Editor's note:

Earlier in The Pilgrim’s Progress, the protagonist Christian meets Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. Apollyon is the prince and god of the City of Destruction, which Christian has fled. The two fight in the Valley, and Christian conquers his foe.

Later, though, Christian meets with his old friend Faithful who also journeyed through the Valley of Humiliation on the road to Zion. Instead of battling a fiend, Faithful met a different kind of enemy—one more sly and no less dangerous than Apollyon. 

Here is the short story of how discontent tries to lead the faithful away from humility.

—Renovaré Team

CHRISTIAN: But pray tell me, Did you meet nobody in the Valley of Humility?

FAITHFUL: Yes, I met with one Discontent, who would willingly have persuaded me to go back again with him; his reason was, for that the valley was altogether without honour. He told me, moreover, that there to go was the way to disobey all my friends, as Pride, Arrogance, Self-conceit, Worldly-glory, with others, who he knew, as he said, would be very much offended, if I made such a fool of myself as to wade through this valley.

CHRISTIAN: Well, and how did you answer him?

Faithful’s answer to Discontent

FAITHFUL: I told him, that although all these that he named might claim kindred of me, and that rightly, for indeed they were my relations according to the flesh; yet since I became a pilgrim, they have disowned me, as I also have rejected them; and therefore they were to me now no more than if they had never been of my lineage.

I told him, moreover, that as to this valley, he had quite misrepresented the thing; for before honour is humility, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Therefore, said I, I had rather go through this valley to the honour that was so accounted by the wisest, than choose that which he esteemed most worthy our affections.

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Image: Christian Descending Into The Valley Of Humiliation by Samuel Palmer (1848); public domain via WikiArt.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is in the public domain, via Project Gutenberg.