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Pilgrim's Progress - Chapter 3

I saw in my dream that the highway up which Christian was to go was fenced on either side with a wall that was called Salvation. Up this way, therefore, Christian ran, but with great difficulty because of the load on his back.


Christian ran till he came to a hill; upon it stood a cross, and a little below was a tomb.

So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the tomb, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then said Christian with a happy heart, “He hath given me rest by His sorrow, and life by His death.” Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the water down his cheeks.

Now, as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him, with “Peace be to thee.” So the first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”; the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with a change of garments; the third also set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bade him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the heavenly gate; so they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on, singing:

“Thus far did I come laden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither; what a place it this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that was there put to shame for me!”


I saw then in my dream that he went on thus, even until he came to a bottom, where he saw a little out of the way, three men fast asleep, with chains about their ankles. Their names were Simple, Sloth, and Presumption.

Christian, seeing them lie in this case, went to them, if perhaps he might awake them, and cried, “You are like them that sleep on the top of a mast; for the deep sea is under you, a gulf that hath no bottom; awake, therefore, and come away; be willing, also, and I will help you off with your chains.” He also told them, “If he that goeth about like a roaring lion comes by, you will certainly become a prey to his teeth.” With that they looked upon him, and began to reply in this sort: Simple said, “I see no danger.” Sloth said, “Yet a little more sleep.” And Presumption said, “Every tub must stand upon his own bottom.” And so they lay down to sleep again, and Christian went on his way.

Yet was he troubled to think that men in that danger should so little care for the kindness of him that so offered to help them, both by awakening of them, advising them, and offering to help them off with their chains.


As he stood thinking, two men came tumbling over the wall on the left hand of the narrow way; and they came up to him. One was Formalist and the other was Hypocrisy.

CHRISTIAN:   Gentlemen, whence came you, and whither you go?

FORMALIST and HYPOCRISY:   We were born in the land of Vain-glory, and are going for praise to Mount Zion.

CHRISTIAN:   Why came you not in at the gate which is at the beginning of the way? Know ye not that it is written, “He that cometh not in by the door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber?”

FORMALIST and HYPOCRISY:   To go to the gate for entrance is, by all our countrymen, counted too far; therefore the usual way is to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall.

CHRISTIAN:   But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the city whether we are bound, thus to disobey His will?

FORMALIST and HYPOCRISY:   They told him that he need not trouble about that, for what they did they had custom for, and could show the example of others for more than a thousand years.

CHRISTIAN:   I walk by the rule of my Master; you walk by the rude working of your fancies. You are counted thieves already by the Lord of the way. You come in by yourselves without His word, and shall go out by yourselves without His mercy.

Christian told them that the Lord of the City would know him by the coat he wore, given him by the Shining Ones, and by the mark on his forehead and the roll in his hand.

To these things they gave him no answer; only they looked at each other, and laughed. Then I saw that they went on all, save that Christian kept before; also he would often read in the roll that one of the Shining Ones gave him, by which he was refreshed.


I saw then that they went on till they came to the Hill of difficulty, at the bottom of which was a spring. There were also in the same place two other ways, besides that which came straight from the gate; one turned to the left, and the other to the right, at the bottom of the hill; but the narrow way led right up the hill, and the name of it was Difficulty.

Christian went to the spring, drank to refresh himself, and began to go up the narrow way. The other two also came to the foot of the hill.  But when they saw that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways to go, both leading around the hill, they resolved to go in those ways. The name of one was Danger and the other Destruction. So one took the way called Danger, which led him into a great wood; and the other took directly up the way to destruction, which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains,  where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.

I looked and saw Christian who ran, then fell, then climbed on hands and knees, because of the steepness of the hill.


Now, about half way up the hill was a pleasant arbor, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshment of weary travelers. Thither, therefore, Christian got, where also he sat down to rest; then he pulled his roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his comfort; he also now began again to look at the coat that was given him as he stood by the cross. Thus pleasing himself, he fell into a slumber, and slept till almost night; and in his sleep his roll fell out of his hand. Then someone came and awaked him, saying, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” With that, Christian suddenly started up, and sped on his way, till he came to the top of the hill.


At the top of the hill came two men running; the name of one was Timorous, and the other Mistrust; to whom Christian said, “Sirs, what’s the matter? You run the wrong way.” Timorous answered, that they were going to the City of Zion, and had got up that difficult place: “but,” said he, “the farther we go, the more danger we meet with; wherefore we turned, and are going back again.”

“Yes,” said Mistrust, “for just before us lie a couple of lions in the way, whether sleeping or waking we know not; and we thought if we came within reach they would tear us in pieces.”

CHRISTIAN:   You make me afraid; but where shall I fly to be safe? If I go back to my own country, that is prepared for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there; if can get to the Celestial City, I am sure to be in safety there. To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will go forward.

So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill, and Christian went on his way. But, thinking again of what the men said, he felt in his bosom for his roll, and found it not. Then he was in great distress, and knew not what to do; for he wanted his roll to comfort him, and it was to be his pass into the Celestial City. At last he remembered the arbor on the side of the hill where he had slept; and, falling down upon his knees, he asked God’s forgiveness for his foolish act, and went back to look for his roll. But all the way back his heart was filled with sorrow and he blamed himself for so foolishly falling asleep in that place, which was erected only for a little rest from weariness.

He now went on, bewailing his sinful sleep, saying, “O wretched man that I am, that I should sleep in the day-time; that I should sleep in the midst of difficulty! How far might I have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread thrice over the steps which I needed not have trod but once; also, now night will overtake me for the day is almost spent. Oh that I had not slept!”


By this time he was come to the arbor again, where for awhile he sat down and wept. At last, looking about under the seat he saw his roll, which, trembling for joy, he caught up and put in his bosom. He gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the place where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again to his journey. But oh, how nimbly now did Christian go up the rest of the hill!

Yet, before he got up, the sun went down upon him and this made him again recall the folly of his sleeping and he remembered the story that Mistrust and Timorous told him, of how they were frightened with the sight of the lions. Then said Christian to himself, “These beasts range in the night for their prey; and if they should meet with me in the dark, how should I avoid them? how should I escape being torn in pieces?”

While he this thought upon his unhappy mistake, he lifted up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was beautiful, and it stood just by the highway side.


So I saw in my dream that he made haste, and went forward, that, if possible, he might get lodging in the palace Beautiful. But before going far he entered into a very narrow passage, which was about a furlong off the Porter’s lodge; and looking carefully before him, he saw two lions in the way. Now, thought he, I see the dangers by which Mistrust and Timorous were driven back. (The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them; for he thought nothing but death was before him.

But when the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, saw that Christian made a halt as if to go back, he cried out saying, “Is thy strength so small? fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there to try the faith of those who have any, and to find out those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.”

Then I saw that he went on trembling for fear of the lions; but, taking good heed to the words of the Porter, he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. Then he clapped his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the gate where Porter was. Then said Christian to Watchful, “Sir, what house is this? and may I lodge here tonight?”

The Porter answered, “This house was built by the Lord of the hill, and he built it for the relief and security of pilgrims.” The Porter also asked where he came from and where he was going.

CHRISTIAN:   I came from the City of Destruction, and I am going to Mount Zion; but, because the sun is now set, I desire, if I may, to lodge here tonight.

PORTER:   But how doth it happen that you come so late? The sun is set.

CHRISTIAN:   I had been here sooner, but I slept in the arbor that stands on the hillside. And, notwithstanding that, I had been here much sooner, had I not lost my roll, and came without it to the brow of the hill; and then, feeling for it and finding it not, I was forced to go back to the place where I slept and there I found it.

PORTER:   Well, I will call out one of the women of this place, who will, if she likes your talk, bring you in to the rest of the family, according to the rules of the house.

So Watchful the Porter rang a bell, at the sound of which came out of the door of the house a grave and beautiful young woman, named Discretion, and asked why she was called.

The Porter said, “This man is on a journey from the City of Destruction to Mount Zion; but, being weary and benighted, he asked me if he might lodge here tonight; so I told him I would call for thee, who, after speaking with him, mayest do as seemeth thee good, even according to the law of the house.”

Then she asked him whence he was, and whither he was going; and he told her. She asked him also how he got into the way; and he told her. Then she asked him what he had seen and met with on the way; and he told her. And at last she asked his name. So he said, “It is Christian; and I have so much the more a desire to lodge here tonight, because, by what I perceive, this place was built by the Lord of the hill for the relief and safety of pilgrims.” So she smiled, but the water stood in her eyes; and after a little pause, she said, “I will call forth two or three of my family.” So she ran to the door, and called out Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who, after a little more discourse with him brought him in to the family; and then many of them, meeting him at the threshold of the house, said, “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord: this house was built by the Lord of the hill on purpose to entertain such pilgrims in.”


Then he bowed his head, and followed them into the house. When he was sat down, they gave him something to drink, and until supper was ready they appointed Piety, Prudence, and Charity to talk with him; and thus they began:

PIETY:   What moved you at first to undertake a pilgrim’s life?

CHRISTIAN:   I was driven out of my native country because certain destruction awaited me, if I abode there. I did not know where to go; but by chance there came a man to me, whose name was Evangelist, and he directed me to the wicket-gate, which else I should never have found, and so set me in the way that hath led me directly to this house.

PIETY:   But did you not come to the house of the Interpreter?

CHRISTIAN:   Yes, and did see things which will stick by me as long as I live, especially three things; to wit, how Christ, in despite of Satan, the Evil One, maintains His work of grace in the heart; how a man sinned himself quite out of hopes of god’s mercy; and also the dream of him that thought in his sleep the day of judgment was come. Also he showed me a stately palace; and how the people in it were clad in gold; and how there came a brave man, and cut his way through the armed men that stood in the door to keep him out; and how he was told to come in and win eternal glory.


PIETY:   And what saw you else in the way?

CHRISTIAN:   Why, I went a little farther, and I saw One, hang bleeding upon a tree: and the very sight of Him made my burden fall off my back; for I groaned under a very heavy burden, and then it fell down from off me. And while I stood looking up (for then I could not forbear looking), three Shining Ones came to me. One of them told me that my sins were forgiven; another stripped me of my rags, and gave me this broidered coat; and the third set the mark which you see in my forehead, and gave me this sealed roll.


PRUDENCE:   Do you ever think of the country from whence you came?

CHRISTIAN:   Yes, but with much shame, but now I desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

PRUDENCE:   And what makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?

CHRISTIAN:   Why, there I hope to see Him alive that hung on the cross; and there I hope to be rid of all these things that are in me an annoyance to me. There, they say, there is no death; and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you the truth, I love Him because I was by Him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, “Holy, holy, holy!”

CHARITY:   Have you a family? are you a married man?

CHRISTIAN:   I have a wife and four small children.

CHARITY:   Why did you not bring them with you?

CHRISTIAN:   Then Christian wept, and said, “Oh, how willingly would I have done it! but they were against my going on a pilgrimage. I told them what God had shown to me of the destruction of our city; but I seemed to them as one that mocked.”

CHARITY:   Did you pray to god that He would bless your words to them?

CHRISTIAN:   Yes, and that with much affection; for my wife and poor children are very dear unto me.

CHARITY:   But what could they say for themselves why they came not?

CHRISTIAN:   Why, my wife was afraid of losing this world, and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth; so they left me to journey in this manner alone.

Now, I saw in my dream that they sat talking together till supper was ready. The table was well furnished; and all their talk at the table was about the Lord of the hill; what He had done, and why He had builded that house; and by what they said, I perceived that He had been a great warrior, and had fought with and slain him that had the power of death, but not without great danger to himself, which made me love Him the more.

For, as they said, He did it with the loss of much blood. But that which puts the glory of grace into all He did was that He did it out of pure love to his country. They said, moreover, that he had made many pilgrims princes, though by nature they were beggars.

Thus they talked together till late at night; and after they had committed themselves to their Lord for protection, they betook themselves to rest. To Pilgrim they gave a large upper chamber, whose window opened towards the sunrising. The name of the chamber was Peace, where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sang:

“Where am I now? Is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are,
Thus to provide that I should be forgiven,
And dwell already the next door to heaven?”

So in the morning they all got up; and after some more talking together, they told him that he should not depart till they had shown him the wonders of that place.

They took him first into the study, where they showed him records of the greatest age; they showed him first the history of the Lord of the hill, and the deeds that He had done, and the names of many hundreds that He had taken into His service; and how He had place them in such houses that could neither by length of days nor decays of nature be destroyed.


Then they read to him some of the worthy acts that some of His servants had done; as, how they had conquered kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, and turned to flight the armies of the enemies.

They then read again where it was shown how willing their Lord was to receive into His favor any, though they, in time past, had done great wrongs to His person and rule. Here also were several other histories of many other famous things, together with prophecies of things that surely will come to pass, both to the dread and wonder of enemies, and the comfort and happiness of pilgrims.

The next day they led him into the armory, where they showed him all manner of weapons which their Lord had provided for pilgrims; a sword, shield, helmet, breast-plate, and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of this to fit out as many men for service of their Lord as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.

They also showed him some of the things with which some of His servants had done wonderful things. They showed him Moses’ rod; the hammer and nail with which Jael slew Sisera; the pitchers, trumpets, and lamps too, with which Gideon put to flight the armies of Midian. Then they showed him the ox’s goad wherewith Shamgar slew six hundred men and the jaw-bone with which Samson did such mighty feats. They showed him the sling and stone with which David slew Goliath of Gath, and the sword also with which their Lord will kill the Man of Sin in the day that He shall rise up to the battle.


Then I saw in my dream that on the morrow he got up to go forward, but they desired him to stay till the next day also; “and then,” said they, “we will, if the day be clear, show you the Delectable Mountains”; which they said would yet further add to his comfort. So he consented and stayed. When the morning was up, they led him to the top of the house and bade him look south. At a great distance he saw a most pleasant mountainous country, beautiful with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very lovely to behold. Then he asked the name of the country. They said it was Immanuel’s Land; “and it is free,” said they, “as this hill is, to all the pilgrims. And when you get there, you may see to the gate of the Celestial City, as the shepherds that live there will point out.”


Now he wanted to go forward, and they were willing he should. “But first,” said they, “let us go again into the armory.” So they did; and they dressed him from head to foot with armor, lest perhaps he should meet with assaults in the way. He being, therefore, thus armed, walked out with his friends to the gate; and there he asked the Porter if he saw any pilgrim pass by. Then the Porter answered, “Yes.”

CHRISTIAN:  Pray, did you know him?

PORTER:   I asked his name, and he told me that it was Faithful.

CHRISTIAN:   Oh, I know him; he is my townsman, my near neighbor. How far do you think he may be before?

PORTER:   He has got by this time below the hill.

CHRISTIAN:   Well, good Porter, the Lord be with thee, and add to all thy blessings much increase for the kindness thou hast shown to me!

Discretion, Piety, charity, and Prudence went with him down to the foot of the hill. And Christian said: “As it was difficult coming up, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down.” “Yes,” said Prudence, “so it is; for it is a hard matter to go down the Valley of Humiliation, and not slip on the way.”

So he began to go down, but very warily; yet he made a slip or two.

Then I saw in my dream that these good companions, when Christian was gone down to the bottom of the hill, gave him a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins; and then he went his way.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 21:4

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.