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THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

   

Part II

 


Section 8

Valiant-for-Truth's-Victory - his talk with Great- Heart - the Enchanted Ground - Heedless and Too-bold - Mr. Stand-fast - Madam Bubble's temptations - the land of Beulah - Christiana summoned - her parting addresses - she passes the River - she is followed by Ready-to-halt, Feeble-mind, Despondency and his daughter, Honest, Valiant, Steadfast - Author's Farewell


 

VALIANT FOR TRUTH'S VICTORY

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 did 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.

"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:26-29

When he came to the place where the cross and the sepulchre was, he did meet with one that bade 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 bloody. Then said Mr. GREAT-HEART, "What 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 three men 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? To the first I answered, I had been a true man a long season; and therefore it could not be expected that I now should cast in my lot with thieves.

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:" Proverbs 1:10-14

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 more dear far, 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 valour; 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 them to flight."

Great-heart. But here were great odds, three against one!

Valiant. "'Tis true; but little and more are nothing to him that has the truth on his side. 'Though a host should encamp against me,' said one, 'my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident,' etc.

"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident." Psalms 27:3

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-heart. Then said the guide, "Why did you not cry out, that some might have come in for your succour."

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

Great-heart. 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, "Ah, 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 edges will never blunt. It will cut flesh, and bones, and soul, and spirit, and all.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" Ephesians 6:12-17

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Great-heart. But you fought a great while, I wonder you were not weary.

Valiant. I fought till my sword did cleave to my hand;

"He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil." 2 Samuel 23:10

and when 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-heart. Thou hast done well; thou hast resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Thou shall 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 on 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 with his company them that were feeble and weak, therefore he questioned him about many things; as first, "What countryman he was?"

Valiant. I am of Darkland for there I was born; and there my father and mother are still.

Great-heart. "Darkland," said the guide; "doth not that lie upon 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 it 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-heart. 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-heart. "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-heart. Yes, that it is; and these are also her four sons.

Valiant. What! and going on pilgrimage too?

Great-heart. Yes, verily; they are following after.

Valiant. It gladdens me at heart! Good man! How joyful will he be when he shall see them that would not go with him, yet to enter in after him at the gates into the City.

Great-heart. 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 his 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-heart. Do they 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 these, 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-heart. Yes; were your father and mother willing that you should become a pilgrim?

Valiant. Oh no; they used all means imaginable to persuade me to stay at home.

Great-heart. 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-heart. 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-heart. Did they show wherein this way is so dangerous?

Valiant. Yes; and that in many particulars.

Great-heart. Name some of them.

Valiant. They told me of the Slough of Despond, where CHRISTIAN was well nigh smothered. They told me that there were archers standing ready in Beelzebub Castle to shoot them that should knock at the wicket gate for entrance. They told me also of the wood and dark mountains; of the hill Difficulty; of the lions; and also of the three giants, BLOODY-MAN, MAUL, and SLAY-GOOD. They said, moreover, that there was a foul fiend haunted the Valley of Humiliation, and that CHRISTIAN was by him almost bereft of life. "Besides," said they, "you must go over the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where the hobgoblins are; where the light is darkness; where the way is full of snares, pits, traps, and gins." They told me also of Giant DESPAIR; of Doubting Castle; and of the ruins that the pilgrims met with there. Further, they said, I must go over the Enchanted Ground, which was dangerous. And that, after all this, I should find a river, over which I should find no bridge; and that that river did lie betwixt. me and the Celestial Country.

Great-heart. And was this all?

Valiant. No: they also told me that this way was full of deceivers; and of persons that laid await there to turn good men out of the path.

Great-heart. But how did they make that out?

Valiant. They told me that Mr. WORLDLY-WISEMAN did there lie in wait to deceive. They also said that there was FORMALITY and HYPOCRISY continually on the road. They said also that BY-ENDS, TALKATIVE, or DEMAS, would go near to gather me up; that FLATTERER would catch me in his net; or that, with green-headed IGNORANCE, I would presume to go on to the gate, from whence he always was sent back to the hole that was in the side of the hill, and made to go the by-way to hell.

Great-heart. I promise you this was enough to discourage. But did they make an end here?

Valiant. No; stay. They told me also of many that had tried that way of old; and that had gone a great way therein, to see if they could find something of the glory there that so many had so much talked of from time to time; and how they came back again, and befooled themselves for setting a foot out of doors in that path, to the satisfaction of all the country. And they named several that did so; as OBSTINATE and PLIABLE; MISTRUST and TIMOROUS;--TURN-AWAY, and old ATHEIST; with several more, who, they said, had, some of them, gone far to see if they could find, but not one of them found so much advantage by going as amounted to the weight of a feather.

Great-heart. Said they anything more to discourage you?

Valiant. Yes; they told me of one Mr. FEARING, who was a pilgrim, and how he found this way so solitary, that he never had a comfortable hour therein; also that Mr. DESPONDENCY had like to have been starved therein; yea, and also--which I had almost forgot--that CHRISTIAN himself, about whom there has been such a noise, after all his ventures for a celestial crown, was certainly drowned in the Black River, and never went a foot farther; however, it was smothered up.

Great-heart. And did none of these things discourage you?

Valiant. No; they seemed but as so many nothings to me.

Great-heart. How came that about?

Valiant. Why, I still believed what Mr. TELL-TRUE had said; and that carried me beyond them all.

Great-heart. Then this was your victory, even your faith.

Valiant. It was so: I believed, and therefore came out, got into the way, fought all that set themselves against me; and, by believing, am come to this place.


"Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither:
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound--
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright:
He'll with a giant fight;
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit:
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, fly away!
He'll fear not what men say;
He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim."

     

The Pilgrim's Progress - the Enchanted Ground

 


 

The Pilgrim's Progress - Contents