I seem to making a habit of checking in late. I do apologize. I might have to adjust my check-in schedule… First things first though, let’s talk section 2.
If I didn’t realize it before, I have now: this book is NOT for the faint of heart! Oh my goodness, this book is so intense! And I’m loving it!! Bunyan wrote this story with the assumption that his readers had a working knowledge of the Bible. He sites the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, various Old Testament heroes, and the Acts of the Apostles. I’ve really enjoyed drawing comparisons and relating different passages and verses! There is soooooo much I can comment on but I’m going to hit only 3 points.
1. I loved the part when Christian meets Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. It was like an epic movie scene. Apollyon asks Christian where he came from and where he’s going and then proceeds to insist that Christian is one of his subjects and desires that he serve him. I love Christian’s reply:
Chr. I was born indeed in your Dominions, but your Service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on; for the Wages of Sin is Death; therefore, when I was come to years, I did as other considerate persons do, look out, if perhaps I might mend myself.
He later says,
Chr. What I promised thee was in my non-age; and besides, I count that the Prince under whose Banner now I stand, is able to absolve me; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my Compliance with thee: And besides, (O thou destroying Apollyon) to speak the Truth, I like his Service, his Wages, his Servants, his Government, his Company, and Country, better than thine; and therefore leave off to persuade me further, I am his servant, and I will follow him.
Bam! I don’t often say this but, IN YOUR FACE, BAD GUY! Book just got 5 times exponentially better. Maybe it was the state of mind I was in but those lines made me super happy! To be that sure of what you believe and why you believe it, is, I think, the desire of every human being. It gives purpose and meaning to life. To be able to look back at your floundering and say, “That’s not who I am. I’ve made my choice and nothing you say, Apollyon, is going to change that!”
Christian and Apollyon then duke it out with swords, a battle which, of course, is laced with even more symbolism. Super cool stuff if you ask me :).
2. Fast forwarding to Christian’s and Faithful’s encounter with Talkative. This was especially intriguing to me because yours truly was nicknamed ‘Chatter Box’ at a very tender age and, to be perfectly honest, the name is fitting even to this day (even though, thank God, no one calls me that anymore!). Talkative is the all-talk, no walk kind of Pilgrim. He seems to be able to hold his own in the discussion of all things sacred but his religion isn’t a very sturdy plant. Christian knows this guy from his hometown and quickly informs Faithful that Talkative has a drinking problem and that Religion has no real place in his life. He says that the people who know of him say that he’s A Saint abroad, and a Devil at home. OUCH! The whole exchange between these three was really thought-provoking and convicting in many ways. I’d hate to think that I’m just all talk. I want my life to have more depth and meaning!
How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!
How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes
To to drive down all before him! But so soon
As Faithful talks of Heart-work, like the Moon
That’s past the Full, into the Wane he goes;
And so will all, but he that Heart-work knows.
3. I know I’m totally skipping over Christian’s and Faithful’s terrible experience in Vanity Fair, but I there’s one small point that I absolutely cannot leave out and it’s when Christian and Hopeful meet By-ends from Fair-speech. By-ends, a man who completely refuses to own up about his name, says that he and his wife “somewhat differ in Religion from those of the stricter sort, yet but in two small points: First, We never strive against Wind and Tide. Secondly, We are always most zealous when Religion goes in his Silver Slippers; we love much to walk with him in the street, if the Sun shines and the People applaud him.” Now, he’s saying this to a man (Christian) who’s just been persecuted and witnessed the torture and death of his traveling companion. Pulling Hopeful asides, Christian calls By-ends a Knave, which means a dishonest or unscrupulous man, and the two of them set out to find out more about him.
The stark contrast between Christian and By-ends resonated with me because I felt indignant on behalf of Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful. By-ends cavalierly states that he likes Religion when he looks good, when the Sun shines and people applaud him. Christian and Faithful remained completely steadfast when Religion was mocked, ridiculed, scorned and trampled upon. Bunyan knew from cruel personal experience that religion loses it’s very essence if not tried by fire. What’s the point of believing something if you’re not willing to sacrifice your very life for it? Knowing what Christian has already been through thus far, I highly doubt By-ends will not last long on his pilgrimage!
There we go, 3 points! I know they weren’t extensive, but part of me is still processing and the other part of me wishes I would just go to sleep already! How are you doing so far? I wouldn’t be surprised if you are farther along than I am. And if you are, yay, good for you! If you’re not, don’t sweat it. I’m going to try my very best to get check-in #3 up on Tuesday or Wednesday and then I’ll be back on schedule with the first check-in for Part 2 on the following Monday.
Hope y’all had a great weekend and are ready for a brand new week!
Happy reading :)