35 O how do such carnal wretches sport with their own damnation, while they despise the precious truths of God, and ridicule His beloved, chosen, and called people! But as it was in the beginning, he who was born after the flesh persecuted Him who was born after the Spirit, so it is now, and will be as long as the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are upon the earth—(Mason). Such characters are portrayed by the apostle, in his solemn riddle (1 Tim. 5:6)—(Ivimey).
- 36 The singular dispensations of Providence, and the strong impressions made by the Word of God upon some minds, seem to amount to a special invitation; while others are gradually and gently brought to embrace the Gospel, and these are sometimes discouraged lest they have never been truly awakened. They should recollect that the Lord delighteth in mercy; that Christ will in no wise cast out any that come to Him; and that they who trust in the mercy of God, solely through the redemption of His Son, shall assuredly be saved—(Scott).
- 37 Such is the true spirit of real pilgrims, that do not love to eat their precious morsel alone. They wish others to know Christ, and to become followers of Him with themselves—(Mason).
- 38 Though Christiana clearly knew her calling of God, yet Mercy did not; therefore she is in doubt about it. Just so it is with many at their first setting out. Hence they are ready to say—and I have met with many who have said—that they could even wish to have had the most violent convictions of sin, and to have been, as it were, shook over the mouth of hell, that they might have a greater certainty of their being called of God. But this is speaking unadvisedly. Better to take the apostle’s advice—“Give all diligence to make your calling sure.”—(Mason).
- 39 Here is a precious discovery of a heart divinely instructed. Mind, here is no looking to anything Mercy was in herself, nor to anything she could do for herself, for hope. But all is resolved into this— even THE LOVE OF THE HEART OF THE KING OF HEAVEN. Reader, can you be content with this? Can you cast all, and rest all, upon the love of Christ? Then bless His loving name for giving you a pilgrim’s heart—(Mason). Mercy clearly discovered a work of grace on her heart. She was anxious about her acceptance at last; she began to pray; she threw herself on the mere mercy of Christ’s heart; and proved “the bowels of a pilgrim,” by lamenting the sad condition of her carnal relations—(Burder).
MERCY. Alas! said she, who can but lament, that shall but rightly consider, what a state and condition my poor relations40 are in that yet remain in our sinful town? and that which makes my grief the more heavy is, because they have no instructor, nor any to tell them what is to come.
CHRIST. Bowels becometh pilgrims; and thou dost for thy friends as my good Christian did for me when he left me; he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard him; but his Lord and ours did gather up after his tears and put them into His bottle; and now both I and thou, and these my sweet babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, Mercy, these tears of thine will not be lost; for the truth hath said, that “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” in singing. And “he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psa. 126:5, 6).
Then said Mercy—
Let the Most Blessed be my guide, If’t be His blessed will; Unto His gate, into His fold, Up to His holy hill. And let Him never suffer me To swerve or turn aside From His free grace, and holy ways, Whate’er shall me betide.
And let Him gather them of mine, That I have left behind; Lord, make them pray they may be Thine, With all their heart and mind.41
Now my old friend proceeded, and said: But when Christiana came up to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; for, said she, this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered with mud. She perceived, also, that notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly. So I asked if that were true. Yes, said the old gentleman, too true; for that many there be that pretend to be the King’s labourers, and that say they are for mending the King’s highway, that bring dirt and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending.42 Here Christiana, therefore, with her boys, did make a stand; but, said Mercy, Come, let us venture, only let us be wary. Then they looked well to the steps, and made a shift to get staggeringly over.43
Yet, Christiana had like to have been in, and that not once nor twice. Now they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, “Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).
Then they went on again; and said Mercy to Christiana, Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the wicket-gate as you, I think no Slough of Despond would discourage me.
Well, said the other, you know your sore,44 and I know mine; and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come at our journey’s end.
For can it be imagined, that the people that design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are; but that we shall meet with what fears and scares, with what troubles and afflictions they can possibly assault us with, that hate us?
And now Mr. Sagacity left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore, methought I saw Christiana and Mercy, and the boys, go all of them up to the gate; to which, when they were come, they betook themselves to a short debate about how they must manage their calling at the gate, and what should be said to Him that did open to them. So it was concluded, since Christiana was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and that she should speak to Him that did open, for the rest. So Christiana began to knock; and, as her poor husband did, she knocked, and knocked again. But, instead of any that answered, they all thought that they heard as if a dog came barking upon them; a dog, and a great one too, and this made the women and children afraid: nor durst they, for a while, to knock any more, for fear the mastiff should fly upon them. Now, therefore, they were greatly tumbled up and down in their minds, and knew not what to do: knock they durst not, for fear of the dog; go back they durst not, for fear the Keeper of that gate should espy them as they so went, and should be offended with them; at last they thought of knocking again, and knocked more vehemently than they did at the first. Then said the Keeper of the gate, Who is there? So the dog left off to bark, and He opened unto them.45
Then Christiana made low obeisance, and said, Let not our Lord be offended with his handmaidens, for that we have knocked at His princely gate. Then said the Keeper, Whence come ye, and what is that you would have?
Christiana answered, We are come from whence Christian did come, and upon the same errand as he; to wit, to be, if it shall please You, graciously admitted by this gate into the way that leads to the Celestial City. And I answer, my Lord, in the next place, that I am Christiana, once the wife of Christian, that now is gotten above.46
With that the Keeper of the gate did marvel, saying, What! is she become now a pilgrim that, but a while ago, abhorred that life Then she bowed her head, and said, Yes, and so are these my sweet babes also.
Then He took her by the hand, and let her in, and said also, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”; and with that He shut up the gate. This done, He called to a trumpeter that was above, over the gate, to entertain Christiana with shouting and sound of trumpet for joy. So he obeyed, and sounded, and filled the air with his melodious notes (Luke 15:7).
Now all this while poor Mercy did stand without, trembling and crying, for fear that she was rejected. But when Christiana had gotten admittance for herself and her boys, then she began to make intercession for Mercy.
CHRIST. And she said, My Lord, I have a companion of mine that stands yet without, that is come hither upon the same account as myself; one that is much dejected in her mind, for that she comes, as she thinks, without sending for; whereas I was sent to by my husband’s King to come.
Now Mercy began to be very impatient, for each minute was as long to her as an hour; wherefore she prevented Christiana from a fuller interceding for her, by knocking at the gate herself. And she knocked then so loud, that she made Christiana to start. Then said the Keeper of the gate, Who is there? and said Christiana, It is my friend.
So He opened the gate and looked out, but Mercy was fallen down without, in a swoon, for she fainted, and was afraid that no gate would he opened to her.
Then He took her by the hand, and said, Damsel, I bid thee arise.
O Sir, said she, I am faint; there is scarce life left in me. But He answered, That one once said, “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine holy temple” (Jonah 2:7). Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell Me wherefore thou art come.47
MERCY. I am come for that unto which I was never invited, as my friend Christiana was. Hers was from the King, and mine was but from her. Wherefore I fear I presume.48
KEEP. Did she desire thee to come with her to this place?
MERCY. Yes; and, as my Lord sees, I am come. And, if there is any grace or forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that I, thy poor handmaid, may be partaker thereof.
Then He took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, I pray for all them that believe on Me, by what means soever they come unto Me. Then said He to those that stood by, Fetch something, and give it Mercy to smell on, thereby to stay her fainting. So they fetched her a bundle of myrrh; and a while after, she was revived.49
And now was Christiana and her boys, and Mercy, received of the Lord at the head of the way, and spoke kindly unto by Him. Then said they yet further unto Him, We are sorry for our sins, and beg of our Lord His pardon, and further information what we must do.
I grant pardon, said He, by word and deed: by word, in the promise of forgiveness; by deed, in the way I obtained it. Take the first from My lips with a kiss, (Song. 1:2); and the other as it shall be revealed.50 (John 20:20).
Now, I saw in my dream, that He spake many good words unto them, whereby they were greatly gladded. He also had them up to the top of the gate, and showed them by what deed they were saved; and told them withal, That that sight they would have again, as they went along in the way, to their comfort.
So He left them a while in a summer parlour below, where they entered into talk by themselves; and thus Christiana began: O Lord! how glad am I that we are got in hither.
MERCY. So you well may; but I of all have cause to leap for joy.
CHRIST. I thought one time, as I stood at the gate (because I had knocked, and none did answer), that all our labour had been lost, especially when that ugly cur made such a heavy barking against us.51
MERCY. But my worse fear was after I saw that you was taken into His favour, and that I was left behind. Now, thought I, it is fulfilled which is written, “Two women shall he grinding together, the one shall be taken and the other left”52 (Matt. 24:41). I had much ado to forbear crying out, Undone! undone!53
And afraid I was to knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the gate, I took courage.54 I also thought that I must either knock again, or die; so I knocked, but I cannot tell how, for my spirit now struggled betwixt life and death.
CHRIST. Can you not tell how you knocked? I am sure your knocks were so earnest that the very sound of them made me start; I thought I never heard such knocking in all my life; I thought you would have come in by violent hands, or have taken the kingdom by storm (Matt. 11:12).
MERCY. Alas! to be in my case, who that so was could but have done so? You saw that the door was shut upon me, and that there was a most cruel dog thereabout. Who, I say, that was so faint-hearted as I, that would not have knocked with all their might? But, pray, what said my Lord to my rudeness? Was He not angry with me?
CHRIST. When He heard your lumbering noise, He gave a wonderful innocent smile; I believe what you did pleased Him well enough, for He showed no sign to the contrary. But I marvel in my heart, why He keeps such a dog; had I known that before,55 I fear I should not have had heart enough to have ventured myself in this manner. But now we are in, we are in; and I am glad with all my heart.56
MERCY. I will ask, if you please, next time He comes down, why He keeps such a filthy cur in His yard; I hope He will not take it amiss,
Aye, do, said the children, and persuade Him to hang him; for we are afraid he will bite us when we go hence.
So at last He came down to them again, and Mercy fell to the ground on her face before Him, and worshipped, and said, Let my Lord accept of the sacrifice of praise which I now offer unto Him with the calves of my lips.
So He said unto her, “Peace be to thee, stand up.” But she continued upon her face, and said, “Righteous art Thou, O Lord, when I plead with Thee: yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments’ (Jer. 12:1). Wherefore dost Thou keep so cruel a dog in Thy yard, at the sight of which, such women and children as we, are ready to fly from Thy gate for fear?
He answered and said, That dog has another owner, he also is kept close in another man’s ground, only My pilgrims hear his barking; he belongs to the castle which you see there at a distance, but can come up to the walls of this place. He has frighted many an honest pilgrim from worse to better, by the great voice of his roaring. Indeed, he that owneth him doth not keep him of any goodwill to Me or Mine, but with intent to keep the pilgrims from coming to Me, and that they may be afraid to knock at this gate for entrance. Sometimes also he has broken out, and has worried some that I loved; but I take all at present patiently. I also give My pilgrims timely help, so they are not delivered up to his power, to do to them what his doggish nature would prompt him to. But what! my purchased one, I trow, hadst thou known never so much beforehand, thou wouldst not have been afraid of a dog.
The beggars that go from door to door will, rather than they will lose a supposed alms, run the hazard of the bawling, barking, and biting, too, of a dog; and shall a dog—a dog in another man’s yard, a dog whose barking I turn to the profit of pilgrims—keep any from coming to Me? I deliver them from the lions, their darling from the power of the dog.57
MERCY. Then said Mercy, I confess my ignorance; I spake what I understood not; I acknowledge that Thou dost all things well.
CHRIST. Then Christiana began to talk of their journey, and to inquire after the way. So He fed them, and washed their feet, and set them in the way of His steps, according as He had dealt with her husband before. So I saw in my dream, that they walked on in their way, and had the weather very comfortable to them.
Then Christiana began to sing, saying—
Blessed be the day that I began A pilgrim for to be; And blessed also be that man That thereto moved me. ‘Tis true, ‘twas long ere I began To seek to live forever: But now I run fast as I can; ‘Tis better late then never.
Our tears to joy, our fears to faith, Are turned, as we see, That our beginning, as one saith, Shows what our end will be.
Now there was, on the other side of the wall that fenced in the way up which Christiana and her companions were to go, a garden, and that garden belonged to him whose was that barking dog of whom mention was made before. And some of the fruit-trees that grew in that garden shot their branches over the wall; and being mellow, they that found them did gather them up, and oft eat of them to their hurt. So Christiana’s boys, as boys are apt to do, being pleased with the trees, and with the fruit that did hang thereon, did plash58 them, and began to eat. Their mother did also chide them for so doing, but still the boys went on.59
- 40 This truth is exemplified in the Holy War—“Now Mr. Desires, when he saw that he must go on this errand, besought that Mr. Wet-eyes should go with him to petition the Prince. This Mr. Wet-eyes was a poor man, a man of a broken spirit, yet one that could speak well to a petition. Then Mr. Wet-eyes fell on his face to the ground, and said, O my Lord, I see dirt in my own tears, and filthiness at the bottom of my prayers; but, I pray Thee, mercifully pass by the sin of Mansoul.”—(ED).
- 41 Perhaps the most delightful portion of the Second Dream of Bunyan is its sweet representation of the female character. There never were two more attractive beings drawn than Christiana and Mercy; as different from each other as Christian and Hopeful, and yet equally pleasing in their natural traits of character, and under the influence of Divine grace, each of them reflecting the light of Heaven in an original and lovely variety. His own conception of what constitutes a bright example of beauty and consistency of character in a Christian woman, Bunyan has here given us, as well as in his First Dream, the model of steadfast excellence in a Christian man. The delineation, in both Christiana and Mercy, is eminently beautiful. We have, in these characters, his own ideal of the domestic virtues, and his own conception of a well-ordered Christian family’s domestic happiness. Wherever he may have formed his notions of female loveliness and excellence, he has, in the combination of them in the Second Part of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” presented two characters of such winning modesty and grace, such confiding truth and frankness, such simplicity and artlessness, such cheerfulness and pleasantness, such native good sense and Christian discretion, such sincerity, gentleness, and tenderness, that nothing could be more delightful. The matronly virtues of Christiana, and the maidenly qualities of Mercy, are alike pleasing and appropriate. There is a mixture of timidity and frankness in Mercy, which is as sweet in itself as it is artlessly and unconsciously drawn; and in Christiana we discover the very characteristics that can make the most lovely feminine counterpart, suitable to the stern and lofty qualities of her husband—(Cheever).
- 42 Instead of being what they profess, the King’s labourers, Paul calls them soul-troublers (Gal. 5:10). For instead of preaching a free, full, and finished salvation, bestowed as a free gift, by rich grace, upon poor sinners who can do nothing to entitle themselves to it; behold, these wretched daubers set forth salvation to sale upon certain terms and conditions which sinners are to perform and fulfil. Thus they distress the upright and sincere, and deceive the self-righteous and unwary, into pride and delusion. Thus they mar, instead of mend, the way; and bring dirt and dung, instead of stones, to make the way sound and safe for pilgrims—(Mason).
- 43 “Looked well to the steps”; that is, “the promises,” as Bunyan explains in the margin of Part First. “Struggling to be rid of our burden, it only sinks us deeper in the mire, if we do not rest by faith upon the promises, and so come indeed to Christ. Precious promises they are, and so free and full of forgiveness and eternal life, that certainly the moment a dying soul feels its guilt and misery, that soul may lay hold upon them, and find Christ in them; and were it not for unbelief, there need be no Slough of Despond for the soul to struggle, and plunge, in its mire of depravity.”—(Cheever)— (ED).
- 44 All the varieties in the experience of those who are walking in the same path can never he enumerated; some of their sores are not only unreasonable but unaccountable, through the weakness of the human mind, the abiding effects of peculiar impressions, the remains of unbelief, and the artifices of Satan— (Scott).
- 45 No sooner does a poor sinner open his lips in prayer to Jesus, but the devil will bark at him, and by all means try to terrify and discourage him. Do you find this? What is our remedy? “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7, 8)— (Mason). When the fear of God possesses the heart, such disturbances cannot long prevent earnest cries for mercy, but will eventually render them more fervent and importunate than ever—(Scott).
- 46 Think much of them that have gone before; how safe they are in the bosom of Jesus. Would they be here again for a thousand worlds? Sometimes when my base heart hath been inclining to this world, and to loiter in my journey towards Heaven, the very consideration of the glorious saints and angels— what they enjoy, what low thoughts they have of the things of this world, how they would befool me if they did but know that my heart was drawing back—this hath made me rush forward, and disdain those beggarly things; and say to my soul, Come, soul, let us not be weary; let us see what Heaven is; let us venture all for it. Reader, what sayest thou to this? Art thou resolved to follow me? Nay, resolve to get before me if thou canst—(Heavenly Footman).
- 47 Being made to understand what great sinners the Lord hath had mercy upon, and how large His promises were still to sinners, this made me, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to cleave to Him, to hang upon Him, and yet to cry, though as yet there were no answer. The Lord help all His poor, tempted, afflicted people to do the like— (Bunyan).
- 48 Mercy’s case is not singular. Many have set out just as she did, and have been discouraged by the same reason as she was. She, as many have been, was encouraged to set out in the ways of the Lord by her neighbour and friend. Hence she, as many others also have thought, there was no cause to conclude that she was effectually called by the Lord, but it was only the effect of moral persuasion, and therefore doubted and fainted, lest she should not meet with acceptance. But her very doubts, fears, and distress, proved the earnestness of her heart, and the desire of her soul, after the Saviour; and also that His attracting love and gracious power had a hand in the work. Well therefore might Bunyan call upon his readers to mark her gracious reception by Christ. Mark this, ye poor, doubting, fearing, trembling souls, who are halting every step, and fearing you have not set out aright, hear what Christ’s angel said, and be not discouraged: “Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus!”—(Matt. 28:5)—(Mason).
- 49 The prisoners taken in the Holy War were affected like Mercy. “Why did you not cry to Me before, said the Prince, yet I will answer you so as will be for My glory. At this Mr. Wet-eyes gave a great sigh, and death seemed to sit on their eye-brows; they covered their faces, and threw themselves down before Him. Then the Prince bid them stand upon their feet, and said, I have power to forgive, and I do forgive. Moreover, He stripped the prisoners of their mourning-weeds, and gave them beauty for ashes.”—(ED).
- 50 Pardon by word seems to denote the general discovery of free salvation by Jesus Christ to all that believe, which is sealed by transient comforts and lively affections. Pardon by deed may relate to the manner in which the blessing was purchased by the Saviour; and when this is clearly understood, the believer attains to stable peace and hope—(Scott).
- 51 The devil often barks most at us, and brings his heaviest accusations against us, when mercy, peace, comfort, and salvation are nearest to us. “Press on, nor fear to win the day, Though earth and hell obstruct the way” —(Mason).
- 52 Many hellish darts are tipped by Apollyon’s malignant ingenuity with sentences of Scripture, made to flame just like the fiery darts of the wicked one; so that the Scriptures appear to stand against the trembling Christian—(ED).
- 53 Here is genuine humility; no replying against God— no calling in question His sovereign right to receive or to reject. No; all that this poor humble heart thought was, now is fulfilled what is written, “One shall be taken and the other left.” If so, what had she to say? No impeachment of the Lord’s dealings, but only, I am undone. But yet, on seeing what was written over the gate, “Knock, and it shall be opened,” from that, and not from any sight of worthiness in herself, but lost as she felt herself, she was encouraged to knock again, or to cry and pray more vehemently than ever. Here is a blessed example of deep humility, and of holy boldness, excited by the Divine Word. Go thou, ruined sinner, and do likewise—(Mason).
- 54 The express words of such invitations, exhortations, and promises, WRITTEN in the Bible, are more efficacious to encourage those who are ready to give up their hopes, than all the consolatory topics that can possibly he substituted in their place— (Scott).
- 55 When a mariner enters upon a voyage, or a soldier on a campaign, they know not what hardships they may encounter, nor whether their lives may be sacrificed without attaining their object; but whatever hardships the Christian has to encounter, he will come off more than conqueror—he will reach the desired haven in safety—through Him that loved us. Fear not— “Though death and hell obstruct the way, The meanest saint shall win the day.”—(ED).
- 56 Strive to enter in; a whole Heaven and eternal life is wrapped up in this little word IN. Strive; this calls for the mind and heart. Many professors make their striving to stand rather in an outcry of words, than in a hearty labour against the lusts and love of the world, and their own corruptions. But this kind of striving is but a beating the air, and will come to nothing at last—(Bunyan’s Strait Gate, vol. 1, p. 869).
- 57 Thus the dog of hell may be of service, not only in keeping the sheep close together, but in making them keep close to their Shepherd—(J. B.).
- 58 “Plash” was, in later editions, altered to “Pluck.” To plash, is to cut hedges or trees. The boys did plash, or had a cut at the trees, to knock the fruit off—(ED).
- 59 What is this garden but the world? What is the fruit they here found? “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Of this the boys ate. The mother chides them for taking that which did not belong to them, but she did not know that it grew in the devil’s garden. Mark the consequence of their eating this fruit hereafter— (Mason). The terrifying suggestions of Satan the dog’s barking give believers much present uneasiness, yet they often do them great good, and seldom eventually hurt them; but the allurements of those worldly objects which he throws in their way are far more dangerous and pernicious. Many of these are very attractive to young persons; but all parents who love the souls of their children should employ all their influence and authority to restrain them from those vain pleasures which “war against the soul,” and are most dangerous when least suspected. This fruit may be found in the pilgrim’s path, but it grows in Beelzebub’s garden, and should be shunned as poison. Many diversions and pursuits, both in high and low life, are of this nature, though often pleaded for as innocent, by some persons who ought to know better—(Scott).
Well, said she, my sons, you transgress, for that fruit is none of ours; but she did not know that they did belong to the enemy; I will warrant you, if she had, she would have been ready to die for fear. But that passed, and they went on their way. Now, by that they were gone about two bow-shots from the place that let them into the way, they espied two very ill-favoured ones coming down apace to meet them.60 With that, Christiana and Mercy, her friend, covered themselves with their veils, and so kept on their journey; the children also went on before; so that at last they met together. Then they that came down to meet them, came just up to the women, as if they would embrace them; but Christiana said, Stand back, or go peaceably by, as you should. Yet these two, as men that are deaf, regarded not Christiana’s words, but began to lay hands upon them. At that Christiana, waxing very wroth, spurned at them with her feet. Mercy also, as well as she could, did what she could to shift them. Christiana again said to them, Stand back, and begone; for we have no money to lose, being pilgrims, as you see, and such, too, as live upon the charity of our friends.
ILL-FAVOURED. Then said one of the two of the men, We make no assault upon you for money, but are come out to tell you, that if you will but grant one small request, which we shall ask, we will make women of you forever.
CHRIST. Now Christiana, imagining what they should mean, made answer again, We will neither bear, nor regard, nor yield to what you shall ask. We are in haste, cannot stay; our business is a business of life and death. So, again, she and her companions made a fresh essay to go past them; but they letted them in their way.
ILL-FAV. And they said, We intend no hurt to your lives; it is another thing we would have.
CHRIST. Ah, quoth Christiana, you would have us body and soul, for I know it is for that you are come; but we will die rather upon the spot, than suffer ourselves to be brought into such snares as shall hazard our well-being hereafter. And with that they both shrieked out, and cried, Murder! murder! and so put themselves under those laws that are provided for the protection of women (Deut. 22:23-27). But the men still made their approach upon them, with design to prevail against them. They, therefore, cried out again.61
Now, they being, as I said, not far from the gate in at which they came, their voice was heard from where they were, thither; wherefore some of the house came out, and knowing that it was Christiana’s tongue, they made haste to her relief. But by that they were got within sight of them, the women were in a very great scuffle, the children also stood crying by. Then did he that came in for their relief call out to the ruffians, saying, What is that thing that you do? Would you make my Lord’s people to transgress? He also attempted to take them, but they did make their escape over the wall, into the garden of the man to whom the great dog belonged; so the dog became their protector. This Reliever then came up to the women, and asked them how they did. So they answered, We thank thy Prince, pretty well; only we have been somewhat affrighted; we thank thee also, for that thou camest in to our help, for otherwise we had been overcome.
RELIEVER. So after a few more words, this Reliever said as followeth: I marveled much when you were entertained at the gate above, being, as ye knew, that ye were but weak women, that you petitioned not the Lord there for a conductor; then might you have avoided these troubles and dangers, for He would have granted you one.62
CHRIST. Alas! said Christiana, we were so with our present blessing, that dangers to come were forgotten by us; besides, who could have thought, that so near the King’s palace, there should have lurked such naughty ones? Indeed, it had been well for us, had we asked our Lord for one; but, since our Lord knew it would be for our profit, I wonder He sent not one along with us!63
REL. It is not always necessary to grant things not asked for, lest, by so doing, they become of little esteem; but when the want of a thing is felt, it then comes under, in the eyes of him that feels it, that estimate that properly is its due, and so, consequently, will be thereafter used. Had my Lord granted you a conductor, you would not neither so have bewailed that oversight of yours, in not asking for one, as now you have occasion to do. So all things work for good, and tend to make you more wary.
CHRIST. Shall we go back again to my Lord, and confess our folly, and ask one?
REL. Your confession of your folly I will present Him with. To go back again you need not; for in all places where you shall come, you will find no want at all; for in every of my Lord’s lodgings, which He has prepared for the reception of His pilgrims, there is sufficient to furnish them against all attempts whatsoever. But, as I said, “He will be inquired of by them, to do it for them” (Ezek. 36:37). And it is a poor thing that is not worth asking for. When he had thus said, he went back to his place, and the Pilgrims went on their way.
MERCY. Then said Mercy, What a sudden blank is here! I made account we had now been past all danger, and that we should never see sorrow more.64
CHRIST. Thy innocency, my sister, said Christiana to Mercy, may excuse thee much; but as for me, my fault is so much the greater, for that I saw this dancer before I came out of the doors, and yet did not provide for it where provision might have been had. I am therefore much to he blamed.65
MERCY. Then said Mercy, How knew you this before you came from home? Pray open to me this riddle.
CHRIST. Why, I will tell you. Before I set foot out of doors, one night, as I lay in my bed, I had a dream about this; for, methought I saw two men, as like these as ever the world they could look, stand at my bed’s feet, plotting how they might prevent my salvation. I will tell you their very words. They said (it was when I was in my troubles), What shall we do with this woman? for she cries out, waking and sleeping, for forgiveness. If she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her, as we have lost her husband. This, you know, might have made me take heed, and have provided when provision might have been had.
MERCY. Well, said Mercy, as by this neglect we have an occasion ministered unto us, to behold our own imperfections; so our Lord has taken occasion thereby, to make manifest the riches of His grace; for He, as we see, has followed us with unasked kindness, and has delivered us from their hands that were stronger than we, of His mere good pleasure.66
Thus, now when they had talked away a little more time, they drew nigh to a house which stood in the way, which house was built for the relief of pilgrims; as you will find more fully related in the First Part of these Records of the Pilgrim’s Progress. So they drew on towards the house (the House of the Interpreter), and when they came to the door, they heard a great talk in the house. They then gave ear, and heard, as they thought, Christiana mentioned by name. For you must know that there went along, even before her, a talk of her and her children’s going on pilgrimage. And this thing was the more pleasing to them, because they had heard that she was Christian’s wife, that woman who was sometime ago so unwilling to hear of going on pilgrimage. Thus, therefore, they stood still, and heard the good people within commending her, who, they little thought, stood at the door. At last Christiana knocked, as she had done at the gate before. Now, when she had knocked, there came to the door a young damsel, named Innocent, and opened the door and looked, and behold two women were there.
DAMSEL. Then said the damsel to them, With whom would you speak in this place ?
CHRIST. Christiana answered, We understand that this is a privileged place for those that are become pilgrims, and we now at this door are such; wherefore we pray that we may be partakers of that for which we at this time are come; for the day, as thou seest, is very far spent, and we are loath tonight to go any further.
DAMSEL. Pray, what may I call your name, that I may tell it to my Lord within?
CHRIST. My name is Christiana; I was the wife of that pilgrim, that some years ago did travel this way, and these be his four children. This maiden also is my companion, and is going on pilgrimage too.
INNOCENT. Then ran Innocent in (for that was her name) and said to those within, Can you think who is at the door? There is Christiana and her children, and her companion, all waiting for entertainment here. Then they leaped for joy, and went and told their Master. So He came to the door, and looking upon her, He said, Art thou that Christiana whom Christian, the good man, left behind him, when he betook himself to a pilgrim’s life?
CHRIST. I am that woman that was so hard-hearted, as to slight my husband’s troubles, and that left him to go on in his journey alone, and these are his four children; but now I also am come, for I am convinced that no way is right but this.
INTER. Then is fulfilled that which also is written of the man that said to his son, “Go, work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented and went” (Matt. 21:29).
CHRIST. Then said Christiana, So be it, Amen. God make it a true saying upon me, and grant that I may be found at the last of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless!
INTER. But why standest thou thus at the door? Come in, thou daughter of Abraham. We were talking of thee but now, for tidings have come to us before, how thou art become a pilgrim. Come, children, come in; come, maiden, come in. So He had them all into the house.67
So, when they were within, they were bidden sit down and rest them; the which when they had done, those that attended upon the Pilgrims in the house, came into the room to see them. And one smiled, and another smiled, and they all smiled, for joy that Christiana was become a pilgrim. They also looked upon the boys. They stroked them over the faces with the hand, in token of their kind reception of them. They also carried it lovingly to Mercy, and bid them all welcome into their Master’s house.68
After a while, because supper was not ready, the Interpreter took them into his significant rooms, and showed them what Christian, Christiana’s husband, had seen some time before. Here, therefore, they saw the man in the cage, the man and his dream, the man that cut his way through his enemies, and the picture of the biggest of them all, together with the rest of those things that were then so profitable to Christian.
This done, and after these things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck-rake in his hand. There stood also one over His head with a celestial crown in His hand, and proffered him that crown for his muck-rake; but the man did neither look up, nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.69
Then said Christiana, I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this; for this is a figure of a man of this world, is it not, good Sir?
INTER. Thou hast said the right, said He, and his muck-rake doth show his carnal mind. And whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to what He says that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in His hand, it is to show that Heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now, whereas, it was also showed thee, that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men’s minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.70
CHRIST. Then said Christiana, O deliver me from this muck-rake!71
INTER. That prayer, Said the Interpreter, has lain by till it is almost rusty. “Give me not riches,” is scarce the prayer of one of ten thousand (Prov. 30:8). Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most, are the great things now looked after.72
With that Mercy and Christiana wept, and said, It is, alas! too true.73
When the Interpreter had shown them this, He has them into the very best room in the house; a very brave room it was. So He bid them look round about, and see if they could find anything profitable there. Then they looked round and round; for there was nothing there to be seen but a very great spider on the wall: and that they overlooked.
MERCY. Then said Mercy, Sir, I see nothing; but Christiana held her peace.
INTER. But, said the Interpreter, look again, and she therefore looked again, and said, Here is not anything but an ugly spider, who hangs by her hands upon the wall. Then said He, Is there but one spider in all this spacious room? Then the water stood in Christiana’s eyes, for she was a woman quick of apprehension; and she said, Yea, Lord, there is here more than one. Yea, and spiders whose venom is far more destructive than that which is in her. The Interpreter then looked pleasantly upon her, and said, Thou hast said the truth. This made Mercy blush, and the boys to cover their faces, for they all began now to understand the riddle.74
Then said the Interpreter again, “The spider taketh hold with their hands (as you see), and is in kings’ palaces’ (Prov. 30:28). And wherefore is this recorded, but to show you, that how full of the venom of sin soever you be, yet you may, by the hand of faith, lay hold of, and dwell in the best room that belongs to the King’s house above!75
CHRIST. I thought, said Christiana, of something of this; but I could not imagine it all. I thought that we were like spiders, and that we looked like ugly creatures, in what fine room soever we were; but that by this spider, this venomous and ill-favoured creature, we were to learn how to act faith, that came not into my mind. And yet she has taken hold with her hands, as I see, and dwells in the best room in the house. God has made nothing in vain.
Then they seemed all to be glad; but the water stood in their eyes; yet they looked one upon another, and also bowed before the Interpreter.
He had them then into another room, where was a hen and chickens, and bid them observe a while. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink, and every time she drank, she lift up her head, and her eyes towards Heaven. See, said He, what this little chick doth, and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by receiving them with looking up. Yet again, said He, observe and look; so they gave heed, and perceived that the hen did walk in a fourfold method towards her chickens. 1. She had a common call, and that she hath all day long. 2. She had a special call, and that she had but sometimes. 3. She had a brooding note. And 4. She had an outcry (Matt. 23:37).
Now, said He, compare this hen to your King, and these chickens to His obedient ones.76 For, answerable to her, Himself has His methods, which He walketh in towards His people; by His common call, He gives nothing; by His special call, He always has something to give; He has also a brooding voice, for them that are under His wing; and He has an outcry, to give the alarm when He seeth the enemy come.77 I chose, My darlings, to lead you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they are easy for you.78
CHRIST. And Sir, said Christiana, pray let us see some more. So He had them into the slaughter-house, where was a butcher killing of a sheep; and behold the sheep was quiet, and took her death patiently. Then said the Interpreter, You must learn of this sheep to suffer, and to put up wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she taketh her death, and without objecting, she suffereth her skin to be pulled over her ears. Your King doth call you His sheep.
After this He led them into His garden, where was great variety of flowers; and he said, Do you see all these? So Christiana Said, Yes. Then said He again, Behold the flowers are diverse in stature, in quality, and colour, and smell, and virtue; and some are better than some; also where the gardener hath set them, there they stand, and quarrel not with one another.79
Again, He had them into His field, which He had sowed with wheat and corn; but when they beheld, the tops of all were cut off, only the straw remained; He said again, This ground was dunged, and ploughed, and sowed; but what shall we do with the crop? Then said Christiana, Burn some, and make muck of the rest. Then Said the Interpreter again, Fruit, you see, is that thing you look for,80 and for want of that you condemn it to the fire, and to be trodden under foot of men: beware that in this you condemn not yourselves.81
Then, as they were coming in from abroad, they espied a little robin with a great spider in his mouth; so the Interpreter said, Look here. So they looked, and Mercy wondered; but Christiana said, What a disparagement is it to such a little pretty bird as the robin-redbreast is, he being also a bird above many, that loveth to maintain a kind of socialbleness with man; I had thought they had lived upon crumbs of bread, or upon other such harmless matter; I like him worse than I did.
The Interpreter then replied, This robin is an emblem, very apt to set forth some professors by; for to sight, they are, as this robin, pretty of note, colour, and carriage. They seem also to have a very great love for professors that are sincere; and above all other, to desire to sociate with them, and to be in their company, as if they could live upon the good man’s crumbs. They pretend also, that therefore it is that they frequent the house of the godly, and the appointments of the Lord; but, when they are by themselves, as the robin, they can catch and gobble up spiders, they can change their diet, drink iniquity, and swallow down sin like water.82
So, when they were come again into the house, because supper as yet was not ready, Christiana again desired that the Interpreter would either show or tell of some other things that are profitable.
Then the Interpreter began, and said, The fatter the sow is, the more she desires the mire; the fatter the ox is, the more gamesomely he goes to the slaughter; and the more healthy the lusty man is, the more prone he is unto evil.
There is a desire in women to go neat and fine, and it is a comely thing to be adorned with that that in God’s sight is of great price.
It is easier watching a night or two, than to sit up a whole year together. So it is easier for one to begin to profess well, than to hold out as he should to the end.
Every shipmaster, when in a storm, will willingly cast that overboard that is of the smallest value in the vessel; but who will throw the best out first? None but he that feareth not God.
One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner.
He that forgets his friend, is ungrateful unto him; but he that forgets his Saviour, is unmerciful to himself.
He that lives in sin, and looks for happiness hereafter, is like him that soweth cockle, and thinks to fill his barn with wheat or barley.
If a man would live well, let him fetch his last day to him, and make it always his company keeper.
Whispering, and change of thoughts, prove that sin is in the world.
If the world, which God sets light by, is counted a thing of that worth with men; what is Heaven, which God commendeth?
If the life that is attended with so many troubles, is so loath to be let go by us, what is the life above?
Everybody will cry up the goodness of men; but who is there that is, as he should, affected with the goodness of God?
We seldom sit down to meat, but we eat and leave; so there is in Jesus Christ more merit and righteousness than the whole world has need of.83
When the Interpreter had done, He takes them out into His garden again, and had them to a tree, whose inside was all rotten and gone, and yet it grew and had leaves. Then said Mercy, What means this? This tree, said He, whose outside is fair, and whose inside is rotten, it is to which many may be compared, that are in the garden of God; who with their mouths speak high in behalf of God, but indeed will do nothing for Him; whose leaves are fair, but their heart good for nothing but to be tinder for the devil’s under box.84
- 60 What are these ill-favoured ones? Such as you will be sure to meet with in your pilgrimage; some vile lusts, or cursed corruptions, which are suited to your carnal nature. These will attack you, and strive to prevail against you. Mind how these pilgrims acted, and follow their example. If one was to fix names to these ill-favoured ones, they might he called Unbelief and Licentiousness, which aim to rob Christ’s virgins of their chastity to Him— (Mason).
- 61 Here we see that the most violent temptation to the greatest evil is not sin, if resisted and not complied with. Our Lord Himself was tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, ye followers of Him, do not be dejected and cut down, though you should be exercised with temptations to the blackest crimes, and the most heinous sins. You cannot be assaulted with worse than your Lord was. He was tempted, but He resisted Satan, and overcame all, in our nature. Cry to Him; He is the Reliever who will come in the hour of distress— (Mason).
- 62 “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2).
- 63 It is well to be taken with present blessings, to be joyful in them, and thankful for them; but it is wrong to forget our dangers, and grow secure— (Mason).
- 64 When the soul is happy in the love of God, it is ready to conclude that dangers are past, that doubts and fears are entirely removed; but as long as we are in this world, we shall find the expediency of our Lord’s exhortation—“Watch and pray.”—(J. B.).
- 65 Here is a display of a truly Christian spirit, in that open and ingenuous confession of her fault, taking all the blame upon herself, and excusing Mercy. This is not natural to us, but the grace of Christ humbles the heart, and silences the tongue to self-justifying pleas. O for more of this precious grace!—(Mason).
- 66 Mark those phrases—“the riches of His grace,” and “His mere good pleasure.” You cannot entertain too exalted ideas of these, nor speak too highly of them. Pilgrims should be known by their language as well as their walk. Those who talk highly of their own perfection, speak little, if at all, of the riches of God’s grace, and the good pleasure of His will. Beware of the infection of pride and self-righteous leaven—(Mason).
- 67 The Holy Spirit, the Interpreter, who was promised by the Lord Jesus to be sent in His name, guides believers into all truth. “And they shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). Humble confession, and serious consecration of heart, are sacrifices acceptable, well-pleasing to God; and such simple-hearted pilgrims are received by the church with a hearty wel “The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come” (Rev. 22:17)—(ED).
- 68 Here is joy indeed, which strangers to the love of Christ intermeddle not with. Surely, this is the joy of Heaven; and if thou hast this joy, thou hast the love that reigns in Heaven. Glory to Jesus, I think I can truly say, I have this blessed evidence in my heart, that I know somewhat of this joy arising from seeing poor lost sinners converted to Jesus, so as to love Him and follow Him. O for a spread and increase of this spirit among Christians of all denominations!—(Mason).
- 69 The emblematical instruction at the Interpreter’s house, in the former part, was so important and comprehensive, that we are astonished at the striking additions here adduced. The first emblem is very plain; and so apposite, that it is wonderful any person should read it without lifting up a prayer to the Lord, and saying, “O deliver me from this muck-rake!”—(Scott, altered by ED). Awful thought! Straws, and sticks, and dust, preferred to Christ and salvation! — “If angels weep, it is at such a sight!”—(Burder).
- 70 Our Lord said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” To be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. If our treasure is in Heaven, we need not envy those griping muck-worms who are cursed in their basket and in their store—(J. B.).
- 71 —The vulture of insatiate minds Still wants, and wanting seeks, and seeking finds New fuel to increase her rav’nous fire. The grave is sooner cloy’d than men’s desire. —(Quarles’ Emblems).
- 72 A full purse and a lean soul, is a sign of a great curse. O it is a sad grant, when the desire is only to make the belly big, the estate big, the name big; when even by this bigness the soul pines, is made to dwindle, to grow lean, and to look like an anatomy! Like a man in a dropsy, they desire this world, as he doth drink, till they desire themselves quite down to hell—(Bunyan’s Desire of the Righteous, vol. 1, p. 767).
- 73 Reader, didst thou never shed a tear for thy base and disingenuous conduct towards thy Lord, in preferring the sticks and straws of this world to the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the salvation of thy immortal soul? O this is natural to us all! and though made wise unto salvation, yet this folly cleaves to our old nature still. Let the thought humble us, and make us weep before the Lord— (Mason).
- 74 They knew the venom of sin which was in their fallen nature. This made them cover their faces with shame, and sink into deep humility of heart. Every true interpreter of God’s Word—yea, the blessed Interpreter of God’s heart, Jesus—will look pleasantly upon such who confess the truth; while He beholds the proud, self-righteous sinner afar off—(Mason).
- 75 Faith apprehends, and then the soul dwells in the best room indeed, even in the very heart of God in Christ. The Lord increase our faith in this precious truth, that we may the more love and glorify the God of grace and truth! O let not our venom of sin deject us, while there is the blood of Christ to cleanse us! O for a stronger love to Christ, and greater hatred of sin! Both spring from believing— (Mason). The emblem of the spider is illustrated in Bunyan’s invaluable treatise on the Resurrection and Eternal Judgment—“The spider will be a witness against man, for she layeth hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces. It is man only that will not lay hold on the kingdom of Heaven, as the spider doth bid him (Prov. 30:28).”—(Vol. 2, p. 111)—(ED). —Call me not ugly thing; God’ wisdom hath unto the pismire given, And spiders may teach men the way to Heaven. (Bunyan’s Emblems).
- 76 It is very humbling to human pride to be compared to chickens, as dependants on the fostering care of the hen, or as children relying upon a parent. In Bunyan’s Last Sermon, are some striking allusions to the Christian’s dependence upon his heavenly Father—“It is natural for a child, if he wants shoes, to tell his father; if he wants bread, they go and tell him. So should the children of God do for spiritual bread—strength of grace—to resist Satan. When the devil tempts you, run home and tell your heavenly Father—pour out your complaints to God; this is natural to children. If any wrong them, they tell their father; so do those that are born of God, when they meet with temptations, they go and tell God of them—(Vol. 2, p. 757)—(ED).
- 77 Common call, the invitations; brooding voice, the promises; outcry, the warnings of the Gospel— (Ivimey).
- 78 Observations and experience justify this excellent simile. God’s common call is to all His creatures who live within the sound of His Gospel. His special call is when He bestows the grace, peace, and pardon of the Gospel of Christ upon His people. The brooding note is when He gathers them under His wings, warms their hearts with the comforts of His love, nourishes their souls with close fellowship with Himself, and refreshes their spirits with the overflowings of joy in the Holy Ghost. “In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice,” says David (Psa. 63:7). “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song. 2:3). O for more of these precious brooding notes, to be gathered under the wing of Immanuel! But be our frames and experiences what they may, still we are ever in danger; for our enemies surround us on every side, and our worst are within us. Therefore our Lord has an outcry; He gives the alarm, calls us, and warns us of danger. Why? That we should flee. O pilgrims, when dangers are near, run unto Him! For “the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10)—(Mason).
- 79 The church is a garden enclosed, Christ is the Gardener, His people are called God’s husbandry. The difference in the plants and flowers shows the different effects of grace upon the heart—(J. B.). When Christians stand everyone in his place, and do their own work, then they are like the flowers in the garden, that stand and grow where the Gardener hath planted them; and then they shall both honour the garden in which they are planted, and the Gardener that hath so disposed of them. From the hyssop in the wall, to the cedar in Lebanon, their fruit is their glory. Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of Heaven; which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each others’ roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another. For Christians to commune savourly of God’s matters one with another, it is as if they opened to each others’ nostrils boxes of perfume. Saith Paul to the church at Rome, “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may he established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Rom. 1:11, 12)—(Bunyan’s Christian Behaviour, vol. 2, pp. 550, 570). I have observed, that as there are herbs and flowers in our gardens, so there are their counterfeits in the field; only they are distinguished from the other by the name of wild ones. There is faith and wild faith; and wild faith is presumption. I call it wild faith, because God never placed it in His garden—His church; it is only to be found in the field—the world—(Bunyan’s Good News, vol. 1, p. 93). We ought not to be contented with a situation among the noxious weeds of the desert; but if we be planted among the ornamental and fragrant flowers of the Lord’s garden, we are honoured indeed. We should watch against envy and ambition, contempt of our brethren and contention. We ought to be satisfied in our places, doing “nothing through strife or vain glory, or with murmurings and disputings”; but endeavour, in the meekness of wisdom, to diffuse a heavenly fragrance around us, and to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things—(Scott).
- 80 The husbandman is not repaid by the straw or chaff. So the sufferings of Christ, the preaching, promises, and ordinances of the Gospel, were not intended to bring men to profess certain doctrines, or observe certain forms; but to render men fruitful in good works, by the influences of the Spirit of Christ. All profession will terminate in everlasting misery, which is not productive of this good fruit. “True religion and undefiled” consists not in forms, creeds, and ceremonies, but is “to visit and comfort the widows and the fatherless”—(Scott).
- 81 This is a necessary caution. Paul says, “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.” James has laid down an excellent rule of conduct—O that it were more attended to!—“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall he judged by the law of liberty.” How inconsistent for a pardoned malefactor to insult even those who are under condemnation! If any man seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue from commending himself and condemning others, this man’s religion is vain. He that judgeth his brother speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law—(J. B.).
- 82 A very striking emblem this, and most pertinently applied; and if your soul is sincere, it will cause a holy fear, create a godly jealousy, put you upon self-examining, and make you sigh out in some such words as David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23, 24). O what will it avail in a dying hour, or in the judgment day, that we have worn the mark of profession, and seemed to man, what we were not in heart and reality of life before God! From all self-deceiving, good Lord, deliver us! for we are naturally prone to it— (Mason).
- 83 This observation is grounded on the good old distinction, that the merit of Christ’s obedience unto death is sufficient all who by faith apply for an interest in it. Nothing but pride, the carnal mind, and enmity to God and religion, influence men to neglect so great salvation; and when the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit accompanies the Word, sinners are made willing to accept the proffered mercy, and encouraged by the invitations which before they sinfully slighted—(Scott).
- 84 That is my very character, says many a doubting, broken hearted sinner. Well, thank God, says many a self-confident, whole-hearted Pharisee, it is far from being mine. We can only say this, he that knows most of his own superlatively deceitful and desperately wicked heart, suspects himself most, and exercises most godly jealousy over himself; while persons, who see least of themselves, are most self-confident and daring. Even Judas could as boldly ask, “Master, is it I” who shall betray Thee? as any of the rest of His disciples—(Mason).
Now supper was ready, the table spread, and all things set on the board; so they sat down and did eat, when one had given thanks. And the Interpreter did usually entertain those that lodged with Him, with music at meals; so the minstrels played. There was also one that did sing, and a very fine voice he had. His song was this:
The Lord is only my support,
And he that doth me feed;
How can I then want anything
Whereof I stand in need?
When the song and music was ended,85 the Interpreter asked Christiana what it was that at first did move her to betake herself to a Pilgrim’s life. Christiana answered, First, the loss of my husband came into my mind, at which I was heartily grieved; but all that was but natural affection. Then, after that, came the troubles and pilgrimage of my husband into my mind, and also how like a churl I had carried it to him as to that. So guilt took hold of my mind, and would have drawn me into the pond; but that opportunely I had a dream of the well-being of my husband, and a letter sent me by the King of that country where my husband dwells, to come to Him. The dream and the letter together so wrought upon my mind, that they forced me to this way.
INTER. But met you with no opposition before you set out of doors?
CHRIST. Yes, a neighbour of mine, one Mrs. Timorous (she was akin to him that would have persuaded my husband to go back, for fear of the lions). She all to befooled me for, as she called it, my intended desperate adventure; she also urged what she could to dishearten me to it; the hardship and troubles that my husband met with in the way, but all this I got over pretty well.86 But a dream that I had of two ill-looked ones, that I thought did plot how to make me miscarry in my journey, that hath troubled me much; yea, it still runs in my mind, and makes me afraid of everyone that I meet, lest they should meet me to do me a mischief, and to turn me out of the way. Yea, I may tell my Lord, though I would not have everybody know it, that between this and the gate by which we got into the way, we were both so sorely assaulted that we were made to cry out, Murder! and the two them made this assault upon us were like the two that I saw in my dream.
Then said the Interpreter, thy beginning is good, thy latter end shall greatly increase. So He addressed Himself to Mercy, and said unto her, And what moved thee to come hither, sweet heart?
Then Mercy blushed and trembled, and for a while continued silent.
INTER. Then, said He, be not afraid, only believe, and speak thy mind.
MERCY. So she began, and said, Truly, Sir, my want of experience is that which makes me covet to be in silence, and that also that fills me with fears of coming short at last. I cannot tell of visions and dreams as my friend Christiana can; nor know I what it is to mourn for my refusing of the counsel of those that were good relations.87
INTER. What was it then, dear heart, that hath prevailed with thee to do as thou hast done?
MERCY. Why, when our friend here was packing up to be gone from our town, I and another went accidentally to see her; so we knocked at the door and went in. When we were within, and seeing what she was doing, we asked what was her meaning. She said, she was sent for to go to her husband; and then she up and told us how she had seen him in a dream, dwelling in a curious place, among immortals, wearing a crown, playing upon a harp, eating and drinking at his Prince’s table, and singing praises to Him for bringing him thither, &c. Now, methought, while she was telling these things unto us, my heart burned within me; and I said in my heart, If this be true, I will leave my father and my mother, and the land of my nativity, and will, if I may, go along with Christiana.
So I asked her further of the truth of these things, and if she would let me go with her; for I saw now that there was no dwelling, but with the danger of ruin, any longer in our town. But yet I came away with a heavy heart, not for that I was unwilling to come away, but for that so many of my relations were left behind.
And I am come, with all the desire of my heart, and will go, if I may, with Christiana, unto her husband, and his King.88
INTER. Thy setting out is good, for thou hast given credit to the truth.89 Thou art a Ruth, who did, for the love she bare to Naomi, and to the Lord her God, leave father and mother, and the land of her nativity, to come out, and go with a people that she knew not heretofore. “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust” (Ruth 2:12).
Now supper was ended, and preparation was made for bed; the women were laid singly alone, and the boys by themselves. Now when Mercy was in bed, she could not sleep for joy, for that now her doubts of missing at last, were removed further from her than ever they were before. So she lay blessing and praising God, who had had such favour for her.
In the morning they rose with the sun, and prepared themselves for their departure; but the Interpreter would have them tarry awhile, for, said He, you must orderly go from hence. Then, said He to the damsel that first opened unto them, Take them and have them into the garden to the bath, and there wash them, and make them clean from the soil which they have gathered by travelling. Then Innocent the damsel took them, and had them into the garden, and brought them to the bath; so she told them that there they must wash and be clean, for so her Master would have the women to do that called at His house, as they were going on pilgrimage. They then went in and washed, yea, they and the boys and all; and they came out of that bath, not only sweet and clean, but also much enlivened and strengthened in their joints.90 So when they came in, they looked fairer a deal than when they went out to the washing.91
When they were returned out of the garden from the bath, the Interpreter took them, and looked upon them, and said unto them, Fair as the moon. Then he called for the seal, wherewith they used to be sealed that were washed in His bath. So the seal was brought, and He set His mark upon them, that they might be known in the places whither they were yet to go. Now the seal was the contents and sum of the passover which the children of Israel did eat when they came out from the land of Egypt, and the mark was set between their eyes.92 This seal greatly added to their beauty, for it was an ornament to their faces. It also added to their gravity, and made their countenances more like them of angels93 (Exo. 13:8-10).
- 85 Ivimey supposes this to be intended by Mr. Bunyan to show his approbation of the practice of singing in public worship. It was then a custom which had been recently introduced, and was a subject of strong controversy. Soon after Bunyan’s death, Benjamin Keach vindicated the practice, by proving that singing is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, in answer to Marlowe’s Discourse against Singing. It must not be forgotten, that our pilgrim forefathers generally met in secret, and that singing would have exposed them to imminent peril of their lives. Now we have no such fear; we can unite heart and voice in the language of Dr. Watts— “Lord, how delightful ‘tis to see A whole assembly worship Thee! At once they sing.” – – That is, when singing men or women do not prevent the godly from uniting in this delightful part of Divine worship by introducing new tunes, to sing to the praise and glory of themselves. Let such as are guilty of this solemnly ask the question, Was the late Mr. Huntingdon right in estimating their piety at less than twopence per dozen?—(ED).
- 86 Ah, Mrs. Timorous, how many professed pilgrims hast thou befooled and turned back! How often does she attack and affright many real pilgrims! I am sure she has often made my poor heart ache with her ghastly looks and terrifying speeches. O may we ever say to her, in our Lord’s words, “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23)—(Mason).
- 87 A very simple and artless confession. The Lord works very differently upon His elect; but always to the same end, namely, to make us prize Christ, His salvation and His ways, and to abhor ourselves, the paths of sin, and to cast off all self-righteous hopes. If this is effected in thy heart, reader, it is no matter whether thou canst tell of visions and dreams, or talk high of experiences. Where the soul is rooted and grounded in the knowledge of Christ, and love to His ways, though there may be many fears, yet this is an indubitable proof of a real and sincere pilgrim—(Mason).
- 88 They who are acquainted with the manner in which persons are received into Congregational churches, by relating a verbal account of their experience, will recognize in this narrative a resemblance to that practice. Christiana, a grave matron, appears to have felt no difficulty in complying with the requisition; but Mercy, young and inexperienced, blushed and trembled, and for awhile continued silent. Their profession being approved, the readiness of the church to receive them is expressed by the warmest wishes for their spiritual prosperity—(Ivimey).
- 89 “Thou hast given credit to the truth”; what is this but faith—the faith of the operation of God? But some may ask, What! is justifying, saving faith, nothing more than a belief of the truth? If so, the very devils believe; yea, more, they tremble also. True; but mind how Mercy’s faith wrought by her works. She fled for refuge to the hope set before her in the Gospel. She fled from sin, from the City of Destruction, to Christ for salvation. Though she had not the joy of faith, yet she followed on to know the Lord, walking in His ways, and hoping for comfort from the Lord in His due time. O! if thou hast a grain of this precious faith in thy heart, bless Jesus for it, and go on thy way rejoicing— (Mason).
- 90 Ivimey considers that this bath in the garden refers to the baptism of the pilgrims by immersion, after having related their experience, as a publicly putting on of Christ. “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Innocent says that “her Master would have them do”; and they went out into the garden to the bath, and were much enlivened by it. Bunyan left it to the convert to act for himself as to water-baptism; all that he required, as a prerequisite to church-communion, was the new birth, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He calls this the “bath of sanctification”; no Christian considers water-baptism a source of sanctification; it is only the outward sign. It must be left to the reader’s candid judgment to decide whether baptism, upon a profession of faith, is here intended by that that the Master would have them do—(ED).
- 91 There is no travelling on pilgrimage without gathering soil. There are no pilgrims but daily need to have recourse to this bath of sanctification—the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7). Christ is the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. 13:1). Christ is the soul’s only bath. As all baths are for the purification of the body, such is this bath to our soul. But unless a bath be used, this cannot be effected; so, unless we have recourse to Christ, we cannot enjoy the purification of the soul; but the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, convinces us of sin, shows us our fresh-contracted spots and defilements, and leads us to the blood of the Lamb. O how does this enliven and strengthen our souls, by filling our conscience with joy and peace in believing!—(Mason).
- 92 Baptism and the Lord’s Supper I receive and own as signs of the covenant of grace; the former as a sign of our engrafting into Christ, and the latter to show forth His death, as an emblem or type of the benefits purchased thereby to His church and people—(Philip Henry, altered by ED).
- 93 This means the sealing of the Spirit, whereby they were sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). O this is blessed sealing! None know the comfort and joy of it but those who have experienced it. It confirms our faith, establishes our hope, and in-flames our affections to God the Father for His everlasting love, to God the Son for His everlasting atonement and righteousness, and to God the Spirit for His enlightening mercy, regenerating grace, quickening, sanctifying, testifying, and assuring influences, whereby we know that we are the children of God; for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). All the comfort of our souls lies in keeping this seal clear in our view. Therefore grieve not the Holy Spirit—(Mason).
Then said the Interpreter again to the damsel that waited upon these women, Go into the vestry and fetch out garments for these people; so she went and fetched out white raiment, and laid down before Him; so He commanded them to put it on. “It was fine linen, white and clean.” When the women were thus adorned, they seemed to be a terror one to the other; for that they could not see that glory each one on herself, which they could see in each other. Now, therefore, they began to esteem each other better than themselves. “For you are fairer than I am,” said one; and “you are more comely than I am,” said another.94 The children also stood amazed to see into what fashion they were brought.95
The Interpreter then called for a man-servant of His, one Great-heart, and bid him take sword, and helmet, and shield; and take these My daughters, said He, and conduct them to the house called Beautiful, at which place they will rest next.96 So he took his weapons and went before them; and the Interpreter said, God speed. Those also that belonged to the family, sent them away with many a good wish. So they went on their way and sang—
This place has been our second stage;
Here we have heard and seen
Those good things that, from age to age,
To others hid have been.
The dunghill-racer, spider, hen,
The chicken, too, to me
Hath taught a lesson; let me then
Conformed to it be.
The butcher, garden, and the field,
The robin and his bait,
Also the rotten tree doth yield
Me argument of weight;
To move me for to watch and pray,
To strive to be sincere;
To take my cross up day by day,
And serve the Lord with fear.
Now I saw in my dream, that they went on, and Great-heart went before them: so they went and came to the place where Christian’s burden fell off his back, and tumbled into a sepulchre. Here then they made a pause; and here also they blessed God. Now, said Christiana, it comes to my mind, what was said to us at the gate, to wit, that we should have pardon by word and deed; by word, that is, by the promise; by deed, to wit, in the way it was obtained. What the promise is, of that I know something; but what it is to have pardon by deed, or in the way that it was obtained, Mr. Great-heart, I suppose you know; wherefore, if you please, let us hear you discourse thereof.
GREAT-HEART. Pardon by the deed done, is pardon obtained by someone, for another that hath need thereof: not by the person pardoned, but in the way, saith another, in which I have obtained it. So then, to speak to the question more at large, the pardon that you and Mercy, and these boys have attained, was obtained by another, to wit, by Him that let you in at the gate; and He hath obtained it in this double way. He has performed righteousness to cover you, and spilt blood to wash you in.97
CHRIST. But if He parts with His righteousness to us, what will He have for Himself?
GREAT-HEART. He has more righteousness than you have need of, or than He needeth Himself.
CHRIST. Pray make that appear.
GREAT-HEART. With all my heart; but first I must premise, that He of whom we are now about to speak is one that has not His fellow. He has two natures in one Person, plain to be distinguished, impossible to be divided. Unto each of these natures a righteousness belongeth, and each righteousness is essential to that nature; so that one may as easily cause the nature to be extinct, as to separate its justice or righteousness from it. Of these righteousnesses, therefore, we are not made partakers, so as that they, or any of them, should be put upon us, that we might be made just, and live thereby. Besides these, there is a righteousness which this Person has, as these two natures are joined in one: and this is not the righteousness of the Godhead, as distinguished from the manhood; nor the righteousness of the manhood, as distinguished from the Godhead; but a righteousness which standeth in the union of both natures, and may properly be called, the righteousness that is essential to His being prepared of God to the capacity of the mediatory office, which He was to be intrusted with. If He parts with His first righteousness, He parts with His Godhead; if He parts with His second righteousness, He parts with the purity of His manhood; if He parts with this third, He parts with that perfection that capacitates Him to the office of mediation. He has, therefore, another righteousness, which standeth in performance, or obedience, to a revealed will; and that is it that He puts upon sinners, and that by which their sins are covered. Wherefore He saith, “As by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous”98 (Rom. 5:19).
CHRIST. But are the other righteousnesses of no use to us?
GREAT-HEART. Yes; for though they are essential to His natures and office and so cannot be communicated unto another, yet it is by virtue of them, that the righteousness that justifies, is, for that purpose, efficacious. The righteousness of His Godhead gives virtue to His obedience; the righteousness of His manhood giveth capability to His obedience to justify; and the righteousness that standeth in the union of these two natures to His office, giveth authority to that righteousness to do the work for which it is ordained.
So then, here is a righteousness that Christ, as God, has no need of, for He is God without it; here is a righteousness that Christ, as man, has no need of to make Him so, for He is perfect man without it; again, here is a righteousness that Christ, as God-man, has no need of, for He is perfectly so without it. Here, then, is a righteousness that Christ, as God, as man, as God-man, has no need of, with reference to Himself, and therefore He can spare it; a justifying righteousness, that He for Himself wanteth not, and therefore He giveth it away; hence it is called “the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 5:17). This righteousness, since Christ Jesus the Lord has made Himself under the law, must be given away; for the law doth not only bind him that is under it “to do justly,” but to use charity. Wherefore he must, he ought, by the law, if he hath two coats, to give one to him that hath none. Now, our Lord, indeed, hath two coats, one for Himself, and one to spare; wherefore He freely bestows one upon those that have none. And thus, Christiana, and Mercy, and the rest of you that are here, doth your pardon come by deed, or by the work of another man. Your Lord Christ is He that has worked, and has given away what he wrought for, to the next poor beggar He meets.99
But, again, in order to pardon by deed, there must something be paid to God as a price, as well as something prepared to cover us withal. Sin has delivered us up to the just curse of a righteous law; now, from this curse we must be justified by way of redemption, a price being paid for the harms we have done (Rom. 4:24); and this is by the blood of your Lord, who came and stood in your place and stead, and died your death for your transgressions (Gal. 3:13). Thus has He ransomed you from your transgressions by blood, and covered your polluted and deformed souls with righteousness. For the sake of which, God passeth by you, and will not hurt you, when He comes to judge the world.
CHRIST. This is brave. Now, I see there was something to be learned by our being pardoned by word and deed. Good Mercy, let us labour to keep this in mind; and my children, do you remember it also. But, Sir, was not this it that made my good Christian’s burden fall from off his shoulder, and that made him give three leaps for joy?100
GREAT-HEART. Yes, it was the belief of this, that cut those strings, that could not be cut by other means; and it was to give him a proof of the virtue of this, that he was suffered to carry his burden to the Cross.
- 94 They who have put on this raiment are clothed with humility; they readily perceive the excellence of other believers, but can only discern their own in the glass of God’s Word. At the same time, they become very observant of their own defects, and severe in condemning them, but proportionally candid to their brethren; and thus they learn the hard lesson of esteeming others better than themselves—(Scott).
- 95 This is always the case when souls are clothed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. They are little, low, and mean in their own eyes, and they esteem each other better than themselves; whereas they who at all look to, or depend upon, their own righteousness for their clothing and justification before God, always look down with an air of supercilious contempt upon others who they think are not so righteous as themselves. Lord, hide self-righteous pride from my heart, and sink me into the depth of humility, that I may ever glory in Thee, in whom I am perfectly righteous!—(Mason). See also Romans 6:1-5, and Galatians 3:27—(Ivimey).
- 96 The conductor, named Great-heart, is a Gospel minister under the direction of the Holy Spirit; courageous, armed with the sword of the Spirit, enjoying the hope of salvation, and defended by the shield of faith—(Barder).
- 97 This is the comfort, joy, and glorying of a pilgrim’s heart. Hath Jesus performed righteousness to cover us, and spilled blood to wash us? Have we the faith of this? O how ought we to love Him, rejoice in Him, and study to glorify Him in every step of our pilgrimage!—(Mason).
- 98 Here Bunyan gives a very clear and distinct account of that righteousness of Christ, as Mediator, which He wrought out by His perfect obedience to the law of God for all His seed. And by this righteousness, and no other, are they fully justified from all condemnation in the sight of God. Reader, study this point deeply, so as to be established in it. It is the essence of the Gospel, enters into the life and joy of faith, brings relief to the conscience, and influence to the love of the Lord our Righteousness; and so brings forth the fruits of righteousness which are by Him to the praise and glory of God, and administers Divine consolation in the hour of death—(Mason).
- 99 Is there righteousness in Christ? That is mine, the believer may say. Did He bleed for sins? It was for mine. Hath He overcome the law, the devil, and hell? The victory is mine. And I do count this a most glorious life?—Sometimes (I bless the Lord) my soul hath this life not only imputed to me, but the glory of it upon my spirit. Upon a time, when I was under many condemnings of heart, and fearing I should miss glory, methought I felt such a secret motion as this—Thy righteousness is in Heaven. The splendour and shining of the Spirit of grace upon my soul, gave me to see clearly that my righteousness, by which I should be justified, was the Son of God Himself representing me before the mercy-seat in His own Person; so that I saw clearly, that day and night, wherever I was, and whatever I was doing, there was my righteousness, just before the eyes of the Divine glory, and continually at the right hand of God. At another time, whilst musing, being afraid to die, these words came upon my soul, “Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ.” This stayed my heart. And thus is the sinner made alive from the dead, by being justified through the righteousness of Christ, which is unto all and upon all them that believe—(Bunyan’s Law and Grace).
- 100 Sometimes I have been so loaden with my sins, that I could not tell where to rest, nor what to do; yea, at such times, I thought it would have taken away my senses; yet, at that time, God through grace hath all on a sudden so effectually applied the blood that was spilt at Mount Calvary out of the side of Jesus, unto my poor, wounded, guilty conscience, that presently I have found such a sweet, solid, sober, heart-comforting peace, that I have been in a strait to think that I should love and honour Him no more. Sometimes my sins have appeared as big as all the sins of all the men in the nation—(reader, these things be not fancies, for I have smarted for this experience); but yet the least stream of the heart-blood Jesus hath vanished all away, and I have been delivered up into sweet and heavenly peace and joy in the Holy Ghost— (Bunyan’s Law and Grace, vol. 1, p. 549).
CHRIST. I thought so; for though my heart was lightful and joyous before, yet it is ten times more lightsome and joyous now. And I am persuaded by what I have felt, though I have felt but little as yet, that if the most burdened man in the world was here, and did see and believe as I now do, it would make his heart the more merry and blithe.101
GREAT-HEART. There is not only comfort, and the ease of a burden brought to us, by the sight and consideration of these, but an endeared affection begot in us by it; for who can, if he doth but once think that pardon comes not only by promise, but thus, but be affected with the way and means of his redemption, and so, with the Man that hath wrought it for him?
CHRIST. True; methinks it makes my heart bleed to think that He should bleed for me. O Thou loving One! O Thou blessed One! Thou deservest to have me; Thou hast bought me; Thou deservest to have me all; Thou hast paid for me ten thousand times more than I am worth! No marvel that this made the water stand in my husband’s eyes, and that it made him trudge so nimbly on; I am persuaded he wished me with him; but, vile wretch that I was, I let him come all alone. O Mercy, that thy father and mother were here; yea, and Mrs. Timorous also; nay, I wish now with all my heart, that here was Madam Wanton too. Surely, surely their hearts would be affected; nor could the fear of the one, nor the powerful lusts of the other, prevail with them to go home again, and to refuse to become good pilgrims.102
GREAT-HEART. You speak now in the warmth of your affections. Will it, think you, be always thus with you? Besides, this is not communicated to everyone that did see your Jesus bleed. There were that stood by, and that saw the blood run from His heart to the ground, and yet were so far off this, that, instead of lamenting, they laughed at Him; and, instead of becoming His disciples, did harden their hearts against Him. So that all that you have, my daughters, you have by a peculiar impression made by a Divine contemplating upon what I have spoken to you. Remember that it was told you, that the hen, by her common call, gives no meat to her chickens. This you have, therefore, by a special grace.103
Now, I saw still in my dream, that they went on until they were come to the place that Simple, and Sloth, and Presumption,104 lay and slept in, when Christian went by on pilgrimage; and, behold, they were hanged up in irons a little way off on the other side.105
MERCY. Then said Mercy to him that was their guide and conductor, What are those three men? and for what are they hanged there?
GREAT-HEART. These three men were men of very bad qualities. They had no mind to be pilgrims themselves, and whosoever they could they hindered. They were for sloth and folly themselves, and whoever they could persuade with, they made so too; and, withal, taught them to presume that they should do well at last. They were asleep when Christian went by; and now you go by, they are hanged.106
MERCY. But could they persuade any to be of their opinion?
GREAT-HEART. Yes; they turned several out of the way. There was Slow-pace that they persuaded to do as they. They also prevailed with one Short-wind, with one No-heart, with one Linger-after-lust, and with one Sleepy-head, and with a young woman, her name was Dull, to turn out of the way, and become as they. Besides, they brought up an ill report of your Lord, persuading others that He was a taskmaster. They also brought up an evil report of the good land, saying it was not half so good as some pretend it was. They also began to vilify His servants, and to count the very best of them meddlesome, troublesome, busybodies. Further, they could call the bread of God husks; the comforts of His children, fancies; the travel and labour of pilgrims, things to no purpose.107
CHRIST. Nay, said Christiana, if they were such, they shall never be bewailed by me. They have but what they deserve; and I think it is well that they hang so near the highway, that others may see and take warning. But had it not been well if their crimes had been engraven on some plate of iron or brass, and left here, even where they did their mischiefs, for a caution to other bad men?
GREAT-HEART. So it is, as you well may perceive, if you will go a little to the wall.
MERCY. No, no; let them hang, and their names rot, and their crimes live forever against them. I think it a high favour that they were hanged before we came hither; who knows else what they might have done to such poor women as we are? Then she turned it into a song, saying—
Now then, you three, hang there, and be a sign
To all that shall against the truth combine.
And let him that comes after fear this end,
If unto pilgrims he is not a friend.
And thou, my soul, of all such men beware,
That unto holiness opposers are.
Thus they went on, till they came at the foot of the Hill Difficulty,108 where, again, their good friend, Mr. Great-heart, took an occasion to tell them of what happened there when Christian himself went by. So he had them first to the spring. Lo, said he, this is the spring that Christian drank of, before he went up this hill; and then it was clear and good, but now it is dirty with the feet of some that are not desirous that pilgrims here should quench their thirst (Ezek. 34:18). Thereat Mercy said, And why so envious, trow? But, said their guide, it will do, if taken up, and put into a vessel that is sweet and good; for then the dirt will sink to the bottom, and the water come out by itself more clear.109 Thus, therefore, Christiana and her companions were compelled to do. They took it up, and put it into an earthen pot, and so let it stand till the dirt was gone to the bottom, and then they drank thereof.110
Next, he showed them the two by-ways that were at the foot of the hill, where Formality and Hypocrisy lost themselves. And, said he, these are dangerous paths. Two were here cast away when Christian came by. And although, as you see, these ways are since stopped up with chains, posts, and a ditch, yet there are that will choose to adventure here, rather than take the pains to go up this hill.111
CHRIST. “The way of transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15). It is a wonder that they can get into those ways without danger of breaking their necks.
GREAT-HEART. They will venture. Yea, if at any time any of the King’s servants do happen to see them, and do call unto them, and tell them that they are in the wrong ways, and do bid them beware the danger, then they will railingly return them answer, and say, “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth,” &c. (Jer. 44:16, 17). Nay, if you look a little further, you shall see that these ways are made cautionary enough, not only by these posts, and ditch, and chain; but also by being hedged up, yet they will choose to go there.112
CHRIST. They are idle; they love not to take pains; uphill way is unpleasant to them. So it is fulfilled unto them as it is written, “The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns” (Prov. 15:19). Yea, they will rather choose to walk upon a snare, than to go up this hill, and the rest of this way to the city.
Then they set forward, and began to go up the hill, and up the hill they went; but before they got to the top, Christiana began to pant; and said, I dare say, this is a breathing hill. No marvel if they that love their ease more than their souls, choose to themselves a smoother way.113 Then said Mercy, I must sit down; also the least of the children began to cry. Come, come, said Great-heart, sit not down here, for a little above is the Prince’s arbour. Then took he the little boy by the hand, and led him up thereto.
When they were come to the arbour, they were very willing to sit down, for they were all in a pelting heat. Then said Mercy, How sweet is rest to them that labour114 (Matt. 11:28). And how good is the Prince of pilgrims, to provide such resting-places for them! Of this arbour I have heard much; but I never saw it before. But here let us beware of sleeping; for, as I have heard, for that it cost poor Christian dear.
Then said Mr. Great-heart to the little ones, Come, my pretty boys, how do you do? What think you now of going on pilgrimage? Sir, said the least, I was almost beat out of heart? but I thank you for lending me a hand at my need.115 And I remember now what my mother hath told me, namely, that the way to Heaven is as up a ladder, and the way to hell is as down a hill. But I had rather go up the ladder to life, than down the hill to death.116
Then said Mercy, But the proverb is, To go down the hill is easy. But James said (for that was his name), The day is coming, when, in my opinion, going down hill will be the hardest of all. ’Tis a good boy, said his Master, thou hast given her a right answer. Then Mercy smiled; but the little boy did blush.117
CHRIST. Come, said Christiana, will you eat a bit, a little to sweeten your mouths, while you sit here to rest your legs? For I have here a piece of pomegranate, which Mr. Interpreter put in my hand, just when I came out of His doors. He gave me also a piece of a honeycomb, and a little bottle of spirits. I thought He gave you something, said Mercy, because He called you aside. Yes; so He did, said the other. But, said Christiana, it shall still be, as I said it should, when at first we came from home, thou shalt be a sharer in all the good that I have, because thou so willingly didst become my companion. Then she gave to them, and they did eat, both Mercy and the boys. And, said Christiana to Mr. Great-heart, Sir, will you do as we? But he answered, You are going on pilgrimage, and presently I shall return. Much good may what you have do to you. At home I eat the same every day. Now, when they had eaten and drank, and had chatted a little longer, their guide said to them. The day wears away, if you think good, let us prepare to be going. So they got up to go, and the little boys went before. But Christiana forgot to take her bottle of spirits with her; so she sent her little boy back to fetch it. Then said Mercy, I think this is a losing place. Here Christian lost his roll; and here Christiana left her bottle behind her. Sir, what is the cause of this? So their guide made answer, and said, The cause is sleep or forgetfulness. Some sleep when they should keep awake; and some forget when they should remember; and this is the very cause why, often at the resting-places, some pilgrims, in some things, come off losers. Pilgrims should watch, and remember what they have already received under their greatest enjoyments; but for want of doing so, ofttimes their rejoicing ends in tears, and their sunshine in a cloud.118 Witness the story of Christian at this place.119
When they were come to the place where Mistrust and Timorous met Christian to persuade him to go back for fear of the lions, they perceived as it were a stage, and before it, towards the road, a broad plate, with a copy of verses written thereon, and underneath, the reason of raising up of that stage in that place, rendered. The verses were these—
Let him who sees this stage take heed
Unto his heart and tongue;
Lest if he do not, here he speed,
As some have long agone.
The words underneath the verses were, “This stage, was built to punish such upon, who through Timorousness or Mistrust, shall be afraid to go further on pilgrimage; also, on this stage, both Mistrust and Timorous were burned through the tongue with a hot iron, for endeavouring to hinder Christian in his journey.”120
- 101 While the soul lives upon the sweet impressions which are made by the application of the promises, it may be said to live upon frames and feelings; for as its comforts abate, so will its confidence. The heart can never be established in grace, till the understanding is enlightened to discern what it is to have pardon by the deed done—(J. B.).
- 102 O brave Christiana! See what it is to have one’s heart inflamed with a sense of the love of Christ. Christiana thinks everyone would naturally be affected as she was, if they were present; but she forgets that which she sees and feels is of special, peculiar, distinguishing grace—(Mason). Shall I have my sins and lose my soul? Would not Heaven be better to me than my sins?—the company of God, Christ, saints, and angels, than the company of Cain, Judas, Balaam, with the devils, in the furnace of fire? Canst thou now that readest, or hearest these lines, turn thy back, and go on in thy sins?—(Bunyan’s Law and Grace, vol. 1, p. 575). Reader, thus would Christiana plead with ungodly relatives and friends; and if thou art in such a case, wilt thou not listen to such a plea?—(ED).
- 103 Mind how tenderly Great-heart deals with warm-hearted Christiana. He does not attempt to throw cold water upon the fire of her affections, but gently insinuates, 1. The peculiar frame of the mind she speaks from; 2. Suggests that she must not always expect to be in such raptures; and, 3. Reminds her that her indulgences were of a peculiar nature, not common to all, but bestowed upon the faithful in Christ only; and that, therefore, amidst all her joyful feelings, she should know to whom she was indebted for them, and give all the glory to the God of all grace—(Mason).
- 104 Simple, contented in gross ignorance; Sloth, an indolence which smothers all conviction; Presumption, carnal security, which hardens against reproof—(Andronicus). These are the great opposers of vital religion. The end of these things is death—(Barder).
- 105 It was a custom, to a late period, to hang up murderers in irons, until the body dropped to pieces; that such terrible examples might deter others from the like crimes; hence, under the old wood-cut illustrating this passage, is written— “Behold here how the slothful are a sign, Hung up, because holy ways they did decline.” —(ED).
- 106 God, as it were, gibbets some professors, and causes their names and characters to be publicly exhibited, as a terror to others, and as a warning to His own people—(Mason). The dreadful falls and awful deaths of some professors are to put others upon their guard against superficial, slothful, and presumptuous hopes. The real occasion of turning aside lies in the concealed lusts of the heart— (Scott).
- 107 Let us consider the characters of these three professors: 1. Here is a Simple, a foolish credulous professor, ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth, so as to believe it, love it, and be established on it; hence liable to be carried away by every wind of doctrine. 2. Sloth, a quiet, easy professor, who never disturbs anyone by his diligence in the Word of God, nor his zeal for the truths and glory of God. 3. Presumption, one who expects salvation in the end, without the means prescribed by God for attaining it. O beware of these three sorts of professors, for they turn many aside!—(Mason).
- 108 What is meant by the Hill Difficulty? Christiana has set out from Destruction, been received and encouraged at the wicket-gate, and directed on her journey. The path is comparatively easy, until she is about to put on a public profession, by joining a church. This is situated upon the summit of this hill of difficult ascent. Is it intended to represent that prayerful, watchful, personal investigation into Divine truth, which ought to precede churchfellowship? Nothing is more difficult to flesh and blood than to be compelled, upon pain of endless ruin, to think for ourselves on matters of religion. The formalist and hypocrite follow the persuasions of man, and take an easier path, and are lost. The fear of man causes some to abandon the ascent. Dr. Cheever has, in his Hill Difficulty, very happily described the energy that is needful to enable the pilgrim to make the ascent. He forcibly proves the utter impossibility of making the ascent by ceremonial observances, or while encumbered with worldly cares or pride in trinkets of gold and costly array. He reminds us of the solemn advice of Peter, “be ye built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Every weight must be set aside, and salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling—(ED).
- 109 The river of life is pure and clear as crystal. Is the doctrine offered to thee so? Or is it muddy, and mixed with the doctrines of men? Look, man, and see, if the foot of the worshippers of Baal be not there, and the water fouled thereby. What water is fouled is not the water of life, or at least not in its clearness. Wherefore, if thou findest it not right, go up higher towards the spring-head, for nearer the spring the more pure and clear is the water— (Bunyan’s Water of Life).
- 110 This represents to us that some preachers, as the Prophet says, foul the water with their feet (Ezek. 24:18); that is, though they preach somewhat about Christ, and salvation by Him, yet they so clog, mire, and pollute the stream of free grace, with pre-requisites, terms, and conditions, that the poor thirsty soul cannot drink the water, nor allay his thirst with it; but is forced to let it stand, till these gross dregs sink to the bottom. Yea, we ought to beware of drinking such filthy dregs; for they will certainly swell us up with the company of pride of our free will, human merit, and self-righteousness, which oppose the glory of Jesus, and comfort of our souls—(Mason).
- 111 Although the cautious of Holy Writ are plain as posts and chains, and the warnings as a ditch, and the solemn threatenings of the New Testament against pharisaic formalism and hypocrisy are like a hedge, to prevent pilgrims wandering into paths that end in eternal misery, yet there are many who break through all these merciful restraints, and rush upon destruction—(ED).
- 112 Examine, which do you like better, self-soothing or soul-searching doctrine? Formalists and hypocrites love the former, and hate the latter. But the sincere and upright are discovered by desiring to have their hearts searched to the quick, and their ways tried to the utmost; and, therefore, with David will cry, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 129:23, 24)—(Mason).
- 113 Heart-work is hard work; it is hard work to be stripped; it is hard work to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. It is hard work to fight the fight of faith; it is hard work against hope to believe in hope. A formalist and hypocrite will go, in outward things, as far as the real Christian; but touch him on the inward work, and he will start aside—(J. B.).
- 114 He who is a stranger to the hard work of self-denial, and how difficult it is to the flesh, knows not what this Hill Difficulty means; for the nearer to the arbour of Jesus’ rest, the more difficulties in the way, but the sweeter it is when attained—(Mason).
- 115 Regard not in thy pilgrimage how difficult the passage is, but whither it tends; not how delicate the journey is, but where it ends. If it be easy, suspect it; if hard, endure it. He that cannot excuse a bad way, accuseth his own sloth; and he that sticks in a bad passage, can never attain a good journey’s end—(Quarles’ Enchiridion).
- 116 There were stairs in the temple, and but one pair, and these winding. He that went up must turn with the stairs. This is a type of a twofold repentance; that by which we turn from nature to grace, and that by which we turn from the imperfections of a state of grace to glory. But this turning and turning still, displeases some much. They say it makes them giddy; but I say, Nothing like this to make a man steady. A straight stair is like the ladder that leads to the gallows. They are turning stairs that lead to the heavenly mansion. Stay not at their foot; but go up them, and up them, and up them, till you come to Heaven—(Bunyan’s Solomon’s Temple).
- 117 When we are praised, a conscious blush should pervade us, well knowing how much we have to be ashamed of. But some have got such vain confidence in their own righteousness, merits, and perfection, that they have hereby got what the Scriptures call a whore’s forehead, and refuse to be ashamed (Jer. 3:3). O cry to the Lord continually against spiritual pride, and for an humble heart, knowing thyself to be a poor sinner!—(Mason).
- 118 Eve looking first into those worthy privileges which God had given her, and dilating delightfully of them before the devil, she lost the dread of the command from off her heart, which Satan perceiving, now added to his former forged doubt a plain and flat denial—“Ye shall not surely die.” When people dally with the devil, and sit too near their outward advantages, they fall into temptation—(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 429).
- 119 Reader, mind this well, remember it often, and it will do thee good. I am a witness against myself, of how much I have lost by indulging the flesh, and how much I have suffered by forgetfulness. But O what a gracious Lord do we serve! this is no excuse for our folly, but an aggravation of our faults; and ought to sink us lower in shame, and to excite us to greater care, diligence, and watchfulness; else we shall surely smart for our folly, if not in hell, yet in our consciences—(Mason).
- 120 This may refer to the awful end of one of Bunyan’s early friends, who became a notorious apostate— one John Child, whose sufferings were published with those of Spira. Child was so afraid of persecution, as to give up his profession; and then, overwhelmed by despair, he committed suicide. Or to such an one as the professor, in the Marian days, who recanted to save burning, but who was burnt to death by his house catching fire—(Ivimey).
Then said Mercy, This is much like to the saying of the Beloved, “What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper” (Psa. 120:3-4).
So they went on, till they came within sight of the lions. Now Mr. Great-heart was a strong man, So he was not afraid of a lion; but yet when they were come up to the place where the lions were, the boys that went before were glad when to cringe behind, for they were afraid of the lions; so they stepped back, and went behind. At this their guide smiled, and said, How now, my boys, do you love to go before, when no danger doth approach, and love to come behind so soon as the lions appear?
Now, as they went up, Mr. Great-heart drew his sword, with intent to make a way for the Pilgrims, in spite of the lions. Then there appeared one, that it seems, had taken upon him to back the lions; and he said to the Pilgrims’ guide, What is the cause of your coming hither? Now the name of that man was Grim, or Bloody-man, because of his slaying of Pilgrims, and he was of the race of the giants.121
GREAT-HEART. Then said the Pilgrims’ guide, These women and children are going on pilgrimage; and this is the way they must go, and go it they shall, in spite of thee and the lions.122
GRIM. This is not their way, neither shall they go therein. I am come forth to withstand them, and to that end will back the lions.123
Now, to say truth, by reason of the fierceness of the lions, and of the grim carriage of him that did back them, this way had of late lain much unoccupied, and was almost all grown over with grass.
CHRIST. Then said Christiana, Though the highways have been unoccupied heretofore, and though the travelers have been made in time past to walk through by-paths, it must not be so now I am risen. Now “I am risen a mother in Israel” (Judg. 5:6, 7).
GRIM. Then he swore by the lions, but it should; and therefore bid them turn aside, for they should not have passage there.
GREAT-HEART. But their guide made first his approach unto Grim, and laid so heavily at him with his sword, that he forced him to a retreat.124
GRIM. Then said he that attempted to back the lions, Will you slay me upon mine own ground?
GREAT-HEART. It is the King’s highway that we are in, and in His way it is that thou hast placed thy lions; but these women and these children, though weak, shall hold on their way in spite of thy lions. And with that he gave him again a downright blow, and brought him upon his knees. With this blow he also broke his helmet, and with the next he cut off an arm. Then did the giant roar so hideously, that his voice frighted the women, and yet they were glad to see him lie sprawling upon the ground. Now the lions were chained, and so of themselves could do nothing.125 Wherefore, when old Grim, that intended to back them, was dead, Mr. Great-heart said to the Pilgrims, Come now, and follow me, and no hurt shall happen to you from the lions. They therefore went on, but the women trembled as they passed by them; the boys also looked as if they would die, but they all got by without further hurt.126
Now then they were within sight of the Porter’s Lodge, and they soon came up unto it; but they made the more haste after this to go thither, because it is dangerous travelling there in the night. So when they were come to the gate, the guide knocked, and the Porter cried, Who is there? But as soon as the guide had said, It is I, he knew his voice, and came down (for the guide had oft before that, come thither, as a conductor of pilgrims). When he was come down, he opened the gate, and seeing the guide standing just before it (for he saw not the women, for they were behind him), he said unto him, How now, Mr. Great-heart, what is your business here so late tonight? I have brought, said he, some pilgrims hither, where, by my Lord’s commandment, they must lodge; I had been here some time ago, had I not been opposed by the giant that did use to back the lions; but I, after a long and tedious combat with him, have cut him off, and have brought the Pilgrims hither in safety.127
PORTER. Will you not go in, and stay till morning?
GREAT-HEART. No, I will return to my Lord tonight.
CHRIST. Oh, Sir, I know not how to be willing you should leave us in our pilgrimage, you have been so faithful and so loving to us, you have fought so stoutly for us, you have been so hearty in counseling of us, that I shall never forget your favour towards us.
MERCY. Then said Mercy, O that we might have thy company to our journey’s end! How can such poor women as we hold out in a way so full of troubles as this way is, without a friend and defender?
JAMES. Then said James, the youngest of the boys, Pray, Sir, be persuaded to go with us, and help us, because we are so weak, and the way so dangerous as it is.128
GREAT-HEART. I am at my Lord’s commandment; if He shall allot me to be your guide quite through, I will willingly wait upon you. But here you failed at first; for, when He bid me come thus far with you, then you should have begged me of Him to have gone quite through with you, and He would have granted your request. However, at present, I must withdraw; and so, good Christiana, Mercy, and my brave children, Adieu.
Then the Porter, Mr. Watchful, asked Christiana of her country, and of her kindred; and she said, I came from the City of Destruction; I am a widow woman, and my husband is dead; his name was Christian, the Pilgrim. How! said the Porter, was he your husband? Yes, said she, and these are his children; and this, pointing to Mercy, is one of my townswomen. Then the Porter rang his bell, as at such times he is wont, and there came to the door one of the damsels, whose name was Humble-mind; and to her the Porter said, Go tell it within, that Christiana, the wife of Christian, and her children, are come hither on pilgrimage. She went in, therefore, and told it. But O what noise for gladness was there within, when the damsel did but drop that word out of her mouth!
So they came with haste to the Porter, for Christiana stood still at the door. Then some of the most grave said unto her, Come in, Christiana, come in, thou wife of that good man; come in, thou blessed woman; come in, with all that are with thee. So she went in, and they followed her that were her children and her companions. Now when they were gone in, they were had into a very large room, where they were bidden to sit down; so they sat down, and the chief of the house was called to see and welcome the guests. Then they came in, and understanding who they were, did salute each other with a kiss, and said, Welcome, ye vessels of the grace of God; welcome to us your friends.129
Now, because it was somewhat late, and because the Pilgrims were weary with their journey, and also made faint with the sight of the fight, and of the terrible lions, therefore they desired, as soon as might be, to prepare to go to rest. Nay, said those of the family, refresh yourselves first with a morsel of meat; for they had prepared for them a lamb, with the accustomed sauce belonging thereto130 (Exo. 12:21, 28; John 1:29); for the Porter had heard before of their coming, and had told it to them within. So when they had supped, and ended their prayer with a psalm, they desired they might go to rest. But let us, said Christiana, if we may be so bold as to choose, be in that chamber131 that was my husband’s when he was here; so they had them up thither, and they lay all in a room. When they were at rest, Christiana and Mercy entered into discourse about things that were convenient.
CHRIST. Little did I think once, that when my husband went on pilgrimage, I should ever have followed.
MERCY. And you as little thought of lying in his bed, and in his chamber to rest, as you do now.
CHRIST. And much less did I ever think of seeing his face with comfort, and of worshipping the Lord the King with him; and yet now I believe I shall.
MERCY. Hark! Don’t you hear a noise?
CHRIST. Yes; it is, as I believe, a noise of music, for joy that we are here.132
MERCY. Wonderful! music in the house, music in the heart, and music also in Heaven, for joy that we are here!133
Thus they talked a while, and then betook themselves to sleep. So, in the morning, when they were awake, Christiana said to Mercy:
CHRIST. What was the matter that you did laugh in your sleep tonight? I suppose you were in a dream.
MERCY. So I was, and a sweet dream it was; but are you sure I laughed?
CHRIST. Yes; you laughed heartily; but, prithee, Mercy, tell me thy dream.
MERCY. I was a-dreamed that I sat all alone in a solitary place, and was bemoaning of the hardness of my heart. Now, I had not sat there long, but methought many were gathered about me, to see me, and to hear what it was that I said. So they hearkened, and I went on bemoaning the hardness of my heart. At this, some of them laughed at me, some called me fool, and some began to thrust me about. With that, methought I looked up, and saw one coming with wings towards me. So he came directly to me, and said, Mercy, what aileth thee? Now, when he had heard me make my complaint, he said “Peace be to thee.” He also wiped mine eyes with his handkerchief, and clad me in silver and gold. He put a chain about my neck, and ear-rings in mine ears, and a beautiful crown upon my head (Ezek. 16:8-12). Then he took me by the hand, and said, Mercy, come after me. So he went up, and I followed, till we came at a golden gate. Then he knocked; and when they within had opened, the man went in, and I followed him up to a throne, upon which one sat, and He said to me, Welcome, daughter. The place looked bright and twinkling, like the stars, or rather like the sun; and I thought that I saw your husband there. So I awoke from my dream.134 But did I laugh?
CHRIST. Laugh! aye, and well you might, to see yourself so well. For you must give me leave to tell you, that I believe it was a good dream; and that, as you have begun to find the first part true, so you shall find the second at last. “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed”135 (Job 28:14, 15). We need not, when a-bed, lie awake to talk with God. He can visit us while we sleep, and cause us then to hear His voice. Our heart ofttimes wakes when we sleep; and God can speak to that, either by words, by proverbs, by signs and similitudes, as well as if one was awake.136
MERCY. Well, I am glad of my dream; for I hope, ere long, to see it fulfilled, to the making me laugh again.137
CHRIST. I think it is now high time to rise, and to know what we must do.
MERCY. Pray, if they invite us to stay awhile, let us willingly accept of the proffer. I am the willinger to stay awhile here, to grow better acquainted with these maids. Methinks Prudence, Piety, and Charity have very comely and sober countenances.138
CHRIST. We shall see what they will do. So when they were up and ready, they came down, and they asked one another of their rest, and if it were comfortable, or not.
MERCY. Very good, said Mercy; it was one of the best night’s lodging that ever I had in my life.
Then said Prudence and Piety, If you will be persuaded to stay here awhile, you shall have what the house will afford.
CHAR. Aye, and that with a very good will, said Charity. So they consented and staid there about a month, or above, and became very profitable one to another. And because Prudence would see how Christiana had brought up her children, she asked leave of her to catechise them. So she gave her free consent.139 Then she began at the youngest, whose name was James.
PRUDENCE. And she said, Come, James, canst thou tell me who made thee?
JAMES. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
PRUD. Good boy. And canst thou tell me who saves thee?
JAMES. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
PRUD. Good boy still. But how doth God the Father save thee?
JAMES. By his grace.
PRUD. How doth God the Son save thee?
JAMES. By His righteousness, death, and blood, and life.
PRUD. And how doth God the Holy Ghost save thee?
JAMES. By His illumination, by His renovation, and by His preservation.140
Then said Prudence to Christiana, You are to be commended for thus bringing up your children. I suppose I need not ask the rest these questions, since the youngest of them can answer them so well. I will therefore now apply myself to the next youngest.
PRUD. Then she said, Come, Joseph (for his name was Joseph), will you let me catechise you?
JOSEPH. With all my heart.
PRUD. What is man?
JOSEPH. A reasonable creature, so made by God, as my brother said.
PRUD. What is supposed by this word “saved”?
JOSEPH. That man, by sin, has brought himself into a state of captivity and misery.
PRUD. What is supposed by his being saved by the Trinity?
JOSEPH. That sin is so great and mighty a tyrant, that none can pull us out of its clutches, but God; and that God is so good and loving to man, as to pull him indeed out of this miserable state.
PRUD. What is God’s design in saving, of poor men?
JOSEPH. The glorifying of His name, of His grace, and justice, &c., and the everlasting happiness of His creature.
PRUD. Who are they that must be saved?
JOSEPH. Those that accept of His salvation.141
PRUD. Good boy, Joseph; thy mother has taught thee well, and thou hast hearkened to what she hath said unto thee.
Then said Prudence to Samuel, who was the eldest but one,
PRUD. Come, Samuel, are you willing that I should catechise you also?
SAMUEL. Yes, forsooth, if you please.
PRUD. What is Heaven?
SAM. A place and state most blessed, because God dwelleth there.
PRUD. What is hell?
SAM. A place and state most woeful, because it is the dwelling-place of sin, the devil, and death.
PRUD. Why wouldest thou go to Heaven?
SAM. That I may see God, and serve Him without weariness; that I may see Christ, and love Him everlastingly; that I may have that fullness of the Holy Spirit in me that I can by no means here enjoy.
PRUD. A very good boy also, and one that has learned well.
Then she addressed herself to the eldest, whose name was Matthew; and she said to him, Come, Matthew, shall I also catechise you?
MATTHEW. With a very good will. PRUD. I ask, then, if there were ever anything that had a being antecedent to, or before God?
MATT. No; for God is eternal; nor is there anything excepting Himself, that had a being until the beginning of the first day. “For in six days the Lord made Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”
PRUD. What do you think of the Bible?
MATT. It is the holy Word of God. PRUD. Is there nothing written therein but what you understand?
MATT. Yes. A great deal. PRUD. What do you do when you meet with such places therein that you do not understand?
MATT. I think God is wiser than I. I pray also that He will please to let me know all therein that He knows will be for my good.142
PRUD. How believe you, as touching the resurrection of the dead?
MATT. I believe they shall rise, the same that was buried; the same in nature, though not in corruption. And I believe this upon a double account: First, because God has promised it secondly, because He is able to perform it.143
- 121 It is not very easy to determine the precise idea of the author in each of the giants who assault the Pilgrims, and are slain by the conductor and his assistants. Some have supposed that unbelief is here meant, but Grim or Bloody-man seem not to be opposite names for this inward foe; nor can it be conceived, that unbelief should more violently assault those who are under the care of a valiant conductor, than it had done the solitary pilgrims. I apprehend, therefore, that this giant was intended for the emblem of certain active men who busied themselves in framing and executing persecuting statutes, which was done at the time when this was written, more violently than it had been before. Thus the temptation to fear man, which at all times assaults the believer when required to make an open profession of his faith, was exceedingly increased; and as heavy fines and severe penalties, in accession to reproach and contempt, deterred men from joining themselves in communion with dissenting churches, that way was almost unoccupied, and the travelers went through bypaths, according to the author’s sentiments on the subject. But the preaching of the Gospel, by which the ministers of Christ wielded the sword of the Spirit, overcame this enemy; for the example and exhortations of such courageous combatants animated even weak believers to overcome their fears, and to act according to their consciences, leaving the event to God. This seems to have been the author’s meaning; and perhaps he also intended to encourage his brethren boldly to persevere in resisting such persecuting statutes, confidently expecting that they should prevail for the repeal of them; by which, as by the death of the giant, the pilgrims might be freed from additional terror, in acting consistently with their avowed principles— (Scott).
- 122 This reminds us of the words of Mr. Godly-fear to Diabolus, when Captain Credence sent a petition to Immanuel for mercy—“We are resolved to resist thee as long as a captain, a man, a sling, or a stone shall be found in Mansoul to throw at thee. Then said the Lord Mayor to Diabolus, O thou devouring tyrant, be it known to thee, we shall hearken to none of thy words!”—(Bunyan’s Holy War). Happy are the Godly-fears and Great-hearts who use such decided language to the enemy of souls—(ED).
- 123 Sincere and earnest Christiana, at this time, had a proverbial expression—“It is better that the body should die to this world by the lions without, than that body and soul should die eternally by our lusts within.”—(ED).
- 124 O pilgrims, when dangers beset you, and fears arise in you, hear what the Lord speaks to you; and in the belief of his truth, quit yourselves manfully: “Fight the good fight of faith,” ever remembering that “you are more than conquerors through Christ who hath loved you!” Faith will exalt the love and power of Christ above the fear of every enemy— (Mason).
- 125 O pilgrim, it is sweet to reflect that every lion-like foe is under the control of thy God, and cannot come one link of the chain nearer to thee than thy Lord will permit! Therefore, when fears and terrors beset thee, think of thy Lord’s love to thee, His power engages to preserve thee, and His promises to comfort thee. For “the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him” (Psa. 145:18)—(Mason).
- 126 From the deeply interesting narrative of the experience of Mr. Fearing, it is plain that the lions and their backer, Giant Grim or Bloody-man, relates entirely to temporal troubles; most likely to those infamous penal statutes under which Dissenters so severely suffered. The uniting in church-fellowship was not only attended with the ordinary difficulties, but with danger from the lions—church and state; especially when backed by ferocious judges, such as Jefferies and others. Spiritual enemies—sin, death, and hell—were the only terrors under which Mr. Fearing suffered; temporal persecutions—“difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair—he feared not at all.” The battle probably refers to the flimsy sophistry used in defence of persecution, as opposed to the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, by which our Puritan heroes destroyed these anti-Christian arguments— (ED). Now that the lions are removed, may we not fear that hypocrites will thrust themselves into our churches? It is easy, cheap, and almost fashionable, to be religious: this should promote solemn investigation—(Andronicus).
- 127 How mindful is our Lord of us! How gracious is He to us! What blessed provision doth He make for us! If pilgrims are attacked by Giant Grim, and terrified with the sight of lions, they may be sure that it is only a prelude to some sweet enjoyment of their Lord’s love, and that they are near to some asylum, some sanctuary of rest, peace, and comfort. Some bitter generally precedes the sweet, and makes the sweet the sweeter—(Mason).
- 128 O it is hard work to part with Great-heart! How many blessings do we lose for want of asking! Great-heart is at the command of our Lord. O for more power to cry incessantly to the Lord for the presence of Great-heart, that we may go on more cheerfully and more joyfully in the ways of the Lord!—(Mason).
- 129 Here is a blessed mark of being vessels of the grace of God, when we delight in the sight of, salute, and welcome others in the way to Zion, and mutually have our hearts and affections drawn out to each other in love. O how sweet is the fellowship of pilgrims below! What must it be above? Infinitely above conception—(Mason).
- 130 Reader, can you feed upon Christ by faith? Is the Lamb the nourishment of thy soul, and the portion of thy heart? Canst thou say, from blessed experience, “His flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed?” Is it thy delight to think of Him, hear of Him, speak of Him, abide in Him, and live upon Him? O bless Him and praise Him for His distinguishing mercy, this spiritual appetite! It is peculiar to His beloved ones only—(Mason).
- 131 This is the room in which they all lay, and its name is Peace—ED. It is there the weary find rest, and the burdened soul ease. O for more reclinings of soul upon the precious bosom of our Lord! We can be truly happy nowhere else—(Mason).
- 132 Immanuel also made a feast for them. He feasted them with food that grew not in the fields of Mansoul, nor in the whole kingdom of the Universe. It came from the Father’s court. There was music also all the while at the table, and man did eat angels’ food. I must not forget to tell you, that the musicians were the masters of the songs sung at the court of Shaddai—(Bunyan’s Holy War).
- 133 O what precious harmony is this! How joyful to be the subjects of it, and to join in it! The free, sovereign grace of God is the delightful theme, and glory to God in the highest the universal chorus. It is the wonder and joy of sinners on earth, and of angels in Heaven—(Mason).
- 134 Our author intimates that God sometimes communicates spiritual knowledge and heavenly joy by “dreams and visions of the night.” The Holy One “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” and employs what means He pleases to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. The effect produced by dreams must be brought to this test. It is a good maxim, that what leads to God, must have come from God—(Ivimey).
- 135 If Mercy were sweetly surprised with this dream, we are sure that nothing but the surprise of mercy can overcome the hardened sinner’s heart, who, expecting the stroke of justice, instead of the executioner with a death-warrant, finds a messenger of peace, with a pardon free and full, revealing the grace, mercy, and love of God, through the redemption which there is in the love of God—(J. B.).
- 136 O how blessed are they who are watching and waiting continually to hear the small, still voice of the Spirit, speaking rest and peace to their souls by the blood of the Lamb! O how condescending is our Lord, thus to visit us, and converse with us in the way to his kingdom!—(Mason). And how blessed is church fellowship when the members are governed by these heavenly principles, watchfulness, humility of mind, prudence, piety, and charity—(ED).
- 137 The assurance that the dream should he accomplished, is grounded on the effects produced upon Mercy’s heart; there is no danger of delusion, when so scriptural an encouragement is inferred even from a dream—(Scott).
- 138 Can we wonder that the pilgrims longed to spend some time with such lovely companions? Reader, how is your inclination? Add to these “Simplicity, Innocence, and Godly-sincerity; without which three graces thou wilt be a hypocrite, let thy notions, thy knowledge, thy profession, and commendations from others, be what they will.”— (Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 539). Christian, in choosing thy companions, specially cleave to these six virgins, for they not only have very comely and sober countenances, but Christ dwells with them— (ED).
- 139 When Christiana was admitted into the church, care was taken to inquire into the religious knowledge of her children. This is an important branch of ministerial and parental duty. The answers given by the children do their mother honour, and prove that she had not laboured in vain. Let every pious parent imitate her example, and hope for her success—(Burder).
- 140 This is a very sensible mode of catechising the boys according to their ages and acquirements, with questions, exciting their attention to subjects of the gravest importance. Compare this with the custom of asking a child its name, and requiring it to narrate circumstances which took place in the time of unconscious babyhood; instead of impressing upon it the existence of God and the solemn realities of eternity. The Assembly’s, Dr. Watts’, and especially Bunyan’s catechisms, are admirably adapted to assist a parent in these important and responsible exercises—(ED).
- 141 The young pupil is not here taught to answer, “all the elect,” but practically “those that accept of His salvation.” This is perfectly consistent with the other, while it instructs and encourages the learner without perplexing him. It is absurd to teach the hardest lessons to the youngest scholars in the school of Christ—(Scott).
- 142 Though this is answered with the simplicity of a child; yet it is, and ever will be, the language of every father in Christ. Happy those whose spirits are cast into this humble, evangelical mold! O that this Spirit may accompany us in all our researches, in all our ways, and through all our days!— (Mason). Our inability to discover the meaning of these passages should teach us humility, and sub-mission to the decisions of our infallible Instructor—(Scott).
- 143 Here is the foundation of faith, and the triumph of hope, God’s faithfulness to His promise, and His power to perform. Having these to look to, what should stagger our faith, or deject our hope? We may, we ought to smile at all carnal objections, and trample upon all corrupt reasonings—(Mason).
Then said Prudence to the boys, You must still hearken to your mother, for she can learn you more. You must also diligently give ear to what good talk you shall hear from others; for, for your sakes do they speak good things. Observe, also, and that with carefulness, what the heavens and the earth do teach you; but especially be much in the meditation of that Book that was the cause of your father’s becoming a pilgrim. I, for my part, my children, will teach you what I can while you are here, and shall be glad if you will ask me questions that tend to godly edifying.
Now, by that these Pilgrims had been at this place a week, Mercy had a visitor that pretended some goodwill unto her, and his name was Mr. Brisk, a man of some breeding, and that pretended to religion; but a man that stuck very close to the world. So he came once or twice, or more, to Mercy, and offered love unto her. Now Mercy was of a fair countenance, and therefore the more alluring.
Her mind also was, to be always busying of herself in doing; for when she had nothing to do for herself, she would be making of hose and garments for others, and would bestow them upon them that had need.144 And Mr. Brisk, not knowing where or how she disposed of what she made, seemed to be greatly taken, for that he found her never idle. I will warrant her a good housewife, quoth he to himself.145
Mercy then revealed the business to the maidens that were of the house, and inquired of them concerning him, for they did know him better than she.146 So they told her, that he was a very busy young man, and one that pretended to religion; but was, as they feared, a stranger to the power of that which was good.
Nay then, said Mercy, I will look no more on him; for I purpose never to have a clog to my soul.147
Prudence then replied that there needed no great matter of discouragement to be given to him, her continuing so as she had begun to do for the poor, would quickly cool his courage.
So the next time he comes, he finds her at her old work, a-making of things for the poor. Then said he, What! always at it? Yes, said she, either for myself or for others. And what canst thou earn a day? quoth he. I do these things, said she, “that I may he rich in good works, laying up in store a good foundation against the time to come, that I may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Why, prithee, what dost thou with them? said he. Clothe the naked, said she. With that his countenance fell. So he forbore to come at her again; and when he was asked the reason why, he said, that Mercy was a pretty lass, but troubled with ill conditions.148
When he had left her, Prudence said, Did I not tell thee, that Mr. Brisk would soon forsake thee? yea, he will raise up an ill report of thee; for, notwithstanding his pretence to religion, and his seeming love to Mercy, yet Mercy and he are of tempers so different, that I believe they will never come together.
MERCY. I might have had husbands afore now, though I spake not of it to any; but they were such as did not like my conditions, though never did any of them find fault with my person. So they and I could not agree.
PRUD. Mercy in our days is little set by, any further than as to its name; the practice, which is set forth by thy conditions, there are but few that can abide.
MERCY. Well, said Mercy, if nobody will have me, I will die a maid, or my conditions shall be to me as a husband. For I cannot change my nature; and to have one that lies cross to me in this, that I purpose never to admit of as long as I live. I had a sister named Bountiful, that was married to one of these churls; but he and she could never agree; but because my sister was resolved to do as she had begun, that is, to show kindness to the poor, therefore her husband first cried her down at the cross, and then turned her out of his doors.149
PRUD. And yet he was a professor, I warrant you.
MERCY. Yes, such a one as he was, and of such as he, the world is now full; but I am for none of them all.
Now Matthew, the eldest son of Christiana, fell sick, and his sickness was sore upon him, for he was much pained in his bowels, so that he was with it, at times, pulled as it were both ends together.150 There dwelt also not far from thence, one Mr. Skill, an ancient and well approved physician. So Christiana desired it, and they sent for him, and he came. When he was entered the room, and had a little observed the boy, he concluded that he was sick of the gripes. Then he said to his mother, What diet has Matthew of late fed upon? Diet, said Christiana, nothing but that which is wholesome. The physician answered, This boy has been tampering with something that lies in his maw undigested, and that will not away without means. And I tell you, he must he purged, or else he will die.
SAM. Then said Samuel, Mother, mother, what was that which my brother did gather up and eat, so soon as we were come from the gate that is at the head of this way? You know that there was an orchard on the left hand, on the other side of the wall, and some of the trees hung over the wall, and my brother did plash and did eat.
CHRIST. True, my child, said Christiana, he did take thereof, and did eat; naughty boy as he was, I did chide him, and yet he would eat thereof.151
SKILL. I knew he had eaten something that was not wholesome food; and that food, to wit, that fruit, is even the most hurtful of all. It is the fruit of Beelzebub’s orchard. I do marvel that none did warn you of it; many have died thereof.
CHRIST. Then Christiana began to cry; and she said, O naughty boy! and O careless mother! What shall I do for my son!152
SKILL. Come, do not be too much dejected; the boy may do well again, but he must purge and vomit.
CHRIST. Pray, Sir, try the utmost of your skill with him, whatever it costs.
SKILL. Nay, I hope I shall be reasonable. So he made him a purge, but it was too weak; it was said, it was made of the blood of a goat, the ashes of a heifer, and with some of the juice of hyssop, &c. (Heb. 10:1-4). When Mr. Skill had seen that that purge was too weak, he made him one to the purpose; it was made excarne et sanguine Christi 153 (John 6:54-57; Heb. 9:14). (You know physicians give strange medicines to their patients). And it was made up into pills, with a promise or two, and a proportionable quantity of salt (Mark 9:49). Now he was to take them three at a time fasting, in half a quarter of a pint of the tears of repentance. When this potion was prepared, and brought to the boy, he was loath to take it, though torn with the gripes, as if he should be pulled in pieces. Come, come, said the physician, you must take it. It goes against my stomach, said the boy (Zech. 12:10). I must have you take it, said his mother. I shall vomit it up again, said the boy. Pray, Sir, said Christiana to Mr. Skill, how does it taste? It has no ill taste, said the doctor; and with that she touched one of the pills with the tip of her tongue. Oh, Matthew, said she, this potion is sweeter than honey. If thou lovest thy mother, if thou lovest thy brothers, if thou lovest Mercy, if thou lovest thy life, take it. So with much ado, after a short prayer for the blessing of God upon it, he took it, and it wrought kindly with him. It caused him to purge, it caused him to sleep, and rest quietly; it put him into a fine heat and breathing sweat, and did quite rid him of his gripes.154 So in little time he got up, and walked about with a staff, and would go from room to room, and talk with Prudence, Piety, and Charity, of his distemper, and how he was healed.155
So when the boy was healed, Christiana asked Mr. Skill, saying, Sir, what will content you for your pains and care to, and of my child? And he said, You must pay the Master of the College of Physicians, according to rules made in that case and provided (Heb. 13:11- 16).
CHRIST. But, Sir, said she, what is this pill good for else?
SKILL. It is an universal pill; it is good against all the diseases that Pilgrims are incident to; and when it is well prepared, it will keep good, time out of mind.
CHRIST. Pray, Sir, make me up twelve boxes of them; for if I can get these, I will never take other physic.156
SKILL. These pills are good to prevent diseases, as well as to cure when one is sick. Yea, I dare say it, and stand to it, that if a man will but use this physic as he should, it will make him live forever (John 6:50). But, good Christiana, thou must give these pills no other way but as I have prescribed; for, if you do, they will do no good.157 So he gave unto Christiana physic for herself, and her boys, and for Mercy; and bid Matthew take heed how he eat any more green plums, and kissed them, and went his way.
It was told you before, that Prudence bid the boys, that if at any time they would, they should ask her some questions that might be profitable, and she would say something to them.
MATT. Then Matthew, who had been sick, asked her, Why, for the most part, physic should he bitter to our palates.
PRUD. To show how unwelcome the Word of God, and the effects thereof, are to a carnal heart.
MATT. Why does physic, if it does good, purge, and cause that we vomit?
PRUD. To show that the Word, when it works effectually, cleanseth the heart and mind. For look, what the one doth to the body, the other doth to the soul.158
MATT. What should we learn by seeing the flame of our fire go upwards? and by seeing the beams and sweet influences of the sun strike downwards?
PRUD. By the going up of the fire we are taught to ascend to Heaven, by fervent and hot desires. And by the sun’s sending his heat, beams, and sweet influences downwards, we are taught that the Saviour of the world, though high, reacheth down with His grace and love to us below.
MATT. Where have the clouds their water?
PRUD. Out of the sea.
MATT. What may we learn from that ?
PRUD. That ministers should fetch their doctrine from God.
MATT. Why do they empty themselves upon the earth?
PRUD. To show that ministers should give out what they know of God to the world.
MATT. Why is the rainbow caused by the sun?
PRUD. To show that the covenant of God’s grace is confirmed to us in Christ.
MATT. Why do the springs come from the sea to us, through the earth?
PRUD. To show that the grace of God comes to us through the body of Christ.
MATT. Why do some of the springs rise out of the tops of high hills?
PRUD. To show that the spirit of grace shall spring up in some that are great and mighty, as well as in many that are poor and low.
MATT. Why doth the fire fasten upon the candlewick?
PRUD. To show, that unless grace doth kindle upon the heart there will be no true light of life in us.
MATT. Why is the wick and tallow, and all, spent to maintain the light of the candle?
PRUD. To show that body and soul, and all, should be at the service of, and spend themselves to maintain, in good condition, that grace of God that is in us.
MATT. Why doth the pelican pierce her own breast with her bill?
PRUD. To nourish her young ones with her blood, and thereby to show that Christ the blessed so loveth His young, His people, as to save them from death by His blood.
MATT. What may one learn by hearing the cock crow?
PRUD. Learn to remember Peter’s sin, and Peter’s repentance. The cock’s crowing shows also that day is coming on; let then the crowing of the cock put thee in mind of that last and terrible day of judgment.159
Now, about this time their month was out; wherefore they signified to those of the house that it was convenient for them to up and be going. Then said Joseph to his mother, It is convenient that you forget not to send to the house of Mr. Interpreter, to pray him to grant that Mr. Great-heart should be sent unto us, that he may be our conductor the rest of our way. Good boy, said she, I had almost forgot. So she drew up a petition,160 and prayed Mr. Watchful, the Porter, to send it by some fit man, to her good friend Mr. Interpreter; who, when it was come, and He had seen the contents of the petition, said to the messenger, Go tell them that I will send him.
- 144 This is an important lesson to young females, how they may profitably employ their time, adorn the Gospel, and be useful. It is much better to imitate Dorcas, in making garments for the poor, than to waste time and money in frivolous amusements, or needless decorations; or in more elegant and fashionable accomplishments—(Scott).
- 145 The character of Mr. Brisk is portrayed to the life in Bunyan’s Emblems— “Candles that do blink within the socket, And saints whose eyes are always in their pocket, Are much alike: such candles make us fumble; And at such saints, good men and bad do stumble.”
- 146 The character of Mercy is lovely throughout the pilgrimage; but in the important choice of a partner for life, she manifests great prudence and shrewdness; she asks the advice of those who knew Mr. Brisk, and whose names proved how capable they were to give it. And she acted upon their knowledge of his character. And when she discovered the utter selfishness of his disposition, she thankfully bid him, Good bye, sweet heart; and parts for life—(ED).
- 147 Most blessed resolution! Ah, pilgrims, if ye were more wary, lest, by your choice and conduct, ye brought clogs to your souls, how many troubles would ye escape, and how much more happy would you be in your pilgrimage! It is for want of this wisdom and conduct, that many bring evil upon themselves—(Mason).
- 148 How easily are the best of characters traduced, and false constructions put upon the best of actions! Reader, is this your lot also? Mind your duty. Look to your Lord. Persevere in His works and ways; and leave your character with Him, to whom you can trust your soul. “For if God be for us, who shall be against us? what shall harm us, if we be followers of that which is good?”—(Mason).
- 149 Crying at the cross, and turning a wife out of doors, refers to a vulgar error, which had its influence to a late period in Bedfordshire. It was a speedy mode of divorce, similar to that practised in London, by leading a wife by a halter to Smithfield, and selling her. The crying at the market cross that a man would not be answerable for the debts that might be incurred by his wife, was the mode of advertising, which was supposed to absolve a husband from maintaining his wife; a notion now fully exploded—(ED).
- 150 See the effects of sin. It will pinch and gripe the conscience, and make the heart of a gracious soul sick—(Mason). Matthew, in being admitted a member of the church, represented by the house Beautiful and its happy family, had to relate his experience, and this brought to his recollection plashing the trees, and eating the enemy’s fruit, of which his brother also reminds them—(ED).
- 151 How often do we suffer by neglecting the cautions of a pious parent or friend. “In time of temptation it is our duty to keep close to the Word, then we have Satan at the end of the staff. When Eve was tempted, she went to the outside of her liberty, and sat herself on the brink of danger, when she said, we may eat of all but one.”—(Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 429). Christiana had chided the boys: “You transgress, for that fruit is none of ours.” Still the boys went on, and now Matthew feels the bitterness of repentance—(ED).
- 152 Although the mother did warn and chide her son, yet she did not use her authority to prevent his taking the fruit which belonged to another. She takes the fault home, falls under the sense of it, and is grieved for it. A tender conscience is a blessed sign of a gracious heart. Ye parents, who know the love of Christ, watch over your children; see to it, lest you smart for your sins, in not warning and preventing them, that “the fear of the Lord is to depart from all evil”; yea, to abstain from the very appearance of it—(Mason, altered by ED).
- 153 Mr. Bunyan’s great modesty and humility are truly admirable; he quotes Latin, but is careful to tell us, “The Latin I borrow” in his notes. The English is, “Of the flesh and of the blood of Christ.” This is the only portion for sin-sick souls. Feeding upon Christ’s flesh and blood by faith, keeps us from sinning, and when sick of sin, these, and nothing but these, can heal and restore us. Yet there is in our nature an unaccountable reluctance to receive these, through the unbelief which works in us. So Matthew found it—(Mason).
- 154 See the blessed effects of receiving Christ, when under the sense of sin, and distressed for sin. O what a precious Saviour is Jesus! What efficacy is there in His flesh and blood, to purge the conscience from guilt! Lord, what a mercy is it, that though we sin, yet Thou art abundant to pardon, yea, multipliest Thy pardons; yea, and also giveth poor, pained, broken-hearted sinners to know and feel Thy pardoning love!—(Mason).
- 155 How correctly are the effects of an indulgence in sinful lusts described. Sin and sorrow are inseparable. The burdened conscience of a backslider can be relieved in no other way, than that in which it was first “purged from dead works,” by exercising faith in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus as the only sacrifice for sin, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness” (Gal. 6:1). “Flee youthful lusts,” and be upon your guard against the fruit of Beelzebub’s orchard—(Ivimey).
- 156 The relation of Matthew’s sickness, and the method of his cure, may be justly esteemed among the finest passages of this work. He ate the fruit of Beelzebub’s orchard, sin, the disease of the soul, threatening eternal death. It is an unspeakable Potion prepared. The Latin I borrow. The boy loath to take the physic. The mother tastes it, and persuades him. A word of God in the hand of his faith. This pill an universal remedy. mercy to be exceedingly pained with it. Such need the physician, and the remedy is at hand. Nothing but Thy blood, O Jesus! Can relieve us from our smart; Nothing else from guilt release us Nothing else can melt the heart—(Hart). It is the universal medicine; blessed are those that will never take any other physic—(Burder).
- 157 This advice should be carefully noted. Numbers abuse the doctrine of free salvation by the merits and redemption of Christ, and presume on forgiveness, when they are destitute of genuine repentance, and give no evidence of sanctification. But this most efficacious medicine in that case will do no good; or rather, the perverse abuse of it will increase their guilt, and tend to harden their hearts in sin—(Scott).
- 158 Bunyan’s bill of his Master’s water of life—“As men, in their bills, do give an account of the persons cured, and the diseases removed, so could I give you account of numberless numbers that have not only been made to live, but to live forever, by drinking this pure water of life. No disease comes amiss to it. It cures blindness, deafness, dumbness, deadness. This right holy water (all other is counterfeit) will drive away evil spirits. It will make you have a white soul, and that is better than a white skin.”— (Bunyan’s Water of Life). Whoever offers to purify the heart, and heal a wounded conscience, by any other means, is a deceiver and a soul-destroyer— (ED).
- 159 This conversation is adapted for the meditation of a restored backslider. Evangelical truth prescribes the most powerful antidotes to presumption and despair—“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1)—(Ivimey).
- 160 Having experienced the great advantage of a pious minister or elder, they were naturally desirous of having such comfort through their pilgrimage. The petition may refer to the custom, among dissenting churches, of letters of dismission given to members when they move to a distant locality—(ED).
When the family where Christiana was, saw that they had a purpose to go forward, they called the whole house together, to give thanks to their King for sending of them such profitable guests as these. Which done, they said to Christiana, And shall we not show thee something, according as our custom is to do to pilgrims, on which thou mayest meditate when thou art upon the way? So they took Christiana, her children, and Mercy, into the closet, and showed them one of the apples that Eve did eat of, and that she also did give to her husband, and that for the eating, of which they both were turned out of Paradise; and asked her what she thought that was? Then Christiana said, It is food or poison, I know not which.161 So they opened the matter to her, and she held up her hands and wondered162 (Gen. 3:6; Rom. 7:24
Then they had her to a place, and showed her Jacob’s ladder. Now at that time there were some angels ascending upon it. So Christiana looked, and looked, to see the angels go up; and so did the rest of the company. Then they were going into another place, to show them something else; but James said to his mother, Pray, bid them stay here a little longer, for this is a curious sight.163 So they turned again, and stood feeding their eyes with this so pleasant a prospect (Gen. 28:12; John 1:51). After this, they had them into a place where did hang up a golden anchor, so they bid Christiana take it down; for, said they, you shall have it with you, for it is of absolute necessity that you should, that you may lay hold of that within the veil, and stand steadfast, in case you should meet with turbulent weather; so they were glad thereof164 (Heb. 6:19). Then they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our father had offered up Isaac his son, and showed them the altar, the wood, the fire, and the knife, for they remain to be seen to this very day (Gen. 22:9). When they had seen it, they held up their hands and blessed themselves, and said, O what a man for love to his Master, and for denial to himself, was Abraham! After they had showed them all these things, Prudence took them into the dining-room, where stood a pair of excellent virginals;165 so she played upon them, and turned what she had showed them into this excellent song, saying—
Eve’s apple we have showed you,
Of that be you aware;
You have seen Jacob’s ladder, too,
Upon which angels are.
An anchor you received have;
But let not these suffice,
Until, with Abr’am, you have gave
Your best a sacrifice.
Now, about this time, one knocked at the door; so the Porter opened, and behold Mr. Great-heart was there; but when he was come in, what joy was there! For it came now fresh again into their minds, how but a while ago he had slain old Grim Bloody-man the giant, and had delivered them from the lions.
Then said Mr. Great-heart to Christiana, and to Mercy, My Lord hath sent each of you a bottle of wine, and also some parched corn, together with a couple of pomegranates; He has also sent the boys some figs and raisins, to refresh you in your way.166
Then they addressed themselves to their journey; and Prudence and Piety went along with them. When they came at the gate, Christiana asked the Porter if any of late went by? He said, No; only one some time since, who also told me, that of late there had been a great robbery committed on the King’s highway, as you go; but, he said, the thieves are taken, and will shortly he tried for their lives.167 Then Christiana and Mercy were afraid; but Matthew said, Mother, fear nothing, as long as Mr. Great-heart is to go with us, and to be our conductor.
Then said Christiana to the Porter, Sir, I am much obliged to you for all the kindnesses that you have showed me since I came hither; and also for that you have been so loving and kind to my children; I know not how to gratify your kindness. Wherefore, pray, as a token of my respects to you, accept of this small mite; so she put a gold angel in his hand, and he made her a low obeisance, and said, Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head want no ointment.168 Let Mercy live, and not die, and let not her works be few. And to the boys he said, Do you fly youthful lusts, and follow after godliness with them that are grave and wise; so shall you put gladness into your mother’s heart, and obtain praise of all that are sober-minded. So they thanked the Porter, and departed.
Now I saw in my dream, that they went forward until they were come to the brow of the hill, where Piety, bethinking herself, cried out, Alas! I have forgot what I intended to bestow upon Christiana and her companions; I will go back and fetch it. So she ran and fetched it. While she was gone, Christiana thought she heard in a grove, a little way off, on the right hand, a most curious melodious note, with words much like these—
Through all my life Thy favour is
So frankly show’d to me,
That in Thy house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.
And, listening still, she thought she heard another answer it, saying—
For why? The Lord our God is good,
His mercy is forever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
So Christiana asked Prudence what it was that made those curious notes? They are, said she, our country birds; they sing these notes but seldom, except it be at the spring, when the flowers appear, and the sun shines warm, and then you may hear them all day long169 (Song 2:11, 12). I often, said she, go out to hear them; we also ofttimes keep them tame in our house. They are very fine company for us when we are melancholy; also they make the woods, and groves, and solitary places, places desirous to he in.170
By this time Piety was come again; so she said to Christiana, Look here, I have brought thee a scheme of all those things that thou hast seen at our house, upon which thou mayest look when thou findest thyself forgetful, and call those things again to remembrance for thy edification and comfort.171
Now they began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation. It was a steep hill, and the way was slippery; but they were very careful, so they got down pretty well. When they were down in the Valley,172 Piety said to Christiana, This is the place where Christian your husband met with the foul fiend Apollyon, and where they had that dreadful fight that they had; I know you cannot but have heard thereof, But be of good courage, as long as you have here Mr. Great-heart to be your guide and conductor, we hope you will fare the better. So when these two had committed the Pilgrims unto the conduct of their guide, he went forward, and they went after.
GREAT-HEART. Then said Mr. Great-heart, We need not to be so afraid of this Valley, for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it to ourselves. It is true, Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom he also had a sore combat; but that fray was the fruit of those slips that he got in his going down the hill; for they that get slips there, must look for combats here. And hence it is, that this Valley has got so hard a name. For the common people, when they hear that some frightful thing has befallen such a one in such a place, are of an opinion, that that place is haunted with some foul fiend, or evil spirit; when, alas! it is for the fruit of their doing, that such things do befall them there.
This Valley of Humiliation is of itself as fruitful a place, as any the crow flies over; Christian was and I am persuaded, if we could hit upon it, we might find somewhere hereabouts, something that might give us an account why Christian was so hardly beset in this place.
Then James said to his mother, Lo, yonder stands a pillar, and it looks as if something was written thereon; let us go and see what it is. So they went, and found there written, “Let Christian’s slips, before he came hither, and the battles that he met with in this place, be a warning to those that come after.” Lo, said their guide, did not I tell you, that there was something hereabouts, that would give intimation of the reason why Christian was so hard beset in this place? Then, turning himself to Christiana, he said, No disparagement to Christian, more than to many others, whose hap and lot his was; for it is easier going up, than down this hill, and that can he said but of few hills in all these parts of the world. But we will leave the good man, he is at rest, he also had a brave victory over his enemy; let Him grant that dwelleth above, that we fare no worse, when we come to be tried, than he.
But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation. It is the best and most useful brave piece of ground in all those parts. It is fat ground, and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man were to come here in the summer-time, as we do now, if he knew not anything before, thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that that would be delightful to him. Behold how green this Valley is, also how beautified with lilies173 (Song. 2:1). I have also known many labouring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humiliation (“for God resisteth the proud, but gives grace unto the humble,” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5), for indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls.174 Some also have wished, that the next way to their Father’s house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either hills or mountains to go over; but the way is the way, and there is an end.175
Now, as they were going along and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favoured countenance; and as he sat by himself, he sang. Hark, said Mr. Great-heart, to what the shepherd’s boy saith. So they hearkened, and he said—
He that is down needs fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble, ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
(Phil. 4:12, 13)
I am content with what I have,
Little be it, or much;
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou savest such.
Fullness to such a burden is,
That go on pilgrimage;
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
Is best from age to age.176
Then said the guide, Do you hear him? I will dare to say, that this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of that herb called heart’s-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet;177 but we will proceed in our discourse.
In this Valley our Lord formerly had His country house; He loved much to be here; He loved also to walk these meadows, for He found the air was pleasant.178 Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise, and from the hurryings of this life. All states are full of noise and confusion, only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be so let and hindered in his contemplation, as in other places he is apt to be. This is a Valley that nobody walks in, but those that love a pilgrim’s life. And though Christian had the hard hap to meet here with Apollyon, and to enter with him a brisk encounter, yet I must tell you, that in former times men have met with angels here, have found pearls here, and have in this place found the words of life179 (Hosea 12:4, 5).
Did I say, our Lord had here in former days his country-house, and that He loved here to walk? I will add, in this place, and to the people that live, and trace these grounds, He has left a yearly revenue, to be faithfully paid them at certain seasons, for their maintenance by the way, and for their further encouragement to go on in their pilgrimage (Matt. 11:29).
- 161 How much is contained in that answer of Christiana as to the origin of evil—“It is food or poison, I know not which!” To believers, it will be their elevation to a degree of bliss that they would never have otherwise enjoyed; to the faithless, it will be poison of the deadliest kind. Here is no attempt to explain the origin of evil in our world; a subject far beyond all our powers of investigation—(ED).
- 162 It is not enough that the Holy Spirit convince us of sin at our first setting out on pilgrimage, and makes us sensible of our want of Christ; but He also keeps up a sight and sense of the evil of sin in its original nature, as well as actual transgressions. This often makes us wonder at sin, at ourselves, and at the love of Christ in becoming a sacrifice for our sins. And this also humbles us, makes us hate sin the more; and makes Christ, His atonement, and righteousness, more and more precious in our eyes, and inestimable in our hearts—(Mason).
- 163 The ministration of angels is an animating theme to believers, and is well adapted to promote their confidence in the care and protection of God. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)—(Ivimey).
- 164 This is the anchor of hope. This keeps the soul safe, and steady to Jesus, who is the alone object of our hopes. Hope springs from faith. It is an expectation of the fulfillment of those things that are promised in the Word of truth, by the God of all grace. Faith receives them, trusts in them, relies upon them; and hope waits for the full accomplishment and enjoyment of them—(Mason).
- 165 Bunyan loved harmony—he had a soul for music. But whether he intended by this to sanction the introduction of instrumental music into public worship, is not clear. “The late Abraham Booth and Andrew Fuller were extremely averse to it; others are as desirous of it. Music has a great effect on the nervous system, and of all instruments the organ is the most impressive. The Christian’s inquiry is, whether sensations so produced assist the soul in holding communion with the Father of spirits, or whether, under our spiritual dispensation, the Holy Ghost makes use of such means to promote intercourse between our spirits and the unseen hierarchies of Heaven—(ED).
- 166 O how reviving and refreshing are those love-tokens from our Lord! Great-heart never comes empty-handed. He always inspires with courage and confidence. Let us look more into, and heartily believe the Word of truth and grace; and cry more to our precious Immanuel, and we shall have more of Great-heart’s company. It is but sad travelling without him—(Mason).
- 167 What this great robbery was, whether spiritual or temporal, is left to the reader to imagine. The sufferings of the Dissenters were awfully severe at this time. Had it been a year later, we might have guessed it to have referred to the sufferings of that pious, excellent woman, Elizabeth Gaunt, who was burnt, October 23, 1685. She was a Baptist, and cruelly martyred. Penn, the Quaker, saw her die. “She laid the straw about her for burning her speedily, and behaved herself in such a manner that all the spectators melted in tears.”—(ED).
- 168 Ivimey is of opinion that by this Bunyan sanctioned a hireling ministry, but it appears more to refer to the common custom of rewarding servants to whom you have given trouble. He adduces Luke 10:7; 1 Timothy 5:18; and 1 Corinthians 9:11-14. It is a subject of considerable difficulty; but how is it that no minister ever thinks of referring to the plainest passage upon this subject in the New Testament? It is Acts 20:17-38, especially verses 33-35. The angel was a gold coin, in value half a sovereign—(ED).
- 169 Such mountains round about this house do stand As one from thence may see the Holy Land (Psa. 125:2). — Her fields are fertile, do abound with corn; The lilies fair her valleys do adorn (Song. 2:1). The birds that do come hither every spring, For birds, they are the very best that sing (Song. 2:11, 12). Her friends, her neighbours too, do call her blest (Psa. 48:2); Angels do here go by, turn in, and rest (Heb. 13:2). The road to paradise lies by her gate (Gen. 28:17), Here pilgrims do themselves accommodate With bed and board; and do such stories tell, As do for truth and profit all excel. Nor doth the porter here say any nay, That hither would turn in, that here would stay. This house is rent free; here the man may dwell That loves his landlord, rules his passions well. —(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2 p. 579).
- 170 It is sweet melody when we can sing with grace in the heart. The joy arising from God’s free grace and pardoning love, is greater than the joy of harvest, or of one who rejoices when he divides the spoil—(J. B.). Those joyful notes spring from a sense of nearness to the Lord, and a firm confidence in His Divine truth and everlasting mercy. O when the Sun of Righteousness shines warmly on the soul, it makes the pilgrims sing most sweetly! These songs approach very nearly to the heavenly music in the realm of glory—(Mason).
- 171 Forgetfulness makes things nothings. It makes us as if things had never been; and so takes away from the soul one great means of stay, support, and encouragement. When David was dejected, the remembrance of the hill Hermon was his stay. When he was to go out against Goliath, the remembrance of the lion and the bear was his support. The recovery of a backslider usually begins at the remembrance of former things—(Bunyan’s Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 507).
- 172 After being thus highly favoured with sensible comforts, in the views of faith, the comforts of hope, and the joy of love, the next step these pilgrims are to take is down the Hill Difficulty, into the Valley of Humiliation. What doth this place signify? A deep and abiding sight and sense of our ruined state, lost condition, and desperate circumstances, as fallen sinners. This is absolutely necessary, lest we should think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. For the Lord oft favours us with manifestations of His love, and the comforts of His Spirit; but, through the corruption of our nature, we are prone to be exalted in ourselves, and, as it were, intoxicated by them. Hence we are exhorted “to think soberly” (Rom. 12:3). This the Valley of Humiliation causes us to do—(Mason).
- 173 Thus beautifully does our author describe the grace of humility. O that every reader may know its excellence by happy experience!—(Burder).
- 174 These are the rare times; above all, when I can go to God as the Publican, sensible of His glorius majesty, sensible of my misery, and bear up and affectionately cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” For my part, I find it one of the hardest things I can put my soul upon, when warmly sesnsible that I am a sinner, to come to God for a share in mercy and grace; I cannot but with a thousand tears say, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”—(Bunyan’s Pharisee and Publican, vol. 2, p. 261).
- 175 Though this Valley of Humiliation, or a clear sight and abiding sense of the sinfulness of our nature, and the wickedness of our hearts, may be very terrifying to pilgrims, after they have been favoured with peace and joy, and comforted by the views of faith and hope, yet it is a very safe place; and though, at first entering into it, and seeing more of themselves than was ever before showed them, they may fear and tremble, yet, after some continuing here, they are more reconciled and contented; for here they find the visits of their Lord, and in the depths of their humility, they behold the heights of His love and the depths of His mercy, and cry out in joy, Where sin aboundeth, grace superabounds. Though sin abounds in me, the grace of Jesus superabounds towards me. Though I am emptied of all, yet I have an inexhaustible fullness in Jesus, to supply me with all I want and all I hope—(Mason).
- 176 The humble man is contented; if his estate be low, his heart is lower still. He that is little in his own eyes, will not be much troubled at being little in the eyes of others—(Watson). Those circumstances that will not disturb a humble man’s sleep, will break a proud man’s heart—(Matthew Henry). They that get slips in going down the hill, or would hide his descent by deception, or repine at it, must look for combats when in the valley—(Ivimey).
- 177 Perhaps the shepherd’s boy may refer to the obscure but quiet station of some pastors over small congregations, who live almost unknown to their brethren, but are, in a measure, useful and very comfortable—(Scott).
- 178 Our Lord chose retirement, poverty, and an obscure station; remote from bustle, and favourable to devotion; so that His appearance in a public character, and in crowded scenes, for the good of mankind and the glory of the Father, was a part of His self-denial, in which “He pleased not Himself.” Some are banished into this valley, but the poor in spirit love to walk in it; and though some believers here struggle with distressing temptations, others, in passing through it, enjoy much communion with God—(Scott).
- 179 Ever remember the words of our Lord, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.” If your Lord made it his chief delight to be in this Valley of Humiliation, learn from His example to prize this valley. Though you may meet with an Apollyon or a destroyer here, yet you are safe in the arms and under the power of your all-conquering Lord: “For though the Lord is high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly.” Therefore you may add with David, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me” (Psa. 138:7). Such are the confidence, the reasoning, and the pleading of humble souls in the power of faith, which leads them quite out of themselves to their Lord—(Mason).
SAMUEL.180 Now, as they went on, Samuel said to Mr. Great-heart; Sir, I perceive that in this Valley my father and Apollyon had their battle; but whereabout was the fight? for I perceive this Valley is large.
GREAT-HEART. Your father had that battle with Apollyon, at a place yonder, before us, in a narrow passage, just beyond Forgetful Green.181 And indeed, that place is the most dangerous place in all these parts. For if at any time the pilgrims meet with any brunt, it is when they forget what favours they have re- ceived, and how unworthy they are of them.182 This is the place also, where others have been hard put to it; but more of the place when we are come to it; for I persuade myself, that to this day there remains either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a battle there was fought.
MERCY. Then said Mercy, I think I am as well in this Valley, as I have been anywhere else in all our journey; the place, methinks, suits with my spirit. I love to be in such places where there is no rattling with coaches, nor rumbling with wheels; methinks, here one may, without much molestation, be thinking what he is, whence he came, what he has done, and to what the King has called him; here one may think, and break at heart, and melt in one’s spirit, until one’s eyes become like “the fish-pools of Heshbon” (Song. 7:4). They that go rightly through this Valley of Baca, make it a well, the rain that God sends down from Heaven upon them that are here, also filleth the pools (Psa. 84:6, 7). This Valley is that from whence also the King will give to His their vineyards (Hosea 2:15); and they that go through it, shall sing, as Christian did, for all he met with Apollyon.
GREAT-HEART. It is true, said their guide, I have gone through this Valley many a time, and never was better than when here.
I have also been a conductor to several pilgrims, and they have confessed the same. “To this man will I look (saith the King), even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word”183 (Isa. 66:2).
Now they were come to the place where the afore-mentioned battle was fought. Then said the guide to Christiana, her children, and Mercy, This is the place, on this ground Christian stood, and up there came Apollyon against him. And look, did not I tell you? here is some of your husband’s blood upon these stones to this day; behold, also, how here and there are yet to be seen upon the place, some of the shivers of Apollyon’s broken darts; see also, how they did beat the ground with their feet as they fought, to make good their places against each other; how also, with their by-blows, they did split the very stones in pieces. Verily, Christian did here play the man, and showed himself as stout, as could, had he been there, even Hercules himself.184 When Apollyon was beat, he made his retreat to the next Valley, that is called, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, unto which we shall come anon.185
Lo, yonder also stands a monument, on which is engraven this battle, and Christian’s victory, to his fame throughout all ages. So, because it stood just on the wayside before them, they stepped to it, and read the writing, which word for word was this—
Hard by, here was a battle fought,
Most strange, and yet most true;186
Christian and Apollyon sought
Each other to subdue.
The man so bravely play’d the man,
He made the fiend to fly;
Of which a monument I stand,
The same to testify.
When they had passed by this place, they came upon the borders of the Shadow of Death; and this Valley was longer than the other; a place, also, most strangely haunted with evil things, as many are able to testify;187 but these women and children went the better through it, because they had daylight, and because Mr. Great-heart was their conductor.
When they were entered upon this Valley, they thought that they heard a groaning, as of dead men, a very great groaning. They thought, also, they did hear words of lamentation spoken, as of some in extreme torment. These things made the boys to quake, the women also looked pale and wan; but their guide bid them be of good comfort.
So they went on a little further, and they thought that they felt the ground begin to shake under them, as if some hollow place was there; they heard also a kind of a hissing, as of serpents, but nothing as yet appeared. Then said the boys, Are we not yet at the end of this doleful place? But the guide also bid them be of good courage, and look well to their feet, lest haply, said he, you be taken in some snare.188
Now James began to be sick, but I think the cause thereof was fear; so his mother gave him some of that glass of spirits that she had given her at the Interpreter’s house, and three of the pills that Mr. Skill had prepared, and the boy began to revive. Thus they went on, till they came to about the middle of the Valley, and then Christiana said, Methinks I see something yonder upon the road before us, a thing of such a shape such as I have not seen. Then said Joseph, Mother, what is it? An ugly thing, child; an ugly thing, said she. But, mother, what is it like? said he. It is like I cannot tell what, said she. And now it was but a little way off; then said she, It is nigh.
Well, well, said Mr. Great-heart, Let them that are most afraid, keep close to me. So the fiend came on, and the conductor met it; but when it was just come to him, it vanished to all their sights. Then remembered they what had been said some time ago, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
They went therefore on, as being a little refreshed; but they had not gone far, before Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something most like a lion, and it came a great padding pace after; and it had a hollow voice of roaring; and at every roar that it gave, it made all the Valley echo, and their hearts to ache, save the heart of him that was their guide. So it came up; and Mr. Great-heart went behind, and put the Pilgrims all before him. The lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed himself to give him battle. But when he saw that it was determined that resistance should be made, he also drew back, and came no further189 (1 Peter 5:8, 9).
Then they went on again, and their conductor did go before them, till they came at a place where was cast up a pit the whole breadth of the way; and, before they could be prepared to go over that, a great mist and darkness fell upon them, so that they could not see. Then said the Pilgrims, Alas! now what shall we do? But their guide made answer, Fear not, stand still, and see what an end will be put to this also. So they staid there, because their path was marred. They then also thought that they did hear more apparently the noise and rushing of the enemies; the fire, also, and the smoke of the pit, was much easier to be discerned.190 Then said Christiana to Mercy, Now I see what my poor husband went through; I have heard much of this place, but I never was here before now. Poor man, he went here all alone in the night; he had night almost quite through the way; also, these fiends were busy about him, as if they would have torn him in pieces. Many have spoke of it, but none can tell what the Valley of the Shadow of Death should mean, until they come in it themselves. “The heart knows its own bitterness; and a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy.” To be here is a fearful thing.
GREAT-HEART. This is like doing business in great waters, or like going down into the deep; this is like being in the heart of the sea, and like going down to the bottoms of the mountains; now it seems as if the earth, with its bars, were about us forever. But let them that walk in darkness, and have no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God191 (Isa. 1:10). For my part, as I have told you already, I have gone often through this Valley, and have been much harder put to it than now I am, and yet you see I am alive. I would not boast, for that I am not mine own saviour; but I trust we shall have a good deliverance. Come, let us pray for light to Him that can lighten our darkness, and that can rebuke not only these, but all the Satans in hell.
So they cried and prayed, and God sent light and deliverance, for there was now no let in their way; no not there, where but now they were stopped with a pit. Yet they were not got through the Valley; so they went on still, and behold great stinks and loathsome smells, to the great annoyance of them.192 Then said Mercy to Christiana, There is not such pleasant being here, as at the gate, or at the Interpreter’s, or at the house where we lay last.
O but, said one of the boys, it is not so bad to go through here, as it is to abide here always; and for aught I know, one reason why we must go this way to the house prepared for us, is, that our home might be made the sweeter to us.193
Well said, Samuel, quoth the guide, thou hast now spoke like a man. Why, if ever I get out here again said the boy, I think I shall prize light and good way better than ever I did in all my life. Then said the guide, We shall he out by and by.194
So on they went, and Joseph said, Cannot we see to the end of this Valley as yet? Then said the guide, Look to your feet, for you shall presently be among the snares. So they looked to their feet, and went on; but they were troubled much with the snares. Now, when they were come among the snares, they espied a man cast into the ditch on the left hand, with his flesh all rent and torn. Then said the guide, That is one Heedless, that was agoing this way; he has lain there a great while.195 There was one Take-heed with him, when he was taken and slain; but he escaped their hands. You cannot imagine how many are killed hereabout, and yet men are so foolishly venturous, as to set out lightly on pilgrimage, and to come without a guide.196 Poor Christian! it was a wonder that he here escaped; but he was beloved of his God: also, he had a good heart of his own,197 or else he could never have done it. Now they drew towards the end of the way; and just there where Christian had seen the cave when he went by, out thence came forth Maul, a giant. This Maul did use to spoil young pilgrims with sophistry; and he called Great-heart by his name, and said unto him, How many times have you been forbidden to do these things? Then said Mr. Great-heart, What things? What things? quoth the giant; you know what things; but I will put an end to your trade. But pray, said Mr. Great-heart, before we fall to it, let us understand wherefore we must fight. Now the women and children stood trembling, and knew not what to do. Quoth the giant, You rob the country, and rob it with the worst of thefts.198 These are but generals, said Mr. Great-heart; come to particulars, man.
Then said the giant, Thou practisest the craft of a kidnapper; thou gatherest up women and children, and carriest them into a strange country, to the weakening of my master’s kingdom. But now Great-heart replied, I am a servant of the God of Heaven; my business is to persuade sinners to repentance; I am commanded to do my endeavour to turn men, women, and children, “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”: and if this be indeed the ground of thy quarrel, let us fall to it as soon as thou wilt.
Then the giant came up, and Mr. Great-heart went to meet him; and as he went, he drew his sword, but the giant had a club. So without more ado, they fell to it, and at the first blow the giant struck Mr. Great-heart down upon one of his knees; with that the women and children cried out; so Mr. Great-heart recovering himself, laid about him in full lusty manner, and gave the giant a wound in his arm; thus he fought for the space of an hour, to that height of heat, that the breath came out of the giant’s nostrils, as the heat doth out of a boiling caldron.
Then they sat down to rest them, but Mr. Great-heart betook him to prayer; also the women and children did nothing but sigh and cry all the time that the battle did last.199
When they had rested them, and taken breath, they both fell to it again,200 and Mr. Great-heart with a full blow, fetched the giant down to the ground. Nay, hold, and let me recover, quoth he; so Mr. Great-heart fairly let him get up. So to it they went again, and the giant missed but little of all-to-breaking Mr. Great-heart’s skull with his club.
- 180 In the first edition this name is printed “Simon”; it was corrected to Samuel in Bunyan’s later editions—(ED).
- 181 It is marvellous to see how some men are led captive by forgetfulness. Those that sometime thought no pains too much, no way too far, no hazards too great to run for eternal life, become as if they had never thought of such things. Should one say to some—Art not thou that man I saw crying out under a sermon, “What shall I do to be saved?” that I heard speak well of the holy Word of God? how askew they will look upon one. Or if they acknowledge that such things were with them once, they do it more like dejected ghosts than as men—(Bunyan’s Holy Life, vol. 2, p. 507).
- 182 O pilgrims, attend to this! Pride and ingratitude go hand in hand. Study, ever study the favours of your Lord; how freely they are bestowed upon you, and how utterly unworthy you are of the least of them. Beware of Forgetful Green. Many, after going some way on pilgrimage, get into this Green, and continue here; and talk of their own faithfulness to grace received, the merit of their works, and a second justification by their works, &c. Hence it is plain that they are fallen asleep on this Forgetful Green, and talk incoherently, as men do in their sleep; for they forget that they are still sinners— poor, needy, wretched sinners; and that they want the blood of Christ to cleanse them, the righteousness of Christ to justify them, and the Spirit of Christ to keep them humble, and to enable them to live by faith upon the fullness of Christ to sanctify them, as much as they did when they first set out as pilgrims. O it is a most blessed thing to be kept mindful of what we are, and of the Lord’s free grace and unmerited goodness to us!—(Mason).
- 183 “Trembles at God’s Word,” so as not to dare pick and choose which doctrines he will receive, and which reject. Would you act thus by God’s holy commandments? Would you choose one and reject another? Are they not all of equal authority? And are not all His holy doctrines also stamped with the same Divine sanction? Where there is true faith in them, it will make a man tremble to act thus by God’s Word!—(Mason).
- 184 We ought to study the records of the temptations, conflicts, faith, patience, and victories of believers; mark their wounds, by what misconduct they were occasioned, that we may watch and pray lest we fall in like manner. Learn how they repelled the assaults of the tempter, that we may learn to resist him steadfast in the faith. Their triumphs should animate us to keep on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day— (Scott).
- 185 If Satan be driven back from one attack, prepare for another. Bless God for your armour. Never put it off—(Mason).
- 186 If this monument refers to the experience of Bunyan, as exhibited in his Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, it is well called, “Most strange, and yet most true.”—(ED).
- 187 This valley represents the inward distress, conflict, and alarm, arising from darkness and insensibility of mind. It varies according to the constitution, animal spirits, health, education, and strength of mind of different persons—(Scott).
- 188 None know the distress, anguish, and fear that haunt pilgrims in this valley, but those who have been in it. The hissings, revilings, and injections of that old serpent, with all his infernal malice, seem to be let loose upon pilgrims in this valley. Asaph seems to be walking in this valley when he says, “As for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped” (Psa. 73:2)—(Mason).
- 189 Satan is often must dreadful at a distance, and, courageously resisted, will not advance nearer. This advice is ever needful, “Be sober; be vigilant.” These pilgrims kept up their watch. Satan did come upon them unawares; still they heard his approach; they were prepared for his attack; lo, Satan drew back—(Mason).
- 190 Miserable, uncomfortable walking, with a pit before us, mid darkness around, yea, within us, and hell seeming to move from beneath to meet us who have been left to the darkness of our nature, the terrors of a fiery law, the sense of guilt, and the fear of hell! O what an unspeakable mercy, in such a distressing season, to have an Almighty Saviour to look to and call upon for safety and salvation! “For He will hear our cry and save us” (Psa. 145:19)— (Mason).
- 191 This text has been a sheet anchor to my soul under darkness and distress. I doubt not but it has been so to many others. O there is an amazing depth of grace and a wonderful height of mercy in it. Bless God for it. Study it deeply—(Mason).
- 192 What must the pure and holy Jesus have suffered when He tasted death in all its bitterness? His soul was in an agony. Hell was let loose upon Him. This is your hour, said He, and the power of darkness, when He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It seemed as if the pains of hell had got hold of Him. O what justice and judgment! what love and mercy! what power and might were here displayed! And all this for us, and for our salvation. What shall we render to the Lord for all His benefits?—(J. B.).
- 193 Precious thought; under the worst and most distressing circumstances think of this. Their continuance is short. The appointment, love. Their end shall be crowned with glory. Our dark and distressing nights make us prize our light and joyful days the more—(Mason).
- 194 The tremendous horrors of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, figuratively represents the gloomy frame of mind in which fears rise high, and temptations greatly abound, more especially when they are augmented by bodily disease. Few Christians are wholly exempted from such distressing seasons, but all are not distressed alike— (Burder). Bunyan’s experience, recorded in his Grace Abounding, shows that he was, when under conviction, very familiar with these horrors—(ED).
- 195 Heedless professors, be warned. The doctrines of grace were never intended to lull any asleep in carnal security. If they do so by you, it is a sure sign that what should have been for your health proves an occasion of your falling—(Mason). O the miserable end of them that obey not the Gospel—punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power—(J. B.).
- 196 Prayer prevailed, and they were delivered. — By glimm’ring hopes, and gloomy fears, We trace the sacred road; Through dismal deeps, and dang’rous snares, We make our way to God—(Burder).
- 197 By a good heart is here meant, that Christian was endued with boldness and courage from above; as the Psalmist says, “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart.”—(J. B.).
- 198 Satan’s master argument is, Thou art a horrible sinner, a hypocrite, one that has a profane heart, and one that is an utter stranger to a work of grace. I say this is his Maul, his club, his master-piece. He doth with this as some do by their most enchanting songs, sings them everywhere. I believe there are but few saints in the world that have not had this temptation sounding in their ears. But were they but aware, Satan by all this does but drive them to the gap, out at which they should go, and so escape his roaring. Saith he, Thou art a great sinner, a horrible sinner, a profane-hearted wretch, one that cannot be matched for a vile one in the country. The tempted may say, Aye, Satan, so I am, a sinner of the biggest size, and, therefore, have most need of Jesus Christ; yea, because I am such a wretch Jesus calls me first. I am he, wherefore stand back, Satan, make a lane; my right is first to come to Jesus Christ. This, now, would be like for like; this would foil the devil: this would make him say, I must not deal with this man thus; for then I put a sword into his hand to cut off my head—(Good News for the Vilest of Men, vol. 1, p 96).
- 199 The greatest heart cannot understand without prayer, nor conquer without the almighty power of God. The belief of this will excite prayer—(Mason).
- 200 The severity of Job’s sufferings probably suggested to the author, the idea of taking rest during the conflict. “How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?” (Job 7:19). Here is no timidly mincing the matter with sophistry or infidelity; but a manful, prayerful, fighting it out—(ED).
Mr. Great-heart seeing that, runs to him in the full heat of his spirit, and pierceth him under the fifth rib; with that the giant began to faint, and could hold up his club no longer. Then Mr. Great-heart seconded his blow, and smote the head of the giant from his shoulders. Then the women and children rejoiced, and Mr. Great-heart also praised God, for the deliverance He had wrought.201
When this was done, they among them erected a pillar, and fastened the giant’s head thereon, and wrote underneath in letters, that passengers might read—
He that did wear this head, was one
That pilgrims did misuse;
He stopp’d their way, he spared none,
But did them all abuse;
Until that I, Great-heart, arose,
The pilgrim’s guide to be;
Until that I did him oppose,
That was their enemy.
Now I saw, that they went to the ascent that was a little way off, cast up to be a prospect for pilgrims (that was the place from whence Christian had the first sight of Faithful his brother); wherefore here they sat down, and rested; they also here did eat and drink, and make merry, for that they had gotten deliverance from this so dangerous an enemy.202 As they sat thus, and did eat, Christiana asked the guide if he had caught no hurt in the battle. Then said Mr. Great-heart, No, save a little on my flesh; yet that also shall be so far from being to my detriment, that it is at present a proof of my love to my Master and you, and shall be a means, by grace, to increase my reward at last203 (2 Cor. 4).
CHRIST. But were you not afraid, good Sir, when you saw him come out with his club?204
GREAT-HEART. It is my duty, said he, to distrust my own ability, that I may have reliance on Him that is stronger than all.
CHRIST. But what did you think when he fetched you down to the ground at the first blow?
GREAT-HEART. Why, I thought, quoth he, that so my Master Himself was served, and yet He it was that conquered at the last.
MATT. When you all have thought what you please, I think God has been wonderful good unto us, both in bringing us out of this Valley, and in delivering us out of the hand of this enemy; for my part, I see no reason, why we should distrust our God any more, since He has now, and in such a place as this, given us such testimony of His love as this.
Then they got up and went forward. Now a little before them stood an oak; and under it, when they came to it, they found an old pilgrim fast asleep; they knew that he was a pilgrim by his clothes, and his staff, and his girdle.
So the guide, Mr. Great-heart, awaked him, and the old gentleman, as he lift up his eyes, cried out, What’s the matter? Who are you? and what is your business here?205
GREAT-HEART. Come, man, be not so hot, here is none but friends; yet the old man gets up, and stands upon his guard, and will know of them what they were. Then said the guide, My name is Great-heart; I am the guide of these Pilgrims, which are going to the Celestial Country.
HONEST. Then said Mr. Honest, I cry you mercy; I feared that you had been of the company of those that sometime ago did rob Little-faith of his money; but now I look better about me, I perceive you are honester people.
GREAT-HEART. Why, what would, or could you have done, to have helped yourself, if we indeed had been of that company.
HON. Done! why I would have fought as long as breath had been in me; and had I so done, I am sure you could never have given me the worst on it; for a Christian can never be overcome, unless he should yield of himself.206
GREAT-HEART. Well said, father Honest, quoth the guide; for by this I know thou art a cock of the right kind, for thou hast said the truth.
HON. And by this, also, I know that thou knowest what true pilgrimage is; for all others do think that we are the soonest overcome of any.
GREAT-HEART. Well, now we are so happily met, pray let me crave your name, and the name of the place you came from.
HON. My name I cannot; but I came from the town of Stupidity; it lieth about four degrees beyond the City of Destruction.
GREAT-HEART. Oh! are you that countryman, then? I deem I have half a guess of you; your name is Old Honesty, is it not? So the old gentleman blushed, and said, Not Honesty, in the abstract,207 but Honest is my name; and I wish that my nature shall agree to what I am called.
HON. But, Sir, said the old gentleman, how could you guess that I am such a man, since I came from such a place?
GREAT-HEART. I had heard of you before, by my Master; for He knows all things that are done on the earth; but I have often wondered that any should come from your place, for your town is worse than is the City of Destruction itself.
HON. Yes, we lie more off from the sun, and so are more cold and senseless; but was a man in a mountain of ice, yet if the Sun of Righteousness will arise upon him, his frozen heart shall feel a thaw; and thus it hath been with me.208
GREAT-HEART. I believe it, father Honest, I believe it; for I know the thing is true.
Then the old gentleman saluted all the Pilgrims with a holy kiss of charity; and asked them of their names, and how they had fared since they set out on their pilgrimage.209
CHRIST. Then said Christiana, My name, I suppose you have heard of; good Christian was my husband, and these four were his children. But can you think how the old gentleman was taken, when she told him who she was! He skipped, he smiled, and blessed them with a thousand good wishes, saying:
HON. I have heard much of your husband, and of his travels and wars, which he underwent in his days. Be it spoken to your comfort, the name of your husband rings over all these parts of the world: his faith, his courage, his enduring, and his sincerity under all, has made his name famous. Then he turned him to the boys, and asked them of their names, which they told him. And then said he unto them: Matthew, be thou like Matthew the publican, not in vice, but in virtue (Matt. 10:3). Samuel, said he, be thou like Samuel the Prophet, a man of faith and prayer (Psa. 99:6). Joseph, said he, be thou like Joseph in Potiphar’s house, chaste, and one that flees from temptation (Gen. 39). And James, be thou like James the Just, and like James the brother of our Lord (Acts 1:13, 14). Then they told him of Mercy, and how she had left her town and her kindred to come along with Christiana and with her sons. At that the old honest man said, Mercy is thy name; by Mercy shalt thou be sustained, and carried through all those difficulties that shall assault thee in thy way, till thou shalt come thither, where thou shalt look the Fountain of Mercy in the face with comfort.
All this while the guide, Mr. Great-heart, was very much pleased, and smiled upon his companion.
Now, as they walked along together, the guide asked the old gentleman, if he did not know one Mr. Fearing, that came on pilgrimage out of his parts?
HON. Yes, very well, said he. He was a man that had the root of the matter in him; but he was one of the most troublesome pilgrims that ever I met with in all my days.210
GREAT-HEART. I perceive you knew him; for you have given a very right character of him.
HON. Knew him! I was a great companion of his; I was with him most an end; when he first began to think of what would come upon us hereafter, I was with him.
GREAT-HEART. I was his guide from my Master’s house to the gates of the Celestial City.
HON. Then you knew him to be a troublesome one.
GREAT-HEART. I did so, but I could very well bear it; for men of my calling are oftentimes intrusted with the conduct of such as he was.
HON. Well then, pray let us hear a little of him, and how he managed himself under your conduct.
GREAT-HEART. Why, he was always afraid that he should come short of whither he had a desire to go. Everything frightened him that he heard anybody speak of, that had but the least appearance of opposition in it.
I hear that he lay roaring at the Slough of Despond for about a month together; nor durst he, for all he saw several go over before him, venture, though they, many of them, offered to lend him their hand. He would not go back again neither.211 The Celestial City, he said, he should die if he came not to it; and yet was dejected at every difficulty, and stumbled at every straw that anybody cast in his way. Well, after he had lain at the Slough of Despond a great while, as I have told you, one sunshine morning, I do not know how, he ventured, and so got over; but when he was over, he would scarce believe it. He had, I think, a Slough of Despond in his mind; a slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never have been as he was. So he came up to the gate, you know what I mean, that stands at the head of this way; and there also he stood a good while, before he would adventure to knock. When the gate was opened, he would give back, and give place to others, and say that he was not worthy. For, for all he got before some to the gate, yet many of them went in before him. There the poor man would stand, shaking and shrinking. I dare say, it would have pitied one’s heart to have seen him; nor would he go back again. At last, he took the hammer that hanged on the gate in his hand, and gave a small rap or two; then One opened to him, but he shrank back as before. He that opened stepped out after him, and said, Thou trembling one, what wantest thou? With that he fell down to the ground. He that spoke to him wondered to see him so faint. So he said to him, Peace be to thee; up, for I have set open the door to thee. Come in, for thou art blessed. With that he got up, and went in trembling; and when he was in, he was ashamed to show his face. Well, after he had been entertained there a while, as you know how the manner is, he was bid go on his way, and also told the way he should take. So he came till he came to our house. But as he behaved himself at the gate, so he did His behaviour at my Master the Interpreter’s door. – He lay thereabout in the cold a good while, before he would adventure to call; yet he would not go back, and the nights were long and cold then. Nay, he had a note of necessity in his bosom to my Master, to receive him and grant him the comfort of His house, and also to allow him a stout and valiant conductor, because he was himself so chicken-hearted a man; and yet, for all that, he was afraid to call at the door. So he lay up and down thereabouts, till, poor man! he was almost starved. Yea, so great was his dejection, that though he saw several others, for knocking, get in, yet he was afraid to venture. At last, I think, I looked out of the window, and perceiving a man to be up and down about the door, I went out to him, and asked what he was; but, poor man! the water stood in his eyes; so I perceived what he wanted. I went, therefore, in and told it in the house, and we showed the thing to our Lord. So He sent me out again, to entreat him to come in; but, I dare say, I had hard work to do it. At last he came in; and I will say that for my Lord, He carried it wonderfully lovingly to him. There were but a few good bits at the table, but some of it was laid upon his trencher. Then he presented the note, and my Lord looked thereon, and said his desire should he granted. So, when he had been there a good while, he seemed to get some heart, and to be a little more comfortable; for my Master, you must know, is one of very tender bowels, especially to them that are afraid; wherefore He carried it so towards him, as might tend most to his encouragement. Well, when he had had a sight of the things of the place, and was ready to take his journey to go to the city, my Lord, as He did to Christian before, gave him a bottle of spirits, and some comfortable things to eat. Thus we set forward, and I went before him; but the man was but of few words, only he would sigh aloud.
When we were come to where the three fellows were hanged, he said that he doubted that that would be his end also. Only he seemed glad when he saw the Cross and the Sepulchre. There, I confess, he desired to stay a little to look, and he seemed, for a while after, to be a little cheery. When we came at the Hill Difficulty, he made no stick at that, nor did he much fear the lions; for you must know that his trouble was not about such things as those; his fear was about his acceptance at last.212
I got him in at the House Beautiful, I think, before he was willing. Also, when he was in, I brought him acquainted with the damsels that were of the place; but he was ashamed to make himself much for company. He desired much to be alone, yet he always loved good talk, and often would get behind the screen to hear it. He also loved much to see ancient things, and to be pondering them in his mind. He told me afterwards that he loved to be in those two houses from which he came last, to wit, at the gate, and that of the Interpreter, but that he durst not be so bold to ask.
When we went also from the House Beautiful, he went down the hill, into the Valley of Humiliation, he went down as well as ever I saw man in my life; for he cared not how mean he was, so he might he happy at last. Yea, I think, there was a kind of a sympathy betwixt that valley and him; for I never saw him better in all his pilgrimage than when he was in that valley.213
Here he would lie down, embrace the ground, and kiss the very flowers that grew in this valley (Lam. 3:27-29). He would now be up every morning by break of day, tracing and walking to and fro in this valley.
But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back; that he always abhorred; but he was ready to die for fear. Oh! the hobgoblins will have me! the hobgoblins will have me! cried he; and I could not beat him out on it. He made such a noise, and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us.214
But this I took very great notice of, that this valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose these enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle until Mr. Fearing was passed over it.
It would he too tedious to tell you of all. We will, therefore, only mention a passage or two more. When he was come at Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all at the men at the fair. I feared there we should both have been knocked on the head, so hot was he against their fooleries.215 Upon the Enchanted Ground, he was also very wakeful. But when he was come at the river, where was no bridge, there again he was in a heavy case. Now, now, he said, he should be drowned forever, and so never see that Face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold.
And here, also, I took notice of what was very remarkable; the water of that river was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life. So he went over at last, not much above wet-shod.216 When he was going up to the gate, I began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above. So he said, I shall, I shall. Then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more.
HON. Then, it seems, he was well at last.
GREAT-HEART. Yes, yes; I never had doubt about him; he was a man of a choice spirit, only he was always kept very low, and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so troublesome to others (Psa. 88). He was, above many, tender of sin. He was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he often would deny himself of that which was lawful, because he would not offend (Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13).
HON. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark?217
GREAT-HEART. There are two sorts of reasons for it: One is, the wise God will have it so; some must pipe, and some must weep (Matt. 11:16-18). Now Mr. Fearing was one that played upon this bass; he and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other music are; though, indeed, some say the bass is the ground of music. And, for my part, I care not at all for that profession that begins not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the musician usually touches is the bass, when he intends to put all in tune. God also plays upon this string first, when he sets the soul in tune for Himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr. Fearing, he could play upon no other music but this, till towards his latter end.218
I make bold to talk thus metaphorically, for the ripening of the wits of young readers; and because, in the book of the Revelations, the saved are compared to a company of musicians that play upon their trumpets and harps, and sing their songs before the throne (Rev. 8:2; 14:2, 3).
HON. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him; difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all. It was only sin, death, and hell that was to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that celestial country.219
GREAT-HEART. You say right. Those were the things that were his troublers, and they, as you have well observed, arose from the weakness of his mind thereabout, not from weakness of spirit as to the practical part of a pilgrim’s life. I dare believe that, as the proverb is, “he could have bit a firebrand, had it stood in his way”; but the things with which he was oppressed, no man ever yet could shake off with ease.
CHRIST. Then said Christiana, This relation of Mr. Fearing has done me good. I thought nobody had been like me; but I see there was some semblance betwixt this good man and I; only we differed in two things: His troubles were so great, they break out; but mine I kept within. His, also, lay so hard upon him, they made him that he could not knock at the houses provided for entertainment; but my trouble was always such as made me knock the louder.
MERCY. If I might also speak my heart, I must say, that something of him has also dwelt in me; for I have ever been more afraid of the lake, and the loss of a place in Paradise, than I have been of the loss of other things. O, thought I, may I have the happiness to have a habitation there, it is enough, though I part with all the world to win it!
MATT. Then said Matthew, Fear was one thing that made me think that I was far from having that within me that accompanies salvation; but if it were so with such a good man as he, why may it not also go well with me?
JAMES. No fears, no grace, said James. Though there is not always grace where there is the fear of hell, yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is no fear of God.220
GREAT-HEART. Well said, James, thou hast hit the mark; for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; and, to be sure, they that lack the beginning, have neither middle nor end. But we will here conclude our discourse of Mr. Fearing, after we have sent after him this farewell.
Well, Master Fearing, thou didst fear
Thy God, and wast afraid
Of doing anything, while here,
That would have thee betray’d.
And didst thou fear the lake and pit?
Would others did so too!
For, as for them that want thy wit,
They do themselves undo.221
Now I saw, that they still went on in their talk; for after Mr. Great-heart had made an end with Mr. Fearing, Mr. Honest began to tell them of another, but his name was Mr. Self-will. He pretended himself to be a pilgrim, said Mr. Honest; but I persuade myself he never came in at the gate that stands at the head of the way.
GREAT-HEART. Had you ever any talk with him about it?
HON. Yes, more than once or twice; but he would always be like himself, self-willed. He neither cared for man, nor argument, nor yet example; what his mind prompted him to, that he would do, and nothing else could he be got to.
GREAT-HEART. Pray, what principles did he hold? for I suppose you can tell.
HON. He held, that a man might follow the vices as well as the virtues of the pilgrims; and that if he did both, he should be certainly saved.
GREAT-HEART. How! if he had said, It is possible for the heart to be guilty of the vices, as well as to partake of the virtues of pilgrims, he could not much have been blamed; for indeed we are exempted from no vice absolutely, but on condition that we watch and strive.222 But this, I perceive, is not the thing; but if I understand you right, your meaning is, that he was of that opinion, that it was allowable so to be.
HON. Aye, aye, so I mean; and so he believed and practised.
GREAT-HEART. But what ground had he for his so saying?
HON. Why, he said he had the Scripture for his warrant.
GREAT-HEART. Prithee, Mr. Honest, present us with a few particulars.
HON. So I will. He said, To have to do with other men’s wives, had been practised by David, God’s beloved; and therefore he could do it. He said, To have more women than one, was a thing that Solomon practised; and therefore he could do it. He said, That Sarah and the godly midwives of Egypt lied, and so did saved Rahab; and therefore he could do it. He said, That the disciples went at the bidding of their Master, and took away the owner’s ass; and therefore he could do so too. He said, That Jacob got the inheritance of his father in a way of guile and dissimulation; and therefore he could do so too.223
GREAT-HEART. Highly base! indeed. And you are sure he was of this opinion?
HON. I have heard him plead for it, bring Scripture for it, bring argument for it, &c.
- 201 Ivimey considers, that in Giant Maul is characterised that erroneous but common notion, that the church of Christ consists exclusively of some one state religion, to dissent from which is to cause schism, and to rend the seamless coat of Christ. Maul dwelt in the place where Pagan and Pope had resided; the club being the temporal power to compel uniformity. If so, the declaration for liberty of conscience slew the giant, and the Act of toleration prevented his resurrection. Alas, how little do such Anti-Christians know of that spiritual kingdom which extends over all the temporal kingdoms of the earth, and which constitutes Christ the King of kings—(ED). Carnal reasoning upon the equity of the Divine proceedings have mauled many a Christian—robbed him of his comfort, and spoiled his simplicity. As soon as we turn aside to vain janglings and doubtful disputations, we get upon the devil’s ground. As Great-heart was knocked down with this giant’s club, so many a faithful minister has been confounded with the subtle arguments of a cunning disputer. The way to overcome this giant is to keep close to Scripture, and pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit—(J.B.). Though Maul was baffled, disabled, and apparently slain; it will appear that he has left a posterity on earth to revile, injure, and oppose the spiritual worshippers of God in every generation—(Scott).
- 202 Well may Giant Maul, with his sophistry, be called a dangerous enemy. Many of this tribe are mentioned in the Holy War, as Lord Cavil, the Lord Brisk, the Lord Pragmatic, the Lord Murmur, and one Clip-promise, a notorious villain. These lords felt the edge of Lord Will-be-will’s sword, for which his Prince Immanuel honoured him. Clip-promise was set in the pillory, whipped, and hanged. One clipper-of-promise does great abuse to Mansoul in a little time. Bunyan’s judgment was, that “all those of his name and life should be served even as he!”—(ED).
- 203 Light afflictions, but for a moment, and which work out for us an eternal weight of glory—“a little hurt on my flesh.” If this refers to Bunyan’s twelve years’ imprisonment under the maul of sophistry, how must his natural temper have been subdued by humility!—(ED).
- 204 This club we may suppose to mean human power, under which many godly ministers, in the seventeenth century, suffered greatly. Blessed be God, we have nothing of this to fear in our day; therefore, the more shame for such professors who desert Christ when they have nothing to fear but the breath of reproach, a nickname, or a by-word of contempt—(Mason).
- 205 The experienced Christian will be afraid of new acquaintance; in his most unwatchful seasons he is fully convinced that no enemy can hurt him, unless he is induced to yield to temptation, and commit sin—(Scott).
- 206 The character of Honesty is beautifully drawn by a masterly hand. The aged pilgrim, worn out with fatigue, can say without fear, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” He blushed when his name was mentioned, and proved to be a most valuable acquisition to the Pilgrim party—(ED).
- 207 By honesty, in the abstract, he means to distinguish between his earnest desire to be honest, and a perfect character. Every Christian is the subject of honesty or justice, uprightness and sincerity; yet when we come to describe these virtues in the abstract, or what they really are in their strict purity and utmost perfection, where is the Christian but must wear the conscientious blush, as Honesty did, under a sense of his imperfections—(Mason).
- 208 This is the confession of an honest heart. It is never afraid of ascribing too much to the sovereignty of grace; nor of giving all the glory to the Sun of Righteousness, for shining upon, and melting down its hard frozen soul—(Mason).
- 209 If the kiss of charity be given, great care should be taken that it is a “holy” kiss. “Some have urged the holy kiss, but then I have asked why they made baulks; why they did salute the most handsome, and let the ill-favoured go. This has been unseemly in my sight.”—(Grace Abounding, No. 315). However such a custom may have been innocent in the oriental scenes of apostolic labours, it has been very properly discontinued in later ages, unless it be as in the case of old Honest, or the unexpected meeting of very old friends and relatives—(ED).
- 210 The character and narrative of Fearing is drawn and arranged with great judgment, and in a very affecting manner. Little-faith, mentioned in the First Part, was faint-hearted and distrustful; and thus he contracted guilt, and lost his comfort; but Fearing dreaded sin and coming short of Heaven, more than all that flesh could do unto him. He was alarmed more at the fear of being overcome by temptation, than from a reluctance to undergo derision or persecution. The peculiarity of this description of Christians must be traced back to constitution, habit, first impressions, disproportionate and partial views of truth, and improper instructions; these, concurring with weakness of faith, and the common infirmities of human nature, give a cast to their experience and character, which renders them uncomfortable to themselves, and troublesome to others. Yet no competent judges doubt that they have the root of the matter in them; and none are more entitled to the patient, sympathizing, and tender attention of ministers and Christians— (Scott).
- 211 We cannot but admire the variety of experiences introduced into the Pilgrim’s Progress. Many have died remarkably happy in the Lord, who, till very near their last moments have been in bondage through the fear of death. We may be sure of this, that wherever the Lord has begun a work, He will carry it on to the great decisive day. The proof of this is “he would not go back!” “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed.”— (J.B.).
- 212 See all through this character, what a conflict there was between fear, and the influence of grace. Though it may not be the most comfortable, yet the end of Mr. Fearing was very joyful. O what a godly jealousy displayed itself all through his life! Better this, than strong, vain-glorious confidence. The Valley of Humiliation suits well with fearing hearts— (Mason).
- 213 When persons are naturally fearful and low-spirited, it will be found, notwithstanding the courage and comfort they sometimes are favoured with, that the constitutional bias of their tempers and dispositions will discover itself, more or less, all through their pilgrimage. Thus there is a kind of sympathy between Fearing and the Valley of Humiliation, which seems congenial to him—(J.B.).
- 214 O what a time of need is the day of death, when I am to pack up all, to be gone from hence; now a man grows near the borders of eternity; he sees into the skirts of the next world. Now death is death, and the grave the grave indeed. Has he laid up grace for this day, while cold death strokes his hand over his face, and over his heart, and is turning his blood into jelly; while strong death is loosing his silver cord, and breaking his golden bowl?— (Bunyan’s Saints’ Privilege, vol. 1, p. 678). Can a great-hearted saint wonder that Mr. Fearing was at his wit’s end?—(ED).
- 215 Here is a glorious display of a fearing heart. Full of courage against evil, and fired with zeal for God’s glory—(Mason).
- 216 O how gracious is our Lord! as thy day is, O Pilgrim, so shall thy strength be. Even the river of death, though there can be no bridge to go over, yet faith makes one; and the Lord of faith makes the waters low, to suit the state of His beloved ones— (Mason).
- 217 We know the least appearance of a sin better by its native hue, than we know a grace of the Spirit. Sin is sooner felt in its bitterness upon a sanctified soul than is the grace of God. Sin is dreadful and murderous in the sight of a sanctified soul. Grace lies deep in the hidden part, but sin floats above in the flesh, and is easier seen. Grace as to quantity, seems less than sin. What is leaven, or a grain of mustard seed, to the bulky lump of a body of death? It is a rare thing for some Christians to see their graces, but a thing very common for such to see their sins, to the shaking of their souls— (Bunyan’s Desire of the Righteous, vol. 1, p. 755).
- 218 This is an every-day character in the church, delicately and accurately drawn, a man, as Mr. Ivimey says, that “carried the Slough of Despond in his mind everywhere with him,” not from the difficulties of the way, nor the frowns of the world, but from doubts lest sin, death, and hell, should prevail over them. They walk safely, however sorrowfully; and seldom give the enemy an occasion to rejoice—(ED).
- 219 Here is a very striking lesson for professors. Talk not of your great knowledge, rich experience, comfortable frames, and joyful feelings; all are vain and delusive, if the Gospel has not a holy influence upon your practice. On the other hand, be not dejected if you are not favoured with these; for if a holy fear of God, and a godly jealousy over yourselves, possess your heart, verily you are a partaker of the grace of Christ—(Mason).
- 220 Hatred to sin can only arise from the love of God. In vain do men think of deterring others from sin, or driving them to duty by low terrors, or low re The strong man armed will keep his palace, till a stronger than he cometh and taketh from him the armour wherein he trusted. But herein they err, not knowing the Scriptures, which set forth love as the constraining motive to true obedience—(J.B.).
- 221 Christians who resemble Fearing, are greatly retarded in their progress by discouraging apprehensions; they are apt to spend too much time in unavailing complaints; yet they cannot think of giving up their feeble hopes, or of returning to their forsaken worldly pursuits and pleasures. They are indeed helped forward, through the mercy of God, in a very extraordinary manner; yet they still remain exposed to alarms and discouragements, in every stage of their pilgrimage. They are afraid even of relying on Christ for salvation, because they have not distinct views of His love, and the methods of His grace; and imagine some other qualification to be necessary besides the willingness to seek, knock, and ask for the promised blessings, with a real desire of obtaining them. They imagine, that there has been something in their past life, or that there is some peculiarity in their present habits, and way of applying to Christ, which may exclude them from the benefit: so that they pray with diffidence; and, being consciously unworthy, can hardly believe that the Lord will grant their requests. They are also prone to overlook the most decisive evidences of their reconciliation to God; and to persevere in arguing with perverse ingenuity against their own manifest happiness. The same mixture of humility and unbelief renders persons of this description backward in associating with their brethren, and in frequenting those companies in which they might obtain further instruction; for they are afraid of being considered as believers, or even serious inquirers; so that affectionate and earnest persuasion is requisite to prevail with them to join in those religious exercises, by which Christians especially receive the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Yet this arises not from disinclination, but diffidence; and though they are often peculiarly favoured with seasons of great comfort, to counterbalance their dejections, yet they never hear or read of those who “have drawn back to perdition,” but they are terrified with the idea that they shall shortly resemble them; so that every warning given against hypocrisy or self-deception seems to point them out by name, and every new discovery of any fault or mistake in their views, temper, or conduct, seems to decide their doom. At the same time, they are often remarkably melted into humble, admiring gratitude, by contemplating the love and sufferings of Christ, and seem to delight in hearing of that subject above all others. They do not peculiarly fear difficulties, self-denial, reproaches, or persecution, which deter numbers from making an open profession of religion; and yet they are more backward in this respect than others, because they deem themselves unworthy to be admitted to such privileges and into such society, or else are apprehensive of being finally separated from them or becoming a disgrace to religion— (Scott).
- 222 This is a solid, scriptural definition; pray mind it. Here conditions may safely be admitted; and happy is the Christian who keeps closest to these conditions, in order to enjoy peace of conscience, and joy of heart in Christ—(Mason).
- 223 That heart, which is under the teaching and influence of the grace of God, will detect such horrid notions, and cry out against them. God forbid that ever I should listen one moment to such diabolical sentiments! for they are hatched in hell, and propagated on earth, by the father of lies— (Mason).
GREAT-HEART. An opinion that is not fit to be with any allowance in the world.
HON. You must understand me rightly. He did not say that any man might do this; but that those that had the virtues of those that did such things, might also do the same.
GREAT-HEART. But what more false than such a conclusion? for this is as much as to say, that because good men heretofore have sinned of infirmity, therefore he had allowance to do it of a presumptuous mind; or if, because a child by the blast of the wind, or for that it stumbled at a stone, fell down, and defiled itself in mire, therefore he might willfully lie down and wallow like a boar therein. Who could have thought that anyone could so far have been blinded by the power of lust? But what is written must be true: They “stumble at the Word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8).
His supposing that such may have the godly men’s virtues, who addict themselves to their vices, is also a delusion as strong as the other. It is just as if the dog should say, I have, or may have, the qualities of the child, because I lick up its stinking excrements. To eat up the sin of God’s people, is no sign of one that is possessed with their virtues (Hosea 4:8). Nor can I believe, that one that is of this opinion, can at present have faith or love in him. But I know you have made strong objections against him; prithee, what can he say for himself?224
HON. Why, he says, To do this by way of opinion, seems abundance more honest, than to do it, and yet hold contrary to it in opinion.
GREAT-HEART. A very wicked answer; for though to let loose the bridle to lusts, while our opinions are against such things, is bad; yet, to sin, and plead a toleration so to do, is worse. The one stumbles beholders accidentally, the other pleads them into the snare.
HON. There are many of this man’s mind, that have not this man’s mouth; and that makes going on pilgrimage of so little esteem as it is.
GREAT-HEART. You have said the truth, and it is to be lamented; but he that feareth the King of Paradise, shall come out of them all.
CHRIST. There are strange opinions in the world; I know one that said, It was time enough to repent when they come to die.225
GREAT-HEART. Such are not over wise. That man would have been loath, might he have had a week to run twenty miles in for his life, to have deferred that journey to the last hour of that week.
HON. You say right; and yet the generality of them, that count themselves pilgrims, do indeed do thus. I am, as you see, an old man, and have been a traveler in this road many a day; and I have taken notice of many things.226
I have seen some that have set out as if they would drive all the world afore them, who yet have, in few days, died as they in the wilderness, and so never got sight of the promised land.
I have seen some that have promised nothing, at first setting out to be pilgrims, and that one would have thought could not have lived a day, that have yet proved very good pilgrims.
I have seen some who have run hastily forward, that again have, after a little time, run as fast just back again.
I have seen some who have spoken very well of a pilgrim’s life at first, that, after a while, have spoken as much against it.
I have heard some, when they first set out for Paradise, say positively there is such a place; who when they have been almost there, have come back again, and said there is none.
I have heard some vaunt what they would do, in case they should he opposed, that have, even at a false alarm, fled faith, the pilgrim’s way, and all.227
Now, as they were thus in their way, there came one running to meet them, and said, Gentlemen, and you of the weaker sort, if you love life, shift for yourselves, for the robbers are before you.228
GREAT-HEART. Then said Mr. Greatheart, They be the three that set upon Little-faith heretofore. Well, said he, we are ready for them; so they went on their way. Now, they looked at every turning, when they should have met with the villains; but whether they heard of Mr. Great-heart, or whether they had some other game, they came not up to the Pilgrims.
Christiana then wished for an inn for herself and her children, because they were weary.229 Then said Mr. Honest, There is one a little before us, where a very honourable disciple, one Gaius, dwells (Rom. 16:23). So they all concluded to turn in thither, and the rather, because the old gentleman gave him so good a report. So when they came to the door, they went in, not knocking, for folks use not to knock at the door of an inn. Then they called for the master of the house, and he came to them. So they asked if they might lie there that night.
GAIUS. Yes, gentlemen, if ye be true men, for my house is for none but pilgrims. Then was Christiana, Mercy, and the boys, the more glad, for that the Inn-keeper was a lover of pilgrims. So they called for rooms, and he showed them one for Christiana and her children, and Mercy, and another for Mr. Great-heart and the old gentleman.
GREAT-HEART. Then said Mr. Great-heart, Good Gaius, what hast thou for supper? for these pilgrims have come far today, and are weary.
GAIUS. It is late, said Gaius, so we cannot conveniently go out to seek food; but such as we have, you shall be welcome to, if that will content.230
GREAT-HEART. We will be content with what thou hast in the house; forasmuch as I have proved thee, thou art never destitute of that which is convenient.
Then he went down and spake to the cook, whose name was Taste-that-which-is-good, to get ready supper for so many pilgrims. This done, he comes up again, saying, Come, my good friends, you are welcome to me, and I am glad that I have a house to entertain you; and while supper is making ready, if you please, let us entertain one another with some good discourse. So they all said, Content.
GAIUS. Then said Gaius, Whose wife is this aged matron? and whose daughter is this young damsel.
GREAT-HEART. The woman is the wife of one Christian, a Pilgrim of former times; and these are his four children. The maid is one of her acquaintance; one that she hath persuaded to come with her on pilgrimage. The boys take all after their father, and covet to tread in his steps; yea, if they do but see any place where the old Pilgrim hath lain, or any print of his foot, it ministereth joy to their hearts, and they covet to lie or tread in the same.
GAIUS. Then said Gaius, Is this Christian’s wife? and are these Christian’s children? I knew your husband’s father, yea, also his father’s father. Many have been good of this stock; their ancestors dwelt first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Christian’s progenitors (I suppose you have heard your husband talk of them) were very worthy men. They have, above any that I know, showed themselves men of great virtue and courage, for the Lord of the Pilgrims, His ways, and them that loved Him. I have heard of many of your husband’s relations, that have stood all trials for the sake of the truth. Stephen, that was one of the first of the family from whence your husband sprang, was knocked on the head with stones (Acts 7:59, 60). James, another of this generation, was slain with the edge of the sword (Acts 12:2). To say nothing of Paul and Peter, men anciently of the family from whence your husband came, there was Ignatius, who was cast to the lions;231 Romanus, whose flesh was cut by pieces from his bones, and Polycarp, that played the man in the fire. There was he that was hanged up in a basket in the sun, for the wasps to eat; and he who they put into a sack, and cast him into the sea to be drowned. It would be utterly impossible to count up all of that family that have suffered injuries and death, for the love of a pilgrim’s life. Nor can I but be glad, to see that thy husband has left behind him four such boys as these. I hope they will bear up their father’s name, and tread in their father’s steps, and come to their father’s end.
GREAT-HEART. Indeed, Sir, they are likely lads; they seem to choose heartily their father’s ways.
GAIUS. That is it that I said; wherefore Christian’s family is like still to spread abroad upon the face of the ground, and yet to be numerous upon the face of the earth; wherefore, let Christiana look out some damsels for her sons, to whom they may be betrothed, &c., that the name of their father and the house of his progenitors may never be forgotten in the world.232
HON. It is pity this family should fall and be extinct.
GAIUS. Fall it cannot, but be diminished it may; but let Christiana take my advice, and that is the way to uphold it.
And, Christiana, said this Innkeeper, I am glad to see thee and thy friend Mercy together here, a lovely couple. And may I advise, take Mercy into a nearer relation to thee; if she will, let her be given to Matthew, thy eldest son; it is the way to preserve you a posterity in the earth. So this match was concluded, and in process of time they were married; but more of that hereafter.
Gaius also proceeded, and said, I will now speak on the behalf of women, to take away their reproach. For as death and the curse came into the world by a woman, (Gen. 3), so also did life and health: “God sent forth His Son made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). Yea, to show how much those that came after, did abhor the act of the mother, this sex, in the Old Testament, coveted children, if happily this or that woman might be the mother of the Saviour of the world.
I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, women rejoiced in Him before either man or angel (Luke 2). I read not, that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the women followed Him, and ministered to Him of their substance (Luke 8:2, 3). It was a woman that washed His feet with tears, and a woman that anointed His body to the burial (Luke 7:37, 50; John 11:2; 12:3). They were women that wept, when He was going to the Cross, and women that followed Him from the Cross, and that sat by His sepulchre, when he was buried (Luke 23:27; Matt. 27:55, 56, 61). They were women that were first with Him at His resurrection-morn; and women that brought tidings first to His disciples, that He was risen from the dead (Luke 24:22, 23). Women, therefore, are highly favoured, and show by these things that they are sharers with us in the grace of life.
Now the cook sent up to signify that supper was almost ready, and sent one to lay the cloth, the trenchers, and to set the salt and bread in order.
Then said Matthew, The sight of this cloth, and of this fore-runner of the supper, begetteth in me a greater appetite to my food than I had before.
GAIUS. So let all ministering doctrines to thee, in this life, beget in thee a greater desire to sit at the supper of the great King in His kingdom; for all preaching, books, and ordinances here, are but as the laying of the trenchers, and as setting of salt upon the board, when compared with the feast that our Lord will make for us when we come to His house.
So supper came up;233 and first, a heave-shoulder, and a wave-breast (Lev. 7:32- 34; 10:14, 15), were set on the table before them, to show that they must begin their meal with prayer and praise to God (Psa. 25:1; Heb. 13:15). The heave-shoulder, David lifted his heart up to God with; and with the wave-breast, where his heart lay, with that he used to lean upon his harp when he played. These two dishes were very fresh and good, and they all eat heartily well thereof.
The next they brought up, was a bottle of wine, red as blood (Deut. 32:14). So Gaius said to them, Drink freely; this is the juice of the true vine, that makes glad the heart of God and man (Judg. 9:13; John 15:1). So they drank and were merry.
The next was a dish of milk well crumbed; but Gaius said, Let the boys have that, that they may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1, 2).
Then they brought up in course a dish of butter and honey. Then said Gaius, Eat freely of this; for this is good to cheer up, and strengthen your judgments and understandings. This was our Lord’s dish when He was a child: “Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isa. 7:15).
Then they brought them up a dish of apples, and they were very good tasted fruit. Then said Matthew, May we eat apples, since they were such, by, and with which, the serpent beguiled our first mother?
Then said Gaius
Apples were they with which we were beguil’d
Yet sin, not apples, hath our souls defil’d.
Apples forbid, if eat, corrupt the blood;
To eat such, when commanded, does us good.
Drink of His flagons, then, thou church, His dove,
And eat His apples, who are sick of love.
Then said Matthew, I made the scruple, because I awhile since was sick with eating of fruit.
GAIUS. Forbidden fruit will make you sick but not what our Lord has tolerated. While they were thus talking, they were presented with another dish, and it was a dish of nuts (Song. 6:11). Then said some at the table, Nuts spoil tender teeth, especially the teeth of children; which when Gaius heard, he said—
Hard texts are nuts (I will not call them cheaters),
Whose shells do keep their kernels from the eaters.
Ope then the shells, and you shall have the meat;
They here are brought for you to crack and eat.
Then were they very merry, and sat at the table a long time, talking of many things. Then said the old gentleman, My good landlord, while we are cracking your nuts, if you please, do you open this riddle:234
A man there was though some did count him mad,
The more he cast away, the more he had.
Then they all gave good heed, wondering what good Gaius would say; so he sat still awhile, and then thus replied—
He that bestows his goods upon the poor,
Shall have as much again, and ten times more.
Then said Joseph, I dare say, Sir, I did not think you could have found it out.
Oh! said Gaius, I have been trained up in this way a great while; nothing teaches like experience; I have learned of my Lord to be kind; and have found by experience, that I have gained thereby. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet; but it tendeth to poverty” (Prov. 11:24). “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing; there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches”235 (Prov. 13:7).
- 224 It is a horrible and blasphemous perversion of Scripture, to take encouragement in sin, from those sad examples of it in the saints, which are held up, in terrorem, as so many beacons by which we may avoid the same. To talk, and especially to act like Self-will affords the fullest proof that a man never came in at the gate. The Lord change every such perverse will, and preserve the church from principles and practices so diabolical—(Burder). What shall we say to these things? Lord, keep me!—(J.B.).
- 225 It may be seriously inquired as to whether in all Satan’s temptations, any one is so fatal to immortal souls as the idea of a death-bed repentance. Have not prayers against sudden death a tendency to interfere with or obstruct that daily walk with God, which alone can fit us to meet the king of terrors? When heart and strength fail; when the body is writhing in agony, or lying an insensible lump of mortality; is that the time to make peace with God? Such persons must he infatuated with strange notions of the Divine Being. No, my reader, life is the time to serve the Lord, the time to insure the great reward. Sudden death is a release from much pain and anxiety. It is the most merciful gate by which we can enter upon immortality—(ED).
- 226 Pray attentively mind, and deeply consider the six following observations; they are just; they are daily confirmed to us in the different conduct of professors. Study, and pray to improve them to your soul’s profit—(Mason).
- 227 Adam hid himself because he was naked. But how could he be naked, when before he had made himself an apron? O! the approach of God consumed and burnt off his apron! His apron would not keep him from the eye of the incorruptible God. When God deals with such men for sin, assuredly they will find themselves naked— (Bunyan on Genesis, vol. 2, p. 432). If the wicked flee when no man pursueth, how can they stand when God lets loose death and eternity upon their guilty souls?—(ED).
- 228 Thou art bound to Heaven, but the way thither is dangerous. It is beset everywhere with evil angels, who would rob thee of thy soul. If thou wouldest go on cheerfully in thy dangerous journey, commit thy treasure—thy soul, to God, to keep; and then thou mayest say with comfort, Well, that care is over; my soul is safe; the thieves, if they meet me, cannot come at that; God will keep it to my joy and comfort at the great day—(Bunyan’s Advice to Sufferers, vol. 2, p. 701).
- 229 The spiritual refreshment, arising from experimental conversation, seems to be especially intended; but the name of Gaius suggests also the importance of the Apostle’s exhortation, “Use hospitality without grudging.” This ought to be obeyed even to strangers, if they are certified to us as brethren in Christ—(Scott). Every Christian’s house should, so far as ability is given, be an inn for the refreshment of weary fellow-pilgrims—(ED).
- 230 This character is drawn from that of the well-beloved Gaius, in the third epistle of John. Although, in comparison with the great bulk of Christians, there are but few such in the church; yet in all ages, and in most churches, some hospitable Gaius is to be found. May their numbers be greatly increased—(ED).
- 231 Ignatius, a bishop or pastor of a church in Antioch, cruelly martyred for the truth in the second century; not Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit. Mr. Bunyan obtained all this information from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which was written before Satan had introduced the Jesuits into the world—(ED).
- 232 “Marriage is honourable in all” (Heb. 13:4). Notwithstanding all the cares of a family, while the married have many troubles, the single have few, if any, real enjoyments of life. The will of our heavenly Father is here enforced upon the pilgrims by Gaius—only let pilgrims be united together, marry in the Lord, and we may expect his blessing to fit us to do His will. Vows of celibacy are from beneath, from the father of lies—contrary to the order of nature, and the expressed will of God. “It is not good to be alone.”—(ED).
- 233 The different parts of social worship and Christian fellowship are here allegorically described. The heave-shoulder and wave-breast typify the power and love of our great High Priest; that we should devote to Him our whole heart, with fervent prayer, and grateful praise. The wine represents the exhilarating effects of the shedding of Christ’s blood, and its application to us by living faith. The milk is the simple instruction of the Scriptures. The butter and honey are animating views of God and heavenly joy. The apples are the promises and privileges of Christians (see Song. 2:3; Prov. 25:11). And the nuts those difficult doctrines, which amply repay us the trouble of penetrating their meaning. Christians so employed have far sweeter enjoyments than they ever had in the mirth, diversions, and pleasures of the world—(Scott).
- 234 Bunyan takes advantage of the common past-time of solving riddles, to teach important truth in a way calculated to be impressed on the memory. Thus, in the treatise on the Covenants of the Law and Grace, the second Adam was before the first, and also the second covenant before the first. This is a riddle—(Vol. 2, p. 524)—(ED). Observe here, the feast of pilgrims was attended with mirth. Christians have the greatest reason to be merry; but then it ought to be spiritual mirth, which springs from spiritual views and spiritual conversation— (Mason).
- 235 When Christian intercourse is conducted with gravity and cheerfulness united, it is both pleasant and instructive. Speech should be “always with grace, seasoned with salt, that it may minister grace to the bearers,” and thus “provoke one another unto love, and to good works”; thus are the young encouraged to follow that which is good—(Ivimey).
Then Samuel whispered to Christiana, his mother, and said, Mother, this is a very good man’s house, let us stay here a good while, and let my brother Matthew be married here to Mercy, before we go any further.236
The which Gaius the host overhearing, said, With a very good will, my child.
So they staid there more than a month, and Mercy was given to Matthew to wife.
While they staid here, Mercy, as her custom was, would be making coats and garments to give to the poor, by which she brought up a very good report upon the Pilgrims.237
But to return again to our story. After supper the lads desired a bed; for that they were weary with travelling: then Gaius called to show them their chamber; but said Mercy, I will have them to bed. So she had them to bed, and they slept well; but the rest sat up all night; for Gaius and they were such suitable company, that they could not tell how to part. Then after much talk of their Lord, themselves, and their journey, old Mr. Honest, he that put forth the riddle to Gaius, began to nod. Then said Great-heart, What, Sir, you begin to be drowsy; come, rub up; now here is a riddle for you. Then said Mr. Honest, Let us hear it.
Then said Mr. Great-heart,
He that will kill, must first be overcome,
Who live abroad would, first must die at home.
Ha! said Mr. Honest, it is a hard one, hard to expound, and harder to practise. But come, landlord, said he, I will, if you please, leave my part to you; do you expound it, and I will hear what you say.
No, said Gaius, it was put to you, and it is expected that you should answer it.
Then said the old gentleman,
He first by grace must conquer’d be,
That sin would mortify;
And who, that lives, would convince me,
Unto himself must die.238
It is right, said Gaius; good doctrine and experience teaches this. For, first, until grace displays itself, and overcomes the soul with its glory, it is altogether without heart to oppose sin; besides if sin is Satan’s cords, by which the soul lies bound, how should it make resistance, before it is loosed from that infirmity?
Secondly, nor will any, that knows either reason or grace, believe that such a man can be a living monument of grace that is a slave to his own corruptions.
And now it comes in my mind, I will tell you a story worth the hearing. There were two men that went on pilgrimage; the one began when he was young, the other when he was old. The young man had strong corruptions to grapple with; the old man’s were decayed with the decays of nature. The young man trod his steps as even as did the old one, and was every way as light as he. Who now, or which of them, had their graces shining clearest, since both seemed to be alike
HON. The young man’s, doubtless. For that which heads it against the greatest opposition, gives best demonstration that it is strongest; especially when it also holdeth pace with that that meets not with half so much; as, to be sure, old age does not.239
Besides, I have observed that old men have blessed themselves with this mistake, namely, taking the decays of nature for a gracious conquest over corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves. Indeed, old men that are gracious, are best able to give advice to them that are young, because they have seen most of the emptiness of things. But yet, for an old and a young man to set out both together, the young one has the advantage of the fairest discovery of a work of grace within him, though the old man’s corruptions are naturally the weakest.
Thus they sat talking till break of day. Now, when the family was up, Christiana bid her son James that he should read a chapter; so he read the fifty-third of Isaiah. When he had done, Mr. Honest asked, why it was said that the Saviour is said to come “out of a dry ground”; and also, that “He had no form or comeliness in him?”
GREAT-HEART. Then said Mr. Greatheart, To the first, I answer, Because the church of the Jews, of which Christ came, had then lost almost all the sap and spirit of religion. To the second, I say, The words are spoken in the person of the unbelievers, who, because they want that eye that can see into our Prince’s heart, therefore they judge of Him by the meanness of His outside. Just like those that know not that precious stones are covered over with a homely crust; who, when they have found one, because they know not what they have found, cast it again away, as men do a common stone.
Well, said Gaius, now you are here, and since, as I know, Mr. Great-heart is good at his weapons, if you please, after we have refreshed ourselves, we will walk into the fields, to see if we can do any good.240 About a mile from hence, there is one Slay-good, a giant that does much annoy the King’s highway in these parts; and I know whereabout his haunt is. He is master of a number of thieves; it would be well if we could clear these parts of him.
So they consented, and went, Mr. Great-heart with his sword, helmet, and shield, and the rest with spears and staves.241
When they came to the place where he was, they found him with one Feeble-mind in his hands, whom his servants had brought unto him, having taken him in the way. Now the giant was rifling him, with a purpose, after that, to pick his bones, for he was of the nature of flesh-eaters.
Well, so soon as he saw Mr. Great-heart and his friends at the mouth of his cave, with their weapons, he demanded what they wanted.
GREAT-HEART. We want thee; for we are come to revenge the quarrel of the many that thou hast slain of the pilgrims, when thou hast dragged them out of the King’s highway; wherefore, come out of thy cave. So he armed himself and came out; and to a battle they went, and fought for above an hour, and then stood still to take wind.
SLAY. Then said the giant, Why are you here on my ground?
GREAT-HEART. To revenge the blood of pilgrims, as I also told thee before. So they went to it again, and the giant made Mr. Great-heart give back; but he came up again, and, in the greatness of his mind, he let fly with such stoutness at the giant’s head and sides, that he made him let his weapon fall out of his hand; so he smote him, and slew him, and cut off his head, and brought it away to the inn. He also took Feeble-mind, the pilgrim, and brought him with him to his lodgings. When they were come home, they showed his head to the family, and then set it up, as they had done others before, for a terror to those that shall attempt to do as he hereafter.242
Then they asked Mr. Feeble-mind how he fell into his hands?
FEEBLE-MIND. Then said the poor man, I am a sickly man, as you see; and, because death did usually once a day knock at my door, I thought I should never be well at home; so I betook myself to a pilgrim’s life, and have traveled hither from the town of Uncertain, where I and my father were born. I am a man of no strength at all of body, nor yet of mind; but would, if I could, though I can but crawl, spend my life in the pilgrim’s way.243 When I came at the gate that is at the head of the way, the Lord of that place did entertain me freely; neither objected He against my weakly looks, nor against my feeble mind; but gave me such things that were necessary for my journey, and bid me hope to the end. When I came to the house of the Interpreter, I received much kindness there; and because the Hill Difficulty was judged too hard for me, I was carried up that by one of His servants. Indeed, I have found much relief from pilgrims, though none were willing to go so softly as I am forced to do; yet still, as they came on, they bid me be of good cheer, and said that it was the will of their Lord that comfort should be given to the feeble-minded, and so went on their own pace (1 Thess. 5:14). When I was come up to Assault Lane, then this giant met with me, and bid me prepare for an encounter; but, alas! feeble one that I was, I had more need of a cordial. So he came up and took me. I conceited he should not kill me. Also, when he had got me into his den, since I went not with him willingly, I believed I should come out alive again; for I have heard, that not any pilgrim that is taken captive by violent hands, if he keeps heart-whole towards his Master, is, by the laws of Providence, to die by the hand of the enemy. Robbed I looked to be, and robbed to be sure I am; but I am, as you see, escaped with life; for the which I thank my King as author, and you as the means. Other brunts I also look for; but this I have resolved on, to wit, to run when I can, to go when I cannot run, and to creep when I cannot go. As to the main, I thank Him that loves me, I am fixed. My way is be-fore me, my mind is beyond the river that has no bridge, though I am, as you see, but of a feeble mind.244
HON. Then said old Mr. Honest, Have you not, some time ago, been acquainted with one Mr. Fearing, a pilgrim.
FEEBLE. Acquainted with him! Yes; he came from the town of Stupidity, which lieth four degrees to the northward of the City of Destruction, and as many off of where I was born; yet we were well acquainted, for, indeed, he was my uncle, my father’s brother. He and I have been much of a temper. He was a little shorter than I, but yet we were much of a complexion.
HON. I perceive you know him; and I am apt to believe also, that you were related one to another; for you have his whitely look, a cast like his with your eye, and your speech is much alike.
FEEBLE. Most have said so that have known us both; and besides, what I have read in him, I have, for the most part, found in myself.
GAIUS. Come, Sir, said good Gaius, be of good cheer, you are welcome to me, and to my house, and what thou hast a mind to, call for freely; and what thou wouldest have my servants do for thee, they will do it with a ready mind.
Then said Mr. Feeble-mind, This is unexpected favour, and as the sun shining out of a very dark cloud. Did Giant Slay-good intend me this favour when he stopped me, and resolved to let me go no further? Did he intend, that after he had rifled my pockets, I should go to Gaius, mine host? Yet so it is.245
Now, just as Mr. Feeble-mind and Gaius were thus in talk, there comes one running, and called at the door, and told that, about a mile and a half off, there was one Mr. Not-right, a pilgrim, struck dead upon the place where he was with a thunder-bolt.246
FEEBLE. Alas! said Mr. Feeble-mind, is he slain? He overtook me some days before I came so far as hither, and would be my company-keeper. He also was with me when Slay-good, the giant, took me; but he was nimble of his heels, and escaped. But, it seems, he escaped to die, and I was took to live.247
What, one would think, doth seek to slay outright,
Ofttimes delivers from the saddest plight.
That very providence, whose face is death,
Doth ofttimes to the lowly life bequeath.
I taken was, he did escape and flee;
Hands cross’d gives death to him, and life to me.
Now, about this time, Matthew and Mercy were married. Also Gaius gave his daughter Phoebe to James, Matthew’s brother, to wife; after which time they yet staid above ten days at Gaius’ house, spending their time, and the seasons, like as pilgrims used to do.248
When they were to depart, Gaius made them a feast, and they did eat and drink, and were merry. Now the hour was come that they must be gone; wherefore, Mr. Great-heart called for a reckoning; but Gaius told him, that at his house it was not the custom for pilgrims to pay for their entertainment. He boarded them by the year, but looked for his pay from the good Samaritan, who had promised him, at his return, whatsoever charge he was at with them, faithfully to repay him (Luke 10:34, 35). Then said Mr. Great-heart to him,
GREAT-HEART. “Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever thou dost to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church; whom if thou (yet) bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well” (3 John 5, 6).
Then Gaius took his leave of them all, and of his children, and particularly of Mr. Feeble-mind. He also gave him something to drink by the way.
Now Mr. Feeble-mind, when they were going out of the door, made as if he intended to linger; the which when Mr. Great-heart espied, he said, Come, Mr. Feeble-Mind, pray do you go along with us, I will be your conductor, and you shall fare as the rest.
FEEBLE. Alas! I want a suitable companion; you are all lusty and strong; but I, as you see, am weak; I choose, therefore, rather to come behind, lest, by reason of my many infirmities, I should be both a burden to myself and to you. I am, as I said, a man of a weak and feeble mind, and shall be offended and made weak at that which others can bear. I shall like no laughing; I shall like no gay attire; I shall like no unprofitable questions. Nay, I am so weak a man, as to be offended with that which others have liberty to do. I do not yet know all the truth; I am a very ignorant Christian man; sometimes, if I hear some rejoice in the Lord, it troubles me, because I can not do so too. It is with me, as it is with a weak man among the strong, or as with a sick man among the healthy, or as a lamp despised (“He that is ready to slip with his feet, is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease” Job 12:5), so that I know not what to do.249
GREAT-HEART. But, brother, said. Mr. Great-heart, I have it in commission to “comfort the feeble-minded,” and to “support the weak” (1 Thess. 5:14). You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you; we will lend you our help (Rom. 14:1); we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionative and practical, for your sake (1 Cor. 8), we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you; we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind250 (1 Cor. 9:22).
- 236 Here is a genuine discovery of a gracious heart; when it is delighted with spiritual company and conversation, and longs for its continuance. Is it so with you?—(Mason).
- 237 If our love to sinners be only shown by seeking their spiritual good, it will be considered as a bigoted desire to proselyte them to our sect; but uniform diligent endeavours to relieve their temporal wants are intelligible to every man, and bring a good report on the profession of the Gospel (Matt. 5:16)—(Scott).
- 238 O, this dying to self, to self-righteous pride, vain confidence, self-love, and self-complacency, is hard work to the old man; yea, it is both impracticable and impossible to him. It is only grace that can conquer and subdue him; and where grace reigns, this work is carried on day by day. And yet the old man of sin, and self-righteousness, still lives in us— (Mason).
- 239 Old age affords advantage in overcoming some propensities, yet habits of indulgence often counterbalance the decays of nature; and avarice, suspicion, and peevishness, with other evils, gather strength as men advance in years. Some old men may imagine that they have renounced sin, because they are no longer capable of committing the crimes in which they once lived—(Scott).
- 240 The refreshment of Divine consolations, and Christian fellowship, are intended to prepare us for vigorously maintaining the good fight of faith; not only against the enemies of our own souls, but also against the opposers of our most holy religion. We are soldiers, and should unite together under the Captain of Salvation, to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, by every method authorized by the Word of God; nor must we shrink from danger and contumely in so good a cause—(Scott).
- 241 It may he asked, how for it is right to expose ourselves to danger and difficulties, since it is rashness, not courage, to expose ourselves to unnecessary danger, or to give unnecessary offence. I would answer, It can never be improper to expose error, or oppose a prevailing vice, by which God’s children are in danger of being beguiled—(J.B.).
- 242 Giant Slay-good represents a wicked, cruel man—a mere cannibal, invested with judicial authority—a selfish, malignant persecutor, who intimidated feeble-minded professors by fines and imprisonments, to the hazard of their souls. By the thieves, of whom he was master, were perhaps intended the common informers, who got their living by giving evidence against Nonconformists; some cruel magistrates pursued them to death. The attack was by scriptural and rational arguments, which led to a great alteration in these accursed laws—(Ivimey and Scott).
- 243 All pilgrims are not alike vigorous, strong, and lively; some are weak, creep and crawl on, in the ways of the Lord. No matter, if there be but a pilgrim’s heart, all shall be well at last; for Omnipotence itself is for us, and then we may boldly ask, “Who shall be against us?”—(Mason). Constitutional timidity and lowness of spirits, arising from a feeble frame, give a peculiar cast to the views and nature of religious profession, which unfits for hard and perilous service. The difference between Feeble-mind and Fearing seems to be this—the former was more afraid of opposition, and the latter more doubtful about the event, which perhaps may intimate, that Slay-good rather represents persecutors than deceivers—(Scott).
- 244 What a sweet simple relation is here! Doth it not suit many a feeble mind? Poor soul, weak as he was, yet his Lord provided against his danger. He sent some strong ones to his deliverance, and to slay his enemy. Mind his belief, even in his utmost extremity. Learn somewhat from this Feeblemind—(Mason).
- 245 O how sweet to reflect, that the most gigantic enemies shall be conquered, and their most malicious designs be overruled for our good; yea, what they intend for our ruin shall be made to work for our health and prosperity—(Mason).
- 246 “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:25)—(ED). Here is a contrast between a feeble believer and a specious hypocrite; the latter eludes persecutions by time-serving, yet perishes in his sins; the former suffers and trembles, yet hopes to be delivered and comforted. The frequency with which this is introduced, and the variety of characters by which it is illustrated, show us how important the author deemed such warnings— (Scott).
- 247 Events, which at first appear big with misery and misfortune, have been found afterwards to have been as so many dark passages, to lead into brighter and more glorious displays of the Divine power, wisdom, and goodness—(J.B.).
- 248 “Marriage is honourable in all”; nor will Christian females find such a state any hindrance to their abounding in works of charity and mercy. By fulfilling the duties of the married life, they will cause the ways of God to be well spoken of. The desire of Paul was, “That the younger women marry, be sober, love their husbands, love their children, be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4, 5)—(Ivimey).
- 249 What an open, ingenuous confession is here! though feeble in mind, he was strong in wisdom and sound judgment—(Mason). Woe be to those who offend one of these little ones; no less dear to God than the most eminent and distinguished saints—(J.B.).
- 250 O that this were more practised among Christians of different standings, degrees, and judgments! If they who are strong were thus to bear with the weak, as they ought, how much more love, peace, and unanimity would prevail!—(Mason).
Now all this while they were at Gaius’ door; and behold, as they were thus in the heat of their discourse, Mr. Ready-to-halt came by, with his crutches promises in his hand (Psa. 38:17); and he also was going on pilgrimage.
FEEBLE. Then said Mr. Feeble-mind to him, Man, How camest thou hither? I was but just now complaining, that I had not a suitable companion, but thou art according to my wish. Welcome, welcome, good Mr. Ready-to-halt, I hope thee and I may be some help.
READY-TO-HALT. I shall be glad of thy company, said the other; and good Mr. Feeble-mind, rather than we will part, since we are thus happily met, I will lend thee one of my crutches.251
FEEBLE. Nay, said he, though I thank thee for thy goodwill, I am not inclined to halt before I am lame. Howbeit, I think, when occasion is, it may help me against a dog.252
READY. If either myself or my crutches can do thee a pleasure, we are both at thy command, good Mr. Feeble-mind.
Thus therefore they went on; Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Honest went before, Christiana and her children went next, and Mr. Feeble-mind and Mr. Ready-to-halt, came behind with his crutches.253 Then said Mr. Honest,
HON. Pray, Sir, now we are upon the road, tell us some profitable things of some that have gone on pilgrimage before us.
GREAT-HEART. With a good will. I suppose you have heard how Christian of old did meet with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation; and also what hard work he had, to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Also I think you cannot but have heard how Faithful was put to it with Madam Wanton, with Adam the first, with one Discontent, and Shame, four as deceitful villains as a man can meet with upon the road.
HON. Yes, I have heard of all this; but indeed, good Faithful was hardest put to it with Shame; he was an unwearied one.
GREAT-HEART. Aye; for, as the Pilgrim well said, he of all men had the wrong name.
HON. But pray, Sir, where was it that Christian and Faithful met Talkative? That same was also a notable one.
GREAT-HEART. He was a confident fool, yet many follow his ways.
HON. He had like to have beguiled Faithful.
GREAT-HEART. Aye, but Christian put him into a way quickly to find him out. Thus they went on till they came at the place where Evangelist met with Christian and Faithful, and prophesied to them of what should befall them at Vanity Fair.
GREAT-HEART. Then said their guide, Hereabouts did Christian and Faithful meet with Evangelist, who prophesied to them of what troubles they should meet with at Vanity Fair.
HON. Say you so? I dare say it was a hard chapter that then he did read unto them.254
GREAT-HEART. It was so; but he gave them encouragement withal. But what do we talk of them? they were a couple of lion-like men; they had set their faces like flint. Don’t you remember how undaunted they were when they stood before the judge?
HON. Well, Faithful bravely suffered.
GREAT-HEART. So he did, and as brave things came on it; for Hopeful and some others, as the story relates it, were converted by his death.
HON. Well, but pray go on; for you are well acquainted with things.
GREAT-HEART. Above all that Christian met with after he had passed through Vanity Fair, one By-ends was the arch one. HON. By-ends! What was he?
GREAT-HEART. A very arch fellow; a downright hypocrite. One that would be religious which way ever the world went; but so cunning, that he would be sure neither to lose nor suffer for it. He had his mode of religion for every fresh occasion; and his wife was as good at it as he. He would turn and change from opinion to opinion; yea, and plead for so doing too. But, so far as I could learn, he came to an ill end with his by-ends; nor did I ever hear that any of his children were ever of any esteem with any that truly feared God.
Now, by this time, they were come within sight of the town of Vanity, where Vanity Fair is kept. So, when they saw that they were so near the town, they consulted with one another, how they should pass through the town; and some said one thing, and some another. At last Mr. Great-heart said, I have, as you may understand, often been a conductor of pilgrims through this town; now I am acquainted with one Mr. Mnason, a Cyprusian by nation, an old disciple, at whose house we may lodge (Acts 21:16). If you think good, said he, we will turn in there.255
Content, said old Honest; Content, said Christiana; Content, said Mr. Feeble-mind; and so they said all. Now, you must think, it was even-tide by that they got to the outside of the town; but Mr. Great-heart knew the way to the old man’s house. So thither they came; and he called at the door, and the old man within knew his tongue so soon as ever he heard it; so he opened, and they all came in. Then said Mnason their host, How far have ye come today? So they said, From the house of Gaius our friend. I promise you, said he, you have gone a good stitch, you may well be a weary; sit down. So they sat down.
GREAT-HEART. Then said their guide, Come, what cheer, Sirs? I dare say you are welcome to my friend.
MNASON. I also, said Mr. Mnason, do bid you welcome, and, whatever you want, do but say, and we will do what we can to get it for you.
HON. Our great want, a while since, was harbour and good company, and now I hope we have both.
MNASON. For harbour, you see what it is; but for good company, that will appear in the trial.
GREAT-HEART. Well, said Mr. Great-heart, will you have the Pilgrims up into their lodging?
MNASON. I will, said Mr. Mnason. So he had them to their respective places; and also showed them a very fair dining-room, where they might be, and sup together, until time was come to go to rest.
Now, when they were set in their places, and were a little cheery after their journey, Mr. Honest asked his landlord, if there were any store of good people in the town?
MNASON. We have a few, for indeed they are but a few, when compared with them on the other side.
HON. But how shall we do to see some of them? for the sight of good men to them that are going on pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the moon and the stars to them that are sailing upon the seas.256
Then Mr. Mnason stamped with his foot, and his daughter Grace came up; so he said unto her, Grace, go you, tell my friends, Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-man, Mr. Love-saint, Mr. Dare-not-lie, and Mr. Penitent; that I have a friend or two at my house that have a mind this evening to see them.
So Grace went to call them, and they came; and, after salutation made, they sat down together at the table.
Then said Mr. Mnason, their landlord, My neighbours, I have, as you see, a company of strangers come to my house; they are Pilgrims; they come from afar, and are going to mount Zion. But who, quoth he, do you think this is? pointing with his finger to Christiana; it is Christiana, the wife of Christian, that famous Pilgrim, who, with Faithful his brother, were so shamefully handled in our town. At that they stood amazed, saying, We little thought to see Christiana, when Grace came to call us; wherefore this is a very comfortable surprise. Then they asked her of her welfare, and if these young men were her husband’s sons? And when she had told them they were, they said, The King whom you love and serve, make you as your father, and bring you where he is in peace!
HON. Then Mr. Honest (when they were all sat down) asked Mr. Contrite, and the rest, in what posture their town was at present?
CONTRITE. You may be sure we are full of hurry in fair-time. It is hard keeping our hearts and spirits in any good order, when we are in a cumbered condition. He that lives in such a place as this is, and that has to do with such as we have, has need of an item, to caution him to take heed, every moment of the day.
HON. But how are your neighbours for quietness?
CONTRITE. They are much more moderate now than formerly. You know how Christian and Faithful were used at our town; but of late, I say, they have been far more moderate. I think the blood of Faithful lieth with load upon them till now; for since they burned him, they have been ashamed to burn any more. In those days we were afraid to walk the streets, but now we can show our heads. Then the name of a professor was odious; now, especially in some parts of our town (for you know our town is large), religion is counted honourable.257
Then said Mr. Contrite to them, Pray how fareth it with you in your pilgrimage? How stands the country affected towards you?
HON. It happens to us as it happeneth to wayfaring men; sometimes our way is clean, sometimes foul, sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill; we are seldom at a certainty; the wind is not always on our backs, nor is everyone a friend that we meet with in the way. We have met with some notable rubs already; and what are yet behind, we know not; but for the most part, we find it true, that has been talked of, of old, A good man must suffer trouble.
CONTRITE. You talk of rubs; what rubs have you met withal?
HON. Nay, ask Mr. Great-heart, our guide, for he can give the best account of that.
GREAT-HEART. We have been beset three or four times already. First, Christiana and her children were beset with two ruffians, that they feared would a took away their lives. We were beset with Giant Bloody-man, Giant Maul, and Giant Slay-good. Indeed we did rather beset the last, than were beset of him. And thus it was: After we had been some time at the house of “Gaius, mine host, and of the whole church” (Rom. 16:23), we were minded upon a time to take our weapons with us, and so go see if we could light upon any of those that were enemies to pilgrims (for we heard that there was a notable one thereabouts). Now Gaius knew his haunt better than I, because he dwelt thereabout; so we looked, and looked, till at last we discerned the mouth of his cave; then we were glad, and plucked up our spirits. So we approached up to his den, and lo, when we came there, he had dragged, by mere force, into his net, this poor man, Mr. Feeble-mind, and was about to bring him to his end. But when he saw us, supposing, as we thought, he had had another prey, he left the poor man in his hole, and came out. So we fell to it full sore, and he lustily laid about him; but in conclusion, he was brought down to the ground, and his head cut off, and set up by the way-side, for a terror to such as should after practise such ungodliness. That I tell you the truth, here is the man himself to affirm it, who was as a lamb taken out of the mouth of the lion.
FEEBLE-MIND. Then said Mr. Feeble-mind, I found this true, to my cost, and comfort; to my cost, when he threatened to pick my bones every moment; and to my comfort, when I saw Mr. Great-heart and his friends with their weapons, approach so near for my deliverance.
HOLY-MAN. Then said Mr. Holy-man, There are two things that they have need to be possessed with, that go on pilgrimage; courage, and an unspotted life. If they have not courage, they can never hold on their way; and if their lives be loose, they will make the very name of a Pilgrim stink.
LOVE-SAINT. Then said Mr. Love-saint, I hope this caution is not needful amongst you. But truly, there are many that go upon the road, that rather declare themselves strangers to pilgrimage, than strangers and pilgrims in the earth.
DARE-NOT-LIE. Then said Mr. Dare-not-lie, It is true, they neither have the pilgrim’s need, nor the pilgrim’s courage; they go not uprightly, but all awry with their feet; one shoe goes inward, another outward, and their hosen out behind; there a rag, and there a rent, to the disparagement of their Lord.
PENITENT. These things, said Mr. Penitent, they ought to be troubled for; nor are the pilgrims like to have that grace put upon them and their pilgrim’s progress, as they desire, until the way is cleared of such spots and blemishes.
Thus they sat talking and spending the time, until supper was set upon the table; unto which they went and refreshed their weary bodies; so they went to rest. Now they stayed in this fair a great while, at the house of this Mr. Mnason, who, in process of time, gave his daughter Grace unto Samuel, Christiana’s son, to wife, and his daughter Martha to Joseph.
The time, as I said, that they lay here, was long (for it was not now as in former times). Wherefore the Pilgrims grew acquainted with many of the good people of the town, and did them what service they could. Mercy, as she was wont, laboured much for the poor; wherefore their bellies and backs blessed her, and she was there an ornament to her profession.258 And, to say the truth for Grace, Phoebe, and Martha, they were all of a very good nature, and did much good in their place. They were also all of them very fruitful; so that Christian’s name, as was said before, was like to live in the world.
While they lay here, there came a monster out of the woods, and slew many of the people of the town. It would also carry away their children, and teach them to suck its whelps.259 Now, no man in the town durst so much as face this monster; but all men fled when they heard of the noise of his coming.
The monster was like unto no one beast upon the earth; its body was like a dragon, and it had seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:3). It made great havoc of children, and yet it was governed by a woman.260 This monster propounded conditions to men, and such men as loved their lives more than their souls, accepted of those conditions. So they came under.261
- 251 Excellent! See the nature of Christian love; even to be ready to spare to a brother, what we ourselves have occasion for. Love looketh not at the things of our own, but to provide for the wants of others— (Mason).
- 252 The character of Feeble-mind seems to coincide, in some things, with that of Fearing, and in others with the description of Little-faith. Constitutional timidity and lowness of spirits, arising from a feeble frame, and frequent sickness, while they are frequently the means of exciting men to religion, give also a peculiar cast to their views and the nature of their profession—tend to hold them under perpetual discouragements, and unfit them for hard and perilous services. This seems implied in the name given to the native place of Feeble-mind; yet this is often connected with evident sincerity, and remarkable perseverance in the ways of God— (Scott).
- 253 Here, very ingeniously, an associate is found for poor Feeble-mind; in one equally weak, lame, and limping in his religious sentiments, who, instead of forming his own sentiments from the Word of Truth, leant upon the sentiments and opinions of others. The hesitation of Feeble-mind to accept one of his crutches, is humourously conceived. He would, weak as he was, think for himself; though he had no objection to quote the opinion of another Christian against an adversary—(Ivimey). “As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” How great a comfort to find a fellow-pilgrim whose experience agrees with our own, and with whom we can take sweet counsel! Still all our dependence must be on Ready-to-halt’s crutches—“the promises.”—(ED).
- 254 The near prospect of persecution is formidable even to true believers, notwithstanding all the encouragements of God’s Word. It is useful to realize such scenes, that we may pray, without ceasing, for wisdom, fortitude, patience, meekness, faith, and love sufficient for us, should matters come to the worst—(Scott).
- 255 How happy to find a family, in Vanity Fair, whose master will receive and entertain pilgrims. Blessed be God for the present revival of religion in our day, and for the many houses that are open to friends of the Lamb—(Mason).
- 256 The inquiry of disciples, after suitable company, discovers that they, with David, love the Lord’s saints; and in the excellent of the earth is all their delight (Psa. 16:3). A genuine discovery this of a gracious heart—(Mason).
- 257 Great, indeed, was the change in the town of Vanity, when Christiana and her party of pilgrims arrived, compared with the but recent period when Faithful was martyred. The declaration of liberty of conscience had rendered the profession of vital godliness more public, still there was persecution enough to make it comparatively pure. Dr. Cheever has indulged in a delightful reverie, in his lecture on Vanity Fair, by supposing, at some length, how our glorious dreamer would now describe the face of society in our present Vanity Fair. After describing the consequences that had arisen from religion having become FASHIONABLE, he hints at the retrograde movement towards Popery, known under the name of Puseyism. “It happened, in process of time, that a part of the pilgrims who remained in Vanity Fair, began to visit the cave of Giant Pope, and it became a sort of fashionable pilgrimage to that cave. They brushed up the giant, and gave him medicines to alleviate the hurts from those bruises which he had received in his youth; and, to make the place pleasanter, they carefully cleared away the remains of the bones and skulls of burned pilgrims, and planted a large enclosure with flowers and evergreens.” “The cage in which the Pilgrims were once confined was now never used; some said it was consecrated for church purposes, and put under the cathedral, in a deep cell, from which it might again be brought forth if occasion required it.” The Doctor’s description of the present state of Vanity Fair is very deeply interesting and amusing—(ED). When religion is counted honourable, we shall not want professors; but trying times are sifting times. As the chaff flies before the wind, so will the formal professors before a storm of persecution—(J.B.).
- 258 Kindness to the poor increases and builds up the church. It conquers the prejudices of the worldly, secures their confidence, and brings them under the preaching of the Gospel. They rationally conclude that they cannot be bad people who do so much good—(Ivimey).
- 259 This monster is Antichrist. The devil is the head; the synagogue of Satan is the body; the wicked spirit of iniquity is the soul. The devil made use of the church the clergy to midwife this monster into the world. He had plums in his dragon’s mouth, and so came in by flatteries. He metamorphosed himself into a beast, a man, or woman; and the inhabitants of the world loved the woman dearly, became her sons, and took up helmet and shield to defend her. She arrayed herself in flesh-taking ornaments— gold, and precious stones, like an harlot. She made the kings drunken, and they gave her the blood of saints and martyrs until she was drunken, and did revel and roar. But when her cup is drunk out, God will call her to such a reckoning, that all her clothes, pearls, and jewels shall not be able to pay the shot. This beast is compared to the wild boar that comes out of the wood to devour the church of God (Psa. 80:13). The temporal sword will kill its body, but spirit can only be slain by spirit; the Lord the Spirit will slay its soul—(Bunyan on Antichrist, vol. 2, p. 47). Is not Antichrist composed of all the State religions in the world?—(ED).
- 260 For this woman’s name and costume see Revelation 17:1-4. She has just sent one of her illegitimate sons to England, under the impudent assumption of Archbishop of Westminster—(ED).
- 261 And that you may be convinced of the truth of this, look back and compare Antichrist four hundred years ago, with Antichrist as he now is, and you shall see what work the Lord Jesus has begun to make with him; kingdoms and countries He hath taken from her. True, the fogs of Antichrist, and the smoke that came with him out of the bottomless pit, has eclipsed the glorious light of the Gospel; but you know, in eclipses, when they are recovering, all the creatures upon the face of the earth cannot put a stop to that course, until the sun or the moon have recovered their glory. And thus it shall be now, the Lord is returning to visit this people with His primitive lustre; he will not go back until the light of the sun shall be sevenfold—(Bunyan’s Antichrist and his ruin, vol. 2, p. 48).
Now this Mr. Great-heart, together with these that came to visit the pilgrims at Mr. Mnason’s house, entered into a covenant to go and engage this beast, if perhaps they might deliver the people of this town from the paws and mouth of this so devouring a serpent.
Then did Mr. Great-heart, Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-man, Mr. Dare-not-lie, and Mr. Penitent, with their weapons go forth to meet him. Now the monster, at first, was very rampant, and looked upon these enemies with great disdain; but they so belaboured him, being sturdy men at arms, that they made him make a retreat; so they came home to Mr. Mnason’s house again.
The monster, you must know, had his certain seasons to come out in, and to make his attempts upon the children of the people of the town; also these seasons did these valiant worthies watch him in, and did still continually assault him; insomuch, that in process of time he became not only wounded, but lame; also he has not made that havoc of the townsmen’s children, as formerly he has done. And it is verily believed by some, that this beast will die of his wounds.262
This, therefore, made Mr. Great-heart and his fellows of great fame in this town; so that many of the people that wanted their taste of things, yet had a reverend esteem and respect for them.263 Upon this account therefore it was, that these pilgrims got not much hurt here. True, there were some of the baser sort, that could see no more than a mole, nor understand more than a beast; these had no reverence for these men, nor took they notice of their valour or adventures.264
Well, the time grew on that the Pilgrims must go on their way, wherefore they prepared for their journey. They sent for their friends; they conferred with them; they had some time set apart, therein to commit each other to the protection of their Prince. There were again, that brought them of such things as they had, that were fit for the weak and the strong, for the women and the men, and so laded them with such things as were necessary (Acts 28:10).
Then they set forward on their way; and their friends accompanying them so far as was convenient, they again committed each other to the protection of their King, and parted.
They, therefore, that were of the Pilgrims’ company went on, and Mr. Great-heart went before them. Now the women and children being weakly, they were forced to go as they could bear; by this means Mr. Ready-to-halt and Mr. Feeble-mind had more to sympathize with their condition.
When they were gone from the townsmen, and when their friends had bid them farewell; they quickly came to the place where Faithful was put to death; there therefore they made a stand, and thanked Him that had enabled him to bear his cross so well; and the rather because they now found that they had a benefit by such a manly suffering as his was.265
They went on, therefore, after this, a good way further, talking of Christian and Faithful; and how Hopeful joined himself to Christian after that Faithful was dead.
Now they were come up with the Hill Lucre, where the silver mine was, which took Demas off from his pilgrimage, and into which, as some think, By-ends fell and perished; wherefore they considered that. But when they were come to the old monument that stood over against the Hill Lucre, to wit, to the pillar of salt that stood also within view of Sodom and its stinking lake; they marveled, as did Christian before, that men of that knowledge and ripeness of wit, as they were, should be so blinded as to turn aside here. Only they considered again, that nature is not affected with the harms that others have met with, especially if that thing upon which they look, has an attracting virtue upon the foolish eye.
I saw now that they went on, till they came at the river that was on this side of the Delectable Mountains. To the river where the fine trees grow on both sides; and whose leaves, if taken inwardly, are good against surfeits, where the meadows are green all the year long, and where they might lie down safely (Psa. 23).
By this river side, in the meadow, there were cotes and folds for sheep, a house built for the nourishing and bringing up of those lambs, the babes of those women that go on pilgrimage (Heb. 5:2). Also there was here one that was intrusted with them, who could have compassion, and that could gather these lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and that could gently lead those that were with young (Isa. 40:11). Now to the care of THIS MAN, Christiana admonished her four daughters to commit their little ones, that by these waters they might be housed, harboured, succoured, and nourished, and that none of them might be lacking in time to come.266 This Man, if any of them go astray, or be lost, He will bring them again; He will also bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen them that are sick (Ezek. 34:11-16). Here they will never want meat, and drink, and clothing; here they will be kept from thieves and robbers; for this Man will die before one of those committed to His trust shall be lost (Jer. 23:4). Besides, here they shall be sure to have good nurture and admonition, and shall be taught to walk in right paths, and that you know is a favour of no small account. Also here, as you see, are delicate waters, pleasant meadows, dainty flowers, variety of trees, and such as bear wholesome fruit; fruit not like that that Matthew ate of, that fell over the wall out of Beelzebub’s garden; but fruit that procureth health where there is none, and that continueth and increaseth it where it is.267
So they were content to commit their little ones to Him; and that which was also an encouragement to them so to do, was, for that all this was to be at the charge of the King, and so was as an hospital for young children and orphans.
Now they went on; and when they were come to By-path Meadow, to the stile over which Christian went with his fellow Hopeful, when they were taken by Giant Despair, and put into Doubting Castle; they sat down and consulted what was best to be done; to wit, now they were so strong, and had got such a man as Mr. Great-heart for their conductor, whether they had not best to make an attempt upon the Giant, demolish his castle, and, if there were any pilgrims in it, to set them at liberty, before they went any further. So one said one thing, and another said the contrary. One questioned if it were lawful to go upon unconsecrated ground; another said they might, provided their end was good; but Mr. Great-heart said, Though that assertion offered last cannot be universally true, yet I have a commandment to resist sin, to overcome evil, to fight the good fight of faith; and, I pray, with whom should I fight this good fight, if not with Giant Despair? I will, therefore, attempt the taking away of his life, and the demolishing of Doubting Castle. Then said he, Who will go with me? Then said old Honest, I will. And so will we too, said Christiana’s four sons, Matthew, Samuel, James, and Joseph; for they were young men and strong (1 John 3:13, 14). So they left the women in the road, and with them Mr. Feeble-mind and Mr. Ready-to-halt with his crutches, to be their guard, until they came back; for in that place though Giant Despair dwelt so near, they keeping in the road, a little child might lead them (Isa. 11:6).
So Mr. Great-heart, old Honest, and the four young men, went to go up to Doubting Castle, to look for Giant Despair. When they came at the Castle-gate, they knocked for entrance with an unusual noise. At that the old Giant comes to the gate, and Diffidence, his wife, follows. Then said he, Who, and what is he that is so hardy, as after this manner to molest the Giant Despair?
Mr. Great-heart replied, It is I, Great-heart, one of the King of the Celestial Country’s conductors of pilgrims to their place; and I demand of thee that thou open thy gates for my entrance. Prepare thyself also to fight, for I am come to take away thy head, and to demolish Doubting Castle.
Now Giant Despair, because he was a giant, thought no man could overcome him; and, again, thought he, since heretofore I have made a conquest of angels, shall Great-heart make me afraid! So he harnessed himself, and went out. He had a cap of steel upon his head, a breast-plate of fire girded to him, and he came out in iron shoes with a great club in his hand. Then these six men made up to him, and beset him behind and before. Also when Diffidence, the giantess, came up to help him, old Mr. Honest cut her down at one blow. Then they fought for their lives, and Giant Despair was brought down to the ground, but was very loath to die. He struggled hard, and had, as they say, as many lives as a cat; but Great-heart was his death, for he left him not till he had severed his head from his shoulders.268
Then they fell to demolishing Doubting Castle, that you know might with ease be done, since Giant Despair was dead. They were seven days in destroying of that; and in it of pilgrims they found one Mr. Despondency, almost starved to death, and one Much-afraid, his daughter; these two they saved alive. But it would have made you a-wondered to have seen the dead bodies that lay here and there in the castle-yard, and how full of dead men’s bones the dungeon was.
When Mr. Great-heart and his companions had performed this exploit, they took Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-afraid, into their protection; for they were honest people, though they were prisoners in Doubting Castle, to that tyrant Giant Despair. They, therefore, I say, took with them the head of the Giant, for his body they had buried under a heap of stones, and down to the road and to their companions they came, and showed them what they had done. Now when Feeble-mind and Ready-to-halt saw that it was the head of Giant Despair indeed, they were very jocund and merry.269 Now Christiana, if need was, could play upon the viol, and her daughter Mercy upon the lute; so, since they were so merry disposed, she played them a lesson, and Ready-to-halt would dance. So he took Despondency’s daughter, named Much-afraid, by the hand, and to dancing they went in the road. True, he could not dance without one crutch in his hand; but, I promise you, he footed it well. Also the girl was to be commended, for she answered the music handsomely.
As for Mr. Despondency, the music was not much to him; he was for feeding rather than dancing, for that he was almost starved. So Christiana gave him some of her bottle of spirits, for present relief, and then prepared him something to eat; and, in little time, the old gentleman came to himself, and began to be finely revived.
Now I saw in my dream, when all these things were finished, Mr. Great-heart took the head of Giant Despair, and set it upon a pole by the highway side, right over against the pillar that Christian erected for a caution to pilgrims that came after, to take heed of entering into his grounds.270
Though Doubting Castle be demolish’d,
And the Giant Despair hath lost his head,
Sin can rebuild the Castle, make’t remain,
And make Despair the Giant live again.
Then he writ under it, upon a marble stone these verses following:
This the head of him, whose name only
In former times did pilgrims terrify.
His Castle’s down; and Diffidence, his wife,
Brave Master Great-heart has bereft of life.
Despondency, his daughter Much-afraid,
Great-heart for them also the man has play’d;
Who hereof doubts, if he’ll but cast his eye
Up hither, may his scruples satisfy.
This head also, when doubting cripples dance,
Doth show from fears they have deliverance.
When these men had thus bravely showed themselves against Doubting Castle, and had slain Giant Despair, they went forward; and went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains, where Christian and Hopeful refreshed themselves with the varieties of the place. They also acquainted themselves with the shepherds there, who welcomed them, as they had done Christian before, unto the Delectable Mountains.
Now the Shepherds, seeing, so great a train follow Mr. Great-heart, for with him they were well acquainted, they said unto him, Good Sir, you have got a goodly company here. Pray, where did you find all these?
Then Mr. Great-heart replied:
First, here is Christiana and her train,
Her sons, and her sons’ wives, who like the wain,271
Keep by the pole, and do by compass steer,
From sin to grace, else they had not been here;
Next, here’s old Honest come on pilgrimage,
Ready-to-halt, too, who, I dare engage,
True-hearted is, and so is Feeble-mind,
Who willing was not to be left behind;
Despondency, good man, is coming after,
And so also is Much-afraid his daughter.
May we have entertainment here, or must
We further go? Let’s know whereon to trust.
Then said the Shepherds, This is a comfortable company. You are welcome to us, for we have comfort for the feeble as for the strong. Our Prince has an eye to what is done to the least of these; therefore infirmity must not be a block to our entertainment (Matt. 25:40). So they had them to the palace door, and then said unto them, Come in, Mr. Feeble-mind; Come in, Mr. Ready-to-halt; come in, Mr. Despondency, and Mrs. Much-afraid, his daughter.272 These, Mr. Great-heart, said the Shepherds to the guide, we call in by name, for that they are most subject to draw back; but as for you, and the rest that are strong, we leave you to your wonted liberty. Then said Mr. Great-heart, This day I see that grace doth shine in your faces, and that you are my Lord’s Shepherds indeed; for that you have not pushed these diseased neither with side nor shoulder, but have rather strewed their way into the palace with flowers, as you should273 (Ezek. 34:21).
So the feeble and weak went in, and Mr. Great-heart and the rest did follow. When they were also set down, the Shepherds said to those of the weaker sort, What is it that you would have? for, said they, all things must be managed here to the supporting of the weak, as well as the warning of the unruly.
So they made them a feast of things easy of digestion, and that were pleasant to the palate, and nourishing; the which, when they had received, they went to their rest, each one respectively unto his proper place. When morning was come, because the mountains were high, and the day clear, and because it was the custom of the Shepherds to show to the Pilgrims, before their departure, some rarities;274 therefore, after they were ready, and had refreshed themselves, the Shepherds took them out into the fields, and showed them first what they had showed to Christian before.
Then they had them to some new places. The first was to Mount Marvel, where looked, and beheld a man at a distance, that tumbled the hills about with words. Then they asked the Shepherds what that should mean? So they told them, that that man was a son of one Great-grace, of whom you read in the First Part of the Records of the Pilgrim’s Progress. And he is set there to teach pilgrims how to believe down, or to tumble out of their way, what difficulties they shall meet with, by faith275 (Mark 11:23, 24). Then said Mr. Great-heart, I know him. He is a man above many.
- 262 When nations have restored to the people the property of which they have been plundered, under the pretence of assisting to obtain the pardon of sin and the favour of God, the monster will soon die; when neither rule, nor honour, nor pelf is to he gained by hypocrisy—(ED).
- 263 This may refer to that noble band of eminent men who, in 1675, preached the morning exercises against Popery; among others were Owen, Manton, Baxter, Doolittle, Jenkyn, Poole, and many others. They were then, and ever will be, of great fame— (ED).
- 264 The plans of Charles II and James II, to re-establish Popery in England, were defeated by the union of the eminent Nonconformists with some decided enemies to Rome in the Established Church; this brought them into esteem and respect. Mr. Scott’s note on this passage is—“The disinterested, and bold decided conduct of many dissenters, on this occasion, procured considerable favour both to them and their brethren, with the best friends of the nation; but the prejudices of others prevented them from reaping all the advantage from it that they ought to have done.”—(ED).
- 265 David Hume, in his History of England, admitted the invaluable services of the Puritans, “By whom the precious spark of liberty was kindled and preserved, and to whom the English owe all the blessings of their excellent constitution.”—(ED).
- 266 This is a most encouraging view of the tender care of the Saviour, to the children of believers committed to His care, by godly parents. Not by any ceremonial observance, but by constant fervent supplications to the Throne of Grace on their behalf, and by a consistent pious example to train them up in the way in which they should go, that when they are old they should not depart from the new and living way—(ED).
- 267 Here we frequently find our author speaking of our God and Saviour as Man; he excels in this. It is to be wished that authors and preachers wrote and spake of the manhood of Jesus, who was a perfect Man, like unto us in all things except sin. The view and consideration of this is sweet to faith, and endears our Saviour to our hearts—(Mason).
- 268 What cannot Great-heart do? what feats not perform? what victories not gain? Who can stand before Great-heart? Diffidence shall fall, and Giant Despair be slain by the power of Great-heart, with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17); even Despondency, though almost starved, shall be delivered, and his daughter Much-afraid shall be rescued. O for more of Great-heart’s company!—(Mason). The struggle with Despair may be dangerous, and painful, and long-continued, but it shall he finally successful. “I am persuaded,” saith the Apostle, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul demolished the castle, and slew the giant; but,– “Sin can rebuild the castle, make’t remain, And make Despair the Giant live again.”—ED.
- 269 How well does Mr. Bunyan describe the experience of the Much-afraids, Ready-to-halts, and the Feeble-minds, in the Come and Welcome. “Poor coming soul, thou art like the man that would ride full gallop, whose horse will hardly trot! Now, the desire of his mind is not to be judged of by the slow pace of the dull jade he rides on, but by the hitching, and kicking, and spurring, as he sits on his back. Thy flesh is like this dull jade; it will not gallop after Christ, it will be backward, though thy soul and Heaven lie at stake. But be of good comfort, Christ judgeth according to the sincerity of the heart.”—(Vol. 1, p. 252).
- 270 This is the work and aim of every faithful minister of Christ, to destroy Giant Despair, and demolish Doubting Castle, in the hearts of God’s children. A more awful character is not in the world, than the man who assumes the ministerial name and character, without understanding the nature of that ministry of reconciliation which is committed to everyone who is really called and sent of God— (J.B.).
- 271 “The wain,” seven bright stars in the constellation of Ursa Major, called by country people, the plough, or the wain, or Charles I’s chariot—(ED).
- 272 Those ministers who exercise the greatest affection towards weak and upright Christians, are most according to the description of pastors, after God’s own heart, given in the Scriptures of truth— (Ivimey).
- 273 Bunyan was peculiarly tender with the weak; they are to be received, but not to doubtful disputations. Thus, with regard to the great cause of separation among Christians, he says, “If water-baptism” (whether by sprinkling of infants, or immersing of adults) “trouble their peace, wound the consciences of the godly, and dismember their fellowships, it is although an ordinance, for the present to be prudently shunned, for the edification of the church.” “Love is more discovered when we receive, for the sake of Christ, than when we refuse his children for want of water.”—(Bunyan on Baptism, vol. 2, p. 608). When will such peaceful sentiments spread over the church?—(ED).
- 274 There are things taught by the Gospel, here called “rarities,” which, though high and mysterious, will yet, when clearly stated, prove the means of exciting Christians to live by faith, and to cultivate whatsoever things are lovely and of good report— (Ivimey).
- 275 Strong faith, in the words of Christ, will “believe down” mountains of afflictions, or tumble them out of the Christian’s way. Though it will not perform miracles, it will remove difficulties resembling mountains—(Ivimey).
Then they had them to another place, called Mount Innocent; and there they saw a man clothed all in white, and two men, Prejudice and Ill-will, continually casting dirt upon him. Now, behold, the dirt, whatsoever they cast at him, would in little time fall off again, and his garments would look as clear as if no dirt had been cast thereat.276
Then said the Pilgrims, What means this? The Shepherds answered, This man is named Godly-man, and this garment is to show the innocency of his life. Now, those that throw dirt at him, are such as hate his well-doing; but, as you see the dirt will not stick upon his clothes, so it shall be with him that liveth truly innocently in the world. Whoever they be that would make such men dirty, they labour all in vain; for God, by that a little time is spent, will cause that their innocence shall break forth as the light, and their righteousness as the noon-day.
Then they took them, and had them to Mount Charity, where they showed them a man that had a bundle of cloth lying before him, out of which he cut coats and garments for the poor that stood about him; yet his bundle or roll of cloth was never the less.
Then said they, What should this be? This is, said the Shepherds, to show you, that he that has a heart to give of his labour to the poor, shall never want wherewithal. He that watereth shall be watered himself. And the cake that the widow gave to the Prophet did not cause that she had ever the less in her barrel.
They had them also to a place where they saw one Fool, and one Want-wit, washing of an Ethiopian, with intention to make him white; but the more they washed him the blacker he was. They then asked the Shepherds what that should mean. So they told them, saying, Thus shall it be with the vile person. All means used to get such a one a good name shall, in conclusion, tend but to make him more abominable. Thus it was with the Pharisees, and so shall it be with all hypocrites.277
Then said Mercy, the wife of Matthew, to Christiana, her mother, Mother, I would, if it might be, see the hole in the hill, or that commonly called the by-way to hell. So her mother brake her mind to the Shepherds. Then they went to the door. It was in the side of a hill, and they opened it, and bid Mercy hearken awhile. So she hearkened, and heard one saying, Cursed be my father, for holding of my feet back from the way of peace and life; and another said, O that I had been torn in pieces, before I had, to save my life, lost my soul! and another said, If I were to live again, how would I deny myself, rather than come to this place! Then there was as if the very earth had groaned and quaked under the feet of this young woman for fear. So she looked white, and came trembling away, saying, Blessed be he and she that are delivered from this place.278
Now when the Shepherds had shown them all these things, then they had them back to the palace, and entertained them with what the house would afford. But Mercy being a young and breeding woman, longed for something that she saw there, but was ashamed to ask. Her mother-in-law then asked her what she ailed; for she looked as one not well. Then said Mercy, There is a looking-glass hangs up in the dining-room, off which I cannot take my mind: if, therefore, I have it not, I think I shall miscarry. Then said her mother, I will mention thy wants to the Shepherds, and they will not deny it thee. But she said, I am ashamed that these men should know that I longed. Nay, my daughter, said she, it is no shame but a virtue, to long for such a thing as that. So Mercy said, Then, mother, if you please, ask the Shepherds if they are willing to sell it.
Now the glass was one of a thousand. It would present a man, one way, with his own features exactly (James 1:23); and, turn it but another way, and it would show one the very face and similitude of the Prince of Pilgrims Himself (1 Cor. 13:12). Yea, I have talked with them that can tell, and they have said, that they have seen the very crown of thorns upon His head, by looking in that glass; they have therein also seen the holes in His hands, in His feet, and His side (2 Cor. 3:18). Yea, such an excellency is there in that glass, that it will show Him, to one where they have a mind to see Him; whether living or dead; whether in earth or Heaven; whether in a state of humiliation, or in His exaltation; whether coming to suffer, or coming to reign.279
Christiana, therefore, went to the Shepherds apart280—now the names of the Shepherds are Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere—and said unto them, There is one of my daughters, a breeding woman, that I think doth long for something that she hath seen in this house; and she thinks she shall miscarry, if she shall by you be denied.
EXPERIENCE. Call her, call her; she shall assuredly have what we can help her to. So they called her, and said to her, Mercy, what is that thing thou wouldst have? Then she blushed, and said, The great glass that hangs up in the dining-room. So Sincere ran and fetched it, and, with a joyful consent, it was given her. Then she bowed her head, and gave thanks, and said, By this I know that I have obtained favour in your eyes.
They also gave to the other young women such things as they desired, and to their husbands great commendations, for that they had joined with Mr. Great-heart, to the slaying of Giant Despair, and the demolishing of Doubting Castle.
About Christiana’s neck, the Shepherds put a bracelet, and so they did about the necks of her four daughters; also they put earrings in their ears, and jewels on their foreheads.281
When they were minded to go hence, they let them go in peace, but gave not to them those certain cautions which before were given to Christian and his companion. The reason was, for that these had Great-heart to be their guide, who was one that was well acquainted with things, and so could give them their cautions more seasonably; to wit, even then when the danger was nigh the approaching.
What cautions Christian and his companion had received of the Shepherds, they had also lost, by that the time was come that they had need to put them in practice. Wherefore, here was the advantage that this company had over the other.
From hence they went on singing, and they said,
Behold, how fitly are the stages set For their relief that pilgrims are become! And how they us receive without one let, That makes the other life our mark and home!
What novelties they have to us they give, That we, though Pilgrims, joyful lives may live;
They do upon us, too, such things bestow, That show we Pilgrims are, where’er we go.
When they were gone from the Shepherds, they quickly came to the place where Christian met with one Turn-away, that dwelt in the town of Apostasy. Wherefore of him Mr. Great-heart, their guide, did now put them in mind, saying, This is the place where Christian met with one Turn-away, who carried with him the character of his rebellion at his back. And this I have to say concerning this man; he would hearken to no counsel, but once falling, persuasion could not stop him.
When he came to the place where the Cross and the Sepulchre were, he did meet with one that did bid him look there, but he gnashed with his teeth, and stamped, and said, he was resolved to go back to his own town. Before he came to the gate, he met with Evangelist, who offered to lay hands on him, to turn him into the way again. But this Turn-away resisted him, and having done much despite unto him, he got away over the wall, and so escaped his hand (Heb. 10:26-29).
Then they went on; and just at the place where Little-faith formerly was robbed, there stood a man with his sword drawn, and his face all bloody. Then said Mr. Great-heart, What art thou? The man made answer, saying, I am one whose name is Valiant-for-truth. I am a pilgrim, and am going to the Celestial City. Now, as I was in my way, there were three men did beset me, and propounded unto me these three things: 1. Whether I would become one of them. 2. Or go back from whence I came. 3. Or die upon the place.282 To the first, I answered, I had been a true man a long season, and therefore it could not be expected that I now should cast in my lot with thieves (Prov. 1:10-14). Then they demanded what I would say to the second. So I told them that the place from whence I came, had I not found incommodity there, I had not forsaken it at all; but finding it altogether unsuitable to me, and very unprofitable for me, I forsook it for this way. Then they asked me what I said to the third. And I told them, My life cost more dear far, than that I should lightly give it away. Besides, you have nothing to do thus to put things to my choice; wherefore, at your peril be it, if you meddle. Then these three, to wit, Wild-head, Inconsiderate, and Pragmatic, drew upon me, and I also drew upon them.
So we fell to it, one against three, for the space of above three hours. They have left upon me, as you see, some of the marks of their valour, and have also carried away with them some of mine. They are but just now gone. I suppose they might, as the saying is, heard your horse dash, and so they betook them to flight.
GREAT-HEART. But here was great odds, three against one.
VALIANT. It is true; but little or more are nothing to him that has the truth on his side. “Though an host should encamp against me,” said one, “my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident” (Psa. 27:3). Besides, saith he, I have read in some records, that one man has fought an army. And how many did Samson slay with the jaw-bone of an ass?283 (Judg. 15:15, 16).
GREAT-HEART. Then said the guide, Why did you not cry out, that some might have come in for your succour?
VALIANT. So I did, to my King, who, I knew, could hear, and afford invisible help, and that was sufficient for me.
GREAT-HEART. Then said Great-heart to Mr. Valiant-for-truth, Thou hast worthily behaved thyself. Let me see thy sword. So he showed it him. When he had taken it in his hand, and looked thereon a while, he said, Ha! it is a right Jerusalem blade (Isa. 2:3).
VALIANT. It is so. Let a man have one of these blades, with a hand to wield it and skill to use it, and he may venture upon an angel with it. He need not fear its holding, if he can but tell how to lay on. Its edges will never blunt. It will cut flesh and bones, and soul and spirit, and all (Eph. 6:12-17; Heb. 4:12).
GREAT-HEART. But you fought a great while; I wonder you was not weary.
VALIANT. I fought till my sword did cleave to my hand; and when they were joined together, as if a sword grew out of my arm, and when the blood ran through my fingers, then I fought with most courage284 (2 Sam. 23:10).
GREAT-HEART. Thou hast done well. Thou hast “resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Thou shalt abide by us, come in and go out with us, for we are thy companions.
Then they took him, and washed his wounds, and gave him of what they had to refresh him; and so they went on together. Now, as they went on, because Mr. Great-heart was delighted in him, for he loved one greatly that he found to be a man of his hands, and because there were with his company them that were feeble and weak, therefore he questioned with him about many things; as, first, what countryman he was?285
VALIANT. I am of Dark-land; for there I was born, and there my father and mother are still.
GREAT-HEART. Dark-land, said the guide; doth not that lie up on the same coast with the City of Destruction?
VALIANT. Yes, it doth. Now, that which caused me to come on pilgrimage was this; we had one Mr. Tell-true came into our parts, and he told it about what Christian had done, that went from the City of Destruction; namely, how he had forsaken his wife and children, and had betaken himself to a pilgrim’s life. It was also confidently reported, how he had killed a serpent that did come out to resist him in his journey, and how he got through to whither he intended. It was also told, what welcome he had at all his Lord’s lodgings, especially when he came to the gates of the Celestial City; for there, said the man, he was received with sound of trumpet, by a company of Shining Ones. He told it also, how all the bells in the city did ring for joy at his reception, and what golden garments he was clothed with, with many other things that now I shall forbear to relate. In a word, that man so told the story of Christian and his travels, that my heart fell into a burning haste to be gone after him; nor could father or mother stay me! So I got from them, and am come thus far on my way.
GREAT-HEART. You came in at the gate, did you not?
VALIANT. Yes, yes; for the same man also told us that all would be nothing, if we did not begin to enter this way at the gate.286
GREAT-HEART. Look you, said the guide to Christiana, the pilgrimage of your husband, and what he has gotten thereby, is spread abroad far and near.
VALIANT. Why, is this Christian’s wife?
GREAT-HEART. Yes, that it is; and these are also her four sons.
VALIANT. What! and going on pilgrimage too?
GREAT-HEART. Yes, verily; they are following after.
VALIANT. It glads me at heart. Good man! how joyful will he be when he shall see them that would not go with him, yet to enter after him in at the gates into the City!
GREAT-HEART. Without doubt it will be a comfort to him; for, next to the joy of seeing himself there, it will be a joy to meet there his wife and children.
VALIANT. But, now you are upon that, pray let me hear your opinion about it. Some make a question, Whether we shall know one another when we are there.
GREAT-HEART. Do they think they shall know themselves then, or that they shall rejoice to see themselves in that bliss? and if they think they shall know and do these, why not know others, and rejoice in their welfare also?287
Again, since relations are our second self, though that state will be dissolved there; yet why may it not be rationally concluded, that we shall be more glad to see them there, than to see they are wanting?
VALIANT. Well, I perceive whereabouts you are as to this. Have you any more things to ask me about my beginning to come on pilgrimage?288
GREAT-HEART, Yes. Was your father and mother willing that you should become a pilgrim?
VALIANT. O no! They used all means imaginable to persuade me to stay at home.
GREAT-HEART, What could they say against it?
VALIANT. They said it was an idle life; and if I myself were not inclined to sloth and laziness, I would never countenance a pilgrim’s condition.289
GREAT-HEART. And what did they say else?
VALIANT. Why, they told me that it was a dangerous way; yea, the most dangerous way in the world, said they, is that which the pilgrims go.
GREAT-HEART. Did they show wherein this way is so dangerous?
VALIANT. Yes; and that in many particulars.
GREAT-HEART. Name some of them.
VALIANT. They told me of the Slough of Despond, where Christian was well nigh smothered. They told me that there were archers standing ready in Beelzebub Castle, to shoot them that should knock at the wicket-gate for entrance. They told me also of the wood, and dark mountains; of the Hill Difficulty; of the lions; and also of the three giants, Bloody-man, Maul, and Slay-good. They said, moreover, that there was a foul fiend haunted the Valley of Humiliation, and that Christian was by him almost bereft of life. Besides, said they, you must go over the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where the hobgoblins are; where the light is darkness; where the way is full of snares, pits, traps, and gins. They told me also of Giant Despair, of Doubting Castle, and of the ruin that the Pilgrims met with there. Further they said I must go over the Enchanted Ground: which was dangerous. And that, after all this, I should find a river, over which I should find no bridge, and that that river did be betwixt me and the Celestial Country.
GREAT-HEART. And was this all?
VALIANT. No. They also told me that this way was full of deceivers,290 and of persons that laid in wait there to turn good men out of the path.
GREAT-HEART. But how did they make that out?
VALIANT. They told me that Mr. Worldly-wiseman did there lie in wait to deceive. They also said, that there was Formality and Hypocrisy continually on the road. They said also that By-ends, Talkative, or Demas would go near to gather me up; that the Flatterer would catch me in his net; or that, with green-headed Ignorance, I would presume to go on to the gate, from whence he always was sent back to the hole that was in the side of the hill, and made to go the by-way to hell.
- 276 The history of Joseph, with that of Mr. Bunyan, and of thousands besides, proves, that charges against a godly, innocent man, arising from the prejudice, ill-will, and malice of his enemies, shall eventually turn out to his honour, and to their confusion. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against yon FALSELY, for My sake” (Matt. 5:11)—(ED).
- 277 This represents the folly of those who go about to reform the manners, without aiming at the conversion of the heart. Nature, in its highest state of cultivation and improvement, is nature still. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit—(J.B.).
- 278 O, damned souls will have thoughts that will clash with glory, clash with justice, clash with law, clash with itself, clash with hell, and with the everlastingness of misery; but the point, the edge, and the poison of all these thoughts will still be galling, and dropping their stings into the sore, grieved, wounded, fretted place, which is the conscience, though not the conscience only; for I may say of the souls in hell, that they, all over, are but one wound, one sore—(Bunyan’s Greatness of the Soul, vol. 1, p. 119). Well might Mercy say, “Blessed are they that are delivered from this place!”—(ED).
- 279 O what a blessed thing it is to long for the Word of God so as not to be satisfied without it, and to prize it above and beyond all other things! Love to the Word excites the soul to say with David, “I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord” (Psa. 119:174). This is a special mark of a gracious soul—(Mason). Every true believer longs to be more completely acquainted with the Scriptures from day to day, and to look into them continually—(Scott). Abraham Cheer, who perished in prison for nonconformity in Bunyan’s time, published a little volume of Poems, in which he compares the Bible to a looking-glass, in these very appropriate lines— “If morn by morn you in this glass will dress you, I have some hopes that God by it may bless you.”—(P. 37)—(ED).
- 280 This doubtless is meant to intimate, that in times of great anxiety, and in prospect of seasons of difficulty, Christians desire above all things the special supports and consolations of the Word of God— (Ivimey).
- 281 By this jewelry is probably intimated, that they gave them written testimonials of possessing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, that they might he recognized as Christian women by other churches—(Ivimey).
- 282 From the names given to these opposers, they appear to represent certain wild enthusiasts who intrude themselves in the way of professors, to perplex their minds, and persuade them that, unless they adopt their reveries or superstitions, they cannot be saved. An ungovernable imagination, a mind incapable of sober reflection, and a dogmatizing spirit, characterize these enemies of the truth; they assault religious persons with specious reasonings, caviling objections, confident assertions, bitter reproaches, proud boastings, sarcastic censures, and rash judgments. They endeavour to draw them to their party, or drive them from attending to religion at all. But the Word of God, used with fervent, persevering prayer, will silence such dangerous assailants, and confirm others also—(Scott).
- 283 Truth will make a man valiant; and valour for truth will make a pilgrim fight with wild-headed, inconsiderate, and pragmatic opposers. The blood he loses in such a battle is his honour, the scars he gets are his glory—(Mason). He does not attempt to hide himself, or run from his and his Lord’s enemies. O that pilgrims, especially those that are young were better trained to this battle! In Bunyan’s time, there were comparatively few of these cavilers; now their name is Legion—(ED).
- 284 In this battle, this striving for the truth, three considerations strike the mind—(1). Reliance upon Divine aid, without which we can do nothing. (2). A right Jerusalem weapon, forged in the fire of love, well tempered with Bible truths. Such a sword will make even the angel of the bottomless pit flee, its edge will never blunt, and it will cut through everything opposed to it. (3). Decision of character, perseverance to the utmost; no trimming or meanly compounding for truth, but a determination, in the Lord’s strength, to come off more than conquerors. It is blessed fighting when hand and heart are engaged, and the sword grows united to both—(ED).
- 285 The church of Christ has produced heroes of the first class in point of courage, which they have displayed in circumstances of great danger. Luther and Knox, and Latimer and Bunyan, were men of this stamp, each of whom might, with great propriety, have been named Valiant-for-the-truth— (Ivimey).
- 286 The reason why so many professors set out, and go on for a season, but fall away at last, is, because they do not enter into the pilgrim’s path by Christ, who is the gate. They do not see themselves quite lost, ruined, hopeless, and wretched; their hearts are not broken for sin; therefore they do not begin by receiving Christ as the only Saviour of such miserable sinners. But they set out in nature’s strength; and not receiving nor living upon Christ, they fall away. This is the reason of this inquiry, Did you come in at the gate? A question we ought to put to ourselves, and be satisfied about—(Mason).
- 287 Among many puzzling questions which agitate the Christian’s mind, this is very generally a subject of inquiry. At the mount of transfiguration, the Apostles knew the glorified spirits of Moses and Elias. The rich man and Lazarus and Abraham knew each other. The most solemn inquiry is, to reconcile with the bliss of Heaven the discovery that some dear relative has been shut out. Shall we forget them? or will all our exquisite happiness centre in the glory of God? Bunyan has no doubt upon personal identity in Heaven— “Our friends that lived godly here Shall there be found again; The wife, the child, and father dear, With others of our train. Those God did use us to convert We there with joy shall meet. And jointly shall, with all our heart, In life each other greet.” —(One Thing Needful, ver. 69, 71)—(ED).
- 288 A sound Christian is not afraid to be examined, and sifted to the bottom, for he can give reason of the hope that is in him. He knows why and wherefore he commenced his pilgrimage—(Mason).
- 289 This is a reproach cast upon religion in every age. Pharaoh said to Moses and the Israelites, “Ye are idle, ye are idle.” Men by nature imagine, that time spent in reading the Bible and in prayer is wasted. It behooves all believers to avoid every appearance of evil; and, by exemplary diligence, frugality, and good management, to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—(Scott).
- 290 Worldly people, in opposing the Gospel, descant upon the hypocrisy of religious persons; they pick up every vague report that they hear to their disadvantage, and narrowly watch for the halting of such as they are acquainted with; and then they form general conclusions from a few distorted and uncertain stories. Thus they endeavour to prove that there is no reality in religion. This is a frivolous sophistry, often employed after all other arguments have been silenced—(Scott).
GREAT-HEART. I promise you this was enough to discourage; but did they make an end here?
VALIANT. No; stay. They told me also of many that had tried that way of old, and that had gone a great way therein, to see if they could find something of the glory there, that so many had so much talked of from time to time; and how they came back again, and befooled themselves for setting a foot out of doors in that path, to the satisfaction of all the country. And they named several that did so; as Obstinate and Pliable, Mistrust and Timorous, Turn-away and old Atheist, with several more, who, they said, had some of them, gone far to see if they could find; but not one of them found so much advantage by going as amounted to the weight of a feather.291
GREAT-HEART. Said they anything more to discourage you?
VALIANT. Yes. They told me of one Mr. Fearing who was a pilgrim; and how he found this way so solitary, that he never had comfortable hour therein. Also that Mr. Despondency had like to have been starved therein; yea, and also, which I had almost forgot, that Christian himself, about whom there has been such a noise, after all his ventures for a celestial crown, was certainly drowned in the Black River, and never went foot further, however it was smothered up.292
GREAT-HEART. And did none of these things discourage you?
VALIANT. No; they seemed but as so many nothings to me.
GREAT-HEART. How came that about?
VALIANT. Why, I still believed what Mr. Tell-true had said, and that carried me beyond them all.
GREAT-HEART. Then this was your victory, even your faith.
VALIANT. It was so. I believed, by the grace of God, and therefore came out, got into the way, fought all that set themselves against me, and, by believing, am come to this place.293
Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent,
His first avow’d intent
To be a pilgrim.
Who so beset him round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound.
His strength the more is;
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight;
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim.
Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit;
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say;
He’ll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.
By this time they were got to the Enchanted Ground,294 where the air naturally tended to make one drowsy; and that place was all grown over with briars and thorns, excepting here and there, where was an Enchanted Arbour, upon which if a man sits, or in which, if a man sleeps, it is a question, say some, whether ever he shall rise or wake again in this world.295 Over this forest, therefore, they went, both one and the other, and Mr. Great-heart went before, for that he was the guide; and Mr. Valiant-for-truth, he came behind, being there a guard, for fear, lest peradventure some fiend, or dragon, or giant, or thief, should fall upon their rear, and so do mischief. They went on here, each man with his sword drawn in his hand, for they knew it was a dangerous place. Also they cheered up one another as well as they could; Feeble-mind, Mr. Great-heart commanded, should come up after him, and Mr. Despondency was under the eye of Mr. Valiant.296
Now they had not gone far, but a great mist and darkness fell upon them all, so that they could scarce, for a great while, see the one the other; wherefore they were forced, for some time, to feel for one another by words; for they walked not by sight.
But anyone must think that here was but sorry going for the best of them all; but how much worse for the women and children, who both of feet and heart, were but tender. Yet so it was, that through the encouraging words of he that led in the front, and of him that brought them up behind, they made a pretty good shift to wag along.
The way also was here very wearisome, through dirt and slabbiness. Nor was there on all this ground so much as one inn, or victualling house, therein to refresh the feebler sort. Here, therefore, was grunting, and puffing, and sighing. While one tumbleth over a bush, another sticks fast in the dirt; and the children, some of them, lost their shoes in the mire. While one cries out, I am down; and another, Ho! where are you? and a third, The bushes have got such fast hold on me, I think I cannot get away from them.
Then they came at an arbour, warm, and promising much refreshing to the Pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above the head, beautified with greens, furnished with benches and settles.297 It also had in it a soft couch, whereon the weary might lean. This, you must think, all things considered, was tempting; for the Pilgrims already began to be foiled with the badness of the way; but there was not one of them that made so much as a motion to stop there. Yea, for aught I could perceive, they continually gave so good heed to the advice of their guide, and he did so faithfully tell them of dangers, and of the nature of dangers, when they were at them, that usually, when they were nearest to them, they did most pluck up their spirits, and hearten one another to deny the flesh. This arbour was called The Slothful’s Friend, on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims there to take up their rest when weary.
I saw then in my dream, that they went on in this their solitary ground, till they came to a place at which a man is apt to lose his way.298 Now, though when it was light, their guide could well enough tell how to miss those ways that led wrong, yet in the dark he was put to a stand; but he had in his pocket a map of all ways leading to, or from the Celestial City; wherefore he struck a light, for he never goes also without his tinder-box, and takes a view of his book or map, which bids him be careful, in that place, to turn to the right-hand way. And had he not here been careful to look in his map, they had all, in probability, been smothered in the mud; for, just a little before them, and that at the end of the cleanest way too, was a pit, none knows how deep, full of nothing but mud, there made on purpose to destroy the Pilgrims in.299
Then thought I with myself, who that goeth on pilgrimage, but would have one of these maps about him, that he may look when he is at a stand, which is the way he must take.300
They went on, then, in this Enchanted Ground, till they came to where there was another arbour, and it was built by the highway-side. And in that arbour there lay two men, whose names were Heedless and Too-bold.301 These two went thus far on pilgrimage; but here, being wearied with their journey, they sat down to rest themselves, and so fell fast asleep. When the Pilgrims saw them, they stood still, and shook their heads; for they knew that the sleepers were in a pitiful case. Then they consulted what to do, whether to go on and leave them in their sleep, or to step to them, and try to awake them. So they concluded to go to them, and awake them; that is, if they could; but with this caution, namely, to take heed that themselves did not sit down nor embrace the offered benefit of that arbour.
So they went in, and spake to the men, and called each by his name,302 for the guide, it seems, did know them; but there was no voice nor answer. Then the guide did shake them, and do what he could to disturb them. Then said one of them, I will pay you when I take my money. At which the guide shook his head. I will fight so long as I can hold my sword in my hand, said the other. At that one of the children laughed.
Then said Christiana, What is the meaning of this? The guide said, They talk in their sleep. If you strike them, beat them, or whatever else you do to them, they will answer you after this fashion; or, as one of them said in old time, when the waves of the sea did beat upon him, and he slept as one upon the mast of a ship, “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again” (Prov. 23:34, 35). You know, when men talk in their sleep, they say anything, but their words are not governed either by faith or reason. There is an incoherency in their words now, as there was before, betwixt their going on pilgrimage, and sitting down here.303 This, then, is the mischief of it, when heedless ones go on pilgrimage, it is twenty to one but they are served thus; for this Enchanted Ground is one of the last refuges that the enemy to pilgrims has. Wherefore it is, as you see, placed almost at the end of the way, and so it standeth against us with the more advantage. For when, thinks the enemy, will these fools be so desirous to sit down, as when they are weary? and when so like to be weary, as when almost at their journey’s end? Therefore it is, I say, that the Enchanted Ground is placed so nigh to the Land Beulah, and so near the end of their race.304 Wherefore, let pilgrims look to themselves, lest it happen to them as it has done to these, that, as you see, are fallen asleep, and none can wake them.305
Then the Pilgrims desired, with trembling, to go forward; only they prayed their guide to strike a light, that they might go the rest of their way by the help of the light, of a lantern.306 So he struck a light, and they went by the help of that through the rest of this way, though the darkness was very great (2 Peter 1:19).
But the children began to be sorely weary; and they cried out unto Him that loveth pilgrims, to make their way more comfortable. So by that they had gone a little further, a wind arose, that drove away the fog; so the air became more clear.
Yet they were not off, by much, of the Enchanted Ground, only now they could see one another better, and the way wherein they should walk.
Now, when they were almost at the end of this ground, they perceived that, a little before them, was a solemn noise of one that was much concerned. So they went on and looked before them; and behold, they saw, as they thought, a man upon his knees, with hands and eyes lift up, and speaking, as they thought, earnestly to One that was above.307 They drew nigh, but could not tell what he said. So they went softly till he had done. When he had done, he got up, and began to run towards the Celestial City. Then Mr. Great-heart called after him, saying, Soho! friend, let us have your company, if you go, as I suppose you do, to the Celestial City. So the man stopped, and they came up to him. But so soon as Mr. Honest saw him, he said, I know this man. Then said Mr. Valiantfor-truth, Prithee, who is it? It is one, said he, who comes from whereabouts I dwelt. His name is Stand-fast; he is certainly a right good pilgrim.
So they came up one to another; and presently Stand-fast said to old Honest, Ho, father Honest, are you there? Aye, said he, that I am, as sure as you are there. Right glad am I, said Mr. Stand-fast, that I have found you on this road. And as glad am I, said the other, that I espied you upon your knees. Then Mr. Stand-fast blushed, and said, But why, did you see me? Yes, that I did, quoth the other, and with my heart was glad at the sight. Why, what did you think? said Stand-fast. Think! said old Honest, what should I think? I thought we had an honest man upon the road, and therefore should have his company by and by. If you thought not amiss said Stand-fast, how happy am I; but if I be not as I should, I alone must bear it. That is true, said the other; but your fear doth further confirm me, that things are right betwixt the Prince of Pilgrims and your soul; for, saith he, “Blessed is the man that feareth always.”
VALIANT. Well, but brother, I pray thee tell us what was it that was the cause of thy being upon thy knees even now? Was it for that some special mercies laid obligations upon thee, or how?
STAND-FAST. Why, we are, as you see, upon the Enchanted Ground; and as I was coming along, I was musing with myself of what a dangerous road the road in this place was, and how many that had come even thus far on pilgrimage had here been stopped, and been destroyed. I thought also of the manner of the death with which this place destroyeth men. Those that die here, die of no violent distemper. The death which such die is not grievous to them; for he that goeth away in a sleep, begins that journey with desire and pleasure; yea, such acquiesce in the will of that disease.
HON. Then Mr. Honest, interrupting of him, said, Did you see the two men asleep in the arbour?
STAND-FAST. Aye, aye, I saw Heedless and Too-bold there; and, for aught I know, there they will lie till they rot (Prov. 10:7). But let me go on in my tale. As I was thus musing, as I said, there was one, in very pleasant attire, but old, who presented herself unto me, and offered me three things; to wit, her body, her purse, and her bed. Now, the truth is, I was both a-weary and sleepy; I am also as poor as an owlet,308 and that, perhaps, the witch knew. Well, I repulsed her once and twice, but she put by my repulses, and smiled. Then I began to be angry; but she mattered that nothing at all. Then she made offers again, and said, If I would be ruled by her, she would make me great and happy; for, said she, I am the mistress of the world, and men are made happy by me. Then I asked her name, and she told me it was Madam Bubble.309 This set me further from her; but she still followed me with enticements. Then I betook me as you saw, to my knees; and with hands lift up, and cries, I prayed to Him that had said He would help.310 So, just as you came up, the gentlewoman went her way. Then I continued to give thanks for this my great deliverance; for I verily believe she intended no good, but rather sought to make stop of me in my journey.311
HON. Without doubt her designs were bad. But stay, now you talk of her, methinks I either have seen her, or have read some story of her.
STAND-FAST. Perhaps you have done both.
HON. Madam Bubble! is she not a tall, comely dame, something of a swarthy complexion?
STAND-FAST. Right, you hit it, she is just such a one.
HON. Doth she not speak very smoothly, and give you a smile at the end of a sentence?
STAND-FAST. You fall right upon it again, for these are her very actions.
HON. Doth she not wear a great purse by her side; and is not her hand often in it, fingering her money, as if that was her heart’s delight?
STAND-FAST. It is just so; had she stood by all this while, you could not more amply have set her forth before me, nor have better described her features.
- 291 If Judas the traitor, or Francis Spira the backslider, were alive, to whisper these men in the ear a little, and to tell them what it hath cost their souls for turning back, it would surely stick by them as long as they have a day to live in the world. Agrippa gave a fair step on a sudden; he stepped almost into the bosom of Christ in less than half an hour. “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” It was but almost, and so he had as good been not at all. He stepped fair, but stepped short. He was hot whilst he ran, but he was quickly out of breath. O this but ALMOST! I tell you, it lost his soul. What a doom they will have, who were almost at Heaven’s gate, but ran back again!—(Bunyan’s Heavenly Footman).
- 292 How natural is it for carnal men to give an evil report of the ways of the Lord; and to discourage those who are just setting out, by telling of the dangers and difficulties they shall meet with! But here is not one word of the pleasures, comforts, and joys, that are experienced in the ways of the Lord. No, they feel them not, they believe not one word about them; therefore they cannot speak of them— (Mason).
- 293 Here we see that valiant soldiers of Christ ascribe all to faith. They set out with faith, and they hold on and hold out by believing. Thus they give all the glory to Christ, who is the object, author, and finisher of faith—(Mason).
- 294 Various are the enemies we meet with in our Christian warfare. The world, with its enchantments, has a tendency to stupefy, and bring on a fatal lethargy. How many professors receive principles, by which they harden themselves in carnal pursuits and sensual gratifications; and others, still preserving a religious name and character, are as dead in their souls, as devoted to the world as these, though contending for legal principles, and high in their religious pretensions!— (J.B.).
- 295 It behooves all who love their souls to shun that hurry of business, and multiplicity of affairs and projects, into which many are betrayed by degrees, in order to supply increasing expenses, that might be avoided by strict frugality; for they load the soul with thick clay, are a heavy weight to the most upright, render a man’s way doubtful and joyless, and drown many in perdition—(Scott).
- 296 Old pilgrims, ye who have set out well, and gone on well for a long season, consider ye are yet in the world, which is enchanted ground. Know your danger of seeking rest here, or of sleeping in any of its enchanting arbours. Though the flesh may be weary, the spirit faint, and the arbours inviting, yet beware. Press on. Look to the Strong for strength; and to the Beloved for rest in His way—(Mason).
- 297 Mark how the ready hands of death prepare; His bow is bent, and he hath notch’d his dart; He aims, he levels at thy slumb’ring heart. The wound is posting; O be wise, beware! What, has the voice of danger lost the art To raise the spirit of neglected care? Well, sleep thy fill, and take thy soft reposes; But know, withal, sweet tastes have sour closes; And he repents in thorns that sleeps in beds of roses. —(Quarles’ Emblems, 1—7).
- 298 This inculcates the duty of constant attention to the precepts and counsels of Scripture, as well as reliance on its promises; and a habitual application to the Lord by prayer, to teach us the true meaning of His Word, that we may learn the way of peace and safety in the most difficult and doubtful cases— (Scott).
- 299 The Word of God is compared to a map and a lantern; to these we shall do well to take heed, as to light shining in a dark place. Let this be the pilgrim’s guide, when the light of spiritual joy or sensible comfort is withdrawn—(Burder).
- 300 —To follow Christ. HE is to them instead of eyes, HE must before them go in any wise; And He must lead them by the water side, This is the work of Him our faithful guide. Since snares, and traps, and gins are for us set, Since here’s a hole, and there is spread a net, O let nobody at my muse deride, No man can travel here without a guide. —(Bunyan’s House of God, vol. 2, p. 582.)
- 301 Ignorance and pride may long maintain a form of godliness, though it be a weariness to them; but after a time they will be gradually drawn back into the world, retaining nothing of their religion except certain distorted doctrinal notions—(Scott).
- 302 It is the duty, and will be the practice of pilgrims, to strive to be instrumental to the good of others. But, at the same time, it behooves them to take heed to themselves, and watch, lest they catch harm from them and their conduct—(Mason).
- 303 What a sound sleep of infatuation hath this enchanting world cast many a professor into! They are proof against all warnings, and dead as to any means of arousing them. When this sleep of death seizes the soul, it destroys faith, infatuates reason, and causes men to talk incoherently. They have lost the language of pilgrims. Their state is awful; beware of it; pray against it. For “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15)—(Mason).
- 304 This view of the Enchanted Ground seems to vary from that which has been considered in the First Part. The circumstances of believers who are deeply engaged in business, and constrained to spend much of their time among worldly people, may here be particularly intended. This may sometimes be unavoidable; but it is enchanted ground. Many professors, fascinated by the advantages and connections thus presented to them, fall asleep, and wake no more; and others are entangled by those thorns and briers which “choke the Word, and render it un” The more soothing the scene the greater the danger, and the more urgent need is there for watchfulness and circumspection—(Scott).
- 305 This is a solemn period in the Christian’s pilgrimage. In the Heavenly Footman, Bunyan has given some admirable general directions—“Because I would have you think of them, take all in short in this little bit of paper—1. Get into the way. 2. Then study on it. 3. Then strip and lay aside everything that would hinder. 4. Beware of by-paths. 5. Do not gaze and stare much about thee; but be sure to ponder the path of thy feet. 6. Do not stop for any that call after thee, whether it be the world, the flesh, or the devil; for all these will hinder thy journey if possible. 7. Be not daunted with any discouragements thou meetest with as thou goest. 8. Take heed of stumbling at the Cross. And, 9. Cry hard to God for an enlightened heart and a willing mind, and God give thee a prosperous journey. Yet, before I do quite take my leave of thee, a few motives. It may be they will be as good as a pair of spurs, to prick on thy lumpish heart in this rich voyage. If thou winnest, then Heaven, God, Christ, glory eternal is thine. If thou lose, thou procurest eternal death.”—(ED).
- 306 The Word of God is the only light to direct our steps. He who neglects this is a fool. He who sets up and looks for any other light to direct him is mad, and knows not what he does. As folly and madness beset him, danger and distress will come upon him. Trembling souls will attend closely to God’s Word—(Mason).
- 307 He who fears always, will pray evermore. The fear of the heart will bring pilgrims on their knees. He who fears to be or go wrong, will pray to be set right. The Lord will direct the heart, and order the goings of all who cry to Him. Fear and prayer go hand in hand. Joy shall attend them—(Mason).
- 308 No more money than an owl loves light. “The antiquarian, who delights to solace himself in the benighted days of monkish owl-light, sometimes passes for a divine.”—(Warburton)—(ED).
- 309 My soul, what’s lighter than a feather? Wind. Than wind? The fire. And what than fire? The mind. What’s lighter than the mind? A thought. Than thought? This bubble world. What than this bubble? Naught. —(Quarles).
- 310 —Prayer’s arrow drawn Down to the head by nervous penitence, Or meek humility’s compliant strings, Wings to the destin’d mark its certain way, And ne’er was shot in vain! —(Dodd’s Epiphany, p. 32, 4to).
- 311 O pilgrims, beware of this Madam Bubble! Know and consider well, that ye have a nature exactly suited to accept of her offers, and to fall in love with her promises. The riches, honours, and pleasures of this world, what mortal can withstand? or who can forego them? No one but he who sees more charms in Jesus, more glory in His Cross, and more comfort in the enjoyment of His love and presence; and therefore, is continually looking and crying to Him, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.”—(Mason). Many, indeed, are her fair promises and golden dreams. Many hath she brought to the halter, and ten thousand times more to Hell. O for precious faith, to overcome the world; and to pass through it, in pursuit of a nobler portion, as strangers and pilgrims!—(Burder).
HON. Then he that drew her picture was a good limner, and he that wrote of her said true.312
GREAT-HEART. This woman is a witch, and it is by virtue of her sorceries that this ground is enchanted. Whoever doth lay their head down in her lap, had as good lay it down upon that block over which the axe doth hang; and whoever lay their eyes upon her beauty, are counted the enemies of God (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15). This is she that maintaineth in their splendour all those that are the enemies of pilgrims. Yea, this is she that hath bought off many a man from a pilgrim’s life. She is a great gossipper; she is always, both she and her daughters, at one pilgrim’s heels or another, now commending, and then preferring the excellencies of this life. She is a bold and impudent slut; she will talk with any man. She always laugheth poor pilgrims to scorn; but highly commends the rich. If there be one cunning to get money in a place, she will speak well of him from house to house; she loveth banqueting and feasting mainly well; she is always at one full table or another. She has given it out in some places, that she is a goddess, and therefore some do worship her. She has her times and open places of cheating; and she will say and avow it, that none can show a good comparable to hers. She promiseth to dwell with children’s children, if they will but love and make much of her. She will cast out of her purse gold like dust, in some places, and to some persons. She loves to be sought after, spoken well of, and to lie in the bosoms of men. She is never weary of commending her commodities, and she loves them most that think best of her. She will promise to some crowns and kingdoms, if they will but take her advice; yet many hath she brought to the halter, and ten thousand times more to hell.
STAND-FAST. O, said Stand-fast, what a mercy is it that I did resist! for whither might she have drawn me!
GREAT-HEART. Whither! nay, none but God knows whither. But, in general, to be sure, she would have drawn thee into “many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition”—(1 Tim. 6:9).
It was she that set Absalom against his father, and Jeroboam against his master. It was she that persuaded Judas to sell his Lord, and that prevailed with Demas to forsake the godly pilgrims’ life; none can tell of the mischief that she doth. She makes variance betwixt rulers and subjects, betwixt parents and children, betwixt neighbour and neighbour, betwixt a man and his wife, betwixt a man and himself, betwixt the flesh and the heart.
Wherefore, good Master Stand-fast, be as your name is, and “when you have done all, Stand.”313
At this discourse there was, among the Pilgrims, a mixture of joy and trembling; but at length they brake out, and sang—
What danger is the pilgrim in!
How many are his foes!
How many ways there are to sin
No living mortal knows.
Some of the ditch shy are, yet can
Lie tumbling in the mire;
Some, though they shun the frying-pan,
Do leap into the fire.
After this, I beheld until they were come unto the Land of Beulah, where the sun shineth night and day.314
Here, because they were weary, they betook themselves a while to rest; and, because this country was common for pilgrims, and because the orchards and vineyards that were here belonged to the King of the Celestial country, therefore they were licensed to make bold with any of His things. But a little while soon refreshed them here; for the bells did so ring, and the trumpets continually sound so melodiously, that they could not sleep; and yet they received as much refreshing, as if they had slept their sleep ever so soundly. Here also all the noise of them that walked in the streets, was, More pilgrims are come to town. And another would answer, saying, And so many went over the water, and were let in at the golden gates today. They would cry again, There is now a legion of Shining Ones just come to town, by which we know that there are more pilgrims upon the road; for here they come to wait for them, and to comfort them after all their sorrow. Then the Pilgrims got up, and walked to and fro; but how were their ears now filled with heavenly noises, and their eyes delighted with celestial visions! In this land they heard nothing, saw nothing, felt nothing, smelled nothing, tasted nothing, that was offensive to their stomach or mind; only when they tasted of the water of the river over which they were to go, they thought that tasted a little bitterish to the palate, but it proved sweeter when it was down.
In this place there was a record kept of the names of them that had been pilgrims of old, and a history of all the famous acts that they had done. It was here also much discoursed how the river to some had had its flowings, and what ebbings it has had while others have gone over. It has been in a manner dry for some, while it has overflowed its banks for others.
In this place the children of the town would go into the King’s gardens, and gather nosegays for the Pilgrims, and bring them to them with much affection. Here also grew camphire, with spikenard, and saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, with all its trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices. With these the Pilgrims’ chambers were perfumed, while they staid here; and with these were their bodies anointed, to prepare them to go over the river when the time appointed was come.
Now, while they lay here, and waited for the good hour, there was a noise in the town, that there was a post come from the Celestial City, with matter of great importance to one Christiana, the wife of Christian the Pilgrim. So inquiry was made for her, and the house was found out where she was; so the post presented her with a letter; the contents whereof were, “Hail, good woman! I bring thee tidings that the Master calleth for thee, and expecteth that thou shouldest stand in His presence, in clothes of immortality, within these ten days.”
When he had read this letter to her, he gave her therewith a sure token that he was a true messenger, and was come to bid her make haste to be gone. The token was, an arrow with a point sharpened with love, let easily into her heart, which by degrees wrought so effectually with her, that at the time appointed she must be gone.315
When Christiana saw that her time was come, and that she was the first of this company that was to go over, she called for Mr. Great-heart her guide, and told him how matters were. So he told her he was heartily glad of the news, and could have been glad had the post come for him. Then she bid that he should give advice how all things should be prepared for her journey. So he told her, saying, thus and thus it must be; and we that survive will accompany you to the river side.
Then she called for her children, and gave them her blessing, and told them, that she yet read with comfort the mark that was set in their foreheads, and was glad to see them with her there, and that they had kept their garments so white. Lastly, she bequeathed to the poor that little she had, and commanded her sons and her daughters to be ready against the messenger should come for them.
When she had spoken these words to her guide and to her children, she called for Mr. Valiant-for-truth, and said unto him, Sir, you have in all places showed yourself truehearted; “be faithful unto death,” and my King will give you “a crown of life.” I would also entreat you to have an eye to my children; and if at any time you see them faint, speak comfortably to them. For my daughters, my sons’ wives, they have been faithful, and a fulfilling of the promise upon them will be their end. But she gave Mr. Stand-fast a ring.
Then she called for old Mr. Honest, and said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” Then said he, I wish you a fair day, when you set out for Mount Zion, and shall be glad to see that you go over the river dry-shod. But she answered, Come wet, come dry, I long to be gone; for, however the weather is in my journey, I shall have time enough when I come there to sit down and rest me, and dry me.
Then came in that good man Mr. Ready-to-halt, to see her. So she said to him, Thy travel hither has been with difficulty; but that will make thy rest the sweeter. But watch and be ready; for at an hour when you think not, the messenger may come.
After him came in Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-afraid, to whom she said, You ought with thankfulness, forever to remember your deliverance from the hands of Giant Despair, and out of Doubting Castle. The effect of that mercy is, that you are brought with safety hither. Be ye watchful, and cast away fear; “be sober and hope to the end.”
Then she said to Mr. Feeble-mind, Thou wast delivered from the mouth of Giant Slay-good, that thou mightest live in the light of the living forever, and see thy King with comfort; only I advise thee to repent thee of thine aptness to fear and doubt of His goodness, before He sends for thee; lest thou shouldest, when He comes, be forced to stand before Him, for that fault, with blushing.
Now the day drew on, that Christiana must be gone. So the road was full of people to see her take her journey. But, behold, all the banks beyond the river were full of horses and chariots, which were come down from above to accompany her to the city gate. So she came forth, and entered the river, with a beckon of farewell to those that followed her to the river side. The last words that she was heard to say here, were, I come, Lord, to be with Thee, and bless Thee.316
So her children and friends returned to their place, for that those that waited for Christiana had carried her out of their sight. So she went and called, and entered in at the gate with all the ceremonies of joy that her husband Christian had done before her.
At her departure her children wept. But Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Valiant played upon the well-tuned cymbal and harp for joy. So all departed to their respective places.317
In process of time there came a post to the town again, and his business was with Mr. Ready-to-halt. So he inquired him out, and said to him, I am come to thee in the name of Him whom thou hast loved and followed, though upon crutches; and my message is to tell thee, that He expects thee at His table to sup with Him, in His kingdom, the next day after Easter; wherefore prepare thyself for this journey.318
Then he also gave him a token that he was a true messenger, saying, I have broken thy golden bowl, and loosed thy silver cord (Eccl. 12:6).
After this, Mr. Ready-to-halt called for his fellow-pilgrims, and told them, saying, I am sent for, and God shall surely visit you also. So he desired Mr. Valiant to make his will; and because he had nothing to bequeath to them that should survive him, but his crutches, and his good wishes, therefore thus he said, These crutches I bequeath to my son that shall tread in my steps, with a hundred warm wishes that he may prove better than I have done.
Then he thanked Mr. Great-heart for his conduct and kindness, and so addressed himself to his journey. When he came at the brink of the river, he said, Now I shall have no more need of these crutches, since yonder are chariots and horses for me to ride on. The last words he was heard to say was, Welcome life!319 So he went his way.
After this, Mr. Feeble-mind had tidings brought him, that the post sounded his horn at his chamber door. Then he came in, and told him, saying, I am come to tell thee, that thy Master hath need of thee; and that, in very little time, thou must behold His face in brightness. And take this as a token of the truth of my message, “Those that look out of the windows shall be darkened”320 (Eccl. 12:3).
Then Mr. Feeble-mind called for his friends, and told them what errand had been brought unto him, and what token he had received of the truth of the message. Then he said, Since I have nothing to bequeath to any, to what purpose should I make a will As for my feeble mind, that I will leave behind me, for that I have no need of that in the place whither I go. Nor is it worth bestowing upon the poorest pilgrim; wherefore, when I am gone, I desire that you, Mr. Valiant, would bury it in a dunghill. This done, and the day being come in which he was to depart, he entered the river as the rest. His last words were, Hold out, faith and patience. So he went over to the other side.
When days had many of them passed away, Mr. Despondency was sent for; for a post was come, and brought this message to him: Trembling man, these are to summon thee to be ready with thy King by the next Lord’s Day, to shout for joy for thy deliverance from all thy doubtings.
And, said the messenger, that my message is true, take this for a proof; so he gave him the grasshopper to be a burden unto him (Eccl. 12:5). Now, Mr. Despondency’s daughter, whose name was Much-afraid, said, when she heard what was done, that she would go with her, father. Then Mr. Despondency said to his friends, Myself and my daughter, you know what we have been, and how troublesomely we have behaved ourselves in every company. My will and my daughter’s is, that our desponds and slavish fears be by no man ever received, from the day of our departure, forever; for I know that after my death they will offer themselves to others.321 For, to be plain with you, they are ghosts the which we entertained when we first began to be pilgrims, and could never shake them off after; and they will walk about and seek entertainment of the pilgrims; but, for our sakes, shut ye the doors upon them.322
When the time was come for them to depart, they went to the brink of the river. The last words of Mr. Despondency were, Farewell night, welcome day. His daughter went through the river singing, but none could understand what she said.323
Then it came to pass, a while after, that there was a post in the town that inquired for Mr. Honest. So he came to his house where he was, and delivered to his hand these lines: Thou art commanded to be ready against this day sevennight, to present thyself before thy Lord, at His Father’s house. And for a token that my message is true, “All thy daughters of music shall he brought low” (Eccl. 12:4). Then Mr. Honest called for his friends, and said unto them, I die, but shall make no will. As for my honesty, it shall go with me; let him that comes after be told of this. When the day that he was to be gone was come, he addressed himself to go over the river. Now the river at that time overflowed the banks in some places; but Mr. Honest in his lifetime had spoken to one Good-conscience to meet him there, the which he also did, and lent him his hand, and so helped him over. The last words of Mr. Honest were, Grace reigns. So he left the world.
After this, it was noised abroad, that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons, by the same post as the other; and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain” (Eccl. 12:6). When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then, said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles, who now will be my Rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.324
Then there came forth a summons for Mr. Stand-fast—this Mr. Stand-fast was he that the rest of the Pilgrims found upon his knees in the Enchanted Ground—for the post brought it him open in his hands. The contents whereof were, that he must prepare for a change of life, for his Master was not willing that he should be so far from Him any longer. At this Mr. Standfast was put into a muse. Nay, said the messenger, you need not doubt of the truth of my message, for here is a token of the truth thereof: “Thy wheel is broken at the cistern” (Eccl. 12:6). Then he called unto him Mr. Great-heart, who was their guide, and said unto him, Sir, although it was not my hap to be much in your good company in the days of my pilgrimage; yet, since the time I knew you, you have been profitable to me. When I came from home, I left behind me a wife and five small children; let me entreat you, at your return (for I know that you will go, and return to your Master’s house, in hopes that you may yet be a conductor to more of the holy pilgrims), that you send to my family, and let them be acquainted with all that hath, or shall happen unto me. Tell them, moreover, of my happy arrival to this place, and of the present and late blessed condition that I am in. Tell them also of Christian, and Christiana his wife, and how she and her children came after her husband. Tell them also of what a happy end she made, and whither she is gone. I have a little or nothing to send to my family, except it be prayers and tears for them; of which it will suffice if thou acquaint them, if peradventure they may prevail.
When Mr. Stand-fast had thus set things in order, and the time being come for him to haste him away, he also went down to the river. Now there was a great calm at that time in the river; wherefore Mr. Stand-fast, when he was about half-way in, stood a while and talked to his companions that had waited upon him thither; and he said, This river has been a terror to many; yea, the thoughts of it also have often frightened me. Now, methinks, I stand easy, my foot is fixed upon that upon which the feet of the priests that bare the ark of the covenant stood, while Israel went over this Jordan (Josh. 3:17). The waters, indeed, are to the palate bitter, and to the stomach cold; yet the thoughts of what I am going to, and of the conduct that waits for me on the other side, doth lie as a glowing coal at my heart.
I see myself now at the end of my journey, my toilsome days are ended. I am going now to see that Head that was crowned with thorns, and that Face that was spit upon for me.325
I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith; but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with Him in whose company I delight myself.
I have loved to hear my Lord spoken of; and wherever I have seen the print of His shoe in the earth, there I have coveted to set my foot too.
His name has been to me as a civet-box; yea, sweeter than all perfumes. His voice to me has been most sweet; and His countenance I have more desired than they that have most desired the light of the sun. His Word I did use to gather for my food, and for antidotes against my faintings. “He has held me, and hath kept me from mine iniquities; yea, my steps hath He strengthened in His way.”326
Now, while he was thus in discourse, his countenance changed, his strong man bowed under him; and after he had said, Take me, for I come unto Thee, he ceased to be seen of them.
But glorious it was to see how the open region was filled with horses and chariots, with trumpeters and pipers, with singers and players on stringed instruments, to welcome the Pilgrims as they went up, and followed one another in at the beautiful gate of the city.327
As for Christian’s children, the four boys that Christiana brought with her, with their wives and children, I did not stay where I was till they were gone over. Also, since I came away, I heard one say that they were yet alive, and so would be for the increase of the CHURCH in that place where they were, for a time.328
Shall it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I here am silent about.329 Meantime, I bid my reader
- 312 Is she not rightly named Bubble? Art thou convinced that she is nothing more? Why then dost thou not break loose from her hold? I ask, Why has the world such hold of thee? Why dost thou listen to her enchantments? For shame! Stir up thy strength, call forth thy powers! What! be convinced that the world is a bubble, and be led captive by her. Shake her off, you ought, you should, it is your duty. Let Mr. Stand-fast answer these questions. His earnest and solemn prayers plainly prove the sense he had of his own weakness and inability to extricate himself from her enchantments. Though some may appear to despise the dominion of sin, I am convinced that it must be a Divine power to deliver me from it—(J.B.).
- 313 It was amidst this Enchanted Ground that good Mr. Stand-fast, whom the Pilgrims there found upon his knees, was so hard beset and enticed by Madam Bubble; and indeed it is by her sorceries that the ground itself is enchanted. Madam Bubble is the world, with its allurements and vanities; and whosoever, as Mr. Great-heart said, do lay their eyes upon her beauty are counted the enemies of God; for God hath said that the friendship of the world is enmity against God; and he hath said furthermore, “Love not the world, nor the things of the world; if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” So Mr. Stand-fast did well to betake him to his knees, praying to Him that could help him. So if all pilgrims, when worldly proposals and enticements allure them, and they feel the love of the world tempting them, and gaining on them, would thus go to more earnest prayer, and be made more vigilant against temptations, Madam Bubble would not gain so many victories—(Cheever).
- 314 The ensuing description represents the happy state of those that live in places favoured with many lively Christians, united in heart and judgment; and where instances of triumphant deathbed scenes are often witnessed. Aged believers, in such circumstances, have been remarkably delivered from fears and temptations, and animated by the hopes and earnests of Heaven; so that, while death seemed bitter to nature, it became pleasant to the soul to think of the joy and glory that would immediately follow it—(Scott). O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true! Scenes of complished bliss, which who can see, Though but in distant prospect, and not feel His soul refresh’d with foretaste of the joy? Bright as a sun the sacred City shines; All kingdoms and all princes of the earth Flock to that light, the glory of all lands Flows into her; unbounded is her joy, And endless her increase. Thy rams are there, Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kellar there; The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind, And Saba’s spicy groves pay tribute there. Praise is in all her gates; upon her walls, And in her streets, and in her spacious courts, Is heard Salvation!
- 315 These messengers are the diseases or decays by which the Lord takes down the earthly tabernacle, when He sees good to receive the souls of His people into His immediate presence. In plain language, it was reported that Christiana was sick and near death, and she herself became sensible of her situation. “The arrow sharpened by love” implies, that the time, manner, and circumstances of the believer’s death, are appointed by Him “who loved us, and gave Himself for us.” He, as it were, says to the dying saint, “It is I, be not afraid.”— (Scott).
- 316 This is the faith and patience of this dying Christian heroine, who began her pilgrimage with trembling steps, maintained her journey with holy zeal, and thus finished her course with joy—(Ivimey).
- 317 O how blessed is the death of the righteous, who die in the Lord! Even a wicked Balaam could wish for this. But it will be granted to none but those who have lived in the Lord; whose souls have been quickened by His Spirit to come unto Jesus, believe in Him, and glory of Him as their righteousness and salvation—(Mason).
- 318 Evident decays of natural powers as effectually convince the observing person, as if a messenger had been sent to inform him. But men in general cling to life, willfully overlook such tokens, and try to keep up to the last the vain hope of recovering; those around them, by a cruel compassion, soothe them in the delusion; so that numbers die of chronic diseases as suddenly as if they had been shot through the heart. Perhaps the author had some reference to those inexplicable presages of death which some persons evidently experience—(Scott).
- 319 See the joyful end of one ready to halt at every step. Take courage hence, ye lame, halting pilgrims— (Mason).
- 320 The tokens are taken from that well-known portion of Scripture, Ecclesiastes 12:1-7; in which the dealings of the Lord are represented as uniformly gentle to the feeble, trembling, humble believer; and the circumstances of their deaths comparatively encouraging and easy—(Scott).
- 321 In the Holy War, the doubters having been dispersed, three or four thrust themselves into Man Now, to whose house should these Diabolic doubters go, but to that of Old Evil-questioning. So he made them welcome. Well, said he, be of what shire yon will, you have the very length of my foot, are one with my heart. So they thanked him. I, said one, am an election-doubter; I, said another, am a vocation-doubter; then said the third, I am a salvation-doubter; and the fourth said, I am a grace-doubter. I am persuaded you are down boys, and are one with my heart, said the old gentleman—(ED).
- 322 Pilgrims, mind this. It is as much your duty to strive, in the strength of the Lord, against unreasonable doubts and slavish fears, as against sin; nay, are they not, in their own nature, the worst of sins, as they spring from infidelity, and dishonour God’s precious truth, glorious grace, and everlasting salvation? Never, never, then, cherish or give way to them, but resist, and shut the door of your hearts against them—(Mason).
- 323 How various is the experience of Christians in the hour of death. Christian and Hopeful inquired “if the waters were all of a depth.” The answer was, “You shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place.” “What ailed thee, O Jordan, that thou wast driven back?” The answer is, “At the presence of the Lord: at the presence of the God of Jacob.” In proportion as a Christian can say, “for me to live is Christ,” in that proportion may he hope to find the water shallow, and feel support to his feet in the trying passage—(ED).
- 324 In the truth of Jesus is victory. He who is valiant for it shall share most of its comforts in life, and in death. O Lord, increase our faith in the never-failing Word of truth and grace, for Thy glory and our soul’s triumph!—(Mason).
- 325 Such is the joy and blessedness of faith! How does it bring near and realize the sight of Christ in glory! Do we indeed see Christ by the eye of faith? Is He the one, the chief object of our soul? Verily, then we shall count our days on earth toilsome ones, and long for the full fruition of Him in glory. O it will be our great glory to see that dear Man, whose blessed head was crowned with thorns, and whose lovely face was spit upon, for us. O that we may be living every day upon Him and to Him, till we see Him as He is!—(Mason).
- 326 This speech has been justly admired as one of the most striking passages in the whole work; but it is so plain that it only requires an attentive reader. It may, however, be worthy of our observation, that, in all the instances before us, the pilgrims are represented as resting their only dependence, at the closing scene, on the mercy of God, through the righteousness and atonement of His Son; and yet recollecting their conscious integrity, boldness in professing and contending for the truth, love to the cause, example, and words of Christ, obedience to His precepts, delight in His ways, preservation from their own iniquities, and consistent behaviour, as evidences that their faith was living, and their hope warranted; and in this way the retrospect conduced to their encouragement. Moreover, they all concur in declaring that, while they left their infirmities behind them, they should take their graces along with them, and that their works would follow them.”—(Scott).
- 327 O who is able to conceive the inexpressible, inconceivable joys of Heaven! How will the heavens echo with joy, when the bride, the Lamb’s wife, shall come to dwell with her husband forever! Christ, the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father; what solace then must the soul be filled with, that hath the possession of Him to all eternity! O what acclamations of joy will there be, when all the children of God shall meet together, without fear of being disturbed by the antiChristian and Cainish brood! If you would be better satisfied what the beatific vision means, my request is, that you would live holily, and go and see—(Bunyan’s Dying Sayings, vol. 1, p. 65).
- 328 It was not without design that our excellent author tells us, that the four boys, with their wives and children, were suffered to continue in life for a time, for the increase of the church in the place where they dwelt. He doubtless intended to write a Third Part of his “Pilgrims Progress,” founded upon this circumstance, with a design, probably to show the influence of real religion and evangelical sentiments on persons in business and in domestic life— (Ivimey).
- 329 The view of the peaceful and joyful death of the pilgrims, cannot but affect every reader; and many, perhaps, may be ready to say, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his”; but, except they make it their principal concern to live the life of the righteous, such a wish will be frustrated. If any man, therefore, doubt whether this allegory do indeed describe the rise and progress of religion in the soul—the beginning, continuance, and termination of the godly man’s course to Heaven, let him diligently search the Scriptures, and fervently pray to God, from whom alone “cometh every good and perfect gift,” to enable him to determine this question. But let such as own themselves to be satisfied that it does, beware lest they rest in the pleasure of reading an ingenious work on the subject, or in the ability of developing many of the author’s emblems. Let them beware lest they be fascinated, as it were, into a persuasion that they actually accompany the pilgrims in the life of faith and walking with God, in the same measure as they keep pace with the author in discovering and approving the grand outlines of His plan. And let everyone carefully examine his state, sentiments, experience, motives, tempers, affections, and conduct, by the various characters, incidents, and observations, that pass under his review—assured that this is a matter of the greatest consequence. We ought not, indeed, to call any man master, or subscribe absolutely to all his sentiments; yet the diligent practical student of Scripture can scarcely doubt that the warnings, counsels, and instructions of this singular work agree with that sacred touchstone, or that characters and actions will at last be approved or condemned by the Judge of the world, in a great degree according to the sentence passed on them in this wise and faithful book. The Lord grant that both the writer and readers of these observations “may find mercy in that day,” and be addressed in these gracious words, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”—(Scott).