John Bunyan (16281688). The Pilgrims Progress. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Pilgrims Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream; The First Part
Chr. What I promised thee was in my nonage; and besides, I count that the Prince under whose Banner now I stand is able to absolve me; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee; and besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his Service, his Wages, his Servants, his Government, his Company and Country, better than thine; and therefore leave off to persuade me further; I am his Servant and I will follow him.
Apol. Consider again when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way thou that goest. Thou knowest that for the most part, his Servants come to an ill end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways: How many of them have been put to shameful deaths; and besides, thou contest his service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place where he is to deliver any that served him out of our hands; but as for me, how many times, as all the World very well knows, have I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them; and so I will deliver thee.
Apollyon pleads the grievous ends of Christians, to dissuade Christian from persisting in his way
Chr. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end; and as for the ill end sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account; for present deliverance, they do not much expect it, for they stay for their Glory, and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the Glory of the Angels.
Apol. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the Gulf of Dispond; thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy Burden, whereas thou shouldst have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off; thou didst sinfully sleep and lose thy choice thing; thou wast also almost persuaded to go back, at the sight of the Lions; and when thou talkest of thy Journey, and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.
Apollyon pleads Christians infirmities against him
Chr. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to forgive; but besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy Country, for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained Pardon of my Prince.
Apol. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter, prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal Den, that thou shalt go no further; here will I spill thy soul.
Then did Christian draw, for he saw twas time to bestir him: and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing Darts as thick as Hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot: This made Christian give a little back; Apollyon therefore followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore Combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker.
Christian wounded in his understanding, faith, and conversation
Then Apollyon espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christians Sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now: and with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life: but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his Sword, and caught it, saying, Rejoice not against me, O mine Enemy! when I fall I shall arise; and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound: Christian, perceiving that, made at him again, saying, Nay, in all these things we are more than Conquerors through him that loved us. And with that Apollyon spread forth his Dragons wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more.
In this Combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight, he spake like a Dragon; and on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from Christians heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged Sword; then indeed he did smile, and look upward; but twas the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw.
Then there came to him a hand, with some of the leaves of the Tree of Life, the which Christian took, and applied to the wounds that he had received in the Battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat down in that place to eat Bread, and to drink of the Bottle that was given him a little before; so being refreshed, he addressed himself to his Journey, with his Sword drawn in his hand; for he said, I know not but some other Enemy may be at hand. But he met with no other affront from Apollyon quite through this Valley.
Christian goes on his journey with his sword drawn in his hand
Now at the end of this Valley was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and Christian must needs go through it, because the way to the Clestial City lay through the midst of it. Now, this Valley is a very solitary place. The Prophet Jeremiah thus describes it: A wilderness, a land of deserts and of pits, a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, a land that no man (but a Christian) passeth through, and where no man dwelt.
I saw then in my Dream, that when Christian was got to the borders of the Shadow of Death, there met him two men, Children of them that brought up an evil report of the good land, making haste to go back; to whom Christian spake as follows,
Men. Matter! said they; we were going that way as you are going, and went as far as we durst; and indeed we were almost past coming back; for had we gone a little further, we had not been here to bring the news to thee.
Men. Seen! Why, the Valley itself, which is as dark as pitch; we also saw there the Hobgoblins, Satyrs, and Dragons of the Pit; we heard also in that Valley a continual howling and yelling, as of a people under unutterable misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons; and over that Valley hangs the discouraging clouds of Confusion; Death also doth always spread his wings over it. In a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without Order.
I saw then in my Dream, so far as this Valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep Ditch; that Ditch is it into which the blind have led the blind in all ages, and have both there miserably perished. Again, behold on the left hand, there was a very dangerous Quag, into which, if even good man falls, he can find no bottom for his foot to stand on. Into that Quag King David once did fall, and had no doubt therein been smothered, had not he that is able pluck him out.
The path-way was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good Christian was the more put to it; for when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other; also when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch. Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly; for, besides the dangers mentioned above, the path-way was here so dark, that ofttimes, when he lift up his foot to set forward, he knew not where, or upon what he should set it next.
About the midst of this Valley, I perceived the mouth of Hell to be, and it stood also hard by the wayside. Now thought Christian, what shall I do? And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises (things that cared not for Christians Sword, as did Apollyon before) that he was forced to put up his Sword, and betake himself to another weapon, called All-prayer. So he cried in my hearing, O Lord I beseech thee deliver my Soul. Thus he went on a great while, yet still the flames would be reaching towards him: Also he heard doleful voices, and rushings to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in prices, or trodden down like mire in the Streets. This frightful sight was seen, and these dreadful noises were heard by him for several miles together; and coming to a place where he thought he heard a company of Fiends coming forward to meet him, he stopt, and began to muse what he had best to do. Sometimes he had half a thought to go back; then again he thought he might be half way through the Valley; he remembered also how he had already vanquished many a danger, and that the danger of going back might be much more than for to go forward; so he resolved to go on. Yet the Fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer; but when they were come even almost at him, he cried out with a most vehement voice, I will walk in the strength of the Lord God; so they gave back, and came no further.
One thing I would not let slip; I took notice that now poor Christian was so confounded, that he did not know his own voice; and thus I perceived it; Just when he was come over against the mouth of the burning Pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stept up softly to him, and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind. This put Christian more to it than anything that he met with before, even to think that he should now blaspheme him that he loved so much before; yet, if he could have helped it, he would not have done it; but he had not the discretion neither to stop his ears, nor to know from whence those blasphemies came.
Christian made believe that he spake blasphemies, when it was Satan that suggested them into the mind
When Christian had travelled in this disconsolate condition some considerable time, he thought he heard the voice of a man, going before him saying, Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear none ill, for thou art with me.
Secondly, For that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark and dismal state; and why not, thought he, with me? though by reason of the impediment that attends this place, I cannot perceive it.
Thirdly, For that he hoped, could he overtake them, to have company by and by. So he went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what to answer, for that he also thought himself to be alone. And by and by the day broke; then said Christian, He hath turned the Shadow of Death into the morning.
Now morning being come, he looked back, not out of desire to return, but to see, by the light of the day, what hazards he had gone through in the dark. So he saw more perfectly the Ditch that was on the one hand, and the Quag that was on the other; also how narrow the way was which led betwixt them both; also now he saw the Hobgoblins, and Satyrs, and Dragons of the Pit, but all afar off; for after break of day, they came not nigh; yet they were discovered to him, according to that which is written, He discovered deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the Shadow of Death.
Now was Christian much affected with his deliverance from all the dangers of his solitary way; which dangers, though he feared them more before, yet he saw them more clearly now, because the light of the day made them conspicuous to him. And about this time the Sun was rising, and this was another mercy to Christian; for you must note, that though the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous, yet this second part which he was yet to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous: for from the place where he now stood, even to the end of the Valley, the way was all along set so full of Snares, Traps, Gins, and Nets here, and so full of Pits, Pitfalls, deep Holes, and Shelvings down there, that had it now been dark, as it was when he came the first part of the way, had he had a thousand souls, they had in reason been cast away; but as I said, just now the Sun was rising. Then said he, His candle shineth on my head, and by his light I go through darkness.
In this light therefore he came to the end of the Valley. Now I saw in my Dream, that at the end of this Valley lay blood, bones, ashes, and mangled bodies of men, even of Pilgrims that had gone this way formerly; and while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a Cave, where two Giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old time; by whose power and tyranny the men whose bones, blood, ashes, &c. lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered; but I have learnt since, that Pagan has been dead many a day; and as for the other, though he be yet alive, he is by reason of age, and also of the many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy, and stiff in his joints, that he can now do little more than sit in his Caves mouth, grinning at Pilgrims as they go by, and biting his nails, because he cannot come to them.
So I saw that Christian went on his way; yet at the sight of the Old Man that sat in the mouth of the Cave, he could not tell what to think, specially because he spake to him, though he could not go after him, saying, You will never mend till more of you be burned: But he held his peace, and set a good face ont, and so went by and catcht no hurt. Then sang Christian,
O world of wonders! (I can say no less)
That I should be preservd in that distress
That I have met with here! O blessed be
That hand that from it hath delivered me!
Dangers in darkness, Devils, Hell, and Sin,
Did compass me, while I this Vale was in:
Yea, Snares, and Pits, and Traps, and Nets did lie
My path about, that worthless silly I
Might have been catchd, intangled, and cast down;
Now as Christian went on his way, he came to a little ascent, which was cast up on purpose that Pilgrims might see before them. Up there therefore Christian went, and looking forward, he saw Faithful before him, upon his Journey. Then said Christian aloud, Ho, ho, So-ho; stay, and I will be your Companion. At that Faithful looked behind him; to whom Christian cried again, Stay, stay, till I come up to you: But Faithful answered, No, I am upon my life, and the Avenger of Blood is behind me.
At this Christian was somewhat moved, and putting to all his strength, he quickly got up with Faithful, and did also overrun him, so the last was first. Then did Christian vain-gloriously smile, because he had gotten the start of his Brother; but not taking good heed to his feet, he suddenly stumbled and fell, and could not rise again, until Faithful came up to help him.
Faith. Though there was, as I said, a great talk thereabout, yet I do not think they did firmly believe it. For in the heat of the discourse, I heard some of them deridingly speak of you and of your desperate Journey, (for so they called this your Pilgrimage) but I did believe, and do still, that the end of our City will be with Fire and Brimstone from above; and therefore I have made mine escape.
Faith. Yes Christian, I heard that he followed you till he came at the Slough of Dispond, where, as some said, he fell in; but he would not be known to have so done; but I am sure he was soundly bedabbled with that kind of dirt.
Faith. He hath since his going back been had greatly in derision, and that among all sorts of people; some do mock and despise him; and scarce will any set him on work. He is now seven times worse than if he had never gone out of the City.
Faith. Oh, they say, Hang him, he is a Turncoat, he was not true to his profession: I think God has stirred up even his Enemies to hiss at him, and make him a Proverb, because he hath forsaken the way.
Chr. Well, at my first setting out, I had hopes of that man; but now I fear he will perish in the overthrow of the City, for it is happened to him according to the true Proverb, The Dog is turned to his Vomit again, and the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the Mire.
Chr. Well Neighbor Faithful, said Christian, let us leave him, and talk of things that more immediately concern ourselves. Tell me now, what you have met with in the way as you came; for I know you have met with some things, or else it may be writ for a wonder.
Faith. No, not to defile myself; for I remembered an old writing that I had seen, which saith, Her steps take hold of Hell. So I shut mine eyes, because I would not be bewitched with her looks: then she railed on me, and I went my way.
Faith. When I came to the foot of the Hill called Difficulty, I met with a very aged Man, who asked me, What I was, and whither bound? I told him, That I was a Pilgrim, going to the Clestial City. Then said the old man, Thou lookest like an honest fellow; wilt thou be content to dwell with me for the wages that I shall give thee? Then I asked him his name, and where he dwelt? He said his name was Adam the First, and I dwell in the Town of Deceit. I asked him then, What was his work? and what the wages that he would give? He told me, That his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his Heir at last. I further asked him, What House he kept, and what other Servants he had? So he told me, That his House was maintained with all the dainties in the world; and that his Servants were those of his own begetting. Then I asked how many Children he had? He said that he had but three Daughters: The Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of the Eyes, and The Pride of Life, and that I should marry them all if I would. Then I asked him how long time he would have me live with him? And he told me, As long as he lived himself.
Faith. Why, at first, I felt myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, Put off the old man with his deeds.
Faith. Then it came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his House, he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his House. Then he reviled me, and told me that he would send such a one after me, that should make my way bitter to my Soul. So I turned to go away from him; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh and give me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself. This made me cry, O wretched Man! So I went on my way up the Hill.
Faith. But good Brother hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, he was but a word and a blow, for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again, I asked him wherefore he served me so? He said, Because of my secret inclining to Adam the First: and with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward, so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So when I came to myself again I cried him mercy; but he said, I know not how to shew mercy; and with that knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that one came by, and bid him forbear.
Faith. I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has met with me. Twas he that came to me when I dwelt securely at home, and that told me, He would burn my house over my head if I staid there.
Faith. Yes, and the Lions too, before I came at it: but for the Lions, I think they were asleep, for it was about Noon; and because I had so much of the day before me, I passed by the Porter, and came down the Hill.
Chr. He told me indeed that he saw you go by, but I wish you had called at the house, for they would have shewed you so many Rarities, that you would scarce have forgot them to the day of your death. But pray tell me, Did you meet nobody in the Valley of Humility?
Faith. Yes, I met with one Discontent, who would willingly have persuaded me to go back again with him; his reason was, for that the Valley was altogether without honour. He told me moreover, that there to go was the way to disobey all my friends, as Pride, Arrogancy, Self-conceit, Worldly-glory, with others, who he knew, as he said, would be very much offended, if I made such a Fool of myself as to wade through this Valley.
Faith. I told him, That although all these that he had named might claim kindred of me, and that rightly, (for indeed they were my Relations according to the flesh) yet since I became a Pilgrim they have disowned me, as I also have rejected them; and therefore they were to me now no more than if they had never been of my lineage. I told him moreover, that as to this Valley, he had quite misrepresented the thing; for before Honour is Humility, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Therefore said I, I had rather go through this Valley to the honour that was so accounted by the wisest, than chuse the way which he esteemed most worthy our affections.
Faith. Yes, I met with Shame; but of all the men that I met with in my Pilgrimage, he I think bears the wrong name. The other would be said nay, after a little argumentation, (and somewhat else) but this boldfaced Shame would never have done.
Faith. What! why he objected against Religion itself; he said it was a pitiful low sneaking business for a man to mind Religion; he said that a tender conscience was an unmanly thing; and that for a man to watch over his words and ways, so as to tie up himself from that hectoring liberty that the brave spirits of the times accustom themselves unto, would make him the ridicule of the times. He objected also, that but few of the Mighty, Rich, or Wise, were ever of my opinion; nor any of them neither, before they were persuaded to be Fools, and to be of a voluntary fondness to venture the loss of all, for nobody else knows what. He moreover objected the base and low estate and condition of those that were chiefly the Pilgrims of the times in which they lived: also their ignorance, and want of understanding in all Natural Science. Yea, he did hold me to it at that rate also, about a great many more things than here I relate; as, that it was a shame to sit whining and mourning tinder a Sermon, and a shame to come sighing and groaning home; that it was a shame to ask my Neighbour forgiveness for petty faults, or to make restitution where I had taken from any. He said also that Religion made a man grow strange to the great, because of a few vices (which he called by finer names) and made him own and respect the base, because of the same Religious Fraternity. And is not this, said he, a shame?
Faith. Say! I could not tell what to say at first. Yea, he put me so to it, that my blood came up in my face; even this Shame fetched it up, and had almost beat me quite off. But at last I began to consider, That that which is highly esteemed among Men, is had in abomination with God. And I thought again, this Shame tells me what men are; but it tells me nothing what God or the Word of God is. And I thought moreover, that at the day of doom, we shall not be doomed to death or life according to the hectoring spirits of the world, but according to the Wisdom and Law of the Highest. Therefore thought I, what God says is best, is best, though all the men in the world are against it. Seeing then that God prefers his Religion, seeing God prefers a tender Conscience, seeing they that make themselves Fools for the Kingdom of Heaven are wisest; and that the poor man that loveth Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates him; Shame depart, thou art an enemy to my Salvation: shall I entertain thee against my Sovereign Lord? How then shall I look him in the face at his coming? Should I now be ashamed of his ways and Servants, how can I expect the blessing? But indeed this Shame was a bold villain; I could scarce shake him out of my company; yea, he would be haunting of me, and continually whispering me in the ear, with some one or other of the infirmities that attend Religion; but at last I told him, Twas but in vain to attempt further in this business; for those things that he disdained, in those did I see most glory; and so at last I got past this importunate one. And when I had shaken him off, then I began to sing:
Chr. I am glad, my Brother, that thou didst withstand this Villain so bravely; for of all, as thou sayest, I think he has the wrong name; for he is so bold as to follow us in the Streets, and to attempt to put us to shame before all men; that is, to make us ashamed of that which is good: but if he was not himself audacious, he would never attempt to do as he does; but let us still resist him; for notwithstanding all his bravadoes, he promoteth the Fool and none else. The Wise shall inherit glory, said Solomon, but shame shall be the promotion of Fools.