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God's allotments in the heart of the Christian, will be the degree of ease, security, or delightfulness with which this Valley of Humiliation will be passed through. In going down into this Valley, Christian is represented as having had some slips, though accompanied by Discretion, Piety, Charity and Prudence; and these slips are stated in the second part to have been the cause of his meeting with Apollyon ; “for they that get slips there, must look for coinbats here; and the Scripture saith, He that exalteth himself shall be abased, but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” If those slips were the fruit of discontent and self-exaltation, then it is evident that Christian needed the sore buffets of the Adversary, or something equivalent, to humble him ; just as unto Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to preserve him from being exalted by the abundance of the revelations made unto him. But for whatever reason, the Pilgrims under Mr. Greatheart found this Valley of Humiliation to be one of the most delightful places in all their pilgrimage.
There is also another character, exquisitely drawn by Bunyan in his Second Part, thật of good Mr. Fearing, who was so taken with the beauty, peacefulness, and security of this pleasant Valley, that he would fain have spent his whole life there; it suited his deadness to the world, and his timid, retiring spirit, so aloof it was from all the cares and vanities of life, and all the temptations of the devil. “ Yea, I think there was a kind of sympathy betwixt that valley and him; for I never saw
him better in all his pilgrimage than he was in that valley. Here he would lie down, embrace the ground, and kiss the very flowers that grew in this valley. He would now be up every morning by break of day, tracing and walking to and fro in the Valley. But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man : not for that he had any inclination to go back ; that he always abhorred; but he was ready to die for fear. Oh the hobgoblins will have me! the hobgoblins will have me! cried he ; and I could not beat him out on't. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us. But this I took very great notice of, that this valley was as quiet when we went through it as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose those enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle till Mr. Fearing had passed
Now it is manifest that however pleasant the Valley of Humiliation may be in itself, yet if a man may bring discontent in his own heart, and a proud mind into it, it will be filled, to him, with enemies, and Apollyon will be very sure to assault him there. But the passage of Christiana, Mercy and the children, through this valley was, as I have said, most delightful. And in the description of it, as they found it, Bunyan has, if possible, exceeded himself in beauty, that description being one of the finest chapters in either part of the pilgrimage, and sprinkled with snatches of true
poetry. “Christiana thought she heard in a grove, a little way off on the right hand, a most curious melodious note, with words much like these :
Through all my life thy favor is
So frankly shown to me,
My dwelling-place shall be.
And listening still, she thought she heard another answer it, saying,
For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is forever sure :
And shall fron age to age endure.
So Christiana asked Prudence who it was that made those curious notes. They are, said she, our country birds ; they sing these notes but seldom, except it be in the spring, when the flowers appear, and the sun shines warm, and then you may hear them all day long. I often, said she, go out to hear them; we also ofttimes keep them tame in our house. They are very fine company for us when we are melancholy; also, they make the woods and groves and solitary places desirous to be in.”
“ We need not be so afraid of this Valley, said Mr. Greatheart, for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it for ourselves. The common people, when they hear that some frightful thing has befallen such a one in such a place, are of opinion that that place is haunted by some foul fiend or evil spirit; when, alas, it is for the fruit of their own doing that such things do befall them there. But this Valley of Humiliation is the best
and most fruitful piece of ground in all these parts. It is meadow ground, and in the summer time a man may feast his eyes with that which will be delightful to him. Behold how green this valley is, also, how beautiful with lilies! I have known many laboring men, that have got good estates in the Valley of Humiliation; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble ; for indeed it is a very faithful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls. Some also have wished that the next way to their Father's house were here, that they might be troubled no more with hills or mountains to go over ; but the way is the way, and there is an end.
Now, as they were going along and talking, they spied a boy feeding his father's sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a fresh and wellfavored countenance; and as he sat by himself, he sang.
Hark, said Mr. Greatheart, to what the Shepherd's boy saith : so they hearkened, and he said,
He that is down needs fear no fall,
He that is low no pride:
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much;
Because thou savest such.
Fulness to such a burden is
Who go on pilgrimage.
Is best, from age to age.
Then said their guide, Do you hear him? I will dare to say this boy lives a merrier life, and wears
more of that herb called hearts-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet."
In this Valley, says Bunyan, our Lord formerly had his country-house; he loved much to be here ; he loved also to walk these meadows, for he found the air was pleasant. Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise and from the hurryings of this life; all states are full of noise and confusion ; only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be so let and hindered in his contemplation, as in other places he is apt to be. This is a valley that nobody loves to walk in but those that love a pilgrim's life. And though Christian had the hard hap to meet here with Apollyon, and to enter with him in a brisk encounter ; yet, I must tell you that in former times men have met with angels here, have found pearls here, and have in this place found the words of life.
Mercy thought herself as well in this Valley as ever she had been in all their journey. “The place methinks, suits with my spirit. I love to be in such places, where there is no rattling with coaches, no rumbling with wheels ; methinks here one may, without much molestation, be thinking what he is, whence he came, what he has done, and to what the King has called him. Here one may think and break the heart, and melt in one's spirit. They that go rightly through this valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain, that God sends down from heaven upon them that are there, also filleth the pools. To this man will I look, saith the King, even to him that is humble, and