Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, , at sacred-texts.com
Section VIII. So they stayed there more than a month, and Mercy was given to Matthew to Wife. While they stayed here, Mercy, as her custom was, would be making Coats and Garments to the Poor, by which she brought up a very good report upon the Pilgrims. 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 here's a Riddle for you. Then said Mr Honest, Let's hear it. Then said Mr Great-heart: He that will kill, must first be overcome; Who live abroad would, first must die at home. Hah, said Mr Honest, it is a hard one, hard to expound, and harder to practise. But come Landlord, said he, I will if you please, leave my part to you, do you expound it, and I will hear what you say. No said Gaius, 'twas put to you, and 'tis expected that you should answer it. Then said the old Gentleman, He first by Grace must conquer'd be, That Sin would mortify; And who, that lives, would convince me, Unto himself must die. 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 Satan's Cords by which the soul lies bound, how should it make resistance before it is loosed from that infirmity? Secondly, Nor will any that knows either Reason or Grace, believe that such a man can be a living Monument of Grace that is a Slave to his own Corruptions. 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 man's 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 man's, 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 man's 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 Prince's 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 King's 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. So they consented and went, Mr Great-heart with his Sword, Helmet and Shield, and the rest with Spears and Staves. 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. Well, so soon as he saw Mr Great-heart and his Friends at the Mouth of his cave with their Weapons, he demanded what they wanted? 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 King's 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. Slay. Then said the Giant, Why are you here on my ground? 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 Giant's 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. Then they asked Mr Feeble-mind how he fell into his hands? 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 Pilgrim's 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 Pilgrim's 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. Hon. Then said old Mr Honest, Have you not some time ago been acquainted with one Mr Fearing a Pilgrim? 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 Father's 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. Hon. I perceive you know him, and I am apt to believe also that you were related one to another; for you have his whitely Look, a Cast like his with your eye, and your Speech is much alike. Feeble. Most have said so that have known us both, and besides, what I have read in him, I have for the most part found in myself. 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 would'st 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. 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. What one would think doth seek to slay outright, Ofttimes delivers from the saddest plight. That very Providence whose face is Death, Doth ofttimes to the lowly Life bequeath. I taken was, he did escape and flee, Hands cross'd gives Death to him, and Life to me. Now about this time Matthew and Mercy were married. Also Gaius gave his Daughter Phebe to James, Matthew's Brother, to Wife; after which time they yet stayed above ten days at Gaius' 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. Then Gaius took his leave of them all, and of his Children, and particularly of Mr Feeble-mind. He also gave him something to drink by the way. 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. Now all this while they were at Gaius' door; and behold as they were thus in the heat of their discourse Mr Ready-to-halt came by with his Crutches in his hand, and he also was going on Pilgrimage. 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. Ready-to-halt. I shall be glad of thy Company, said the other; and good Mr Feeble-mind, rather than we will part, since we are thus happily met, I will lend thee one of my Crutches. Feeble. Nay, said he, tho' I thank thee for thy goodwill, I am not inclined to halt before I am lame. Howbeit, I think when occasion is, it may help me against a Dog. Ready. If either myself or my Crutches can do thee a pleasure, we are both at thy command, good Mr Feeble-mind. 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, Hon. Pray Sir, now we are upon the Road, tell us some profitable things of some that have gone on Pilgrimage before us. 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. Hon. Yes, I have heard of all this; but indeed good Faithful was hardest put to it with Shame, he was an unwearied one. Great-heart. Ay, for as the Pilgrim well said, he of all men had the wrong name. Hon. But pray Sir, where was it that Christian and Faithful met Talkative? That same was also a notable one. Great-heart. He was a confident Fool, yet many follow his ways. Hon. He had like to a beguiled Faithful. 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. Then said their Guide, Hereabouts did Christian and Faithful meet with Evangelist, who prophesied to them of what Troubles they should meet with at Vanity Fair. Hon. Say you so? I dare say it was a hard Chapter that then he did read unto them. 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. Don't you remember how undaunted they were when they stood before the Judge? Hon. Well, Faithful bravely suffered. Great-heart. So he did, and as brave things came on't, for Hopeful and some others, as the Story relates it, were converted by his Death. Hon. Well, but pray go on, for you are well acquainted with things. Great-heart. Above all that Christian met with after he had passed through Vanity Fair, one By-ends was the arch one. Hon. By-ends, What was he? 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 man's 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. Great-heart. Then said their Guide, Come, what cheer Sirs? I dare say you are welcome to my Friend. Mnason. I also, said Mr Mnason, do bid you welcome, and whatever you want, do but say, and we will do what we can to get it for you. Hon. Our great want a while since was Harbour and good Company, and now I hope we have both. Mnason. For Harbour, you see what it is, but for good Company, that will appear in the trial. Great-heart. Well, said Mr Great-heart, will you have the Pilgrims up into their Lodging? Mnason. I will, said Mr Mnason. So he had them to their respective places; and also shewed them a very fair Dining-room, where they might be and sup together, until time was come to go to Rest. Now when they were set in their places, and were a little cheery after their Journey, Mr Honest asked his Landlord if there were any store of good people in the Town? Mnason. We have a few, for indeed they are but a few when compared with them on the other side. Hon. But how shall we do to see some of them? for the sight of good men to them that are going on Pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the Moon and the Stars to them that are sailing upon the Seas. 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. So Grace went to call them, and they came and after Salutation made, they sat down together at the Table. Then said Mr Mnason their Landlord, My Neighbors, I have, as you see, a Company of Strangers come to my house, they are Pilgrims, they come from afar, and are going to Mount Sion. But who, quoth he, do you think this is, pointing with his finger to Christiana, it is Christiana the Wife of Christian that famous Pilgrim, who with Faithful his Brother were so shamefully handled in our Town. At that they stood amazed, saying, We little thought to see Christiana, when Grace came to call us, wherefore this is a very comfortable surprise. Then they asked her of her welfare, and if these young men were her Husband's Sons? And when she had told them they were, they said, The King whom you love and serve, make you as your Father, and bring you where he is in Peace. Hon. Then Mr Honest (when they were all sat down) asked Mr Contrite and the rest in what posture their Town was at present? Contrite. You may be sure we are full of hurry in Fair-time. 'Tis hard keeping our hearts and spirits in any good order, when we are in a cumbered condition. He that lives in such a place as this is, and that has to do with such as we have, has need of an Item, to caution him to take heed every moment of the day. Hon. But how are your Neighbors for quietness? Contrite. They are much more moderate now than formerly. You know how Christian and Faithful were used at our Town; but of late, I say, they have been far more moderate. I think the blood of Faithful lieth with load upon them till now, for since they burned him they have been ashamed to burn any more. In those days we were afraid to walk the Streets, but now we can shew our heads. Then the name of a Professor was odious, now, specially in some parts of our Town (for you know our Town is large) Religion is counted honourable. Then said Mr Contrite to them, Pray how fareth it with you in your Pilgrimage? How stands the Country affected towards you? Hon. It happens to us as it happeneth to Wayfaring men; sometimes our way is clean, sometimes foul, sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill. We are seldom at a certainty, the Wind is not always on our backs, nor is every one a Friend that we meet with in the way. We have met with some notable Rubs already, and what are yet behind we know not, but for the most part we find it true that has been talked of cold, A good man must suffer Trouble. Contrite. You talk of Rubs, what Rubs have you met withal? Hon. Nay, ask Mr Great-heart our Guide, for he can give the best account of that. Great-heart. We have been beset three or four times already. First Christiana and her Children were beset with two Ruffians, that they feared would a took away their lives. We was beset with Giant Bloody-man, Giant Maul and Giant Slay-good. Indeed we did rather beset the last, than were beset of him. And thus it was: After we had been some time at the house of Gaius, mine Host and of the whole Church, we were minded upon a time to take our Weapons with us, and so go see if we could light upon any of those that were Enemies to Pilgrims, (for we heard that there was a notable one thereabouts). Now Gaius knew his Haunt better than I, because he dwelt thereabout, so we looked and looked till at last we discerned the Mouth of his Cave, then we were glad and plucked up our Spirits. So we approached up to his Den, and lo when we came there, he had dragged by mere force into his Net this poor Man Mr Feeble-mind, and was about to bring him to his end. But when he saw us, supposing as we thought he had had another Prey, he left the poor man in his Hole, and came out. So we fell to it full sore, and he lustily laid about him; but in conclusion he was brought down to the ground, and his Head cut off, and set up by the Way-side for a terror to such as should after practise such Ungodliness. That I tell you the truth, here is the man himself to affirm it, who was as a Lamb taken out of the Mouth of the Lion. Feeble-mind. Then said Mr Feeble-mind, I found this true to my Cost and Comfort, to my Cost when he threatened to pick my Bones every moment, and to my Comfort when I saw Mr Great-heart and his Friends with their Weapons approach so near for my Deliverance. Holy-man. Then said Mr Holy-man, There are two things that they have need to be possessed with that go on Pilgrimage, courage, and an unspotted life. If they have not courage, they can never hold on their way, and if their Lives be loose, they will make the very name of a Pilgrim stink. Love-saint. Then said Mr Love-saint, I hope this caution is not needful amongst you. But truly there are many that go upon the road, that rather declare themselves Strangers to Pilgrimage than Strangers and Pilgrims in the Earth. Dare-not-lye. Then said Mr Dare-not-lye, "Tis true, they neither have the Pilgrim's Weed, nor the Pilgrim's Courage; they go not uprightly, but all awry with their feet; one Shoe goes inward, another outward, and their Hosen out behind; there a Rag, and there a Rent, to the Disparagement of their Lord. Penitent. These things, said Mr Penitent, they ought to be troubled for, nor are the Pilgrims like to have that Grace put upon them and their Pilgrim's Progress as they desire, until the way is cleared of such Spots and Blemishes. Thus they sat talking and spending the time, until Supper was set upon the Table; unto which they went and refreshed their weary bodies; so they went to Rest. Now they stayed in this Fair a great while at the house of this Mr Mnason, who in process of time gave his daughter Grace unto Samuel Christiana's Son to Wife, and his Daughter Martha to Joseph. The time as I said, that they lay here was long, (for it was not now as in former times). Wherefore the Pilgrims grew acquainted with many of the good people of the Town, and did them what service they could. Mercy, as she was wont, laboured much for the Poor, wherefore their Bellies and Backs blessed her, and she was there an Ornament to her Profession. And to say the truth for Grace Phebe and Martha, they were all of a very good Nature, and did much good in their place. They were also all of them very Fruitful, so that Christian's name, as was said before, was like to live in the World. While they lay here, there came a Monster out of the Woods, and slew many of the people of the Town. It would also carry away their Children, and teach them to suck its Whelps. Now no man in the Town durst so much as face this Monster, but all men fled when they heard of the Noise of his coming. The Monster was like unto no one Beast upon the earth; its Body was like the Dragon, and it had seven Heads and ten Horns. It made great havock of Children, and yet it was governed by a Woman. This Monster propounded Conditions to men, and such men as loved their Lives more than their Souls, accepted of those Conditions. So they came under.