But now, in this valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way before he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him: his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back, or to stand his ground. But he considered again, that he had no armor for his back, and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts; therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground: for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand.
So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with scales like a fish, and they are his pride; he had wings like a dragon, and feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke; and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question him.
Apollyon: Whence came you, and whither are you bound?
Christian: I am come from the city of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and I am going to the city of Zion.
Apollyon: By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it. How is it, then, that thou hast run away from thy king? Were it not that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.
Christian: I was, indeed, born in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on; for the wages of sin is death, (Rom. 6:23); therefore, when I was come to years, I did, as other considerate persons do, look out if perhaps I might mend myself.
Apollyon: There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee; but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be content to go back, and what our country will afford I do here promise to give thee.
Christian: But I have let myself to another, even to the King of princes; and how can I with fairness go back with thee?
Apollyon: Thou hast done in this according to the proverb, “changed a bad for a worse;” but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me. Do thou so to, and all shall be well.
Christian: I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him; how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor.
- John Bunyan (1628-1688), The Pilgrim's Progress