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Pilgrim perceives a wicked one behind him. Part 13. | Print |


                                                                                PART 13.




   One thing I would not let slip. I took notice that now poor Christian

   was so confounded that he did not know his own voice; and thus I

   perceived it. Just when he was come over against the mouth of the

   burning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stepped up

   softly to him, and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to

   him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind. This put

   Christian more to it than any thing that he met with before, even to

   think that he should now blaspheme Him that he loved so much before.

   Yet if he could have helped it, he would not have done it; but he had

   not the discretion either to stop his ears, or to know from whence

   these blasphemies came.


   When Christian had travelled in this disconsolate condition some

   considerable time, he thought he heard the voice of a man, as going

   before him, saying, Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of

   Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.  Psa. 23:4.


   Then was he glad, and that for these reasons:


   First, Because he gathered from thence, that some who feared God were

   in this valley as well as himself.


   Secondly, For that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark

   and dismal state. And why not, thought he, with me? though by reason of

   the impediment that attends this place, I cannot perceive it.  Job 9:11.


   Thirdly, For that he hoped (could he overtake them) to have company by

   and by.


   So he went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what

   to answer, for that he also thought himself to be alone. And by and by

   the day broke: then said Christian, "He hath turned the shadow of death

   into the morning."  Amos 5:8.


   Now morning being come, he looked back, not out of desire to return,

   but to see, by the light of the day, what hazards he had gone through

   in the dark. So he saw more perfectly the ditch that was on the one

   hand, and the quag that was on the other; also how narrow the way was

   which led betwixt them both. Also now he saw the hobgoblins, and

   satyrs, and dragons of the pit, but all afar off; for after break of

   day they came not nigh; yet they were discovered to him, according to

   that which is written, "He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and

   bringeth out to light the shadow of death."  Job 12:22.


   Now was Christian much affected with this deliverance from all the

   dangers of his solitary way; which dangers, though he feared them much

   before, yet he saw them more clearly now, because the light of the day

   made them conspicuous to him. And about this time the sun was rising,

   and this was another mercy to Christian; for you must note, that though

   the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous, yet

   this second part, which he was yet to go, was, if possible, far more

   dangerous; for, from the place where he now stood, even to the end of

   the valley, the way was all along set so full of snares, traps, gins,

   and nets here, and so full of pits, pitfalls, deep holes, and

   shelvings-down there, that had it now been dark, as it was when he came

   the first part of the way, had he had a thousand souls, they had in

   reason been cast away; but, as I said, just now the sun was rising.

   Then said he, "His Candle shineth on my head, and by his light I go

   through darkness."  Job 29:3.


   In this light, therefore, he came to the end of the valley. Now I saw

   in my dream, that at the end of the valley lay blood, bones, ashes, and

   mangled bodies of men, even of pilgrims that had gone this way

   formerly; and while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a

   little before me a cave, where two giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old

   times; by whose power and tyranny the men whose bones, blood, ashes,

   etc., lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian

   went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered; but I have

   learnt since, that Pagan has been dead many a day; and as for the

   other, though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of age, and also of the

   many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so

   crazy and stiff in his joints that he can now do little more than sit

   in his cave's mouth, grinning at pilgrims as they go by, and biting his


   nails because he cannot come at them.


   So I saw that Christian went on his way; yet, at the sight of the old

   man that sat at the mouth of the cave, he could not tell what to think,

   especially because he spoke to him, though he could not go after him,

   saying, You will never mend, till more of you be burned. But he held

   his peace, and set a good face on it; and so went by, and catched no

   hurt. Then sang Christian,



   "O world of wonders, (I can say no less,)


   That I should be preserved in that distress


   That I have met with here! O blessed be


   That hand that from it hath delivered me!


   Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin,


   Did compass me, while I this vale was in;


   Yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets did lie


   My path about, that worthless, silly I


   Might have been catch'd, entangled, and cast down;


   But since I live, let Jesus wear the crown."


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