Pilgrim’s Progress – What happened at Vanity Fair


Scanned by David P. Landow, The Victorian Web - "Christian and Faithful beaten at Vanity Fair" by David and William Bell Scott. 1857, Wood engraving, 3 3/16 x 5 1/4 inches. Illustration for Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, facing p. 118.

Scanned by David P. Landow, The Victorian Web – “Christian and Faithful beaten at Vanity Fair” by David and William Bell Scott. 1857, Wood engraving. Illustration for Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.


With grateful acknowledgement to Project Gutenberg

Please forgive occasional blips in appearance…  


[…Christian and Faithful meet Evangelist on the narrow way]:


{208} Thus they went on talking of what they had seen by the way,
and so made that way easy which would otherwise, no doubt, have
been tedious to them; for now they went through a wilderness.

{209} Now, when they were got almost quite out of this wilderness,
Faithful chanced to cast his eye back, and espied one coming after
them, and he knew him. Oh! said Faithful to his brother, who
comes yonder? Then Christian looked, and said, It is my good friend
Evangelist. Ay, and my good friend too, said Faithful, for it was
he that set me in the way to the gate. Now was Evangelist come up
to them, and thus saluted them:

{210} EVAN. Peace be with you, dearly beloved; and peace be to your

CHR. Welcome, welcome, my good Evangelist, the sight of
thy countenance brings to my remembrance thy ancient kindness and
unwearied labouring for my eternal good.

FAITH. And a thousand times welcome, said good Faithful. Thy
company, O sweet Evangelist, how desirable it is to us poor pilgrims!

EVAN. Then said Evangelist, How hath it fared with you, my friends,
since the time of our last parting? What have you met with, and
how have you behaved yourselves?

{211} Then Christian and Faithful told him of all things that had
happened to them in the way; and how, and with what difficulty,
they had arrived at that place.

{212} EVAN. Right glad am I, said Evangelist, not that you have
met with trials, but that you have been victors; and for that you
have, notwithstanding many weaknesses, continued in the way to this
very day.

I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for mine own sake
and yours. I have sowed, and you have reaped: and the day is
coming, when both he that sowed and they that reaped shall rejoice
together; that is, if you hold out: “for in due season ye shall
reap, if ye faint not.” [John 4:36, Gal. 6:9] The crown is before
you, and it is an incorruptible one; so run, that you may obtain
it. [1 Cor. 9:24-27] Some there be that set out for this crown,
and, after they have gone far for it, another comes in, and takes
it from them: hold fast, therefore, that you have; let no man
take your crown. [Rev. 3:11] You are not yet out of the gun-shot
of the devil; you have not resisted unto blood, striving against
sin; let the kingdom be always before you, and believe steadfastly
concerning things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this
side the other world get within you; and, above all, look well to
your own hearts, and to the lusts thereof, “for they are deceitful
above all things, and desperately wicked”; set your faces like a
flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.

{213} CHR. Then Christian thanked him for his exhortation; but
told him, withal, that they would have him speak further to them
for their help the rest of the way, and the rather, for that they
well knew that he was a prophet, and could tell them of things that
might happen unto them, and also how they might resist and overcome
them. To which request Faithful also consented. So Evangelist
began as followeth:–

EVAN. My sons, you have heard, in the words of the truth of
the gospel, that you must, through many tribulations, enter into
the kingdom of heaven. And, again, that in every city bonds and
afflictions abide in you; and therefore you cannot expect that you
should go long on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or
other. You have found something of the truth of these testimonies
upon you already, and more will immediately follow; for now, as
you see, you are almost out of this wilderness, and therefore you
will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you;
and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies, who will
strain hard but they will kill you; and be you sure that one or
both of you must seal the testimony which you hold, with blood; but
be you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of

{214} He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural,
and his pain perhaps great, he will yet have the better of his
fellow; not only because he will be arrived at the Celestial City
soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that the other
will meet with in the rest of his journey. But when you are come
to the town, and shall find fulfilled what I have here related,
then remember your friend, and quit yourselves like men, and commit
the keeping of your souls to your God in well-doing, as unto a
faithful Creator.

{215} Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the
wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of
that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called
Vanity Fair: it is kept all the year long. It beareth the name
of Vanity Fair because the town where it is kept is lighter than
vanity; and, also because all that is there sold, or that cometh
thither, is vanity. As is the saying of the wise, “all that cometh
is vanity.” [Eccl. 1; 2:11,17; 11:8; Isa. 11:17]

{216} This fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient
standing; I will show you the original of it.

Almost five thousand years agone, there were pilgrims walking to
the Celestial City, as these two honest persons are: and Beelzebub,
Apollyon, and Legion, with their companions, perceiving by the
path that the pilgrims made, that their way to the city lay through
this town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a fair; a fair
wherein, should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last
all the year long: therefore at this fair are all such merchandise
sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles,
countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts,
as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants,
lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones,
and what not.

And, moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen juggling
cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of
every kind.

Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders,
adulteries, false swearers, and that of a blood-red colour.

{217} And as in other fairs of less moment, there are the several
rows and streets, under their proper names, where such and such
wares are vended; so here likewise you have the proper places,
rows, streets, (viz. countries and kingdoms), where the wares of
this fair are soonest to be found. Here is the Britain Row, the
French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where
several sorts of vanities are to be sold. But, as in other fairs,
some one commodity is as the chief of all the fair, so the ware
of Rome and her merchandise is greatly promoted in this fair; only
our English nation, with some others, have taken a dislike thereat.

{218} Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just
through this town where this lusty fair is kept; and he that will
go to the city, and yet not go through this town, must needs go out
of the world. [1 Cor. 5:10] The Prince of princes himself, when
here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon a
fair day too; yea, and as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief lord
of this fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities; yea, would
have made him lord of the fair, would he but have done him reverence
as he went through the town. [Matt. 4:8, Luke 4:5-7] Yea, because
he was such a person of honour, Beelzebub had him from street to
street, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a little
time, that he might, if possible, allure the Blessed One to cheapen
and buy some of his vanities; but he had no mind to the merchandise,
and therefore left the town, without laying out so much as one
farthing upon these vanities. This fair, therefore, is an ancient
thing, of long standing, and a very great fair.

{219} Now these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this
fair. Well, so they did: but, behold, even as they entered into
the fair, all the people in the fair were moved, and the town
itself as it were in a hubbub about them; and that for several
reasons: for–

{220} First, The pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment
as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair.
The people, therefore, of the fair, made a great gazing upon them:
some said they were fools, some they were bedlams, and some they
are outlandish men. [1 Cor. 2:7-8]

{221} Secondly, And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did
likewise at their speech; for few could understand what they said;
they naturally spoke the language of Canaan, but they that kept
the fair were the men of this world; so that, from one end of the
fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other.

{222} Thirdly, But that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers
was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares; they
cared not so much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them
to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, Turn
away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and look upwards, signifying
that their trade and traffic was in heaven. [Ps. 119:37, Phil.

{223} One chanced mockingly, beholding the carriage of the men, to
say unto them, What will ye buy? But they, looking gravely upon
him, answered, “We buy the truth.” [Prov. 23:23] At that there
was an occasion taken to despise the men the more; some mocking,
some taunting, some speaking reproachfully, and some calling upon
others to smite them. At last things came to a hubbub and great
stir in the fair, insomuch that all order was confounded. Now was
word presently brought to the great one of the fair, who quickly
came down, and deputed some of his most trusty friends to take these
men into examination, about whom the fair was almost overturned. So
the men were brought to examination; and they that sat upon them,
asked them whence they came, whither they went, and what they did
there, in such an unusual garb? The men told them that they were
pilgrims and strangers in the world, and that they were going to
their own country, which was the heavenly Jerusalem, [Heb. 11:13-16]
and that they had given no occasion to the men of the town, nor
yet to the merchandisers, thus to abuse them, and to let them in
their journey, except it was for that, when one asked them what
they would buy, they said they would buy the truth. But they that
were appointed to examine them did not believe them to be any other
than bedlams and mad, or else such as came to put all things into
a confusion in the fair. Therefore they took them and beat them,
and besmeared them with dirt, and then put them into the cage, that
they might be made a spectacle to all the men of the fair.

Behold Vanity Fair! the Pilgrims there
Are chain’d and stand beside:
Even so it was our Lord pass’d here,
And on Mount Calvary died.

{224} There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the
objects of any man’s sport, or malice, or revenge, the great one of
the fair laughing still at all that befell them. But the men being
patient, and not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise,
blessing, and good words for bad, and kindness for injuries done,
some men in the fair that were more observing, and less prejudiced
than the rest, began to check and blame the baser sort for their
continual abuses done by them to the men; they, therefore, in
angry manner, let fly at them again, counting them as bad as the
men in the cage, and telling them that they seemed confederates, and
should be made partakers of their misfortunes. The other replied
that, for aught they could see, the men were quiet, and sober, and
intended nobody any harm; and that there were many that traded in
their fair that were more worthy to be put into the cage, yea, and
pillory too, than were the men they had abused. Thus, after divers
words had passed on both sides, the men behaving themselves all
the while very wisely and soberly before them, they fell to some
blows among themselves, and did harm one to another. Then were
these two poor men brought before their examiners again, and there
charged as being guilty of the late hubbub that had been in the
fair. So they beat them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them,
and led them in chains up and down the fair, for an example and a
terror to others, lest any should speak in their behalf, or join
themselves unto them. But Christian and Faithful behaved themselves
yet more wisely, and received the ignominy and shame that was
cast upon them, with so much meekness and patience, that it won to
their side, though but few in comparison of the rest, several of
the men in the fair. This put the other party yet into greater
rage, insomuch that they concluded the death of these two men.
Wherefore they threatened, that the cage nor irons should serve
their turn, but that they should die, for the abuse they had done,
and for deluding the men of the fair.

Then were they remanded to the cage again, until further order
should be taken with them. So they put them in, and made their
feet fast in the stocks.

{225} Here, therefore, they called again to mind what they had heard
from their faithful friend Evangelist, and were the more confirmed
in their way and sufferings by what he told them would happen to
them. They also now comforted each other, that whose lot it was
to suffer, even he should have the best of it; therefore each man
secretly wished that he might have that preferment: but committing
themselves to the all-wise disposal of Him that ruleth all things,
with much content, they abode in the condition in which they were,
until they should be otherwise disposed of.

{226} Then a convenient time being appointed, they brought them
forth to their trial, in order to their condemnation. When the
time was come, they were brought before their enemies and arraigned.
The judge’s name was Lord Hate-good. Their indictment was one and
the same in substance, though somewhat varying in form, the contents
whereof were this:–

{227} “That they were enemies to and disturbers of their trade;
that they had made commotions and divisions in the town, and had
won a party to their own most dangerous opinions, in contempt of
the law of their prince.”

Now, FAITHFUL, play the man, speak for thy God:
Fear not the wicked’s malice; nor their rod:
Speak boldly, man, the truth is on thy side:
Die for it, and to life in triumph ride.

{228} Faithful’s answer for himself

Then Faithful began to answer, that he had only set himself against
that which hath set itself against Him that is higher than the
highest. And, said he, as for disturbance, I make none, being
myself a man of peace; the parties that were won to us, were won
by beholding our truth and innocence, and they are only turned from
the worse to the better. And as to the king you talk of, since he
is Beelzebub, the enemy of our Lord, I defy him and all his angels.

{229} Then proclamation was made, that they that had aught to say
for their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar, should
forthwith appear and give in their evidence. So there came in
three witnesses, to wit, Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank. They
were then asked if they knew the prisoner at the bar; and what they
had to say for their lord the king against him.

{230} Then stood forth Envy, and said to this effect: My Lord, I
have known this man a long time, and will attest upon my oath before
this honourable bench, that he is–

JUDGE. Hold! Give him his oath. (So they sware him.) Then he said–

ENVY. My Lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is
one of the vilest men in our country. He neither regardeth prince
nor people, law nor custom; but doth all that he can to possess all
men with certain of his disloyal notions, which he in the general
calls principles of faith and holiness. And, in particular, I
heard him once myself affirm that Christianity and the customs of
our town of Vanity were diametrically opposite, and could not be
reconciled. By which saying, my Lord, he doth at once not only
condemn all our laudable doings, but us in the doing of them.

JUDGE. Then did the Judge say to him, Hast thou any more to say?

ENVY. My Lord, I could say much more, only I would not be tedious
to the court. Yet, if need be, when the other gentlemen have given
in their evidence, rather than anything shall be wanting that will
despatch him, I will enlarge my testimony against him. So he was
bid to stand by. Then they called Superstition, and bid him look
upon the prisoner. They also asked, what he could say for their
lord the king against him. Then they sware him; so he began.

{231} SUPER. My Lord, I have no great acquaintance with this man,
nor do I desire to have further knowledge of him; however, this I
know, that he is a very pestilent fellow, from some discourse that,
the other day, I had with him in this town; for then, talking with
him, I heard him say, that our religion was naught, and such by
which a man could by no means please God. Which sayings of his, my
Lord, your Lordship very well knows, what necessarily thence will
follow, to wit, that we do still worship in vain, are yet in our
sins, and finally shall be damned; and this is that which I have
to say.

{232} Then was Pickthank sworn, and bid say what he knew, in behalf
of their lord the king, against the prisoner at the bar.

Pickthank’s testimony

PICK. My Lord, and you gentlemen all, This fellow I have known of a
long time, and have heard him speak things that ought not to be spoke;
for he hath railed on our noble prince Beelzebub, and hath spoken
contemptibly of his honourable friends, whose names are the Lord Old
Man, the Lord Carnal Delight, the Lord Luxurious, the Lord Desire
of Vain Glory, my old Lord Lechery, Sir Having Greedy, with all
the rest of our nobility; and he hath said, moreover, That if all
men were of his mind, if possible, there is not one of these noblemen
should have any longer a being in this town. Besides, he hath not
been afraid to rail on you, my Lord, who are now appointed to be
his judge, calling you an ungodly villain, with many other such
like vilifying terms, with which he hath bespattered most of the
gentry of our town.

{233} When this Pickthank had told his tale, the Judge directed his
speech to the prisoner at the bar, saying, Thou runagate, heretic,
and traitor, hast thou heard what these honest gentlemen have
witnessed against thee?

FAITH. May I speak a few words in my own defence?

JUDGE. Sirrah! sirrah! thou deservest to live no longer, but to
be slain immediately upon the place; yet, that all men may see our
gentleness towards thee, let us hear what thou, vile runagate, hast
to say.

{234} Faithful’s defence of himself

FAITH. 1. I say, then, in answer to what Mr. Envy hath spoken,
I never said aught but this, That what rule, or laws, or customs,
or people, were flat against the Word of God, are diametrically
opposite to Christianity. If I have said amiss in this, convince
me of my error, and I am ready here before you to make my recantation.

{235} 2. As to the second, to wit, Mr. Superstition, and his charge
against me, I said only this, That in the worship of God there is
required a Divine faith; but there can be no Divine faith without
a Divine revelation of the will of God. Therefore, whatever
is thrust into the worship of God that is not agreeable to Divine
revelation, cannot be done but by a human faith, which faith will
not be profitable to eternal life.

{236} 3. As to what Mr. Pickthank hath said, I say (avoiding terms,
as that I am said to rail, and the like) that the prince of this
town, with all the rabblement, his attendants, by this gentleman
named, are more fit for a being in hell, than in this town and
country: and so, the Lord have mercy upon me!

{237} Then the Judge called to the jury (who all this while stood
by, to hear and observe): Gentlemen of the jury, you see this man
about whom so great an uproar hath been made in this town. You
have also heard what these worthy gentlemen have witnessed against
him. Also you have heard his reply and confession. It lieth now
in your breasts to hang him or save his life; but yet I think meet
to instruct you into our law.

{238} There was an Act made in the days of Pharaoh the Great,
servant to our prince, that lest those of a contrary religion should
multiply and grow too strong for him, their males should be thrown
into the river. [Exo. 1:22] There was also an Act made in the
days of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, another of his servants, that
whosoever would not fall down and worship his golden image, should
be thrown into a fiery furnace. [Dan. 3:6] There was also an Act
made in the days of Darius, that whoso, for some time, called upon
any god but him, should be cast into the lions’ den. [Dan. 6]
Now the substance of these laws this rebel has broken, not only
in thought, (which is not to be borne), but also in word and deed;
which must therefore needs be intolerable.

{239} For that of Pharaoh, his law was made upon a supposition, to
prevent mischief, no crime being yet apparent; but here is a crime
apparent. For the second and third, you see he disputeth against
our religion; and for the treason he hath confessed, he deserveth
to die the death.

{240} Then went the jury out, whose names were, Mr. Blind-man, Mr.
No-good, Mr. Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr.
High-mind, Mr. Enmity, Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, and
Mr. Implacable; who every one gave in his private verdict against
him among themselves, and afterwards unanimously concluded to bring
him in guilty before the Judge. And first, among themselves, Mr.
Blind-man, the foreman, said, I see clearly that this man is a
heretic. Then said Mr. No-good, Away with such a fellow from the
earth. Ay, said Mr. Malice, for I hate the very looks of him.
Then said Mr. Love-lust, I could never endure him. Nor I, said Mr.
Live-loose, for he would always be condemning my way. Hang him,
hang him, said Mr. Heady. A sorry scrub, said Mr. High-mind. My
heart riseth against him, said Mr. Enmity. He is a rogue, said
Mr. Liar. Hanging is too good for him, said Mr. Cruelty. Let us
despatch him out of the way, said Mr. Hate-light. Then said Mr.
Implacable, Might I have all the world given me, I could not be
reconciled to him; therefore, let us forthwith bring him in guilty
of death. And so they did; therefore he was presently condemned
to be had from the place where he was, to the place from whence
he came, and there to be put to the most cruel death that could be

{241} They therefore brought him out, to do with him according to
their law; and, first, they scourged him, then they buffeted him,
then they lanced his flesh with knives; after that, they stoned
him with stones, then pricked him with their swords; and, last of
all, they burned him to ashes at the stake. Thus came Faithful to
his end.

{242} Now I saw that there stood behind the multitude a chariot
and a couple of horses, waiting for Faithful, who (so soon as his
adversaries had despatched him) was taken up into it, and straightway
was carried up through the clouds, with sound of trumpet, the
nearest way to the Celestial Gate.

Brave FAITHFUL, bravely done in word and deed;
Judge, witnesses, and jury have, instead
Of overcoming thee, but shown their rage:
When they are dead, thou’lt live from age to age*.

*In the New Heaven and New Earth. {footnote from one edition}

{243} But as for Christian, he had some respite, and was remanded
back to prison. So he there remained for a space; but He that
overrules all things, having the power of their rage in his own
hand, so wrought it about, that Christian for that time escaped
them, and went his way. And as he went, he sang, saying–

Well, Faithful, thou hast faithfully profest
Unto thy Lord; with whom thou shalt be blest,
When faithless ones, with all their vain delights,
Are crying out under their hellish plights:
Sing, Faithful, sing, and let thy name survive;
For though they kill’d thee, thou art yet alive!

{244} Now I saw in my dream, that Christian went not forth alone,
for there was one whose name was Hopeful (being made so by the
beholding of Christian and Faithful in their words and behaviour,
in their sufferings at the fair), who joined himself unto him, and,
entering into a brotherly covenant, told him that he would be his
companion. Thus, one died to bear testimony to the truth, and
another rises out of his ashes, to be a companion with Christian
in his pilgrimage. This Hopeful also told Christian, that there
were many more of the men in the fair, that would take their time
and follow after.


4 thoughts on “Pilgrim’s Progress – What happened at Vanity Fair

  1. It’s a timeless picture of faithful believers in our sinful world. There’s a really good publication of The Pilgrim’s Progress in modern English with annotations of scripture for each chapter. It’s one of the books in the “Pure Gold Classics” series. Christianaudio also has a really well done audio recording. I got it as a free audio book for registering with Christianaudio. You might already know that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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