2.2.4 The House Beautiful (cont.)
From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 2, Step 4.7.
Now about this time their month was out; wherefore they signified to those of the house, that it was convenient for them to up and be going. Then said Joseph to his mother, It is proper that you forget not to send to the house of Mr Interpreter, to pray him to grant that Mr Great-Heart should be sent unto us, that he may be our conductor for the rest of the way. Good boy, said she, I had almost forgot. So she drew up a petition, and prayed Mr Watchful the porter to send it by some fit man to her good friend Mr Interpreter; who, when it was come, and he had seen the contents of the petition, said to the messenger, Go, tell them that I will send him.
When the family where Christiana was, saw that they had a purpose to go forward, they called the whole house together, to give thanks to their King for sending of them such profitable guests as these. Which done, they said unto Christiana, And shall we not show thee something, as our custom is to do to pilgrims, on which thou mayest meditate when thou art upon the way? So they took Christiana, her children, and Mercy, into the closet, and showed them one of the apples that Eve ate of, and that she also did give to her husband, and that for the eating of which they were both turned out of paradise, and asked her what she thought that was. Then Christiana said, It is food or poison, I know not which. So they opened the matter to her, and she held up her hands and wondered (Gen. 3:6; Rom. 7:24).
Then they had her to a place, and showed her Jacob's ladder (Gen. 28:12). Now at that time there were some angels ascending upon it. So Christiana looked and looked to see the angels go up: so did the rest of the company. Then they were going into another place, to show them something else; but James said to his mother, Pray, bid them stay here a little longer, for this is a curious sight. So they turned again, and stood feeding their eyes with this so pleasant a prospect.
After this, they had them into a place where did hang up a golden anchor. So they bid Christiana take it down; for said they, You shall have it with you, for it is of absolute necessity that you should, that you may lay hold of that within the veil (Heb. 6:19), and stand stedfast in case you should meet with turbulent weather (Joel 3:16): so they were glad thereof. Then they took them, and had them to the mount upon which Abraham our father offered up Isaac his son, and showed them the altar, the wood, the fire, and the knife, for they remain to be seen to this very day (Gen. 22:9). When they had seen it, they held up their hands, and blessed themselves, and said, Oh, what a man for love to his Master, and for denial to himself, was Abraham!
After they had showed them all these things, Prudence took them into a dining room, where stood a pair of excellent virginals; so she played upon them, and turned what she had showed them into this excellent song, saying,
"Eve's apple we have showed you;
Of that be you aware:
You have seen Jacob's ladder too,
Upon which angels are.
An anchor you received have;
But let not these suffice,
Until with Abra'm you have gave
Your best, a sacrifice."
Now, about this time, one knocked at the door; so the Porter opened, and behold, Mr Great-Heart was there. But when he was come in, what joy was there! for it came now afresh again into their minds, how but a while ago he had slain old Grim Bloody-man the giant, and had delivered them from the lions.
Then said Mr Great-Heart to Christiana and to Mercy, My Lord has sent each of you a bottle of wine, and also some parched corn, together with a couple of pomegranates; he has also sent the boys some figs and raisins; to refresh you in your way.
Then they addressed themselves to their journey, and Prudence and Piety went along with them. When they came to the gate, Christiana asked the Porter if any of late went by. He said, No; only one, some time since, who also told me, that of late there had been a great robbery committed on the King's highway as you go. But, said he, the thieves are taken, and will shortly be tried for their lives. Then Christiana and Mercy were afraid; but Matthew said, Mother, fear nothing, as long as Mr Great-Heart is to go with us, and to be our conductor.
Then said Christiana to the Porter, Sir, I am much obliged to you for all the kindnesses that you have showed to me since I came hither; and also for that you have been so loving and kind to my children. I know not how to gratify your kindness; wherefore, pray, as a token of my respect to you, accept of this small mite. So she put a gold angel in his hand; and he made her a low obeisance, and said, "Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head want no ointment" (Eccles. 9:8). Let Mercy live and not die, and let not her works be few (Deut. 33:6). And to the boys he said, Do you fly youthful lusts, and follow after godliness with them that are grave and wise (2 Tim. 2:22): so shall you put gladness into your mother's heart, and obtain praise of all that are sober-minded. So they thanked the Porter, and departed.