Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, , at sacred-texts.com
Section VII. When we were come to where the three fellows were hanged, he said that he doubted that that would be his end also. Only he seemed glad when he saw the Cross and the Sepulchre. There I confess he desired to stay a little to look, and he seemed for a while after to be a little cheery. When we came to the Hill Difficulty, he made no stick at that, nor did he much fear the Lions; for you must know that his trouble was not about such things as those, his fear was about his acceptance at last. I got him at the House Beautiful, I think, before he was willing. Also when he was in, I brought him acquainted with the Damsels that were of the place, but he was ashamed to make himself much for company. He desired much to be alone, yet he always loved good talk, and often would get behind the Screen to hear it. He also loved much to see antient things, and to be pondering them in his mind. He told me afterwards that he loved to be in those two houses from which he came last, to wit, at the Gate, and that of the Interpreter's, but that he durst not be so bold to ask. When we went also from the House Beautiful, down the Hill into the Valley of Humiliation, he went down as well as ever I saw man in my life; for he cared not how mean he was, so he might be happy at last. Yea, I think there was a kind of sympathy betwixt that Valley and him, for I never saw him better in all his Pilgrimage than when he was in that Valley. Here he would lie down, embrace the ground and kiss the very Flowers that grew in this Valley. He would now be up every morning by break of day, tracing and walking to and fro in this Valley. But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back, that he always abhorred, but he was ready to die for fear. O, the Hobgoblins will have me, the Hobgoblins will have me, cried he, and I could not beat him out on't. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, 'twas enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us. But this I took very great notice of, that this Valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose these Enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle until Mr Fearing was past over it. It would be too tedious to tell you of all. We will therefore only mention a passage or two more. When he was come at Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all the men in the Fair. I feared there we should both have been knock'd o' the head, so hot was he against their fooleries. Upon the Inchanted Ground he was also very wakeful. But when he was come at the River where was no Bridge, there again he was in a heavy case. Now, now, he said, he should be drowned for ever, and so never see that face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold. And here also I took notice of what was very remarkable, the Water of that River was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life. So he went over at last, not much above wet-shod. When he was going up to the Gate, Mr Great-heart began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above. So he said, I shall, I shall. Then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more. Hon. Then it seems he was well at last. Great-heart. Yes, yes; I never had doubt about him; he was a man of a choice spirit, only he was always kept very low, and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so troublesome to others. He was above many tender of sin. He was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he often would deny himself of that which was lawful, because he would not offend. Hon. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark? Great-heart. There are two sorts of reasons for it. One is, the wise God will have it so, some must pipe and some must weep. Now Mr Fearing was one that played upon this Base; he and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other Musick are; though indeed some say the Base is the Ground of Musick. And for my part I care not at all for that profession that begins not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the Musician usually touches is the Base, when he intends to put all in tune. God also plays upon this string first, when he sets the soul in tune for himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr Fearing, he could play upon no other Musick but this, till towards his latter end. I make bold to talk thus metaphorically, for the ripening of the Wits of young Readers; and because in the Book of the Revelations, the saved are compared to a company of Musicians that play upon their Trumpets and Harps, and sing their Songs before the Throne. Hon. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him. Difficulties, Lions or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all. 'Twas only Sin Death and Hell that was to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that Coelestial Country. Great-heart. You say right. Those were the things that were his troublers, and they, as you have well observed, arose from the weakness of his mind there-about, not from weakness of spirit as to the practical part of a Pilgrim's life. I dare believe that, as the Proverb is, he could have bit a Fire-brand, had it stood in his way; but the things with which he was oppressed, no man ever yet could shake off with ease. Chris. Then said Christiana, This relation of Mr Fearing has done me good. I thought nobody had been like me, but I see there was some semblance 'twixt this good man and I, only we differed in two things. His troubles were so great, they brake out, but mine I kept within. His also lay so hard upon him, they made him that he could not knock at the houses provided for Entertainment, but my trouble was always such as made me knock the louder. Mercy. If I might also speak my heart, I must say that something of him has also dwelt in me; for I have ever been more afraid of the Lake and the loss of a place in Paradise, than I have been of the loss of other things, Oh, thought I, may I have the happiness to have a habitation there, 'tis enough, though I part with all the world to win it. Matt. Then said Matthew, Fear was one thing that made me think that I was far from having that within me that accompanies Salvation, but if it was so with such a good man as he, why may it not also go well with me? James. No fears, no Grace, said James. Tho' there is not always Grace where there is the fear of Hell, yet to be sure there is no Grace where there is no fear of God. Great-heart. Well said, James, thou hast hit the mark, for the fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom, and to be sure they that want the beginning have neither middle nor end. But we will here conclude our discourse of Mr Fearing, after we have sent after him this farewell. Well, Master Fearing, thou didst fear Thy God, and wast afraid Of doing anything while here That would have thee betray'd. And didst thou fear the Lake and Pit? Would others do so too. For as for them that want thy wit, They do themselves undo. Now I saw that they still went on in their talk; for after Mr Great - heart had made an end with Mr Fearing, Mr Honest began to tell them of another, but his name was Mr Self-will. He pretended himself to be a Pilgrim, said Mr Honest, but I persuade myself he never came in at the Gate that stands at the head of the way. Great-heart. Had you ever any talk with him about it? Hon. Yes, more than once or twice, but he would always be like himself, self-willed. He neither cared for man, nor argument, nor yet example; what his mind prompted him to do, that he would do, and nothing else could he be got to. Great-heart. Pray what principles did he hold? for I suppose you can tell. Hon. He held that a man might follow the Vices as well as the Vertues of the Pilgrims, and that if he did both he should be certainly saved. Great-heart. How? if he had said 'tis possible for the best to be guilty of the Vices, as well as to partake of the Vertues of Pilgrims, he could not much have been blamed. For indeed we are exempted from no Vice absolutely, but on condition that we watch and strive. But this I perceive is not the thing; but if I understand you right, your meaning is, that he was of that opinion, that it was allowable so to be? Hon. Ay, ay, so I mean, and so he believed and practised. Great-heart. But what Ground had he for his so saying? Hon. Why, he said he had the Scripture for his Warrant. Great-heart. Prithee, Mr. Honest, present us with a few particulars. Hon. So I will. He said to have to do with other men's Wives had been practised by David, God's beloved, and therefore he could do it. He said to have more Women than one, was a thing that Solomon practised, and therefore he could do it. He said that Sarah and the godly Midwives of Egypt lied, and so did save Rahab, and therefore he could do it. He said that the Disciples went at the bidding of their Master, and took away the owner's Ass, and therefore he could do so too. He said that Jacob got the Inheritance of his Father in a way of Guile and Dissimulation, and therefore he could do so too. Great-heart. High base indeed, and you are sure he was of this opinion? Hon. I have heard him plead for it, bring Scripture for it, bring Argument for it, Ec. Great-heart. An opinion that is not fit to be with any allowance in the world. Hon. You must understand me rightly. He did not say that any man might do this, but that those that had the Vertues of those that did such things, might also do the same. Great-heart. But what more false than such a conclusion? for this is as much as to say, that because good men heretofore have sinned of infirmity, therefore he had allowance to do it of a presumptuous mind. Or if because a Child by the Blast of the Wind, or for that it stumbled at a Stone, fell down and defiled itself in mire, therefore he might wilfully lie down and wallow like a Boar therein. Who could a thought that any one could so far a been blinded by the power of Lust? But what is written must be true, They stumble at the word being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. His supposing that such may have the godly man's Vertues, who addict themselves to their Vices, is also a delusion as strong as the other. 'Tis just as if the Dog should say, I have or may have the qualities of the Child, because I lick up its stinking Excrements. To eat up the Sin of God's People, is no sign of one that is possessed with their Vertues. Nor can I believe that one that is of this opinion can at present have Faith or Love in him. But I know you have made strong objections against him, prithee what can he say for himself? Hon. Why, he says, To do this by way or opinion, seems abundance more honest than to do it, and yet hold contrary to it in opinion. Great-heart. A very wicked answer, for tho' to let loose the Bridle to Lusts while our opinions are against such things, is bad; yet to sin and plead a toleration so to do, is worse. The one stumbles Beholders accidentally, the other pleads them into the Snare. Hon. There are many of this man's mind, that have not this man's mouth, and that makes going on Pilgrimage of so little esteem as it is. Great-heart. You have said the truth, and it is to be lamented. But he that feareth the King of Paradise shall come out of them all. Chris. There are strange opinions in the world, I know one that said, 'Twas time enough to repent when they come to die. Great-heart. Such are not over wise. That man would a been loth, might he have had a Week to run twenty mile in for his life, to have deferred that Journey to the last hour of that Week. Hon. You say right, and yet the generality of them that count themselves Pilgrims do indeed do thus. I am, as you see, an old man, and have been a traveller in this road many a day, and I have taken notice of many things. I have seen some that have set out as if they would drive all the world afore them, who yet have in few days died as they in the Wilderness, and so never gat sight of the Promised Land. I have seen some that have promised nothing at first setting out to be Pilgrims, and that one would a thought could not have lived a day, that have yet proved very good Pilgrims. I have seen some who have spoke very well of that again have after a little time run as fast just back again. I have seen some who have spoke very well of a Pilgrim's life at first, that after a while have spoken as much against it. I have heard some when they first set out for Paradise, say positively there is such a place, who when they have been almost there, have come back again and said there is none. I have heard some vaunt what they would do in case they should be opposed, that have even at a false alarm fled Faith, the Pilgrim's way, and all. Now as they were thus in their way, there came one running to meet them, and said, Gentlemen and you of the weaker sort, if you love Life shift for yourselves, for the Robbers are before you. Great-heart. Then said Mr Great-heart, They be the three that set upon Little-faith heretofore. Well, said he, we are ready for them. So they went on their way. Now they looked at every turning, when they should a met with the Villains; but whether they heard of Mr Great-heart, or whether they had some other game, they came not up to the Pilgrims. Christiana then wished for an Inn for herself and her Children, because they were weary. Then said Mr Honest, There is one a little before us, where a very honorable Disciple, one Gaius, dwells. So they all concluded to turn in thither, and the rather because the old Gentleman gave him so good a report. So when they came to the door, they went in, not knocking, for Folks use not to knock at the door of an Inn. Then they called for the Master of the house, and he came to them. So they asked if they might lie there that night? Gaius. Yes Gentlemen, if you be true men, for my house is for none but Pilgrims. Then was Christiana, Mercy and the Boys the more glad, for that the Innkeeper was a lover of Pilgrims. So they called for Rooms and he shewed them one for Christiana and her Children and Mercy, and another for Mr Great - heart and the old Gentleman. Great-heart. Then said Mr Great-heart, Good Gaius, what hast thou for Supper? for these Pilgrims have come far to-day, and are weary. Gaius. It is late, said Gaius, so we cannot conveniently go out to seek food, but such as we have you shall be welcome to, if that will content. Great-heart. We will be content with what thou hast in the house, forasmuch as I have proved thee, thou art never destitute of that which is convenient. Then he went down and spake to the Cook, whose name was Taste-that - which-is-good, to get ready Supper for so many Pilgrims. This done, he comes up again, saying, Come my good Friends, you are welcome to me, and I am glad that I have a house to entertain you; and while Supper is making ready, if you please, let us entertain one another with some good discourse. So they all said, Content. Gauis. Then said Gaius, Whose Wife is this aged Matron? and whose Daughter is this young Damsel? Great-heart. The Woman is the Wife of one Christian a Pilgrim of former times, and these are his four Children. The Maid is one of her Acquaintance, one that she hath persuaded to come with her on Pilgrimage. The Boys take all after their Father, and covet to tread in his steps; yea, if they do but see any place where the old Pilgrim hath lain, or any print of his foot, it ministreth joy to their hearts, and they covet to lie or tread in the same. Gaius. Then said Gaius, Is this Christian's Wife? and are these Christian's Children? I knew your Husband's Father, yea, also his Father's Father. Many have been good of this stock, their Ancestors dwelt first at Antioch. Christian's Progenitors (I suppose you have heard your Husband talk of them) were very worthy men. They have above any that I know, shewed themselves men of great Vertue and Courage for the Lord of Pilgrims, his ways and them that loved him. I have heard of many of your Husband's Relations that have stood all trials for the sake of the Truth. Stephen that was one of the first of the Family from whence your Husband sprang, was knocked o' the head with Stones. James, another of this Generation, was slain with the edge of the Sword. To say nothing of Paul and Peter, men antiently of the Family from whence your Husband came, there was Ignatius who was cast to the Lions, Romanus whose flesh was cut by pieces from his bones, and Polycarp that played the man in the Fire. There was he that was hanged up in a Basket in the Sun for the Wasps to eat, and he whom they put into a Sack and cast him into the Sea to be drowned. 'Twould be impossible utterly to count up all of that Family that have suffered Injuries and Death for the love of a Pilgrim's life. Nor can I but be glad to see that thy Husband has left behind him four such Boys as these. I hope they will bear up their Father's name, and tread in their Father's steps, and come to their Father's end. Great-heart. Indeed Sir, they are likely Lads, they seem to chuse heartily their Father's ways. Gaius. That is it that I said, wherefore Christian's Family is like still to spread abroad upon the face of the ground, and yet to be numerous upon the face of the earth. Wherefore let Christiana look out some Damsels for her Sons, to whom they may be betrothed, &c. that the name of their Father and the house of his Progenitors may never be forgotten in the world. Hon. 'Tis pity this Family should fall and be extinct. Gaius. Fall it cannot, but be diminished it may; but let Christiana take my advice, and that's the way to uphold it. And Christiana, said this Innkeeper, I am glad to see thee and thy friend Mercy together here, a lovely couple. And may I advise, take Mercy into a nearer Relation to thee. If she will, let her be given to Matthew thy eldest Son, 'tis the way to preserve you a Posterity in the earth. So this match was concluded, and in process of time they were married. But more of that hereafter. Gaius also proceeded and said, I will now speak on the behalf of Women, to take away their Reproach. For as Death and the Curse came into the world by a Woman; so also did Life and Health: God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman. Yea, to shew how much those that came after did abhor the act of their Mother, this sex in the Old Testament coveted Children, if happily this or that Woman might be the Mother of the Saviour of the World. I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, Women rejoiced in him before either Man or Angel. I read not that ever any Man did give unto Christ so much as one Groat, but the Women followed him and ministered to him of their Substance. 'Twas a Woman that washed his Feet with Tears, and a Woman that anointed his Body to the Burial. They were Women that wept when he was going to the Cross, and Women that followed him from the Cross, and that sat by his Sepulchre when he was buried. They were Women that was first with him at his Resurrection-morn, and Women that brought tiding first to his Disciples that he was risen from the Dead. Women therefore are highly favoured, and shew by these things that they are sharers with us in the Grace of Life. Now the Cook sent up to signify that Supper was almost ready, and sent one to lay the Cloath, the Trenchers, and to set the Salt and Bread in order. Then said Matthew, The sight of this Cloath and of this forerunner of the Supper, begetteth in me a greater Appetite to my food than I had before. Gaius. So let all ministring doctrines to thee in this life, beget in thee a greater desire to sit at the Supper of the great King in his Kingdom; for all Preaching Books and Ordinances here, are but as the laying of the Trenchers and as setting of Salt upon the Board, when compared with the Feast that our Lord will make for us when we come to his House. So Supper came up, and first a Heave-shoulder and a Wave-breast was set on the Table before them, to shew that they must begin their meal with Prayer and Praise to God. The Heave-shoulder David lifted his Heart up to God with, and with the Wave-breast, where his Heart lay, with that he used to lean upon his Harp when he played. These two Dishes were very fresh and good, and they all at heartily well thereof. The next they brought up was a Bottle of Wine, red as Blood. So Gaius said to them, Drink freely, this is the Juice of the true Vine that makes glad the heart of God and Man. So they drank and were merry. The next was a dish of Milk well crumbed. But Gaius said, Let the Boys have that, that they may grow thereby. Then they brought up in course a dish of Butter and Hony. Then said Gaius, Eat freely of this, for this is good to cheer up and strengthen your Judgments and Understandings. This was our Lord's dish when he was a Child, Butter and Hony shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the Evil and chuse the Good. Then they brought them up a dish of Apples, and they were very good tasted Fruit. Then said Matthew, May we eat Apples, since they were such, by and with which the Serpent beguiled our first Mother? Then said Gaius, Apples were they with which we were beguil'd, Yet sin, not Apples, hath our souls defil'd. Apples forbid, if eat, corrupts the Blood; To eat such when commanded, does us good. Drink of his Flagons, then, thou Church, his Dove, And eat his Apples, who are sick of Love. Then said Matthew, I made the scruple because I a while since was sick with eating of Fruit. Gaius. Forbidden Fruit will make you sick, but not what our Lord has tolerated. While they were thus talking, they were presented with another dish, and 'twas a dish of Nuts. Then said some at the Table, Nuts spoil tender Teeth, specially the Teeth of Children; which when Gaius heard, he said, Hard Texts are Nuts (I will not call them cheaters) Whose Shells do keep their Kernels from the Eaters. Ope then the Shells, and you shall have the Meat, They here are brought for you to crack and eat. Then were they very merry, and sat at the Table a long time, talking of many things. Then said the old Gentleman, My good Landlord, while we are cracking your Nuts, if you please, do you open this Riddle: A man there was, tho' some did count him mad, The more he cast away the more he had. Then they all gave good heed, wondring what good Gaius would say; so he sat still a while, and then thus replied: He that bestows his Goods upon the Poor, Shall have as much again, and ten times more. Then said Joseph, I dare say Sir, I did not think you could a found it out. Oh, said Gaius, I have been trained up in this way a great while, nothing teaches like experience. I have learned of my Lord to be kind, and have found by experience that I have gained thereby. There is that scattereth, yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to Poverty. There is that maketh himself Rich, yet hath nothing, there is that maketh himself Poor, yet hath great Riches. Then Samuel whispered to Christiana his Mother, and said, Mother, this is a very good man's house, let us stay here a good while, and let my Brother Matthew be married here to Mercy before we go any further. The which Gaius the Host overhearing said, With a very good will, my Child.