Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, , at sacred-texts.com
Section IX. Now this Mr Great-heart, together with these that came to visit the Pilgrims at Mr Mnason's house, entered into a Covenant to go and engage this Beast, if perhaps they might deliver the people of this Town from the Paws and Mouth of this so devouring a Serpent. Then did Mr Great-heart, Mr Contrite, Mr Holy-man, Mr Dare-not - lye, and Mr Penitent, with their Weapons go forth to meet him. Now the Monster at first was very rampant, and looked upon these Enemies with great Disdain, but they so belaboured him, being sturdy men at Arms, that they made him make a Retreat. So they came home to Mr Mnason's house again. The monster, you must know, had his certain Seasons to come out in, and to make his Attempts upon the Children of the people of the Town; also these Seasons did these valiant Worthies watch him in, and did still continually assault him; insomuch that in process of time he became not only wounded but lame, also he has not made that havock of the Towns-men's Children as formerly he has done. And it is verily believed by some, that this Beast will die of his Wounds. This therefore made Mr Great-heart and his Fellows of great Fame in this Town, so that many of the people that wanted their taste of things, yet had a reverend Esteem and Respect for them. Upon this account therefore it was that these Pilgrims got not much hurt here. True there were some of the baser sort, that could see no more than a Mole, nor understand more than a Beast, these had no reverence for these men, nor took they notice of their Valour or Adventures. Well the time grew on that the Pilgrims must go on their way, wherefore they prepared for their Journey. They sent for their Friends, they conferred with them, they had some time set apart therein to commit each other to the Protection of their Prince. There was again that brought them of such things as they had, that was fit for the Weak and the Strong, for the Women and the Men, and so laded them with such things as was necessary. Then they set forwards on their way, and their Friends accompanying them so far as was convenient, they again committed each other to the Protection of their King, and parted. They therefore that were of the Pilgrims' Company went on, and Mr Great - heart went before them. Now the Women and Children being weakly, they were forced to go as they could bear; by this means Mr Ready-to-halt and Mr Feeble-mind had more to sympathize with their Condition. When they were gone from the Towns-men, and when their Friends had bid them farewell they quickly came to the place where Faithful was put to Death. There therefore they made a stand, and thanked Him that had enabled him to bear his Cross so well, and the rather because they now found that they had a benefit by such a manly Suffering as his was. They went on therefore after this a good way further, talking of Christian and Faithful, and how Hopeful joined himself to Christian after that Faithful was dead. Now they were come up with the Hill Lucre, where the Silver-mine was, which took Demas off from his Pilgrimage, and into which, as some think, By - ends fell and perished; wherefore they considered that. But when they were come to the old Monument that stood over against the Hill Lucre, to wit, to the Pillar of Salt that stood also within view of Sodom and its stinking Lake, they marvelled, as did Christian before, that men of that Knowledge and ripeness of Wit as they was, should be so blinded as to turn aside here. Only they considered again that Nature is not affected with the Harms that others have met with, especially if that thing upon which they look has an attracting vertue upon the foolish eye. I saw now that they went on till they came at the River that was on this side of the Delectable Mountains. To the River where the fine Trees grow on both sides, and whose Leaves, if taken inwardly, are good against Surfeits, where the Meadows are green all the year long, and where they might lie down safely. By this River side in the Meadow there were Cotes and Folds for Sheep, an House built for the nourishing and bringing up of those Lambs, the Babes of those Women that go on Pilgrimage. Also there was here one that was intrusted with them who could have Compassion, and that could gather these Lambs with his Arm carry them in his Bosom, and that could gently lead those that were with young. Now to the care of this Man, Christiana admonished her four Daughters to rommit their little ones, that by these Waters they might be housed, harboured, suckered, and nourished, and that none of them might be lacking in time to come. This Man, if any of them go astray or be lost, he will bring them again: he will also bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen them that are sick. Here they will never want Meat and Drink and Cloathing, here they will be kept from Thieves and Robbers, for this Man will die before one of those committed to his trust shall be lost. Besides, here they shall be sure to have good Nurture and Admonition, and shall be taught to walk in right paths, and that you know is a Favour of no small account. Also here, as you see, are delicate Waters, pleasant Meadows, dainty Flowers, variety of Trees, and such as bear wholesome Fruit, Fruit not like that Matthew eat of, that fell over the Wall out of Beelzebub's Garden, but Fruit that procureth Health where there is none, and that continueth and increaseth it where it is. So they were content to commit their little ones to him; and that which was also an encouragement to them so to do, was, for that all this was to be at the Charge of the King, and so was as an Hospital for young Children and Orphans. Now they went on; and when they were come to By-path Meadow, to the Stile over which Christian went with his Fellow Hopeful, when they were taken by Giant Despair and put into Doubting Castle, they sat down and consulted what was best to be done; to wit, now they were so strong, and had got such a man as Mr Great-heart for their Conductor, whether they had not best make an attempt upon the Giant, demolish his Castle, and if they were any Pilgrims in it, to set them at liberty before they went any further. So one said one thing, and another said the contrary. One questioned if it was lawful to go upon unconsecrated ground, another said they might provided their end was good, but Mr Great-heart said, Though that Assertion offered last cannot be universally true, yet I have a Commandment of resist Sin, to overcome Evil, to fight the good Fight of Faith, and I pray, with whom should I fight this good Fight, if not with Giant Despair? I will therefore attempt the taking away of his Life, and the demolishing of doubting Castle. Then said he, who will go with me? Then said old Honest, I will. And so will we too, said Christiana's four Sons, Matthew Samuel James and Joseph, for they were young men and strong. So they left the Women in the Road, and with them Mr Feeblemind and Mr Ready-to-halt with his Crutches to be their guard, until they came back; for in that place, tho' Giant Despair dwelt so near, they keeping in the Road, a little Child might lead them. So Mr Great-heart, old Honest and the four young men went to go up to Doubting Castle to look for Giant Despair. When they came at the Catle-gate, they knocked for entrance with an unusual Noise. At that the old Giant comes to the Gate, and Diffidence his Wife follows. Then said he, Who and what is he that is so hardy as after this manner to molest the Giant Despair? Mr Great - heart replied, It is I, Great-heart, one of the King of the Coelestial Country's Conductors of Pilgrims to their place, and I demand of thee that thou open thy Gates for my Entrance. Prepare thyself also to fight, for I am come to take away thy Head, and to demolish Doubting Castle. Now Giant Despair, because he was a Giant, thought no man could overcome him; and again, thought he, since heretofore I have made a Conquest of Angels, shall Great-heart make me afraid? So he harnessed himself and went out. He had a Cap of Steel upon his Head, a Breast-plate of Fire girded to him, and he came out in Iron Shoes, with a great Club in his Hand. Then these six men made up to him, and beset him behind and before. Also when Diffidence the Giantess came up to help him, old Mr Honest cut her down at one Blow. Then they fought for their Lives, and Giant Despair was brought down to the Ground, but was very loth to die. He struggled hard, and had, as they say, as many Lives as a Cat, but Great-heart was his Death, for he left him not till he had severed his Head from his Shoulders. Then they fell to demolishing Doubting Castle, and that you know might with ease be done since Giant Despair was dead. They were seven days in destroying of that; and in it of Pilgrims they found one Mr Dispondency, almost starved to Death, and one Much-afraid his Daughter; these two they saved alive. But it would a made you a wondered to have seen the dead Bodies that lay here and there in the Castle-yard, and how full of dead men's Bones the Dungeon was. When Mr Great-heart and his Companions had performed this exploit, they took Mr Dispondency and his Daughter Much-afraid into their protection, for they were honest people tho' they were Prisoners in Doubting Castle to that Tyrant Giant Despair. They therefore I say, took with them the Head of the Giant (for his Body they had buried under a heap of Stones) and down to the Road and to their Companions they came, and shewed them what they had done. Now when Feeble-mind and Ready-to-halt saw that it was the Head of Giant Despair indeed, they were very jocund and merry. Now Christiana, if need was, could play upon the Vial, and her Daughter Mercy upon the Lute; so since they were so merry disposed, she played them a Lesson, and Ready-to-halt would dance. So he took Dispondency's Daughter named Much-afraid by the hand, and to dancing they went in the Road. True he could not dance without one Crutch in his hand, but I promise you he footed it well. Also the Girl was to be commended, for she answered the Musick handsomely. As for Me Dispondency, the Musick was not much to him, he was for feeding rather than dancing, for that he was almost starved. So Christiana gave him some of her Bottle of Spirits for present relief, and then prepared him something to eat; and in little time the old Gentleman came to himself, and began to be finely revived. Now I saw in my Dream, when all these things were finished, Mr Great - heart took the Head of Giant Despair, and set it upon a Pole by the High-way side, right over against the Pillar that Christian erected for a Caution to Pilgrims that came after, to take heed of entering into his grounds. Though Doubting Castle be demolished, And the Giant Despair hath lost his Head, Sin can rebuild the Castle, make't remain, And make Despair the Giant live again. Then he writ under it upon a Marble-stone these verses following: This is the Head of him, whose Name only In former times did Pilgrims terrify. His Castle's down, and Diffidence his Wife Brave Master Great-heart has bereft of Life. Dispondency, his Daughter Much-afraid, Great-heart for them also the Man has play'd. Who hereof doubts, if he'll but cast his eye Up hither, may his scruples satisfy: This Head also, when doubting Cripples dance, Doth shew from Fears they have Deliverance. When these men had thus bravely shewed themselves against Doubting Castle, and had slain Giant Despair, they went forward, and went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains, where Christian and Hopeful refreshed themselves with the varieties of the place. They also acquainted themselves with the Shepherds there, who welcomed them, as they had done Christian before, unto the Delectable Mountains. Now the Shepherds seeing so great a Train follow Mr Great-heart, (for with him they were well acquainted) they said unto him, Good Sir, you have got a goodly Company here, pray where did you find all these? Then Mr Great-heart replied, First here is Christiana and her Train, Her Sons, and her Sons' Wives, who like the Wain, Keep by the Pole, and do by Compass steer From Sin to Grace, else they had not been here; Next here's old Honest come on Pilgrimage, Ready-to-halt too, who I dare engage True-hearted is, and so is Feeble-mind, Who willing was not to be left behind; Dispondency, good man, is coming after, And so also is Much-afraid his Daughter. May we have entertainment here, or must We further go? Let's know whereon to trust. Then said the Shepherds, This is a comfortable Company. You are welcome to us, for we have comfort for the feeble as for the strong. Our Prince has an eye to what is done to the least of these, therefore Infirmity must not be a block to our Entertainment. So they had them to the Palace door, and then said unto them, Come in Mr Feeble-mind, Come in Mr Ready-to-halt, Come in Mr Dispondency, and Mrs Much-afraid his Daughter. These, Mr Great-heart, said the Shepherds to the Guide, we call in by name, for that they are most subject to draw back, but as for you and the rest that are strong, we leave you to your wonted Liberty. Then said Mr Great-heart, This day I see that Grace doth shine in your Faces, and that you are my Lord's Shepherds indeed; for that you have not pushed these diseased neither with Side nor Shoulder, but have rather strewed their way into the Palace with Flowers, as you should. So the feeble and weak went in, and Mr Great-heart and the rest did follow. When they were also set down, the Shepherds said to those of the weakest sort, What is it that you would have? for, said they, all things must be managed here to the supporting of the weak, as well as the warning of the unruly. So they made them a Feast of things easy of Digestion, and that were pleasant to the Palate, and nourishing; the which when they had received, they went to the Rest, each one respectively unto his proper place. When Morning was come, because the Mountains were high, and the day clear, and because it was the custom of the Shepherds to shew to the Pilgrims before their departure, some Rarities; therefore after they were ready, and had refreshed themselves, the Shepherds took them out into the Fields, and shewed them first what they had shewed to Christian before. Then they had them to some new places. The first was to Mount Marvel, where they looked, and beheld a man at a distance, that tumbled the Hills about with Words. Then they asked the Shepherds what that should mean? So they told them, that that man was the Son of one Great-grace, of whom you read in the First Part of the Records of the Pilgrim's Progress. And he is set there to teach Pilgrims how to believe down or to tumble out of their ways what Difficulties they shall meet with, by Faith. The said Mr Great-heart, I know him, he is a man above many. Then they had them to another place called Mount Innocent, and there they saw a man cloathed all in White, and two men Prejudice and Ill-will continually casting Dirt upon him. Now behold the Dirt whatsoever they cast at him would in a little time fall off again, and his Garment would look as clear as if no Dirt had been cast thereat. Then said the Pilgrims, What means this? The Shepherds answered, This man is named Godly-man, and this Garment is to shew the Innocency of his life. Now those that throw Dirt at him, are such as hate his well-doing, but as you see the Dirt will not stick upon his Cloaths, so it shall be with him that liveth truly innocently in the World. Whoever they be that would make such men dirty, they labour all in vain; for God, by that a little time is spent, will cause that their Innocence shall break forth as the Light, and their Righteousness as the Noonday. Then they took them, and had them to Mount Charity, where they shewed them a man that had a bundle of cloth lying before him, out of which he cut Coats and Garments for the Poor that stood about him; yet his Bundle or Roll of Cloth was never the less. Then said they, What should this be? This is, said the Shepherds, to shew you, that he that has a heart to give of his Labour to the Poor, shall never want where-withal. He that watereth shall be watered himself. And the Cake that the Widow gave to the Prophet did not cause that she had ever the less in her Barrel. They had them also to a place where they saw one Fool and one Want-wit washing of an Ethiopian with intention to make him white, but the more they washed him the blacker he was. They then asked the Shepherds what that should mean. So they told them, saying, Thus shall it be with the vile person. All means used to get such an one a good name shall in conclusion tend but to make him more abominable. Thus it was with the Pharisees, and so shall it be with all Hypocrites. Then said Mercy the Wife of Matthew to Christiana her Mother, Mother, I would, if it might be, see the Hole in the Hill, or that commonly called the By-way to Hell. So her Mother brake her mind to the Shepherds. Then they went to the Door. It was in the side of a Hill, and they opened it, and Bid Mercy hearken awhile. So she hearkened, and heard one saying, Cursed be my Father for holding of my feet back from the way of Peace and Life; and another said, O that I had been torn in pieces before I had, to save my Life, lost my Soul; and another said, If I were to live again, how would I deny myself, rather than come to this place. Then there was as if the very Earth had groaned and quaked under the feet of this young Woman for fear. So she looked white, and came trembling away, saying Blessed be he and she that is delivered from this place. Now when the Shepherds had shewed them all these things, then they had them back to the Palace, and entertained them with what the house would afford. But Mercy being a young and breeding Woman, longed for something that she saw there, but was ashamed to ask. Her Mother-in-law then asked her what she ailed, for she looked as one not well. Then said Mercy, There is a looking-glass hangs up in the Dining-room, off of which I can not take my mind, if therefore I have it not, I think I shall miscarry. Then said her Mother, I will mention thy wants to the Shepherds, and they will not deny it thee. But she said, I am ashamed that these men should know that I longed. Nay my Daughter, said she, it is no Shame, but a Vertue, to long for such a thing as that. So Mercy said, Then Mother, if you please, ask the Shepherds if they are willing to sell it. Now the Glass was one of a thousand. It would present a man, one way, with his own Feature exactly, and, turn it but another way, and it would shew one the very Face and Similitude of the Prince of Pilgrims himself. Yea I have talked with them that can tell, and they have said that they have seen the very Crown of Thorns upon his Head, by looking in that Glass, they have therein also seen the Holes in his Hands, in his Feet, and his Side. Yea such an excellency is there in that Glass, that it will shew him to one where they have a mind to see him, whether living or dead, whether in Earth or Heaven, whether in a state of Humiliation or in his Exaltation, whether coming to Suffer or coming to Reign. Christiana therefore went to the Shepherds apart (now the names of the Shepherds are Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere) and said unto them, There is one of my Daughters, a breeding Woman, that I think doth long for something she hath seen in this house, and she thinks she shall miscarry if she should by you be denied. Experience. Call her, call her, she shall assuredly have what we can help her to. So they called her, and said to her, Mercy, what is that thing thou wouldest have? Then she blushed, and said, The great Glass that hangs up in the Dining-room. So Sincere ran and fetched it, and with a joyful consent it was given her. Then she bowed her head, and gave thanks, and said, By this I know that I have obtained favour in your eyes. They also gave to the other young Women such things as they desired, and to their Husbands great Commendations for that they joined with Mr Great - heart to the slaying of Giant Despair and the demolishing of Doubting Castle. About Christiana's Neck the Shepherds put a Bracelet, and so they did about the Necks of her four Daughters, also they put Ear-rings in their Ears, and Jewels on their Fore-heads. When they were minded to go hence, they let them go in peace, but gave not to them those certain Cautions which before were given to Christian and his Companion. The reason was for that these had Great-heart to be their Guide, who was one that was well acquainted with things, and so could give them their Cautions more seasonably, to wit, even then when the Danger was nigh the approaching. What Cautions Christian and his Companions had received of the Shepherds, they had also lost by that the time was come that they had need to put them in practice. Wherefore here was the advantage that this Company had over the other. From hence they went on singing, and they said, Behold, how fitly are the stages set For their Relief that Pilgrims are become; And how they us receive without one let, That make the other life our mark and home! What Novelties they have to us they give, That we, tho' Pilgrims, joyful lives may live; They do upon us too such things bestow, That shew we Pilgrims are where'er we go. When they were gone from the Shepherds, they quickly came to the place where Christian met with one Turn-away, that dwelt in the town of Apostacy. Wherefore of him Mr Great-heart their Guide did now put them in mind, saying, This is the place where Christian met with one Turn-away, who carried with him the character of his Rebellion at his back. And this I have to say concerning this man, he would hearken to no counsel, but once a falling, persuasion could not stop him. When he came to the place where the Cross and the Sepulchre was, he did meet with one that did bid him look there; but he gnashed with his teeth, and stamped, and said he was resolved to go back to his own Town. Before he came to the Gate, he met with Evangelist, who offered to lay hands on him to turn him into the way again. But this Turn-away resisted him, and having done much despite unto him, he got away over the Wall, and so escaped his hand.