The Pilgrim's Progress - Part Two
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How Christiana Decided to Become a Pilgrim

"This CHRISTIANA (for that was her name from the day that she, with her children, betook themselves to a pilgrim's life), after her husband was gone over the river, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind: first, for that she had lost her husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them; for you know," said he to me, "nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations. This, therefore, of her husband did cost her many a tear. But this was not all; for CHRISTIANA did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behaviour towards her husband was not one cause that she saw him no more, and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this came into her mind by swarms all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriages to her dear friend, which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was, moreover, much broken with calling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her husband; and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions (of her and her sons) to go with him; yea, there was not anything that CHRISTIAN either said to her, or did before her, all the while that his burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent the caul of her heart in two. Specially, that bitter outcry of his, 'What must I do to be saved?' did ring in her ears most dolefully.

"Then said she to her children, 'Sons, we are all undone. I have sinned away your father, and he is gone; he would have had us with him, but I would not go myself; I also have hindered you of life.' With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their father. 'Oh,' said CHRISTIANA, 'that it had been but our lot to go with him; then had it fared well with us beyond what 'tis like to do now! For though I formerly foolishly imagined concerning the troubles of your father, that they proceeded of a foolish fancy that he had, or for that he was overrun with melancholy humours; yet now 't will not out of my mind, but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, for that the light of light was given him; by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death'.

"For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
~ James 1:23-25 ~

Then they all wept again; and cried out, 'Oh, woe worth the day!'

"The next night CHRISTIANA had a dream; and behold, she saw as if a broad parchment was opened before her, in which were recorded the sum of her ways; and the times, as she thought, looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, 'Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner!';

"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
~ Luke 18:13 ~

and the little children heard her.

"After this she thought she saw two very ill favoured ones standing by her bedside, and saying, 'What shall we do with this woman; for she cries out for mercy waking and sleeping? If she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by one way or other, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter; else all the world cannot help it but she will become a pilgrim.'

"Now she awoke in a great sweat, also a trembling was upon her; but after awhile she fell to sleeping again. And then she thought she saw CHRISTIAN her husband in a place of bliss, among many immortals, with a harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat on a throne, with a rainbow about his head. She saw also as if he bowed his head with his face to the paved work that was under the Prince's feet, saying, 'I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing of me into this place.' Then shouted a company of them that stood around about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said but CHRISTIAN and his companions.

"Next morning, when she was up, and had prayed to God, and talked with her children awhile, one knocked hard at the door; to whom she spake out saying, 'If thou comest in God's name, come in.' So he said, 'Amen,' and opened the door, and saluted her with, 'Peace be to this house!' The which when he had done, he said, 'CHRISTIANA, knowest thou wherefore I am come?' Then she blushed and trembled; also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, 'My name is SECRET: I dwell with those that are high. It is talked of where I dwell as if thou hadst a desire to go thither; also there is a report that thou art aware of the evil thou hast formerly done to thy husband in hardening of thy heart against his way, and in keeping of these thy babes in their ignorance. CHRISTIANA, the merciful One has sent me to tell thee that he is a God ready to forgive; and that he takes delight to multiply pardon to offences. He also would have thee know that he inviteth thee to come into his presence; to his table; and that he will feed thee with the fat of his house, and with the heritage of Jacob thy father.

"'There is CHRISTIAN, thy husband that was, with legions more, his companions, ever beholding that face that doth minister life to beholders; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of thy feet step over thy Father's threshold.'

"CHRISTIANA at this was greatly abashed in herself; and bowed her head to the ground, this visitor proceeded, and said, 'CHRISTIANA, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought from thy husband's King.' So she took it and opened it; but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume,

"Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee."
~ Song of Solomon 1:3 ~

also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter was, 'That the King would have her do as did CHRISTIAN her husband; for that was the way to come to his City, and to dwell in his presence with joy for ever.' At this the good woman was quite overcome. So she cried out to her visitor. 'Sir, will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship this King?'

"Then said the visitor, 'CHRISTIANA! the bitter is before the sweet. Thou must through troubles, as did he that went before thee, enter this Celestial City. Wherefore I advise thee to do as did CHRISTIAN thy husband: go to the wicket gate yonder, over the plain, for that stands in the head of the way up which thou must go; and I wish thee all good speed. Also I advise that thou put this letter in thy bosom. That thou read therein to thyself and to thy children, until you have got it by heart. For it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this house of thy pilgrimage.

"Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
~ Psalms 119:54 ~

Also this thou must deliver in at the further gate.'"

Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentleman, as he told me this story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He moreover, proceeded and said, "So CHRISTIANA called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them, 'My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the death of your father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have also been much affected with the thoughts of mine own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriages also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both my own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.

"'The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement that this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone to the gate that leads to the celestial country; that we may see your father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.'

"Then did her children burst out into tears for joy that the heart of their mother was so inclined. So their visitor bade them farewell: and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.

A Visit From Mrs. Timorous and Mercy

"But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women that were CHRISTIANA'S neighbours came up to her house, and knocked at her door. To whom she said, as before, 'If you come in God's name, come in.' At this the women were stunned; for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of CHRISTIANA. Yet they came in; but behold, they found the good woman preparing to be gone from her house.

"So they began, and said, 'Neighbour, pray what is your meaning by this?'

"CHRISTIANA answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. TIMOROUS, 'I am preparing for a journey.' (This TIMOROUS was daughter to him that met CHRISTIAN upon the Hill Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions.)

"Timorous. For what journey, I pray you?

"Chris. Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a-weeping.

"Tim. I hope not so, good neighbour. Pray, for your poor children's sakes, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.

"Chris. Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind.

"Tim. I wonder, in my very heart, what or who has brought you into this mind.

"Chris. Oh, neighbour, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go with me.

"Tim. Prithee, what new knowledge hast thou got that so worketh off thy mind from thy friends, and that tempteth thee to go nobody knows where?

"Chris. Then CHRISTIANA replied, 'I have been sorely afflicted since my husband's departure from me; but specially since he went over the river. But that which troubles me most is, my churlish carriages to him when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then; nothing will serve me but going on pilgrimage. I was dreaming last night that I saw him. Oh that my soul was with him! He dwells in the presence of the King of the country; he sits and eats with him at his table; he is become a companion of immortals; and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palaces on earth if compared, seem to me to be but as a dunghill.

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 ~

The Prince of the place has also sent for me, with promise of entertainment if I shall come to him. His messenger was here even now, and has brought me a letter, which invites me to come.' And with that she plucked out her letter, and read it, and said to them, 'What now will you say to this?'

"Tim. Oh, the madness that has possessed thee and thy husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbour OBSTINATE, can yet testify; for he went along with him, yea, and PLIABLE too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any farther. We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, APOLLYON, the Shadow of Death, and many other things. Nor is the danger that he met with at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by thee. For if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou, being but a poor woman, do? Consider, also, that these four sweet babes are thy children, thy flesh and thy bones. Wherefore, though thou shouldst be so rash as to cast away thyself, yet, for the sake of the fruit of thy body, keep thou at home.

"But CHRISTIANA said unto her, 'Tempt me not, my neighbour; I have now a price put into mine hand to get gain, and I should be a fool of the greatest size if I should have no heart to strike in with the opportunity. And for that you tell me of all these troubles that I am like to meet with in the way, they are so far off from being to me a discouragement, that they show I am in the right. The bitter must come before the sweet; and that also will make the sweet the sweeter. Wherefore, since you came not to my house in God's name, as I said, I pray you to be gone, and not to disquiet me further.'

"Then TIMOROUS also reviled her, and said to her fellow, 'Come, neighbour MERCY, let's leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.' But MERCY was at a stand, and could not so readily comply with her neighbour; and that for a twofold reason. First, her bowels yearned over CHRISTIANA; so she said within herself, 'If my neighbour will needs be gone, I will go a little way with her, and help her.' Secondly, her bowels yearned over her own soul (for what CHRISTIANA had said had taken some hold upon her mind). Wherefore she said within herself again, 'I will yet have more talk with this CHRISTIANA: and if I find truth and life in what she shall say, myself with my heart shall also go with her.' Wherefore MERCY began thus to reply to her neighbour TIMOROUS.

"Mercy. Neighbour, I did indeed come with you to see CHRISTIANA this morning; and since she is, as you see, a taking of her last farewell of her country, I think to walk this sunshiny morning a little way with her to help her on the way.

"But she told her not of her second reason; but kept that to herself.

"Tim. Well, I see you have a mind to go a-fooling too; but take heed in time, and be wise: while we are out of danger we are out; but when we are in we are in.

"So Mrs. TIMOROUS returned to her house, and CHRISTIANA betook herself to her journey. But when TIMOROUS was got home to her house, she sent for some of her neighbours: to wit, Mrs. BAT'S-EYES, Mrs. INCONSIDERATE, Mrs. LIGHT-MIND, and Mrs. KNOW-NOTHING. So when they were come to her house, she fell to telling the story of CHRISTIANA and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:

"Tim. Neighbours, having had little to do this morning, I went to give CHRISTIANA a visit; and when I came at the door I knocked, as you know 't is our custom. And she answered, 'If you come in God's name, come in.' So in I went, thinking all was well; but when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that; and she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.

"Mrs. Know-nothing. Then said Mrs. KNOW-NOTHING, 'And what, do you think she will go?'

"Tim.Aye, go she will, whatever come on't; and methinks I know it by this, for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way), is one great argument with her to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, the bitter goes before the sweet. Yea, and for as much as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.

"Mrs. Bat's-eyes. 'Oh, this blind and foolish woman,' said she; 'will she not take warning by her husband's afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.'

"Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, 'Away with such fantastical fools from the town--a good riddance, for my part, I say, of her. Should she stay where she dwells, and retain this her mind, who could live quietly by her? for she will either be dumpish or unneighbourly, or talk of such matters as no wise body can abide. Wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure; let her go, and let better come in her room: 't was never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.'

"Then Mrs. Light-mind added as follows: 'Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam WANTON'S, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I, and Mrs. LOVE-THE-FLESH, and three or four more, with Mr. LECHERY, Mrs. FILTH, and some others. So there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say, my lady herself is an admirably well bred gentlewoman, and Mr. LECHERY is as pretty a fellow.'


"By this time CHRISTIANA was got on her way; and MERCY went along with her. So as they went, her children being there also, CHRISTIANA began to discourse. And, 'MERCY,' said CHRISTIANA, 'I take this as an unexpected favour that thou shouldst set foot out of doors with me, to accompany me a little in my way.'

"Mercy. Then said young MERCY (for she was but young), 'If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you, I would never go near the town any more.'

"Chris. 'Well, MERCY,' said CHRISTIANA, 'cast in thy lot with me. I well know what will be the end of our pilgrimage: my husband is where he would not but be for all the gold in the Spanish mines. Nor shalt thou be rejected, though thou goest but upon my invitation. The King who hath sent for me and my children is one that delights in mercy. Besides, if thou wilt, I will hire thee, and thou shalt go along with me as my servant. Yet we will have all things in common betwixt thee and me; only go along with me.'

"Mer. But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained? Had I this hope but from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all; but would go, being helped by him that can help, though the way was never so tedious.

"Chris. Well, loving MERCY, I will tell thee what thou shalt do. Go with me to the wicket gate, and there I will further inquire for thee; and if there thou shalt not meet with encouragement, I will be content that thou shalt return to thy place. I also will pay thee for thy kindness which thou showest to me and my children, in thy accompanying of us in our way as thou doest.

"Mer. Then will I go thither, and will take what shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall even as the King of heaven shall have his heart upon me!

"CHRISTIANA then was glad in her heart, not only that she had a companion, but also for that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation. So they went on together; and MERCY began to weep. Then said CHRISTIANA, 'Wherefore weepest my sister so?'

"Mer. 'Alas!' said she, 'who can but lament that shall but rightly consider what a state and condition my poor relations are in that yet remain in our sinful town? and that which makes my grief the more heavy is, because they have no instructor, nor any to tell them what is to come.'

"Chris. Bowels becomes pilgrims. And thou dost for thy friends as my good CHRISTIAN did for me when he left me; he mourned for that I would not heed nor regard him; but his Lord and ours did gather up his tears, and put them into his bottle; and now both I, and thou, and these my sweet babes, are reaping the fruit and benefit of them. I hope, MERCY, these tears of thine will not be lost: for the truth hath said, that 'they that sow in tears shall reap in joy, in singing. And he that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him'.

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
~ Psalms 126:5, 6 ~

"Then said MERCY:

'Let the Most Blessed be my guide,
If it be his blessed will,
Unto his gate, into his fold,
Up to his holy hill.

And let him never suffer me
To swerve or turn aside
From his free grace and holy ways,
Whate'er shall me betide.

And let him gather them of mine
That I have left behind.
Lord, make them pray they may be Thine,
With all their heart and mind."'

Now my old friend proceeded, and said, "But when CHRISTIANA came up to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand: 'For,' said she, 'this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered with mud.' She perceived also, that notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly." So I asked if that was true? "Yes," said the old gentleman, "too true. For that many there be that pretend to be the King's labourers, and that say they are for mending the King's highway, that bring din and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending. Here CHRISTIANA therefore, with her boys, did make a stand. But said MERCY, 'Come, let us venture, only let us be wary.' Then they looked well to the steps, and made a shift to get staggeringly over.

"Yet CHRISTIANA had like to have been in, and that not once nor twice. Now they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, 'Blessed is she that believes; for there shall be a performance of those things that have been told her from the Lord'.

"And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
~ Luke 1:45 ~

"Then they went on again. And said MERCY to CHRISTIANA, 'Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the wicket gate as you, I think no Slough of Despond would discourage me.'

"'Well,' said the other, 'you know your sore, and I know mine, and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come at our journey's end. For can it be imagined, that the people that design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are, but that we shall meet with what fears and scares, with what troubles and afflictions, they can possibly assault us with that hate us? '"

The Pilgrim's Progress - Part Two
The Author's Way of Sending Forth His Second Part of the Pilgrim | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26
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