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— — — — — — PART 2.
COURTEOUS COMPANIONS — 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.
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 those 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 lodging in a wood about a mile off the place, as I slept, I dreamed again.
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 a 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.” Sagacity . 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 of this town, whose name was Christian, that went on a pilgrimage up towards the higher regions?” Sagacity. 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 on 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 his hazardous journey has got 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 ‘tis 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 any thing 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 labor and sorrow, for there is no grief mixed therewith. But pray, what talk have the people about him?” Sagacity. Talk? the people talk strangely about him: some say that he now walks in white, Revelation 3:4, 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, who 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 neighbor 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, and that he every day eateth and drinketh, and walketh and talketh with him, and receiveth of the smiles and favors of him that is Judge of all there. Zechariah 3:7; Luke 14:14,15. 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 neighbors set so little by him, and had him so much in derision when they perceived, that he would be a pilgrim. Jude 1:14,15. For they say, that now he is so in the affections of his Prince, 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, Luke 10:16; and no marvel, for it was for the love that he had to his Prince that he ventured as he did. “I dare say,” quoth I; “I am glad on’t; I am glad for the poor man’s sake, for that now he has rest from his labor, and for that he now reapeth 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. Revelation 14:13; <19C605> Psalm 126:5,6. I also am glad for that a rumor 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.” Sagacity. Who? Christiana and her sons? They are like to do as well as Christian did himself; for though they all played the fool at 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?” Sagacity. 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.
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 between 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 behavior 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 carriage to her dear friend; which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was, moreover, much broken with recalling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and selfbemoanings 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; especially that bitter outcry of his, “What shall 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 into tears, and cried out to go after their father. “Oh,” said Christiana, “that 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 proceed of a foolish fancy that he had, or for that he was overrun with melancholy humors, yet now it will not out of my mind but that they sprang from another cause; to wit, for that the light of life was given him, James 1:23-25; John 8:12; by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27. 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 crimes as she thought, looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, “Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner!” Luke 18:13; and the little children heard her.
After this she thought she saw two very ill-favored 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 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 his Prince’s feet, saying, “I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing 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 by Christian and his companions.
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 spoke 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 from 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 on 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 babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful One hath sent me to tell thee, that he is a God ready to forgive, and that he taketh delight to multiply the pardon of offences. He also would have thee to 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. Song of Solomon 1:3. Also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter were these: that “the King would have her to 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 the King?”
Wherefore I advise thee to do as did Christian thy husband; go to the wicket-gate yonder, over the plain, for that stands at 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, <19B954> Psalm 119:54; also this thou must deliver in at the further gate.”
Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentlemen, as he told me the 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 my own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriage also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both my own heart and your against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage. “The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but for a dream which I had last night, and but for the encouragement which 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.”
But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women that were Christiana’s neighbors 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.
This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the hill of Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions. Timorous. For what journey, I pray you? Christian. Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a weeping. Timorous. I hope not so, good neighbor; pray, for your poor children’s sake, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself. Christian. Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind. Timorous. I wonder in my very heart what or who has brought you into this mind. Christian. O neighbor, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go along with me. Timorous. 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?
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 troubleth me most is, my churlish carriage 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. 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, and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palace on earth, if compared, seems to me but as a dunghill. <470501> Corinthians 5:1-4. 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?” Timorous. 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 neighbor 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 in Vanity Fair to be forgotten by thee. For if he, though a man, was so hard put up 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.
But Christiana said unto her, “Tempt me not, my neighbor: I have now a price put into my hands 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 which I am like to meet with in the way, they are so far 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 reviled her, and said to her fellow, “Come, neighbor 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 readily comply with her neighbor; and that for a twofold reason. First, her bowels yearned over Christiana. So she said within herself, “If my neighbor will needs be gone, I will go a little way with her, and help her.” Second, 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, I myself with my heart shall also go with her.” Wherefore Mercy began thus to reply to her neighbor Timorous: Mercy. Neighbor, I did indeed come with you to see Christiana this morning; and since she is, as you see, taking her last farewell of the country, I think to walk this sunshiny morning a little with her, to help her on her way.
But she told her not of her second reason, but kept it to herself. Timorous. 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 sends for some of her neighbors, 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: Timorous. Neighbors, 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 of a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was, had sent an inviting letter to come thither.
Then said Mrs. Know-nothing, “And what, do you think she will go?” Timorous. Aye, go she will, whatever comes 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 on 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 doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.” “Oh, this blind and foolish woman!” said Mrs. Bat’s-eyes; “and will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest himself 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 unneighborly, 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.”
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-theflesh, and three or four more, with Mrs. 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 admirable well bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.”
ChristianA PERSUADES MERCY.
THE FIRST STAGE.
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 favor, that thou shouldest set forth out of doors with me to accompany me a little in the way.”
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.” “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 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 between thee and me; only go along with me.” Mercy. But how shall I be ascertained that I also should 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. Christian. 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 return to thy place; I will also pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to me and my children, in the accompanying of 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.
Christiana then was glad at 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 weepeth my sister so?” “Alas,” said Mercy , “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.” Christian. Pity becomes pilgrims; and thou dost weep 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, that these tears of thine will not be lost; for the truth hath said, that “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” And “he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” <19C605> Psalm 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.” Now my old friend proceeded, and said, But when Christiana came 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 gentlemen, “too true; for many there be that pretend to be the King’s laborers, and that say they are for mending the King’s highways, who bring dirt and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending.” Here Christiana therefore, with her boys, did made a stand. “But,” said Mercy, “come, let us venture; only let us be wary.” Then they looked well to their steps, and made a shift to get staggering over.
Yet Christiana had like to have been in, and that not once or twice. Now they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, “Blessed is she that believeth; 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, and I know mine; and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come to our journey’s end.
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 unto 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 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 it 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 unto 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 now become a pilgrim that but a while ago abhorred that life?” Then she bowed her head, and said, “Yea; and so are these my sweet babes also.”
Then he took her by the hand and led her in, and said also, “Suffer 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 the 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 got admittance for herself and her boys, then she began to make intercession for Mercy.
And Christiana 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 for by my husband’s King to come.”
Now Mercy began to be very impatient, and 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 Christiana said, “It is my friend.”
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 unto thee, into thy holy temple. Jonah 2:7. Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell me therefore thou art come.” 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. 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 and forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that thy poor handmaid may be a partaker thereof.
And now were Christiana and her boys, and Mercy, received of the Lord at the head of the way, and spoken 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.” Song of Solomon 1:2; John 20:20.
Now I saw in my dream, that he spoke 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 a while in a summer parlor below, there they entered into talk by themselves; and thus Christiana began. “O 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. Christian. I thought one time, as I stood at the gate, because I had knocked and none did answer, that all our labor had been lost, especially when that ugly cur made such a heavy barking against us. Mercy. But my worst fear was after I saw that you was taken into his favor, and that I was left behind. Now, thought I, it is fulfilled which is written, “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Matthew 24:41. I had much ado to forbear crying out, 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 between life and death. Christian. 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 come in by a violent hand, or take the kingdom by storm. Matthew 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, would not have knocked with all their might? But pray, what said my Lord to my rudeness?
Was he not angry with me? Christian. When he heard your lumbering noise, he gave a wonderful innocent smile; I believe what you did pleased him well, 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, 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. 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. “Do so,” 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 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 they judgments. Jeremiah 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 out 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 come and 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 that they are not delivered to his power, to do with them what his doggish nature would prompt him to. But what, my purchased one, I trow hadst thou known never so much beforehand, thou wouldest not have been afraid of a dog. The beggars that go from door to door will, rather than 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 boys are apt to do, being pleased with the trees, and with the fruit that hung thereon, did pluck them, and began to eat. Their mother did also chide them for so doing, but still the boys went on. “Well,” said she, “my sons, you transgress, for that fruit is none of ours;” but she did not know that it belonged to the enemy: I’ll 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 led them into the way, they espied two very ill-favored ones coming down apace to meet them. 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 a 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 be gone, for we have no money to lose, being pilgrims, as you see, and such too as live upon the charity of our friends.”
Then said one of the two 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 for ever.”
Now Christiana, imagining what they should mean, made answer again, “We will neither hear, nor regard, nor yield to what you shall ask. We are in haste, and cannot stay; our business is a business of life and death.” So again she and her companion made a fresh essay to go past them; but they letted them in their way.
And they said, “We intend no hurt to your lives; it is another thing we would have.” “Aye,” 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 to suffer ourselves to be brought into such snares as shall hazard our well being here after.” 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. Deuteronomy 22:25-27. But the men still made their approach upon them, with design to prevail against them. They therefore cried out again.
Now they being, as I said, not far from the gate in at which they came, their voice was heard from whence they were, thither: wherefore some of the house came out, and knowing that it was Christiana’s tongue, they made haste to her relief, 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 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, otherwise we had been overcome.”
So, after a few more words, this Reliever said as followeth: “I marveled much, when you were entertained at the gate above, seeing ye knew that ye were but weak women, that you petitioned not the Lord for a conductor; then might you have avoided these troubles and dangers; for he would have granted you one.” “Alas,” said Christiana , “we were so taken 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 could 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.” Reliever. 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 either 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. Christian. Shall we go back again to my Lord, and confess our folly, and ask one? Reliever. 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 one 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. Ezekiel 36:37. And ‘tis 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.
Then said Mercy , “What a sudden blank is here! I made account that we had been past all danger, and that we should never see sorrow more.” “Thine 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 danger before I came out of the doors, and yet did not provide for it when provision might have been had. I am much to be blamed.”
Then said Mercy, “How knew you this before you came from home? Pray open to me this riddle.” Christian. Why, I 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 any in the world could look, stand at my bed’s foot, 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. “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.”
Thus now, when they had talked away a little more time, they drew near 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. Then they 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 was the more pleasing to them, because they had heard that she was Christian’s wife, that woman who was some time 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, and opened the door, and looked, and behold, two women were there.
Then said the damsel to them, “With whom would you speak in this place?” 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,” Dam. Pray, what may I call your name, that I may tell it to my Lord within? Christian. My name is Christiana; I was the wife of that pilgrim that some years ago did ravel this way, and these be his four children. This maiden also is my companion, and is going on pilgrimage too.
Then Innocent ran 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 cam 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?” Christian. I am that woman that was so hard hearted as to slight my husband’s trouble, and that left him to go on his journey alone, and these are his four children. But now I also am come, for I am convinced that noway is right but this. Interpreter. Then is fulfilled that which is written of the man that said to his son, “Go work today in my vineyard; and he said to his father, I will not; but afterwards repented, and went.” Matthew 21:29.
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.” Interpreter. 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.
So when they were within, they were bidden to 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 their 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.
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 those 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.
Then said Christiana , “I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this; for this is the figure of a man of this world, as it not, good sir?” “Thou hast said right,” said the Interpreter; “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 do 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.”
Then said Christiana , “O deliver me from this muck rake.” Proverbs 30:8. “That prayer,” said the Interpreter, “has lain by till it is almost rusty: ‘Give me not riches,’ is scarce the prayer of one in ten thousand. Straws and sticks and dust, with most, are the great things now looked after.”
With that Christiana and Mercy wept, and said, “It is, alas too true.”
When the Interpreter had showed them this, he had 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 to be seen but a very great spider on the wall, and that they overlooked.
Then said Mercy, “Sir, I see nothing;” but Christiana held her peace. “But,” said the Interpreter, “look again.” She therefore looked again, and said, “Here is not anything but an ugly spider, who hangs by her hands upon the wall.” The 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 are more here than one; yea, and spiders whose venom is far more destructive than that which is in her.” The Interpreter then looked pleasantly on her, and said, “Thou hast said the truth.” This made Mercy to blush, and the boys to cover their faces; for they all began now to understand the riddle.
And wherefore is this recorded, but to show you that, how full of the venom of sin soever you be, yet you may, but the hand of Faith, lay hold of and dwell in the best room that belongs to the King’s house above?” “I thought,” said Christiana , “of something of this; but I could not imagine it at all. I thought that we were like spiders, and that we looked like ugly creatures, in what fine rooms soever we were: but that by this spider, that venomous and ill favored creature, we were to learn how to act faith, that came not into my thoughts; and yet she hath taken hold with her hands, and as I see, dwelleth in the best room in the house. God has made nothing in vain.”
He had them into another room where were 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 lifted 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: first, she had a common call, and that she hath all the day long; second, she had a special call, and that she had but sometimes; third, she had a brooding note, Matthew 23:37; and, fourth, she had an outery. “Now,” said he, “compare this hen to your King, and these chickens to his obedient ones; for, answerable to her, he himself hath 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 outer, to give the alarm when he seeth the enemy come. I choose, my darlings, to lead you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they are easy for you.” “And, sir,” said Christiana , “pray let us see some more.” So he had them into the slaughter house, where was a butcher killing 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 with wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she takes her death, and, without objecting, she suffereth he 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 color and smell and virtue, and some are better than others; also, where the gardener hath set them, there they stand, and quarrel not one with another.”
Again, he had them into his field, which he had sown with wheat and corn; but when they beheld, the tops of all were cut off, and 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; 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.”
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 pretty little bird as the robin redbreast; he being also a bird above many, that loveth to maintain a kind of sociableness with men! I like him worse that 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, color, and carriage. They seem also to have a very great love for professors that are sincere; and above all others, to desire to associate 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.”
Then the Interpreter began, and said, “The fatter the sow is, the more she desires the mire; the fatter the ox is, the more game somely he goes to the slaughter; and the more healthy the lustful 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 which in God’s sight is of great price. “Tis easier watching a night or two, than to sit up a whole year together; so ‘tis 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 which 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 Savior 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, that 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 be, 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.”
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, is that 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 tinder-box.”
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 ended, the Interpreter asked Christiana what it was that at first did move her thus 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.” Interpreter. But met you with no opposition before you set out of doors? Christian. Yes, a neighbor of mine, on Mrs. Timorous: she was akin to him that would have persuaded my husband to go back, for fear of the lions. She also befooled me for, as she called it, my intended desperate adventure; she also urged what she could to dishearten me from it, the hardships and troubles that my husband met with in the way; but all this I got over pretty well. But a dream that I had of two ill-looking 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 every one that I meet, lest they should meet me to do me a mischief, and to turn me out of my way. Yea, I may tell my Lord, though I would not have everybody know of 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 that 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, sweetheart?”
Then said the Interpreter, “Be not afraid; only believe, and speak thy mind.”
So Mercy 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 the counsel of those that were good relations.” Interpreter. 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 her what was her meaning. She said she was sent for to go to her husband; and then she up and told up 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, etc. 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. Interpreter. Thy setting out is good, for thou hast given credit to the truth; thou art a Ruth, who did, for the love she bore 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 2:11,12.
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 such favor for her.
In the morning they arose with the sun, and prepared themselves for their departure; but the Interpreter would have them tarry a while; “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 led 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. Then they 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. So when they came in, they looked fairer a deal than when they went out to the washing.
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, Exodus 13:8-10, when they came out of the land of Egypt; and the mark was set between their eyes. 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 those of angels.
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 rainment, and laid it 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 had in 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. The children also stood amazed, to see into what fashion they were brought.