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Christiana Prepares for Her Journey

Christiana and her children

Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentleman, as he told me this story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He moreover, proceeded and said, “So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them, “My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the death of your father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have also been much affected with the thoughts of mine own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriages also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both my own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.”

“The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement that this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone to the gate that leads to the celestial country; that we may see your father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.”

Then did her children burst out into tears for joy that the heart of their mother was so inclined. So their visitor bade them farewell: and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.

Notes and Commentary

In Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christiana made a foolish decision to remain in the City of Destruction. She hardened her heart (as well as the hearts of her children) against her husband and refused to follow him on his pilgrimage to the Celestial City. But now in Part 2 her heart is fearful and broken. She fears judgment if she stays. She fears danger if she leaves her home to embark on a journey. Yet she has a persistent hope that she will one day share the same heavenly reward that Christian has attained. Her hope has been strengthened by a visit from Secret (the hidden work of the Spirit upon the heart). And now she holds a Letter close to her heart (assurance that she will be received at the gates to the Celestial City with joy).

Christiana’s sorrows, fears, and hopes are encouraging evidence that grace is stirring in her heart. But sorrows, fears, and hopes are all for naught if she remains in Destruction. In themselves, they provide no refuge from the coming judgment. If she and her family are to be saved, they must “pack up and be gone.” They must find “the gate that leads to the celestial country.” They must find Christ!

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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.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

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Christiana’s Dreams

Christian praising with the harp in heaven

The next night Christiana had a dream; and behold, she saw as if a broad parchment was opened before her, in which were recorded the sum of her ways; and the times, as she thought, looked very black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her sleep, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner!” 

And the little children heard her.

After this she thought she saw two very ill favored ones standing by her bedside, and saying, “What shall we do with this woman; for she cries out for mercy waking and sleeping? If she be suffered to go on as she begins, we shall lose her as we have lost her husband. Wherefore we must, by one way or other, seek to take her off from the thoughts of what shall be hereafter; else all the world cannot help it but she will become a pilgrim.”

Now she awoke in a great sweat, also a trembling was upon her; but after awhile she fell to sleeping again. And then she thought she saw Christian her husband in a place of bliss, among many immortals, with a harp in his hand, standing and playing upon it before One that sat on a throne, with a rainbow about his head. She saw also as if he bowed his head with his face to the paved work that was under the Prince’s feet, saying, “I heartily thank my Lord and King for bringing of me into this place.” Then shouted a company of them that stood around about, and harped with their harps; but no man living could tell what they said but Christian and his companions.

Notes and Commentary

Bunyan relates the entirety of The Pilgrim’s Progress, both Part 1 and Part 2, “under the similitude of a dream.” But now he uses dreams within his story to give us more insight into Christiana’s distress. As she lies down to sleep, her thoughts are unsettled. Though grace has begun to stir in her heart, she is still troubled with guilt and fears.

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, 2021 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

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page