Illustrated edition of the select works of John Bunyan : with an original sketch of the author's life and times ; (Volume 1) online

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

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

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

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

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

Sam. Then said Samuel, Mother, what was that which my brother did
gather and eat, so soon as we were come from the gate that is at the head
of this way ? You know that there was an orchard on the left hand, on

■" Mr. Brisk is a lively portrait of many professing Christians. Unless they reform, Mercy
is not for them.


the other side of the wall, and some of the trees hung over the wall, and
my brother did pluck and did eat.

Chr. True, my child, said Christiana, he did take thereof, and did eat;
naughty boy as he was, I chid him, and yet he would eat thereof.

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

Chr. Then Christiana began to ciy, and she said, O naughty boy !
and O careless mother ! what shall I do for my son ?

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

j Chr. Pray, Sir, try the utmost of your skill with him, whatever it

I costs.

Skill. Nay, I hope I shall be reasonable, Heb. x. 1, 2, 3, 4. So he
made him a purge, but it was too weak ; it was said it was made of the
blood of a goat, the ashes of a heifer, and with some of the juice of

I ' hyssop, &c. When Mr. Skill had seen that that purge w'as too weak, he
made him one to the purpose ; it was made ex came et sanguine Christi,'
John vi. 54, 55, 56, 57 ; Mark ix. 49 ; Heb. ix. 14 (you know phy-
sicians give strange medicines to their patients) ; and it was made up into
pills, with a promise or two, and a proportionable quantity of salt.
Now he was to take them three at a time fasting, in half a quarter of a
pint of the tears of repentance. When this potion was prepared, and
brought to the boy, he was loth to take it, though torn with the gripes,
as if he should be pulled in pieces. Come, come, said the physician,
you must take it. It goes against my stomach, said the boy. / must
have you take it, said his mother, Zech. xii. 10. I shall vomit it up
again, said the boy. Pray, Sir, said Christiana to Mr. Skill, how does
it taste ? It has no ill taste, said the doctor ; and with that she touched
one of the pills with the tip of her tongue. Oh ! Matthew, said she,
this potion is sweeter than honey. If thou lovest thy mother, if thou
lovcst thy brothers, if thou lovest Mercy, if thou lovest thy life, take it.
So with much ado, after a short prayer for the blessing of God upon it,
he took it, and it wrought kindly with him. It caused him to purge, to

• The medicine prescribed by Mr. Skill, was the body and blood of the Saviour ; the sove-
reign cure for diseases of the heart.


sleep, and rest quietly ; it put him into a fine heat, and breathing sweat,
and rid him of his gripes.

So in a little time he got up, and walked about with a staff, and would
go from room to room, and talk with Prudence, Piety, and Charity, of
■his distemper, and how he was healed.

So when the boy was healed, Christiana asked Mr. Skill, saying, Sir,
what will content you for your pains and care to me, and of my child ?
And he said. You must pay the Master of the college of physicians, ac-
cording to rules made in that case and provided.

Chr. But, Sir, said she, what is this pill good for else ?

Skill. It is an universal pill ; it is good against all diseases that pil-
grims are incident to ; and when it is well prepared, will keep good time
out of mind.

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

Skill. These pills are good to prevent diseases, as well as to cure when
one is sick. Yea, I dare say it, and stand to it, that if a man will but
use this physic as he should, " it will make him live for ever." But, good
Christiana, thou must give those pills no other way but as I have
prescribed ; for if you do, they will do no good. So he gave unto Chris-
tiana physic for herself, and her boys, and for Mercy, and bid Matthew
take heed how he eat any more green plums, and kissed them, and went
his way.

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

Matt. Then Matthew, who had been sick, asked her why, for the most
part, physic should be bitter to our palates ?

Prud. To show how unwelcome the word of God, and the effects thereof,
are to a carnal heart.

Matt. Why does physic, if it does good, purge and cause to vomit.

Prud. To show that the word, when it works effectually, cleanseth the
heart and mind. For look, what the one doth to the body, the other doth
to the soul.

Matt. What should we learn by seeing the flame of our fire go upwards,
and by seeing the beams and sweet influences of the sun strike down-
wards ?


Prud. By the going up of the fire, we are taught to ascend to heaven,
by fervent and hot desires; and hy the sun his sending his heat, beams,
and sweet influences downwards, we are taught, that the Saviour of the
world, though high, reacheth down with his gi'ace and love to us below.

Matt. Where have the clouds their water ?

Prud. Out of the sea.

Matt. What may we learn fi'om that ?

Prud. That ministers should fetch their doctrine from God.

Matt. Why do they empty themselves upon the earth ?

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

Matt. Why is the rainbow caused by the sun ?

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

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

Prud. To show, that the grace of God comes to us through the body of

Matt. Why do some of the springs rise out of the top of high hills ?

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

Matt. Why doth the fire fasten upon the candle-wick ?

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

Matt. Why is the wick and tallow, and all, spent, to maintain the fight
of the candle?

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

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

Prud. To nourish her young ones with her blood, and thereby to show,
that Christ the Blessed so loveth his young, his people, as to save them
from death by his blood.^

' The promise so confirmed is most comforting and distinct. " For the moantains shall
depart, and the hills be removed ; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the
covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee." — Isaiah, liv. 10.

f This mighty boon is held out to all who desire it. " None," writes Cowper, " ever truly
and ingenuously sought the truth, but they found it. A spirit of earnest inquiry is the gift oJ
God, who never says to any, ' Seek my face m vain.' " — Life of Coipper.


Matt. What may one learn by hearing the cock crow.
[ Prud. Learn to remember Peter's sin, and Peter's repentance. The

[ : cock's crowing shows also, that day is coming on ; let then the crowing of
I the cock put thee in mind of that last and terrible day of judgment.
i j Now about this time their month was out ; wherefore they signified to
; those of the house, that it was convenient for them to up and be going.
! Then said Joseph to his mother, It is convenient that you forget not
I to send to the house of Mr. Interpreter, to pray him to grant that
I Mr. Great-Heart should be sent unto us, that he may be our conductor
I the rest of our way. Good boy, said she, I had almost forgot. So she
1 drew up a petition, and prayed Mr. Watchful the porter, to send it
by some fit man, to her good friend, Mr. Interpreter ; who, when it was
; ' come, and he had seen the contents of the petition, said to the messenger,
j Go tell them that I will send him.

\ When the family where Christiana was, saw that they had a purpose to

j go forward, they called the whole house together, to give thanks to their
i King, for sending of them such profitable guests as these. Which done,
they said unto Christiana, And shall we not show thee something, accord-
as our custom is to pilgrims, on which thou mayst meditate when thou art
on the way ? So they took Christiana, her children, and Mercy, into the
closet, and showed them one of the apples that Eve ate of, and that she
also did give to her husband ; and for the eating of which they were both
turned out of paradise ; and asked her what she thought that was ? Then
Christiana said, It is food or poison, I know not which. So they opened
the matter to her, and she held up her hands and wondered, Gen. iii. 6.
Eom. vii. 24.

Then they had her to a place, and showed her Jacob's ladder. Now
at that time there were some angels ascending upon it. So Christiana
looked and looked to see the angels go up, so did the rest of the company.
Then they were going into another place to show them something else ;
but James said to his mother. Pray bid them stay a little longer, for this
is a curious sight. So they turned again, and stood feeding their eyes with
this so pleasant a prospect. After this they had them into a place where
did hang up a golden anchor, so they bid Christiana take it down ; for,
said they, you shall have it with you. Gen. xxviii. 12, for it is of absolute
necessity that you should, that you may lay hold of that within the veil,
and stand steadfast in case you should meet with turbulent weather. So


they were glad thereof, John i. 15, Heb. vi. 19,^ Gen. xxviii. 12. Then
they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our
father had offered up Isaac his son, and showed him the altar, the wood,
the fire, and the knife; for they remain to be seen to this very day.
When they had seen it they held up their hands, and blessed themselves,
and said. Oh '! what a man for love to his Master, and for denial to himself,
was Abraham ! After they had showed them all these things. Prudence
took them into a dining-room, where stood a pair of excellent virginals :
so she played upon them, and turned what she had showed them into this
excellent song, saying.

Eve's apple we have showed you ;

Of that be you aware :
You have seen Jacob's ladder too.

Upon which angels are. :

An anchor you received have.

But let not this suffice.
Until with Abra'm you have gave

Your best of sacrifice.

jNow about this time one knocked at the door: so the porter opened,
and behold Mr. Great-Heart was there ; but when he was come in what
joy was there ! For it came now fresh again into their minds, how but
awhile ago he had slain old Grim Bloody-Man, the giant, and had delivered
them from the lions.

Then said Mr. Great-Heart to Chnstiana, and to INIercy, My Lord has
sent each of you a bottle of wine, and also some parched corn, together
with a couple of pomegranates : he also sent the boys some figs and raisins,
to refresh you in your way.

Then they addressed themselves to their journey ; and Prudence and
Piety went along with them. When they came at the gate, Christiana
asked the porter if any of late went by ? He said, No, only one some
time since, who also told me, that of late there had been a great robbery
committed on the King's highway as you go : But, said he, the thieves are
taken, and will shortly be tried for their lives. Then Christiana and Mercy

I" Christ is here meant. He is the anchor, his coming is veiled in mystery, but yet
dearly foretold by John in the passage referred to, John i., 15. He is the Christian's hope,
" which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth
into that within the veil." — Hebretvs, vi., 19.


were afraid ; but Matthew said, Mother, fear nothing, as long as Mr,
Great-Heart is to go with us, and to be our conductor.

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

Now I saw in my dream, that they went forward until they were come
to the brow of the hiU, where Piety bethinking herself, cried out, Alas ! I
have forgot what I intended to bestow upon Christiana and her com-
panions ; I will go back and fetch it ; so she ran and fetched it. When
she was gone, Christiana thought she heard in a gi'ove a little way
[ off" on the right hand a most curious melodious note, with words much
like these :

Through all my life thy favour is
So frankly show'd to me,
I That in thy house for evermore

I My dwelling-place shall be.

i And listening still, she thought she heard another answer, saying,

1 For Why ? The Lord our God is good ;

] His mercy is for ever sure :

His truth at all times firmly stood,
I And shall from age to age endure.

So Christiana asked Prudence what it was that made those curious

j notes ? Song ii. 11, 12. They are, said she, our country bhds ; they sing

i these notes but seldom, except it be at the spring, when the flowers

appear, and the sun shines warm, and then you may hear them all the

I day long. I often, said she, go to hear them : we also oftentimes keep

j them tame in our house. They are very fine company for us when wc

are melancholy; also they make the woods and groves, and soUtary places

i desirous to be in.


By this time Piety was come again ; so she said to Christiana, Look
here, I have brought thee a scheme of all those things that thou hast seen
at our house, upon which thou mayest look when thou findest thyself
forgetful, and call those things again to remembrance for thy edification
and comfort.

Now they began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation.
It was a steep hill, and the way was slippery ; but they were very careful,
so they got down pretty well. When they were down in the valley, Piety
said to Christiana, This is the place where your husband met with the
foul fiend Apollyon, and where they had the great fight that they had.
I know you cannot but have heard thereof. But be of good courage;
as long as you have here Mr. Great-Heart to be your guide and conductor,
we hope you will fare the better. So when these two had committed
the pilgrims unto the conduct of their guide, he went forward, and they
went after.

Great-Heart. Then said Mr. Great-Heart, We need not be so afraid
of this valley ; for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it our-
selves. It is time, Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom
also he had a sore combat ; but that fray was the fruit of those slips-
that he got in his going down the hill ; for they that get slips there,
must look for combats here. And hence it is, that this valley has got so
hard a name. For the common people, when they hear that some
frightful thing has befallen such a one in such a place, are of opinion,
that that place is haunted with some foul fiend, or evil spirit ; when, alas !
it is for the fruit of their doing, that such things do befal them there.

This valley of Humiliation is of itself as fruitful a place as any the
crow flies over ; and I am persuaded, if we could hit upon it, we might
find somewhere hereabout something that might give us an account why
Christian was so hardly beset in this place.

' Among the " slips" made by the author in his early hfe one is very remarkable, " One
day, as I was between Elston and Bedford, the temptation was hot upon me to try if I had
faith, by doing some miracle ; which miracle at this time was this, I must say to the puddles
that were in the horse ponds ' be dry ;' and to the dry places be you puddles : and truly one
time I was going to say so indeed, but just as I was about to speak, this thought came into
my mind ; ' but go under yonder hedge and pray first that God would make you able.' But
when I had concluded to pray this came hot upon me ; that, if I prayed, and came again,
and tried to do it, and yet did nothing notwithstanding, then to be sui-e I had no faith, but
waa a cast-away, and lost ; nay, thought I, if it be so, I will not try yet, but will stay a little
I ] longer." This reflection brought him into the right way, and to the Valley of Humiliation."


Then James said to his mother, Lo, yonder stands a pillar, and it looks
as if something was written thereon ; let us go and see what it is. So
they went, and found there written, " Let Christian's slips, hefore he
came hither, and the burden that he met with in this place, be a warning
to those that come after." Lo, said their guide, did I not tell you that
there was something hereabouts that would give intimation of the reason
why Christian was so hard beset in this place ? Then turning to Chris-
tiana, he said. No disparagement to Christian more than to many others,
whose hap and lot it was. For it is easier going up than down this hill,
and that can be said but of few hills in all these parts of the world.
But we will leave the good man, he is at rest, he also had a brave victory
over his enemy : let Him grant, that dwelleth above, that we fare no
worse when we come to be tried than he.

But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation. It is the best
and most useful piece of ground in all these parts. It is a fat ground,
and, as you see, consisteth much in meadows ; and if a man was to come
here in the summer time, as we do now, if he knew not anything before
thereof, and if he also delighteth himself in the sight of his eyes, he
might see that which would be delightful to him. Behold how green
this valley is, also how beautified with lilies. Song ii. 1 ; James iv. 6 ;
1 Pet. V. 5.' I have also known many labouring men that have got good
estates in this Valley of Humiliation (for God resisteth the proud, but
gives more grace to the humble) ; for indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and
doth bring forth by handfuls. Some also have wished, that the next way
to their father's house were here, that they might be troubled no more
with either hills or mountains to go over ; but the way is the way, and
there is an end.

Now as they were going along, and talking, they espied a boy feeding
his father's sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a fresh and
well-favoured countenance ; and as he sat by himself, he sung. Hark,
said Mr. Great-Heart, to what the shepherd's boy saith : so they heark-
ened, and he said,

He that is down, needs fear no fall ;

He that is low, no pride
He that is humble, ever shall

Have God to be his guide.
' •• God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." — 1 Peter, v. 5.



I I am content with what I have.

Little be it or much."
And, Lord, contentment still I crave.

Because thou savest such.
Fulness to such a burden is,

Tha't go on pilgrimage :

Here little, and hereafter bliss.

Is best from age to age.

Then said the guide, Do you hear him ? I will dare to say, this boy
lives a merrier life, and wears more of the herb called Heart's-ease in his
bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet ; but vv'e will proceed in our

In this valley our Lord formerly had his country-house, he much loved
to be here : he loved also to walk in these meadows, and he found the au*
was pleasant. Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise, and from
the hun-ying of this life ; all states are full of noise and confusion, only
the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man
shall not be let and hindered in his contemplation, as in other places he is
apt to be. This is a valley that nobody walks in, but those that love a
pilgrim's life. And though Christian had the hard hap to meet with
Apollyon, and to endure with him in a brisk encounter, yet I must tell
you, that in former times men have met with angels here, have found
pearls here, and have in this place found the words of life, Hos. xii. 4, 5.

Did I say our Lord had here in former days his country-house, and that
he loved here to walk ? I will add, in this place, and to the people that
live and trace these grounds, he has left a yearly revenue, to be faithfully
paid them at certain seasons, for their maintenance by the way, and foi*
their further encouragement to go on their pilgrimage. Matt. xi. 19-

Samuel. Now as they went on, Samuel said to Mr. Great-Heart, Sir, I
perceive, that in this valley my father and Apollyon had theu- battle ; but
whereabout was the fight, for I perceive this valley is large ?

' A well-regulated mind that can thus rest, whatever its worldly fortunes, is a rare blessing.
They can nevertheless enjoy, and rationally enjoy temporal gain. " I have read," says Adams,
" of two entire friends well deserving for their virtues, that when the one was promoted to
great wealth and dignity, the other was neglected in obscurity ; he preferred, though he
could not divide his honour, yet to share his wealth with his old companion. Things so altered,
that this honoured friend was falsely accused of treachery, and by the blow of suspicion
thrown down to misery ; and the other, for his now observed goodness, raised up to a high
place; where now he requites his dejected, friend." — Love's Copy; or, the best precedent for


(heat-Heart. Your father had the battle with Apollyon, at a place
yonder before us, in a narrow passage just beyond Forgetful Green : and
indeed that place is the most dangerous place in all those parts ; for if at
any time pilgrims meet with any brunt, it is when they forget what favours
they have received, and how unworthy they are of them. This is the
place also where others have been hard put to it. But more of the place
when we come to it ; for I persuade myself, that to this day there remains
either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a
battle there was fought.

Mer. Then said Mercy, I think I am as well in this valley as I have
been anywhere else in all our journey. The place, methinks, suits with
my spirit. I love to be in such places where there is no rattling with

Online LibraryUnknownIllustrated edition of the select works of John Bunyan : with an original sketch of the author's life and times ; (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 67)