The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

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Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary

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As the narrator sleeps and dreams again, the two pilgrims go down the mountains to the highway that leads to the Celestial City. They see the country of Conceit and meet Ignorance. He has not come in through the Wicket Gate, so Christian warns him that he will be turned back at the city gates.

Ignorance tells him to follow his religion while he follows his own. Seeing that Ignorance is a fool, Christian and Hopeful decide to pass him by.

Down the road, the two pilgrims see a man who has a sign on his back that labels him as Wanton Professor and Damnable Apostate. Christian remembers a man called Little-Faith who was attacked by thieves on the way. They took his money, but he still had some jewels.

Having no ready cash, Little-Faith had to beg his way along because there was no one to buy his jewels. Moreover, the jewels were his birthright and Little-Faith refused to sell them. Hopeful thinks this was foolish, but Christian strongly tells him that selling one’s birthright is selling one’s soul.

As they travel on their way, Christian and Hopeful come to a fork in the road and do not know which way to take. A black man in a white robe approaches and offers to lead them. They follow him and soon find themselves going away from the Celestial City.

The black man throws off his robe, and the pilgrims are ensnared in a net. They realize that this is the Flatterer of whom the shepherds on the Delectable Mountains warned them. They also remember the directions that were given to them, which would have told them what way to go.

A Shining One approaches them and releases them, but he chastises and whips them as a rebuke. Christian and Hopeful, feeling ashamed, continue on the highway and encounter a man called Atheist, who tells them that he has been looking for the Celestial City for twenty years and has never found it.

The pilgrims realize that this is another one of the Flatterers and so ignore him. They travel on, but Hopeful feels weary and wants to lie down to sleep. Christian tells him that they are on Enchanted Ground, another place that the shepherds warned them about.

Hopeful tells Christian of his life in Vanity Fair. He had felt sorry for his sins but did not know how to rid himself of them. Faithful helped him and told him to seek Jesus’ face. He searches and prays, but it is only after much perseverance that Jesus is revealed to him and his sins are forgiven.

Christian and Hopeful see Ignorance behind them and decide to wait for him. Ignorance does not want to talk with them, but he agrees to walk along. They try to convince him that faith is not a feeling of the heart but an assurance by the revelation of the Word of God. Ignorance dismisses this, so the pilgrims once again walk away from him.

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