The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan - ebook

The Pilgrim's Progress is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. He began his work while in the Bedfordshire county prison for violations of the Conventicle Act, which prohibited the holding of religious services outside the auspices of the established Church of England. The text is considered one of the most significant works of religious English literature.

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John Bunyan

John Bunyan

The Pilgrim’s Progress

New Edition





New Edition

Published by The Big Nest

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This Edition first published in 2014

Copyright © 2014 The Big Nest

Cover design and artwork © 2014

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All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781910558058 (ebk)




























It may seem a very bold undertaking to change even a word of the book which, next to the Bible, has been read by more people, old and young, than any other book in the English language.

But, it must be remembered that, although the Pilgrim’s Progress has come to be a children’s book, and is read more often by young people than by those who are older, it was not in the purpose of John Bunyan to write a book for children or even for the young.

The Pilgrim’s Progress was a book for men and women; and it was aimed to teach the great truths of the gospel. Hence while most of it is written in a simple style,—as all books should be written,—it contains much that a child cannot understand; not often in the story, but in the conversations and discussions between the different persons. Some of these conversations are in reality short sermons on doctrines and teachings which Bunyan believed to be of great importance. But these are beyond the minds of children and give them great trouble when the book is read. They do not like to have them left out of the reading, thinking that they may lose something interesting. Many a young person has stumbled through the dull, doctrinal parts of the book, without understanding them; and even grown people find them in our time somewhat of a blemish upon the wonderful story, valuable as they were supposed to be in Bunyan’s own time.

For many years it has been in my mind, not to re-write the Pilgrim’s Progress, for that would destroy its greatest charm, but to change the words here and there to simpler ones, and to omit all the conversations and arguments concerning subjects belonging to the field of doctrine; in other words to place the story of the Pilgrim’s Progress in such a form that every child ten years old can understand it. My purpose is to make it plain and interesting to children, leaving the older form of the book to be read by them when they become older.

Perhaps a short account of Bunyan’s own life may add to the interest of his book. John Bunyan was born in 1628 at Elstow, a small village near Bedford, which is in the heart of England. His father was a poor man, traveling on foot from place to place mending pots and pans and the simple furniture of country kitchens, and the son followed the same trade, and was known as a “tinker.” He tells us that he lived a wild life, and was especially known as one of the worst swearers in the region.

When the great Civil War broke out in England, in 1642, between King Charles the First and the Parliament, Bunyan became a soldier on the side of the Commonwealth, as the party against the king was called. He served in the army between 1644 and 1646.

In 1648, at the age of twenty years, he married a good young woman, who led him to prayer and to a new life. But it was hard for one who had led such a life as his had been to turn to God, and it cost the young man a great struggle. It seemed to him that his past sins were like a load upon his back, just as he afterward wrote of his “pilgrim,” and it was long before he found peace.

He became a member of a little Baptist society, and soon began to preach. Crowds came to hear him, drawn by his earnest spirit and his quaint striking manner. But when Charles the Second became king, no religious services were allowed except those of the Church of England, and all other meetings were forbidden. Bunyan however went on preaching, until he was sent to prison in Bedford. In Bedford jail he stayed twelve years. To find a means of living in jail, he made lace, and sold it as a support for himself and his blind daughter.

If the prison was hard for Bunyan his sufferings were made a blessing to untold millions, for while in Bedford jail he wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress. This story was intended to be a parable, like many of our Saviour’s teachings; that is, it put into the form of a story the life of one who turns from sin, finds salvation through Christ, and in the face of many difficulties makes his way through this world to heaven. Even a child who reads or listens to the book will see this meaning in part; and he will understand it better as he grows older.

In 1672 Bunyan was set free, and allowed to begin again his work as a Baptist minister, and he soon became one of the most popular preachers in all England. He died quite suddenly in 1688, when he was sixty years old, and is buried in an old graveyard now near the center of London, called Bunhill Fields Burial-ground. In the same ground is buried another great writer, Daniel DeFoe, whose story of “Robinson Crusoe” ranks next to the Pilgrim’s Progress in the number of its readers; also Isaac Watts, the author of many hymns sung in all the churches, and Mrs. Susanna Wesley, the mother of the great John Wesley. Four people who have left a deep mark upon the world, all lie near together in this small cemetery in London.

Every child should read the Pilgrim’s Progress as a story if no more than a story; should read it until he knows it by heart. And the older he grows the deeper will be the meaning that he will see in it.

Jesse Lyman Hurlbut.



As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den,[1] and 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. 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?”

In this plight, therefore, he went home, and restrained 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: “Oh my dear wife,” said he, “and you my sweet children, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am told to a certainty 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 some way of escape can be found whereby we may be delivered.” At this all his family were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy or madness had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brain, 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 madness by harsh and surly treatment of him: sometimes they would ridicule, 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 sorrow over his own misery; he would also walk solitary 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?”

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, “Wherefore dost thou cry?”

He answered, “Sir, I read in 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 willing to do the first, nor able to do the second.”

Then said Evangelist, “Why not willing to die, since this life is troubled 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.[2] And, sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit to go to judgment, and from thence to death; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.”

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, “Flee from the wrath to come.”

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?” The man said, “No.” Then said the other, “Do you see yonder shining light?” 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 run far from his own door, when his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; 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 neighbors 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 resolved to fetch him back by force. 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, “Neighbors, 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 neighbors, and go along with me.”

Obst. “What!” said Obstinate, “and leave our friends and comforts behind us?”

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

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

Chris. I seek a place that can never be destroyed, one that is pure, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be given, at the time appointed, to them that seek it with all their heart. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

Obst. “Tush!” said Obstinate, “away with your book; will you go back with us or no?”

Chris. “No, not I,” said the other, “because I have put my hand to the plough.”

Obst. Come, then, neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him: there is a company of these crazy-headed fools, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.

Pli. Then said Pliable, “Don’t 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 neighbor.”

Obst. 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.

Chris. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbor 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 told therein, behold, all is made by the blood of Him that made it.

Pli. “Well, neighbor Obstinate,” said 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?”

Chris. 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 directions about the way.

Pli. Come, then, good neighbor, let us be going. Then they went both together.

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

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


Chris. Come, neighbor 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.

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

Chris. I can better understand 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.

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

Chris. Yes, verily; for it was made by Him that cannot lie.

Pli. Well said; what things are they?

Chris. There is an endless kingdom to be enjoyed, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may live in that kingdom forever.

Pli. Well said; and what else?

Chris. There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the sky.

Pli. This is very pleasant; and what else?

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

Pli. And what company shall we have there?

Chris. There we shall be with seraphims and cherubims, creatures that shall 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 all loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God, and standing in His presence with acceptance for ever. In a word, there we shall see the elders with their golden crowns; there we shall see the holy women 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 they bear to the Lord of the place, all well, and clothed with everlasting life as with a garment.

Pli. The hearing of this is enough to delight one’s heart. But are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?

Chris. The Lord, the Governor of the country, hath written that in this book; the substance of which is, If we be truly willing to have it, He will bestow it upon us freely.

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

Chris. 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 nigh to a very miry slough or swamp, 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 into the mire.

Pli. Then said Pliable, “Ah! neighbor Christian where are you now?”

Chris. “Truly,” said Christian, “I do not know.”

Pli. At this 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 between 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 swamp 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 tried to struggle to that side of the slough which was farthest 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?

Chris. “Sir,” said Christian, “I was bid to 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 there I fell in here.”

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

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

Help. Then said he, “Give me thine hand.” So he gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon solid ground, and bade him go on his way.

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 place is not mended, that poor travelers might go thither with more safety?” And he said unto me, “This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the hollow whither the scum and filth that go with the feeling of sin, do continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond; for still, as the sinner is awakened by his lost condition, there arise in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging alarms, which all of them get together and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of the ground.

“It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad. His laborers also have, by the direction of His Majesty’s surveyors, been for about these sixteen hundred 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 twenty thousand cart-loads, yea, millions, of wholesome teachings, 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 aside, and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there; but the ground is good when they are got in at the gate.”

Now, I saw in my dream, that by this time Pliable was got home to his house. So his neighbors came to visit him; and some of them called him wise man for coming back, and some called him a fool for risking 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 abuse poor Christian behind his back. And thus much concerning Pliable.


Now, as Christian was walking solitary 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 heard about 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)—Mr. Worldly Wiseman therefore, having some guess of him, by beholding his laborious going, by noticing 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?

Chris. 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?

Chris. 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.

World. Wilt thou hearken to me, if I give thee counsel?

Chris. 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 blessings which God hath bestowed upon thee till then.

Chris. 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 thee go this way to be rid of thy burden?

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

World. I curse him for his counsel! there is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world than is that into which he hath directed thee; and that thou shalt find, if thou wilt be ruled by his advice. 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, in 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 proved by the words of many people. And why should a man so carelessly cast away himself, by giving heed to a stranger?

Chris. Why, sir, this burden upon my back is more terrible to me than 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?

Chris. By reading this book in my hand.

World. I thought so. And it has happened unto thee as unto other weak men, who, meddling with things too high for them, do suddenly fall into thy crazy thoughts, which thoughts do not only unman men, as thine I perceive have done thee, but they run them upon desperate efforts to obtain they know not what.

Chris. 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 getting 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.

Chris. Sir, I pray, 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 wise man, and a man of very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is 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, he hath a pretty young man as 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 in this village, where there are houses now standing empty, one of which thou mayest have at a reasonable rate; 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 neighbors, 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 spake:

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

World. Do you see yonder high hill?

Chris. 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 farther, lest the hill should fall on his head; wherefore there he stood still, and knew 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 burnt: here, therefore, he sweat and did quake for fear. And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel; 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:

Evan. “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 thou not the man that I found crying, without the walls of the City of Destruction?”

Chris. Yes, dear sir, I am the man.

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

Chris. “Yes, dear sir,” said Christian.

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

Chris. I met with a gentleman as 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.

Evan. What was he?

Chris. 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.

Evan. What said that gentleman to you?

Chris. Why, he asked me whither I was going, and I told him.

Evan. And what said he then?

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

Evan. And what said he then?

Chris. 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 hard as the way, sir, that you sent 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 soon be 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.

Evan. Then said Evangelist, “Stand still a little, that I may show thee the words of God.” So he stood trembling. Then said Evangelist, “God says in his book, ‘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.’ He said, moreover, ‘Now, the righteous man shall live by faith in God, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.’” He also did thus apply them: “Thou art the man that art running into 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 danger of thy everlasting ruin.”

Then Christian fell down at his feet 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 evil words shall be forgiven unto men.” “Be not faithless, but believing.” 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 led thee astray, and who it was also to whom he sent thee. That man that met thee is one Worldly Wiseman; and rightly is he so called; partly because he seeks only for the things of this world (therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church), and partly because he loveth that way best, for it saveth him from the Cross; and because he is of this evil temper, therefore he seeketh to turn you from my way though it is the right way.

“He to whom thou wast sent for ease, being by name Legality, 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 set right by any such plan. Therefore, Mr. Worldly Wiseman is an enemy, and Mr. Legality is a cheat; and, for his son Civility, notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a fraud and cannot help thee. Believe me, there is nothing in all this noise that thou hast heard of these wicked men, but a design to rob 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 proof of what he had said; and with that there came words and fire out of the mountain under which poor Christian stood, which made the hair of his flesh stand up. The words were thus spoken: “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.”

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 listening to his counsel. He also was greatly ashamed to think that this gentleman’s arguments should have the power with him so far as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he spoke again to Evangelist, in words and sense as follows:

Chris. Sir, what think you? Is there any 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 sins be forgiven?

Evan. 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 anger is kindled but a little.”


Then did Christian begin to go back to the right road; 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 give 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 in the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel: so after a time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

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?

Chris. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be set free from the wrath to come; I would therefore, sir, since I am told that by this gate is the way thither, know, if you are willing to let me in.

Good. “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, the Evil One, is the captain; from whence both he and they 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.

Chris. Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did; and he said that you, sir, would tell me what I must do.

Good. An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.

Chris. Now I begin to reap the benefit of the trouble which I have taken.

Good. But how is it that you came alone?

Chris. Because none of my neighbors saw their danger, as I saw mine.

Good. Did any of them know you were coming?

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

Good. But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?

Chris. 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. But why did he not come through?

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

Good. Then said Goodwill, “Alas, poor man! is the heavenly glory of so little worth with him, that he counteth it not worth running the risk of a few difficulties to obtain it?”

Chris. “Truly,” said Christian, “I have said the truth of Pliable; and if I should also say the truth of myself, it will appear there is not betterment betwixt him and myself. ‘Tis true, he went on back to his own house; but I also turned aside to go into the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the words of one Mr. Worldly Wiseman.”

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

Chris. 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. 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.

Chris. 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, oh! what a favor this is to me, that yet I am to enter here!

Good. We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither; they in no wise are cast out. And therefore, good Christian, come a little 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 men of old, prophets, Christ and His apostles, and it is as straight as a rule can make it: this is the way thou must go.

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

Good. “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.”

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 turn again to his journey.

So the other told him that as soon as 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.

House of the Interpreter

Then he went on till he came to the house of the Interpreter, where he knocked over and over. At last one came to the door, and asked who was there.

Chris. Sir, here is a traveler who was bid by a friend of the good man of this house to call here for his benefit; I would therefore speak with the master of the house.

So he called for the master of the house, who, after a little time, came to Christian, and asked him what he would have.

Chris. “Sir,” said Christian, “I am a man that am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion; and I was told by the man that stands at the gate at the head of this way, that, if I called here, you would show me excellent things, such as would be helpful to me on my journey.”

Inter. Then said the Interpreter, “Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee.” So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him; so he led him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which when he had done, Christian saw the picture of a very grave person hung up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in its hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.

Chris. Then said Christian, “What meaneth this?”

Inter. The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand. He can say, in the words of the apostle Paul, “Though ye have ten thousand teachers in Christ, yet have you not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have been your father through the Gospel.” And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips, it is to show thee that his work is to know and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world is cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head; that is to show thee that, slighting and despising the things that are in the world, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure in the world that comes next to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going hath chosen to be thy guide, in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in thy way; wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right, but their way goes down to death.

Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large parlor, that was full of dust, because never swept; the which after he had looked at it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now, when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about that Christian had almost therewith been choked. Then said the Interpreter to a girl that stood by, “Bring hither water, and sprinkle the room;” the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with ease.

Chris. Then said Christian, “What means this?”

Inter. The Interpreter answered, “This parlor is the heart of a man that was never made pure by the sweet grace of the Gospel. The dust is his sin, and inward evils that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel. Now, whereas thou sawest that, as soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did fly so about that the room could not by him be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith; this is to show thee, that the law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to overcome. Again, as thou sawest the girl sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with ease; this is to show thee, that when the Gospel comes, in the sweet and gracious power thereof, to the heart, then, I say, even as thou sawest the maiden lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean through the faith of it, and, consequently, fit for the King of Glory to dwell in.”

I saw moreover in my dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and led him into a little room where sat two little children, each one in his own chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontented, but Patience was very quiet. The Christian asked, “What is the reason of the discontent of Passion?” The Interpreter answered, “The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of next year; but he will have all now. Patience is willing to wait.”

Then I saw that one came to Passion, and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet; the which he took up, and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld but awhile, and he had wasted all away, and had nothing left him but rags.

Chris. Then said Christian to the Interpreter, “Explain this matter more fully to me.”

Inter. So he said, “These two lads are pictures: Passion, of the men of this world; and Patience, of the men of that which is to come: for, as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year, that is to say in this world; so are the men of this world; they must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till the next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’ is of more weight with them than all the words in the Bible of the good of the world to come. But, as thou sawest that he had quickly wasted all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags, so will it be with all such men at the end of this world.”

Chris. Then said Christian, “Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the glory of his when the other has nothing but rags.”

Inter. Nay, you may add another; this, the glory of the next world will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience because he had his good things at first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have his time to come; but last gives place to nothing, for there is not another to succeed: he, therefore, that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he that hath his portion last, must have it lastingly.

Chris. Then I see it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.

Inter. You say truth; “for the things that are seen soon pass away, but the things that are not seen endure forever.”

Then I saw in my dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand and led him into a place where was a fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it, to quench it; yet did the fire burn higher and hotter.

Chris. Then said Christian, “What means this?”

Inter. The Interpreter answered, “This fire is the work of God that is wrought in the heart: he that casts water upon it to extinguish and put it out, is the devil; but, in that thou seest the fire notwithstanding burn higher and hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that.” So then he led him about to the other side of the wall, where he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast, but secretly, into the fire.

Chris. Then said Christian, “What means this?”

Inter. The Interpreter answered, “This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of His grace, helps the work already begun in the heart; by the means of which notwithstanding what the devil can do, the souls of His people prove gracious still. And in that thou sawest that the man stood behind the wall to keep up the fire; this is to teach thee, that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is kept alive in the soul.”

I saw also that the Interpreter took him again by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold, at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted. He saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold.

Then said Christian, “May we go in thither?”

Then the Interpreter took him and led him up toward the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his ink-horn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armor to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, “Set down my name, sir:” the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So that, after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying:

“Come in, come in;

Eternal glory thou shalt win.”

So he went in, and was clothed in such garments as they. Then Christian smiled, and said, “I think verily I know the meaning of this.”

“Now,” said Christian, “let me go hence.” “Nay, stay,” said the Interpreter, “until I have showed thee a little more; and after that thou shalt go on thy way.” So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.

Now, the man, to look on, seemed very sad. He sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together; and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, “What means this?” At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.

Then said Christian to the man, “What art thou?” The man answered, “I am what I was not once.”

Chris. What wast thou once?

Man. The man said, “I was once a fair and flourishing Christian, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of others; I was once, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither.”

Chris. Well, but what art thou now?

Man. I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out. Oh, now I cannot!

Chris. But how camest thou in this condition?

Man. I left off to watch and be sober. I gave free reins to sin; I sinned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and He is gone; I tempted the devil, and he has come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and He has left me; I have so hardened my heart that I cannot turn.

Then said Christian to the Interpreter, “But are there no hopes for such a man as this?” “Ask him,” said the Interpreter.

Chris. Then said Christian, “Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?”

Man. No, none at all.

Chris. Why? the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.

Man. I have crucified Him to myself afresh. I have despised His person. I have despised His holiness; I have counted His blood an unholy thing; I have shown contempt to the Spirit of mercy. Therefore I have shut myself out of all the promises of God, and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery anger, which shall devour me as an enemy.

Chris. For what did you bring yourself into this condition?

Man. For the desires, pleasures, and gains of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight; but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me, like a burning worm.

Chris. But canst thou not now turn again to God?

Man. God no longer invites me to come to Him. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, Himself hath shut me up in this iron cage; nor can all the men in the world let me out. O eternity! eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in eternity?

Inter. Then said the Interpreter to Christian, “Let this man’s misery be remembered by thee, and be an everlasting caution to thee.”


Chris. “Well,” said Christian, “this is fearful! God help me to watch and be sober, and to pray, that I may shun the cause of this man’s misery. Sir, is it not time for me to go on my way now?”

Inter. Tarry till I show thee one thing more, and then thou shalt go on thy way.