Book I begins with the narrator having a dream of a man, who we later find out to be Christian, staggering under a heavy burden. He is convicted (convinced) that his city will be burned down by God and that he and his family will all be destroyed. As he explains to his wife,
O my dear wife, said he, and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our city will be burned with fire from heaven . . . except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.
His relatives do not believe what he says. They are amazed, but only because they think "some frenzy distemper" has caused him to become deranged. They put him to bed, hoping he will sleep it off, but instead of sleeping, he stays up, in tears, sighing and distressed. The next morning, when they see that he hasn't changed his views, his relatives "harden" and make fun of him, scold...
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