John Bunyan's dream, written
from a prison cell, has become the most famous allegory in English literature.
Written almost three hundred fifty years ago, this book has been read in prim parlors,
in sophisticated drawing rooms, in royal households, in religion classes, in schoolrooms,
in family worship- and still it is read by all those who, too, would be a pilgrim.
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
FROM THIS WORLD TO THAT WHICH IS TO COME;
DELIVERED UNDER THE SIMILTUDE OF A DREAM.
BY JOHN BUNYAN.
Timeline History of "The Pilgrim's Progress"*
*Note: At the website "Acacia John Bunyan", see
Timeline Chronicling the Life of John Bunyan ---New Window for more
about the events of John Bunyan's life.
PART II. Pilgrimage of Christiana and her children
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 similtudes.-Hos. 12:10. Pilgrimage of Christiana and her children - To My Courteous Companions - The News of Christian, Christiana and Their Children - How Christiana Decided to Become a Pilgrim - A Visit From Mrs. Timorous and Mercy
THE FIRST STAGE.
THE AUTHOR'S WAY OF SENDING FORTH HIS SECOND PART OF THE PILGRIM. - Uncertainties - Slough of Despond - knocking at the gate - the Dog - talk between the Pilgrims
THE AUTHOR'S WAY OF SENDING FORTH HIS SECOND PART OF THE PILGRIM.
|o, 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'll 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 these 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 he for them provides;
Though 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 embrace
Thee, as they did my firstling; and will grace
Thee and thy fellows with such cheer and fare,
As show well, 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;
Yea, others half my name, and title too,
Have stitched to their books, to make them do.
But yet they, by their features, do declare
Themselves not mine to be, whose'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 gypsies, 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 enquire for him
Of those who 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?
Fright not thyself, my Book, for such bugbears
Are nothing else but groundless fears.
My Pilgrim's book has traveled sea and land,
Yet could I never come to understand
That it was slighted or turned out of door
By any Kingdom, were they rich or poor.
In France and Flanders, where men kill each other,
My Pilgrim is esteemed 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, newcloth'd, and deck'd with gems,
That it might show its features, and its limbs.
Yet more: so comely doth my Pilgrim walk,
That of him thousands daily sing and talk.
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 greater bulk; yea, with delight
Say, my lark's leg is better than a kite.
Young ladies, and young gentlewomen too,
Do not 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 wholsome strains,
As yield them profit double to thetr 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 will; 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 that did not love him at first,
But call'd 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.
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.
But some there be 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.
continued at the top of the next column...
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 his wisdom's covered
With its own mantles-and to stir the mind
To search well after what it fain would find,
Things that seem to be 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 curious fancy more 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.
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 fish, some love no cheese, 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 most 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 bless'd
To them for good, and make them choose to be
Pilgrims, by better 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 Pilgrim's lot.
Go, also, tell them who and what they be
That now do go on pilgrimage with thee;
Say, Here's my neighbor Mercy: she is one
That has long time with me a pilgrim gone:
Come, see her in her virgin face, 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! when the old ones did deride.
Next tell them of old Honest, whom 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 the 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 opinion 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 every one his spirit was so stout,
No man could ever make him face about;
And how Great-Heart and he could not forbear,
But pull 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 touched, will such music make,
They'll make a cripple dance, a giant quake.
Those riddles that lie couched 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 some persuade, that go astray,
To turn their feet and heart to the right way,
Is the hearty prayer of
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Pilgrimage of Christiana and her children
To My Courteous Companions
OME 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.
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. 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.
The News of Christian, Christiana and Their Children
nd 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 travellers usually do, 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 lies on the left hand of our way?"
Sagacity. 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, that have sought after and got the records of his pilgrimage. Yea, I think I may say, 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 't 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.
"They may," quoth I, "well think, if they think anything that is true, that he lives 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."
Sag. Talk! the people talk strangely about him. Some say that he now walks in white; that he has a chain of gold about his neck; and 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, 't 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; and that he every day eats and drinks, and walks and talk with him, and receives 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.
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; and no marvel, for 't was for the love that he had to his Prince that he ventured as he did.
"I dare say," quoth I. "I am glad of it; I am glad for the poor man's sake. For that now he has rest from his labour;
and for that he now reaps the benefit of his tears with joy;
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."
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.
"Better and better," quoth I. "But what! Wife and children and all?"
Sag. 'Tis 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.
How Christiana Decided to Become a Pilgrim
his 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 two. Specially, that bitter outcry of his, 'What must I do to be saved?' did ring in her ears most dolefully.
"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.' With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their father. 'Oh,' said CHRISTIANA, 'that it had been but our lot to go with him; then had it fared well with us beyond what 'tis 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 't will not out of my mind, but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, for that the light of light was given him; by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death'.
Then they all wept again; and cried out, 'Oh, woe worth the day!'
"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; 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!';
and the little children heard her.
"After this she thought she saw two very ill favoured 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 awhile 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 around about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said but CHRISTIAN and his companions.
"Next morning, when she was up, and had prayed to God, and talked with her children awhile, 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: 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 takes delight to multiply pardon to 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 bowed 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,
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 for ever.' 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 heart. For it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this house of thy pilgrimage.
Also this thou must deliver in at the further gate.'"
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 also been 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.
"'The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement that this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone 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. So their visitor bade them farewell: and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.
A Visit From Mrs. Timorous and Mercy
ut 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. Yet they came in; but behold, they found the good woman 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.)
"Timorous. For what journey, I pray you?
"Chris. 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.
"Chris. Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind.
"Tim. I wonder, in my very heart, what or who has brought you into this mind.
"Chris. 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?
"Chris. Then CHRISTIANA replied, 'I have been sorely afflicted since my husband's departure from me; but specially since he went over the river. But that which troubles 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 dreaming last night that I saw him. Oh that my soul was with him! He dwells 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; 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, and read it, and said to them, 'What now will you say to this?'
"Tim. Oh, 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 farther. 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 shouldst be so rash as to cast away thyself, yet, for the sake of the fruit of thy body, keep thou at home.
"But CHRISTIANA said unto her, 'Tempt me not, my neighbour; I have now a price put into mine hand to get gain, and I should be a fool of the greatest size if I should have no heart to strike in with the opportunity. 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 further.'
"Then TIMOROUS also reviled her, and said to her fellow, 'Come, neighbour MERCY, let's 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). 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 sunshiny morning a little way with her to help her on the way.
"But she told her not of her 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. But when TIMOROUS was got home to her house, she sent 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 fell to telling the story of CHRISTIANA and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:
"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 't 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.
"Mrs. Know-nothing. Then said Mrs. KNOW-NOTHING, 'And 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 for as much as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.
"Mrs. Bat's-eyes. 'Oh, 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: 't was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.'
"Then Mrs. Light-mind added as follows: '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.'
y 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.'
"Chris. '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. The King who hath sent for me and my children is one that delights 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.'
"Mer. 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.
"Chris. 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 of us in our way as thou doest.
"Mer. 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!
"CHRISTIANA then was glad in her heart, not only that she had a companion, but also for 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 weepest my sister so?'
"Mer. 'Alas!' said she, 'who can but lament that shall but rightly consider what a state and condition my poor relations 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.'
"Chris. Bowels becomes 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 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 goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him'.
"Then said MERCY:
'Let the Most Blessed be my guide,
If it 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."'
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 was 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 din and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending. 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.
"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 believes; for there shall be a performance of those things that have been told her from the Lord'.
"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, 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? '"
Knocking at the Wicket Gate
nd 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 awhile 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 that 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.
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 ye 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."
With that the keeper of the gate did marvel saying, "What, is she become now a pilgrim, that but awhile 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.
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.
Chris. 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 be opened to her.
Then he took her by the hand, and said, "Damsel, I bid thee arise."
"Oh, 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 Thy holy temple'.
Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell Me wherefore thou art come."
Mer. 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.
Keeper of Gate. "Did she desire thee to come with her to this place?"
Mer. 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 to MERCY to smell on, thereby to stay her fainting." So they fetched her a bundle of myrrh, and awhile after she was revived.
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, and the other as it shall be revealed".
Now I saw in my dream that he spake many good words unto them, whereby they were greatly gladdened. 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 awhile 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!"
Mer. So you well may; but I, of all, have cause to leap for joy.
Chris. 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; specially when that ugly cur made such a heavy barking against us.
Mer. But my worst fear was after I saw that you were taken into his favour, and that I was left behind. Now, thought I, 'tis fulfilled which is written, "Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left".
I had much ado to forbear crying out, Undone, undone! And afraid I was to knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the gate, I took courage. 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.
Chris. 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.
Mer. 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 fainthearted 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?
Chris. 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 afore, 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.
Mer. 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.
"Ay, 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:
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 frightened many an honest pilgrim from worse to better by the great voice of his roaring. Indeed, he that owns him doth not keep him of any good will 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 love; but I take all at present patiently. I also give my pilgrims timely help; so that 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."
Mer. Then said MERCY, "I confess my ignorance; I spake what I understand not: I acknowledge that Thou doest all things well."
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.
PART I. or STAGE 2.
Section Index for Stories
Readers are permitted and encouraged to copy and freely share this article with others.
Homepage Holy Bible .Jehovah Jesus Timeline .Prophecy Philadelphia Fellowship Promises Stories Poetry Links
Purpose ||.What's New || Tribulation Topics || Download Page || Today's Entry
Topical Links: Salvation || Catholicism || Sound Doctrine || Prayer