Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, , at sacred-texts.com
Section II. I dare say, quoth I, I am glad on't; I am glad for the poor man's sake, for that he now has rest from his labour, and for that he now reapeth the benefit of his Tears with Joy; and for that he has got beyond the Gun-shot 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 play'd 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 packt up, and are also gone after him. Better and better, quoth I. But what! Wife and Children and all? Sag. It is true; I can give you an account of the matter, for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair. Then, said I, a man it seems may report it for a Truth? Sag. You need not fear to affirm it, I mean that they are all gone on Pilgrimage, both the good Woman and her four Boys. And being we are, as I perceive, going some considerable way together. I will give you an account of the whole of the matter. This Christiana (for that was her name from the day that she with her Children betook themselves to a Pilgrim's life) after her Husband was gone over the River, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind. First, for that she had lost her Husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them. For you know, said he to me, Nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving Relations. This therefore of her Husband did cost her many a tear. But this was not all, for Christiana did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behaviour towards her Husband was not one cause that she saw him no more, and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this came into her mind by swarms, all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriages to her dear Friend; which also clogged her Conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was moreover much broken with calling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her Husband, and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions (of her and her Sons) to go with him; yea, there was not anything that Christian either said to her, or did before her all the while that his Burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent the caul of her Heart in sunder. Specially that bitter outcry of his, What shall I do to 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 hindred 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 tho' I formerly foolishly imagin'd 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 'twill not out of my mind but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, 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, O Wo 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, look'd 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 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 an 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 pav'd-work that was under the Prince's feet, saying, I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing of me into this Place. Then shouted a company of them that stood round about, and harped with their Harps; but no man living could tell what they said, but Christian and his Companions. Next morning when she was up, had prayed to God, and talked with her Children a while, one knocked hard at the door, to whom she spake out, saying, If thou comest in God's name, come in. So he said Amen, and opened the Door, and saluted her with Peace be to this house. The which when he had done, he said, Christiana, knowest thou wherefore I am come? Then she blushed and trembled, also her Heart began to wax warm with desires to know whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, My name is Secret, I dwell with those that are high. It is talked of where I dwell, as if thou hadst a desire to go thither; also there is a report that thou art aware of the evil thou hast formerly done to thy Husband, in hardening of thy Heart against his way, and in keeping of these thy Babes in their Ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful One has sent me to tell thee that he is a God ready to forgive, and that he taketh delight to multiply to pardon offences. He would also have been thee know that he inviteth thee to come into his presence, to his Table, and that he will feed thee with the Fat of his house, and with the Heritage of Jacob thy Father. There is Christian thy Husband that was, with Legions more his Companions, ever beholding that Face that doth minister Life to beholders; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of thy feet step over thy Father's threshold. Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself, and bowing her head to the ground, this Visitor proceeded and said, Christiana, here is also a Letter for thee, which I have brought from thy Husband's King. So she took it and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best Perfume, 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 Coelestial 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 bossom; that thou read therein to thyself and to thy Children, until you have got it by rote of 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 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 Coelestial 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 bid them farewell, and they began to prepare to set out for their Journey. 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 a preparing to be gone from her house. So they began and said, Neighbor, 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 a had him gone back for fear of the Lions.) Tim. For what Jouney I pray you? Chris. Even to go after my good Husband. And with that she fell a weeping. Tim. I hope not so, good Neighbor, 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, Neighbor, 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 troubleth me most, is my churlish carriages to him when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then; nothing will serve me but going on Pilgrimage. I was a dreaming last night that I saw him. O that my Soul was with him. He dwelleth in the presence of the King of the Country, he sits and eats with him at his table, he is become a Companion of Immortals, 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 pluck'd 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 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 at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by thee; for if he, tho' a Man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou, being but a poor Woman, do? Consider also that these four sweet Babes are thy Children, thy Flesh and thy Bones. Wherefore though thou shouldest be so rash as to cast away thyself, yet for the sake of the Fruit of thy Body keep thou at home. But Christiana said unto her, tempt me not, my Neighbor. I have now a price put into mine hand to get again, 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 shew I am in the right. The bitter must come before the sweet, and that also will make the sweet the sweeter. Wherefore since you came not to my house in God's name, as I said, I pray you to be gone, and not to disquiet me farther. Then Timorous also revil'd 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 so 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. 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 Neighbor Timorous. Mercy. Neighbor, I did indeed come with you to see Christiana this morning; and since she is, as you see, a taking of her last farewell of her Country, I think to walk this Sun-shine morning a little way with her to help her on the way. But she told her not of 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 be-took 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 came to her house, she falls to telling of the story of Christiana and of her intended Journey. And thus she began her tale. Tim. 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 'tis our custom. And she answered, If you come in God's name, come in. So in I went, thinking all was well. But when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the Town, she and also her Children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that? And she told me in short, that she was now of a mind to go on Pilgrimage, as did her Husband. She told me also a Dream that she had, and how the King of the Country where her Husband was had sent her an inviting Letter to come thither. Then said Mrs Know-nothing, And what do you think she will go? Tim. Ay, go she will, whatever come on't; and me-thinks 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 was 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 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: 'twas 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-the-flesh, and three or four more, with Mr Lechery, Mrs Filth, and some others. So there we had musick and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say my Lady herself is an admirably well-bred Gentlewoman, and Mr Lechery is as pretty a fellow. By this time Christiana was got on her way, and Mercy went along with her. So as they went, her Children being there also, Christiana began to discourse. And Mercy, said Christiana, I take this as an unexpected favour, that thou shouldst set foot out of doors with me, to accompany me a little in my way. Mercy. Then said young Mercy (for she was but young) If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you, I would never go near the Town any more. 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 delighteth in Mercy. Besides, if thou wilt, I will hire thee, and thou shalt go along with me as my servant; yet we will have all things in common betwixt thee and me, only go along with me. Mercy. But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained? Had I this hope but from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all, but would go, being helped by him that can help, tho' 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 enquire 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 shewest to me and my Children, in thy accompanying us in our way as thou doest. Mercy. Then I will 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 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 weepeth my Sister so? Mercy. 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 becometh Pilgrims; and thou dost for thy Friends as my good Christian did for me when he left me; he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard him, but his Lord and ours did gather up his Tears, and put them into his Bottle; and now both I and thou and these my sweet Babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, Mercy, these Tears of thine will not be lost; for the truth hath said, That they that sow in Tears shall reap in Joy, in singing. And he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his Sheaves with him. Then said Mercy, Let the Most Blessed be my guide, If't be his blessed will, Unto his Gate, unto 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 Dispond, 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 High-way, that bring dirt 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 a 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 believeth, for there shall be a performance of the 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 Dispond 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? And now Mr Sagacity left me to dream out my Dream by myself. Wherefore me - thought I saw Christiana and Mercy and the Boys go all of them up to the Gate; to which when they were come, they betook themselves to a short debate about how they must manage their calling at the Gate, and what should be said to him that did open to them. So it was concluded, since Christiana was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and that she should speak to him that did open for the rest. So Christiana began to knock, and as her poor Husband did, she knocked and knocked again. But instead of any that answered, they all thought that they heard as if a Dog came barking upon them; a Dog, and a great one too, and this made the Women and Children afraid: nor durst they for a while to knock any more, for fear the Mastiff should fly upon them. Now therefore they were greatly tumbled up and down in their minds, and knew not what to do. Knock they durst not, for fear of the Dog; go back they durst not, for fear 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 Hand-maidens, for that we have knocked at this princely Gate. Then said the Keeper, Whence come ye, and what is that you would have? Christiana answered, We are come from whence Christian did come, and upon the same Errand as he; to wit, to be if it shall please you, graciously admitted by this Gate into the way that leads to the Coelestial 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 a while ago abhorred that life? Then she bowed her head, and said, Yes, and so are these my sweet Babes also. Then he took her by the hand, and let her in, and said also, Suffer the little Children to come unto me; and with that he shut up the Gate. This done, he called to a Trumpeter that was above over the Gate, to entertain Christiana with shouting and sound of Trumpet for joy. So he obeyed and sounded, and filled the air with his melodious notes. 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 Tnmple. Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell me wherefore 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. Did she desire thee to come with her to this Place? Mercy. Yes; and as my Lord sees I am come. And if there is any grace or forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that I thy poor Handmaid may be partaker thereof. Then he took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, I pray for all them that believe on me, by what means soever they come unto me. Then said he to those that stood by, Fetch something, and give it to Mercy to smell on, thereby to stay her fainting. So they fetch'd her a bundle of Myrrh, and a while after she was revived. And now was Christiana and her Boys and Mercy, received of the Lord, at the head of 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 gladded. He also had them up to the top of the Gate, and shewed 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, where they entered into talk by themselves; and thus Christiana began: O Lord! how glad am I that we are got in hither. Mercy. So you well may; but I of all have cause to leap for joy. 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. Mercy. But my worst fear was after I saw that you was 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 a come in by violent hands, or a took the Kingdom by storm. Mercy. Alas, to be in my case, who that so was could but a done so? You saw that the Door was shut upon me, and that there was a most cruel Dog thereabout. Who, I say, that was so faint-hearted as I, that would not have knocked with all their might? But pray what said my Lord to my rudeness? was he not angry with me? Chris. When he heard your lumbering noise, he gave a wonderful innocent smile; I believe what you did pleased him well enough, for he shewed 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 a 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. Ay do, said the Children, and persuade him to hang him, for we are afraid he will bite us when we go hence.