So today finished reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. I read it years ago, in college and have refered to it many, many times over the years. I have an album, The Golden City, which is based on parts of the journey. I read it for two reasons. One is that I thought it approriate, given the journey I am taking myself. The second reason is that of late several people (live or in book) have mentioned it. I took that as a sign that it was time to visit again the book.
So, the book is is finished. I read the original, old English version. The Thees and Thous etc. add to the drama of the book. For those who have not read it, or know about it. It is a dream report about a man (Christian) who travels from is home in the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Along the way he is beset by trials, enemies, doubts, naysayers, and tempations. He has with him on occasion travelling partners. Some succeed in the journey, others do not.
While the story is profound in its impact, probably the most significant reminder for me was the lesson about travelling this road alone. That more than anything else is why I am a church guy. I do not want to walk this road alone. In part of the book, Christian and his travelling partner, Hopeful, discuss why some people start the pilgrimage but turn away. Chrisitan gives an eight step reason for the departure. I offer that here, in the Old English version.
They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin and the like.
Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.
After that they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.
Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly; and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmity they have espied in them) behind their backs.
Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose and wanton men.
Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.
After this they begin to play with little sins openly.
And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.
How often have we seen this pattern? People who in all honest begin the journey, only to lose their way.