Bunyan: Excerpt from The Pilgrim’s Progress

Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his journey. Then said the Interpreter, “The Comforter be always with thee, good Christian, to guide thee in the way that leads to the city.”

So Christian went on his way, saying,

Here I have seen things rare and profitable,Things pleasant, dreadful, things to make me stable
In what I have begun to take in hand:
Then let me think on them, and understand
Wherefore they showed me were, and let me be
Thankful, O good Interpreter, to thee.

Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation [Isa. 26:1]. Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre,where it fell in, and I saw it no more.

Then was Christian glad and lightsome,and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very sur- prising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks [Zech. 12:10]. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with,”Peace be to thee.”

So the first said to him,”Thy sins be forgiven thee” [Mark 2:5]; the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment [Zech. 3:4]; the third also set a mark on his forehead [Eph. 1:13] and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the celestial gate:so they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing,

Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither. What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!

-John Bunyan, from The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Spurgeon’s One Qualm with Pilgrim’s Progress

Charles Spurgeon loved John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He first read the book as a young boy, and he began his commentary on the classic with these words:

“Next to the Bible, the book I value most is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I believe I have read it through at least a hundred times. It is a volume of which I never seem to tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures.”

As Spurgeon said elsewhere, he loved Bunyan because Bunyan bled Bible.

But he did have one qualm with the great book:

“I am a great lover of John Bunyan, but I do not believe him infallible; and the other day I met with a story about him which I think a very good one.

There was a young man, in Edinburgh, who wished to be a missionary. He was a wise young man; he thought—”If I am to be a missionary, there is no need for me to transport myself far away from home; I may as well be a missionary in Edinburgh.” . . .

Well, this young man started, and determined to speak to the first person he met. He met one of those old fishwives; those of us who have seen them can never forget them, they are extraordinary women indeed. So, stepping up to her, he said, “Here you are, coming along with your burden on your back; let me ask you if you have got another burden, a spiritual burden.”

“What!” she asked; “do you mean that burden in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress? Because, if you do, young man, I got rid of that many years ago, probably before you were born. But I went a better way to work than the pilgrim did. The evangelist that John Bunyan talks about was one of your parsons that do not preach the gospel; for he said, ‘Keep that light in thine eye, and run to the wicket-gate.’ Why—man alive!—that was not the place for him to run to. He should have said, ‘Do you see that cross? Run there at once!’ But, instead of that, he sent the poor pilgrim to the wicket-gate first; and much good he got by going there! He got tumbling into the slough, and was like to have been killed by it.”

“But did not you,” the young man asked, “go through any slough of Despond?”

“Yes, I did; but I found it a great deal easier going through with my burden off than with it on my back.”

The old woman was quite right. John Bunyan put the getting rid of the burden too far off from the commencement of the pilgrimage. If he meant to show what usually happens, he was right; but if he meant to show what ought to have happened, he was wrong.

We must not say to the sinner, “Now, sinner, if thou wilt besaved, go to the baptismal pool; go to the wicket-gate; go to the church; do this or that.”

No, the cross should be right in front of the wicket-gate; and we should say to the sinner, “Throw thyself down there, and thou art safe; but thou are not safe till thou canst cast off thy burden, and lie at the foot of the cross, and find peace in Jesus.””

-Charles Spurgeon, The Dumb Become Singers, 1912,

As quoted at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/10/11/spurgeons-one-qualm-with-pilgrims-progress/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+between2worlds+%28Between+Two+Worlds%29

A Cure for Spiritual Dullness

“Sometimes when my heart has been hard, dead, slothful, blind, and senseless, which indeed are sad frames for a poor Christian to be in, yet at such a time, when I have been in such a case, then has the blood of Christ, the precious blood of Christ, the admirable blood of the God of Heaven, that run out of His body when it did hang on the Cross, so softened, livened, quickened, and enlightened my soul, that truly, reader, I can say, O it makes me wonder!”

John Bunyan, The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded, 1708, 183.

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/do-you-feel-spiritually-dull–2