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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Encouragement from John Bunyan

I think it's about time we had some more encouragement from John Bunyan - or rather, from the Bible via John Bunyan. Pilgrim's Progress is steeped in Scripture.

Now you must note that the city stood upon a mighty hill,
but the Pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had
these two men to lead them up by the arms; also, they had left their
mortal garments behind them in the river, for though they went in
with them, they came out without them. They, therefore, went up
here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which
the city was framed was higher than the clouds. They therefore
went up through the regions of the air, sweetly talking as they
went, being comforted, because they safely got over the river, and
had such glorious companions to attend them.

Now, now, look how the holy pilgrims ride,
Clouds are their chariots, angels are their guide:
Who would not here for him all hazards run,
That thus provides for his when this world's done?

The talk they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory
of the place; who told them that the beauty and glory of it was
inexpressible. There, said they, is the Mount Zion, the heavenly
Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of
just men made perfect. [Heb. 12:22-24] You are going now, said
they, to the paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of
life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; and when you come
there, you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk
shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity.
[Rev. 2:7, 3:4, 21:4,5] There you shall not see again such things
as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth, to
wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death, for the former things
are passed away. You are now going to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob,
and to the prophets--men that God hath taken away from the evil
to come, and that are now resting upon their beds, each one walking
in his righteousness. [Isa. 57:1,2, 65:17] The men then asked,
What must we do in the holy place? To whom it was answered, You
must there receive the comforts of all your toil, and have joy for
all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit
of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King by the
way. [Gal. 6:7] In that place you must wear crowns of gold, and
enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One, for there you
shall see him as he is. [1 John 3:2] There also you shall serve
him continually with praise, with shouting, and thanksgiving, whom
you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty,
because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall
be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant
voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again
that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy
receive, even every one that follows into the holy place after
you. There also shall you be clothed with glory and majesty, and
put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory. When
he shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, as upon the
wings of the wind, you shall come with him; and when he shall sit
upon the throne of judgment; you shall sit by him; yea, and when
he shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them
be angels or men, you also shall have a voice in that judgment,
because they were his and your enemies. [1 Thes. 4:13-16, Jude
1:14, Dan. 7:9,10, 1 Cor. 6:2,3] Also, when he shall again return
to the city, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever
with him.

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