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Their own carnal conclusions, instead of the word
Now, my old friend proceeded, and said: But when Christiana came to the slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; for, said she, this is the place in which my dear Husband had like to a been smothered with mud. She perceived also that notwithstanding the command of the King to make this place for Pilgrims good, yet it was rather worse than formerly; so I asked if that was true? Yes, said the old Gentleman, too true; for that many there be that pretend to be the King's Labourers, and that say they are for mending the King's high-ways, that bring dirt and dung instead so marr instead of mending. Here Christiana therefore with her boys did make a stand; but, said Mercy, Come, let us venture; only let us be wary. Then they looked well to their steps, and made a shift to get staggeringly over.
Yet Christiana had like to a been in, and that not once nor twice. Now, they had no sooner got over, but they thought they heard words that said unto them, "Blessed is she that believeth, for there shall be a performance of what has been told her from the Lord."*
of stones, and Mercy boldest at the slough of Des
And let Him gather them of mine
Lord, make them pray they may be thine.
Prayer should be
made with consid. eration and fear, as well as in faith and hope.
Then they went on again, and said Mercy to Christiana, Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the Wicket-Gate as you, I think no slough of Despond would discourage me.
Well, said the other, you know your sore, and I know mine; and, good friend, we shall all have enough evil before we come to our journey's end. For can it be imagined that the people who design to attain such excellent glories as we do, and that are so envied that happiness as we are, but that we shall meet with what fears and snares, with what troubles and afflictions, they can possibly assault us with, that hate us.
And now Mr. Sagacity left me to dream out my dream by myself. Wherefore, methought, I saw Christiana, and Mercy, and the boys, go all of them up to the Gate ; to which when they were come, they betook themselves to a short debate about how they must manage their calling at the Gate, and what should be said unto him that did open to them. So it was concluded, since Christiana was the eldest, that she should knock for entrance, and
• Luke i. 45.
that she should speak to him that did open, for the rest. So Christiana began to knock; and, as her poor husband did, she knocked and knocked again. But, instead of any that answered, they all thought that they heard as if a dog came barking upon them; a dog, and a great one too; and this made the woThe dog, the devil, men and children afraid; nor durst they for a while an enemy to prayer. to knock any more, for fear the mastiff should fly
upon them. Now, therefore, they were greatly tumbled up and down in their minds, and knew not what to do: knock they durst not for fear of the dog; go back they durst not, for fear the Keeper of the Gate should espy them as they went, and should be offended with them. At last they thought of knocking again, and knocked more vehemently than they did at first. Then said the Keeper of the Gate, Who is there? So the dog left off to bark, and he opened unto them.
Then Christiana made low obeisance, and said, Let not our Lord be offended with his handmaidens, for that we have knocked at his princely Gate. Then said the Keeper, Whence come ye? and what is it that you would have?
Christiana answered, We are come from whence Christian did come, and upon the same errand as he, to wit, to be, if it shall please you, graciously admitted, by this Gate, into the Way that leads to the Celestial City. And I answer, my Lord, in the next place, that I am Christiana, once the wife of Christian, that now is gotten above.
With that the Keeper of the Gate did marvel, saying, What! is she now become a Pilgrim, that, but a while ago, abhorred that life? Then she bowed her head, and said, Yes; and so are these my sweet babes also. Then he took her by the hand, and led her in, and said also, "Suffer little children to come unto me;" and with that he shut up the Gate. This done, he called to a trumpeter, that was above, over the Gate, to entertain Christiana with shouting and sound of trumpet for joy. So he obeyed, and sounded and filled the air with his melodious notes.
Christiana and her
companions perplexed concerning
How Christiana is
entertained at the Gate.
Now, all this while, poor Mercy did stand without trembling and crying, for fear that she was rejected. But when Christiana had got admittance for herself and her boys, then she began to make intercession for Mercy.
And she said, My Lord, I have a companion of Christiana's prayer mine that stands yet without, that is come hither is for her friend upon the same account as myself; one that is much Mercy.
[Mercy faints-the Keeper raises her.]
dejected in her mind, for that she comes, as she thinks, without sending for; whereas I was sent for by my husband's King to
Delays make the hungering soul the
Now Mercy began to be very impatient, and each minute was as long to her as an hour; wherefore she prevented Christiana from a fuller interceding for her, by knocking at the Gate herself. And she knocked then so loud, that she made Christiana to start.
Then said the Keeper
of the Gate, Who is there? and Christiana said, It is my friend. So he opened the Gate, and looked out; but Mercy was fallen down without in a swoon; for
she fainted, and was afraid that no Gate should be opened to her. Then he took her by the hand, and said, Damsel, I bid thee
O sir, said she, I am faint; there is scarce life left in me. But he answered, that one once said, "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came unto thee, into thy holy temple."* Fear not, but stand upon thy feet, and tell me wherefore thou art come.
Mercy. I am come for that unto which I was never invited, as my friend Christiana was. Hers was from the King, and mine was but from her. Wherefore I fear I presume.
Keeper. Did she desire thee to come with her to this place? Mercy. Yes; and, as my Lord sees, I am come. And if there is any grace and forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that thy poor handmaid may be a partaker thereof.
Then he took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, I pray for all them that believe in me, by what means soever they come unto me. Then said he to those that stood by, Fetch something, and give it to Mercy to smell on, thereby to stay her faintings; so they fetched her a bundle of myrrh. And a while after she was revived.
And now were Christiana, and her boys, and Mercy, received of the Lord at the head of the Way, and spoke kindly unto by him. Then said they yet further unto him, We are sorry for our sins, and beg of our Lord his pardon, and further information what we must do.
I grant pardon, said he, by Word and Deed: by Word, in the promise of forgiveness; by Deed, in the way I obtained it. Take the first from my lips with a kiss, and the other as it shall be revealed."+
Now I saw in my dream that he spake many good words unto them, whereby they were greatly gladded. He also had them up to the top of the Gate, and showed them by what Deed they were saved; and told them withal, that that sight they would have again as they went along the way, to their comfort.
So he left them a while in a summer parlour below, where they entered into talk by themselves. And thus Christiana began: O Lord! how glad am I that we are got in hither!
Christ crucified seen afar off.
Mercy. So you well may ; but I, of all, have cause to leap for joy. Chr. I thought one time, as I stood at the Gate, (because I had knocked, and none did answer,) that all our labour had been lost; especially when that ugly Cur made such a heavy barking against us.
Talk between the
Mercy. But my worst fear was, after I saw that you was taken into his favour, and that I was left behind: now, thought I, it is fulfilled which is written, "Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left "* I had much ado to forbear crying out, "Undone !" And afraid I was to knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the Gate, I took courage. I also thought that I must either knock again, or die: so I knocked, but I cannot tell how; for my spirit now struggled between life and death.
Christiana thinks her companion prays better than she.
would a come storm. †
Mercy. Alas! to be in my case, who that so was could but have done so? You saw that the door was shut upon me, and that there was a most cruel Dog thereabout. Who, I say, that was so faint-hearted as I, would not have knocked with all their might? But pray, what said my Lord to my rudeness? Was he not angry with me?
Chr. Can you not tell how you knocked? I am sure your knocks were so earnest, that the very sound of them made me start. I thought I never heard such knocking in all my life; I thought you in by a violent hand, or a took the Kingdom by
Christ pleased with loud and restless prayer.
Chr. When he heard your lumbering noise, he gave a wonderful innocent smile: I believe what you did pleased him well; for he showed no sign to the contrary. But I marvel in my heart why he keeps such a Dog; had I known that afore, I should not have had heart enough to have ventured myself in this manner. But now we are in, we are in; and I am glad with all my heart.
Mercy. I will ask, if you please, next time he comes down, why he keeps such a filthy Cur in his yard; I hope he will not take it amiss.
If the soul at first did know all it its journey to heav. en, it would hardly
should meet with in
ever set out.
The Children are Do so, said the children, and persuade him to afraid of the Dog. hang him; for we are afraid he will bite us when we go hence.
So at last he came down to them again, and Mercy fell to the ground on her face before him, and worshipped, and said, Let my Lord accept the sacrifice of praise which I now offer unto him with the calves of my lips.
So he said unto her, "Peace be to thee; stand up." But she continued upon her face, and said, "Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee; yet let me talk with thee of thy judg
* Matth. xxiv. 41.
* Ibid. xi. 12.