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Better and better, quoth I; but what, Wife and Children and all? Sag. 'Tis true; I can give you an account of the matter, for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair.
Then said I, a man, it seems, may report it for a truth.
Sag. You need not fear to affirm it; I mean, that they are all gone on pilgrimage, both the good Woman and her four boys. And being we are, as I perceive, going some considerable way together, I will give you an account of the whole of the matter.
This Christiana, (for that was her name from the day that she with her children betook herself to a Pilgrim's life,) after her husband was gone over the River, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind: First, for that she had lost her Husband, and for that loving bond of that relation was utterly broken betwixt them. For you know, (said he to me,) nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations. This, Mark this, you that therefore, of her Husband did cost her many a tear. are churls to your But this was not all: for Christiana did also begin godly relations. to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behaviour towards her Husband was not one cause that she saw him no more; and that in such sort he was taken away from her. And upon this came into her mind, by swarms, all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriage to her dear friend; which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt. She was, moreover, much broken with recalling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her Husband; and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions of her and her sons to go with him; yea, there was not any thing that Christian either said to her, or did before her, all the while that his Burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent the caul of her heart in sunder; specially that bitter outcry of his, "What shall I do to be saved!" did ring in her ears most dolefully.
Then said she to her children, Sons, we are all undone! I have sinned away your Father, and he is gone; he would have had us with him, but I would not go myself; I also have hindered you of Life. With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their Father. Oh! said Christiana, that it had been but our lot to go with him, then had it fared well with us, beyond what 'tis like to do now. For though I formerly foolishly imagined, concerning the troubles of your Father, that they proceeded of a foolish fancy that he had, or, for that he was overrun with melan
choly humours; yet now it will not out of my mind but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, for that the Light of Light was given him :* by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of Death. Then they all wept again, and cried out, "Oh wo worth the day!"
The next night Christiana had a dream; and behold she saw as if a broad Parchment was opened before her, in which was recorded the sum of her ways; and the times, as she thought, looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, "Lord have mercy upon me a sinner!" And the little children heard her.
After this, she thought she saw two very ill-favoured Ones standing by her bedside, and saying, "What shall we do Mark this; this is with this woman? for she cries out for mercy the quintessence waking and sleeping? if she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by one way or other, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter, else all the world cannot help but she will become a Pilgrim."
Now she awoke in a great sweat, also a trembling was upon her; but after a while, she fell to sleeping again. And Help against disthen she thought she saw Christian, her husband, couragement. in a place of bliss, among many Immortals, with a Harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat upon a Throne, with a rainbow about His head. She saw also as if he bowed his head, with his face to the paved work that was under his Prince's feet, saying, "I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing me into this place." Then shouted a company of them that stood round about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said, but Christian and his companions.
Next morning, when she was up, had prayed to God, and talked with her children a while, one knocked hard at the door: to whom she spake, saying, If thou comest in God's name, come in. So he said, Amen, and opened the door, and saluted her with "Peace be to this house." The which when he had done, he said, Christiana, knowest thou wherefore I am come? Then she blushed and trembled; also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know from whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, My name is Secret; I dwell with those that are on high. It is talked of where I dwell, as if thou hadst a desire to go thither: also there is a report that thou art aware of the evil thou hast James i. 23, 24, 25. † Luke xvii. 13.
Convictions seconded by tidings of God's readiness to
[The Mission of Secret to Christiana and Children.]
formerly done to thy husband, in hardening of thy heart against his way and in keeping of these babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the Merciful One hath sent me to tell thee, that he is a God ready to forgive, and that He taketh delight to multiply the pardon of offences. He also would have thee to know, that He invited thee to come into his presence, to his table, and that He will feed thee with the fat of his house, and with the heritage of Jacob thy father.
There is Christian thy husband that was, with legions more, his companions, ever beholding that Face that doth minister life to beholders; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of thy feetstep over thy Father's threshold.
Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself, and bowing her head to the ground, this Visiter proceeded and said, Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought to thee from thy husband's King. So she took it, and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume; * also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter were these:-"That the King would have her to do as did Christian her husband, for that was the way to come to his City, and to dwell in his Presence with Christiana quite joy for ever." At this the good woman was quite Overcome. overcome; so she cried out to her Visiter, "Sir, *Song i. 3.
will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship the King ?"
Then said the Visiter, Christiana, the bitter is Farther instrucbefore the sweet. Thou must through troubles, as tions to Christiana. did he that went before thee, enter this Celestial City, Wherefore I advise thee to do as did Christian thy husband; go to the WicketGate yonder over the plain, for that stands at the head of the way up which thou must go, and I wish thee all good speed. Also I advise that thou put this Letter in thy bosom; that thou read therein to thyself, and to thy children, until you have got it by root-of-heart; for it is one of the songs that thou must sing while thou art in this House of thy Pilgrimage; * also this thou must deliver in at the farther Gate.
well for her jour
Now I saw in my dream, that this old Gentleman, as he told me the story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He moreover proceeded and said, So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them: My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the ney. death of your Father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness, for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have also been much affected with the thoughts of mine own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriage also to your Father in his distress is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both mine own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on Pilgrimage.
The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement that this Stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up and be gone to the Gate that leads to the Celestial Country, that we may see your Father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.
Then did her children burst out into tears, for joy that the heart of their Mother was so inclined; so their Visiter bid them farewell, and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.
Timorous and Mer.
But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women that were Christiana's neighbours cy, come to visit came up to her house, and knocked at her door; to whom she said as before, If you come in God's name, come in! At this the women were stunned, for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Christiana. Yet they came in
Psalm cxix. 54.
language stuns her old neighbours.
[Christiana and her sons.]
but behold they found the good Woman preparing to be gone from her house.
So they began, and said, Neighbour, pray what is your meaning by this ?
Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, I am preparing for a journey. (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the hill of Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the Lions.)
Tim. For what journey, I pray you?
Chr. Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a-weeping.
Tim. I hope not so, good neighbour; pray, for your poor children's sake, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.