John Bunyan (16281688). The Pilgrims Progress. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Pilgrims Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream; The First Part
Then Evangelist proceeded, saying, Give more earnest heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now shew thee who it was that deluded thee, and who it was also to whom he sent thee. The man that met thee is one Worldly Wiseman, and rightly is he so called: partly because he savoureth only the doctrine of this world, (therefore he always goes to the Town of Morality to church); and partly because he loveth that doctrine best, for it saveth him from the Cross. And because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to prevent my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this mans counsel that thou must utterly abhor.
First, Thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way; yea, and thine own consenting thereto, because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a Worldly Wiseman. The Lord says, Strive to enter in at the strait gate, the gate to which I sent thee; for strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. From this little Wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction; hate therefore his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.
Secondly, Thou must abhor his labouring to render the Cross odious unto thee; for thou art to prefer it before the treasures of Egypt. Besides, the King of Glory hath told thee, that he that will save his life shall lose it: and He that comes after him, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my Disciple. I say therefore, for a man to labour to persuade thee, that that shall be thy death, without which, the Truth hath said, thou canst not have eternal life; This doctrine thou must abhor.
Thirdly, Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy Burden.
He to whom thou was sent for ease, being by name Legality, is the Son of the Bond-woman which now is, and is in bondage with her children; and is in a mystery this Mount Sinai, which thou hast feared will fall on thy head. Now if she with her children are in bondage, how canst thou expect by them to be made free? This Legality therefore is not able to set thee free from thy Burden. No man was as yet ever rid of his Burden by him; no, nor ever is like to be: ye cannot be justified by the Works of the Law; for by the deeds of the Law no man living can be rid of his Burden: therefore, Mr Worldly Wiseman is an alien, and Mr Legality a cheat; and for his son Civility, notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a hypocrite and cannot help thee. Believe me, there is nothing in all this noise, that thou hast heard of this sottish man, but a design to beguile thee of thy Salvation, by turning thee from the way in which I had set thee. After this Evangelist called aloud to the Heavens for confirmation of what he had said; and with that there came words and fire out of the Mountain under which poor Christian stood, that made the hair of his flesh stand. The words were thus pronounced, As many as are the works of the Law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them.
Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out lamentably, even cursing the time in which he met with Mr Worldly Wiseman, still calling himself a thousand fools for hearkening to his counsel: he also was greatly ashamed to think that this Gentlemans arguments, flowing only from the flesh, should have that prevalency with him as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he applied himself again to Evangelist in words and sense as follows.
Chr. Sir, what think you? Is there hopes? May I now go back and go up to the Wicket-gate? Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this mans counsel: But may my sin be forgiven?
Evan. Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils: thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths; yet will the man at the Gate receive thee, for he has good will for men; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, lest thou perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Then did Christian address himself to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid him God speed. So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any man asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he left to follow Mr Worldly Wisemans counsel. So in process of time Christian got up to the Gate. Now over the Gate there was written, Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Chr. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this Gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull. Then said Christian, What means that? The other told him, A little distance from this Gate, there is erected a strong Castle, of which Beelzebub is the Captain; from thence both he and they that are with him shoot arrows at those that come up to this Gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in. Then said Christian, I rejoice and tremble. So when he was got in, the man of the Gate asked him who directed him thither?
Chr. Yes, my Wife and Children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again; also some of my Neighbors stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way.
Chr. We indeed came both together, until we came to the Slough of Dispond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my Neighbor Pliable discouraged, and would not adventure further. Wherefore getting out again on that side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him; so he went his way, and I came mine: he after Obstinate, and I to this Gate.
Chr. Truly, said Christian, I have said the truth of Pliable, and if I should also say all the truth of myself, it before the will appear there is no betterment twixt him and myself. Tis true, he went back to his own house, but I also turned aside to go in the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the carnal arguments of one Mr Worldly Wiseman.
Chr. Why truly I do not know what had become of me there, had not Evangelist happily met me again, as I was musing in the midst of my dumps: but twas Gods mercy that he came to me again, for else I had never come hither. But now I am come, such a one as I am, more fit indeed for death by that Mountain than thus to stand talking with my Lord; but O, what a favour is this to me, that yet I am admitted entrance here.
Good-will. We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither, they in no wise are cast out; and therefore, good Christian, come a little way with me, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go. Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way? THAT is the way thou must go; it was cast up by the Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ, and his Apostles; and it is as straight as a rule can make it: This is the way thou must go.
Then I saw in my Dream, that Christian asked him further, If he could not help him off with his Burden that was upon his back; for as yet he had not got rid thereof, nor could he by any means get it off without help.
There is no deliverance from the guilt and burden of sin, but by the death and blood of Christ
Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his Journey. So the other told him, That by that he was gone some distance from the Gate, he would come at the house of the Interpreter, at whose door he should knock, and he would shew him excellent things. Then Christian took his leave of his Friend, and he again bid him God speed.
Chr. Sir, here is a Traveller, who was bid by an acquaintance of the good man of this house to call here for my profit; I would therefore speak with the Master of the house. So he called for the Master of the house, who after a little time came to Christian, and asked him what he would have?
Chr. Sir, said Christian, I am a man that am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to the Mount Zion; and I was told by the Man that stands at the Gate at the head of this way, that if I called here, you would shew me excellent things, such as would be a help to me in my Journey.
Inter. Then said the Interpreter, Come in, I will shew thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he commanded his man to light the Candle, and bid Christian follow him, so he had him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which when he had done, Christian saw the Picture of a very grave Person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it. It had eyes lifted up to Heaven, the best of Books in his hand, the Law of Truth was written upon his lips, the World was behind his back. It stood as if it pleaded with men, and a Crown of Gold did hang over his head.
Inter. The Man whose Picture this is, is one of a thousand; he can beget children, travel in birth with children, and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lift up to Heaven, the best of Books in his hand, and the Law of Truth writ on his lips, it is to shew thee that his work is to know and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men; and whereas thou seest the World as cast behind him, and that a Crown hangs over his head, that is to shew thee that slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Masters service, he is sure in the world that comes next to have Glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have shewed thee this Picture first, because the Man whose Picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going, hath authorized to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way; wherefore take good heed to what I have shewed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy Journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right, but their way goes down to death.
Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large Parlour that was full of dust, because never swept; the which after he had reviewed a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choaked. Then said the Interpreter to a Damsel that stood by, Bring hither the Water, and sprinkle the Room; the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure.
Inter. The Interpreter answered, This parlour is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet Grace of the Gospel: the dust is his Original Sin and inward Corruptions, that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first, is the Law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel. Now, whereas thou sawest that so soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about that the Room by him could not be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choaked therewith; this is to shew thee, that the Law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to subdue.
Again, as thou sawest the Damsel sprinkle the room with Water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure; this is to shew thee, that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then I say, even as thou sawest the Damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with Water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of Glory to inhabit.
I saw moreover in my Dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and had him into a little room, where sat two little Children, each one in his chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontent; but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, What is the reason of the discontent of Passion? The Interpreter answered, The Governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year; but he will have all now; but Patience is willing to wait.
Passion will have all now. Patience is for waiting
Then I saw that one came to Passion, and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet, the which he took up and rejoiced therein; and withal, laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld but a while, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left him but Rags.
Inter. So he said, These two Lads are figures: Passion, of the men of this world; and Patience, of the men of that which is to come; for as here thou seest, Passion will have all now this year, that is to say, in this world; so are the men of this world: they must have all their good things now, they cannot stay till next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the Bush, is of more authority with them than are all the Divine testimonies of the good of the world to come. But as thou sawest that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but Rags; so will it be with all such men at the end of this world.
Chr. Then said Christian, Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the Glory of his, when the other has nothing but Rags.
Inter. Nay, you may add another, to wit, the glory of the next world will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone, Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience, because he had his good things first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have his time to come: but last gives place to nothing; for there is not another to succeed. He therefore that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he that hath his portion last, must have it lastingly; therefore it is said of Dives, In thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Inter. You say truth: For the things which are seen are Temporal; but the things that are not seen are Eternal. But though this be so, yet since things present and our fleshly appetite are such near neighbors one to another; and, again, because things to come and carnal sense are such strangers one to another; therefore it is that the first of these so suddenly fell into amity, and that distance is so continued between the second.
Then I saw in my Dream that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place where was a Fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much Water upon it, to quench it; yet did the Fire burn higher and hotter.
The Interpreter answered, This Fire is the work of Grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts Water upon it, to extinguish and put it out, is the Devil; but in that thou seest the Fire notwithstanding burn higher and hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that. So he had him about to the backside of the wall, where he saw a man with a Vessel of Oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast (but secretly) into the Fire.
The Interpreter answered, This is Christ, who continually, with the Oil of his Grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart: by the means of which notwithstanding what the Devil can do, the souls of his people prove gracious still. And in that thou sawest that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the Fire, that is to teach thee that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of Grace is maintained in the soul.
I saw also that the Interpreter took him again by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was builded a stately Palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted: He saw also upon the top thereof, certain persons walking, who were cloathed all in gold.
Then the Interpreter took him, and led him up toward the door of the Palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a Book and his Inkhorn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; He saw also, that in the door-way stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in a maze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, Sir: the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his Sword, and put an Helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the Palace, at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the Palace, saying,
Come in, Come in;
Eternal Glory thou shalt win.
So he went in, and was cloathed with such garments as they. Then Christian smiled, and said, I think verily I know the meaning of this.
Now, said Christian, let me go hence. Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have shewed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go on thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an Iron Cage.
Now the Man, to look on, seemed very sad; he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together; and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.
Man. The Man said, I was once a fair and flourishing Professor, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of others; I once was, as I thought, fair for the Clestial City, and had then even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither.
Man. I left off to watch and be sober; I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the Devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and he has left me; I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
Man. I have crucified him to myself afresh, I have despised his Person, I have despised his Righteousness, I have counted his Blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of Grace. Therefore I have shut myself out of all the Promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatnings, dreadful threatnings, fearful threatnings of certain Judgment and fiery Indignation, which shall devour me as an Adversary.
Man. For the Lusts, Pleasures, and Profits of this World; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight; but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.
Man. God hath denied me repentance: his Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, himself bath shut me up in this Iron Cage; nor can all the men in the world let me out. O Eternity! Eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in Eternity!
So he took Christian by the hand again, and led him into a Chamber, where there was one rising out of bed; and as be put on his raiment, he shook and trembled. Then said Christian, Why doth this man thus tremble? The Interpreter then bid him tell to Christian the reason of his so doing. So he began and said, This night, as I was in my sleep, I dreamed, and behold the Heavens grew exceeding black; also it thundred and lightned in most fearful wise, that it put me into an agony; so I looked up in my Dream, and saw the Clouds rack at an unusual rate, upon which I heard a great sound of a Trumpet, and saw also a Man sit upon a Cloud, attended with the thousands of Heaven; they were all in flaming fire, also the Heavens were in a burning flame. I heard then a Voice saying, Arise ye dead, and come to Judgment; and with that the Rocks rent, the Graves opened, and the Dead that were therein came forth. Some of them were exceeding glad, and looked upward; and some sought to hide themselves under the Mountains. Then I saw the Man that sat upon the Cloud open the Book, and bid the World draw near. Yet there was, by reason of a fierce flame which issued out and came from before him, a convenient distance betwixt him and them, as betwixt the Judge and the Prisoners at the bar. I heard it also proclaimed to them that attended on the Man that sat on the Cloud, Gather together the Tares, the Chaff, and Stubble, and cast them into the burning Lake. And with that, the bottomless pit opened, just whereabout I stood; out of the mouth of which there came in an abundant manner, smoke and coals of fire, with hideous noises. It was also said to the same persons, Gather my Wheat into the Garner. And with that I saw many catchd up and carried away into the Clouds, but I was left behind. I also sought to hide myself, but I could not, for the Man that sat upon the Cloud still kept his eye upon me: my sins also came into my mind; and my Conscience did accuse me on every side. Upon this I awaked from my sleep.
Man. Why, I thought that the day of Judgment was come, and that I was not ready for it: but this frighted me most, that the Angels gathered up several, and left me behind; also the pit of Hell opened her mouth just where I stood: my Conscience too afflicted me; and as I thought, the Judge had always his eye upon me, shewing indignation in his countenance.
Inter. Well, keep all things so in thy mind that they may be as a Goad in thy sides, to prick thee forward in the way thou must go. Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and address himself to his Journey. Then said the Interpreter, The Comforter be always with thee, good Christian, to guide thee in the way that leads to the City. So Christian went on his way saying,
Here I have seen things rare and profitable;
Things pleasant, dreadful, things to make me stable
Now I saw in my Dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a Wall, and that Wall is called Salvation. Up this way therefore did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below in the bottom, a Sepulchre. So I saw in my Dream, that just as Christian came up with the Cross, his Burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the Sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death. Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the Cross should thus ease him of his Burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold three Shining Ones came to him and saluted him with Peace be to thee; so the first said to him, Thy sins be forgiven: the second stript him of his Rags, and clothed him with Change of Raiment; the third also set a mark in his forehead, and gave him a Roll with a Seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the Clestial Gate. So they went their way.
I saw then in my Dream that he went on thus, even until he came at a bottom, where he saw, a little out of the way, three men fast asleep, with fetters upon their heels. The name of the one was Simple, another Sloth, and the third Presumption.
Christian then seeing them lie in this case, went to them, if peradventure he might awake them, and cried, You are like them that sleep on the top of a mast, for the Dead Sea is under you, a gulf that hath no bottom. Awake therefore and come away; be willing also, and I will help you off with your Irons. He also told them, If he that goeth about like a roaring lion comes by, you will certainly become a prey to his teeth. With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in his sort: Simple said, I see no danger; Sloth said, Yet a little more sleep; and Presumption said, Every Fat1must stand upon his own bottom. And so they lay down to sleep again and Christian went on his way.
There is no persuasion will do, if God openeth not the eyes
Yet was he troubled to think that men in that danger should so little esteem the kindness of him that so freely offered to help them, both by awakening of them, counselling of them, and proffering to help them off with their Irons. And as he was troubled thereabout he espied two men come tumbling over the Wall, on the left hand of the narrow way; and they made up apace to him. The name of the one was Formalist, and the name of the other Hypocrisy. So, as I said, they drew up unto him, who thus entered with them into discourse.