He had them then into another room where was a hen and chickens, and bid them to observe awhile. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink; and every time she drank, she lifted up her head and her eyes towards heaven. “See,” said he, “what this little chick doth; and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by receiving them with looking up. Yet again, said he, “observe and look.” So they gave heed, and perceived that the hen did walk in a fourfold method towards her chickens.
1. She had a common call; and that she has all day long.
2. She had a special call; and that she had but sometimes.
3. She had a brooding note.
And, 4. She had an outcry.
Interpreter: “Now,” said he, “compare this hen to your King, and these chickens to his obedient ones. For answerable to her, himself has his methods, which he walks in towards his people. By his common call, he gives nothing; by his special call, he always has something to give; he has also a brooding voice for them that are under his wing; and he has an outcry, to give the alarm when he sees the enemy come. I choose, my darlings, to lead you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they are easy for you.”
Christiana: “And, sir,” said Christiana, “pray let us see some more.”
Notes and Commentary
Now the Interpreter shows the pilgrims a room in which they see a hen and her chicks. They watch awhile and observe how the hen calls and cares for her brood. Unlike the previous room, where the meaning of the lesson was not immediately apparent, this room offers a lesson that is “easy” for the pilgrims to understand. Christiana is a mother with children of her own. Mercy has joined the family to help them on the journey. They readily understand the need for watchfulness, nurture, and care.
The room with the hen and her chicks teaches us how God sends forth His mercies as well as how we are to receive His mercies. God’s mercies come to us through His Word—His written Word (the Scriptures) and the incarnate Word (the Lord Jesus, to whom the written Word points as the only Way of salvation).
The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress is public domain.
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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.