Visited by Neighbors

Mrs. Timorous and Mercy come to visit

But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women that were Christiana’s neighbors came up to her house, and knocked at her door. To whom she said, as before, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” At this the women were stunned; for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Christiana. Yet they came in; but behold, they found the good woman preparing to be gone from her house.

So they began, and said, “Neighbor, pray what is your meaning by this?”

Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, “I am preparing for a journey.” (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the Hill Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions.)

Timorous: “For what journey, I pray you?”

Christiana: “Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a-weeping.”

Timorous: “I hope not so, good neighbor. Pray, for your poor children’s sakes, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.”

Christiana: “Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind.”

Timorous: “I wonder, in my very heart, what or who has brought you into this mind.”

Christiana: “Oh, neighbor, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go with me.”

Timorous: Prithee, what new knowledge have you got that so turns your thoughts from your friends, and that tempts you to go nobody knows where?

Then Christiana replied, “I have been sorely afflicted since my husband’s departure from me; but specially since he went over the river. But that which troubles me most is, my churlish carriages to him when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then; nothing will serve me but going on pilgrimage. I was dreaming last night that I saw him. Oh that my soul was with him! He dwells in the presence of the King of the country; he sits and eats with him at his table; he is become a companion of immortals; and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palaces on earth if compared, seem to me to be but as a dunghill.”

“The Prince of the place has also sent for me, with promise of entertainment if I shall come to him. His messenger was here even now, and has brought me a letter, which invites me to come.” And with that she plucked out her letter, and read it, and said to them, “What now will you say to this?’”

Timorous: “Oh, the madness that has possessed you and your husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbor Obstinate, can yet testify; for he went along with him. Yea, and Pliable too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any farther. We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death, and many other things. Nor is the danger that he met with at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by you. For if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what can you, being but a poor woman, do? Consider, also, that these four sweet babes are your children, your flesh and your bones. Wherefore, though you should be so rash as to cast away yourself, yet, for the sake of the fruit of your body, keep yourself at home.”

But Christiana said unto her, “Tempt me not, my neighbor; I have now a price put into mine hand to get gain, and I should be a fool of the greatest size if I should have no heart to strike in with the opportunity. And for that you tell me of all these troubles that I am like to meet with in the way, they are so far off from being to me a discouragement, that they show I am in the right. The bitter must come before the sweet; and that also will make the sweet the sweeter. Wherefore, since you came not to my house in God’s name, as I said, I pray you to be gone, and not to disquiet me further.”

Then Timorous also reviled her, and said to her fellow, “Come, neighbor Mercy, let’s leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.”

Notes and Commentary

Soon after Secret wishes Christiana and her children well on their journey, there is another knock at the door. Two neighbors, Mrs. Timorous and Mercy, stop by to visit. Upon hearing the knock, Christiana replies, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” This was the same greeting she had given when Secret came to visit. Secret’s reply was  “Amen,” and “Peace be to this house!” But the two women are stunned by the greeting. These are not the words they expected to hear! They were accustomed to hearing complaints and laments from Christiana. They were expecting her to still be bitter towards God. After all, Christian, her husband, fled Destruction in search of eternal life, though she had cried after him to return. Now Mrs. Timorous and Mercy enter the house and find Christiana and her children preparing to leave on a journey of their own.

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The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2021 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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