The Power of the Dog

Barking Dog

So at last he came down to them again; and Mercy fell to the ground on her face before him, and worshipped, and said, “Let my Lord accept of the sacrifice of praise which I now offer unto him with the calves of my lips.”

So he said unto her, “Peace be to thee: stand up.”

But she continued upon her face and said, “You are Righteous, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You of Your judgments: why do You keep so cruel a dog in Your yard, at the sight of which such women and children as we are ready to fly from Your gate for fear?”

He answered, and said, “That dog has another owner; he also is kept close in another man’s ground, only my pilgrims hear his barking. He belongs to the castle which you see there at a distance, but can come up to the walls of this place. He has frightened many an honest pilgrim from worse to better by the great voice of his roaring. Indeed, he that owns him does not keep him of any good will to Me or mine; but with intent to keep the pilgrims from coming to Me, and that they may be afraid to knock at this gate for entrance. Sometimes also he has broken out, and has worried some that I love; but I take all at present patiently. I also give my pilgrims timely help; so that they are not delivered up to his power, to do to them what his doggish nature would prompt him to. But what! My purchased one, I trow, had you known never so much beforehand, you wouldst not have been afraid of a dog. The beggars that go from door to door will, rather than they will lose a supposed alms, run the hazard of the bawling, barking, and biting too, of a dog; and shall a dog, a dog in another man’s yard, a dog whose barking I turn to the profit of pilgrims, keep any from coming to Me? I deliver them from the lions, their darling from the power of the dog.”

Then said Mercy, “I confess my ignorance; I spoke what I did not understand: I acknowledge that You do all things well.”

Then Christiana began to talk of their journey, and to inquire after the way. So he fed them, and washed their feet; and set them in the way of his steps, according as he had dealt with her husband before.

Notes and Commentary

The pilgrims are relieved and grateful that they have gained entrance to the Gate. But Mercy is perplexed. She remembers her distress and the peril that caused her to faint just outside the Gate and she cannot make sense of what she experienced. The Wicket Gate is a place of hope and refuge for needy pilgrims. How then can it also be a place of such danger and trepidation? She is intent on seeking an answer from the Gate Keeper. 

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, 2022 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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