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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Pilgrim's Progress Index : Page 54
Page 53 | Page 54 | Page 55

JOHN BUNYAN.
THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS - PART II

THE EIGHTH STAGE.

    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 Apostasy. Wherefore of him Mr. Great-Heart their guide 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 sepulchre were, 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.

Then they went on; and just at the place where Little-Faith formerly was robbed, there stood a man with his sword drawn, and his face all over with blood. Then said Mr. Great-Heart, Who art thou? The man made answer, saying, I am one whose name is Valiant-for-truth. I am a pilgrim, and am going to the Celestial City. Now, as I was in my way, there were three men that did beset me, and propounded unto me these three things: 1. Whether I would become one of them. 2. Or go back from whence I came. 3. Or die upon the place. Prov. 1:11-14. To the first I answered, I had been a true man for a long season, and therefore it could not be expected that I should now cast in my lot with thieves. Then they demanded what I would say to the second. So I told them that the place from whence I came, had I not found incommodity there, I had not forsaken it at all; but finding it altogether unsuitable to me, and very unprofitable for me, I forsook it for this way. Then they asked me what I said to the third. And I told them my life cost far more dear than that I should lightly give it away. Besides, you have nothing to do thus to put things to my choice; wherefore at your peril be it if you meddle. Then these three, to wit, Wild-head, Inconsiderate, and Pragmatic, drew upon me, and I also drew upon them. So we fell to it, one against three, for the space of above three hours. They have left upon me, as you see, some of the marks of their valor, and have also carried away with them some of mine. They are but just now gone; I suppose they might, as the saying is, hear your horse dash, and so they betook themselves to flight.

GREAT. But here was great odds, three against one .

VALIANT. 'Tis true; but little and more are nothing to him that has the truth on his side: "Though an host should encamp against me," said one, Psa. 27:3, "my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident," etc. Besides, said he, I have read in some records, that one man has fought an army: and how many did Samson slay with the jawbone of an ass!

GREAT. Then said the guide, Why did you not cry out, that some might have come in for your succor?

VALIANT. So I did to my King, who I knew could hear me, and afford invisible help, and that was sufficient for me.

GREAT. Then said Great-Heart to Mr. Valiant-for-truth, Thou hast worthily behaved thyself; let me see thy sword. So he showed it him.

When he had taken it in his hand, and looked thereon awhile, he said, Ha, it is a right Jerusalem blade.

VALIANT. It is so. Let a man have one of these blades, with a hand to wield it, and skill to use it, and he may venture upon an angel with it. He need not fear its holding, if he can but tell how to lay on. Its edge will never blunt. It will cut flesh and bones, and soul, and spirit, and all. Heb. 4:12.

GREAT. But you fought a great while; I wonder you was not weary.

VALIANT. I fought till my sword did cleave to my hand; and then they were joined together as if a sword grew out of my arm; and when the blood ran through my fingers, then I fought with most courage.

GREAT. Thou hast done well; thou hast resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Thou shalt abide by us, come in and go out with us; for we are thy companions. Then they took him and washed his wounds, and gave him of what they had, to refresh him: and so they went together.

Now, as they went on, because Mr. Great-Heart was delighted in him, (for he loved one greatly that he found to be a man of his hands,) and because there were in company those that were feeble and weak, therefore he questioned with him about many things; as first, what countryman he was.

VALIANT. I am of Dark-land; for there was I born, and there my father and mother are still.

GREAT. Dark-land! said the guide; doth not that lie on the same coast with the City of Destruction?

VALIANT. Yes, it doth. Now that which caused me to come on pilgrimage was this. We had one Mr. Tell-true come into our parts, and he told it about what Christian had done, that went from the City of Destruction; namely, how he had forsaken his wife and children, and had betaken himself to a pilgrim's life. It was also confidently reported, how he had killed a serpent that did come out to resist him in his journey; and how he got through to whither he intended. It was also told what welcome he had at all his Lord's lodgings, especially when he came to the gates of the Celestial City; for there, said the man, he was received with sound of trumpet by a company of shining ones. He told also how all the bells in the city did ring for joy at his reception, and what golden garments he was clothed with; with many other things that now I shall forbear to relate. In a word, that man so told the story of Christian and his travels that my heart fell into a burning haste to be gone after him; nor could father or mother stay me. So I got from them, and am come thus far on my way.

GREAT. You came in at the gate, did you not?

VALIANT. Yes, yes; for the same man also told us, that all would be nothing if we did not begin to enter this way at the gate.

GREAT. Look you, said the guide to Christiana, the pilgrimage of your husband, and what he has gotten thereby, is spread abroad far and near.

VALIANT. Why, is this Christian's wife?

GREAT. Yes, that it is; and these also are his four sons.

VALIANT. What, and going on pilgrimage too?

GREAT. Yes, verily, they are following after.

VALIANT. It glads me at the heart. Good man, how joyful will he be when he shall see them that would not go with him, yet to enter after him in at the gates into the Celestial City.

GREAT. Without doubt it will be a comfort to him; for, next to the joy of seeing himself there, it will be a joy to meet there his wife and children.

VALIANT. But now you are upon that, pray let me hear your opinion about it. Some make a question whether we shall know one another when we are there.

GREAT. Do you think they shall know themselves then, or that they shall rejoice to see themselves in that bliss? And if they think they shall know and do this, why not know others, and rejoice in their welfare also? Again, since relations are our second self, though that state will be dissolved there, yet why may it not be rationally concluded that we shall be more glad to see them there than to see they are wanting?

VALIANT. Well, I perceive whereabouts you are as to this. Have you any more things to ask me about my beginning to come on pilgrimage?

GREAT. Yes; were your father and mother willing that you should become a pilgrim?

VALIANT. O no; they used all means imaginable to persuade me to stay at home.

GREAT. Why, what could they say against it?

VALIANT. They said it was an idle life; and if I myself were not inclined to sloth and laziness, I would never countenance a pilgrim's condition.

GREAT. And what did they say else?

VALIANT. Why, they told me that it was a dangerous way; yea, the most dangerous way in the world, said they, is that which the pilgrims go.

GREAT. Did they show you wherein this way is so dangerous?

VALIANT. Yes; and that in many particulars.

GREAT. Name some of them.

Page 53 | Page 54 | Page 55




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