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64

THEIR DREADFUI. COMBIT.

And with that he threw a fiaming dart at his breast; but CHRISTIAN had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.

Then did CHRISTIAN draw; for he saw it was time to bestir him; and APOLLYON as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail ; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, APOLLYON wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This made ChriSTIAN give a little back : APOLLYON, therefore, followed his work amain, and CHRISTIAN again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till CHRISTIAN was almost quite spent ;

for
you

must know, that ChriSTIAN, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker.

Then APOLLYON, spying his opportunity, began to gather up close to CHRISTIAN, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that CHRISTIAN'S sword flew out of his hand. Then said APOLLYON, I am sure of thee now: and with that he had almost pressed him to death ; so that CHRISTIAN began to despair of life. But, as God would have it, while APOLLYON was fetching his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, CHRISTIAN nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “ Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy ! " when I fall, I shall arise;"' and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian perceiving that made at him again, saying, “ Nay, in all these

Mic, vii, 8.

CHRISTIAN'S VICTORY AND THANKSGIVING.

65

things we are more than conquerors, through him « that loved us;}” and with that APOLLYON spread forth his dragon's wings and sped him away, that CHRISTIAN saw him no more.

In this combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard, as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring APOLLYON made all the time of the fight; he spake like a dragon :-and, on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from CHRISTIAN's heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded APOLLYON with his two edged sword; then indeed he did smile and look upward! But it was the dreadfullest fight that ever I saw.

So when the battle was over CHRISTIAN said, I will here give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, to him that did help me against APOLLYON. And so he did; saying,

• Great Beelzebub, the captain of this fiend,
Design'd my ruin; therefore to this end
He sent him harness'd out; and he with rage
That hellish was did fiercely me engage :
But blessed MICHAEL helped me, and I
By dint of sword did quickly make him fly :
Therefore to him let me give lasting praise
And thanks, and bless his holy name always.'

Then there came to him an hand with some of the leaves of the tree of life, the which CHRISTIAN took and applied to the wounds that he had received in the

i Rom. viii. 37–39. Jam. iv. 7.

K к

66

CHRISTIAN MEETS TWO MEN GOING BACK.

battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat down in that place to eat bread, and to drink of that bottle that was given him a little before : so being refreshed he addressed himself to his journey with his sword drawn in his hand; for he said, I know not but some other enemy may be at hand. But he met with no other affront from APOLLYON quite through the valley.

Now at the end of this valley was another, called the valley of the SHADOW OF DEATH, and CHRISTIAN must needs go through it, because the way to the Celestial City lay through the midst of it. Now this valley is a very solitary place. The prophet JEREMIAH thus describes it : “ A wilderness, a land of deserts and “ of pits; a land of drought, and of the shadow of death ; à land that no man,” but a Christian,

passeth through, and where no man dwelt."

Now here CHRISTIAN was worse put to it than in his fight with APOLLYON ; as by the sequel you shall

see.

I saw then in my dream, that when CHRISTIAN was got on the borders of the SHADOW OF DEATH, there met him two men, children of them that brought up an evil report of the good land, making haste to go back; to whom CHRISTIAN spake as follows :

Whither are you going?

They said, Back! back ! and we would have you to do so too, if either life or peace is prized by you.

Why, what's the matter? said CHRISTIAN.

Matter! said they, We were going that way as you are going, and went as far as we durst; and indeed we

* Jer. ii, a 2 Numb, xiii,

THEY IN VAIN ATTEMPT TO DISCOURAGE HIM.

67

were almost past coming back : for had we gone a little further we had not been here to bring the news to thiee.

But what have you met with? said CHRISTIAN.

Men. Why we were almost in the valley of the SHADOW OF DEATH;? but that by good hap we looked before us and saw the danger before we came to it.

But what hare you seen? said CHRISTIAN.

Men. Seen! why the valley itself, which is as dark as pitch : we also saw there the hobgoblins, satyrs, and dragons of the pit: we heard also in that valley a continual howling and yelling, as of people under unutterable misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons; and over that valley hang the discouraging clouds of confusion : death also doth always spread his wings over it.” In a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without order.

Then said CHRISTIAN, I perceive not yet, by what you have said, but that this is my way to the desired haven.

Men. Be it thy way; we will not choose it for ours.

So they parted ; and CHRISTIAN went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, for fcar lest he should be assaulted.

I saw then in my dream, so far as this valley reached there was on the right hand a very deep ditch; that ditch is it into which the blind hath led the blind in all ages, and have both there miserably perished. Again, behold, on the left hand there was a very

* Plal, xliv, 19. 2 Jub, iii. 5. 1. 22.

68

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

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dangerous quag, into which if even a good man falls he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on: into this quag king DAVID once did fall, and had, no doubt, therein been smothered, had not he that is able plucked him out.

The path-way was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good CHRISTIAN was the more put to it; for when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other ; also when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch, Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly : for besides the danger mentioned above, the path-way was here so dark, that oft-times when he lifted up his foot to go forward he knew not where, nor upon what, he should set it next,

About the midst of the valley, I perceived the mouth of hell to be, and it stood also hard by the way-side : Now, thought CHRISTIAN, what shall I do? And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises, (things that cared not for CHRISTIAN's sword, as did APOLLYON before) that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake himself to another weapon, called all-prayer : so he cried, in my hearing, “O Lord I beseech thee “ deliver my soul?.” Thus he went on a great while, yet still the flames would be reaching towards him : also he heard doleful voices, and rushing to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the streets. This frightful

1 Pral. lxix. 14 2 Pf. cxvi. 4. Ephes. vi. 18.

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