John Bunyan (16281688). The Pilgrims Progress. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Pilgrims Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream; The First Part
I saw then that they went on their way to a pleasant River, which David the King called the River of God, but John, the River of the Water of Life. Now their way lay just upon the bank of the River; here therefore Christian and his Companion walked with great delight; they drank also of the water of the River, which was pleasant and enlivening to their weary spirits: besides, on the banks of this River on either side were green Trees, that bore all manner of Fruit; and the Leaves of the Trees were good for Medicine; with the Fruit of these Trees they were also much delighted; and the Leaves they ate to prevent Surfeits, and other Diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by Travels. On either side of the River was also a Meadow, curiously beautiful with Lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this Meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie down safely. When they awoke they gathered again of the Fruit of the Trees, and drank again of the water of the River, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights. Then they sang,
Behold ye how these Cristal streams do glide,
(To comfort Pilgrims) by the High-way side;
The Meadows green, beside their fragrant smell,
Yield dainties for them: And he that can tell
What pleasant fruit; yea Leaves, these Trees do yield,
Now I beheld in my Dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the River and the way for a time parted; at which they were not a little sorry, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the River was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their travels; so the soul of the Pilgrims was much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore still as they went on, they wished for better way. Now a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a Meadow, and a Stile to go over into it, and that Meadow is called By-path-Meadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, If this Meadow lieth along by our way-side, lets go over into it. Then he went to the Stile to see, and behold a Path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. Tis according to my wish, said Christian, here is the easiest going; come good Hopeful, and let us go over.
Chr. Thats not like, said the other; look, doth it not go along by the way-side? So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went after him over the Stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the Path, they found it very easy for their feet: and withal, they looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, (and his name was Vain-confidence) so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led? He said, To the Clestial Gate. Look, said Christian, did I not tell you so? by this you may see we are right. So they followed, and he went before them. But behold the night came on, and it grew very dark, so that they that were behind lost the sight of him that went before.
Strong Christians may lead weak ones out of the way
See what it is too suddenly to fall in with strangers
He therefore that went before (Vain-confidence by name) not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep Pit, which was on purpose there made by the Prince of those grounds, to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall.
Now Christian and his fellow heard him fall. So they called to know the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning. Then said Hopeful, Where are we now? Then was his fellow silent, as mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to rain, and thunder, and lighten in a very dreadful manner, and the water rose amain.
Hope. No, said Hopeful, you shall not go first; for your mind being troubled may lead you out of the way again. Then for their encouragement, they heard the voice of one saying Let thine heart be towards the Highway, even the way that thou wentest, turn again. But by this time the waters were greatly risen; by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I thought that it is easier going out of the way when we are in, than going in when we are out.) Yet they adventured to go back; but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that in their going back they had like to have been drowned nine or ten times.
Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the Stile that night. Wherefore at last, lighting under a little shelter, they sat down there till the day brake; but being weary, they fell asleep. Now there was not far from the place where they lay, a Castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping: wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were? and what they did in his grounds? They told him they were Pilgrims, and that they had lost their way. Then said the Giant, You have this night trespassed on me, by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me. So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The Giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into his Castle, into a very dark Dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men. Here then they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did; they were therefore here in evil case, and were far from friends and acquaintance. Now in this place Christian had double sorrow, because twas through his unadvised haste that they were brought into this distress.
He finds them in his grounds, and carries them to Doubting Castle
The grievousness of their imprisonment
Now Giant Despair had a Wife, and her name was Diffidence. So when he was gone to bed, he told his Wife what he had done, to wit, that he had taken a couple of Prisoners and cast them into his Dungeon, for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do further to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound; and he told her. Then she counselled him that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without any mercy. So when he arose he getteth him a grievous Crabtree Cudgel, and goes down into the Dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them, as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste. Then he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort, that they were not able to help themselves, or to turn them upon the floor. This done, he withdraws and leaves them, there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress: so all that day they spent the time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she talking with her Husband about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away themselves. So when morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them, that since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with Knife, Halter, or Poison; For why, said he, should you chuse life, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness? But they desired him to let them go. With that he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his Fits, (for he sometimes in Sun-shine weather fell into Fits) and lost for a time the use of his hand wherefore he withdrew, and left them as before, to consider what to do. Then did the Prisoners consult between themselves, whether twas best to take his counsel or no; and thus they began to discourse:
On Friday, Giant Despair counsels them to kill themselves
The Giant sometimes has fits
Chr. Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable: for my part I know not whether is best, to live thus, or to die out of hand. My soul chuseth strangling rather than life, and the Grave is more easy for me than this Dungeon. Shall we be ruled by the Giant?
Hope. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me than thus for ever to abide; but yet let us consider, the Lord of the Country to which we are going hath said Thou shalt do no murder, no not to another mans person; much more than are we forbidden to take this counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills another can but commit murder upon his body; but for one to kill himself is to kill body and soul at once. And moreover, my Brother, thou talkest of ease in the Grave, but hast thou forgotten the Hell, whither for certain the murderers go? For no murderer hath eternal life, &c. And let us consider again, that all the Law is not in the hand of Giant Despair. Others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hand. Who knows but that God that made the world may cause that Giant Despair may die? or that at some time or other he may forget to lock us in? or but he may in short time have another of his Fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs? and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before; but however, my Brother, lets be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hopeful at present did moderate the mind of his Brother; so they continued together (in the dark) that day, in their sad and doleful condition.
Well, towards evening the Giant goes down into the Dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there he found them alive, and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of Bread and Water, and by reason of the Wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe: But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that seeing they disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.
At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a Swoon; but coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the Giants counsel, and whether yet they had best to take it or no. Now Christian again seemed to be for doing it, but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth:
Hope. My Brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear? Thou seest that I am in the Dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art; also this Giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the Bread and Water from my mouth; and with thee I mourn without the light. But lets exercise a little more patience, remember how thou playedst the man at Vanity Fair, and wast neither afraid of the Chain, nor Cage, nor yet of bloody Death: wherefore let us (at least to avoid the shame, that becomes not a Christian to be found in) bear up with patience as well as we can.
Hopeful comforts him again, by calling former things to remembrance
Now night being come again, and the Giant and his Wife being in bed, she asked him concerning the Prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel: To which he replied, They are sturdy Rogues, they chuse rather to bear all hardship, than to make away themselves. Then said she, Take them into the Castle-yard to-morrow, and shew them the Bones and Skulls of those that thou hast already dispatchd, and make them believe, eer a week comes to an end, thou also wilt tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.
So when the morning was come, the Giant goes to them again, and takes them into the Castle-yard and shews them as his Wife had bidden him. These, said he, were Pilgrims as you are, once, and they trespassed in my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do you. Go get you down to your Den again; and with that he beat them all the way thither. They lay therefore all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now when night was come, and when Mrs Diffidence and her Husband the Giant were got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their Prisoners; and withal the old Giant wondered, that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his Wife replied, I fear, said she, that they live in hope that some will come to relieve them, or that they have pick-locks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear? said the Giant, I will therefore search them in the morning.
Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when l may as well walk at liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, Thats good news; good Brother pluck it out of thy bosom and try.
A key in Christians bosom, called Promise, opens any lock in Doubting Castle
Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the Dungeon door, whose bolt (as he turned the Key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the Castle-yard, and with his Key opened that door also. After he went to the iron Gate, for that must be opened too, but that Lock went damnable hard, yet the Key did open it. Then they thrust open the Gate to make their escape with speed; but that Gate as it opened made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his Prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his Fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the Kings High-way again, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.
Now when they were gone over the Stile, they began to contrive with themselves what they should do at that Stile, to prevent those that should come after from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a Pillar, and to engrave upon the side thereof this sentence, Over this Stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseththe King of the Coelestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy Pilgrims. Many therefore that followed after read what was written, and escaped the danger. This done, they sang as follows:
Out of the way we went, and then we found
What twas to tread upon forbidden ground;
And let them that come after have a care,
Lest heedlessness makes them, as we, to fare.
Lest they for trespassing his prisoners are,
Whose Castles Doubting, and whose names Despair.
They went then till they came to the Delectable Mountains, which Mountains belong to the Lord of that Hill of which we have spoken before; so they went up to the Mountains, to behold the Gardens and Orchards, the Vineyards and Fountains of water; where also they drank, and washed themselves, and did freely eat of the Vineyards. Now there were on the tops of these Mountains Shepherds feeding their flocks, and they stood by the High-way side. The Pilgrims therefore went to them, and leaning upon their staves (as is common with weary Pilgrims, when they stand to talk with any by the way) they asked, Whose Delectable Mountains are these? And whose be the sheep that feed upon them?
I saw also in my Dream, that when the Shepherds perceived that they were way-faring men, they also put questions to them (to which they made answer as in other places) as, Whence came you? and, How got you into the way? and, By what means have you so persevered therein? For but few of them that begin to come hither do shew their face on these Mountains. But when the Shepherds heard their answers, being pleased therewith, they looked very lovingly upon them, and said, Welcome to the Delectable Mountains.
The Shepherds, I say, whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, took them by the hand, and had them to their Tents, and made them partake of that which was ready at present. They said moreover, We would that ye should stay here a while, to be acquainted with us; and yet more to solace yourselves with the good of these Delectable Mountains. They then told them, that they were content to stay; and so they went to their rest that night, because it was very late.
Then I saw in my Dream, that in the morning the Shepherds called up Christian and Hopeful to walk with them upon the Mountains; so they went forth with them, and walked a while, having a pleasant prospect on every side. Then said the Shepherds one to another, Shall we shew these Pilgrims some wonders? So when they had concluded to do it, they had them first to the top of a Hill called Error, which was very steep on the furthest side, and bid them look down to the bottom. So Christian and Hopeful looked down, and saw at the bottom several men dashed all to pieces by a fall, that they had from the top. Then said Christian, What meaneth this? The Shepherds answered, Have you not heard of them that were made to err, by hearkening to Hymeneus and Philetus, as concerning the Faith of the Resurrection of the Body? They answered, Yes. Then said the Shepherds, 1 Those that you see lie dashed in pieces at the bottom of this Mountain are they; and they have continued to this day unburied (as you see) for an example to others to take heed how they clamber too high, or how they come too near the brink of this Mountain.
Then I saw that they had them to the top of another Mountain, and the name of that is Caution, and bid them look afar off; which when they did, they perceived, as they thought, several men walking up and down among the Tombs that were there; and they perceived that the men were blind, because they stumbled sometimes upon the Tombs, and because they could not get out from among them. Then said Christian, What means this?
The Shepherds then answered, Did you not see a little below these Mountains a Stile, that led into a Meadow, on the left hand of this way? They answered, Yes. Then said the Shepherds, From that Stile there goes a path that leads directly to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair; and these men (pointing to them among the Tombs) came once on Pilgrimage, as you do now, even till they came to that same Stile; and because the right way was rough in that place, they chose to go out of it into that Meadow, and there were taken by Giant Despair, and cast into Doubting Castle; where, after they had been awhile kept in the Dungeon, he at last did put out their eyes, and led them among those Tombs, where he has left them to wander to this very day, that the saying of the Wise Man might be fulfilled, He that wandereth out of the way of understanding, shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Then Christian and Hopeful looked upon one another, with tears gushing out, but yet said nothing to the Shepherds.
Then I saw in my Dream, that the Shepherds had them to another place, in a bottom, where was a door in the side of a Hill, and they opened the door, and bid them look in. They looked in therefore, and saw that within it was very dark and smoky; they also thought that they heard there a rumbling noise as of Fire, and a cry of some tormented, and that they smelt the scent of Brimstone. Then said Christian, What means this? The Shepherds told them, This is a by-way to Hell, a way that Hypocrites go in at; namely, such as sell their Birth-right, with Esau; such as sell their Master, as Judas; such as blaspheme the Gospel, with Alexander; and that lie and dissemble, with Ananias and Sapphira his Wife. Then said Hopeful to the Shepherds, I perceive that these had on them, even everyone, a shew of Pilgrimage, as we have now; had they not?
By this time the Pilgrims had a desire to go forwards, and the Shepherds a desire they should; so they walked together towards the end of the Mountains. Then said the Shepherds one to another, Let us here shew to the Pilgrims the Gates of the Clestial City, if they have skill to look through our Perspective-Glass. The Pilgrims The Hill then lovingly accepted the motion; so they had them to Clear the top of a high Hill, called Clear, and gave them their Glass to look.
Then they assayed to look, but the remembrance of that last thing that the Shepherds had shewed them, made their hands shake, by means of which impediment they could not look steadily through the Glass; yet they thought they saw something like the Gate, and also some of the Glory of the place.
When they were about to depart, one of the Shepherds gave them a Note of the way. Another of them bid them beware of the Flatterer. The third bid them take heed that they sleep not on the Inchanted Ground. And the fourth bid them Godspeed. So I awoke from my Dream.
And I slept, and Dreamed again, and saw the same two Pilgrims going down the Mountains along the Highway towards the City. Now a little below these Mountains, on the left hand lieth the Country of Conceit; from which Country there comes into the way in which the Pilgrims walked, a little crooked Lane. Here therefore they met with a very brisk Lad, that came out of that Country; and his name was Ignorance. So Christian asked him From what parts he came, and whither he was going?
Chr. But thou camest not in at the Wicket-Gate that is at the head of this way; thou camest in hither through that same crooked Lane, and therefore I fear, how-ever thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning day shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge that thou art a Thief and a Robber, instead of getting admittance into the City.
Ignor. Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me, I know you not; be content to follow the Religion of your Country, and I will follow the Religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the Gate that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off of our Country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it, nor need they matter whether they do or no, since we have, as you see, a fine pleasant Green Lane, that comes down from our Country the next way into the way.
When Christian saw that the man was wise in his own conceit, he said to Hopeful whisperingly, There is more hopes of a fool than of him. And said moreover, When he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. What, shall we talk further with him, or outgo him at present, and so leave him to think of what he bath heard already, and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good of him? Then said Hopeful,
So they both went on, and Ignorance he came after. Now when they had passed him a little way, they entered into a very dark Lane, where they met a man whom seven Devils had bound with seven strong cords, and were carrying of him back to the Door that they saw on the side of the Hill. Now good Christian began to tremble, and so did Hopeful his Companion; yet as the Devils led away the man, Christian looked to see if he knew him, and he thought it might be one Turn-away that dwelt in the Town of Apostacy. But he did not perfectly see his face, for he did hang his head like a Thief that is found. But being gone past, Hopeful looked after him, and espied on his back a paper with this inscription, Wanton Professor and damnable Apostate. Then said Christian to his fellow, Now I call to remembrance that which was told me of a thing that happened to a good man hereabout. The name of the man was Little-faith, but a good man, and he dwelt in the Town of Sincere. The thing was this; At the entering in of this passage, there comes down from Broad-way Gate, a Lane called Dead Mans Lane; so called because of the Murders that are commonly done there; and this Little-faith going on Pilgrimage as we do now, chanced to sit down there and slept. Now there happened at that time, to come down the Lane from Broad-way Gate, three sturdy Rogues, and their names were Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, (three Brothers) and they espying Little-faith where he was, came galloping up with speed. Now the good man was just awaked from his sleep, and was getting up to go on his Journey. So they came up all to him, and with threatning language bid him stand. At this Little-faith looked as white as a Clout, and had neither power to fight nor fly. Then said Faint-heart, Deliver thy Purse. But he making no haste to do it (for he was loth to lose his Money) Mistrust ran up to him, and thrusting his hand into his Pocket, pulld out thence a bag of silver. Then he cried out, Thieves, Thieves. With that Guilt with a great Club that was in his hand, struck Little-faith on the head, and with that blow felld him flat to the ground, where he lay bleeding as one that would bleed to death. All this while the Thieves stood by. But at last, they hearing that some were upon the road, and fearing lest it should be one Great-grace that dwells in the City of Good-confidence, they betook themselves to their heels) and left this good man to shift for himself. Now after a while Little-faith came to himself, and getting up made shift to scrabble on his way. This was the story.
Chr. No; the place where his Jewels were they never ransacked, so those he kept still; but as I was told, the good man was much afflicted for his loss, for the Thieves got most of his spending Money. That which they got not (as I said) were Jewels, also he had a little odd Money left, but scarce enough to bring him to his Journeys end; nay, if I was not misinformed, he was forced to beg as he went, to keep himself alive, for his Jewels he might not sell. But beg, and do what he could, he went (as we say) with many a hungry belly the most part of the rest of the way.
Chr. Tis a wonder but they got not that, though they missed it not through any good cunning of his; for he being dismayed with their coming upon him, had neither power nor skill to hide anything; so twas more by good Providence than by his endeavour, that they missd of that good thing.
Chr. It might have been great comfort to him, had he used it as he should; but they that told me the story said that he made but little use of it all the rest of the way, and that because of the dismay that he had in their taking away his Money; indeed he forgot it a great part of the rest of his Journey; and besides, when at any time it came into his mind, and he began to be comforted therewith, then would fresh thoughts of his loss come again upon him, and those thoughts would swallow up all.
Chr. Grief! ay, a grief indeed. Would it not have been so to any of us, had we been used as he, to be robbed, and wounded too, and that in a strange place, as he was? Tis a wonder he did not die with grief, poor heart! I was told that he scattered almost all the rest of the way with nothing but doleful and bitter complaints; telling also to all that over-took him, or that he over-took in the way as he went, where he was robbed, and how; who they were that did it, and what he lost; how he was wounded, and that he hardly escaped with his life.
Chr. Thou talkest like one upon whose head is the Shell to this very day; for what should he pawn them, or to whom should he sell them? In all that Country where he was robbed, his Jewels were not accounted of; nor did he want that relief which could from thence be administered to him. Besides, had his Jewels been missing at the Gate of the Clestial City, he had (and that he knew well enough) been excluded from an Inheritance there; and that would have been worse to him than the appearance and villany of ten thousand Thieves.
Chr.Esau did sell his Birth-right indeed, and so do many besides, and by so doing exclude themselves from the chief blessing, as also that caitiff did; but you must put a difference betwixt Esau and Little-faith, and also betwixt their Estates. Esaus Birth-right was typical, but Little-faiths Jewels were not so: Esaus belly was his god, but Little-faiths belly was not so: Esaus want lay in his fleshly appetite, Little-faiths did not so. Besides, Esau could see no further than to the fulfilling of his lusts: For I am at the point to die, said he, and what good will this Birth-right do me? But Little-faith, though it was his lot to have but a little faith, was by his little faith kept from such extravagancies, and made to see and prize his Jewels more than to sell them, as Esau did his Birth-right. You read not anywhere that Esau had faith, no not so much as a little; therefore no marvel if where the flesh only bears sway (as it will in that man where no faith is to resist) if he sells his Birth-right, and his Soul and all, and that to the Devil of Hell; for it is with such, as it is with the Ass, who in her occasions cannot be turned away. When their minds are set upon their lusts, they will have them whatever they cost. But Little-faith was of another temper, his mind was on things Divine; his livelihood was upon things that were Spiritual, and from above; therefore to what end should he that is of such a temper sell his Jewels (had there been any that would have bought them) to fill his mind with empty things? Will a man give a penny to fill his belly with Hay? or can you persuade the Turtle-dove to live upon Carrion like the Crow? Though faithless ones can, for carnal Lusts, pawn or mortgage, or sell what they have, and themselves outright to boot; yet they that have faith, saving faith, though but a little of it, cannot do so. Here therefore my Brother is thy mistake.
Chr. Why, I did but compare thee to some of the Birds that are of the brisker sort, who will run to and fro in trodden paths, with the Shell upon their heads; but pass by that, and consider the matter under debate, and all shall be well betwixt thee and me.
Hope. But Christian, these three fellows, I am persuaded in my heart, are but a company of Cowards; would they have run else, think you, as they did, at the noise of one that was coming on the road? Why did not Little-faith pluck up a greater heart? He might, methinks, have stood one brush with them, and have yielded when there had been no remedy.
Chr. That they are Cowards, many have said, but few have found it so in the time of Trial. As for a great heart, Little-faith had none; and I perceive by thee, my Brother, hadst thou been the man concerned, thou art but for a brush, and then to yield. And verily since this is the height thy stomach, they are at a distance from us, should they appear to thee as they did to him, they might put thee to second thoughts.
No great heart for God, where there is but little faith
We have more courage when out, than when in the conflict
But consider again, they are but journeymen Thieves; they serve under the King of the bottomless Pit, who, if need be, will come in to their aid himself, and his voice is: as the roaring of a Lion. I myself have been engaged as this Little-faith was, and I found it a terrible thing. These three Villains set upon me, and I beginning like a Christian to resist, they gave but a call, and in came their Master: I would, as the saying is, have given my life for a penny; but that, as God would have it, I was cloathed with Armor of proof. Ay, and yet though I was so harnessed, I found it hard work to quit myself like a man: no man can tell what in that Combat attends us, but he that hath been in the Battle himself.
Chr. True, they have often fled, both they and their Master, when Great-grace hath but appeared; and no marvel, for he is the Kings Champion. But I tro you will put some difference between Little-faith and the Kings Champion. All the Kings Subjects are not his Champions, nor can they when tried do such feats of War as he. Is it meet to think that a little child should handle Goliah as David did? Or that there should be the strength of an Ox in a Wren? Some are strong, some are weak; some have great faith, some have little: this man was one of the weak, and therefore he went to the wall.
Chr. If it had been he, he might have had his hands full; for I must tell you, that though Great-grace is excellent good at his Weapons, and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at Swords point, do well enough with them; yet if they get within him, even Faint-heart, Mistrust, or the other, it shall go hard but they will throw up his heels. And when a man is down, you know, what can he do?
Whoso looks well upon Great-graces face, shall see those scars and cuts there, that shall easily give demonstration of what I say. Yea, once I heard he should say, (and that when he was in the Combat) We despaired even of life. How did these sturdy Rogues and their fellows make David groan, mourn, and roar? Yet, Heman and Hezekiah too, though Champions in their day, were forced to bestir them when by these assaulted; and yet notwithstanding they had their Coats soundly brushed by them. Peter upon a time would go try what he could do; but though some do say of him that he is the Prince of the Apostles, they handled him so, that they made him at last afraid of a sorry Girl.
Besides their King is at their whistle. He is never out of hearing; and if at any time they be put to the worst, he if possible comes in to help them; and of him it is said, The Sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold, the Spear, the Dart, nor the Habergeon: he esteemeth Iron as Straw, and Brass as rotten Wood. The Arrow cannot made him fly; Sling-stones are turned with him into Stubble, Darts are counted as Stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a Spear. What can a man do in this case? Tis true, if a man could at every turn have Jobs Horse, and had skill and courage to ride him, he might do notable things; for his Neck is cloathed with Thunder, he will not he afraid as the Grasshopper, the glory of his Nostrils is terrible, he paweth in the Valley, rejoiceth in his strength, and goeth out to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted, neither turneth back from the Sword. The Quiver rattleth against him, the glittering Spear, and the Shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage, neither believeth he that it is the sound of the Trumpet. He saith among the Trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the Battle afar off, the thundering of the Captains, and the Shoutings.
But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire to meet with an enemy, nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we hear of others that they have been foiled, nor be tickled at the thoughts of our own manhood; for such commonly come by the worst when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before. He would swagger, ay he would; he would, as his vain mind prompted him to say, do better, and stand more for his Master than all men; hut who so foiled and run down by these Villains as he?
When therefore we hear that such Robberies are done on the Kings High-way, two things become us to do. First, To go out harnessed and to he sure to take a Shield with us; for it was for want of that, that he that laid so lustily at Leviathan could not make him yield; for indeed if that be wanting he fears us not at all. Therefore he that had skill bath said, Above all take the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Tis good also that we desire of the King a Convoy, yea that he will go with us himself. This made David rejoice when in the Valley of the Shadow of Death: and Moses was rather for dying where he stood, than to go one step without his God. O my Brother, if he will but go along with us, what need we be afraid of ten thousands that shall set themselves against us? But without him, the proud helpers fall under the slain.
I for my part have been in the fray before now, and though (through the goodness of him that is best) I am, as you see, alive; yet I cannot boast of my manhood. Glad shall I be, if I meet with no more such brunts, though I fear we are not got beyond all danger. However, since the Lion and the Bear have not as yet devoured me, I hope God will also deliver us from the next uncircumcised Philistine. Then sang Christian,
So they went on, and Ignorance followed. They went then till they came at a place where they saw a way put itself into their way, and seemed withal to lie as straight as the way which they should go: and here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them; therefore here they stood still to consider. And as they were thinking about the way, behold a man black of flesh, but covered with a very light Robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there? They answered they were going to the Clestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take. Follow me, said the man, it is thither that I am going. So they followed him in the way that but now came into the road, which by degrees turned, and turned them so from the City that they desired to go to, that in little time their faces were turned away from it: yet they followed him. But by-and-by, before they were aware, he led them both within the compass of a Net, in which they were both so intangled, that they knew not what to do; and with that the white Robe fell off the black mans back: then they saw where they were. Wherefore there they lay crying some time, for they could not get themselves out.
Chr. Then said Christian to his fellow, Now do I see myself in an error. Did not the Shepherds bid us beware of the flatterers? As is the saying of the Wise man, so we have found it this day, A man that flattereth his Neighbour, spreadeth a Net for his feet.
Hope. They also gave us a Note of directions about the way, for our more sure finding thereof; but therein we have also forgotten to read, and have not kept ourselves from the paths of the destroyer. Here David was wiser than we; for saith he, Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Thus they lay bewailing themselves in the Net. At last they espied a Shining One coming towards them with a Whip of small cord in his hand. When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them whence they came? and what they did there? They told him that they were poor Pilgrims going to Sion, but were led out of their way by a black man, cloathed in white, who bid us, said they, follow him, for he was going thither too. Then said he with the Whip, It is Flatterer, a false Apostle, that hath transformed himself into an Angel of Light. So he rent the Net, and let the men out. Then said he to them, Follow me, that I may set you in your way again: so he led them back to the way which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, saying, Where did you lie the last night? They said, With the Shepherds upon the Delectable Mountains. He asked them then, If they had not of those Shepherds a Note of direction for the way? They answered, Yes. But did you, said he, when you were at a stand pluck out and read your Note? They answered, No. He asked them, Why? They said they forgot. He asked moreover, If the Shepherds did not bid them beware of the Flatterer? They answered, Yes; but we did not imagine, said they, that this fine-spoken man had been he.
A Shining One comes to them with a whip in his hand
They are examined, and convicted of forgetfulness
Deceivers fine spoken
Then I saw in my Dream, that he commanded them to lie down; which when they did, he chastised them sore, to teach them the good way wherein they should walk; and as he chastised them he said, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. This done, he bid them go on their way, and take good heed to the other directions of the Shepherds. So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went softly along the right way, singing,
Come hither, you that walk along the way,
See how the Pilgrims fare that go astray;
They catched are in an intangling Net,
Cause they good Counsel lightly did forget;
Tis true they rescud were, but yet you see
Theyre scourgd to boot: Let this your caution he.
Now after a while, they perceived afar off one coming softly and alone all along the High-way to meet them. Then said Christian to his fellow, Yonder is a man with his back toward Sion, and he is coming to meet us.
Hope. I see him, let us take heed to ourselves now, lest he should prove a Flatterer also. So he drew nearer and nearer, and at last came up unto them. His name was Atheist, and he asked them whither they were going.