Bunyan falls asleep on the job. Again.
That Bunyan, he’s a clever one. First he places the entire story in a dream, then he reveals dreams within the dream. It’s enough to make a sleeping person wake up, but more likely to tempt this semi-conscious reader into a few winks.
The dreams in Part 2 have really been jumping out at me. Both Christiana and Mercy have experienced revelations in their dreams. In fact, Christiana sets out on her journey partially because of the images of her sin and those of her dear husband amongst the saints in heaven.
(Stupid Question Tangent: Who is Secret? And don’t tell me you aren’t allowed to say. Is he a Pastor, a door-to-door evangelist, an angel? My only leaning toward the angel answer is that she refers to him as a “messenger” when telling Mrs. Timorous about him.)
Mercy’s dream occurs while they’re on the Straight and Narrow, and apparently she’s a bit of a sleep-laugher. Better than a sleep-walker, I suppose. Her nighttime vision was very similar to Christiana’s. First she was confronted with her sin and then saw the beauties that await in heaven. Both demonstrate little miniatures of law and gospel.
But here’s the quote from Christiana about Mercy’s dream that made me start wondering about Bunyan’s use of dreams:
God speaks once, yea twice, yet Man perceiveth it not, in a Dream, in a Vision of the Night, when deep Sleep falleth upon men, in slumbering upon the bed. We need not, when abed, lie awake to talk with God; he can visit us while we sleep, and cause us then to hear his Voice. Our Heart oftentimes wakes when we sleep, and God can speak to that, either by Words, by Proverbs, by Signs, and Similitudes, as well as if one was awake.
Is this allegorical, or does Bunyan believe that God still talks to his children in their dreams? While Christian came to know his sin and the Way by means of the Book and the guidance of Evangelist, Christiana and Mercy have never been directed to God’s written word.
I certainly have more questions and open-ended thoughts here than answers and explanations, so do you have any?