Here’s a brilliant passage of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
“But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation. It is the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all these parts. It is fat ground, and consisteth much in meadows; and if a man was to come here in the summer-time as we do now, if he knew not anything before thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that that would be delightful to him. Behold how green this valley is, also how beautiful with lilies. I have also known many laboring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humilation. (For God resisteth the proud, and gives more grace to the humble.) For, indeed, it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls. Some also have wished that the next way to their Father’s house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either hills or mountains to go over; but the way is the way, and there’s an end.
Now as they were going along and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favored countenance; and as he sat by himself, he sang,
“He that is down needs fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it, or much:
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because thou savest such.
Fullness to such a burden is
That go on pilgrimage;
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
Is best from age to age.
Then said the guide, Do you hear him? I will dare to say that this boy lives a merrier life,and wears more of that herb called heart’s-ease in his bosom than he that is clad in silk and velvet; but we will proceed in our discourse.
In this valley, our Lord formerly had his country-house; he loved much to be here; he loved also to walk these meadows, for he found the air was pleasant. Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise and from the hurryings of this life. All states are full of noise and confusion, only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be so let and hindered in this contemplation as in other places he is apt to be. This is a valley that no one walks in, but those that love a pilgrim’s life. I must tell you that in former times men have met with angels here, have found pearls here, and have in this place found the words of life.”