Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bunyan on How to Mortify Our Longings for Egypt

Here is a scene I read last night from Bunyan's immortal Pilgrim's Progress. In this excerpt, Christian (an allegorical figure representing a believer on his journey through life to heaven, ie. Zion) is having a conversation with a lady named Prudence. She asks him if he sometimes still longs for his home country (ie. the life he used to live). Bunyan's insights on how to overcome indwelling sins of the mind here are priceless. Enjoy!

PRUDENCE: Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence you came?

CHRISTIAN: Yea, but with much shame and detestation. Truly, if I had been mindful of that country from whence I came out, I might have had opportunity to have returned; but now I desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one (Heb. 11:15,16).

PRUDENCE: Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself, were delighted. But now all those things are my grief; and might I but choose mine own things, I would choose never to think of those things more: but when I would be a doing that which is best, that which is worst is with me (Rom. 7:15, 21).

PRUDENCE: Do you not find sometimes as if those things were vanquished, which at other times are your perplexity?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, but that is but seldom; but they are to me golden hours in which such things happen to me.

PRUDENCE: Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished?

CHRISTIAN: Yes: when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.

PRUDENCE: And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?

CHRISTIAN: Why, there I hope to see Him alive that did hang dead on the cross; and there I hope to be rid of all those things that to this day are in me an annoyance to me: there they say there is no death, (Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4) and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you the truth, I love Him because I was by Him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, 'Holy, holy, holy.'

3 comments:

tomgee said...

Nice quote, Julian!

We read from Pilgrim's Progress to the kids every night, and although we use different versions of the book, they are all kid versions.

The versions for children have great pictures, and a couple of them have a lot of text (pages and pages of text), but they all tend to greatly reduce the "talking head" portions like the section you quoted.

Those sections are Bunyan at his most profound, although they would be a bit beyond the kids' abilities at this point. I'm thinking of reading the original to them in a few months ... we'll see how it goes.

JLF said...

Awesome stuff, Tom!

I look forward to being able to read with my children...

Piper once said something to the effect of there being little in the world that is a greater tragedy than reading Augustine's Confessions too quickly.

I echo those thoughts with regard to Pilgrim's Progress. I love reading (and re-reading and re-reading) this book on my own because you can stop and have your 'selah' moments whenever you like. :)

tomgee said...

Enjoy those "selah" moments while you can, Julian!

The end is near!!






(The end of quiet moments, I mean. The "new normal" of children is the beginning of a wonderful new phase of life!)