Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his journey. So the other told him that, by
that he was gone some distance from the gate he would come to the house of the Interpreter, at whose door he should
knock, and he would show him excellent things. Then Christian took his leave of his friend, and he again bid him
Then he went on till he came at the house of the Interpreter, where he knocked over and over. At last one came to
the door, and asked who was there.
CHRISTIAN. Sir, here is a traveller, who was bid by an acquaintance of the good man of this house to call here
for my profit; I would therefore speak with the master of the house.
So he called for the master of the house, who, after a little time, came to Christian, and asked him what he
CHRISTIAN. Sir, said Christian, I am a man that am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to the Mount
Zion; and I was told by the man that stands at the gate at the head of this way, that if I called here you would
show me excellent things, such as would be helpful to me on my journey.
INTERPRETER. Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he
commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him. So he had him into a private room, and bid
his man open a door; the which, when he had done, Christian saw the picture a very grave person hang up against
the wall; and this was the fashion of it; it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in its hand, the law
of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown
of gold did hang over its head.
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, What meaneth this?
INTERPRETER. The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children, (1 Cor. iv. 15), travail
in birth with children, (Gal. iv. 19), and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas, thou seest him with
his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips: it is to show
thee, that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he
pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head: that
is to show thee, that, slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his
Master's service, he is sure, in the world that comes next, to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter,
I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the
place whither thou art going, hath authorised to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the
way. Wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy
journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right - but their way goes down to death.
Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large parlour that was full of dust, because never swept;
the which after he had reviewed it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now, when he began to
sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choked. Then said the
Interpreter to a damsel that stood by, Bring hither water, and sprinkle the room; the which, when she had done, it
was swept and cleansed with pleasure.
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, What means this?
INTERPRETER. The Interpreter answered, This parlour is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet
grace of the Gospel. The dust is his original sin, and inward corruptions, that have defiled the whole man. He that
began to sweep at first is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel. Now whereas thou
sawest that so soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about that the room by him could not be
cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith: this is to show thee, that the law, instead of cleansing the
heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth
discover and forbid it; for it doth not give power to subdue. (Rom. v. 20; vii. 7-11; 1 Cor. xv. 56.)
Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure: this is
to show thee, that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and gracious influences thereof to the heart, then, I say,
even as thou sawest the damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water, so is sin vanquished and subdued,
and the soul made clean through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of glory to inhabit.
(John xiv. 21-23; xv. 3; Acts xv. 9; Rom. xvi. 25, 26. Eph. v. 26.)
I saw, moreover, in my dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and had him into a little room, where
sat two little children, each one in his own chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other
Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontented, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, What is the
reason of the discontent of Passion? The Interpreter answered, The governor of them would have him stay for his
best things till the beginning of the next year, but he will have all now; but Patience is willing to wait.
Then I saw that one came to Passion and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet; the which
he took up, and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld but a while, and he had
lavished all away, and had nothing left him but rags.
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian to the Interpreter, Expound this matter more fully to me.
INTERPRETER. So he said, These two lads are figures - Passion, of the men of this world; and Patience, of the
men of that which is to come. For, as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year, that is to say, in
this world; so are the men of this world: They must have all their good things now, they cannot stay till the
next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, 'A bird in the hand is worth two
in the bush,' is of more authority with them than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come.
But as thou sawest that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags, so will it
be with all such men at the end of this world.
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts:
1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the glory of his, when the other has
nothing but rags.
INTERPRETER. Nay, you may add another, to wit, the glory of the next world will never wear out, but these are
suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience because he had his good things first,
as Patience will have to laugh at Passion because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last,
because last must have his time to come; but last gives place to nothing, for there is not another to succeed. He,
therefore, that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he that hath his portion last, must
have it lastingly; therefore it is said of Dives, 'In thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise
Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.' (Luke xvi. 19-31.)
CHRISTIAN. Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.
INTERPRETER. You say truth: for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are
eternal. (2 Cor. iv. 18.) But though this be so, yet since things present and our fleshly appetite are such near
neighbours one to another; and again, because things to come and carnal sense are such strangers one to another;
therefore it is that the first of these so suddenly fall into amity, and that distance is so continued between the
Then I saw in my dream that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place where was a
fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it to quench it; yet did the
fire burn higher and hotter.
Then said Christian, What means this?
The Interpreter answered, This fire is the work of grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts water upon
it to extinguish and put it out is the devil; but in that thou seest the fire, notwithstanding, burn higher and
hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that. So he had him about to the backside of the wall, where he saw a
man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast (but secretly) into the fire.
Then said Christian, What means this?
The Interpreter answered, This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of His grace, maintains the work already
begun in the heart; by the means of which, notwithstanding what the devil can do, the souls of His people prove
gracious still. And in that thou sawest that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the fire: this is to teach
thee, that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul.
I saw, also, that the Interpreter took him again by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built
a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted. He saw also upon the
top thereof certain persons walking who were clothed all in gold.
Then said Christian, May we go in thither?
Then the Interpreter took him, and led him up toward the door of the palace; and, behold, at the door stood a
great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door,
at a table side, with a book and his ink-horn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw,
also, that in the doorway stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what
hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of
the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying,
Set down my name, sir; the which, when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet on his head, and
rush towards the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged,
fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to
keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant
voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying -
- 'Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou shalt win.'
So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they. Then Christian smiled, and said, I think, verily, I
know the meaning of this.
Now, said Christian, let me go hence. Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have showed thee a little more,
and after that thou shalt go thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where
there sat a man in an iron cage.
Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad: he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded
together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the
Interpreter bid him talk with the man.
Then said Christian to the man, What art thou? The man answered, I am what I was not once.
CHRISTIAN. What wast thou once?
MAN. The man said, I was once a fair and flourishing professor, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of
others. I once was, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had then even joy at the thoughts that I should
get thither. (Luke viii. 13.)
CHRISTIAN. Well, but what art thou now?
MAN. I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out; oh now I cannot!
CHRISTIAN. But how camest thou into this condition?
MAN. I left off to watch and be sober: I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of
the World, and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come
to me; I have provoked God to anger, and He has left me. I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But are there no hopes for such a man as this? Ask him, said the
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?
MAN. No, none at all.
CHRISTIAN. Why, the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.
MAN. I have crucified Him to myself afresh. I have despised His person; I have despised His righteousness; I
have counted His blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of grace
(Luke xix. 14; Heb. vi. 4-6; x. 28,29): therefore I have shut myself out of all the promises and there now remains
to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, faithful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.
CHRISTIAN. For what did you bring yourself into this condition?
MAN. For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself
much delight: but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.
CHRISTIAN. But canst thou not now repent and turn?
MAN. God hath denied me repentance. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, He himself hath shut me
up in this iron cage: nor can all men in the world let me out. Oh eternity! eternity! how shall I grapple with the
misery that I must meet with in eternity?
INTERPRETER. Then said the Interpreter to Christian, Let this man's misery be remembered by thee, and be an
everlasting caution to thee.
CHRISTIAN. Well, said Christian, this is fearful! God help me to watch and to be sober, and to pray that I may
shun the cause of this man's misery. Sir, is it not time for me to go on my way now?
INTERPRETER. Tarry till I shall show thee one thing more, and then thou shalt go on thy way.
So he took Christian by the hand again and led him into a chamber where there was one rising out of bed; and as
he put on his raiment, he shook and trembled. Then said Christian, Why doth this man thus tremble? The Interpreter
then bid him tell to Christian the reason of his so doing.
So he began, and said, This night, as I was in my sleep, I dreamed, and behold the heavens grew exceeding black;
also it thundered and lightened in the most fearful wise, that it put me into an agony. So I looked up in my dream,
and saw the clouds rack at an unusual rate; upon which I heard a great sound of a trumpet, and saw, also, a Man
sitting upon a cloud, attended with the thousands of heaven: they were all in flaming fire; also the heavens were
on a burning flame. I heard, then, a voice saying, 'Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment!' And with that the rocks
rent, graves opened, and the dead that were therein came forth.
(John v. 28, 29; 1 Cor. xv. 51-58; 2 Thess. i. 7-10; Jude 14,15; Rev. xx. 11-15.) Some of them were exceeding
glad, and looked upward; and some sought to hide themselves under the mountains.
(Ps. l. 1-3, 22; Isa. xxvi. 20,21; Mic. vii. 16,17.) Then I saw the Man that sat upon the cloud open the
book, and bid the world draw near. Yet there was, by reason of a fierce flame that issued out and came from
before Him, a convenient distance betwixt Him and them, as between the judge and the prisoners at the
bar. (Dan. vii. 9,10; Mal. iii. 2, 3.) I heard it also proclaimed to them that attended on the Man that sat on the
cloud, 'Gather together the tares, the chaff, and stubble, and cast them into the burning lake;' and with that the
bottomless pit opened, just whereabout I stood; out of the mouth of which there came, in an abundant manner,
smoke, and coals of fire, with hideous noises. It was also said to the same persons, 'Gather my wheat into the
garner.' (Mal. iv. 2; Matt. iii. 12; xviii. 30; Luke iii. 17.) And with that I saw many catched up and carried
away into the clouds (1 Thess. iv. 13-18), but I was left behind. I also sought to hide myself, but I could not,
for the Man that sat upon the cloud still kept His eye upon me; my sins also came into my mind, and my
conscience did accuse me on every side. (Rom. ii. 14, 15.) Upon this I awakened from my sleep.
CHRISTIAN. But what was it that made you so afraid of this sight?
MAN. Why, I thought that the day of judgment was come, and that I was not ready for it: but this affrighted
me most, that the angels gathered up several, and left me behind; also the pit of hell opened her mouth just
where I stood. My conscience, too, afflicted me; and, as I thought, the Judge had always His eye upon me, showing
indignation in His countenance.
Then said the Interpreter to Christian, Hast thou considered all these things?
CHRISTIAN. Yes, and they put me in hope and fear.
INTERPRETER. Well, keep all things so in thy mind, that they may be as a goad in thy sides, to prick thee
forward in the way thou must go. Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his
journey. Then said the Interpreter, The Comforter be always with thee, good Christian, to guide thee in the way
that leads to the City. So Christian went on his way, saying -
- 'Here I have seen things rare and profitable,
Things pleasant, dreadful, things to make me stable
In what I have begun to take in hand;
Then let me think on them, and understand
Wherefore they showed me were; and let me be
Thankful, O good Interpreter, to thee.'