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Part II


Section 4

The Lions - Giant Grim slain by Great-Heart - the Pilgrims entertained - the children catechised by Prudence - Mr Brisk - Matthew sick - the remedy - sights shown the Pilgrims



Now by that these pilgrims had been at this place a week, MERCY had a visitor that pretended some good will unto her, and his name was Mr. BRISK: a man of some breeding, and that pretended to religion; but a man that stuck very close to the world. So he came once or twice, or more, to MERCY, and offered love unto her. Now MERCY was of a fair countenance, and therefore the more alluring.

Her mind also was, to be always busying of herself in doing; for when she had nothing to do for herself, she would be making of hose and garments for others, and would bestow them upon them that had need. And Mr. BRISK, not knowing where or how she disposed of what she made, seemed to be greatly taken for that he found her never idle. "I will warrant her a good housewife," quoth he to himself.

MERCY then revealed the business to the maidens that were of the house, and inquired of them concerning him; for they did know him better than she. So they told her that he was a very busy young man, and one that pretended to religion; but was, as they feared, a stranger to the power of that which was good.

"Nay, then," said MERCY, "I will look no more on him; for I purpose never to have a clog to my soul."

PRUDENCE then replied, "That there needed no great matter of discouragement to be given to him; her continuing so as she had begun to do for the poor would quickly cool his courage."

So the next time he came he found her at her old work, a-making of things for the poor. Then said he, "What, always at it?" "Yes," said she, "either for myself or for others." "And what canst thee earn a day?" quoth he. "I do these things," said she, "that I may be rich in good works; laying up in store a good foundation against the time to come, that I may lay hold on eternal life".

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

"Why, prithee, what dost thou with them?" "Clothe the naked," said she. With that his countenance fell. So he forbore to come at her again. And when he was asked the reason why, he said, "That MERCY was a pretty lass, but troubled with ill conditions."

When he had left her, PRUDENCE said, "Did I not tell thee that Mr. BRISK would soon forsake thee? yea, he will raise up an ill report of thee; for notwithstanding his pretence to religion, and his seeming love to MERCY, yet MERCY and he are of tempers so different, that I believe they will never come together."

Mercy. I might have had husbands afore now, though I spake not of it to any; but they were such as did not like my conditions, though never did any of them find fault with my person: so they and I could not agree.

Pru. Mercy in our days is little set by, any further than as to its name; the practice which is set forth by thy conditions there are but few that can abide.

Mercy. "Well," said MERCY, "if nobody will have me, I will die a maid; or my conditions shall be to me as a husband. For I cannot change my nature; and to have one that lies cross to me in this, that I purpose never to admit of as long as I live. I had a sister named BOUNTIFUL that was married to one of these churls; but he and she could never agree: but because my sister was resolved to do as she had begun, that is, to show kindness to the poor, therefore her husband first cried her down at the cross, and then turned her out of his doors."

Pru. And yet he was a professor, I warrant you.

Mercy. Yes, such a one as he was; and of such as he the world is now full: but I am for none of them all.

Matthew's Sickness

Now MATTHEW, the eldest son of CHRISTIANA, fell sick, and his sickness was sore upon him; for he was much pained in his bowels, so that he was with it at times pulled as 'twere both ends together. There dwelt also not far from thence one Mr. SKILL, an ancient and well approved physician. So CHRISTIANA desired it, and they sent for him and he came. When he was entered the room and had a little observed the boy, he concluded that he was sick of the gripes. Then he said to his mother, "What diet has MATTHEW of late fed upon?" "Diet!" said CHRISTIANA, "nothing but that which is wholesome." The physician answered, "This boy has been tampering with something that lies in his maw undigested; and that will not away without means. And I tell you he must be purged, or else he will die."

Sam. Then said SAMUEL, "Mother, mother, what was that which my brother did gather up and eat so soon as we were come from the gate that is at the head of this way? You know that there was an orchard on the left hand, on the other side of the wall, and some of the trees hung over the wall, and my brother did pluck and did eat."

Chris. "True, my child," said CHRISTIANA, "he did take thereof and did eat, naughty boy, as he was; I did chide him, and yet he would eat thereof."

Skill. I knew he had eaten something that was not wholesome food. And that food, to wit, that fruit, is even the most hurtful of all. It is the fruit of Beelzebub's orchard. I do marvel that none did warn you of it; many have died thereof.

Chris. Then CHRISTIANA began to cry, and she said, "Oh, naughty boy; and oh, careless mother: what shall I do for my son?"

Skill. Come, do not be too much dejected; the boy may do well again; but he must purge and vomit.

Chris. Pray, sir, try the utmost of your skill with him, whatever it costs.

Skill. "Nay, I hope I shall be reasonable." So he made him a purge, but it was too weak. 'Twas said it was made of the blood of a goat, the ashes of an heifer, and with some of the juice of hyssop, etc.

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Hebrews 10:1-4

When Mr. SKILL had seen that that purge was too weak, he made him one to the purpose. 'Twas made ex Carne et Sanguine Christi (you know physicians give strange medicines to their patients); and it was made up into pills with a promise or two, and a proportionable quantity of salt.

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." John 6:54-57

"For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." Mark 9:49

Now he was to take them three at a time, fasting, in half a quarter of a pint of the tears of repentance.

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Zechariah 12:10

When this potion was prepared and brought to the boy, he was loath to take it, though torn with the gripes as if he should be pulled in pieces. "Come, come," said the physician, "you must take it." "It goes against my stomach," said the boy. "I must have you take it," said his mother. "I shall vomit it up again," said the boy, "Pray, sir," said CHRISTIANA to Mr. SKILL, "how does it taste?" "It has no ill taste," said the doctor; and with that she touched one of the pills with the tip of her tongue. "Oh, MATTHEW!" said she, "this potion is sweeter than honey. If thou lovest thy mother, if thou lovest thy brothers, if thou lovest MERCY, if thou lovest thy life--take it." So with much ado, after a short prayer for the blessing of God upon it, he took it; and it wrought kindly with him. It caused him to purge; it caused him to sleep, and rest quietly; it put him into a fine heat and breathing sweat; and did quite rid him of his gripes.

So in a little time he got up and walked about with a staff; and would go from room to room, and talk with PRUDENCE, PIETY, and CHARITY, of his distemper and how he was healed.


So when the boy was healed, CHRISTIANA asked Mr. SKILL, saying, "Sir, what will content you for your pains and care to and of my child?" And he said, "You must pay the master of the college of physicians, according to rules made in that case and provided.

"For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13:11-15

Chris. "But, sir," said she, "what else is this pill good for?"

Skill. It is an universal pill: 'tis good against all the diseases that pilgrims are incident to; and when it is well prepared, it will keep good time out of mind.

Chris. Pray, sir, make me up twelve boxes of them; for if I can get these, I will never take other physic.

Skill. "These pills are good to prevent diseases, as well as to cure when one is sick. Yea, I dare say it, and stand to it, that if a man will but use this physic as he should, it will make him live for ever.

"This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." John 6:50

But, good CHRISTIANA, thou must give these pills no other way but as I have prescribed; for if you do, they will do no good." So he gave unto CHRISTIANA physic for herself, and her boys, and for MERCY; and bade MATTHEW take heed how he ate any more green plums, and kissed them, and went his way.

Questions for Prudence

It was told you before that PRUDENCE bade the boys that if at any time they would, they should ask her some questions that might be profitable; and she would say something to them.

Mat. Then MATTHEW, who had been sick, asked her, "Why, for the most part, physic should be bitter to our palates ?"

Pru. To show how unwelcome the Word of God and the effects thereof are to a carnal heart.

Mat. Why does physic, if it does good, purge and cause that we vomit?

Pru. To show that the Word, when it works effectually, cleanses the heart and mind. For look, what the one doth to the body, the other doth to the soul.

Mat. What should we learn by seeing the flame of our fire go upwards? and by seeing the beams and sweet influences of the sun strike downwards?

Pru. By the going up of the fire we are taught to ascend to heaven by fervent and hot desires. And by the sun, his sending his heat, beams, and sweet influences downwards, we are taught that the Saviour of the world, though high, reaches down with his grace and love to us below.

Mat. Where have the clouds their water?

Pru. Out of the sea.

Mat. What may we learn from that?

Pru. That ministers should fetch their doctrine from God.

Mat. Why do they empty themselves upon the earth?

Pru. To show that ministers should give out what they know of God to the world.

Mat. Why is the rainbow caused by the sun?

Pru. To show that the covenant of God's grace is confirmed to us in Christ.

Mat. Why do the springs come from the sea to us through the earth?

Pru. To show that the grace of God comes to us through the body of Christ.

Mat. Why do some of the springs rise out of the tops of high hills?

Pru. To show that the spirit of grace shall spring up in some that are great and mighty, as well as in many that are poor and low.

Mat. Why doth the fire fasten upon the candlewick?

Pru. To show that unless grace doth kindle upon the heart, there will be no true light of life in us.

Mat. Why is the wick and tallow, and all, spent to maintain the light of the candle?

Pru. To show that body, and soul, and all, should be at the service of, and spend themselves to maintain in good condition, that grace of God that is in us.

Mat. Why doth the pelican pierce her own breast with her bill?

Pru. To nourish her young ones with her blood; and thereby to show that Christ the blessed so loves his young, his people, as to save them from death by his blood.

Mat. What may one learn by hearing the cock crow?

Pru. Learn to remember Peter's sin and Peter's repentance. The cock's crowing shows also that day is coming on; let, then, the crowing of the cock put thee in mind of that last and terrible day of Judgment.


Now about this time their month was out; wherefore they signified to those of the house that 'twas convenient for them to up and be going. Then said JOSEPH to his mother, "It is convenient that you forget not to send to the house of Mr. INTERPRETER, to pray him to grant that Mr. GREAT-HEART should be sent unto us, that he may be our conductor the rest of our way." "Good boy," said she; "I had almost forgot." So she drew up a petition, and prayed Mr. WATCHFUL, the porter, to send it by some fit man to her good friend, Mr. INTERPRETER; who when it was come, and he had seen the contents of the petition, said to the messenger, "Go, tell them that I will send him.

When the family where CHRISTIANA was saw that they had a purpose to go forward, they called the whole house together to give thanks to their King for sending to them such profitable guests as these. Which done, they said to CHRISTIANA, "And shall we not show thee something, according as our custom is to do to pilgrims, on which thou mayest meditate when thou art upon the way?" So they took CHRISTIANA, her children, and MERCY, into the closet, and showed them one of the apples that Eve did eat of, and that she also did give to her husband, and that for the eating of which they both were turned out of Paradise: and asked her what she thought that was. Then CHRISTIANA said, "'Tis food or poison--I know not which." So they opened the matter to her; and she held up her hands, and wondered.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis 3:6

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24

Then they had her to a place and showed her Jacob's ladder. Now at that time there were some angels ascending upon it. So CHRISTIANA looked and looked to see the angels go up; and so did the rest of the company. Then they were going into another place to show them something else; but JAMES said to his mother, "Pray bid them stay here a little longer; for this is a curious sight." So they turned again, and stood feeding their eyes with this so pleasant a prospect.

"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." Genesis 28:12

After this they had them into a place where did hang up a golden anchor; so they bade CHRISTIANA take it down. "For," said they, "you shall have it with you; for 'tis of absolute necessity that you should, that you may lay hold of that within the veil, and stand steadfast, in case you should meet with turbulent weather"; so they were glad thereof.

"The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." Joel 3:16

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;" Hebrews 6:19

Then they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our father had offered up Isaac his son; and showed them the altar, the wood, the fire, and the knife: for they remain to be seen to this very day.

"And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood." Genesis 22:9

When they had seen it, they held up their hands and blessed themselves, and said, "Oh, what a man for love to his Master and for denial to himself was Abraham!" After they had showed them all these things, PRUDENCE took them into the dining room, where stood a pair of excellent virginals: so she played upon them, and turned what she had showed them into this excellent song, saying:

"Eve's apple we have showed you--
Of that be you aware:
You have seen Jacob's ladder too,
Upon which angel's are.

An anchor you received have;
But let not these suffice,
Until with Abraham you have gave
Your best a sacrifice."

Now about this time one knocked at the door. So the porter opened, and behold, Mr. GREAT-HEART was there; but when he was come in, what joy was there! For it came now fresh again into their minds how, but awhile ago, he had slain old GRIM BLOODY-MAN, the Giant, and had delivered them from the lions.

Then said Mr. GREAT-HEART to CHRISTIANA and to MERCY, "My Lord hath sent each of you a bottle of wine, and also some parched corn, together with a couple of pomegranates. He has also sent the boys some figs and raisins to refresh you in your way."

Then they addressed themselves to their journey; and PRUDENCE and PIETY went along with them. When they came at the gate, CHRISTIANA asked the porter if any of late went by. He said, "No, only one some time since, who also told me that of late there had been a great robbery committed on the King's highway, as you go; but he saith the thieves are taken, and will shortly be tried for their lives." Then CHRISTIANA and MERCY were afraid; but MATTHEW said, "Mother, fear nothing as long as Mr. GREAT-HEART is to go with us and to be our conductor."

Then said CHRISTIANA to the porter, "Sir, I am much obliged to you for all the kindnesses you have showed me since I came hither; and also for that you have been so loving and kind to my children. I know not how to gratify your kindness, wherefore pray, as a token of my respects to you, accept of this small mite." So she put a gold angel (an ancient coin) in his hand; and he made her a low obeisance, and said, "Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head want no ointment. Let MERCY live and not die; and let not her works be few." And to the boys he said, "Do you flee youthful lusts, and follow after godliness with them that are grave and wise; so shall you put gladness into your mother's heart, and obtain praise of all that are sober minded." So they thanked the porter and departed.


The Pilgrim's Progress - Valley of Humiliation



The Pilgrim's Progress - Contents