Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christian at the cave of Pope and Pagan

In John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress, as Christian emerges from his battle with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, the narrator notes:

In the light therefore he came to the end of the valley. Now I saw in my dream, that at the end of the valley lay blood, bones, ashes and the mangled bodies of men, even of pilgrims who had gone this way formerly: And while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave where two giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old time, by whose power and tyranny the men whose bones, blood, ashes, etc., lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered; but I have learnt since, that Pagan has been dead many a day; and as for the other, though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of age, and also of the many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy, and stiff in his joints, that he can now do little more than sit in his cave’s mouth grinning at pilgrims as they go by, and biting his nails, because he cannot come at them.

Sadly, it seems that Christian’s intelligence that Pagan "has been dead many a day" was in error. Apparently, he was only slumbering and has now awakened in these postmodern days. Likewise, his twin Pope does not now seem to be so "stiff in the joints." Many pilgrims passing by their cave are mangled by these brutes and their bones, blood, and ashes added to the pile before they can pass by to the Celestial City. Pilgrims, beware.


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