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Pilgrim's Progress

Chapter 8

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They went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains. These mountains belong to the Lord of that hill of which we have spoken before. So they went up to the mountains to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains of water. There they drank and rested, and did freely eat of the vineyards.



On the tops of these mountains there were shepherds feeding their flocks, and they stood by the high-way side. The pilgrims, therefore, went to them, and leaning upon their staves, (as is common with weary pilgrims when they stand to talk with any by the way) they asked, “Whose delightful mountains are these, and whose be the sheep that feed upon them?”

SHEPHERD.   These mountains are Immanuel’s Land, and they are within sight of His city; and the sheep also are His, and He laid down his life for them.

CHRISTIAN.   Is this the way to the Celestial city?

SHEPHERD.   You are just in your way.

CHRISTIAN.   How far is it thither?

SHEPHERD.   Too far for any but those who shall get there indeed.

CHRISTIAN.   Is the way safe or dangerous?

SHEPHERD.   Safe for those for whom it is to be safe; but “sinners shall fall therein.”

CHRISTIAN.   Is there in this place any relief for pilgrims that are weary and faint in the way?

SHEPHERD.   The Lord of these mountains hath given us a charge not to be “forgetful to care for strangers”; therefore the good of the place is before you.

I saw also in my dream that when the shepherds perceived that they were wayfaring men, they asked questions (to which they made answer as in other places), as, “Whence came you?” and “How got you into the way?” When the shepherds heard their answers, being pleased with them, they looked very lovingly upon them, and said, “Welcome to the Delectable Mountains!”

The shepherds whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, took them by the hand and led them to their tents, and they ate what was ready at hand. They said also, “We would that you should stay here awhile, to be acquainted with us, and yet more to cheer yourselves with the good of these Delectable Mountains.” So the pilgrims said that they were content to stay. So they went to rest that night, because it was very late.



Then I saw in my dream that in the morning the shepherds called up Christian and Hopeful to walk with them upon the mountains. So they went forth with them and walked a while, having a pleasant view on every side. Then said the shepherds one to another, “Shall we show these pilgrims some wonders?”

Having concluded to do it, they led them first to the top of the hill called Error, very steep on the farther side, and had them look down to the bottom. They say at the bottom several men dashed to pieces by the fall they had had from the top. Then Christian asked, “What means this?” the shepherds answered: “Have you not heard of them that were made to err, by hearkening to Hymeneus and Philetus, as concerning the resurrection from the dead?”

“Yes,” they replied.

Then said the shepherds, “Those you see at the bottom of this mountain are they; to this day they are unburied, as you see, for an example to others who might meet the same fate.”



Then they led to another mountain named Caution, and bade them look afar off; they saw, as they thought, several men walking among the tombs that were there; and they perceived that the men were blind, because they stumbled and could not get out from among the tombs. Then said Christian, “What means this?”

SHEPHERD.   Did you not see a little below these mountains a stile that led into a meadow on the left hand side of this way?

They answered “Yes.”

SHEPHERD. From that stile is a path that leads to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair; and these men (pointing to them among the tombs) came once on pilgrimage until they got to that same stile. And because the right way was rough, they went out of it through that meadow. There they were caught by Giant Despair, and cast into Doubting Castle; after they had been a while in the dungeon, he put out their eyes, and led them among those tombs, where he has left them to wander.

Then Christian and Hopeful looked upon one another with tears in their eyes, but said nothing to the shepherds.

Then I saw, in my dream, that the shepherds led them to another place in a bottom, where was a door on the side of a hill; and they opened the door, and bade them look in. they looked in, therefore, and saw that within it was very dark and smoky; they also thought that they heard there a rumbling noise, as of fire, and a cry of some tormented, and that they smelt the scent of brimstone.

Then said Christian, “What means this?”



The shepherds told them, “This is a byway to hell, a way that hypocrites go in at; namely, such as sell their birthright, with Esau; such as sell their masters, with Judas; such as blaspheme the gospel, with Alexander; and that lie and deceive with Ananias and Sapphira his wife.”

Then said the pilgrims one to another, “We have need to cry to the Strong for strength.”

SHEPHERD.   Ay, and you will have need to use it when you have it too.

By this time the pilgrims had a desire to go forward, and the shepherds a desire they should; so they walked together toward the end of the mountains.



Then said the shepherds, “Let us show the pilgrims the gate of the Celestial City, if they have skill to look through our glass.” The pilgrims accepted the motion; so they led them to the top of a hill called Clear, and gave them their glass to look.

Then they tried to look; but the remembrance of that last thing that the shepherds had showed them, made their hands shake, and they could not look steadily through the glass; yet they thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the glory of the place. Thus they went away, and sang this song:

“Thus by the shepherds secrets are revealed,

Which from all other men are kept concealed.

Come to the shepherds, then, if you would see

Things deep, things hid, and that mysterious be.”


And I slept and reamed again, and saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway toward the city.



Then Christian said to Hopeful, “I recall now the story of Little-Faith who dwelt in the town of Sincere. The story is this: At the entering in at this passage, there comes down from Broadway Gate a lane called Dead Man’s Lane; so-called because of the murders that are commonly done there; and this Little-Faith, going on pilgrimage as we do now, chanced to sit down there and fell asleep. 

“Now, there happened at that time to come down that lane from Broadway Gate, three sturdy rogues, named Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, three brothers; and they, espying Little-Faith, came galloping up and with threats bade him stand and deliver his purse. But when he made no haste to do it (for he was loth to lose his money) Mistrust ran up to him and took from his pocket a bag of silver. Then he cried out, “Thieves! thieves!” With that, Guilt, with a great club, struck Little-Faith on the head, and felled him flat to the ground, where he lay bleeding as one that would bleed to death. All this while the thieves stood by.

“But hearing someone upon the road, and fearing it was Great-Grace that dwells in the city of Good-Confidence, they took to their heels and left this good man to shift for himself. Now, after a while Little-Faith came to himself and, getting up, made shift to scramble on his way. This was the story.”

HOPEFUL.   Did they take from him all that he had?

CHRISTIAN.   No; the place where his jewels were they never found; so he kept them still. But he had scarce enough money to bring him to his journey’s end; so he was forced to beg as he went, to keep himself alive, for his jewels he dared not sell, for if they were missing at the gate of the Celestial City, he would be shut out of an inheritance there.

HOPEFUL.   But is it not a wonder they got not from him his certificate, by which, he was to be admitted at the Celestial Gate?

CHRISTIAN.   It is a wonder; and it was more by good providence than by his effort, that they missed getting that good thing.

Then Christian sang:

“Poor Little Faith! hast been among the thieves?  

Wast robbed? Remember this: whoso believes

And gets more faith, shall then a victor be

Over ten thousand; else scarce over three.”


So they went on. At last they came to a place where a way put itself into their way, and seemed to lie as straight as the way which they were going. Here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them. And, as they were thinking about the way, behold a man, black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them and asked them why they stood there.

They answered they were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take. “Follow me,” said the man; “it is there that I am going.”



So they followed him in the way that had come into the road, which by degrees turned and turned so that, in a little time, their faces were turned away from the city; yet they followed him. But by-and-by, before they were aware, he led them both within the folds of a net, in which they were both so entangled that they knew not what to do; and with that, the white robe fell off the black man’s back. Then they saw where they were. Wherefore, there they lay crying some time, for they could not get themselves out.

Then said Christian to Hopeful, “Now do I see my error. Did not the shepherds bid us beware of flatterers?”

HOPEFUL.   They also gave us directions about the way, but we have forgotten to read, and have not kept ourselves from the path of the destroyer.



As they lay groaning in the net, they saw a Shining One coming towards them with a whip of small cord in his hand. When he came to where they were, he asked them whence they came, and what they did there. They told him that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man clothed in white, “Who bid us,” said they, “follow him, for he was going there too.” Then said he with the whip, “It is Flatterer, a false prophet, that hath changed himself into an angel of light.” So he rent the net, and let the men out.

Then said he to them, “Follow me, that I may set you in your way again.” So he led them back to the way which they had left to follow the Flatterer. Then he asked them, saying, “Where did you lie the last night?” They said, “With the shepherds upon the Delectable Mountains.”

He asked them, moreover, if the shepherds did not bid them beware of the Flatterer. They answered, “Yes; but we did not imagine that this fine-spoken man could be he.”

Then I saw in my dream, that he commanded them to lie down; which when they did, he punished them sore, to teach them the good way wherein they should walk; and, as he punished them, he said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.”

Then he bade them go on their way, and take good heed to the other directions of the shepherds.

So they thanked him for all his kindness, and went softly along the right way singing:

“Come hither, you that walk along the way,

See how pilgrims fare that go astray;

They catched are in an entangling net,

‘Cause they good counsel lightly did forget;

‘Tis true, they rescued were; but yet, you see,

They’re scourged to boot; let this your caution be.”



Now, after awhile they saw afar off, one coming softly and alone, along the highway, to meet them. Then said Christian to Faithful, “Yonder is a man with his back towards Zion, and he is coming to meet us.”

HOPEFUL.   I see him: let us take heed to ourselves lest he should prove a flatterer also.

So he drew nearer and nearer, and at last came up to them. His name was Atheist, and he asked them where they were going.

CHRISTIAN.   We are going to Mount Zion.

Then  Atheist fell into a very great laughter.

CHRISTIAN.   What is the meaning of your laughter?

ATHEIST.   I laugh to see what ignorant persons you are, to take so tedious a journey, and have nothing for your pains.

CHRISTIAN.   Why, man, do you think we shall not be received?

ATHEIST.   Received! There is no such a place as you dream of in all this world.

CHRISTIAN.   But there is in the world to come.

ATHEIST.   When I was at home I heard of this city and have been seeking it these twenty years, but find no more of it than I did the first day I set out.

CHRISTIAN.   We believe that there is such a place to be found.

ATHEIST.   Had there been such a place, I would have found it, for I have gone to seek it farther than you. I am going back and will refresh myself with the things that I once enjoyed.

CHRISTIAN.   Then said Christian to Hopeful, “Is it true which this man hath said?”

HOPEFUL.   Take heed; he is one of  the flatterers. What! no Mount Zion? Did we not see from the Delectable Mountains the gate of the city? Also, are we not now to walk by faith? Let us go on, lest the man with the whip overtake us again.

So they turned away from the man, and he, laughing at them, went his way.



I then saw in my dream that they went till they came into a certain country, whose air naturally made one drowsy if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be heavy for sleep; he said to Christian, “I do now begin to grow so drowsy, that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes; let us lie down here, and take a nap.”

CHRISTIAN.   By no means, lest, sleeping, we never awake more.

HOPEFUL.   Why, my brother? sleep is sweet to the laboring man; we may be refreshed if we take a nap.

CHRISTIAN.   Do not you remember that one of the shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant that we should beware of sleeping; let us not sleep as others, but let us watch and be sober.

HOPEFUL.   I acknowledge my fault; and had I been here alone, I had, by danger of sleeping, been in danger of death. I see it is true that “Two are better than one.”

CHRISTIAN.   Now, then, to prevent drowsiness, let us talk about something profitable.

HOPEFUL.   With all my heart.

CHRISTIAN.   Where shall we begin?


HOPEFUL.   Where God began with us. But do you begin if you please.

CHRISTIAN.   I will sing you first this song:


“When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,

And hear how these tow pilgrims talk together;

Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,

Thus to keep open their drowsy, slumbering eyes.

Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,

Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”



CHRISTIAN.   I will ask you a question. How came you to think at first of doing as you do now?

HOPEFUL.   Do you mean, how came I at first to look after the good of my soul?

CHRISTIAN.   Yes, that is my meaning.

HOPEFUL.   I continued a great while in the delight of those things which were seen and sold at our fair; things which I believed now would have, and I continued in them still, drowned me in ruin; such as revelling, drinking, swearing, Sabbath-breaking and the like. But I learned from you, and also the beloved Faithful, that the end of these things is death; and that the wrath of God cometh upon those who disobey Him.

Then he told how Faithful had told him how to be saved, namely, by trusting in Jesus; and how, when he objected because he thought Jesus was not willing to save him. Faithful said, “Go to Him and see, for you are invited to come.”

And Hopeful said further: I began to pray because of my sins. And, as I was then looking for nothing but hell and the everlasting loss of my soul, suddenly, as I thought, I saw the Lord Jesus looking down from heaven upon me, and saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

But I replied, “Lord, I am a great, a very great sinner.” And He answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Then I said, “But, Lord, what is believing?” And then I saw from that saying, “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst,” that believing and coming was all one; and that he that came, that is ran out in his heart and desire after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ. And now was my heart full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affection running over with love to the name, people, and ways of Jesus Christ.

CHRISTIAN.   This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed. But tell me particularly what effect this had upon your spirit.

HOPEFUL.   It made me love a holy life and long to do something for the honor and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus. Yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.



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