The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

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The narrator goes once again into the woods and falls asleep. He dreams that a man by the name of Mr. Sagacity approaches him and the two of them walk on together.

They pass by the City of Destruction, and the narrator asks Mr. Sagacity what has happened since Christian’s successful journey to the Celestial City. Sagacity tells him that Christian’s tale has spread far and wide, and many people speak well of him, even though when he was among them he was called a fool. Christian’s wife, Christiana, and her sons also have followed him on his pilgrim journey, and Sagacity begins to tell their story.

After her husband’s departure, Christiana began to feel guilt concerning her hardheartedness toward him in his torment. Not only that but she began to see her own need of the same salvation that caused Christian to leave.

Christiana dreamed that a parchment was spread before her, listing all her crimes and sins. Two demons appeared beside her and talked of how they might prevent her from following her husband. Next she saw Christian in the Celestial City, holding a harp and surrounded by the angels.

The next morning, there was a knock on Christiana’s door. She bade the person to enter only if he came in God’s name. A man entered. He introduced himself as Secret and gave her an invitation from the King of the Celestial City to follow her husband on the pilgrim journey. Christiana wanted to go immediately to the King, but Secret warned her that the bitter must come before the sweet.

Christiana called her sons together and told them that they were leaving immediately to join their father. The boys were overjoyed at their mother’s decision.

Another knock at the door revealed Christiana’s neighbors, Mrs. Timorous and Mercy. Mrs. Timorous was horrified to find Christiana about to follow in her husband’s footsteps, especially since she was taking her children along. Mrs. Timorous reminded Christiana of all the dangers her husband faced on the journey, but Christiana was adamant.

Mrs. Timorous left, but Mercy stayed behind. She had become conscious of her own sins and wanted to go along. Christiana rejoiced and told Mercy that she would hire her as her servant. Mrs. Timorous spread the news about the neighborhood of Christiana’s foolishness.

Christiana, Mercy, and the four boys set foot on the same path that Christian followed. When they reached the Slough of Despond, Christiana managed to find the steps that were built there, although the Slough was in even worse shape than when her husband fell into it.

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