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2.3.7 Gaius's inn

From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 3, Step 7.1.

Christiana then wished for an inn to refresh herself and her children, because they were weary. Then said Mr Honest, There is one a little before us, where a very honorable disciple, one Gaius, dwells (Rom. 16:23). So they all concluded to turn in thither; and the rather, because the old gentleman gave him so good a report. When they came to the door they went in, not knocking, for folks use not to knock at the door of an inn. Then they called for the master of the house, and he came to them. So they asked if they might lie there that night.

Gaius: Yes, gentlemen, if you be true men; for my house is for none but pilgrims. Then were Christiana, Mercy, and the boys the more glad, for that the innkeeper was a lover of pilgrims. So they called for rooms, and he showed them one for Christiana and her children and Mercy, and another for Mr Great-Heart and the old gentleman.

Great-heart: Then said Mr Great-Heart, good Gaius, what hast thou for supper? for these pilgrims have come far to-day, and are weary.

Gaius: It is late, said Gaius, so we cannot conveniently go out to seek food; but such as we have you shall be welcome to, if that will content.

Great-heart: We will be content with what thou hast in the house; for as much as I have proved thee, thou art never destitute of that which is convenient.

Then he went down and spake to the cook, whose name was, Taste-that-which-is-good, to get ready supper for so many pilgrims. This done, he comes up again, saying, Come, my good friends, you are welcome to me, and I am glad that I have a house to entertain you in; and while supper is making ready, if you please, let us entertain one another with some good discourse: so they all said, Content.

Gaius: Then said Gaius, Whose wife is this aged matron? and whose daughter is this young damsel?

Great-heart: This woman is the wife of one Christian, a pilgrim of former times; and these are his four children. The maid is one of her acquaintance, one that she hath persuaded to come with her on pilgrimage. The boys take all after their father, and covet to tread in his steps; yea, if they do but see any place where the old pilgrim hath lain, or any print of his foot, it ministereth joy to their hearts, and they covet to lie or tread in the same.

Gaius: Then said Gaius, Is this Christian's wife, and are these Christian's children? I knew your husband's father, yea, also his father's father. Many have been good of this stock; their ancestors dwelt first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Christian's progenitors (I suppose you have heard your husband talk of them) were very worthy men. They have, above any that I know, showed themselves men of great virtue and courage for the Lord of the pilgrims, his ways, and them that loved him. I have heard of many of your husband's relations that have stood all trials for the sake of the truth. Stephen, that was one of the first of the family from whence your husband sprang, was knocked on the head with stones (Acts. 7:59,60). James, another of this generation, was slain with the edge of the sword (Acts. 12:2). To say nothing of Paul and Peter, men anciently of the family from whence your husband came, there was Ignatius, who was cast to the lions; Romanus, whose flesh was cut by pieces from his bones; and Polycarp, that played the man in the fire. There was he that was hanged up in a basket in the sun for the wasps to eat; and he whom they put into a sack, and cast him into the sea to be drowned. It would be impossible utterly to count up all of that family who have suffered injuries and death for the love of a pilgrim's life. Nor can I but be glad to see that thy husband has left behind him four such boys as these. I hope they will bear up their father's name, and tread in their father's steps, and come to their father's end.

Great-heart: Indeed, sir, they are likely lads: they seem to choose heartily their father's ways.

Gaius: That is it that I said. Wherefore Christian's family is like still to spread abroad upon the face of the ground, and yet to be numerous upon the face of the earth; let Christiana look out some damsels for her sons, to whom they may be betrothed, etc., that the name of their father, and the house of his progenitors, may never be forgotten in the world.

Mr Honest: 'Tis pity his family should fall and be extinct.

Gaius: Fall it cannot, but be diminished it may; but let Christiana take my advice, and that is the way to uphold it. And, Christiana, said this innkeeper, I am glad to see thee and thy friend Mercy together here, a lovely couple. And if I may advise, take Mercy into a nearer relation to thee: if she will, let her be given to Matthew thy eldest son. It is the way to preserve a posterity in the earth. So this match was concluded, and in process of time they were married: but more of that hereafter.

Gaius also proceeded, and said, I will now speak on the behalf of women, to take away their reproach. For as death and the curse came into the world by a woman (Gen. 3), so also did life and health: God sent forth his Son, made of a woman (Gal. 4:4). Yea, to show how much they that came after did abhor the act of the mother, this sex in the Old Testament coveted children, if happily this or that woman might be the mother of the Saviour of the world. I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, women rejoiced in him, before either man or angel. (Luke 1:42-46). I read not that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the women followed him, and ministered to him of their substance (Luke 8:2,3). 'Twas a woman that washed his feet with tears (Luke 7:37-50), and a woman that anointed his body at the burial (John 11:2; 12:3). They were women who wept when he was going to the cross (Luke 23:27), and women that followed him from the cross (Matt. 27:55,56; Luke 23:55), and sat over against his sepulchre when he was buried (Matt. 27:61). They were women that were first with him at his resurrection-morn (Luke 24:1), and women that brought tidings first to his disciples that he was risen from the dead (Luke 24:22,23). Women therefore are highly favoured, and show by these things that they are sharers with us in the grace of life.

Now the cook sent up to signify that supper was almost ready, and sent one to lay the cloth, and the trenchers, and to set the salt and bread in order.

Then said Matthew, The sight of this cloth, and of this forerunner of the supper, begetteth in me a greater appetite for my food than I had before.

Gaius: So let all ministering doctrines to thee in this life beget in thee a greater desire to sit at the supper of the great King in his kingdom; for all preaching, books, and ordinances here, are but as the laying of the trenchers, and the setting of salt upon the board, when compared with the feast which our Lord will make for us when we come to his house.

So supper came up. And first a heave-shoulder and a wave-breast were set on the table before them; to show that they must begin their meal with prayer and praise to God. The heave-shoulder David lifted up his heart to God with; and with the wave-breast, where his heart lay, he used to lean upon his harp when he played. (Lev. 7: 32-34; 10:14,15; Ps. 25:1; Heb. 13:15). These two dishes were very fresh and good, and they all ate heartily thereof.

The next they brought up was a bottle of wine, as red as blood. (Deut. 32:14; Judg. 9:13; John 15:5). So Gaius said to them, Drink freely; this is the true juice of the vine, that makes glad the heart of God and man. So they drank and were merry.

The next was a dish of milk well crumbed; Gaius said, Let the boys have that, that they may grow thereby (1 Pet. 2:1,2).

Then they brought up in course a dish of butter and honey. Then said Gaius, Eat freely of this, for this is good to cheer up and strengthen your judgments and understandings. This was our Lord's dish when he was a child: "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good" (Isa. 7:15).

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