The Valley of Humiliation
Now they began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation. It was a steep hill, and the way was slippery; but they were very careful, so they got down pretty well. When they were down in the Valley,172 Piety said to Christiana, This is the place where Christian your husband met with the foul fiend Apollyon, and where they had that dreadful fight that they had; I know you cannot but have heard thereof, But be of good courage, as long as you have here Mr. Great-heart to be your guide and conductor, we hope you will fare the better. So when these two had committed the Pilgrims unto the conduct of their guide, he went forward, and they went after.
GREAT-HEART. Then said Mr. Great-heart, We need not to be so afraid of this Valley, for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it to ourselves. It is true, Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom he also had a sore combat; but that fray was the fruit of those slips that he got in his going down the hill; for they that get slips there, must look for combats here. And hence it is, that this Valley has got so hard a name. For the common people, when they hear that some frightful thing has befallen such a one in such a place, are of an opinion, that that place is haunted with some foul fiend, or evil spirit; when, alas! it is for the fruit of their doing, that such things do befall them there.
This Valley of Humiliation is of itself as fruitful a place, as any the crow flies over; Christian was and I am persuaded, if we could hit upon it, we might find somewhere hereabouts, something that might give us an account why Christian was so hardly beset in this place.
Then James said to his mother, Lo, yonder stands a pillar, and it looks as if something was written thereon; let us go and see what it is. So they went, and found there written, “Let Christian’s slips, before he came hither, and the battles that he met with in this place, be a warning to those that come after.” Lo, said their guide, did not I tell you, that there was something hereabouts, that would give intimation of the reason why Christian was so hard beset in this place? Then, turning himself to Christiana, he said, No disparagement to Christian, more than to many others, whose hap and lot his was; for it is easier going up, than down this hill, and that can he said but of few hills in all these parts of the world. But we will leave the good man, he is at rest, he also had a brave victory over his enemy; let Him grant that dwelleth above, that we fare no worse, when we come to be tried, than he.
But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation. It is the best and most useful brave piece of ground in all those parts. It is fat ground, and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man were to come here in the summer-time, as we do now, if he knew not anything before, thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that that would be delightful to him. Behold how green this Valley is, also how beautified with lilies173 (Song. 2:1). I have also known many labouring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humiliation (“for God resisteth the proud, but gives grace unto the humble,” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5), for indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls.174 Some also have wished, that the next way to their Father’s house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either hills or mountains to go over; but the way is the way, and there is an end.175
Now, as they were going along and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favoured countenance; and as he sat by himself, he sang. Hark, said Mr. Great-heart, to what the shepherd’s boy saith. So they hearkened, and he said—
He that is down needs fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble, ever shall
I am content with what I have,
Little be it, or much;
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou savest such.
Fullness to such a burden is,
That go on pilgrimage;
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
Then said the guide, Do you hear him? I will dare to say, that this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of that herb called heart’s-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet;177 but we will proceed in our discourse.
In this Valley our Lord formerly had His country house; He loved much to be here; He loved also to walk these meadows, for He found the air was pleasant.178 Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise, and from the hurryings of this life. All states are full of noise and confusion, only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be so let and hindered in his contemplation, as in other places he is apt to be. This is a Valley that nobody walks in, but those that love a pilgrim’s life. And though Christian had the hard hap to meet here with Apollyon, and to enter with him a brisk encounter, yet I must tell you, that in former times men have met with angels here, have found pearls here, and have in this place found the words of life179 (Hosea 12:4, 5).
Did I say, our Lord had here in former days his country-house, and that He loved here to walk? I will add, in this place, and to the people that live, and trace these grounds, He has left a yearly revenue, to be faithfully paid them at certain seasons, for their maintenance by the way, and for their further encouragement to go on in their pilgrimage (Matt. 11:29).
SAMUEL.180 Now, as they went on, Samuel said to Mr. Great-heart; Sir, I perceive that in this Valley my father and Apollyon had their battle; but whereabout was the fight? for I perceive this Valley is large.
GREAT-HEART. Your father had that battle with Apollyon, at a place yonder, before us, in a narrow passage, just beyond Forgetful Green.181 And indeed, that place is the most dangerous place in all these parts. For if at any time the pilgrims meet with any brunt, it is when they forget what favours they have received, and how unworthy they are of them.182 This is the place also, where others have been hard put to it; but more of the place when we are come to it; for I persuade myself, that to this day there remains either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a battle there was fought.
MERCY. Then said Mercy, I think I am as well in this Valley, as I have been anywhere else in all our journey; the place, methinks, suits with my spirit. I love to be in such places where there is no rattling with coaches, nor rumbling with wheels; methinks, here one may, without much molestation, be thinking what he is, whence he came, what he has done, and to what the King has called him; here one may think, and break at heart, and melt in one’s spirit, until one’s eyes become like “the fish-pools of Heshbon” (Song. 7:4). They that go rightly through this Valley of Baca, make it a well, the rain that God sends down from Heaven upon them that are here, also filleth the pools (Psa. 84:6, 7). This Valley is that from whence also the King will give to His their vineyards (Hosea 2:15); and they that go through it, shall sing, as Christian did, for all he met with Apollyon.
GREAT-HEART. It is true, said their guide, I have gone through this Valley many a time, and never was better than when here.
I have also been a conductor to several pilgrims, and they have confessed the same. “To this man will I look (saith the King), even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word”183 (Isa. 66:2).
Now they were come to the place where the afore-mentioned battle was fought. Then said the guide to Christiana, her children, and Mercy, This is the place, on this ground Christian stood, and up there came Apollyon against him. And look, did not I tell you? here is some of your husband’s blood upon these stones to this day; behold, also, how here and there are yet to be seen upon the place, some of the shivers of Apollyon’s broken darts; see also, how they did beat the ground with their feet as they fought, to make good their places against each other; how also, with their by-blows, they did split the very stones in pieces. Verily, Christian did here play the man, and showed himself as stout, as could, had he been there, even Hercules himself.184 When Apollyon was beat, he made his retreat to the next Valley, that is called, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, unto which we shall come anon.185
Lo, yonder also stands a monument, on which is engraven this battle, and Christian’s victory, to his fame throughout all ages. So, because it stood just on the wayside before them, they stepped to it, and read the writing, which word for word was this—
Hard by, here was a battle fought,
Most strange, and yet most true;186
Christian and Apollyon sought
Each other to subdue.
The man so bravely play’d the man,
He made the fiend to fly;
Of which a monument I stand,
The same to testify.
When they had passed by this place, they came upon the borders of the Shadow of Death; and this Valley was longer than the other; a place, also, most strangely haunted with evil things, as many are able to testify;187 but these women and children went the better through it, because they had daylight, and because Mr. Great-heart was their conductor.
When they were entered upon this Valley, they thought that they heard a groaning, as of dead men, a very great groaning. They thought, also, they did hear words of lamentation spoken, as of some in extreme torment. These things made the boys to quake, the women also looked pale and wan; but their guide bid them be of good comfort.
So they went on a little further, and they thought that they felt the ground begin to shake under them, as if some hollow place was there; they heard also a kind of a hissing, as of serpents, but nothing as yet appeared. Then said the boys, Are we not yet at the end of this doleful place? But the guide also bid them be of good courage, and look well to their feet, lest haply, said he, you be taken in some snare.188
Now James began to be sick, but I think the cause thereof was fear; so his mother gave him some of that glass of spirits that she had given her at the Interpreter’s house, and three of the pills that Mr. Skill had prepared, and the boy began to revive. Thus they went on, till they came to about the middle of the Valley, and then Christiana said, Methinks I see something yonder upon the road before us, a thing of such a shape such as I have not seen. Then said Joseph, Mother, what is it? An ugly thing, child; an ugly thing, said she. But, mother, what is it like? said he. It is like I cannot tell what, said she. And now it was but a little way off; then said she, It is nigh.
Well, well, said Mr. Great-heart, Let them that are most afraid, keep close to me. So the fiend came on, and the conductor met it; but when it was just come to him, it vanished to all their sights. Then remembered they what had been said some time ago, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
They went therefore on, as being a little refreshed; but they had not gone far, before Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something most like a lion, and it came a great padding pace after; and it had a hollow voice of roaring; and at every roar that it gave, it made all the Valley echo, and their hearts to ache, save the heart of him that was their guide. So it came up; and Mr. Great-heart went behind, and put the Pilgrims all before him. The lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed himself to give him battle. But when he saw that it was determined that resistance should be made, he also drew back, and came no further189 (1 Peter 5:8, 9).
Then they went on again, and their conductor did go before them, till they came at a place where was cast up a pit the whole breadth of the way; and, before they could be prepared to go over that, a great mist and darkness fell upon them, so that they could not see. Then said the Pilgrims, Alas! now what shall we do? But their guide made answer, Fear not, stand still, and see what an end will be put to this also. So they staid there, because their path was marred. They then also thought that they did hear more apparently the noise and rushing of the enemies; the fire, also, and the smoke of the pit, was much easier to be discerned.190 Then said Christiana to Mercy, Now I see what my poor husband went through; I have heard much of this place, but I never was here before now. Poor man, he went here all alone in the night; he had night almost quite through the way; also, these fiends were busy about him, as if they would have torn him in pieces. Many have spoke of it, but none can tell what the Valley of the Shadow of Death should mean, until they come in it themselves. “The heart knows its own bitterness; and a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy.” To be here is a fearful thing.
GREAT-HEART. This is like doing business in great waters, or like going down into the deep; this is like being in the heart of the sea, and like going down to the bottoms of the mountains; now it seems as if the earth, with its bars, were about us forever. But let them that walk in darkness, and have no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God191 (Isa. 1:10). For my part, as I have told you already, I have gone often through this Valley, and have been much harder put to it than now I am, and yet you see I am alive. I would not boast, for that I am not mine own saviour; but I trust we shall have a good deliverance. Come, let us pray for light to Him that can lighten our darkness, and that can rebuke not only these, but all the Satans in hell.
So they cried and prayed, and God sent light and deliverance, for there was now no let in their way; no not there, where but now they were stopped with a pit. Yet they were not got through the Valley; so they went on still, and behold great stinks and loathsome smells, to the great annoyance of them.192 Then said Mercy to Christiana, There is not such pleasant being here, as at the gate, or at the Interpreter’s, or at the house where we lay last.
O but, said one of the boys, it is not so bad to go through here, as it is to abide here always; and for aught I know, one reason why we must go this way to the house prepared for us, is, that our home might be made the sweeter to us.193
Well said, Samuel, quoth the guide, thou hast now spoke like a man. Why, if ever I get out here again said the boy, I think I shall prize light and good way better than ever I did in all my life. Then said the guide, We shall he out by and by.194
So on they went, and Joseph said, Cannot we see to the end of this Valley as yet? Then said the guide, Look to your feet, for you shall presently be among the snares. So they looked to their feet, and went on; but they were troubled much with the snares. Now, when they were come among the snares, they espied a man cast into the ditch on the left hand, with his flesh all rent and torn. Then said the guide, That is one Heedless, that was agoing this way; he has lain there a great while.195 There was one Take-heed with him, when he was taken and slain; but he escaped their hands. You cannot imagine how many are killed hereabout, and yet men are so foolishly venturous, as to set out lightly on pilgrimage, and to come without a guide.196 Poor Christian! it was a wonder that he here escaped; but he was beloved of his God: also, he had a good heart of his own,197 or else he could never have done it. Now they drew towards the end of the way; and just there where Christian had seen the cave when he went by, out thence came forth Maul, a giant. This Maul did use to spoil young pilgrims with sophistry; and he called Great-heart by his name, and said unto him, How many times have you been forbidden to do these things? Then said Mr. Great-heart, What things? What things? quoth the giant; you know what things; but I will put an end to your trade. But pray, said Mr. Great-heart, before we fall to it, let us understand wherefore we must fight. Now the women and children stood trembling, and knew not what to do. Quoth the giant, You rob the country, and rob it with the worst of thefts.198 These are but generals, said Mr. Great-heart; come to particulars, man.
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 master’s 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 unto 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 struck 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 giant’s nostrils, as the heat doth out of a boiling caldron.
Then they sat down to rest them, but Mr. Great-heart betook him to prayer; also the women and children did nothing but sigh and cry all the time that the battle did last.199
When they had rested them, and taken breath, they both fell to it again,200 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-heart’s 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 smote 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.201
When this was done, they among them erected a pillar, and fastened the giant’s head thereon, and wrote underneath in letters, that passengers might read—
He that did wear this head, was one
That pilgrims did misuse;
He stopp’d their way, he spared none,
But did them all abuse;
Until that I, Great-heart, arose,
The pilgrim’s guide to be;
Until that I did him oppose,
That was their enemy.
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.202 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 detriment, 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 last203 (2 Cor. 4).
CHRIST. But were you not afraid, good Sir, when you saw him come out with his club?204
GREAT-HEART. It is my duty, said he, to distrust my own ability, that I may have reliance on Him that is stronger than all.
CHRIST. But what did you think when he fetched you down to the ground at the first blow?
GREAT-HEART. Why, I thought, quoth he, that so my Master Himself was served, and yet He it was that conquered at the 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 a place as this, given us 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 clothes, and his staff, and his girdle.
So the guide, Mr. Great-heart, awaked him, and the old gentleman, as he lift up his eyes, cried out, What’s the matter? Who are you? and what is your business here?205
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 Celestial Country.
HONEST. Then said Mr. Honest, I cry you mercy; I feared that you had been of the company of those that sometime ago did rob Little-faith of his money; but now I look better about me, I perceive you are honester people.
GREAT-HEART. Why, what would, or could you have done, to have helped yourself, if we indeed had been of that company.
HON. Done! why I would have 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 on it; for a Christian can never be overcome, unless he should yield of himself.206
GREAT-HEART. Well said, father Honest, quoth the guide; for by this I know thou art a cock of the right kind, for thou hast said the truth.
HON. And by this, also, I know that thou knowest what true pilgrimage is; for all others do think that we are the soonest overcome of any.
GREAT-HEART. Well, now we are so happily met, pray let me crave your name, and the name of the place you came from.
HON. My name I cannot; but I came from the town of Stupidity; it lieth about four degrees beyond the City of Destruction.
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,207 but Honest is my name; and I wish that my nature shall agree to what I am called.
HON. But, Sir, said the old gentleman, how could you guess that I am such a man, since I came from such a place?
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.208
GREAT-HEART. I believe it, father Honest, I believe it; for I know the thing is true.
Then the old gentleman saluted all the Pilgrims with a holy kiss of charity; and asked them of their names, and how they had fared since they set out on their pilgrimage.209
CHRIST. 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 him 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 virtue (Matt. 10:3). Samuel, said he, be thou like Samuel the Prophet, a man of faith and prayer (Psa. 99:6). Joseph, said he, be thou like Joseph in Potiphar’s house, chaste, and one that flees from temptation (Gen. 39). And James, be thou like James the Just, and like James the brother of our Lord (Acts 1:13, 14). 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.
All this while the guide, Mr. Great-heart, was very much pleased, and smiled upon his companion.
Now, as they walked along together, the guide asked the old gentleman, if he did not know one Mr. Fearing, that came on pilgrimage out of his parts?
HON. Yes, very well, said he. He was a man that had the root of the matter in him; but he was one of the most troublesome pilgrims that ever I met with in all my days.210
GREAT-HEART. I perceive you knew him; for you have given a very right character of him.
HON. Knew him! I was a great companion of his; I was with him most an end; when he first began to think of what would come upon us hereafter, I was with him.
GREAT-HEART. I was his guide from my Master’s house to the gates of the Celestial City.
HON. Then you knew him to be a troublesome one.
GREAT-HEART. I did so, but I could very well bear it; for men of my calling are oftentimes intrusted with the conduct of such as he was.
HON. Well then, pray let us hear a little of him, and how he managed himself under your conduct.
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 Despond for about a month together; nor durst he, for all he saw several go over before him, venture, though they, many of them, offered to lend him their hand. He would not go back again neither.211 The Celestial 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 Despond a great while, as I have told you, one sunshine 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 Despond 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 got 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 one’s 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 stepped 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 blessed. With that he got up, and went in trembling; and when he was in, he was ashamed to show 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 His behaviour at my Master the Interpreter’s 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 conductor, because he was himself so chicken-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 though he saw several others, for knocking, get 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 showed 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 wonderfully lovingly to him. There were but a 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 he 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, especially 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.
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 at 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.212
I got him in 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 ancient 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 Interpreter, but that he durst not be so bold to ask.
When we went also from the House Beautiful, he went 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 he happy at last. Yea, I think, there was a kind of a sympathy betwixt that valley and him; for I never saw him better in all his pilgrimage than when he was in that valley.213
Here he would lie down, embrace the ground, and kiss the very flowers that grew in this valley (Lam. 3:27–29). He would now be up every morning by break of day, tracing and walking to and fro in this 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. Oh! the hobgoblins will have me! the hobgoblins will have me! cried he; and I could not beat him out on it. He made such a noise, and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us.214
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 passed over it.
It would he 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 at the men at the fair. I feared there we should both have been knocked on the head, so hot was he against their fooleries.215 Upon the Enchanted 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 forever, 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.216 When he was going up to the gate, I 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.
HON. Then, it seems, he was well at last.
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 (Psa. 88). 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 (Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13).
HON. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark?217
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 (Matt. 11:16–18). Now Mr. Fearing was one that played upon this bass; he and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other music are; though, indeed, some say the bass is the ground of music. 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 bass, 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 music but this, till towards his latter end.218
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 (Rev. 8:2; 14:2, 3).
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. It was only sin, death, and hell that was to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that celestial country.219
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 thereabout, not from weakness of spirit as to the practical part of a pilgrim’s life. I dare believe that, as the proverb is, “he could have bit a firebrand, had it stood in his way”; but the things with which he was oppressed, no man ever yet could shake off with ease.
CHRIST. 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 betwixt this good man and I; only we differed in two things: His troubles were so great, they break 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. O, thought I, may I have the happiness to have a habitation there, it is 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 were so with such a good man as he, why may it not also go well with me?
JAMES. No fears, no grace, said James. Though there is not always grace where thereis the fear of hell, yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is no fear of God.220
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 lack 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.
Well, Master Fearing, thou didst fear
Thy God, and wast afraid
Of doing anything, while here,
That would have thee betray’d.
And didst thou fear the lake and pit?
Would others did so too!
For, as for them that want thy wit,
They do themselves undo.221
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.
GREAT-HEART. Had you ever any talk with him about it?
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, that he would do, and nothing else could he be got to.
GREAT-HEART. Pray, what principles did he hold? for I suppose you can tell.
HON. He held, that a man might follow the vices as well as the virtues of the pilgrims; and that if he did both, he should be certainly saved.
GREAT-HEART. How! if he had said, It is possible for the heart to be guilty of the vices, as well as to partake of the virtues 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.222 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. Aye, aye, so I mean; and so he believed and practised.
GREAT-HEART. But what ground had he for his so saying?
HON. Why, he said he had the Scripture for his warrant.
GREAT-HEART. Prithee, Mr. Honest, present us with a few particulars.
HON. So I will. He said, To have to do with other men’s wives, had been practised by David, God’s 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 saved Rahab; and therefore he could do it. He said, That the disciples went at the bidding of their Master, and took away the owner’s 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.223
GREAT-HEART. Highly base! indeed. And you are sure he was of this opinion?
HON. I have heard him plead for it, bring Scripture for it, bring argument for it, etc.
GREAT-HEART. An opinion that is not fit to be with any allowance in the world.
HON. You must understand me rightly. He did not say that any man might do this; but that those that had the virtues of those that did such things, might also do the same.
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 willfully lie down and wallow like a boar therein. Who could have thought that anyone could so far have 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” (1 Peter 2:8).
His supposing that such may have the godly men’s virtues, who addict themselves to their vices, is also a delusion as strong as the other. It is 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 God’s people, is no sign of one that is possessed with their virtues (Hosea 4:8). 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?224
HON. Why, he says, To do this by way of opinion, seems abundance more honest, than to do it, and yet hold contrary to it in opinion.
GREAT-HEART. A very wicked answer; for though 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. There are many of this man’s mind, that have not this man’s mouth; and that makes going on pilgrimage of so little esteem as it is.
GREAT-HEART. You have said the truth, and it is to be lamented; but he that feareth the King of Paradise, shall come out of them all.
CHRIST. There are strange opinions in the world; I know one that said, It was time enough to repent when they come to die.225
GREAT-HEART. Such are not over wise. That man would have been loath, might he have had a week to run twenty miles in for his life, to have deferred that journey to the last hour of that week.
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 traveler in this road many a day; and I have taken notice of many things.226
I have seen some that have set out as if they would drive all the world afore them, who yet have, in few days, died as they in the wilderness, and so never got sight of the promised land.
I have seen some that have promised nothing, at first setting out to be pilgrims, and that one would have thought could not have lived a day, that have yet proved very good pilgrims.
I have seen some who have run hastily forward, that again have, after a little time, run as fast just back again.
I have seen some who have spoken very well of a pilgrim’s life at first, that, after a while, have spoken as much against it.
I have heard some, when they first set out for Paradise, say positively there is such a place; who when they have been almost there, have come back again, and said there is none.
I have heard some vaunt what they would do, in case they should he opposed, that have, even at a false alarm, fled faith, the pilgrim’s way, and all.227
Now, as they were thus in their way, there came one running to meet them, and said, Gentlemen, and you of the weaker sort, if you love life, shift for yourselves, for the robbers are before you.228
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 have 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.229 Then said Mr. Honest, There is one a little before us, where a very honourable disciple, one Gaius, dwells (Rom. 16:23). 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.