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© 2014 Desiring God

Published by Desiring God

Post Office Box 2901

Minneapolis, MN 55402


You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

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Cover Design: Peter Voth

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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All emphases in Scripture quotations have been added by the author or editor.

Material for this book has been taken from The Hidden Smile of God by John Piper, © 2001. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, For more biographies from John Piper, see Crossway’s series, The Swans Are Not Silent.


Foreword by Leland Ryken

To Live Upon God Who Is Invisible: The Life of John Bunyan by John Piper

Preface by John Newton (1776)


The Jail

Conviction of the Necessity of Flying

The Slough of Despond

Evangelist Findeth Christian Under Mount Sinai, and Looketh Severely Upon Him

Proceeds to the Cross

Christian Saluted by the Three Shining Ones

The Hill of Difficulty

The Valley of Humiliation

Combat with Appolyon

Christian Overtakes Faithful

Christian Has Another Companion

The Delectable Mountains

Christian, Hopeful, and the Shepherds

Adventures on the Enchanted Ground

Ministering Spirits Meet Christian and Hopeful

The Conclusion

Scripture Index



Leland Ryken

The book that became known to posterity as The Pilgrim’s Progress is ; a Christian classic whose importance is impossible to overstate. For more than two centuries after its first publication, The Pilgrim’s Progress ranked just behind the King James Bible as the most important book in evangelical Protestant households. The book has been translated into some two hundred languages, including eighty in Africa. Any book that has achieved such popularity has a very large claim to our attention.


The Pilgrim’s Progress actually has two publication dates, corresponding to the two books that comprise it. The first book was published in 1678 and bore the title The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come, Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream. It tells the story of the spiritual journey of the protagonist named Christian from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City (meaning heaven).

Book II was published six years later as part of an old artistic tradition known as a “companion piece.” It tells the story of the same journey, this time undertaken by Christian’s wife, Christiana, and their four sons. The two books continued to be published separately until 1728, not being published as a combined book until forty-four years after the first appearance of Book II. This new edition from Desiring God resembles the early publication strategy of The Pilgrim’s Progress by releasing Book I individually.

Additionally, in order to provide more insight into the life of Bunyan, this new edition features an introduction by John Piper that traces the character of Bunyan’s faith in the midst of suffering. This new edition also includes a preface written by John Newton in 1776. Newton’s preface accompanied several publications of The Pilgrim’s Progress in the eighteenth century, but has virtually been non-existent for the last century. The recovery of this preface and incorporation into the present volume sets it apart from other editions currently in print.


The author of The Pilgrim’s Progress is John Bunyan (1628– 1688), one of the most famous preachers in English history as well as a popular British author. Externally Bunyan led a difficult life. He was poor from childhood. He married his first wife at the age of twenty, and Bunyan once claimed that when the couple married they had not “so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both.” By Bunyan’s own account, he led a wild youth and was converted at the approximate age of thirty.

Following his conversion, Bunyan felt a call to preach. Therein lay a difficulty. Religious tolerance had not yet arrived on the scene, and only one state-sanctioned Christian group enjoyed freedom of worship. In Bunyan’s day that group was the Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church. Bunyan was a Baptist preacher who refused to stop preaching without an official license. As a result, Bunyan found himself in and out of prison over a period of twelve years (1659–1671). While imprisoned, he eked out a living for his family by making shoe laces.

Much great literature and art have been produced in the crucible of suffering, and The Pilgrim’s Progress is such a work. The consensus of scholarly opinion is that Bunyan wrote Book I of his masterpiece while in prison. (He is also reputed to have secretly carved a flute from a table leg in the prison.)

Bunyan was emphatically not a one-book author. Despite his chaotic and stressful external life (including the death of his first wife when he was approximately thirty and the blindness of his daughter Mary), Bunyan was a prolific author. He published over thirty books, mainly theological in nature.

Bunyan was also one of the most famous preachers of his day (which partly explains why the civil and Anglican officials singled him our for particularly harsh treatment). After his release from prison, Bunyan sometimes traveled all the way from his native Bedford to London to preach (a two-day journey in Bunyan’s day). On one recorded event, 1,200 Londoners turned out on a cold winter morning to hear Bunyan preach.

Bunyan’s death at the age of sixty was caused by pneumonia resulting from exposure to drenching rain while Bunyan made a two-trip on horseback to heal relations between a father and his estranged son. Bunyan was buried in the famous nonconformist cemetery in London called Bun-hill Fields. The monument on his tomb is today the most prominent site in the cemetery. On its side is the carved figure of a person carrying a burden on his back, a picture of the most famous moment in The Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian loses his burden of sin at the foot of the cross.


The Pilgrim’s Progress is a paradox. On the one hand it is a work of folk literature. This makes it a book of the common people, just like the Bible. Through the ages, parents have read The Pilgrim’s Progress to their children much as they read Bible stories to them. Reinforcing this identity of being a book for ordinary people rather than literary scholars is the religious nature of the book. It is a book of edification first, and beyond that it offers whatever entertainment value we might wish to find in it.

But that is only half of the picture. The Pilgrim’s Progress is also a complex work of literature, appealing to people of literary sophistication as well as the common person. Perhaps no other literary masterpiece incorporates as many different literary genres as The Pilgrim’s Progress.

The primary genre is narrative or story. This means that readers need to be ready to respond to the three narrative ingredients of setting, characters, and plot. Most storytellers excel in one of these or perhaps two, but we would be hard pressed to decide which of the three Bunyan is best at. He is good at all three. His ability of describe scenes cannot be surpassed. But just as we think that this is Bunyan’s specialty, we remember his skill with character creation and remind ourselves that few authors have given us a greater gallery of memorable characters than Bunyan. And then we further recall that Bunyan’s skill with plot is breathtaking.

What kind of story is The Pilgrim’s Progress? The list of subgenres is nearly endless. The main storyline is a travel story, in the specific form of a perilous journey (surely one of the five greatest story motifs of all time). The virtues of the travel story are one of the leading appeals of The Pilgrim’s Progress, as we are entranced by strange settings remote from our daily routine (though somehow familiar), encounters with unusual characters, and narrow escapes in abundance.

Many travel stories are quest stories, and this is true of The Pilgrim’s Progress. The protagonists of the two books— Christian in Book I and Christiana in Book II—leave the City of Destruction in a search to find the Celestial City. The story of their quests is an adventure story par excellence. Danger and suspense greet us at every turn.


Much more could be said about the story qualities of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but the really essential final thing that we need to note is that Bunyan’s story is an allegory. An allegorical story is one in which the literal, physical level of action is intended as a picture of something else. Double meaning is at the heart of allegory. The details in an allegorical story stand for something else. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, a slough or bog (modeled, incidentally, on a notorious bog on the outskirts of Bunyan’s home town) stands for spiritual despair over one’s lost state.

There is a right way and wrong way to deal with the allegorical aspect of The Pilgrim’s Progress. The wrong way is to slight the literal, physical level of action on the premise that the religious meaning is what really matters. The right way is to abandon ourselves to the story qualities of the work and let the second level of understanding grow out of that narrative experience. Giant Despair first of all needs to be a terrifying giant in our imagination, and then he becomes a picture of psychological and theological realities.

Allegory can easily become reductionistic, but this need not happen. For example, a character with the allegorical name of Talkative is immediately recognizable to us: he is someone who talks too much. But the Bunyan magic is such that Talkative is simultaneously (a) a personality type, (b) a social type (the overly talkative person who quickly becomes a social pest), and (c) a spiritual reality (someone who substitutes talk for genuine faith and Christian action). The allegorical names of Bunyan’s characters should not lull us into thinking that they are one-dimensional.


Bunyan was a belated Puritan. Puritanism was the English branch of the Protestant Reformation. At every point in The Pilgrim’s Progress we can see Puritan inclinations of mind and belief. The preoccupations of the book are Puritan—the Bible as the authority for religious belief (the book is a virtual mosaic of Bible verses); human sinfulness as the natural state of all people; salvation of one’s soul as the one thing needful; the substitutionary atonement of Jesus as the basis for the forgiveness of sin; heaven as the ultimate longing of every person.

But the picture is a little more complex than simply calling Bunyan a Puritan. When Bunyan was finally freed from imprisonment, he became a Baptist preacher. If Bunyan were living today, we would call him an evangelical Christian, but more specifically a Reformed Calvinistic Baptist.


The Pilgrim’s Progress is initially a difficult book for modern readers. The first obstacle is the archaic language of the book. The language of The Pilgrim’s Progress is decidedly old-fashioned (like the King James Bible, which it more closely resembles than any other English-language literary work). The solution to the problem is to accept the archaic language as a feature of the book and enjoy it as part of its arresting strangeness (a phrase that comes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s endorsement of fantasy and fairy tales as literary genres).

Secondly, the taste for allegory is today somewhat out of vogue (though it has always remained part of the folk imagination). We will fare just fine with Bunyan’s allegorical story if we read it as a travel story and adventure story first, and then allow the theological and moral level to emerge as an extra source of enjoyment and edification.

Some people read The Pilgrim’s Progress for edification and receive literary enjoyment as a byproduct. Others sit down to read it for its narrative qualities and gain edification as a byproduct. It makes absolutely no difference which of those two models is true for a given reader. What matters is that once we start to read the story we open ourselves to both aspects of the book—its literary qualities (which exist in abundance) and its religious meanings. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a “crossover” book that appears in lists of both literary classics and religious (or even devotional) classics. It is an expansive book that holds up under virtually any approach that we bring to it. It is a book for all readers and all tastes.


The Life of John Bunyan


In 1672, about fifty miles northwest of London in Bedford, John Bunyan was released from twelve years of imprisonment. He was forty-four years old. Just before his release he updated his spiritual autobiography called Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. He looked back over the hardships of the last twelve years and wrote about how he was enabled by God to survive and even flourish in the Bedford jail. One of his comments gives me the title for this short biography.

He quotes 2 Corinthians 1:9 where Paul says, “We had this sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead.” Bunyan writes,

By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. The second was, to live upon God who is invisible, as Paul said in another place; the way not to faint, is to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The phrase that I have fastened on for the title, and focus of this study of Bunyan, is the phrase, “to live upon God who is invisible.” He discovered that if we are to suffer rightly we must die not only to sin, but to the innocent and precious things of this world, including family and freedom. We must “live upon God who is invisible.” Everything else in the world we must count as dead to us and we to it. That was Bunyan’s passion from the time of his conversion as a young married man to the day of his death when he was sixty years old.


In all my reading of Bunyan, what has gripped me most is his suffering and how he responded to it—what it made of him, and what it might make of us. All of us come to our tasks with a history and many predispositions. I come to John Bunyan with a growing sense that suffering is a normal, useful, essential, and God-ordained element in Christian life and ministry—not only for the sake of weaning us off the world and teaching us to live on God, as 2 Corinthians 1:9 says, but also to make pastors who are more able to love the church (2 Tim 2:10; Col 1:24) and make missionaries who are more able to reach the nations (Matt 10:16–28), so that they can learn to live on God and not the bread that perishes (John 6:27).

I am influenced in the way I read Bunyan by both what I see in the world today and what I see in the Bible. As you read this book, there are sure to be flashpoints of suffering somewhere in the world. The followers of Jesus will suffer as long as the world stays and the word of Jesus stands. “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33). “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt 10:16). Today churches are being burned in some countries, and Christians are being killed by anti-Christian mobs. Christians endure systematic starvation and enslavement. China perpetuates its official repression of religious freedom and lengthy imprisonments. India, with its one billion people and unparalleled diversity, heaves with tensions between major religions and extremist violence. There are consistent reports that thousands of Christians across the world die as martyrs every year.

And as I come to Bunyan’s life and suffering, I see in the Bible that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom” (Acts 14:22); and the promise of Jesus, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20); and the warning from Peter “not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Pet 4:12); and the utter realism of Paul that we who “have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom 8:23); and the reminder that “our outer nature is wasting away” (2 Cor 4:16); and that the whole creation “was subjected to futility” (Rom 8:20).

As I look around me in the world and in the word of God, my own sense is that what we need from Bunyan right now is a glimpse into how he suffered and how he learned to “live on God that is invisible.” I want that for myself, my family, and my church—and I want that for all who read this book. Nothing glorifies God more than when we maintain our stability and even our joy having lost everything but God (Hab 3:17–18). That day is coming for each of us, and we do well to get ready.


John Bunyan was born in Elstow, about a mile south of Bedford, England on November 30, 1628, the same year that William Laud became the bishop of London during the reign of king Charles I. That connection with Bishop Laud is important because you can’t understand the sufferings of Bunyan apart from the religious and political times in which he lived.

In those days there were tremendous conflicts between Parliament and monarchy. Bishop Laud, together with Charles I, opposed the reforms of the Church of England desired by the Puritans. But in 1640, Oliver Cromwell—an advocate for the Puritans—was elected to Parliament, and civil war broke out in 1642 between the forces loyal to the king and those loyal to Parliament. In 1645, the Parliament took control of the Monarchy. Bishop Laud was executed that year and the use of the Book of Common Prayer was overthrown. The Westminster Assembly completed the Westminster Confession for the dominant Presbyterian church in 1646, and the king was beheaded in 1649. Cromwell led the new Commonwealth until his death in 1658. His main concern was a stable government with freedom of religion for Puritans, like John Bunyan and others, including Jews, who had been excluded from England since 1290 and finally allowed to return in 1655.

After Cromwell’s death, his son Richard was unable to hold the government together. The longing for stability with a new king swelled (How quickly the favor of man can turn!). The Parliament turned against the Nonconformists like John Bunyan and passed a series of acts that resulted in increasing restrictions on the Puritan preachers. Charles II was brought home in what is known as the Restoration of the Monarchy, and proclaimed king in 1660, the same year that Bunyan was imprisoned for preaching without state approval.


In 1662, the Act of Uniformity was passed that required acceptance of the Prayer Book and Episcopal ordination. That August, two thousand Puritan pastors were forced out of their churches. Twelve years later there was a happy turn of affairs with the Declaration of Religious Indulgence that resulted in Bunyan’s freedom, his license to preach, and then his call as the official pastor of the non-conformist church in Bedford. But there was political instability until he died in 1688 at the age of 60. He was imprisoned one other time in the mid 1670’s when he probably wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress.

These were the days of John Bunyan’s sufferings, and we must be careful not to overstate or understate the terror he experienced. We would overstate it if we thought he was tortured in the Bedford jail. In fact, some jailers let him out to see his family or make brief trips. But we would understate it if we thought he was not in frequent danger of execution. For example, in the Bloody Assizes of 1685, three hundred people were put to death in the western counties of England for doing no more than Bunyan did as a non-conformist pastor.


Bunyan learned the trade of metalworking, also known as a “tinker” or “brasyer,” from his father. He received the ordinary education of the poor to read and write, but nothing more. He had no formal higher education of any kind, which makes his writing and influence all the more astonishing. The more notable suffering of his life begins in his teens. In 1644, when he was fifteen, his mother and sister died within one month of each other. His sister was thirteen. To add to the heartache, his father remarried within a month. All this while, not many miles away in that same month of loss, the king attacked a church in Leighton and “began to cut and wound right and left.” And later that fall, when Bunyan had turned sixteen, he was drafted into the Parliamentary Army. For about two years he was taken from his home for military service. There were harrowing moments he tells us, as once when a man took his place as a sentinel and was killed by a musket ball shot in the head.

Bunyan was not a believer during this time. He tells us, “I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God . . . Until I came to the state of marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.”


He “came to the state of matrimony” when he was twenty or twenty-one, but we never learn his first wife’s name. What we do learn is that she was poor, but had a godly father who had died and left her two books that she brought to the marriage, The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and The Practice of Piety. Bunyan said, “In these two books I would sometimes read with her, wherein I also found some things that were somewhat pleasing to me; but all this while I met with no conviction.” But the work of God’s drawing him had begun.

John and his wife had four children: Mary, Elizabeth, John, and Thomas. Mary, the oldest, was born blind. This not only added to the tremendous burden of his heart in caring for Mary and the others, it would make his imprisonment when Mary was ten years old an agonizing separation.


During the first five years of marriage, Bunyan was profoundly converted to Christ and to the baptistic, non-conformist church life in Bedford. He came under the influence of John Gifford, the pastor in Bedford, and moved from Elstow to Bedford with his family and joined the church there in 1653, though he was not as sure as they were that he was a Christian. It’s hard to put a date on his conversion because in retelling the process in Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners he includes almost no dates or times. But we do know it was a lengthy and agonizing process.

He was pouring over the Scriptures but finding no peace or assurance. There were seasons of great doubt about the Scriptures and about his own soul. “A whole flood of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and the Scriptures were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion an astonishment . . . . How can you tell but that the Turks had as good scriptures to prove their Mahomet the Savior as we have to prove our Jesus?” “My heart was at times exceeding hard. If I would have given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed one.”

When he thought that he was established in the gospel there came a season of overwhelming darkness following a terrible temptation when he heard the words, “sell and part with this most blessed Christ . . . . Let him go if he will.” He tells us that “I felt my heart freely consent thereto. Oh, the diligence of Satan; Oh, the desperateness of man’s heart.” For two years, he tells us, he was in the doom of damnation. “I feared that this wicked sin of mine might be that sin unpardonable.” “Oh, no one knows the terrors of those days but myself.” “I found it a hard work now to pray to God because despair was swallowing me up.”

Then comes what seemed to be the decisive moment.

One day as I was passing into the field . . . this sentence fell upon my soul. Thy righteousness is in heaven. And methought, withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he lacks my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8). Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God [about the unforgivable sin] left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

Under God, one key influence here, besides Pastor Gifford in Bedford, was Martin Luther. “The God in whose hands are all our days and ways, did cast into my hand one day a book of Martin Luther’s; it was his Commentary on Galatians . . . . I found my condition in his experience so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart . . . . I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.”


So in 1655, when the matter of his soul was settled, he was asked to exhort the church, and suddenly a great preacher was discovered. He would not be licensed as a pastor of the Bedford church until seventeen years later, but his popularity as a powerful lay preacher exploded. The extent of his work grew. “When the country understood that the tinker had turned preacher,” John Brown tells us, “they came to hear the word by hundreds, and that from all parts.” Charles Doe, a comb maker in London, said (later in Bunyan’s life), “Mr. Bunyan preached so New Testament-like he made me admire and weep for joy, and give him my affections.” In the days of toleration, a day’s notice would get a crowd of over a thousand to hear him preach at seven o’clock in the morning on a weekday. Once, in prison, a whole congregation of sixty people were arrested and brought in at night. A witness tells us, “I . . . heard Mr. Bunyan both preach and pray with that mighty spirit of Faith and Plerophory of Divine Assistance, that . . . made me stand and wonder.” The greatest Puritan theologian and contemporary of Bunyan, John Owen, when asked by King Charles why he, a great scholar, went to hear an uneducated tinker preach, replied, “I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s hearts.”


In 1658, ten years after he was married, when Bunyan was thirty, his wife died, leaving him with four children under ten, one of them blind. A year later, he married Elizabeth, who was a remarkable woman. The year after their marriage, Bunyan was arrested and put in prison. She was pregnant with their firstborn and miscarried in the crisis. Then she cared for the Bunyan children as their step-mother for twelve years alone, and bore Bunyan two more children, Sarah and Joseph.

She deserves at least one story here about her valor in the way she went to the authorities in August of 1661, a year after John’s imprisonment. She had already been to London with one petition. Now, as recounted by Bunyan’s biographer, she was met with one stiff question:

“Would he stop preaching?”

“My lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long a he can speak.”

“What is the need of talking?”

“There is need for this, my lord, for I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people.”

Matthew Hale with pity asks if she really has four children being so young.

“My lord, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young and unaccustomed to such things, I being smayed at the news, fell into labor, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered; but my child died.”

Hale was moved, but other judges were hardened and spoke against him. “He is a mere tinker!”

“Yes, and because he is a tinker and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice.”

One Mr. Chester is enraged and says that Bunyan will preach and do as he wishes.

“He preacheth nothing but the word of God!” she says.

Mr. Twisden, in a rage: “He runneth up and down and doeth harm.”

“No, my lord, it is not so; God hath owned him and done much good by him.”

The angry man: “His doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.”

She: “My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil!”

Bunyan’s biographer comments, “Elizabeth Bunyan was simply an English peasant woman: could she have spoken with more dignity had she been a crowned queen?”


So for twelve years Bunyan chooses prison and a clear conscience over freedom and a conscience soiled by the agreement not to preach. He could have had his freedom when he wanted it. But he and Elizabeth were made of the same stuff. When asked to recant and not to preach he said,

If nothing will do unless I make of my conscience a continual butchery and slaughter-shop, unless, putting out my own eyes, I commit me to the blind to lead me, as I doubt not is desired by some, I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows, rather than thus to violate my faith and principles.

Nevertheless he was sometimes tormented that he may not be making the right decision in regard to his family.

The parting with my Wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place as the pulling of the Flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great Mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries and wants that my poor Family was like to meet with should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had besides; O the thoughts of the hardship I thought my Blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.


Yet he stayed in Bedford. In 1672 he was released because of the Declaration of Religious Indulgence. Immediately he was licensed as the pastor of the church in Bedford, which he had been serving all along, even from within prison by writings and periodic visits. A barn was purchased and renovated as their first building and this is where Bunyan ministered as pastor for the next sixteen years until his death. He never was wooed away from this little parish by the larger opportunities in London. The estimate is that, in 1676, there were perhaps 120 non-conformists in Bedford, with others undoubtedly coming to hear him from around the surrounding villages.

There was one more imprisonment in the winter and spring of 1675–76. John Brown thinks that this was the time when The Pilgrim’s Progress was written. But even though Bunyan wasn’t in prison again during his ministry, the tension of the days was extraordinary. Ten years after his last imprisonment in the mid-1680’s, persecution was heavy again. “Richard Baxter, though an old man now, was shut up in jail, where he remained for two years more, and where he had innumerable companions in distress.”

Meetings were broken in upon, worshipers hurried to prison, “separatists changed the place of gathering from time to time, set their sentinels on the watch, left off singing hymns in their services, and for the sake of greater security worshipped again and again at the dead of night. Ministers were introduced to their pulpits through trap-doors in floor or ceiling, or through doorways extemporized in walls.” Bunyan expected to be taken away again and deeded over all his possessions to his wife Elizabeth so that she would not be ruined by his fines or imprisonment.


But God spared him, until August 1688. In that month he traveled the fifty miles to London to preach and to help make peace between a man in his church and his alienated father. He was successful in both missions. But after a trip to an outlying district, he returned to London on horseback through excessive rains. He fell sick of a violent fever, and on August 31, 1688, at age sixty, Bunyan followed his famous fictional Pilgrim from the “City of Destruction” across the river to the “New Jerusalem.”

His last sermon had been on August 19 in London at Whitechapel on John 1:13. His last words from the pulpit were, “Live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face with comfort another day.” His wife and children were probably unaware of the crisis till after it was too late. It is likely that Bunyan died without the comfort of family—just as he had spent so much of his life without the comforts of home. “The inventory of Bunyan’s property after his death added up to a total of forty-two pounds and nineteen shillings. This is more than the average tinker would leave, but it suggests that most of the profits from The Pilgrim’s Progress had gone to printers of pirated editions.” He was born poor and never let himself become wealthy in this life. He is buried in London at Bunhill Fields.

So, in sum, we can include in Bunyan’s sufferings the early, almost simultaneous, death of his mother and sister; the immediate remarriage of his father; the military draft in the midst of his teenage grief; the discovery that his first child was blind; the spiritual depression and darkness for the early years of his marriage; the death of his first wife leaving him with four small children; a twelve year imprisonment cutting him off from his family and church; the constant stress and uncertainty of imminent persecution, including one more imprisonment; and the final sickness and death far from those he loved most. And this summary doesn’t include any of the normal pressures and pains of ministry and marriage and parenting and controversy and criticism and sickness along the way.


The question, then, that I bring to Bunyan’s suffering is: What was its effect? How did he respond to it? What did it bring about? What difference did it make in his life? Knowing that I am leaving out many important things, I would answer that with five observations.

1. Bunyan’s suffering confirmed him in his calling as a writer, especially for the afflicted church.

Probably the greatest distortion of Bunyan’s life in the portrait I have given you so far is that it passes over one of the major labors of his life: his writing. Books had awakened his own spiritual quest and guided him in it. Books would be his main legacy to the church and the world.

Of course, he is famous for The Pilgrim’s Progress—“next to the Bible, perhaps the world’s best-selling book . . . translated into over 200 languages.” It was immediately successful with three editions in the first year it was published in 1678. It was despised at first by the intellectual elite, but as Lord Macaulay points out, “The Pilgrim’s Progress is perhaps the only book about which, after the lapse of a hundred years, the educated minority has come over to the opinion of the common people.”

But most people don’t know that Bunyan was a prolific writer before and after The Pilgrim’s Progress. Christopher Hill’s index of “Bunyan’s Writings” lists fifty-eight books. The variety in these books was remarkable: controversy (like those concerning the Quakers, and concerning justification and baptism), collections of poems, children’s literature, allegory (like The Holy War and The Life and Death of Mr. Badman). But the vast majority were practical doctrinal expositions of Scripture built from sermons for the sake of strengthening and warning and helping Christian pilgrims make their way successfully to heaven.

He was a writer from beginning to end. He had written four books before he went to prison at age thirty-two, and in one year alone—1688, the year he died—five books were published. This is extraordinary for a man with no formal education. He knew neither Greek nor Hebrew, and had no theological degrees. This was such an offense even in his own day that his pastor, John Burton, came to his defense, writing a foreword for his first book in 1656 (when he was 28):

This man is not chosen out of an earthly but out of the heavenly university, the Church of Christ . . . . He hath through grace taken these three heavenly degrees, to wit, union with Christ, the anointing of the Spirit, and experiences of the temptations of Satan, which do more fit a man for that mighty work of preaching the Gospel than all university learning and degrees that can be had.

Bunyan’s suffering left its mark on all his written work. George Whitefield said of The Pilgrim’s Progress, “It smells of the prison. It was written when the author was confined in Bedford jail. And ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross: the Spirit of Christ and of Glory then rests upon them.”

The fragrance of affliction was on most of what he wrote. In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons the Puritans are still being read today with so much profit is that their entire experience, unlike ours, was one of persecution and suffering. To our chipper age (at least in the prosperous West) this may seem somber at times, but the day you hear that you have cancer, or that your child is blind, or that a mob is coming, you turn away from the chipper books to the weighty ones that were written on the precipice of eternity where the fragrance of heaven and the stench of hell are both in the air.

Bunyan’s writings were an extension of his pastoral ministry, mainly to his flock in Bedford who lived in constant danger of harassment and prison. His suffering fit him well for the task. Which leads to the second effect of Bunyan’s suffering I want to mention.

2. Bunyan’s suffering deepened his love for his flock and gave his pastoral labor the fragrance of eternity.

His writings were filled with love to his people. For example, three years into his imprisonment he wrote a book called Christian Behavior, which he ended like this:

Thus have I, in a few words, written to you before I die, a word to provoke you to faith and holiness, because I desire that you may have the life that is laid up for all them that believe in the Lord Jesus, and love one another, when I am deceased. Though then I shall rest from my labors, and be in paradise, as through grace I comfortably believe, yet it is not there, but here, I must do you good. Wherefore, I not knowing the shortness of my life, nor the hindrance that hereafter I may have of serving my God and you, I have taken this opportunity to present these few lines unto you for your edification.

In his autobiography, written about halfway through his imprisonment, he spoke of his church and the effect he hoped his possible martyrdom would have on them: “I did often say before the Lord, that if to be hanged up presently before their eyes would be means to awake in them and confirm them in the truth, I gladly should consent to it.” In fact, many of his flocked joined him in jail and he ministered to them there. He echoed the words of Paul when he described his longings for them: “In my preaching I have really been in pain, I have, as it were, travailed to bring forth Children to God.”

He gloried in the privilege of the gospel ministry. This too flowed from his suffering. If all is well and this world is all that matters, a pastor may become jealous of prosperous people who spend their time in leisure. But if suffering abounds, and if prosperity is a cloak for the true condition of frisky, fun-loving perishing Americans, then being a pastor may be the most important and glorious of all work. Bunyan thought it was: “My heart hath been so wrapped up in the glory of this excellent work, that I counted myself more blessed and honored of God by this, than if I had made me the emperor of the Christian world, or the lord of all the glory of the earth without it.”

He loved his people, he loved the work, and he stayed with it and with them to the end of his life. He served them and he served the world from a village parish with perhaps 120 members.

3. Bunyan’s suffering opened his understanding to the truth that the Christian life is hard and that following Jesus means having the wind in your face.

In 1682, six years before his death, he wrote a book called The Greatness of the Soul, based on Mark 8:36–37, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

He says that his aim is to “awaken you, rouse you off of your beds of ease, security, and pleasure, and fetch you down upon your knees before him, to beg of him grace to be concerned about the salvation of your souls.” And he does not mean the point of conversion but the process of perseverance. “The one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Mark 13:13). He hears Jesus warning us that life with him is hard:

Following of me is not like following of some other masters. The wind sits always on my face and the foaming rage of the sea of this world, and the proud and lofty waves thereof do continually beat upon the sides of the bark or ship that myself, my cause, and my followers are in; he therefore that will not run hazards, and that is afraid to venture a drowning, let him not set foot into this vessel.

Two years later, commenting on John 15:2 (“Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes”), he says, “It is the will of God, that they that go to heaven should go thither hardly or with difficulty. The righteous shall scarcely be saved. That is, they shall, but yet with great difficulty, that it may be the sweeter.”

He had tasted this at the beginning of his Christian life and at every point along the way. In the beginning: “My soul was perplexed with unbelief, blasphemy, hardness of heart, questions about the being of God, Christ, the truth of the Word, and certainty of the world to come: I say, then I was greatly assaulted and tormented with atheism.” “Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God and the truth of his gospel is the worst, and the worst to be borne.”

In The Excellency of a Broken Heart (the last book he took to the publisher) he says,

Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think . . . . It is wounding work, of course, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. . . . Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the scion must be let in with a wound; to stick it on to the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back, or there will be no sap from root to branch, and this I say, must be done by a wound.

Bunyan’s suffering made him passionate about these things—and patient. You can hear his empathy with strugglers in these typically earthy words in a book from 1678 called Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ:

He that comes to Christ cannot, it is true, always get on as fast as he would. Poor coming soul, thou art like the man that would ride full gallop whose horse will hardly trot. Now the desire of his mind is not to be judged of by the slow pace of the dull jade he rides on, but by the hitching and kicking and spurring as he sits on his back. Thy flesh is like this dull jade, it will not gallop after Christ, it will be backward though thy soul and heaven lie at stake.

It seems to me that Bunyan knew the balance of Philippians 2:12–13, “So then, my beloved . . . work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” First, he publishes a book called Saved By Grace based on Ephesians 2:5, “By grace you are saved.” And then in the same year he follows it with a book called, The Strait Gate, based on Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

Bunyan’s sufferings had taught him the words of Jesus first hand, “The way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:14).

4. Bunyan’s sufferings strengthened his assurance that God is sovereign over all the afflictions of his people and will bring them safely home.

There have always been, as there are today, people who try to solve the problem of suffering by denying the sovereignty of God—that is the all-ruling providence of God over Satan and over nature and over human hearts and deeds. But it is remarkable how many of those who stand by the doctrine of God’s sovereignty over suffering have been those who suffered most and who found in the doctrine the most comfort and help.

Bunyan was among that number. In 1684 he wrote an exposition for his suffering people based on 1 Peter 4:19: “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” The book was called Seasonable Counsels: Advice to Sufferers. He takes the phrase “according to the will of God,” and unfolds the sovereignty of God in it for the comfort of his people.

It is not what enemies will, nor what they are resolved upon, but what God will, and what God appoints; that shall be done. . . . No enemy can bring suffering upon a man when the will of God is otherwise, so no man can save himself out of their hands when God will deliver him up for his glory. . . [just as Jesus showed Peter “by what death he would glorify God”]. We shall or shall not suffer, even as it pleaseth him.

Thus God has appointed the persons who will suffer, the time of their suffering, the place of their suffering, and how they will suffer.

“God has appointed who shall suffer”

In the first case, “God has appointed who shall suffer. Suffering comes not by chance, or by the will of man, but by the will and appointment of God.” Thus Bunyan cites 1 Thessalonians 3:3 (KJV): “. . . that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” We must not think that suffering is a strange thing for those who fear God (1 Pet 4:12), he reminds us and appeals to Revelation 6:11 where the martyrs under the altar in heaven are told “that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed [“mark that,” Bunyan says] even as they had been, would be completed also.” An appointed number of martyrs! From which Bunyan concludes, “Suffering for righteousness and for righteousness’ sake, is by the will of God. God has appointed who shall suffer.”

“My Times Are in Thy Hands”

Secondly, God has appointed when they shall suffer . . . for his truth in the world. Suffering for such and such a man are timed, as to when he shall be tried for his faith.” Hence when Paul was afraid in Corinth, the Lord strengthened him in a dream by saying, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9–10). “His time of suffering,” Bunyan says, “was not yet come there.” In the same way it was said of Jesus, “They sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30, KJV). Bunyan concludes, “The times, then, and the seasons, even for the sufferings of the people of God, are not in the hands of their enemies, but in the hand of God; as David said, ‘My times are in thy hand’” (Ps 31:15).

“By the Hand of God Here and There”

Thirdly, God has appointed where this, that, or the other good man shall suffer. Moses and Elias [Elijah], when they appeared on the holy mount, told Jesus of the suffering which he should accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30–31). “The saints are sprinkled by the hand of God here and there, as salt is sprinkled upon meat to keep it from stinking. And as they are sprinkled, that they may season the earth; so accordingly, where they must suffer is also appointed for the better confirming of the truth. Christ said, it could not be that a prophet should ‘perish out of Jerusalem’ (Luke 13:33). But why . . . ? God has appointed that they should suffer there. So then, who, when, and where, is at the will of God, and they, accordingly, are ordered by that will.”

“By What Death He Should Glorify God”

Fourth, “God has appointed . . . what kind of sufferings this or that saint shall undergo. . . . God said that he would show Paul beforehand how great things he should suffer for his sake (Acts 9:16). And it is said that Christ did signify to Peter beforehand ‘by what death he should glorify God’ (John 21:19).” As with the time and place and persons, so it is with the kind of sufferings we endure: They “are all writ down in God’s book; and though the writing seem as unknown characters to us, yet God understands them very well. . . . It is appointed who of them should die of hunger, who with the sword, who should go into captivity, and who should be eating up of beasts. Let it then be concluded, that hitherto it appears, that the sufferings of saints are ordered and disposed by the will of God.”

We could go even further with Bunyan as he shows “for what truth” his saints will suffer, and “by whose hand” and “how long.” But let us ask, What is Bunyan’s aim in this exposition of the sovereignty of God in suffering? He tells us plainly: “I have, in a few words, handled this . . . to show you that our sufferings are ordered and disposed by him, that you might always, when you come into trouble for this name, not stagger nor be at a loss, but be stayed, composed, and settled in your minds, and say, ‘The will of the Lord be done.’ (Acts 21:14).”

The Mercy That We Suffer Rather Than Torture

He warns against feelings of revenge.

Learn to pity and bewail the condition of the enemy . . . Never grudge them their present advantages. ‘Fret not thy self because of evil men. Neither be thou envious at the workers of iniquity’ (Prov. 24:19). Fret not, though they spoil thy resting place. It is God that hath bidden them do it, to try thy faith and patience thereby. Wish them no ill with what they get of thine; it is their wages for their work, and it will appear to them ere long that they have earned it dearly. . . . Bless God that thy lot did fall on the other side. . . . How kindly, therefore, doth God deal with us, when he chooses to afflict us but for a little, that with everlasting kindness he may have mercy upon us (Isa 54:7–8).

“No Fruit, Because There Is no Winter There”

The key to suffering rightly is to see in all things the hand of a merciful and good and sovereign God and “to live upon God who is invisible.” There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time.

There is that of God to be seen in such a day as cannot be seen in another. His power in holding up some, his wrath in leaving of others; his making of shrubs to stand, and his suffering of cedars to fall; his infatuating of the counsels of men, and his making of the devil to outwit himself; his giving of his presence to his people, and his leaving of his foes in the dark; his discovering [disclosing] the uprightness of the hearts of his sanctified ones, and laying open the hypocrisy of others, is a working of spiritual wonders in the day of his wrath, and of the whirlwind and storm.

. . . We are apt to overshoot, in the days that are calm, and to think ourselves far higher, and more strong than we find we be, when the trying day is upon us. . . . We could not live without such turnings of the hand of God upon us. We should be overgrown with flesh, if we had not our seasonable winters. It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there.

So Bunyan begs his people to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and trust that all will be for their good. “Let me beg of thee, that thou wilt not be offended either with God, or men, if the cross is laid heavy upon thee. Not with God, for he doth nothing without a cause, nor with men, for . . . they are the servants of God to thee for good. (Ps 17:14 KJV; Jer 24:5). Take therefore what comes to thee from God by them, thankfully.”

5. Bunyan’s suffering deepened in him a confidence in the Bible as the word of God and a passion for biblical exposition as the key to perseverance.

If “living upon God who is invisible” is the key to suffering rightly, what is the key to living upon God? Bunyan’s answer is to lay hold on Christ through the word of God, the Bible. Prison proved for Bunyan to be a hallowed place of communion with God because his suffering unlocked the word and the deepest fellowship with Christ he had ever known.

I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now [in prison]. Those scriptures that I saw nothing in before were made in this place and state to shine upon me. Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now. Here I have seen him and felt him indeed. . . I have had sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world. . . I have seen that here that I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to express.

“In My Chest Pocket I Have a Key”

He especially cherished the promises of God as the key for opening the door of heaven.

I tell thee, friend, there are some promises that the Lord hath helped me to lay hold of Jesus Christ through and by, that I would not have out of the Bible for as much gold and silver as can lie between York and London piled up to the stars.

One of the greatest scenes in The Pilgrim’s Progress is when Christian recalls in the dungeon of Doubting-castle that he has a key to the door. Very significant is not only what the key is, but where it is:

“What a fool I have been, to lie like this in a stinking dungeon, when I could have just as well walked free. In my chest pocket I have a key called Promise that will, I am thoroughly persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle.” “Then,” said Hopeful, “that is good news. My good brother, do immediately take it out of your chest pocket and try it.” Then Christian took the key from his chest and began to try the lock of the dungeon door; and as he turned the key, the bolt unlocked and the door flew open with ease, so that Christian and hopeful immediately came out.

“Prick Him Anywhere . . . His Blood Is Bibline”

Three times Bunyan says that the key was in Christians “chest pocket” or simply his “chest.” I take this to mean that Christian had hidden it in his heart by memorization and that it was now accessible in prison for precisely this reason. This is how the promises sustained and strengthened Bunyan. He was filled with Scripture. Everything he wrote was saturated with Bible. He poured over his English Bible, which he had most of the time. This is why he can say of his writings, “I have not for these things fished in other men’s waters; my Bible and Concordance are my only library in my writings.”

Charles Spurgeon put it like this:

He had studied our Authorized Version . . . till his whole being was saturated with Scripture; and though his writings . . . continually make us feel and say, ‘Why, this man is a living Bible!’ Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak with out quoting a text, for his soul is full of the word of God.

Bunyan reverenced the word of God and trembled at the prospect of dishonoring it. “Let me die . . . with the Philistines (Judg 16:30) rather than deal corruptly with the blessed word of God.” This, in the end, is why Bunyan is still with us today rather than disappearing into the mist of history. He is with us and ministering to us because he reverenced the word of God and was so permeated by it that his blood is “Bibline” and that “the essence of the Bible flows from him.”

And this is what he has to show us. That “to live upon God who is invisible” is to live upon God in his word. And to serve and suffer out of a life in God is to serve and suffer out of a life drenched with the word of God. This is how we shall live, this is how we shall suffer, and this is how we shall help those we love get safely to the Celestial City. We will woo them with the word. We will say to them what Bunyan said to his people:

God hath strewed all the way from the gate of hell, where thou wast, to the gate of heaven, whither thou art going, with flowers out of his own garden. Behold how the promises, invitations, calls, and encouragements, like lilies, lie round about thee! Take heed that thou dost not tread them under thy foot.


John Newton, 1776

The writings of Mr. Bunyan need no recommendatory preface. The various editions they have passed through, and the different languages into which many of them have been translated, sufficiently prove that the gifts of God which were in him, have, by the divine blessing, been made very acceptable and useful to the churches. Though he was called to the knowledge and ministry of the gospel from a low state of life, as well as from a vicious course of conversation, and was unfurnished with human literature, the Lord, the great, the effectual, the only effectual teacher, made him, in an eminent degree, an able and successful minister of the New Testament. It is probable that only the people to whom he personally preached would have been benefited by his zeal and experience, had not the Lord permitted the rage of his enemies to prevail against him for a season. He lived in more trying days than those in which our lot is fallen. For preaching the word of life to sinners, he was sentenced to perpetual banishment, but what he actually suffered was imprisonment for more than twelve years. But his spirit was not bound. Though secluded from his public work, he could not be idle. He applied himself to writing books, and most of the treatises, by which being dead he still speaketh (in number about threescore) were composed during his confinement in Bedford Jail. Thus his adversaries themselves contributed to extend his usefulness by the very methods they took to prevent it. And (as in the apostle’s case) the things that happened to him, proved rather to the furtherance than the hindrance of the gospel.

His books, though devoid of that art and those ornaments, on which writers who seek the praise of men lay so great a stress, have been, and still are highly esteemed by those who have a taste for divine truth; and greatly instrumental, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, to the awakening of the careless, and the encouragement of those who are seeking salvation. And we doubt not but they will be farther owned of God for these purposes, to many who are yet unborn. But as among the stars one excelleth another in glory, so of all our author’s writings, there is no one perhaps so universally and deservedly admired as his Pilgrim’s Progress, in which he gives a delineation of the Christian life under the idea of a journey or a pilgrimage, from the City of Destruction to the heavenly Jerusalem. In this treatise he appears not only as a writer well instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom, but a man of real genius. Though he had not a learned education, God had given him considerable natural abilities, a lively invention, a penetrating spirit, a strong judgment, and his style, though plain and simple, is remarkably clear, animated, and engaging. By the exercises through which the Lord led him, and a close study of the Word of God, he acquired a singular knowledge of the human heart, and its various workings, both in a state of nature and grace, and of the various snares and dangers to which a believer is exposed from the men and things of the world, and the subtlety of Satan. These fruits of his experience and observation he has exhibited in a very pleasing and instructive manner in his pilgrim, which may be considered as a map of the Christian profession in its present mixed state, while the wheat and the tares are growing in the same field. A map, so exactly drawn, that we can hardly meet with a case or character, amidst the vast variety of persons and incidents, that daily occur to our observation, to which we cannot easily point out a counterpart in the pilgrim. And he is peculiarly happy in fixing the attention of his readers: many have read this book with a kind of rapturous pleasure, though they have not understood the authors design, (which only they who have the eyes of their minds enlightened by the Spirit of God can fully enter into) and they who understand it best, and who have read it often, usually find fresh pleasure and instruction upon every perusal.

As many persons who have read this allegory, though they find benefit from the whole, are at a loss to determine the author’s meaning in some particular parts of his representation, an edition containing some brief notes to illustrate the more difficult passages, has been long desired. An attempt of this kind is now submitted to the public. The annotator does not pretend to be positive that he has always precisely taken up the thought the author had upon his mind at the time of writing, though he thinks there are but few places in which he is in danger of greatly missing it. He hopes however that he has proposed no illustration but what will be found agreeable to the analogy of faith and the experience of believers.

The unusual demand for the Pilgrim’s Progress upon its first appearance, induced the author some time after to send forth a second part. In which there are many beautiful passages that sufficiently demonstrate it to be the work of the same masterly hand. But the plan of that which is now called the First Part, was so comprehensive, and so well executed, that the subject was too much exhausted to admit of a Second Part, capable of standing in competition with the former. It is upon the whole greatly inferior to it, though a few pages here and there might be selected, which, for their beauty, propriety, and energy, almost deserve the epithet of inimitable (See the character of Mr. Fearing, and Standfast’s discourse when in the river).

There is a small book in print which bears the title of the third part of the Pilgrim’s Progress. It can hardly be necessary to inform any but those who have not read it, that this pretended third part, with Mr. Bunyan’s name, is a gross imposition on the public, and that the title is almost the only part of it which bears any resemblance to Bunyan’s Pilgrim, excepting when the writer has borrowed the same names. But Bunyan’s spirit and manner he could not borrow, and his principles he openly contradicts. A common hedge-stake deserves as much to be compared to Aaron’s rod, which yielded blossoms and almonds, as this poor performance to be obtruded upon the world under the title of the third part of the Pilgrim’s Progress.

Thus much concerning our book: Let the v close with a word to the reader’s heart. If you are not convinced of sin, and led by the Spirit to seek Jesus, notwithstanding the notes, the Pilgrim will still be a riddle to you. A well-wisher to your soul assures you, that whether you know these things or not, they are important realities. The Pilgrim is a parable, but it has an interpretation in which you are nearly concerned. If you are living in sin, you are in the City of Destruction. O hear the warning voice! “Flee from the wrath to come.” Pray that the eyes of your mind may be opened, then you will see your danger, and gladly follow the shining light of the word, till you enter by Christ, the straight gate, into the way of salvation. If death surprise you before you get into this road, you are lost forever.

If you are indeed asking the way to Zion with your face thitherward, I bid you good speed. Behold an open door is set before you, which none can shut. Yet prepare to endure hardship, for the way lies through many tribulations. There are hills and valleys to be passed, lions and dragons to be met with, but the Lord of the hill will guide and guard his people. “Put on the whole armor of God, fight the good fight of faith.” Beware of the Flatterer. Beware of the Enchanted Ground. See the Land of Beulah, yea, the city of Jerusalem itself is before you:

There Jesus the forerunner waits.

To welcome travelers home.



In The Similitude of a Dream


“I have used similitudes.”—Hosea 12:10


As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place, where was a den; and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and, behold, “I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.”1 I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, “What shall I do?”2

In this plight, therefore, he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus he began to talk to them: “O my dear wife,” said he, “and you, the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone, by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our city will be burned with fire from Heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee, my wife, and you, my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.” At this, his relations were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning was come, they would know how he did; he told them, worse and worse; he also set to talking to them again, but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriages to him. Sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber to pray for, and pity them, and also to condole his own misery. He would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying; and thus for some days he spent his time.

Now I saw upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was wont, reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “What shall I do to be saved?”3

I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, who asked, “Where fore dost thou cry?”

He answered, Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment, and I find that I am not willing4 to do the first, nor able5 to do the second.

Then said Evangelist, Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils? The man answered, because I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave; and I shall fall into Tophet.6 And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit, I am sure, to go to judgment, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.

* * *

1 Isa. 64:6; Luke 14:33; Psa. 38:4; Hab. 2:2; Acts 16:31

2 Acts 2:37

3 Acts 16:30, 31

4 Job 16:21, 22

5 Ezek. 22:14

6 Isa. 30:33


Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, “Fly from the wrath to come”.7

The man therefore, read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket gate?8 The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder shining light?9 He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do. So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now, he had not ran far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return;10 but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! life! Eternal life! So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.

The neighbours also came out to see him run, and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force.11 The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other Pliable. Now by this time, the man was got a good distance from them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him; which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, Neighbours, wherefore are ye come? They said, To persuade you to go back with us. But he said, That can by no means be. You dwell, said he, in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born; I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone. Be content, good neighbours, and go along with me.

What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?

Yes, said Christian, for that was his name, because that all “which you shall forsake”12 is not worthy to be compared with a little of that which I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself, for there, where I go, is enough and to spare.13 Come away, and prove my words.

OBST. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?

CHRISTIAN. I seek an “inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away”14 and it is laid up in Heaven15, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

OBSTINATE. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your book; will you go back with us, or no?

CHRISTIAN. No, not I, saith the other; because I have laid my hand to the plough.16

OBSTINATE. Come, then, neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these crazed-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.17

PLIABLE. Then said Pliable, Do not revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours; my heart inclines to go with my neighbour.

OBSTINATE. What! more fools still? Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise.

CHRISTIAN. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour Pliable: there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides; if you believe not me, read here in this book, and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it.18

PLIABLE. Well, neighbour Obstinate, saith Pliable, I begin to come to a point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him. But, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?

CHRISTIAN. I am directed by a man whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.

PLIABLE. Come then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.

OBSTINATE. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate; I will be no companion of such misled fantastical fellows.

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7 Matt. 3:7

8 Matt. 7:13

9 Psa. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19

10 Luke 14:26

11 Jer. 20:10

12 2 Cor. 4:18

13 Luke 15:17

14 1 Peter 1:4

15 Heb. 11:16

16 Luke 9:62

17 Prov. 26:16

18 Heb. 13:20, 21; 9:17–21


Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their discourse.

CHRISTIAN. Come, neighbour Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me; had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt, of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.

PLIABLE. Come, neighbour Christian, since there is none but us two here, tell me now further, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going.

CHRISTIAN. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue; but yet since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.

PLIABLE. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, verily, for it was made by Him that cannot lie.19

PLIABLE. Well said. What things are they?

CHRISTIAN. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom forever.20

PLIABLE. Well said. And what else?

CHRISTIAN. There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of Heaven!21

PLIABLE. This is very pleasant. And what else?

CHRISTIAN. There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow; for He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes.22

PLIABLE. And what company shall we have there?

CHRISTIAN. There we shall be with seraphims, and Cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. There, also, you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that Place; none of them are hurtful, but loving and holy, everyone walking in the sight of God, and standing in His presence with acceptance forever; in a word, there we shall see the elders with their golden crowns; there we shall see the holy virgins with their golden harps; there we shall see men, that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love that they bare to the Lord of the Place; all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment.23

PLIABLE. The hearing of this is enough to ravish one’s heart; but are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?

CHRISTIAN. The Lord, the Governor of the country, hath recorded, that in this book, the substance of which is, if we be truly willing to have it, He will bestow it upon us freely. 24

PLIABLE. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things; come on, let us mend our pace.

CHRISTIAN. I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back. Now I saw in my dream, that, just as they had ended this talk, they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.

PLIABLE. Then said Pliable, Ah! neighbour Christian, where are you now?

CHRISTIAN. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

PLIABLE. At that Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect betwixt this and our journey’s end? May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone for me. And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and Christian saw him no more. Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone; but still he endeavoured to struggle to that side of the slough that was still further from his own house, and next to the wicket-gate; the which he did, but could not get out, because of the burden that was upon his back. But I beheld in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him what he did there?

CHRISTIAN. Sir, said Christian, I was bid go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come. And as I was going thither, I fell in here.

HELP. But why did not you look for the steps?

CHRISTIAN. Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way, and fell in.

HELP. Then said he, Give me thy hand; so he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way.25

Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, Sir, wherefore (since over this place is the way from the City of Destruction, to yonder gate) is it that this plat is not mended, that poor travelers might go thither with more security? And he said unto me, This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended. It is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin, doth continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond: for still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place. And this is the reason of the badness of this ground.

It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad;26 his labourers, also, have, by the directions of his Majesty’s surveyors, been, for above these 1,600 years, employed about this patch of ground, if, perhaps, it might have been mended; yea, and to my knowledge, said he, here have been swallowed up at least 20,000 cart-loads; yea, millions of wholesome instructions, that have, at all seasons, been brought from all places of the King’s dominions, and they that can tell, say, they are the best materials to make good ground of the place, if so be it might have been mended; but it is the Slough of Despond still; and so will be when they have done what they can.

True, there are, by the direction of the Lawgiver, certain good and substantial steps, placed even through the very midst of this slough; but at such time as this place doth much spew out its filth, as it doth against change of weather, these steps are hardly seen; or if they be, men, through the dizziness of their heads, step besides, and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there; but the ground is good, when they are once got in at the gate.27

Now I saw in my dream, that, by this time, Pliable was got home to his house again; so that his neighbours came to visit him; and some of them called him wise man for coming back, and some called him fool for hazarding himself with Christian; others, again, did mock at his cowardliness, saying, “Surely, since you began to venture, I would not have been so base to have given out for a few difficulties.” So Pliable sat sneaking among them. But, at last, he got more confidence, and then they all turned their tales, and began to deride poor Christian behind his back. And thus much concerning Pliable.

Now as Christian was walking solitarily by himself, he espied one afar off come crossing over the field to meet him; and their hap was to meet just as they were crossing the way of each other. The gentleman’s name that met him was Mr. Worldly-wiseman; he dwelt in the town of Carnal Policy, a very great town, and also hard by from whence Christian came. This man, then, meeting with Christian, and having some inkling19 of him, for Christian’s setting forth from the City of Destruction was much noised abroad, not only in the town where he dwelt, but, also, it began to be the town-talk in some other places. Master Worldly-wiseman, therefore, having some guess of him, by beholding his laborious going, by observing his sighs and groans, and the like, began thus to enter into some talk with Christian.

WORLD. How now, good fellow, whither away after this burdened manner?

CHRISTIAN. A burdened manner, indeed, as ever, I think, poor creature had! And whereas you ask me, Whither away? I tell you, Sir, I am going to yonder wicket-gate before me; for there, as I am informed, I shall be put into a way to be rid of my heavy burden.

WORLD. Hast thou a wife and children?

CHRISTIAN. Yes; but I am so laden with this burden, that I cannot take that pleasure in them as formerly; methinks I am as if I had none.28

WORLD. Wilt thou hearken unto me if I give thee counsel?

CHRISTIAN. If it be good, I will; for I stand in need of good counsel.

WORLD. I would advise thee, then, that thou with all speed get thyself rid of thy burden: for thou wilt never be settled in thy mind till then; nor canst thou enjoy the benefits of the blessing which God hath bestowed upon thee till then.

CHRISTIAN. That is that which I seek for, even to be rid of this heavy burden; but get it off myself, I cannot; nor is there any man in our country that can take it off my shoulders; therefore am I going this way, as I told you, that I may be rid of my burden.

WORLD. Who bid you go this way to be rid of thy burden?

CHRISTIAN. A man that appeared to me to be a very great and honourable person; his name, as I remember, is Evangelist.

WORLD. I beshrew him for his counsel! there is not a more dangerous and trouble some way in the world than is that unto which he hath directed thee; and that thou shalt find, if thou wilt be ruled by his counsel. Thou hast met with something, as I perceive already; for I see the dirt of the Slough of Despond is upon thee; but that slough is the beginning of the sorrows that do attend those that go on in that way. Hear me, I am older than thou; thou art like to meet with, on the way which thou goest, wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death, and what not! These things are certainly true, having been confirmed by many testimonies. And why should a man so carelessly cast away himself, by giving heed to a stranger?

CHRISTIAN. Why, Sir, this burden upon my back is more terrible to me than are all these things which you have mentioned; nay, methinks I care not what I meet with in the way, if so be I can also meet with deliverance from my burden.

WORLD. How camest thou by the burden at first?

CHRISTIAN. By reading this book in my hand.

WORLD. I thought so; and it is happened unto thee as to other weak men, who, meddling with things too high for them, do suddenly fall into thy distractions; which distractions do not only unman men, as thine, I perceive, has done thee, but they run them upon desperate ventures, to obtain they know not what.

CHRISTIAN. I know what I would obtain; it is ease for my heavy burden.

WORLD. But why wilt thou seek for ease this way, seeing so many dangers attend it? especially since, hadst thou but patience to hear me, I could direct thee to the obtaining of what thou desirest, without the dangers that thou in this way wilt run thyself into; yea, and the remedy is at hand. Besides, I will add, that, instead of those dangers, thou shalt meet with much safety, friendship, and content.

CHRISTIAN. Pray, Sir, open this secret to me.

WORLD. Why, in yonder village—the village is named Morality—there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality, a very judicious man, and a man of a very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine are from their shoulders: yea, to my knowledge, he hath done a great deal of good this way; aye, and besides, he hath skill to cure those that are somewhat crazed in their wits with their burdens. To him, as I said, thou mayest go, and be helped presently. His house is not quite a mile from this place, and if he should not be at home himself, be hath a pretty young man to his son, whose name is Civility, that can do it (to speak on) as well as the old gentleman himself; there, I say, thou mayest be eased of thy burden; and if thou art not minded to go back to thy former habitation, as, indeed, I would not wish thee, thou mayest send for thy wife and children to thee to this village, where there are houses now stand empty, one of which thou mayest have at reasonable rates; provision is there also cheap and good; and that which will make thy life the more happy is, to be sure, there thou shalt live by honest neighbours, in credit and good fashion.

Now was Christian somewhat at a stand; but presently he concluded, if this be true, which this gentleman hath said, my wisest course is to take his advice; and with that he thus further spoke.

CHRISTIAN. Sir, which is my way to this honest man’s house?

WORLD. Do you see yonder hill?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, very well.

WORLD. By that hill you must go, and the first house you come at is his.

So Christian turned out of his way, to go to Mr. Legality’s house for help; but, behold, when he was got now hard by the hill, it seemed so high, and also that side of it that was next the wayside, did hang so much over, that Christian was afraid to venture further, lest the hill should fall on his head; wherefore there he stood still, and wotted not what to do. Also his burden now seemed heavier to him, than while he was in his way. There came also flashes of fire out of the hill, that made Christian afraid that he should be burned.29 Here, therefore, he sweat and did quake for fear.30 And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly-wiseman’s counsel.

* * *

19 Titus 1:2

20 Isa. 45:17; John 10:27–29

21 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 3:4; Matt. 13:43

22 Isa. 25:8; Rev. 7:17, 17; 21:4

23 Isa. 6:2; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; Rev. 7:17; 4:4; 14:1–5; John 12:25; 2 Cor. 5:2–5

24 Isa. 55:1, 2, 12; John 7:37; 6:37; Psa. 21:6; 22:17

25 Psa. 40:2

26 Isa. 35:3, 4

27 1 Sam. 12:23

28 1 Cor. 7:29

29 Exod. 19:16, 18

30 Heb. 12:21


And with that he saw Evangelist coming to meet him; at the sight also of whom he began to blush for shame. So Evangelist drew nearer and nearer; and coming up to him, he looked upon him with a severe and dreadful countenance, and thus began to reason with Christian.

EVANGELIST. What dost thou here, Christian? said he: at which words Christian knew not what to answer; wherefore at present he stood speechless before him. Then said Evangelist further, Art not thou the man that I found crying without the walls of the City of Destruction?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, dear Sir, I am the man.

EVANGELIST. Did not I direct thee the way to the little wicket-gate?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, dear Sir, said Christian.

EVANGELIST. How is it, then, that thou art so quickly turned aside? for thou art now out of the way.

CHRISTIAN. I met with a gentleman so soon as I had got over the Slough of Despond, who persuaded me that I might, in the village before me, find a man that could take off my burden.

EVANGELIST. What was he?

CHRISTIAN. He looked like a gentleman, and talked much to me, and got me at last to yield; so I came hither: but when I beheld this hill, and how it hangs over the way, I suddenly made a stand, lest it should fall on my head.

EVANGELIST. What said that gentleman to you?

CHRISTIAN. Why, he asked me whither I was going? And I told him.

EVANGELIST. And what said he then?

CHRISTIAN. He asked me if I had a family? And I told him. But, said I, I am so loaden with the burden that is on my back, that I cannot take pleasure in them as formerly.

EVANGELIST. And what said he then?

CHRISTIAN. He bid me with speed get rid of my burden; and I told him it was ease that I sought. And, said I, I am therefore going to yonder gate, to receive further direction how I may get to the place of deliverance. So he said that he would show me a better way, and short, not so attended with difficulties as the way, Sir, that you set me in; which way, said he, will direct you to a gentleman’s house that hath skill to take off these burdens: so I believed him, and turned out of that way into this, if haply I might be soon eased of my burden. But when I came to this place, and beheld things as they are, I stopped for fear (as I said) of danger: but I now know not what to do.

EVANGELIST. Then, said Evangelist, stand still a little, that I may show thee the words of God. So he stood trembling. Then said Evangelist, “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from Heaven”.31 He said, moreover, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him”.32 He also did thus apply them: Thou art the man that art running into this misery; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the Most High, and to draw back thy foot from the way of peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition!

Then Christian fell down at his foot as dead, crying, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” At the sight of which, Evangelist caught him by the right hand, saying, “All manner of sin and blasphemies shall be forgiven unto men”; “Be not faithless, but believing”.33 Then did Christian again a little revive, and stood up trembling, as at first, before Evangelist.

Then Evangelist proceeded, saying, Give more earnest heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now show thee who it was that deluded thee, and who it was also to whom he sent thee.—The man that met thee is one Worldly-wiseman, and rightly is he so called; partly, because he savoureth only the doctrine of this world34, (therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church); and partly because he loveth that doctrine best, for it saveth him best from the cross.35 And because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to prevent my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this man’s counsel, that thou must utterly abhor.

1. His turning thee out of the way. 2. His labouring to render the cross odious to thee. And, 3. His setting thy feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of death.

First, Thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way; yea, and thine own consenting thereto: because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a Worldly-wiseman. The Lord says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate”36 the gate to which I send thee; for “strait is the gate which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”37 From this little wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction; hate, therefore, his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.

Secondly, Thou must abhor his labouring to render the cross odious unto thee; for thou art to prefer it “before the treasures in Egypt.”38 Besides, the King of glory hath told thee, that he that “will save his life shall lose it”39 And, “He that comes after Him, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple”40 I say, therefore, for man to labour to persuade thee, that that shall be thy death, without which, THE TRUTH hath said, thou canst not have eternal life; this doctrine thou must abhor.

Thirdly, Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burden.

He to whom thou wast sent for ease, being by name Legality, is the son of the bond woman which now is, and is in bondage with her children;41 and is, in a mystery, this mount Sinai, which thou hast feared will fall on thy head. Now, if she, with her children, are in bondage, how canst thou expect by them to be made free? This Legality, therefore, is not able to set thee free from thy burden. No man was as yet ever rid of his burden by him; no, nor ever is like to be: ye cannot be justified by the works of the law; for by the deeds of the law no man living can be rid of his burden: therefore, Mr. Worldly-wiseman is an alien, and Mr. Legality is a cheat; and for his son Civility, notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a hypocrite, and cannot help thee. Believe me, there is nothing in all this noise, that thou hast heard of these sottish men, but a design to beguile thee of thy salvation, by turning thee from the way in which I had set thee. After this, Evangelist called aloud to the heavens for confirmation of what he had said: and with that there came words and fire out of the mountain under which poor Christian stood, that made the hair of his flesh stand up. The words were thus pronounced: “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.42

Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out lamentably; even cursing the time in which he met with Mr. Worldly-wiseman; still calling himself a thousand fools for hearkening to his counsel: he also was greatly ashamed to think that this gentleman’s arguments, flowing only from the flesh, should have the prevalency with him as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he applied himself again to Evangelist, in words and sense as follows:—

CHRISTIAN. Sir, what think you? Is there hope? May I now go back, and go up to the wicket-gate? Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man’s counsel. But may my sin be forgiven?

EVANGELIST. Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils; thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths; yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has good-will for men; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, “lest thou perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little”.43 Then did Christian address himself to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid him God-speed. So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor, if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he left, to follow Mr. Worldly-wiseman’s counsel. So, in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you”44

He knocked, therefore, more than once or twice, saying—

“May I now enter here? Will He within

Open to sorry me, though I have been

An undeserving rebel? Then shall I

Not fail to sing His lasting praise on high.”

At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked who was there? and whence he came? and what he would have?

CHRISTIAN. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would, therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in!

GOOD-WILL. I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.

So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull. Then said Christian, What means that? The other told him. A little distance from this gate, there is erected a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain; from thence, both he and them that are with him shoot arrows at those that come up to this gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in.

Then said Christian, I rejoice and tremble. So when he was got in, the man of the gate asked him who directed him thither?

CHRISTIAN. Evangelist bid me come hither, and knock (as I did); and he said that you, Sir, would tell me what I must do.

GOOD-WILL. An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.

CHRISTIAN. Now I begin to reap the benefits of my hazards.

GOOD-WILL. But how is it that you came alone?

CHRISTIAN. Because none of my neighbours saw their danger, as I saw mine.

GOOD-WILL. Did any of them know of your coming?

CHRISTIAN. Yes; my wife and children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again; also, some of my neighbours stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way.

GOOD-WILL. But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, both Obstinate and Pliable; but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate went railing back, but Pliable came with me a little way.

GOOD-WILL. But why did he not come through?

CHRISTIAN. We, indeed, came both together, until we came at the Slough of Despond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my neighbour, Pliable, discouraged, and would not adventure further. Wherefore getting out again on that side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him; so he went his way, and I came mine—he after Obstinate, and I to this gate.

GOOD-WILL. Then said Good-will, Alas, poor man! is the celestial glory of so small esteem with him, that he counteth it not worth running the hazards of a few difficulties to obtain it?

CHRISTIAN. Truly, said Christian, I have said the truth of Pliable, and if I should also say all the truth of myself, it will appear there is no betterment betwixt him and myself. It is true, he went back to his own house, but I also turned aside to go in the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the carnal arguments of one Mr. Worldly-wiseman.

GOOD-WILL. Oh! did he light upon you? What! he would have had you a sought for ease at the hands of Mr. Legality. They are, both of them, a very cheat. But did you take his counsel?

CHRISTIAN. Yes, as far as I durst; I went to find out Mr. Legality, until I thought that the mountain that stands by his house would have fallen upon my head; wherefore, there I was forced to stop.

GOOD-WILL. That mountain has been the death of many, and will be the death of many more; it is well you escaped being by it dashed in pieces.

CHRISTIAN. Why, truly, I do not know what had become of me there, had not Evangelist happily met me again, as I was musing in the midst of my dumps; but it was God’s mercy that he came to me again, for else I had never come hither. But now I am come, such a one as I am, more fit, indeed, for death, by that mountain, than thus to stand talking with my Lord; but, O! what a favour is this to me, that yet I am admitted entrance here!

GOOD-WILL. We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither. They are “in no wise cast out”45 and therefore, good Christian, come a little way with me, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go. Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way? THAT is the way thou must go; it was cast up by the patriarchs, prophets, Christ, and His Apostles; and it is as straight as a rule can make it. This is the way thou must go.

CHRISTIAN. But, said Christian, are there no turnings nor windings, by which a stranger may lose his way?

GOOD-WILL. Yes, there are many ways butt down upon this, and they are crooked and wide. But thus thou mayest distinguish the right from the wrong, the right only being straight and narrow.46

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian asked him further if he could not help him off with his burden that was upon his back; for as yet he had not got rid thereof, nor could he by any means get it off without help.

He told him, as to thy burden, be content to bear it, until thou comest to the place of deliverance; for there it will fall from thy back of itself.

Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his journey. So the other told him, That by that he was gone some distance from the gate, he would come at the house of the Interpreter; at whose door he should knock, and he would show him excellent things. Then Christian took his leave of his friend, and he again bid him God-speed.

Then he went on till he came at the house of the Interpreter, where he knocked over and over; at last one came to the door, and asked who w