Friday, September 19, 2014

Vlog: Reading from The Pilgrim's Progress

Dear Friend,

I have another reading for you today. This time it's from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.

This is not a flawless performance. Some of  Bunyan's sentences feel like tongue twisters! Such a mouthful! But when I got home from the grocery a couple days ago, I had about 15 minutes of silence before my kids were due in from school. I thought I'd give you the best I had to offer in that time.

Since reading The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan's allegories for Grace have frequently come to my mind. The first passage is about housekeeping, a subject I know well. The second passage is about a fire on a wall; I think about it when lighting my candle inside my lantern. 

Maybe my great-great grandchildren will stumble upon Classical Quest someday and listen raptly to my vlog readings . . .

Or maybe this will just help a few of you briefly ponder the marvelous mystery of the Grace of God. 

Click play then scroll down to read along.

"The Parlour"
Then [Interpreter] took [Christian] by the hand, and led him into a very large Parlour that was full of dust, because never swept; the which after he had reviewed a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep: Now when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choaked: Then said the Interpreter to a Damsel that stood by, Bring hither Water, and sprinkle the Room; which when she had done, was swept and cleansed with pleasure.
Then said Christian, What means this?
The Interpreter answered; This Parlour, is the heart of a Man that was never sanctified by the sweet Grace of the Gospel: The dust, is his Original Sin, and inward Corruptions that have defiled the whole Man. He that began to sweep at first, is the Law; but She that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel: Now, whereas thous sawest that so soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about, the the Room by him could not be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choaked therewith, this is to shew thee, that the Law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to subdue.
Again, as thou sawest the Damsel sprinkle the Room with Water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure: This is to shew thee, that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then I say, even as thou sawest the Damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the Floor with Water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the Faith of it; and consequently fit for the King of Glory to inhabit.

"The Fire Against the Wall" 
Then I saw in my Dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place, where was a Fire burning against a Wall, and one standing by it always, casting much Water upon it to quench it: Yet did the Fire burn higher and hotter.
Then said Christian, What means this?
The Interpreter answered, ‘This fire is the work of Grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts Water upon it, to extinguish and put it out, is the Devil: but in that thou seest the fire, notwithstanding, burn higher and hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that: So he had him about to the back side of the Wall, where he saw a Man with a Vessel of Oyl in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast, but secretly, into the fire. Then said Christian, What means this? The Interpreter answered, This is Christ, who continually with the Oyl of his Grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart; by the means of which, notwithstanding what the Devil can do, the souls of his people prove gracious still. And in that thou sawest, that the Man stood behind the Wall to maintain the fire; this is to teach thee, that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of Grace is maintained in the soul.

I'd love to know your thoughts on these rich passages. I sincerely hope the Grace of God is something you know about from first hand experience.

I depend upon it every moment.

With Love,



  1. I love how Bunyan shows the proper place of the Law - to remind us of sin almost to the point of choking us on it - and the futility of the Devil's efforts in our lives - that Jesus constantly builds us up no matter what Satan tries.

    1. "Jesus constantly builds us up." Amen. Your recent post on Grace sent me looking for these passages from PP. Such worthy thoughts to ponder.

      Love these verses you shared:
      "The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:20-21)

  2. Adriana, "The Parlor" is my favorite part of The Pilgrim's Progress b/c it is a great, vivid picture of man's need for the Gospel.

    BTW, thumbs up for reading from (what I would call) a KJV of PP. No wonder my copy says New Modern English version. (I thought it was written in English, so I did not understand why it needed to be revised.)

    1. Dear Ruth, Be careful to practice thy passages with rigour, lest peradventure thou shalt attempt a recording unprepared and stumble upon thine own tongue! Take heed and do thou better than I! :-)

      P.S. I would seriously love to hear a reading from you, Ruth!

    2. I am only now reading your reply. Oh, so funny.

      Courage have I not to read aloud to none other than mine own children.

      How's that?

  3. Thanks so much for this reading, Adriana - PP is definitely a book that works well when read aloud. What an imagination Bunyan had. I like that last part about the Man working behind the wall to feed the fire with oil -- the devil is out front putting forth his best effort but it's futile because of how God is working out His grace behind the scenes.

    When I first read Little Women (at age 10 I think) I wondered what this little book was that each of the girls gets as a gift, each with a different coloured cover. When I got older I really enjoyed the significance of how Pilgrim's Progress became a model for their own journeys. Modern adaptations of LW (like the Susan Sarandon version) often downplay that aspect, which is a shame, because it makes the book so much more meaningful, to me at least.

    1. You're right, Jeannie. PP does give Little Women depth and it is a shame that modern versions have downplayed it.

      I admit, I found PP a challenging read, maybe because I read the "KJV" version -- as Ruth called it -- but also because the characters are flat. Still, it's one of those great pieces of literature that sticks with you for ever after. It makes a person feel less alone in her trials. Many other pilgrims have been here in this place before me. The path is well worn. And yes, the Grace of God is working it all out for me behind the scenes. Such a humbling realization.

  4. doth doth doth. hehehe. that was beautiful and so is the sound of book flipping.

    Because i am sinning a lot lately(sorry Lord!) the image of the fire and Satan putting it out and Jesus secretly keeping it alive is Ha! In your face Satan! God never giving up on us. "Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

    1. I'm glad all the "doths" made you giggle, Sheena. :-) You make blogging fun.

      The image of Jesus secretly keeping the fire alive is very moving for me, since I sin a lot too. Here's a verse for both of us:

      "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:4-5


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