The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

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Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

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The pilgrims come to the Hill Difficulty. Before they begin the climb, they go to the spring for a drink of water. The stream has been muddied by those who seek to discourage travelers to the Celestial City, so they must first put the water in a pot and let the dirt settle.

As they climb the hill, Great-Heart encourages them to persevere; there is the arbor at the top. There they stop and remember Christian’s loss of his Scroll there, so they avoid going to sleep. Nevertheless, Christiana forgets her bottle of spirits there.

They come to a stage with a placard that states that this is where Timourous and Mistrust tried to persuade Christian to go back. For their sins, their tongues were pierced with fire.

Next they encounter the lions as well as a Giant named Grim. Great-Heart fights him and slays him, allowing the pilgrims to keep on their way.

When they come to the Porter’s Lodge, they are greeted warmly and invited to stay a while. Great-Heart announces that he must return to the Gate. Mercy and Christiana beg him to go with him all the way to the City. Great-Heart says that he could have if they had requested his help at the beginning, but now he must go.

That night, Mercy dreams of being in a lonely place. She is rescued and clothed in silver and gold, with a crown placed on her head. Over the next several days, Prudence, one of the damsels in the Lodge, catechizes Christiana’s children (whose names are revealed to be Matthew, Samuel, Joseph, and James). They have been well trained by Christiana, and Prudence is pleased.

A man called Mr. Brisk becomes infatuated with Mercy and seeks her attention and her love. Mercy, however, is spending her time making clothing for the poor, so Mr. Brisk eventually leaves. Mercy is content with being alone; she has dedicated her life to helping those in need.

Matthew, Christiana’s oldest son, becomes ill. The physician says that he has eaten something unhealthy. His brother Samuel reminds his mother that Matthew ate the enemy’s fruit at the Gate. The physician gives him medicine that will purge him.

The pilgrims are shown some items from the stories in the Bible as something to meditate upon. They are thrilled when Great-Heart returns to go with them. The pilgrims, rejoined now with their guide Great-Heart, leave the Porter’s Lodge and continue on their way.

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