John Bunyan (16281688). The Pilgrims Progress. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Pilgrims Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream; The Second Part
Then said the Giant, Thou practisest the craft of a Kidnapper, thou gatherest up Women and Children, and carriest them into a strange Country, to the weakening of my masters Kingdom. But now Great-heart replied, I am a servant of the God of Heaven, my business is to persuade sinners to repentance, I am commanded to do my endeavour to turn Men Women and Children, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; and if this be indeed the ground of thy quarrel, let us fall to it as soon as thou wilt.
Then the Giant came up, and Mr Great-heart went to meet him; and as he went he drew his Sword, but the Giant had a Club. So without more ado they fell to it, and at the first blow the Giant stroke Mr Great-heart down upon one of his knees; with that the Women and Children cried out; so Mr Great-heart recovering himself, laid about him in full lusty manner, and gave the Giant a wound in his arm; thus he fought for the space of an hour to that height of heat, that the breath came out of the Giants nostrils, as the heat doth out of a boiling Caldron.
When they had rested them, and taken breath, they both fell to it again, and Mr Great-heart with a full blow fetched the Giant down to the ground. Nay hold and let me recover, quoth he. So Mr Great-heart fairly let him get up. So to it they went again, and the Giant missed but little of all to breaking Mr Great-hearts skull with his Club.
Mr Great-heart seeing that, runs to him in the full heat of his spirit, and pierceth him under the fifth rib; with that the Giant began to faint, and could hold up his Club no longer. Then Mr Great-heart seconded his blow, and smit the head of the Giant from his shoulders. Then the Women and Children rejoiced, and Mr Great-heart also praised God for the deliverance he had wrought.
Now I saw that they went to the Ascent that was a little way off cast up to be a Prospect for Pilgrims, (that was the place from whence Christian had the first sight of Faithful his Brother) wherefore here they sat down and rested, they also here did eat and drink and make merry, for that they had gotten deliverance from this so dangerous an Enemy. As they sat thus and did eat, Christiana asked the Guide if he had caught no hurt in the Battle. Then said Mr Great-heart, No. save a little on my flesh; yet that also shall be so far from being to my determent, that it is at present a proof of my love to my Master and you, and shall be a means by Grace to increase my reward at last.
Matt. When you all have thought what you please, I think God has been wonderful good unto us, both in bringing us out of this Valley, and in delivering us out of the hand of this Enemy; for my part I see no reason why we should distrust our God any more, since he has now, and in such as place as this, given as such testimony of his love as this.
Then they got up and went forward. Now a little before them stood an Oak, and under it when they came to it, they found an old Pilgrim fast asleep; they knew that he was a Pilgrim by his Cloaths and his Staff and his Girdle.
Great-heart. Come man be not so hot, here is none but Friends: yet the old man gets up and stands upon his guard, and will know of them what they were. Then said the Guide, My name is Great-heart, I am the Guide of these Pilgrims which are going to the Clestial Country.
Honest. Then said Mr Honest, I cry you mercy, I feard that you had been of the company of those that some time ago did rob Little-faith of his money; but now I look better about me, I perceive you are honester people.
Hon. Done! why I would a fought as long as breath had been in me; and had I so done, I am sure you could never have given me the worst ont; for a Christian can never be overcome, unless he shall yield of himself.
Great-heart. Oh! are you that Countryman then? I deem I have half a guess of you, your name is Old Honesty, is it not? So the old Gentleman blushed, and said, Not Honesty in the abstract, but Honest is my name, and I wish that my nature shall agree to what I am called.
Great-heart. I had heard of you before, by my Master, for he knows all things that are done on the Earth; but I have often wondered that any should come from your place, for your Town is worse than is the City of Destruction itself.
Hon. Yes, we lie more off from the Sun, and so are more cold and senseless; but was a man in a Mountain of Ice, yet if the Sun of Righteousness will arise upon him his frozen heart shall feel a thaw; and thus it hath been with me.
Chris. Then said Christiana, My name I suppose you have heard of, good Christian was my Husband, and these four were his Children. But can you think how the old Gentleman was taken, when she told them who she was! He skipped, he smiled, and blessed them with a thousand good wishes, saying,
Hon. I have heard much of your Husband, and of his travels and Wars which he underwent in his days. Be it spoken to your comfort, the name of your Husband rings over all these parts of the world: his Faith, his Courage, his Enduring, and his Sincerity under all, has made his name famous. Then he turned him to the Boys, and asked them of their names, which they told him. And then said he unto them, Matthew, be thou like Matthew the Publican, not in vice but in vertue. Samuel, said he, be thou like Samuel the Prophet, a man of faith and prayer. Joseph, said he, be thou like Joseph in Potiphars house, chaste, and one that flies from temptation. And James be thou like James the Just and like James the Brother of our Lord.
Then they told him of Mercy, and how she had left her Town and her Kindred to come along with Christiana and with her Sons. At that the old honest man said, Mercy is thy name? by Mercy shalt thou be sustained, and carried through all those difficulties that shall assault thee in thy way, till thou shalt come thither where thou shalt look the Fountain of Mercy in the face with comfort.
Great-heart. Why, he was always afraid that he should come short of whither he had a desire to go. Everything frightened him that he heard anybody speak of, that had but the least appearance of opposition in it. I hear that he lay roaring at the Slough of Dispond for above a month together, nor durst he, for all he saw several go over before him, venture, tho they, many of them, offered to lend him their hand. He would not go back again neither. The Clestial City, he said, he should die if he came not to it, and yet was dejected at every difficulty, and stumbled at every Straw that anybody cast in his way. Well, after he had lain at the Slough of Dispond a great while, as I have told you; one Sun-shine morning, I do not know how, he ventured, and so got over. But when he was over, he would scarce believe it. He had, I think, a Slough of Dispond in his mind, a Slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never have been as he was. So he came up to the Gate, you know what I mean, that stands at the head of this way, and there also he stood a good while before he would adventure to knock. When the Gate was opened he would give back, and give place to others, and say that he was not worthy; for for all he gat before some to the Gate, yet many of them went in before him. There the poor man would stand shaking and shrinking; I dare say it would have pitied ones heart to have seen him, nor would he go back again. At last he took the Hammer that hanged on the Gate in his hand, and gave a small Rap or two; then one opened to him, but he shrank back as before. He that opened stept out after him, and said, Thou trembling one, what wantest thou? With that he fell down to the ground. He that spoke to him wondered to see him so faint. So he said to him, Peace be to thee, up, for I have set open the door to thee, come in, for thou art blest. With that he gat up, and went in trembling, and when he was in, he was ashamed to shew his face. Well, after he had been entertained there a while, as you know how the manner is, he was bid go on his way, and also told the way he should take. So he came till he came to our house. But as he behaved himself at the Gate, so he did at my Master the Interpreters door. He lay thereabout in the cold a good while, before he would adventure to call, yet he would not go back, and the nights were long and cold then. Nay he had a Note of Necessity in his bosom to my Master, to receive him and grant him the comfort of his house, and also to allow him a stout and valiant Conduct because he was himself so chickin-hearted a man; and yet for all that he was afraid to call at the door. So he lay up and down thereabouts till, poor man, he was almost starved. Yea so great was his Dejection, that tho he saw several others for knocking got in, yet he was afraid to venture. At last, I think I looked out of the window, and perceiving a man to be up and down about the door, I went out to him, and asked what he was; but, poor man, the water stood in his eyes; so I perceived what he wanted. I went therefore in and told it in the house, and we shewed the thing to our Lord. So he sent me out again, to entreat him to come in; but I dare say I had hard work to do it. At last he came in, and I will say that for my Lord, he carried it wonderful lovingly to him. There were but few good bits at the Table but some of it was laid upon his trencher. Then he presented the Note, and my Lord looked thereon, and said his desire should be granted. So when he had been there a good while, he seemed to get some heart, and to be a little more comfortable; for my Master, you must know, is one of very tender bowels, specially to them that are afraid; wherefore he carried it so towards him as might tend most to his encouragement. Well, when he had had a sight of the things of the place, and was ready to take his Journey to go to the City, my Lord, as he did to Christian before, gave him a Bottle of Spirits, and some comfortable things to eat. Thus we set forward, and I went before him; but the man was but of few words, only he would sigh aloud.
He is a little encouraged at the Interpreters house
When we were come to where the three fellows were hanged, he said that he doubted that that would be his end also. Only he seemed glad when he saw the Cross and the Sepulchre. There I confess he desired to stay a little to look, and he seemed for a while after to be a little cheery. When we came to the Hill Difficulty, he made no stick at that, nor did he much fear the Lions; for you must know that his trouble was not about such things as those, his fear was about his acceptance at last.
He was greatly afraid when he saw the gibbet; cheery when he saw the cross
I got him at the House Beautiful, I think, before he was willing. Also when he was in, I brought him acquainted with the Damsels that were of the place, but he was ashamed to make himself much for company. He desired much to be alone, yet he always loved good talk, and often would get behind the Screen to hear it. He also loved much to see antient things, and to be pondering them in his mind. He told me afterwards that he loved to be in those two houses from which he came last, to wit, at the Gate, and that of the Interpreters, but that he durst not be so bold to ask.
When we went also from the House Beautiful, down the Hill into the Valley of Humiliation, he went down as well as ever I saw man in my life; for he cared not how mean he was, so he might be happy at last. Yea, I think there was a kind of sympathy betwixt that Valley and him, for I never saw him better in all his Pilgrimage than when he was in that Valley.
But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back, that he always abhorred, but he was ready to die for fear. O, the Hobgoblins will have me, the Hobgoblins will have me, cried he, and I could not beat him out ont. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, twas enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us.
Much perplexed in the Valley of the Shadow of Death
But this I took very great notice of, that this Valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose these Enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle until Mr Fearing was past over it.
It would be too tedious to tell you of all. We will therefore only mention a passage or two more. When he was come at Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all the men in the Fair. I feared there we should both have been knockd o the head, so hot was he against their fooleries. Upon the Inchanted Ground he was also very wakeful. But when he was come at the River where was no Bridge, there again he was in a heavy case. Now, now, he said, he should be drowned for ever, and so never see that face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold.
And here also I took notice of what was very remarkable, the Water of that River was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life. So he went over at last, not much above wet-shod. When he was going up to the Gate, Mr Great-heart began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above. So he said, I shall, I shall. Then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more.
Great-heart. Yes, yes; I never had doubt about him; he was a man of a choice spirit, only he was always kept very low, and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so troublesome to others. He was above many tender of sin. He was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he often would deny himself of that which was lawful, because he would not offend.
Great-heart. There are two sorts of reasons for it. One is, the wise God will have it so, some must pipe and some must weep. Now Mr Fearing was one that played upon this Base; he and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other Musick are; though indeed some say the Base is the Ground of Musick. And for my part I care not at all for that profession that begins not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the Musician usually touches is the Base, when he intends to put all in tune. God also plays upon this string first, when he sets the soul in tune for himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr Fearing, he could play upon no other Musick but this, till towards his latter end.
I make bold to talk thus metaphorically, for the ripening of the Wits of young Readers; and because in the Book of the Revelations, the saved are compared to a company of Musicians that play upon their Trumpets and Harps, and sing their Songs before the Throne.
Hon. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him. Difficulties, Lions or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all. Twas only Sin Death and Hell that was to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that Clestial Country.
Great-heart. You say right. Those were the things that were his troublers, and they, as you have well observed, arose from the weakness of his mind there-about, not from weakness of spirit as to the practical part of a Pilgrims life. I dare believe that, as the Proverb is, he could have bit a Fire-brand, had it stood in his way; but the things with which he was oppressed, no man ever yet could shake off with ease.
Chris. Then said Christiana, This relation of Mr Fearing has done me good. I thought nobody had been like me, but I see there was some semblance twixt this good man and I, only we differed in two things. His troubles were so great, they brake out, but mine I kept within. His also lay so hard upon him, they made him that he could not knock at the houses provided for Entertainment, but my trouble was always such as made me knock the louder.
Mercy. If I might also speak my heart, I must say that something of him has also dwelt in me; for I have ever been more afraid of the Lake and the loss of a place in Paradise, than I have been of the loss of other things, Oh, thought I, may I have the happiness to have a habitation there, tis enough, though I part with all the world to win it.
Matt. Then said Matthew, Fear was one thing that made me think that I was far from having that within me that accompanies Salvation, but if it was so with such a good man as he, why may it not also go well with me?
Great-heart. Well said, James, thou hast hit the mark, for the fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom, and to be sure they that want the beginning have neither middle nor end. But we will here conclude our discourse of Mr Fearing, after we have sent after him this farewell.
Now I saw that they still went on in their talk; for after Mr Great-heart had made an end with Mr Fearing, Mr Honest began to tell them of another, but his name was Mr Self-will. He pretended himself to be a Pilgrim, said Mr Honest, but I persuade myself he never came in at the Gate that stands at the head of the way.
Hon. Yes, more than once or twice, but he would always be like himself, self-willed. He neither cared for man, nor argument, nor yet example; what his mind prompted him to do, that he would do, and nothing else could he be got to.
Great-heart. How? if he had said tis possible for the best to be guilty of the Vices, as well as to partake of the Vertues of Pilgrims, he could not much have been blamed. For indeed we are exempted from no Vice absolutely, but on condition that we watch and strive. But this I perceive is not the thing; but if I understand you right, your meaning is, that he was of that opinion, that it was allowable so to be?
Hon. So I will. He said to have to do with other mens Wives had been practised by David, Gods beloved, and therefore he could do it. He said to have more Women than one, was a thing that Solomon practised, and therefore he could do it. He said that Sarah and the godly Midwives of Egypt lied, and so did save Rahab, and therefore he could do it. He said that the Disciples went at the bidding of their Master, and took away the owners Ass, and therefore he could do so too. He said that Jacob got the Inheritance of his Father in a way of Guile and Dissimulation, and therefore he could do so too.
Great-heart. But what more false than such a conclusion? for this is as much as to say, that because good men heretofore have sinned of infirmity, therefore he had allowance to do it of a presumptuous mind. Or if because a Child by the Blast of the Wind, or for that it stumbled at a Stone, fell down and defiled itself in mire, therefore he might wilfully lie down and wallow like a Boar therein. Who could a thought that any one could so far a been blinded by the power of Lust? But what is written must be true, They stumble at the word being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.
His supposing that such may have the godly mans Vertues, who addict themselves to their Vices, is also a delusion as strong as the other. Tis just as if the Dog should say, I have or may have the qualities of the Child, because I lick up its stinking Excrements. To eat up the Sin of Gods People, is no sign of one that is possessed with their Vertues. Nor can I believe that one that is of this opinion can at present have Faith or Love in him. But I know you have made strong objections against him, prithee what can he say for himself?
Great-heart. A very wicked answer, for tho to let loose the Bridle to Lusts while our opinions are against such things, is bad; yet to sin and plead a toleration so to do, is worse. The one stumbles Beholders accidentally, the other pleads them into the Snare.
Hon. You say right, and yet the generality of them that count themselves Pilgrims do indeed do thus. I am, as you see, an old man, and have been a traveller in this road many a day, and I have taken notice of many things.
Great-heart. Then said Mr Great-heart, They be the three that set upon Little-faith heretofore. Well, said he, we are ready for them. So they went on their way. Now they looked at every turning, when they should a met with the Villains; but whether they heard of Mr Great-heart, or whether they had some other game, they came not up to the Pilgrims.
Christiana then wished for an Inn for herself and her Children, because they were weary. Then said Mr Honest, There is one a little before us, where a very honorable Disciple, one Gaius, dwells. So they all concluded to turn in thither, and the rather because the old Gentleman gave him so good a report. So when they came to the door, they went in, not knocking, for Folks use not to knock at the door of an Inn. Then they called for the Master of the house, and he came to them. So they asked if they might lie there that night?
Gaius. Yes Gentlemen, if you be true men, for my house is for none but Pilgrims. Then was Christiana, Mercy and the Boys the more glad, for that the Innkeeper was a lover of Pilgrims. So they called for Rooms and he shewed them one for Christiana and her Children and Mercy, and another for Mr Great-heart and the old Gentleman.
Then he went down and spake to the Cook, whose name was Taste-that-which-is-good, to get ready Supper for so many Pilgrims. This done, he comes up again, saying, Come my good Friends, you are welcome to me, and I am glad that I have a house to entertain you; and while Supper is making ready, if you please, let us entertain one another with some good discourse. So they all said, Content.