Although we had read Pilgrim's Progress over a two year period, I had never heard Bunyan's story before. There was a lot that came to mind as we read through it.
Bunyan had been a foul-mouthed tinker until one day a woman rebuked him in the street, causing him great shame and a desire to mend his ways.
John Bunyan, courtesy of Wikipedia
Once proudly reformed into what he perceived to be a God pleasing righteous man, he came across some women in conversation. He heard them talk about the work of God in their hearts.
They spoke as if joy did make them speak; they spoke with such pleasantness of scripture language and with such appearance of grace in all they said that they were to me as if they had found a new world.
He goes on to discover...
I saw it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever.I couldn't help but notice how God had used the conversation of these women to convict Bunyan and draw him towards His truth.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue... ~Proverbs 18:21So much of his personal experience is evident in Pilgrim's Progress; it is his story.
I thought back to Christian's wife and children in Pilgrim's Progress and how they tried to prevent him from going. Was that perhaps his wife, concerned about Bunyan's preaching, pleading with him not to go? It made me so grateful that my husband's life is not threatened doing God's will here in our safe little town. And it made me wonder how I might act in a situation like that.
It made me ponder whether I am like Christian's wife in even the small things - do I try to stop him from the path he has chosen to serve God in?
I imagine if Bunyan's wife had stopped him, we wouldn't have been reading about him today. It wasn't until his second stay in prison - 12 years the first time, 6 months the second - that he wrote Pilgrim's Progress.
Knowing his story, I am going to enjoy reading Pilgrim's Progress that much more with my son this time in YR2.