Sunday, June 17

Hopeful's conversion: pt. 1

I have been reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with great benefit this past year. It's by my bed, and I move my book mark a couple of pages each night. I've probably read it twice in the past year. Wow. Is it fantastic. The book I'm reading is has updated language, which I found very tastefully done.

Here's a lengthy quotation, where two believers (Christian and Hopeful) have a discussion. The language is the original, but still not too difficult to follow.

I (Bunyan) then saw in my dream, that they went on until they came into a certain country whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull, and heavy to sleep: wherefore he said unto Christian,
HOPEFUL: I do now begin to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold open mine eyes; let us lie down here, and take one nap.
CHRISTIAN: By no means, said the other; lest, sleeping, we never awake more.
HOPEFUL: Why, my brother? sleep is sweet to the laboring man; we may be refreshed, if we take a nap.
CHRISTIAN: Do you not remember that one of the shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that, that we should beware of sleeping; therefore “let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thess. 5:6.
HOPEFUL: I acknowledge myself in a fault; and had I been here alone, I had by sleeping run the danger of death. I see it is true that the wise man saith, “Two are better than one.” Eccl. 4:9. Hitherto hath thy company been my mercy; and thou shalt have a good reward for thy labor.

CHRISTIAN: Now, then, said Christian, to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.
HOPEFUL: With all my heart, said the other.
CHRISTIAN: Where shall we begin?
HOPEFUL: Where God began with us.
. . .
Then Christian began, and said, I will ask you a question. How came you to think at first of doing what you do now?
HOPEFUL: Do you mean, how came I at first to look after the good of my soul?
CHRISTIAN: Yes, that is my meaning.
HOPEFUL: I continued a great while in the delight of those things which were seen and sold at our fair; things which I believe now would have, had I continued in them still, drowned me in perdition and destruction.
CHRISTIAN: What things were they?
HOPEFUL: All the treasures and riches of the world. Also I delighted much in rioting, reveling, drinking, swearing, lying, uncleanness, Sabbath-breaking, and what not, that tended to destroy the soul. But I found at last, by hearing and considering of things that are divine, which, indeed, I heard of you, as also of beloved Faithful, that was put to death for his faith and good living in Vanity Fair, that the end of these things is death, Rom. 6:21-23; and that for these things’ sake, the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. Eph. 5:6.
CHRISTIAN: And did you presently fall under the power of this conviction?
HOPEFUL: No, I was not willing presently to know the evil of sin, nor the damnation that follows upon the commission of it; but endeavored, when my mind at first began to be shaken with the word, to shut mine eyes against the light thereof.
CHRISTIAN: But what was the cause of your carrying of it thus to the first workings of God’s blessed Spirit upon you?
HOPEFUL: The causes were,
1. I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. I never thought that by awakenings for sin, God at first begins the conversion of a sinner.
2. Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was loth to leave it.
3. I could not tell how to part with mine old companions, their presence and actions were so desirable unto me.
4. The hours in which convictions were upon me, were such troublesome and such heart-affrighting hours, that I could not bear, no not so much as the remembrance of them upon my heart.

CHRISTIAN: Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your trouble?
HOPEFUL: Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again; and then I should be as bad,nay, worse than I was before.
CHRISTIAN: Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?
HOPEFUL: Many things; as,
1. If I did but meet a good man in the streets; or,
2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or,
3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,
4. If I were told that some of my neighbors were sick; or,
5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or,
6. If I thought of dying myself; or,
7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others.
8. But especially when I thought of myself, that I must quickly come to judgment.

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