AS I WALKED THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OF THIS
world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down
in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed,
and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place,
with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden
upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein;
and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to
contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?
this plight, therefore, he went home and refrained himself as long as
he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress;
but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased.
Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus
he began to talk to them: O my dear wife, said he, and you the children
of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a
burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that
this our city will be burned with fire from heaven; in which fearful
overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall
miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of
escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered. At this his relations
were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to
them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had
got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping
that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed.
But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead
of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So, when the morning was
come, they would know how he did. He told them, Worse and worse: he also
set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened. They also
thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriages to him;
sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes
they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to
his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own
misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading,
and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.
I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as
he was wont, reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind;
and, as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, What shall
I do to be saved?
saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet
he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to
go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, who
asked, Wherefore dost thou cry? He answered, Sir, I perceive by the book
in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to
judgment; and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to
do the second.
Christian no sooner leaves the World but meets
Evangelist, who lovingly him greets
With tidings of another: and doth shew
Him how to mount to that from this below