The Pilgrim's Progress - Part One
The Author's Apology for His Book | Introduction | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | Conclusion
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The Interpreter

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?

Chr. Sir, here is a traveller, who was bidden by an acquaintance of the good man of the 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 would have?

Chr. "Sir," said CHRISTIAN, "I am a man that has 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 in my journey."

Interpreter. Then said the INTERPRETER, "Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee." So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bade CHRISTIAN follow him: so he led him into a private room, and bade his man open a door; the which when he had done, CHRISTIAN saw the picture of a very grave person hung up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon his lips, the world was behind his back; he stood as if he pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over his head.

Chr. Then said CHRISTIAN, "What means this?"

Inter. The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children;

"For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."
~ 1 Corinthians 4:15 ~

travail in birth with children;

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,"
~ Galations 4:19 ~

and nurse them himself when they are born.

"I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able."
~ 1 Corinthians 3:2 ~

And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lifted 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 authorized 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 aright, 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 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 the water, and sprinkle the room;" the which, when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure.

Chr. Then said CHRISTIAN, "What means this?"

Inter. 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.

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"
~ Romans 5:20 ~

"For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."
~ Romans 7:9 ~

"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:56 ~

"Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure (ease)--this is to show thee that when the gospel comes, in the sweet and precious 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.

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
~ John 15:3 ~

"And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."
~ Acts 15:9 ~

"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
~ Romans 16:25, 26 ~

"That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word"
~ Ephesians 5:26 ~

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 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 awhile, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left him but rags.

Chr. Then said CHRISTIAN to the INTERPRETER, "Expound this matter more fully to me."

Inter. 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 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."

Chr. 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 hath nothing but rags."

Inter. 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 have a time to spend it: but he that has his portion last must have it lastingly. Therefore it is said of Dives, "In thy lifetime thou received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented".

"But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."
~ Luke 16:25 ~

Chr. Then I perceive 'tis not best to covet things that are now, but wait for things to come.

Inter. You say truth: "For the things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal".

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18 ~

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 continually between the second.

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.

Chr. Then said CHRISTIAN, "What means this?"

Inter. 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 shall 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.

Chr. Then said CHRISTIAN, "What means this?"

Inter. 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 he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~

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."

The Pilgrim's Progress - Part One
The Author's Apology for His Book | Introduction | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | Conclusion
Back to Pilgrim's Homepage