(Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress. part 4)
even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down
his cheeks. [Zech. 12:10] Now, as he stood looking and weeping,
behold three Shining Ones came to him and saluted him with
"Peace be unto thee". So the first said to him, "Thy sins be
forgiven thee" [Mark 2:5]; the second stripped him of his rags,
and clothed him with change of raiment [Zech. 3:4]; the third also
set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it,
which he bade him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in
at the Celestial Gate. [Eph. 1:13] So they went their way.
"Who's this? the Pilgrim. How! 'tis very true,
Old things are past away, all's become new.
Strange! he's another man, upon my word,
They be fine feathers that make a fine bird.
Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing--
"Thus far I did come laden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!"
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. [Prov. 23:34] 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. [1 Pet. 5:8]
With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in this sort:
Simple said, "I see no danger"; Sloth said, "Yet a little more sleep";
and Presumption said, "Every fat must stand upon its own bottom;
what is the answer else that I should give thee?" And so they lay down
to sleep again, and Christian went on his way.
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.
CHR. Gentlemen, whence came you, and whither go you?
FORM. and HYP. We were born in the land of Vain-glory,
and are going for praise to Mount Zion.
CHR. Why came you not in at the gate which standeth at
the beginning of the way? Know you not that it is written,
that he that cometh not in by the door, "but climbeth up some other way,
the same is a thief and a robber?" [John 10:1]
FORM. and HYP. They said, That to go to the gate for entrance was,
by all their countrymen, counted too far about; and that, therefore,
their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over
the wall, as they had done.
CHR. But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the city
whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed will?
FORM. and HYP. They told him, that, as for that, he needed not
to trouble his head thereabout; for what they did they had custom for;
and could produce, if need were, testimony that would witness it
for more than a thousand years.
CHR. But, said Christian, will your practice stand a trial at law?
FORM. and HYP. They told him, That custom, it being of
so long a standing as above a thousand years, would, doubtless,
now be admitted as a thing legal by any impartial judge; and besides,
said they, if we get into the way, what's matter which way we get in?
if we are in, we are in; thou art but in the way, who, as we perceive,
came in at the gate; and we are also in the way, that came tumbling
over the wall; wherein, now, is thy condition better than ours?
CHR. I walk by the rule of my Master; you walk by the rude working
of your fancies. You are counted thieves already, by the Lord
of the way; therefore, I doubt you will not be found true men at
the end of the way. You come in by yourselves, without his direction;
and shall go out by yourselves, without his mercy.
To this they made him but little answer; only they bid him
look to himself. Then I saw that they went on every man in his way
without much conference one with another, save that these two men
told Christian, that as to laws and ordinances, they doubted not
but they should as conscientiously do them as he; therefore, said they,
we see not wherein thou differest from us but by the coat that is on
thy back, which was, as we trow, given thee by some of thy neighbours,
to hide the shame of thy nakedness.
CHR. By laws and ordinances you will not be saved, since you
came not in by the door. [Gal. 2:16] And as for this coat that is on
my back, it was given me by the Lord of the place whither I go;
and that, as you say, to cover my nakedness with. And I take it as
a token of his kindness to me; for I had nothing but rags before.
And besides, thus I comfort myself as I go: Surely, think I,
when I come to the gate of the city, the Lord thereof will know me
for good since I have this coat on my back--a coat that he gave me
freely in the day that he stripped me of my rags. I have, moreover,
a mark in my forehead, of which, perhaps, you have taken no notice,
which one of my Lord's most intimate associates fixed there in the day
that my burden fell off my shoulders. I will tell you, moreover,
that I had then given me a roll, sealed, to comfort me by reading
as I go on the way; I was also bid to give it in at the Celestial Gate,
in token of my certain going in after it; all which things, I doubt,
you want, and want them because you came not in at the gate.
To these things they gave him no answer; only they looked upon
each other, and laughed. Then, I saw that they went on all,
save that Christian kept before, who had no more talk but with himself,
and that sometimes sighingly, and sometimes comfortably;
also he would be often reading in the roll that one of the Shining Ones
gave him, by which he was refreshed.
I beheld, then, that they all went on till they came to the foot
of the Hill Difficulty; at the bottom of which was a spring.
There were also in the same place two other ways besides that
which came straight from the gate; one turned to the left hand,
and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill;
but the narrow way lay right up the hill, and the name of the going up
the side of the hill is called Difficulty. Christian now went
to the spring, and drank thereof, to refresh himself [Isa. 49:10],
and then began to go up the hill, saying--
"The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up heart, let's neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."
The other two also came to the foot of the hill; but when they saw
that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways
to go, and supposing also that these two ways might meet again,
with that up which Christian went, on the other side of the hill,
therefore they were resolved to go in those ways. Now the name of one
of these ways was Danger, and the name of the other Destruction.
So the one took the way which is called Danger, which led him into
a great wood, and the other took directly up the way to Destruction,
which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains,
where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.
"Shall they who wrong begin yet rightly end?
Shall they at all have safety for their friend?
No, no; in headstrong manner they set out,
And headlong will they fall at last no doubt."
I looked, then, after Christian, to see him go up the hill,
where I perceived he fell from running to going, and from going
to clambering upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness
of the place. Now, about the midway to the top of the hill
was a pleasant arbour, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshing
of weary travellers; thither, therefore, Christian got, where also
he sat down to rest him. Then he pulled his roll out of his bosom,
and read therein to his comfort; he also now began afresh to take
a review of the coat or garment that was given him as he stood
by the cross. Thus pleasing himself awhile, he at last fell
into a slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him
in that place until it was almost night; and in his sleep,
his roll fell out of his hand.
Now, as he was sleeping, there came one to him, and awaked him, saying,
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.
[Prov. 6:6] And with that Christian started up, and sped him on
his way, and went apace, till he came to the top of the hill.
Now, when he was got up to the top of the hill, there came two men
running to meet him amain; the name of the one was Timorous,
and of the other, Mistrust; to whom Christian said, Sirs,
what's the matter? You run the wrong way. Timorous answered,
that they were going to the City of Zion, and had got up
that difficult place; but, said he, the further we go, the more danger
we meet with; wherefore we turned, and are going back again.
Yes, said Mistrust, for just before us lie a couple of lions in the way,
whether sleeping or waking we know not, and we could not think,
if we came within reach, but they would presently pull us in pieces.
CHR. Then said Christian, You make me afraid, but whither shall I fly
to be safe? If I go back to mine own country, that is prepared
for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there.
If I can get to the Celestial City, I am sure to be in safety there.
I must venture. To go back is nothing but death; to go forward
is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it. I will yet
go forward. So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill,
and Christian went on his way. But, thinking again of what
he had heard from the men, he felt in his bosom for his roll,
that he might read therein, and be comforted; but he felt,
and found it not. Then was Christian in great distress,
and knew not what to do; for he wanted that which used to relieve him,
and that which should have been his pass into the Celestial City.
Here, therefore, he begun to be
much perplexed, and knew not what to do. At last he bethought himself
that he had slept in the arbour that is on the side of the hill;
and, falling down upon his knees, he asked God's forgiveness for that
his foolish act, and then went back to look for his roll.
But all the way he went back, who can sufficiently set forth the sorrow
of Christian's heart? Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept,
and oftentimes he chid himself for being so foolish to fall asleep
in that place, which was erected only for a little refreshment
for his weariness. Thus, therefore, he went back, carefully looking
on this side and on that, all the way as he went, if happily he might
find his roll, that had been his comfort so many times in his journey.
He went thus, till he came again within sight of the arbour
where he sat and slept; but that sight renewed his sorrow the more,
by bringing again, even afresh, his evil of sleeping into his mind.
[Rev. 2:5; 1 Thes. 5:7,8]
Thus, therefore, he now went on bewailing his sinful sleep, saying,
O wretched man that I am that I should sleep in the day-time!
that I should sleep in the midst of difficulty! that I should
so indulge the flesh, as to use that rest for ease to my flesh,
which the Lord of the hill hath erected only for the relief
of the spirits of pilgrims!
How many steps have I took in vain! Thus it happened to Israel,
for their sin; they were sent back again by the way of the Red Sea;
and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which I might have trod
with delight, had it not been for this sinful sleep. How far might I
have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread those steps
thrice over, which I needed not to have trod but once; yea,
now also I am like to be benighted, for the day is almost spent.
O, that I had not slept!
Now, by this time he was come to the arbour again, where for a while
he sat down and wept; but at last, as Christian would have it,
looking sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his roll;
the which he, with trembling and haste, catched up, and put it into
his bosom. But who can tell how joyful this man was when he had gotten
his roll again! for this roll was the assurance of his life
and acceptance at the desired haven. Therefore he laid it up
in his bosom, gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the place
where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again
to his journey. But oh, how nimbly now did he go up the rest
of the hill! Yet, before he got up, the sun went down upon Christian;
and this made him again recall the vanity of his sleeping
to his remembrance; and thus he again began to condole with himself:
O thou sinful sleep; how, for thy sake, am I like to be benighted
in my journey! I must walk without the sun; darkness must cover
the path of my feet; and I must hear the noise of the doleful creatures,
because of my sinful sleep. [1 Thes. 5:6,7] Now also he remembered
the story that Mistrust and Timorous told him of; how they were frighted
with the sight of the lions. Then said Christian to himself again,
These beasts range in the night for their prey; and if they should
meet with me in the dark, how should I shift them? How should I escape
being by them torn in pieces? Thus he went on his way.
But while he was thus bewailing his unhappy miscarriage,
he lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace
before him, the name of which was Beautiful; and it stood just by
the highway side.
So I saw in my dream that he made haste and went forward,
that if possible he might get lodging there. Now, before he had
gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage, which was about
a furlong off the porter's lodge; and looking very narrowly before him
as he went, he espied two lions in the way. Now, thought he,
I see the dangers that Mistrust and Timorous were driven back by.
(The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains.)
Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them,
for he thought nothing but death was before him. But the porter
at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian
made a halt as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying,
Is thy strength so small? [Mark 8:34-37] Fear not the lions,
for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith
where it is, and for discovery of those that had none.
Keep in the midst of the path, no hurt shall come unto thee.
"Difficulty is behind, Fear is before,
Though he's got on the hill, the lions roar;
A Christian man is never long at ease,
When one fright's gone, another doth him seize."
Then I saw that he went on, trembling for fear of the lions,
but taking good heed to the directions of the porter;
he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. Then he clapped
his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the gate
where the porter was. Then said Christian to the porter,
Sir, what house is this? And may I lodge here to-night?
The porter answered, This house was built by the Lord of the hill,
and he built it for the relief and security of pilgrims.
The porter also asked whence he was, and whither he was going.
CHR. I am come from the City of Destruction, and am going
to Mount Zion; but because the sun is now set, I desire, if I may,
to lodge here to-night.
POR. What is your name?
CHR. My name is now Christian, but my name at the first was Graceless;
I came of the race of Japheth, whom God will persuade to dwell
in the tents of Shem. [Gen. 9:27]
POR. But how doth it happen that you come so late? The sun is set.
CHR. I had been here sooner, but that, "wretched man that I am!"
I slept in the arbour that stands on the hillside; nay, I had,
notwithstanding that, been here much sooner, but that, in my sleep.
I lost my evidence, and came without it to the brow of the hill
and then feeling for it, and finding it not, I was forced
with sorrow of heart, to go back to the place where I slept my sleep,
where I found it, and now I am come.
POR. Well, I will call out one of the virgins of this place, who will,
if she likes your talk, bring you into the rest of the family,
according to the rules of the house. So Watchful, the porter,
rang a bell, at the sound of which came out at the door of the house,
a grave and beautiful damsel, named Discretion, and asked why
she was called.
The porter answered, This man is in a journey from
the City of Destruction to Mount Zion, but being weary and benighted,
he asked me if he might lodge here to-night; so I told him I would call
for thee, who, after discourse had with him, mayest do as seemeth
thee good, even according to the law of the house.
Then she asked him whence he was, and whither he was going,
and he told her. She asked him also how he got into the way;
and he told her. Then she asked him what he had seen and met with
in the way; and he told, her. And last she asked his name; so he said,
It is Christian, and I have so much the more a desire to lodge
here to-night, because, by what I perceive, this place was built
by the Lord of the hill for the relief and security of pilgrims.
So she smiled, but the water stood in her eyes; and after
a little pause, she said, I will call forth two or three more
of the family. So she ran to the door, and called out Prudence,
Piety, and Charity, who, after a little more discourse with him,
had him into the family; and many of them, meeting him at the threshold
of the house, said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord;
this house was built by the Lord of the hill, on purpose to entertain
such pilgrims in. Then he bowed his head, and followed them
into the house. So when he was come in and sat down, they gave him
something to drink, and consented together, that until supper was ready,
some of them should have some particular discourse with Christian,
for the best improvement of time; and they appointed Piety,
and Prudence, and Charity to discourse with him; and thus they began:
PIETY. Come, good Christian, since we have been so loving to you,
to receive you in our house this night, let us, if perhaps we may
better ourselves thereby, talk with you of all things
that have happened to you in your pilgrimage.
CHR. With a very good will, and I am glad that you are
so well disposed.
PIETY. What moved you at first to betake yourself to a pilgrim's life?
CHR. I was driven out of my native country by a dreadful sound
that was in mine ears: to wit, that unavoidable destruction
did attend me, if I abode in that place where I was.
PIETY. But how did it happen that you came out of your country
CHR. It was as God would have it; for when I was under the fears
of destruction, I did not know whither to go; but by chance
there came a man, even to me, as I was trembling and weeping,
whose name is Evangelist, and he directed me to the wicket-gate,
which else I should never have found, and so set me into the way
that hath led me directly to this house.
PIETY. But did you not come by the house of the Interpreter?
CHR. Yes, and did see such things there, the remembrance of which
will stick by me as long as I live; especially three things: to wit,
how Christ, in despite of Satan, maintains his work of grace
in the heart; how the man had sinned himself quite out of hopes
of God's mercy; and also the dream of him that thought in his sleep
the day of judgement was come.
PIETY. Why, did you hear him tell his dream?
CHR. Yes, and a dreadful one it was. I thought it made my heart ache
as he was telling of it; but yet I am glad I heard it.
PIETY. Was that all that you saw at the house of the Interpreter?
CHR. No; he took me and had me where he shewed me a stately palace,
and how the people were clad in gold that were in it; and how
there came a venturous man and cut his way through the armed men
that stood in the door to keep him out, and how he was bid to come in,
and win eternal glory. Methought those things did ravish my heart!
I would have stayed at that good man's house a twelvemonth,
but that I knew I had further to go.
PIETY. And what saw you else in the way?
CHR. Saw! why, I went but a little further, and I saw one,
as I thought in my mind, hang bleeding upon the tree;
and the very sight of him made my burden fall off my back,
(for I groaned under a very heavy burden,) but then it fell down
from off me. It was a strange thing to me, for I never saw
such a thing before; yea, and while I stood looking up,
for then I could not forbear looking, three Shining Ones came to me.
One of them testified that my sins were forgiven me; another stripped me
of my rags, and gave me this broidered coat which you see;
and the third set the mark which you see in my forehead, and gave me
this sealed roll. (And with that he plucked it out of his bosom.)
PIETY. But you saw more than this, did you not?
CHR. The things that I have told you were the best;
yet some other matters I saw, as, namely--I saw three men,
Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, lie asleep a little out of the way,
as I came, with irons upon their heels; but do you think
I could awake them? I also saw Formality and Hypocrisy come
tumbling over the wall, to go, as they pretended, to Zion,
but they were quickly lost, even as I myself did tell them;
but they would not believe. But above all, I found it hard work
to get up this hill, and as hard to come by the lions' mouths,
and truly if it had not been for the good man, the porter that stands
at the gate, I do not know but that after all I might have
gone back again; but now I thank God I am here, and I thank you
for receiving of me.
Then Prudence thought good to ask him a few questions,
and desired his answer to them.
PRUD. Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence you came?
CHR. Yes, but with much shame and detestation: "Truly,
if I had been mindful of that country from whence I came out,
I might have had opportunity to have returned; but now I desire
a better country, that is, an heavenly." [Heb. 11:15,16]
PRUD. Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things
that then you were conversant withal?
CHR. Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward
and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself,
were delighted; but now all those things are my grief;
and might I but choose mine own things,
I would choose never to think of those things more; but when I would
be doing of that which is best, that which is worst is with me.
PRUD. Do you not find sometimes, as if those things were vanquished,
which at other times are your perplexity?
CHR. Yes, but that is seldom; but they are to me golden hours
in which such things happen to me.
PRUD. Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances,
at times, as if they were vanquished?
CHR. Yes, when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it;
and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it;
also when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom,
that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going,
that will do it.
PRUD. And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?
CHR. Why, there I hope to see him alive that did hang dead on the cross;
and there I hope to be rid of all those things that to this day are in me
an annoyance to me; there, they say, there is no death; and there I shall
dwell with such company as I like best. [Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4]
For, to tell you truth, I love him, because I was by him eased of
my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where
I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry,
"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
Then said Charity to Christian, Have you a family? Are you
a married man?
CHR. I have a wife and four small children.
CHAR. And why did you not bring them along with you?
CHR. Then Christian wept, and said, Oh, how willingly
would I have done it! but they were all of them utterly averse
to my going on pilgrimage.
(continued in part 5...)