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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Pilgrim's Progress Index : Page 40
Page 39 | Page 40 | Page 41

JOHN BUNYAN.
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS - PART II

THE FOURTH STAGE.

    Now when they had eaten and drank, 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 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, oftentimes their rejoicing ends in tears, and their sunshine in a cloud: witness the story of Christian at this place.

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 raising up that stage in that place rendered. The verses were,

"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 those upon, who, through timorousness or mistrust, shall be afraid to go further on pilgrimage. Also, on this stage both Mistrust and Timorous were burned through the tongue with a hot iron, for endeavoring to hinder Christian on his journey."

Then said Mercy, This is much like to the saying of the Beloved: "What shall be given unto thee, or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. Psa. 120:3,4.

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 now 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 on, 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.

Now, to say the truth, by reason of the fierceness 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 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. Judges 5:6,7.

GRIM. Then he swore by the lions that it should; and therefore bid them turn aside, for they should not have passage there.

But Great-Heart their guide made first his approach unto Grim, and laid so heavily on him with his sword that he forced him to 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 this way it is that thou hast placed the 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 also he broke his helmet, and with the next he cut off an arm. Then did the giant roar so hideously that his voice frightened 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.

Now, when they were within sight of the Porter's lodge, they soon came up unto it; but they made the more haste after this to go thither, because it is dangerous traveling there in the night. So when they were come to the gate, the guide knocked, and the Porter cried, Who is there? But as soon as the guide had said, It is I, he knew his voice, and came down, for the guide had oft before that come thither as a conductor of pilgrims. When he was come down, he opened the gate; and seeing the guide standing just before it, (for he saw not the women, for they were behind him,) he said unto him, How now, Mr. Great-Heart, what is your business here so late at night? I have brought, said he, some pilgrims hither, where, by my Lord's commandment, they must lodge: I had been here some time ago, had I not been opposed by the giant that did use to back the lions. But I, after a long and tedious combat with him, have cut him off, and have brought the pilgrims hither in safety.

POR. Will you not go in, and stay till morning?

GREAT. No, I will return to my Lord to-night.

CHR. O, sir, I know not how to be willing you should leave us in our pilgrimage: you have been so faithful and loving to us, you have fought so stoutly for us, you have been so hearty in counselling of us, that I shall never forget your favor towards us.

MER. Then said Mercy, O that we might have thy company to our journey's end! How can such poor women as we hold out in a way so full of troubles as this way is, without a friend and defender?

JAMES. Then said James, the youngest of the boys, Pray, sir, be persuaded to go with us, and help us, because we are so weak, and the way so dangerous as it is.

GREAT. I am at my Lord's commandment; if he shall allot me to be your guide quite through, I will willingly wait upon you. But here you failed at first; for when he bid me come thus far with you, then you should have begged me of him to have gone quite through with you, and he would have granted your request. However, at present I must withdraw; and so, good Christiana, Mercy, and my brave children, adieu.

Then the Porter, Mr. Watchful, asked Christiana of her country, and of her kindred. And she said, I came from the city of Destruction. I am a widow woman, and my husband is dead, his name was Christian, the pilgrim. How! said the Porter, was he your husband? Yes, said she, and these are his children and this, pointing to Mercy, is one of my town's-woMEN. Then the Porter rang his bell, as at such times he is wont, and there come to the door one of the damsels, whose name was Humble-Mind; and to her the Porter said, Go tell it within, that Christiana, the wife of Christian, and her children, are come hither on pilgrimage. She went in, therefore, and told it. But oh, what noise for gladness was there within when the damsel did but drop that out of her mouth!

So they came with haste to the Porter, for Christana stood still at the door. Then some of the most grave said unto her, Come in, Christiana, come in, thou wife of that good man; come in, thou blessed woman, come in, with all that are with thee. So she went in, and they followed her that were her children and companions. Now when they were gone in, they were had into a large room, where they were bidden to sit down: so they sat down, and the chief of the house were called to see and welcome the guests. Then they came in, and understanding who they were, did salute each other with a kiss, and said, Welcome, ye vessels of the grace of God; welcome to us, your friends.

Now, because it was somewhat late, and because the pilgrims were weary with their journey, and also made faint with the sight of the fight, and of the terrible lions, they desired, as soon as might be, to prepare to go to rest. Nay, said those of the family, refresh yourselves first with a morsel of meat; for they had prepared for them a lamb, with the accustomed sauce belonging thereto, Exod. 12:21; John 1:29; for the Porter had heard before of their coming, and had told it to them within. So when they had supped, and ended their prayer with a psalm, they desired they might go to rest.

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