Apology for the Second Part - Christiana
and Mercy - Slough of Despond - knocking at the gate - the Dog - talk
between the Pilgrims
my old friend proceeded, and said, "But when CHRISTIANA came up to the
Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand: 'For,' said she, 'this is the
place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered with mud.'
She perceived also, that notwithstanding the command of the King to make
this place for pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly."
So I asked if that was true? "Yes," said the old gentleman,
"too true. For that many there be that pretend to be the King's
labourers, and that say they are for mending the King's highway, that bring
din and dung instead of stones, and so mar instead of mending. Here
CHRISTIANA therefore, with her boys, did make a stand. But said MERCY,
'Come, let us venture, only let us be wary.' Then they looked well to the
steps, and made a shift to get staggeringly over.
"Yet CHRISTIANA had like to have been in, and that not once nor twice.
Now they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said
unto them, 'Blessed is she that believes; for there shall be a performance
of those things that have been told her from the Lord'.
blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of
those things which were told her from the Lord." Luke 1:45
they went on again. And said MERCY to CHRISTIANA, 'Had I as good ground to
hope for a loving reception at the wicket gate as you, I think no Slough of
Despond would discourage me.'
said the other, 'you know your sore, and I know mine, and, good friend, we
shall all have enough evil before we come at our journey's end. For can it
be imagined, that the people that design to attain such excellent glories as
we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are, but that we shall
meet with what fears and scares, with what troubles and afflictions, they
can possibly assault us with that hate us? '"
Knocking at the Wicket Gate
now Mr. SAGACITY
left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore methought I saw
CHRISTIANA, and MERCY, and the boys, go all of them up to the gate. To which
when they were come, they betook themselves to a short debate about how they
must manage their calling at the gate, and what should be said to him that
did open to them. So it was concluded, since CHRISTIANA was the eldest, that
she should knock for entrance; and that she should speak to him that did
open for the rest. So CHRISTIANA began to knock; and as her poor husband
did, she knocked and knocked again. But instead of any that answered, they
all thought that they heard as if a dog came barking upon them. A dog, and a
great one too; and this made the women and children afraid. Nor durst they
for awhile to knock any more, for fear the mastiff should fly upon them.
Now, therefore, they were greatly tumbled up and down in their minds, and
knew not what to do. Knock they durst not, for fear of the dog; go back they
durst not, for fear that the keeper of that gate should espy them as they so
went, and should be offended with them. At last they thought of knocking
again, and knocked more vehemently than they did at the first. Then said the
keeper of the gate, "Who is there?" So the dog left off to bark,
and he opened unto them.
CHRISTIANA made low obeisance, and said, "Let not our Lord be offended
with his handmaidens, for that we have knocked at his princely gate."
said the keeper, "Whence come ye, and what is that ye would have?"
answered, "We are come from whence CHRISTIAN did come, and upon the
same errand as he; to wit, to be, if it shall please you, graciously
admitted by this gate into the way that leads to the Celestial City. And I
answer my Lord in the next place, that I am CHRISTIANA, once the wife of
CHRISTIAN that now is gotten above."
that the keeper of the gate did marvel saying, "What, is she become now
a pilgrim, that but awhile ago abhorred that life?" Then she bowed her
head, and said, "Yes; and so are these my sweet babes also."
he took her by the hand, and let her in and said also, "Suffer the
little children to come unto Me;" and with that he shut up the gate.
This done, he called to a trumpeter that was above over the gate, to
entertain CHRISTIANA with shouting and sound of trumpet for joy.
say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that
repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no
repentance." Luke 15:7
he obeyed and sounded, and filled the air with his melodious notes.
all this while poor MERCY did stand without, trembling and crying for fear
that she was rejected. But when CHRISTIANA had gotten admittance for herself
and her boys, then she began to make intercession for MERCY.
And she said, "My Lord, I have a companion of mine that stands yet
without, that is come hither upon the same account as myself: one that is
much dejected in her mind; for that she comes, as she thinks, without
sending for, whereas I was sent to by my husband's King to come."
MERCY began to be very impatient, for each minute was as long to her as an
hour; wherefore she prevented CHRISTIANA from a fuller interceding for her,
by knocking at the gate herself: and she knocked then so loud, that she made
CHRISTIANA to start. Then said the keeper of the gate, "Who is
there?" And said CHRISTIANA, "It is my friend."
he opened the gate, and looked out; but MERCY was fallen down without in a
swoon, for she fainted, and was afraid that no gate would be opened to her.
he took her by the hand, and said, "Damsel, I bid thee arise."
sir," said she, "I am faint; there is scarce life left in
me." But he answered that "one once said, 'When my soul fainted
within me, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thy
my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto
thee, into thine holy temple." John 2:7
not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell Me wherefore thou art come."
I am come for that unto which I was never invited, as my friend CHRISTIANA
was. Hers was from the King, and mine was but from her; wherefore I fear I
of Gate. "Did she desire thee to come with her to this place?"
Yes; and, as my Lord sees, I am come. And if there is any grace or
forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that I, thy poor handmaid, may be
he took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, "I pray
for all them that believe on Me, by what means soever they come unto
Me." Then said he to those that stood by, "Fetch something, and
give it to MERCY to smell on, thereby to stay her fainting." So they
fetched her a bundle of myrrh, and awhile after she was revived.
now was CHRISTIANA and her boys, and MERCY, received of the Lord at the head
of the way, and spoke kindly unto by him.
said they yet further unto him, "We are sorry for our sins, and beg of
our Lord his pardon; and further information what we must do."
grant pardon," said he, "by word and deed: by word, in the promise
of forgiveness; by deed, in the way I obtained it. Take the first from my
lips with a kiss, and the other as it shall be revealed".
him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than
wine." Song of Solomon 1:2
"And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his
side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." John 20:20
I saw in my dream that he spake many good words unto them, whereby they were
greatly gladdened. he also had them up to the top of the gate, and showed
them by what deed they were saved; and told them withal, that that sight
they would have again as they went along in the way, to their comfort.
he left them awhile in a summer parlour below, where they entered into talk
by themselves. And thus CHRISTIANA began, "O Lord, how glad am I that
we are got in hither!"
Mer. So you well may; but I, of all, have cause to leap for joy.
I thought one time, as I stood at the gate (because I had knocked, and none
did answer), that all our labour had been lost; specially when that ugly cur
made such a heavy barking against us.
But my worst fear was after I saw that you were taken into his favour, and
that I was left behind. Now, thought I, 'tis fulfilled which is written,
"Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the
women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the
other left." Matthew 24:41
had much ado to forbear crying out, Undone, undone! And afraid I was to
knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the gate, I
took courage. I also thought that I must either knock again, or die. So I
knocked; but I cannot tell how, for my spirit now struggled betwixt life and
Can you not tell how you knocked? I am sure your knocks were so earnest,
that the very sound of them made me start; I thought I never heard such
knocking in all my life. I thought you would have come in by violent hands,
or have taken the Kingdom by storm.
from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth
violence, and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12
Alas! to be in my case, who that so was could but have done so? You saw that
the door was shut upon me; and that there was a most cruel dog thereabout.
Who, I say, that was so fainthearted as I, that would not have knocked with
all their might? But pray, what said my Lord to my rudeness? Was he not
angry with me?
When he heard your lumbering noise, he gave a wonderful innocent smile. I
believe what you did pleased him well enough; for he showed no sign to the
contrary. But I marvel in my heart why he keeps such a dog. Had I known that
afore, I fear I should not have had heart enough to have ventured myself in
this manner. But now we are in, we are in; and I am glad with all my heart.
I will ask, if you please, next time he comes down, why he keeps such a
filthy cur in his yard. I hope he will not take it amiss.
do," said the children; "and persuade him to hang him, for we are
afraid he will bite us when we go hence."
at last he came down to them again; and MERCY fell to the ground on her face
before him, and worshipped, and said, "Let my Lord accept of the
sacrifice of praise which I now offer unto him with the calves of my
he said unto her, "Peace be to thee: stand up."
she continued upon her face and said, "Righteous art Thou, O Lord, when
I plead with Thee; yet let me talk with Thee of thy judgments:
art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee
of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore
are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them,
yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art
near in their mouth, and far from their reins." Jeremiah 12:1, 2
dost Thou keep so cruel a dog in thy yard, at the sight of which such women
and children as we are ready to fly from thy gate for fear?"
answered, and said, "That dog has another owner; he also is kept close
in another man's ground, only my pilgrims hear his barking. He belongs to
the castle which you see there at a distance, but can come up to the walls
of this place. He has frightened many an honest pilgrim from worse to better
by the great voice of his roaring. Indeed, he that owns him doth not keep
him of any good will to Me or mine; but with intent to keep the pilgrims
from coming to Me, and that they may be afraid to knock at this gate for
entrance. Sometimes also he has broken out, and has worried some that I
love; but I take all at present patiently. I also give my pilgrims timely
help; so that they are not delivered up to his power, to do to them what his
doggish nature would prompt him to. But what! My purchased one, I trow,
hadst thou known never so much beforehand, thou wouldst not have been afraid
of a dog. The beggars that go from door to door will, rather than they will
lose a supposed alms, run the hazard of the bawling, barking, and biting
too, of a dog; and shall a dog, a dog in another man's yard, a dog whose
barking I turn to the profit of pilgrims, keep any from coming to Me? I
deliver them from the lions, their darling from the power of the dog."
Then said MERCY, "I confess my ignorance; I spake what I understand
not: I acknowledge that Thou doest all things well."
CHRISTIANA began to talk of their journey, and to inquire after the way. So
he fed them, and washed their feet; and set them in the way of his steps,
according as he had dealt with her husband before.
Pilgrim's Progress - The Devil's Garden
Pilgrim's Progress - Contents