Sacred Texts  Christianity  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, [1678], at

Section VIII.

     So they stayed there more than a month, and Mercy was given to Matthew to

     While they stayed here, Mercy, as her custom was, would be making Coats
and Garments to the Poor, by which she brought up a very good report upon the

     But to return again to our Story. After Supper the Lads desired a Bed,
for that they were weary with travelling. Then Gaius called to shew them their
chamber, but said Mercy, I will have them to Bed. So she had them to Bed, and
they slept well. But the rest sat up all night, for Gaius and they were such
suitable Company that they could not tell how to part. Then after much talk of
their Lord, themselves, and their Journey, old Mr Honest, he that put forth
the riddle to Gaius, began to nod. Then said Great-heart, What Sir, you
begin to be drowsy, come, rub up, now here's a Riddle for you. Then said Mr
Honest, Let's hear it.

     Then said Mr Great-heart:

He that will kill, must first be overcome;
Who live abroad would, first must die at home.

     Hah, said Mr Honest, it is a hard one, hard to expound, and harder to
practise. But come Landlord, said he, I will if you please, leave my part to
you, do you expound it, and I will hear what you say.

     No said Gaius, 'twas put to you, and 'tis expected that you should answer

     Then said the old Gentleman,

He first by Grace must conquer'd be,
That Sin would mortify;
And who, that lives, would convince me,
Unto himself must die.

     It is right, said Gaius, good Doctrine and Experience teaches this. For
First, until Grace displays itself, and overcomes the soul with its Glory, it
is altogether without heart to oppose Sin. Besides, if Sin is Satan's Cords by
which the soul lies bound, how should it make resistance before it is loosed
from that infirmity?

     Secondly, Nor will any that knows either Reason or Grace, believe that
such a man can be a living Monument of Grace that is a Slave to his own

     And now it comes in my mind, I will tell you a Story worth the hearing.
There were two men that went on Pilgrimage, the one began when he was young,
the other when he was old. The young man had strong Corruptions to grapple
with, the old man's were decayed with the decays of nature. The young man trod
his steps as even as did the old one, and was every way as light as he. Who
now, or which of them, had their Graces shining clearest, since both seemed to
be alike?

     Hon. The young man's, doubtless. For that which heads it against the
greatest opposition, gives best demonstration that it is strongest. Specially
when it also holdeth pace with that that meets not with half so much, as to be
sure old age does not.

     Besides, I have observed that old men have blessed themselves with this
mistake, namely, taking the decays of Nature for a gracious Conquest over
Corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves. Indeed old men that
are gracious are best able to give advice to them that are young, because they
have seen most of the emptiness of things. But yet, for an old and a young to
set out both together, the young one has the advantage of the fairest
discovery of a work of Grace within him, tho the old man's Corruptions are
naturally the weakest.

     Thus they sat talking till break of day. Now when the Family was up,
Christiana bid her Son James that he should read a Chapter, so he read the 53d
of Isaiah. When he had done, Mr Honest asked, why it was said that the Saviour
is said to come out of a dry ground, and also that he had no form nor
comeliness in him?

     Great-heart. Then said Mr Great-heart, To the First I answer, Because
the Church of the Jews, of which Christ came, had then lost almost all the Sap
and Spirit of Religion. To the Second I say, the words are spoken in the
person of the Unbelievers, who because they want that Eye that can see into
our Prince's Heart, therefore they judge of him by the meanness of his
Outside. Just like those that know not that Precious Stones are covered over
with a homely Crust, who when they have found one, because they know not what
they have found, cast it again away as men do a common Stone.

     Well, said Gaius, now you are here, and since, as I know, Mr Great -
heart is good at his Weapons, if you please, after we have refreshed
ourselves, we will walk into the Fields to see if we can do any good. About a
mile from hence there is one Slay-good, a Giant that doth much annoy the
King's High-way in these parts; and I know whereabout his Haunt is. He is
Master of a number of Thieves. 'Twould be well if we could clear these parts
of him.

     So they consented and went, Mr Great-heart with his Sword, Helmet and
Shield, and the rest with Spears and Staves.

     When they came to the place where he was, they found him with one Feeble
mind in his hands, whom his Servants had brought unto him, having taken him in
the way. Now the Giant was rifling of him, with a purpose after that to pick
his Bones, for he was of the nature of Flesh-eaters.

     Well, so soon as he saw Mr Great-heart and his Friends at the Mouth of
his cave with their Weapons, he demanded what they wanted?

     Great-heart. We want thee, for we are come to revenge the quarrel of
the many that thou hast slain of the Pilgrims, when thou hast dragged them out
of the King's High-way, wherefore come out of thy Cave. So he armed himself
and came out, and to a Battle they went, and fought for above an hour and then
stood still to take wind.

     Slay. Then said the Giant, Why are you here on my ground?

     Great-heart. To revenge the Blood of Pilgrims, as I also told thee
before. So they went to it again, and the Giant made Mr Great-heart give
back; but he came up again, and in the greatness of his mind he let fly with
such stoutness at the Giant's head and sides, that he made him let his Weapon
fall out of his hand. So he smote him and slew him, and cut off his Head, and
brought it away to the Inn. He also took Feeble-mind the Pilgrim, and
brought him with him to his Lodgings. When they were come home, they shewed
his head to the Family, and then set it up, as they had done others before,
for a terror to those that should attempt to do as he hereafter.

     Then they asked Mr Feeble-mind how he fell into his hands?

     Feeble-mind. Then said the poor man, I am a sickly man as you see, and,
because Death did usually once a day knock at my door, I thought I should
never be well at home; so I betook myself to a Pilgrim's life, and have
travelled hither from the Town of Uncertain, where I and my Father were born.
I am a man of no strength at all of body, nor yet of mind; but would if I
could, tho' I can but crawl, spend my life in the Pilgrim's way. When I came
at the Gate that is at the head of the way, the Lord of that place did
entertain me freely, neither objected he against my weakly looks, nor against
my feeble-mind; but gave me such things that were necessary for my Journey,
and bid me hope to the end. When I came to the house of the Interpreter, I
received much kindness there, and because the Hill Difficulty was judged too
hard for me, I was carried up that by one of his servants. Indeed I have found
much relief from Pilgrims, tho' none was willing to  o so softly as I am
forced to do; yet still as they came on, they bid me be of good cheer, and
said that it was the will of their Lord that comfort should be given to the
feeble-minded, and so went on their own pace. When I was come up to Assault
Lane, then this Giant met with me, and bid me prepare for an Encounter; but
alas, feeble one that I was, I had more need of a Cordial. So he came up and
took me. I conceited he should not kill me. Also when he had got me into his
Den, since I went not with him willingly, I believed I should come out alive
again; for I have heard that not only any Pilgrim that is taken captive by
violent hands, if he keeps heart-whole towards his Master, is by the Laws of
providence to die by the hand of the Enemy. Robbed I looked to be, and robbed
to be sure I am; but I am, as you see, escaped with Life, for the which I
thank my King as Author, and you as the Means. Other brunts I also look for,
but this I have resolved on, to wit, to run when I can, to go when I cannot
run, and to creep when I cannot go. As to the main, I thank him that loves me,
I am fixed. My way is before me, my Mind is beyond the River that has no
Bridge, tho' I am, as you see but of a feeble Mind.

     Hon. Then said old Mr Honest, Have you not some time ago been acquainted
with one Mr Fearing a Pilgrim?

     Feeble. Acquainted with him, Yes. He came from the Town of Stupidity,
which lieth four degrees to the northward of the City of Destruction, and as
many off of where I was born; yet we were well acquainted, for indeed he was
mine Uncle, my Father's Brother. He and I have been much of a temper. He was a
little shorter than I, but yet we were much of a complexion.

     Hon. I perceive you know him, and I am apt to believe also that you were
related one to another; for you have his whitely Look, a Cast like his with
your eye, and your Speech is much alike.

     Feeble. Most have said so that have known us both, and besides, what I
have read in him, I have for the most part found in myself.

     Gaius. Come Sir, said good Gaius, be of good cheer, you are welcome to me
and to my house, and what thou hast a mind to, call for freely; and what thou
would'st have my servants to do for thee, they will do it with a ready mind.

     Then said Mr Feeble-mind, This is unexpected Favour, and as the Sun
shining out of a very dark Cloud. Did Giant Slay-good intend me this favour
when he stopped me, and resolved to let me go no further? Did he intend that
after he had rifled my Pockets, I should go to Gaius mine Host? Yet so it is.

     Now just as Mr Feeble-mind and Gaius was thus in talk, there comes one
running and called at the door, and told, That about a mile and a half off
there was one Mr Not-right a Pilgrim struck dead upon the place where he was
with a Thunderbolt.

     Feeble. Alas, said Mr Feeble-mind, is he slain? He overtook me some
days before I came so far as hither, and would be my Company-keeper. He also
was with me when Slay-good the Giant took me, but he was nimble of his heels
and escaped. But it seems he escaped to die, and I was took to live.

What one would think doth seek to slay outright,
Ofttimes delivers from the saddest plight.
That very Providence whose face is Death,
Doth ofttimes to the lowly Life bequeath.
I taken was, he did escape and flee,
Hands cross'd gives Death to him, and Life to me.

     Now about this time Matthew and Mercy were married. Also Gaius gave his
Daughter Phebe to James, Matthew's Brother, to Wife; after which time they yet
stayed above ten days at Gaius' house, spending their time and the seasons
like as Pilgrims use to do.

     When they were to depart, Gaius made them a Feast, and they did eat and
drink and were merry. Now the hour was come that they must be gone, wherefore
Mr Great-heart called for a Reckoning. But Gaius told him that at his house
it was not the custom for Pilgrims to pay for their Entertainment. He boarded
them by the year, but looked for his pay from the good Samaritan, who had
promised him at his return, whatsoever charge he was at with them faithfully
to repay him. Then said Mr Great-heart to him,

     Great-heart. Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever thou dost to the
Brethren and to Strangers, which have borne witness of thy Charity before the
Church; whom if thou (yet) bring forward on their Journey after a Godly sort,
thou shalt do well.

     Then Gaius took his leave of them all, and of his Children, and
particularly of Mr Feeble-mind. He also gave him something to drink by the

     Now Mr Feeble-mind, when they were going out to the door, made as if he
intended to linger. The which when Mr Great-heart espied, he said, Come Mr
Feeble-mind, pray do you go along with us, I will be your Conductor, and you
shall fare as the rest.

     Feeble. Alas, I want a suitable Companion, you are all lusty and strong,
but I, as you see, am weak. I chuse therefore rather to come behind, lest by
reason of my many Infirmities I should be both a Burden to myself and to you.
I am, as I said, a man of a weak and feeble mind, and shall be offended and
made weak at that which others can bear. I shall like no Laughing, I shall
like no gay Attire, I shall like no unprofitable Questions. Nay I am so weak a
man, as to be offended with that which others have liberty to do. I do not yet
know all the Truth. I am a very ignorant Christian man. Sometimes if I hear
some rejoice in the Lord, it troubles me because I cannot do so too. It is
with me as it is with a weak man among the strong, or as with a weak man among
the strong, or as with a sick man among the healthy, or as a Lamp despised,
(He that is ready to slip with his feet, is as a Lamp despised in the thought
of him that is at ease.) So that I know not what to do.

     Great-heart. But Brother, said Mr Great-heart, I have it in
Commission to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must
needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we
will deny ourselves of some things both opinionative and practical for your
sake, we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made
all things to you rather than you shall be left behind.

     Now all this while they were at Gaius' door; and behold as they were
thus in the heat of their discourse Mr Ready-to-halt came by with his
Crutches in his hand, and he also was going on Pilgrimage.

     Feeble. Then said Mr Feeble-mind to him, Man, how camest thou hither? I
was but just now complaining that I had not a suitable Companion, but thou art
according to my wish. Welcome, welcome, good Mr Ready-to-halt, I hope thee
and I may be some help.

     Ready-to-halt. I shall be glad of thy Company, said the other; and
good Mr Feeble-mind, rather than we will part, since we are thus happily
met, I will lend thee one of my Crutches.

     Feeble. Nay, said he, tho' I thank thee for thy goodwill, I am not
inclined to halt before I am lame. Howbeit, I think when occasion is, it may
help me against a Dog.

     Ready. If either myself or my Crutches can do thee a pleasure, we are
both at thy command, good Mr Feeble-mind.

     Thus therefore they went on, Mr Great-heart and Mr Honest went before,
Christiana and her Children went next, and Mr Feeble-mind and Mr Ready-to
- halt came behind with his Crutches. Then said Mr Honest,

     Hon. Pray Sir, now we are upon the Road, tell us some profitable things
of some that have gone on Pilgrimage before us.

     Great-heart. With a good will. I suppose you have heard how Christian
of old did meet with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, and also what hard
work he had to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Also I think you
cannot but have heard how Faithful was put to it with Madam Wanton, with Adam
the First, with one Discontent, and Shame, four as deceitful Villains as a man
can meet with upon the road.

     Hon. Yes, I have heard of all this; but indeed good Faithful was hardest
put to it with Shame, he was an unwearied one.

     Great-heart. Ay, for as the Pilgrim well said, he of all men had the
wrong name.

     Hon. But pray Sir, where was it that Christian and Faithful met
Talkative? That same was also a notable one.

     Great-heart. He was a confident Fool, yet many follow his ways.

     Hon. He had like to a beguiled Faithful.

     Great-heart. Ay, but Christian put him into a way quickly to find him
out. Thus they went on till they came at the place where Evangelist met with
Christian and Faithful, and prophesied to them of what should befall them at
Vanity Fair.

     Great-heart. Then said their Guide, Hereabouts did Christian and
Faithful meet with Evangelist, who prophesied to them of what Troubles they
should meet with at Vanity Fair.

     Hon. Say you so? I dare say it was a hard Chapter that then he did read
unto them.

     Great-heart. 'Twas so; but he gave them encouragement withal. But what
do we talk of them? they were a couple of lion-like men, they had set their
faces like flint. Don't you remember how undaunted they were when they stood
before the Judge?

     Hon. Well, Faithful bravely suffered.

     Great-heart. So he did, and as brave things came on't, for Hopeful and
some others, as the Story relates it, were converted by his Death.

     Hon. Well, but pray go on, for you are well acquainted with things.

     Great-heart. Above all that Christian met with after he had passed
through Vanity Fair, one By-ends was the arch one.

     Hon. By-ends, What was he?

     Great-heart. A very arch Fellow, a downright Hypocrite. One that would
be religious which way ever the World went, but so cunning that he would be
sure neither to lose nor suffer for it. He had his mode of Religion for every
fresh occasion, and his Wife was as good at it as he. He would turn and change
from opinion to opinion, yea, and plead for so doing too. But so far as I
could learn, he came to an ill end with his by-ends, nor did I ever hear
that any of his Children were ever of any esteem with any that truly feared

     Now by this time they were come within sight of the Town of Vanity where
Vanity Fair is kept. So when they saw that they were so near the Town, they
consulted with one another how they should pass through the Town, and some
said one thing and some another. At last Mr Great-heart said, I have, as you
may understand, often been a Conductor of Pilgrims through this Town, now I am
acquainted with one Mr Mnason, a Cyprusian by Nation, an old Disciple, at
whose house we may lodge. If you think good, said he, we will turn in there.

     Content, said old Honest, Content, said Christiana, Content said Mr
Feeble-mind, and so they said all. Now you must think it was eventide by
that they got to the outside of the Town, but Mr Great-heart knew the way to
the old man's house. So thither they came; and he called at the door, and the
old man within knew his tongue so soon as ever he heard it; so he opened, and
they all came in. Then said Mnason their Host, How far have ye come to-day?
so they said, From the house of Gaius our Friend. I promise you, said he, you
have gone a good stitch, you may well be a weary, sit down. So they sat down.

     Great-heart. Then said their Guide, Come, what cheer Sirs? I dare say
you are welcome to my Friend.

     Mnason. I also, said Mr Mnason, do bid you welcome, and whatever you
want, do but say, and we will do what we can to get it for you.

     Hon. Our great want a while since was Harbour and good Company, and now I
hope we have both.

     Mnason. For Harbour, you see what it is, but for good Company, that will
appear in the trial.

     Great-heart. Well, said Mr Great-heart, will you have the Pilgrims up
into their Lodging?

     Mnason. I will, said Mr Mnason. So he had them to their respective
places; and also shewed them a very fair Dining-room, where they might be
and sup together, until time was come to go to Rest.

     Now when they were set in their places, and were a little cheery after
their Journey, Mr Honest asked his Landlord if there were any store of good
people in the Town?

     Mnason. We have a few, for indeed they are but a few when compared with
them on the other side.

     Hon. But how shall we do to see some of them? for the sight of good men
to them that are going on Pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the Moon and
the Stars to them that are sailing upon the Seas.

     Then Mr Mnason stamped with his foot, and his daughter Grace came up; so
he said unto her, Grace, go you tell my Friends, Mr Contrite, Mr Holy-man,
Mr Love-saint, Mr Dare-not-lye, and Mr Penitent, that I have a Friend or
two at my house that have a mind this evening to see them.

     So Grace went to call them, and they came and after Salutation made, they
sat down together at the Table.

     Then said Mr Mnason their Landlord, My Neighbors, I have, as you see, a
Company of Strangers come to my house, they are Pilgrims, they come from afar,
and are going to Mount Sion. But who, quoth he, do you think this is, pointing
with his finger to Christiana, it is Christiana the Wife of Christian that
famous Pilgrim, who with Faithful his Brother were so shamefully handled in
our Town. At that they stood amazed, saying, We little thought to see
Christiana, when Grace came to call us, wherefore this is a very comfortable
surprise. Then they asked her of her welfare, and if these young men were her
Husband's Sons? And when she had told them they were, they said, The King whom
you love and serve, make you as your Father, and bring you where he is in

     Hon. Then Mr Honest (when they were all sat down) asked Mr Contrite and
the rest in what posture their Town was at present?

     Contrite. You may be sure we are full of hurry in Fair-time. 'Tis hard
keeping our hearts and spirits in any good order, when we are in a cumbered
condition. He that lives in such a place as this is, and that has to do with
such as we have, has need of an Item, to caution him to take heed every moment
of the day.

     Hon. But how are your Neighbors for quietness?

     Contrite. They are much more moderate now than formerly. You know how
Christian and Faithful were used at our Town; but of late, I say, they have
been far more moderate. I think the blood of Faithful lieth with load upon
them till now, for since they burned him they have been ashamed to burn any
more. In those days we were afraid to walk the Streets, but now we can shew
our heads. Then the name of a Professor was odious, now, specially in some
parts of our Town (for you know our Town is large) Religion is counted

     Then said Mr Contrite to them, Pray how fareth it with you in your
Pilgrimage? How stands the Country affected towards you?

     Hon. It happens to us as it happeneth to Wayfaring men; sometimes our way
is clean, sometimes foul, sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill. We are
seldom at a certainty, the Wind is not always on our backs, nor is every one a
Friend that we meet with in the way. We have met with some notable Rubs
already, and what are yet behind we know not, but for the most part we find it
true that has been talked of cold, A good man must suffer Trouble.

     Contrite. You talk of Rubs, what Rubs have you met withal?

     Hon. Nay, ask Mr Great-heart our Guide, for he can give the best
account of that.

     Great-heart. We have been beset three or four times already. First
Christiana and her Children were beset with two Ruffians, that they feared
would a took away their lives. We was beset with Giant Bloody-man, Giant
Maul and Giant Slay-good. Indeed we did rather beset the last, than were
beset of him. And thus it was: After we had been some time at the house of
Gaius, mine Host and of the whole Church, we were minded upon a time to take
our Weapons with us, and so go see if we could light upon any of those that
were Enemies to Pilgrims, (for we heard that there was a notable one
thereabouts). Now Gaius knew his Haunt better than I, because he dwelt
thereabout, so we looked and looked till at last we discerned the Mouth of his
Cave, then we were glad and plucked up our Spirits. So we approached up to his
Den, and lo when we came there, he had dragged by mere force into his Net this
poor Man Mr Feeble-mind, and was about to bring him to his end. But when he
saw us, supposing as we thought he had had another Prey, he left the poor man
in his Hole, and came out. So we fell to it full sore, and he lustily laid
about him; but in conclusion he was brought down to the ground, and his Head
cut off, and set up by the Way-side for a terror to such as should after
practise such Ungodliness. That I tell you the truth, here is the man himself
to affirm it, who was as a Lamb taken out of the Mouth of the Lion.

     Feeble-mind. Then said Mr Feeble-mind, I found this true to my Cost
and Comfort, to my Cost when he threatened to pick my Bones every moment, and
to my Comfort when I saw Mr Great-heart and his Friends with their Weapons
approach so near for my Deliverance.

     Holy-man. Then said Mr Holy-man, There are two things that they have
need to be possessed with that go on Pilgrimage, courage, and an unspotted
life. If they have not courage, they can never hold on their way, and if their
Lives be loose, they will make the very name of a Pilgrim stink.

     Love-saint. Then said Mr Love-saint, I hope this caution is not
needful amongst you. But truly there are many that go upon the road, that
rather declare themselves Strangers to Pilgrimage than Strangers and Pilgrims
in the Earth.

     Dare-not-lye. Then said Mr Dare-not-lye, "Tis true, they neither
have the Pilgrim's Weed, nor the Pilgrim's Courage; they go not uprightly, but
all awry with their feet; one Shoe goes inward, another outward, and their
Hosen out behind; there a Rag, and there a Rent, to the Disparagement of their

     Penitent. These things, said Mr Penitent, they ought to be troubled for,
nor are the Pilgrims like to have that Grace put upon them and their Pilgrim's
Progress as they desire, until the way is cleared of such Spots and Blemishes.

     Thus they sat talking and spending the time, until Supper was set upon
the Table; unto which they went and refreshed their weary bodies; so they went
to Rest. Now they stayed in this Fair a great while at the house of this Mr
Mnason, who in process of time gave his daughter Grace unto Samuel
Christiana's Son to Wife, and his Daughter Martha to Joseph.

     The time as I said, that they lay here was long, (for it was not now as
in former times). Wherefore the Pilgrims grew acquainted with many of the good
people of the Town, and did them what service they could. Mercy, as she was
wont, laboured much for the Poor, wherefore their Bellies and Backs blessed
her, and she was there an Ornament to her Profession. And to say the truth for
Grace Phebe and Martha, they were all of a very good Nature, and did much good
in their place. They were also all of them very Fruitful, so that Christian's
name, as was said before, was like to live in the World.

     While they lay here, there came a Monster out of the Woods, and slew many
of the people of the Town. It would also carry away their Children, and teach
them to suck its Whelps. Now no man in the Town durst so much as face this
Monster, but all men fled when they heard of the Noise of his coming.

     The Monster was like unto no one Beast upon the earth; its Body was like
the Dragon, and it had seven Heads and ten Horns. It made great havock of
Children, and yet it was governed by a Woman. This Monster propounded
Conditions to men, and such men as loved their Lives more than their Souls,
accepted of those Conditions. So they came under.

Next: Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two, Section IX.