John Bunyan (16281688). The Pilgrims Progress. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Pilgrims Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream; The Second Part
Great-heart. The Woman is the Wife of one Christian a Pilgrim of former times, and these are his four Children. The Maid is one of her Acquaintance, one that she hath persuaded to come with her on Pilgrimage. The Boys take all after their Father, and covet to tread in his steps; yea, if they do but see any place where the old Pilgrim hath lain, or any print of his foot, it ministreth joy to their hearts, and they covet to lie or tread in the same.
Gaius. Then said Gaius, Is this Christians Wife? and are these Christians Children? I knew your Husbands Father, yea, also his Fathers Father. Many have been good of this stock, their Ancestors dwelt first at Antioch. Christians Progenitors (I suppose you have heard your Husband talk of them) were very worthy men. They have above any that I know, shewed themselves men of great Vertue and Courage for the Lord of Pilgrims, his ways and them that loved him. I have heard of many of your Husbands Relations that have stood all trials for the sake of the Truth. Stephen that was one of the first of the Family from whence your Husband sprang, was knocked o the head with Stones. James, another of this Generation, was slain with the edge of the Sword. To say nothing of Paul and Peter, men antiently of the Family from whence your Husband came, there was Ignatius who was cast to the Lions, Romanus whose flesh was cut by pieces from his bones, and Polycarp that played the man in the Fire. There was he that was hanged up in a Basket in the Sun for the Wasps to eat, and he whom they put into a Sack and cast him into the Sea to be drowned. Twould be impossible utterly to count up all of that Family that have suffered Injuries and Death for the love of a Pilgrims life. Nor can I but be glad to see that thy Husband has left behind him four such Boys as these. I hope they will bear up their Fathers name, and tread in their Fathers steps, and come to their Fathers end.
Gaius. That is it that I said, wherefore Christians Family is like still to spread abroad upon the face of the ground, and yet to be numerous upon the face of the earth. Wherefore let Christiana look out some Damsels for her Sons, to whom they may be betrothed, &c. that the name of their Father and the house of his Progenitors may never be forgotten in the world.
And Christiana, said this Innkeeper, I am glad to see thee and thy friend Mercy together here, a lovely couple. And may I advise, take Mercy into a nearer Relation to thee. If she will, let her be given to Matthew thy eldest Son, tis the way to preserve you a Posterity in the earth. So this match was concluded, and in process of time they were married. But more of that hereafter.
Gaius also proceeded and said, I will now speak on the behalf of Women, to take away their Reproach. For as Death and the Curse came into the world by a Woman; so also did Life and Health: God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman. Yea, to shew how much those that came after did abhor the act of their Mother, this sex in the Old Testament coveted Children, if happily this or that Woman might be the Mother of the Saviour of the World.
I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, Women rejoiced in him before either Man or Angel. I read not that ever any Man did give unto Christ so much as one Groat, but the Women followed him and ministered to him of their Substance. Twas a Woman that washed his Feet with Tears, and a Woman that anointed his Body to the Burial. They were Women that wept when he was going to the Cross, and Women that followed him from the Cross, and that sat by his Sepulchre when he was buried. They were Women that was first with him at his Resurrection-morn, and Women that brought tiding first to his Disciples that he was risen from the Dead. Women therefore are highly favoured, and shew by these things that they are sharers with us in the Grace of Life.
Gaius. So let all ministring doctrines to thee in this life, beget in thee a greater desire to sit at the Supper of the great King in his Kingdom; for all Preaching Books and Ordinances here, are but as the laying of the Trenchers and as setting of Salt upon the Board, when compared with the Feast that our Lord will make for us when we come to his House.
What to be gathered from laying of the board with the cloth and trenchers
So Supper came up, and first a Heave-shoulder and a Wave-breast was set on the Table before them, to shew that they must begin their meal with Prayer and Praise to God. The Heave-shoulder David lifted his Heart up to God with, and with the Wave-breast, where his Heart lay, with that he used to lean upon his Harp when he played. These two Dishes were very fresh and good, and they all at heartily well thereof.
The next they brought up was a Bottle of Wine, red as Blood. So Gaius said to them, Drink freely, this is the Juice of the true Vine that makes glad the heart of God and Man. So they drank and were merry.
Then they brought up in course a dish of Butter and Hony. Then said Gaius, Eat freely of this, for this is good to cheer up and strengthen your Judgments and Understandings. This was our Lords dish when he was a Child, Butter and Hony shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the Evil and chuse the Good.
While they were thus talking, they were presented with another dish, and twas a dish of Nuts. Then said some at the Table, Nuts spoil tender Teeth, specially the Teeth of Children; which when Gaius heard, he said,
Hard Texts are Nuts (I will not call them cheaters)
Whose Shells do keep their Kernels from the Eaters.
Then were they very merry, and sat at the Table a long time, talking of many things. Then said the old Gentleman, My good Landlord, while we are cracking your Nuts, if you please, do you open this Riddle:
Oh, said Gaius, I have been trained up in this way a great while, nothing teaches like experience. I have learned of my Lord to be kind, and have found by experience that I have gained thereby. There is that scattereth, yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to Poverty. There is that maketh himself Rich, yet hath nothing, there is that maketh himself Poor, yet hath great Riches.
Then Samuel whispered to Christiana his Mother, and said, Mother, this is a very good mans house, let us stay here a good while, and let my Brother Matthew be married here to Mercy before we go any further.
But to return again to our Story. After Supper the Lads desired a Bed, for that they were weary with travelling. Then Gaius called to shew them their chamber, but said Mercy, I will have them to Bed. So she had them to Bed, and they slept well. But the rest sat up all night, for Gaius and they were such suitable Company that they could not tell how to part. Then after much talk of their Lord, themselves, and their Journey, old Mr Honest, he that put forth the riddle to Gaius, began to nod. Then said Great-heart, What Sir, you begin to be drowsy, come, rub up, now heres a Riddle for you. Then said Mr Honest, Lets hear it.
It is right, said Gaius, good Doctrine and Experience teaches this. For First, until Grace displays itself, and overcomes the soul with its Glory, it is altogether without heart to oppose Sin. Besides, if Sin is Satans Cords by which the soul lies bound, how should it make resistance before it is loosed from that infirmity?
And now it comes in my mind, I will tell you a Story worth the hearing. There were two men that went on Pilgrimage, the one began when he was young, the other when he was old. The young man had strong Corruptions to grapple with, the old mans were decayed with the decays of nature. The young man trod his steps as even as did the old one, and was every way as light as he. Who now, or which of them, had their Graces shining clearest, since both seemed to be alike?
Hon. The young mans, doubtless. For that which heads it against the greatest opposition, gives best demonstration that it is strongest. Specially when it also holdeth pace with that that meets not with half so much, as to be sure old age does not.
Besides, I have observed that old men have blessed themselves with this mistake, namely, taking the decays of Nature for a gracious Conquest over Corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves. Indeed old men that are gracious are best able to give advice to them that are young, because they have seen most of the emptiness of things. But yet, for an old and a young to set out both together, the young one has the advantage of the fairest discovery of a work of Grace within him, tho the old mans Corruptions are naturally the weakest.
Thus they sat talking till break of day. Now when the Family was up, Christiana bid her Son James that he should read a Chapter, so he read the 53d of Isaiah. When he had done, Mr Honest asked, why it was said that the Saviour is said to come out of a dry ground, and also that he had no form nor comeliness in him?
Great-heart. Then said Mr Great-heart, To the First I answer, Because the Church of the Jews, of which Christ came, had then lost almost all the Sap and Spirit of Religion. To the Second I say, the words are spoken in the person of the Unbelievers, who because they want that Eye that can see into our Princes Heart, therefore they judge of him by the meanness of his Outside. Just like those that know not that Precious Stones are covered over with a homely Crust, who when they have found one, because they know not what they have found, cast it again away as men do a common Stone.
Well, said Gaius, now you are here, and since, as I know, Mr Great-heart is good at his Weapons, if you please, after we have refreshed ourselves, we will walk into the Fields to see if we can do any good. About a mile from hence there is one Slay-good, a Giant that doth much annoy the Kings High-way in these parts; and I know whereabout his Haunt is. He is Master of a number of Thieves. Twould be well if we could clear these parts of him.
When they came to the place where he was, they found him with one Feeble-mind in his hands, whom his Servants had brought unto him, having taken him in the way. Now the Giant was rifling of him, with a purpose after that to pick his Bones, for he was of the nature of Flesh-eaters.
Great-heart. We want thee, for we are come to revenge the quarrel of the many that thou hast slain of the Pilgrims, when thou hast dragged them out of the Kings High-way, wherefore come out of thy Cave. So he armed himself and came out, and to a Battle they went, and fought for above an hour and then stood still to take wind.
Great-heart. To revenge the Blood of Pilgrims, as I also told thee before. So they went to it again, and the Giant made Mr Great-heart give back; but he came up again, and in the greatness of his mind he let fly with such stoutness at the Giants head and sides, that he made him let his Weapon fall out of his hand. So he smote him and slew him, and cut off his Head, and brought it away to the Inn. He also took Feeble-mind the Pilgrim, and brought him with him to his Lodgings. When they were come home, they shewed his head to the Family, and then set it up, as they had done others before, for a terror to those that should attempt to do as he hereafter.
Feeble-mind. Then said the poor man, I am a sickly man as you see, and, because Death did usually once a day knock at my door, I thought I should never be well at home; so I betook myself to a Pilgrims life, and have travelled hither from the Town of Uncertain, where I and my Father were born. I am a man of no strength at all of body, nor yet of mind; but would if I could, tho I can but crawl, spend my life in the Pilgrims way. When I came at the Gate that is at the head of the way, the Lord of that place did entertain me freely, neither objected he against my weakly looks, nor against my feeble-mind; but gave me such things that were necessary for my Journey, and bid me hope to the end. When I came to the house of the Interpreter, I received much kindness there, and because the Hill Difficulty was judged too hard for me, I was carried up that by one of his servants. Indeed I have found much relief from Pilgrims, tho none was willing to o so softly as I am forced to do; yet still as they came on, they bid me be of good cheer, and said that it was the will of their Lord that comfort should be given to the feeble-minded, and so went on their own pace. When I was come up to Assault Lane, then this Giant met with me, and bid me prepare for an Encounter; but alas, feeble one that I was, I had more need of a Cordial. So he came up and took me. I conceited he should not kill me. Also when he had got me into his Den, since I went not with him willingly, I believed I should come out alive again; for I have heard that not only any Pilgrim that is taken captive by violent hands, if he keeps heart-whole towards his Master, is by the Laws of providence to die by the hand of the Enemy. Robbed I looked to be, and robbed to be sure I am; but I am, as you see, escaped with Life, for the which I thank my King as Author, and you as the Means. Other brunts I also look for, but this I have resolved on, to wit, to run when I can, to go when I cannot run, and to creep when I cannot go. As to the main, I thank him that loves me, I am fixed. My way is before me, my Mind is beyond the River that has no Bridge, tho I am, as you see but of a feeble Mind.
Feeble. Acquainted with him, Yes. He came from the Town of Stupidity, which lieth four degrees to the northward of the City of Destruction, and as many off of where I was born; yet we were well acquainted, for indeed he was mine Uncle, my Fathers Brother. He and I have been much of a temper. He was a little shorter than I, but yet we were much of a complexion.
Gaius. Come Sir, said good Gaius, be of good cheer, you are welcome to me and to my house, and what thou hast a mind to, call for freely; and what thou wouldst have my servants to do for thee, they will do it with a ready mind.
Then said Mr Feeble-mind, This is unexpected Favour, and as the Sun shining out of a very dark Cloud. Did Giant Slay-good intend me this favour when he stopped me, and resolved to let me go no further? Did he intend that after he had rifled my Pockets, I should go to Gaius mine Host? Yet so it is.
Now just as Mr Feeble-mind and Gaius was thus in talk, there comes one running and called at the door, and told, That about a mile and a half off there was one Mr Not-right a Pilgrim struck dead upon the place where he was with a Thunderbolt.
Tidings how one Not-right was slain with a thunderbolt, and Mr Feeble-minds comments upon it
Feeble. Alas, said Mr Feeble-mind, is he slain? He overtook me some days before I came so far as hither, and would be my Company-keeper. He also was with me when Slay-good the Giant took me, but he was nimble of his heels and escaped. But it seems he escaped to die, and I was took to live.
Now about this time Matthew and Mercy were married. Also Gaius gave his Daughter Phebe to James, Matthews Brother, to Wife; after which time they yet stayed above ten days at Gaiuss house, spending their time and the seasons like as Pilgrims use to do.
When they were to depart, Gaius made them a Feast, and they did eat and drink and were merry. Now the hour was come that they must be gone, wherefore Mr Great-heart called for a Reckoning. But Gaius told him that at his house it was not the custom for Pilgrims to pay for their Entertainment. He boarded them by the year, but looked for his pay from the good Samaritan, who had promised him at his return, whatsoever charge he was at with them faithfully to repay him. Then said Mr Great-heart to him,
Great-heart. Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever thou dost to the Brethren and to Strangers, which have borne witness of thy Charity before the Church; whom if thou (yet) bring forward on their Journey after a Godly sort, thou shalt do well.
Now Mr Feeble-mind, when they were going out to the door, made as if he intended to linger. The which when Mr Great-heart espied, he said, Come Mr Feeble-mind, pray do you go along with us, I will be your Conductor, and you shall fare as the rest.
Feeble. Alas, I want a suitable Companion, you are all lusty and strong, but I, as you see, am weak. I chuse therefore rather to come behind, lest by reason of my many Infirmities I should be both a Burden to myself and to you. I am, as I said, a man of a weak and feeble mind, and shall be offended and made weak at that which others can bear. I shall like no Laughing, I shall like no gay Attire, I shall like no unprofitable Questions. Nay I am so weak a man, as to be offended with that which others have liberty to do. I do not yet know all the Truth. I am a very ignorant Christian man. Sometimes if I hear some rejoice in the Lord, it troubles me because I cannot do so too. It is with me as it is with a weak man among the strong, or as with a weak man among the strong, or as with a sick man among the healthy, or as a Lamp despised, (He that is ready to slip with his feet, is as a Lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.) So that I know not what to do.
Great-heart. But Brother, said Mr Great-heart, I have it in Commission to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we will deny ourselves of some things both opinionative and practical for your sake, we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made all things to you rather than you shall be left behind.
Feeble. Then said Mr Feeble-mind to him, Man, how camest thou hither? I was but just now complaining that I had not a suitable Companion, but thou art according to my wish. Welcome, welcome, good Mr Ready-to-halt, I hope thee and I may be some help.
Thus therefore they went on, Mr Great-heart and Mr Honest went before, Christiana and her Children went next, and Mr Feeble-mind and Mr Ready-to-halt came behind with his Crutches. Then said Mr Honest,
Great-heart. With a good will. I suppose you have heard how Christian of old did meet with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, and also what hard work he had to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Also I think you cannot but have heard how Faithful was put to it with Madam Wanton, with Adam the First, with one Discontent, and Shame, four as deceitful Villains as a man can meet with upon the road.
Great-heart. Ay, but Christian put him into a way quickly to find him out. Thus they went on till they came at the place where Evangelist met with Christian and Faithful, and prophesied to them of what should befall them at Vanity Fair.
Great-heart. Twas so; but he gave them encouragement withal. But what do we talk of them? they were a couple of lion-like men, they had set their faces like flint. Dont you remember how undaunted they were when they stood before the Judge?
Great-heart. A very arch Fellow, a downright Hypocrite. One that would be religious which way ever the World went, but so cunning that he would be sure neither to lose nor suffer for it. He had his mode of Religion for every fresh occasion, and his Wife was as good at it as he. He would turn and change from opinion to opinion, yea, and plead for so doing too. But so far as I could learn, he came to an ill end with his by-ends, nor did I ever hear that any of his Children were ever of any esteem with any that truly feared God.
Now by this time they were come within sight of the Town of Vanity where Vanity Fair is kept. So when they saw that they were so near the Town, they consulted with one another how they should pass through the Town, and some said one thing and some another. At last Mr Great-heart said, I have, as you may understand, often been a Conductor of Pilgrims through this Town, now I am acquainted with one Mr Mnason, a Cyprusian by Nation, an old Disciple, at whose house we may lodge. If you think good, said he, we will turn in there.
Content, said old Honest, Content, said Christiana, Content said Mr Feeble-mind, and so they said all. Now you must think it was eventide by that they got to the outside of the Town, but Mr Great-heart knew the way to the old mans house. So thither they came; and he called at the door, and the old man within knew his tongue so soon as ever he heard it; so he opened, and they all came in. Then said Mnason their Host, How far have ye come to-day? so they said, From the house of Gaius our Friend. I promise you, said he, you have gone a good stitch, you may well be a weary, sit down. So they sat down.
They desire to see some of the good people of the town
Then Mr Mnason stamped with his foot, and his daughter Grace came up; so he said unto her, Grace, go you tell my Friends, Mr Contrite, Mr Holy-man, Mr Love-saint, Mr Dare-not-lye, and Mr Penitent, that I have a Friend or two at my house that have a mind this evening to see them.