The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

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Part II - Chapter IV - The Cross and the Consequences


Now, I saw in my dream that they went on, and Great-heart before them. So they went, and came to the place where Christian's burden fell off his back and tumbled into a sepulchre. Here, then, they made a pause, and here also they blessed God. "Now," said Christiana, "comes to my mind what was said to us at the gate, to wit, that we should have pardon by word and deed: by word, that is, by the promise; by deed, that is, in the way it was obtained. What the promise is, of that I know something; but what it is to have pardon by deed, or in the way that it was obtained, Mr. Great-heart, I suppose you know; wherefore, if you please, let us hear you speak thereof."

GREAT-HEART DISCOURSES Great. Pardon by the deed done, is pardon obtained by some one for another that hath need thereof; not by the person pardoned, but in the way, saith another, in which I have obtained it. So then, to speak to the question at large, the pardon that you, and Mercy, and these boys have obtained, was obtained by another; to wit, by Him that let you in at the gate. And He hath obtained it in this double way: He has shown[253] righteousness to cover you, and spilt His blood to wash you in.

Chr. This is brave! Now I see that there was something to be learnt by our being pardoned by word and deed. Good Mercy, let us labor to keep this in mind; and, my children, do you remember it also. But, sir, was not this it that made my good Christian's burden fall from off his shoulders, and that made him give three leaps for joy?

Great. Yes, it was the belief of this that cut off those strings that could not be cut by other means; and it was to give him proof of the virtue of this that he was suffered to carry his burden to the Cross.

Chr. I thought so; for though my heart was lightsome and joyous before, yet it is ten times more lightsome and joyous now. And I am persuaded by what I have felt, though I have felt but little as yet, that, if the most burdened man in the World was here, and did see and believe as I now do, it would make his heart merry and blithe.

Great. There is not only comfort and the ease of a burden brought to us by the sight and consideration of these, but an endeared love born in us by it; for who can, if he doth but once think that pardon comes, not only by promise, but thus, but be affected with the way and means of his redemption, and so love the Man that hath wrought it for him?

Chr. True: methinks it makes my heart bleed,[254] to think that He should bleed for me. Oh, Thou loving One! Oh, Thou blessed One! Thou deservest to have me: Thou hast bought me. Thou deservest to have me all: Thou hast paid for me ten thousand times more than I am worth. No marvel that this made the water stand in my husband's eyes, and that it made him trudge so nimbly on. I am persuaded he wished me with him; but, vile wretch that I was! I let him come all alone. Oh, Mercy, that thy father and mother were here! yea, and Mrs. Timorous also! Nay, I wish now with all my heart that here was Madam Wanton too. Surely, surely, their hearts would be affected; nor could the fear of the one, nor the powerful passions of the other, prevail with them to go home again, and refuse to become good pilgrims.

Great. You speak now in the warmth of your affections: will it, think you, be always thus with you? Besides, this is not given to every one, nor to every one that did see your Jesus bleed. There were that stood by, and that saw the blood run from His heart to the ground, and yet were so far off this, that instead of lamenting, they laughed at Him, and instead of becoming His disciples, did harden their hearts against him. So that all that you have, my daughters, you have by a peculiar feeling made by a thinking upon what I have spoken to you. This you have, therefore, by a special grace.

SIMPLE, SLOTH, PRESUMPTION Now, I saw still in my dream, that they went[255] on till they were come to the place that Simple, and Sloth, and Presumption lay and slept in, when Christian went by on pilgrimage; and, behold, they were hanged up in irons a little way off on the other side.

Mer. Then said Mercy to him that was their guide and conductor, "What are those three men? and for what are they hanged there?"

Great. These three men were men of very bad qualities: they had no mind to be pilgrims themselves, and whomsoever they could they hindered. They were for sloth and folly themselves, and whomsoever they could persuade with, they made so too, and withal taught them to presume that they should do well at last. They were asleep when Christian went by; and, now you go by, they are hanged.

Mer. But could they persuade any to be of their opinion?

Great. Yes, they turned several out of the way. There was Slow-pace that they persuaded to do as they. They also prevailed with one Short-wind, with one No-heart, with one Linger-after-lust, and with one Sleepy-head, and with a young woman—her name was Dull—to turn out of the way and become as they. Besides, they brought up an ill report of your Lord, persuading others that He was a hard task-master. They also brought up an evil report of the good land, saying it was not half so good as some pretended it was. They also began to speak[256] falsely about His servants, and to count the very best of them meddlesome, troublesome busy-bodies. Further, they would call the bread of God, husks; the comforts of His children, fancies; the travel labor of pilgrims, things to no purpose.

Chr. "Nay," said Christiana, "if they were such, they never shall be bewailed by me: they have but what they deserve; and I think it is well that they hang so near the highway, that others may see and take warning. But had it not been well if their crimes had been engraven on some plate of iron or brass, and left here where they did their mischiefs, for a caution to other bad men?"

Great. So it is, as you well may perceive, if you will go a little to the wall.

Mer. No, no: let them hang, and their names rot, and their crimes live for ever against them. I think it a high favor that they were hanged afore we came hither who knows, else, what they might have done to such poor women as we are?

Then she turned it into a song, saying:

"Now, then, you three, hang there, and be a sign
To all that shall against the truth combine;
And let him that comes after fear this end,
If unto pilgrims he is not a friend.
And thou, my soul, of all such men beware
That unto holiness opposers are."

Thus they went on till they came at the foot of the Hill Difficulty, where again their good friend Mr. Great-heart took an occasion to tell[257] them of what happened there when Christian himself went by. So he had them first to the spring. "Lo," saith he, "this is the spring that Christian drank of before he went up this hill: and then it was clear and good; but now it is dirty with the feet of some that are not desirous that pilgrims here should quench their thirst." Thereat Mercy said, "And why are they so envious, I wonder?" But said their guide, "It will do if taken up and put into a vessel that is sweet and good; for then the dirt will sink to the bottom, and the water come out by itself more clear." Thus, therefore, Christiana and her companions were compelled to do. They took it up, and put it into an earthen pot, and so let it stand till the dirt was gone to the bottom, and then they drank thereof.

TWO DANGEROUS PATHS Next he showed them the two by-ways that were at the foot of the hill, where Formality and Hypocrisy lost themselves. And said he, "These are dangerous paths. Two were here cast away when Christian came by; and although, as you see, these ways are since stopped up with chains, posts, and a ditch, yet there are that will choose to adventure here, rather than take the pains to go up this hill."

Chr. The way of transgressors is hard. It is a wonder that they can get into those ways without danger of breaking their necks.

Great. They will venture: yea, if at any time any of the King's servants doth happen to[258] see them, and doth call unto them, and tell them that they are in the wrong ways, and do bid them beware the danger, then they will railingly return them answer, and say, "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the King, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth." Nay, if you look a little farther, you shall see that these ways are warned against enough, not only by these posts, and ditch, and chain, but also by being hedged up; yet they will choose to go there.

Chr. They are idle: they love not to take pains: up-hill way is unpleasant to them. So it is fulfilled unto them as it is written, "The way of the slothful man is a hedge of thorns." Yea, they will rather choose to walk upon a snare than go up this hill, and the rest of this way to the City.

Then they set forward, and began to go up the hill; and up the hill they went. But, before they got to the top, Christiana began to pant, and said, "I dare say this is a breathing hill: no marvel if they that love their ease more than their souls choose to themselves a smoother way." Then said Mercy, "I must sit down;" also the least of the children began to cry. "Come, come," said Great-heart, "sit not down here, for a little above is the Prince's arbor." Then took he the little boy by the hand, and led him up thereto.

THE ARBOR ON THE HILL When they were come to the arbor, they were very willing to sit down, for they were all in a pelting heat. Then said Mercy, "How sweet is rest to them that labor, and how good is the Prince of pilgrims to provide such resting-places for them! Of this arbor I have heard much, but I never saw it before. But here let us beware of sleeping; for, as I have heared, for that it cost poor Christian dear."

Then said Mr. Great-heart to the little ones, "Come, my pretty boys, how do you do? what think you now of going on pilgrimage?"

"Sir," said the least, "I was almost beat out of heart; but I thank you for lending me a hand at my need. And I remember now what my mother has told me, namely, 'That the way to heaven is as up a ladder, and the way to hell is as down a hill.' But I rather go up the ladder to life, than the hill to death."

Then said Mercy, "But the proverb, is, 'To go down the hill is easy.'"

But James said (for that was his name), "The day is coming when, in my opinion, going down-hill will be the hardest of all."

"That's a good boy," said his master; "thou hast given her a right answer."

Then Mercy smiled, but the little boy did blush.

Chr. "Come," said Christiana, "will you eat a bit, a little to sweeten your mouths, while you sit here to rest your legs? for I have here a piece of pomegranate, which Mr. Interpreter put in my[260] hand just when I came out of his doors: he gave me also a piece of a honeycomb, and a little bottle of spirits."

"I thought he gave you something," said Mercy, "because he called you aside."

"Yes, so he did," said the other; "but, Mercy, it shall still be as I said it should, when at first we came from home; thou shalt be a sharer in all the good that I have, because thou so willingly didst become my companion."

Then she gave to them, and they did eat, both Mercy and the boys. And said Christiana to Mr. Great-heart, "Sir, will you do as we and take some refreshment?"

But he answered, "You are going on pilgrimage, and presently I shall return; much good may have do to you: at home I eat the same every day."

Now, when they had eaten and drunk, and had chatted a little longer, their guide said to them, "The day wears away; if you think good, let us prepare to be going." So they got up to go, and the little boys went before; but Christiana forgot to take her bottle of spirits with her, so she sent her little boy back to fetch it.

Then said Mercy, "I think this is a losing place: here Christian lost his roll, and here Christiana left her bottle behind her. Sir, what is the cause of this?"

So their guide made answer, and said, "The cause is sleep or forgetfulness: some sleep when[261] they should keep awake, and some forget when they should remember. And this is the very cause why often at the resting-places some pilgrims, in some things, come off losers. Pilgrims should watch, and remember what they have already received, under their greatest enjoyments; but, for want of doing so, ofttimes their rejoicing ends in tears, and their sunshine in a cloud: witness the story of Christian at this place."

MISTRUST AND TIMOROUS When they were come to the place where Mistrust and Timorous met Christian, to persuade him to go back for fear of the lions, they perceived as it were a stage, and before it, towards the road, a broad plate, with a copy of verses written thereon, and underneath the reason of the raising up of that stage in that place rendered. The verses were these:

"Let him that sees this stage take heed
Unto his heart and tongue;
Lest, if he do not, here he speed
As some have, long agone."

The words underneath the verses were, "This stage was built to punish such upon, who, through timorousness or mistrust, shall be afraid to go farther on pilgrimage. Also on this stage both Mistrust and Timorous were burned through the tongue with a hot iron, for endeavoring to hinder Christian in his journey."

Then said Mercy, "This is much like to the saying of the Beloved, 'What shall be given unto[262] thee, or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.'"

So they went on till they came within sight of the lions. Now, Mr. Great-heart was a strong man, so he was not afraid of a lion. But yet, when they were come up to the place where the lions were, the boys, that went before, were glad to cringe behind, for they were afraid of the lions so they stepped back, and went behind.

At this their guide smiled, and said, "How now, my boys! do you love to go before when no danger doth approach, and love to come behind so soon as the lions appear?"

Now, as they went up, Mr. Great-heart drew his sword, with intent to make a way for the pilgrims in spite of the lions. Then there appeared one that, it seems, had taken upon him to back the lions; and he said to the pilgrims' guide, "What is the cause of your coming hither?" Now, the name of that man was Grim, or Bloody-man, because of his slaying of pilgrims; and he was of the race of the giants.

Great. Then said the pilgrims' guide, "These women and children are going on pilgrimage, and this is the way they must go; and go it they shall, in spite of thee and the lions."

Grim. This is not their way, neither shall they go therein. I am come forth to withstand them, and to that end will back the lions.

GREAT-HEART OVERCOMES GRIM Now, to say truth, by reason of the fierceness[263] of the lions, and of the grim carriage of him that did back them, this way had of late lain much unoccupied, and was almost all grown over with grass.

Chr. Then said Christiana, "Though the highways have been unoccupied heretofore, and though the travellers have been made in times past to walk through by-paths, it must not be so now I am risen. 'Now I am risen a mother in Israel.'"

Grim. Then he swore by the lions, "But it should," and therefore bid them turn aside, for they should not passage there.

But Great-heart their guide made first his approach unto Grim, and laid so heavily at him with his sword, that he forced him to a retreat.

Grim. Then said he that attempted to back the lions, "Will you slay me upon mine own ground?"

Great. It is the King's highway that we are in, and in His way it is that thou hast placed thy lions; but these women, and these children, though weak, shall hold on their way in spite of thy lions.

And, with that, he gave him again a downright blow, and brought him upon his knees. With this blow he also broke his helmet, and with the next he cut off an arm. Then did the giant roar so hideously, that his voice frighted the women, and yet they were glad to see him lie sprawling upon the ground. Now, the lions were chained, and so of themselves could do nothing.

Wherefore, when old Grim, that intended to back them, was dead, Mr. Great-heart said to the pilgrims, "Come now, and follow me, and no hurt shall happen to you from the lions." They therefore went on; but the women trembled as they passed by them: the boys also looked as if they would die; but they all got by without further hurt.

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