at the end of this valley was another, called the Valley of the
Shadow of Death; and CHRISTIAN must needs go through it, because the way to
the Celestial City lay through the midst of it. Now this valley is a very
solitary place; the prophet Jeremiah thus describes it: "A wilderness,
a land of deserts and of pits, a land of drought, and of the shadow of
death; a land that no man (but a Christian) passeth through, and where no
said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of
Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of
pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land
that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?" Jeremiah 2:6
here CHRISTIAN was worse put to it than in his fight with APOLLYON, as by
the sequel you shall see.
saw then in my dream, that when CHRISTIAN was got to the borders of the
shadow of death, there met him two men, children of them that brought up an
evil report of the good land, making haste to go back,
they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the
children of Israel, saying, The land,
through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the
inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of
a great stature." Numbers
whom CHRISTIAN spake as follows:
Whither are you going?
They said, "Back, back; and we would have you do so too, if either life
or peace is prized by you."
"Why, what is the matter?" said CHRISTIAN.
"Matter!" said they; "we were going that way as you are
going, and went as far as we durst; and indeed we were almost past coming
back, for had we gone a little farther, we had not been here to bring the
news to thee."
"But what have you met with?" said CHRISTIAN.
Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of Death;
thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the
shadow of death." Psalm 44:19
as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in
affliction and iron;" Psalm 107:10
that by good hap we looked before us, and saw the danger before we came to
"But what have you seen?" said CHRISTIAN.
Seen! why the valley itself, which is as dark as pitch. We also saw there
the hobgoblins, satyrs, and dragons of the pit; we heard also in that valley
a continual howling and yelling, as of a people in unutterable misery, who
there sat bound in affliction and irons; and over that valley hangs the
discouraging clouds of confusion; death also doth always spread his wings
over it; in a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without order.
darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let
the blackness of the day terrify it." Job 3:5
land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death,
without any order, and where the light is as darkness."
Then said CHRISTIAN, "I perceive not yet, by what you have said, but
that this is my way to the desired haven."
"Be it thy way, we will not choose it for ours." So they parted,
and CHRISTIAN went on his way; but still with his sword drawn in his hand,
for fear lest he should be assaulted.
saw then in my dream, so far as this valley reached, there was on the right
hand a very deep ditch; that ditch is it into which the blind have led the
blind in all ages, and have both there miserably perished. Again; behold, on
the left hand there was very dangerous quagmire, into which, if even a good
man falls, he can find no bottom of his foot to stand on. Into that quag
King David once did fall; and had no doubt therein been smothered, had not
he that is able plucked him out.
me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that
hate me, and out of the deep waters." Psalm 69:14
pathway was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good CHRISTIAN was the
more put to it; for when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one
hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other; also when he
sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness, he would be ready to
fall into the ditch. Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly;
for besides the dangers mentioned above, the pathway was here so dark, that
oft times when he lift up his foot to set forward, he knew not where, or
upon what, he should set it next.
the midst of this valley I perceived the mouth of hell to be; and it stood
also hard by the wayside. Now, thought CHRISTIAN, what shall I do? And ever
and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks
and hideous noises (things that cared not for CHRISTIAN's sword, as did
APOLLYON before), that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake himself
to another weapon, called "All Prayer".
always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
he cried in my hearing, "O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul!"
called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my
soul." Psalm 116:4
he went on a great while; yet still the flames would be reaching toward him.
Also he heard doleful voices and rushings to and fro; so that sometimes he
thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the
streets. This frightful sight was seen, and these dreadful noises were
heard, by him for several miles together; and coming to a place where he
thought he heard a company of fiends coming forward to meet him, he stopped,
and began to muse what he had best to do. Sometimes he had half a thought to
go back; then again he thought he might be halfway through the valley. He
remembered also how he had already vanquished many a danger, and that the
danger of going back might be much more than for to go forward: so he
resolved to go on. Yet the fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer; but when
they were come even almost at him, he cried out with a most vehement voice,
"I will walk in the strength of the Lord God"; so they gave back,
and came no farther.
thing I would not let slip; I took notice that now poor CHRISTIAN was so
confounded, that he did not know his own voice. And thus I perceived it:
just when he was come over against the mouth of the burning pit, one of the
wicked ones got behind him, and stept up softly to him; and whisperingly
suggested many grievous blasphemies to him--which he verily thought had
proceeded from his own mind. This put CHRISTIAN more to it than anything
that he met with before, even to think that he should now blaspheme him that
he loved so much before! Yet could he have helped it, he would not have done
it; but he had not the discretion neither to stop his ears, nor to know from
whence those blasphemies came.
When CHRISTIAN had travelled in this disconsolate condition some
considerable time, he thought he heard the voice of a man, as going before
him, saying, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me".
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort
me." Psalm 23:4
was he glad; and that for these reasons:
because he gathered from thence that some who feared God were in this valley
as well as himself.
for that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark and dismal
state; and why not with me, thought he, though, by reason of the impediment
that attends this place, I cannot perceive it?
he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive
him not." Job
for that he hoped (could he overtake them) to have company by and by. So he
went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what to answer,
for that he also thought himself to be alone. And by and by the day broke;
then said CHRISTIAN, "He hath turned the shadow of death into the
maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the
morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of
the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is
his name:" Amos 5:8
morning being come, he looked back; not out of desire to return, but to see
by the light of the day, what hazards he had gone through in the dark. So he
saw more perfectly the ditch that was on the one hand, and the quag that was
on the other; also how narrow the way was which lay betwixt them both. Also
now he saw the hobgoblins, and satyrs, and dragons of the pit; but all afar
off, for after break of day they came not nigh. Yet they were discovered to
him according to that which is written, "He discovers deep things out
of darkness and brings out to light the shadow of death".
discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the
shadow of death." Job
was CHRISTIAN much affected with his deliverance from all the dangers of his
solitary way; which dangers, though he feared them more before, yet he saw
them more clearly now, because the light of the day made them conspicuous to
him. About this time the sun was rising--and this was another mercy to
CHRISTIAN; for you must note that, though the first part of the valley of
the shadow of death was dangerous, yet this second part, through which he
was yet to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous: for from the place
where he now stood, even to the end of the valley, the way was all along set
so full of snares, traps, gins, and nets here, and so full of pits,
pitfalls, deep holes, and ledges down there, that had it now been dark, as
it was when he came the first part of the way, had he had a thousand souls,
they had in reason been cast away. But, as I said just now, the sun was
rising. Then said he, "His candle shines on my head; and by his light I
go through darkness".
his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through
darkness;" Job 29:3
this light therefore; he came to the end of the valley. Now I saw in my
dream, that at the end of this valley lay blood, bones, ashes, and mangled
bodies of men, even of pilgrims that had gone this way formerly: and while I
was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave,
where two giants, POPE and PAGAN, dwelt in old time, by whose power and
tyranny, the men whose bones, blood, ashes, etc., lay there, were cruelly
put to death. But by this place CHRISTIAN went without much danger; whereat
I somewhat wondered. But I have learnt since, that PAGAN had been dead many
a day; and as for the other, though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of
age, and also of the many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger
days, grown so crazy and stiff in his joints, that he can now do little more
than sit in his cave's mouth grinning at pilgrims as they go by, and biting
his nails, because he cannot come at them.
I saw that CHRISTIAN went on his way; yet at the sight of the old man that
sat in the mouth of the cave he could not tell what to think, especially
because he spake to him – though he could not go after him – saying,
"You will never mend, till more of you be burned." But he held his
peace, and set a good face on it; and so went by, and received no hurt. Then
world of wonders ! – I can say no less –
I should be preserved in that distress
That I have met with here! Oh, blessed be
That hand that from it hath delivered me ·
Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin,
Did compass me, while I this vale was in:
Yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets, did lie
My path about, that worthless silly I
Might have been caught, entangled, and cast down:
But since I live, let Jesus wear the crown!"