Thus now, when they had talked away a little more time, they drew nigh to a house which stood in the way, which house was built for the relief of pilgrims; as you will find more fully related in the first part of these records of the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” So they drew on towards the house (the house of the Interpreter); and when they came to the door, they heard a great talk in the house. They then gave ear, and heard, as they thought, Christiana mentioned by name; for you must know that there went along, even before her, a talk of her and her children’s going on pilgrimage. And this thing was the more pleasing to them, because they had heard that she was Christian’s wife—that woman who was some time ago so unwilling to hear of going on pilgrimage. Thus, therefore, they stood still; and heard the good people within commending her who, they little thought, stood at the door. At last Christiana knocked, as she had done at the gate before. Now when she had knocked, there came to the door a young damsel named Innocent, and opened the door, and looked, and behold two women were there.
Damsel: Then said the damsel to them, “With whom would you speak in this place?”
Christiana: Christiana answered, “We understand that this is a privileged place for those that are become pilgrims, and we now at this door are such; wherefore, we pray that we may be partakers of that for which we at this time are come. For the day, as you see, is very far spent, and we are loath tonight to go any farther.”
Damsel: Pray what may I call your name, that I may tell it to my Lord within?
Christiana: My name is Christiana. I was the wife of that pilgrim that some years ago did travel this way; and these be his four children. This maiden also is my companion, and is going on pilgrimage too.
Innocent: Then ran Innocent in (for that was her name), and said to those within, “Can you think who is at the door? There is Christiana and her children, and her companion, all waiting for entertaining here.”
Then they leaped for joy, and went and told their master. So he came to the door, and looking upon her, he said, “Are you that Christiana whom Christian, the good man, left behind him when he betook himself to a pilgrim’s life?”
Christiana: I am that woman that was so hard hearted as to slight my husband’s troubles, and that left him to go on in his journey alone, and these are his four children; but now I also am come, for I am convinced that no way is right but this.
Interpreter: Then is fulfilled that which also is written of the man that said to his son, “Go, work today in my vineyard.” And he said to his father, “I will not,” but afterwards repented and went.
Christiana: Then said Christiana, “So be it. Amen. God make it a true saying upon me; and grant that I may be found at the last of him in peace without spot and blameless.”
Interpreter: “But why do you stand thus at the door? Come in, you daughter of Abraham. We were talking about you just now, for tidings have come to us before how you have become a pilgrim. Come, children, come in; come, maiden, come in.” So he had them all into the house.
So when they were within, they were bidden to sit down and rest; the which when they had done, those that attended upon the pilgrims in the house came into the room to see them. And one smiled, and another smiled, and they all smiled for joy that Christiana had become a pilgrim. They also looked upon the boys; they stroked them over the faces with the hand, in token of their kind reception of them; they also carried it lovingly to Mercy, and bade them all welcome into their master’s house.
Notes and Commentary
The pilgrims now arrive at “a house which stood in the way, which house was built for the relief of pilgrims.” The House of the Interpreter is a familiar place in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian spent much time here in Part 1, learning lessons and seeing “excellent things.”
The House of the Interpreter is a splendid representation of God’s Word. Each room and object in the house points to profitable truths from the Bible. The Interpreter, who welcomes the pilgrims to “come in,” is the Holy Spirit, who illumines Scripture and helps us rightly understand and apply its truths.
Continue reading Notes and Commentary
The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.
Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2023 Ken Puls
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2