The Pilgrim's Progress "Sleep Is Sweet To The Laboring Man"

John Bunyan

"Sleep Is Sweet To The Laboring Man"

Context: As the protagonist, Christian, pursues his way through this allegory of spiritual salvation, he meets and overcomes many perilous temptations, some terrifying and others quite innocent in appearance but equally deadly to the soul. Christian also has numerous companions at various times along the way. Some of these are evil counsellors who would lead him from the straight and arduous road to salvation; others, like Faithful and Evangelist, give him true and valuable advice and help him to overcome temptations; still others are pious and well-intentioned but weak persons who require assistance themselves. Such a feeble companion is Hopeful. The narrator describes one portion of this dream allegory as follows: I saw then in my dream that they went till they came into a certain country whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of sleep: wherefore he said unto Christian, I do now begin to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes; let us lie down here and take one nap. By no means, said the other; lest sleeping, we never awake more.

Why, my brother? Sleep is sweet to the labouring man; we may be refreshed if we take a nap.
Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that, that we should beware of sleeping; wherefore "let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober."
I acknowledge myself in a fault; and had I been here alone, I had by sleeping run the danger of death. . . .