The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

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Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 483

A man named Goodwill comes to the Gate. As Christian enters, Goodwill drags him in quickly, explaining that there is a castle nearby from which Beelzebub and his forces shoot arrows to kill those who come to the gate.

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Christian explains his previous adventures since Goodwill is concerned that he came alone. Christian is anxious if he will be allowed to stay inside the Gate because he had strayed from the way, but Goodwill tells him that no one is cast out because of their previous actions.

Goodwill shows Christian the straight and narrow way he must go to be relieved of his burden, but first he must go to the house of the Interpreter. At the house, Christian asks for the Master of the House.

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The Interpreter says that he must see some of the rooms in his house before he goes on his way. He shows Christian a picture of a man whose back is to the world and the Word of Truth on his lips, telling him to keep this picture in mind.

Christian is led to a parlor that is full of dust. A servant comes in to sweep but manages only to raise the dust up into the air. The Interpreter has a damsel come in to sprinkle water, which allows her to sweep up the dust effectively. The Interpreter says the first servant represents the Law, which is unable to remove sin. The water is Grace, which allows the sinner to be made clean.

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In the next room, Christian sees two boys named Passion and Patience. Passion is given all his treasures at once, but these are soon gone and he is left with rags. Patience waits; his treasures will remain. The Interpreter says that self-denial is an important part of the life of Grace, waiting for one’s treasures in the world to come.

The Interpreter shows Christian a fire; a man is throwing water on it, but the fire continues to grow. The man represents the Devil, who is trying to extinguish Grace, but behind the wall is Christ, who throws the oil of his Grace on the fire to keep it strong.

Christian is led to a palace where a crowd gathers at the doorway; armed guards stand watch. He sees a man write his name in a book at the doorway and then be given armor and weapons. The man attacks the guards and makes his way through.

Christian then sees a man trapped in an iron cage of Despair. He forfeited his salvation by giving in to his lusts, grieving the Spirit. The Interpreter warns Christian to take this as a warning.

Christian then climbs the path up the hill where a Cross stands, a sepulcher at the bottom. As Christian approaches the Cross, his burden falls off and tumbles down into the sepulcher. Christian rejoices that he has been set free.

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