The Pilgrim's Progress is one book with two distinct parts, like The Lord of the Rings is one book or story with three parts. Christiana, Christian's wife, acted like a villain in the first part but becomes the main heroine in the second part by leading her four sons and a neighbor to follow after Christian on pilgrimage.
hristiana was glad in heart, "not only that she had a companion [her neighbor, Mercy], but also that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation."
eliever said to Christiana after rescuing her group from ruffians, "I wondered that you did not petition the Lord for a guide to avoid these dangers, for He would have granted you one." Christiana responded, "Since our Lord knew it would be to our profit, I wonder that He sent not one along with us." Reliever answered, "It is not always best to grant things not asked for, lest by so doing they become of little esteem; but when the want of a thing is felt, it then receives in the eyes of him that feels it the estimate it properly is due.... 'Tis a poor thing that is not worth asking for"—not worth asking is not worth having. As James 4:3 says, "You do not have because you do not ask."
|Greatheart, the Guide Worth Asking For|
t the Interpreter's house "the water stood in Christiana's eyes, for she was a woman quick of apprehension." The eight lessons she learned there in Part 2 and the eight lessons Christian learned there in Part 1 are worth reading and pondering. My favorites are the man with the broom, the fire that could not be put out, the man with the muck-rake, and the valiant man who stormed the castle.
n the morning, they rose with the sun and began to prepare to go on their journey. But the Interpreter asked them to stay a little longer....Now, Innocent, following instructions, had them bathe in the pool of the garden, and put on new, white, linen uniforms. Thus clothed, the women looked so beautiful that they looked on each other with awe. For each could see the glory only in the other, and each esteemed the other better than herself. "You are fairer than I," said one. "And you are more beautiful than I am," said the other. The children also stood amazed to see their new appearance.
fter successfully leading his company through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Greatheart vanquishes Giant Maul, but came close to losing his life in the combat. Christiana asks, "Were you not afraid...when you saw him come out with his club?" Greatheart answers, "It is my duty to distrust my own ability that I may have reliance on Him who is stronger than all." Christiana then asks, "But what did you think when he knocked you down to the ground at the first blow?" His reply: "Why, I thought, that so my Master Himself was served, yet He it was who conquered at the last." Christiana's eldest son, Matthew, says, "I think God has been wonderfully good to us both in bringing us out of this valley and in delivering us out of the hand of this enemy. For my part, I see no reason why we should distrust our God anymore since He has now, and in such a place as this, given us such testimony of His love as this." The pilgrim band then meet up with Old Honesty, and he and Greatheart soon discover that they are kindred spirits, possessed of valiant hearts.
ld Honesty replies to a query from Greatheart, "I would have fought as long as breath had been in me and had I done so, I would have prevailed. A Christian can never be overcome unless he yields himself." Greatheart joyfully responds, "Well said, father Honest, for by this I know you are a true Christian warrior because you have uttered a great Christian truth." Honesty answers, "And by what you said I know you understand the Christian pilgrimage because all others think that Christians are the soonest overcome of any." The meek are not weak but have their strength under control. It is folly to strive with the God behind that strength.
ast words uttered by Christiana and company in turn when the Master was not willing that they should be so far from Him any longer:
- "I come, Lord, to be with You and bless You."
- "Welcome, life!"
- "Hold out, faith and patience."
- "Farewell, night! Welcome, day!"
- "Grace reigns."
- "Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory?"
- "I see myself now at the end of my journey. My toilsome days are ended. I am now going to see that head that was crowned with thorns, and that face that was spit upon for me. I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith, but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with Him in whose company I delight. I have loved to hear Him spoken of, and wherever I could see His footprints on the sands of time, there I delighted to walk. His name has been to me a precious treasure—sweeter than all perfumes. His voice I rejoice to hear, and His face to me exceeds all beauty in earth and sky. His Word I have used as food for my soul and for antidotes against my faltering. He has kept me back from my iniquities, and He has held me fast. Yes, my steps He has strengthened in His way. Take me, Lord, for I come to Thee."
- See also The Pilgrim's Progress, Part 1 with Christian—Illustrated Quotes