Thursday, January 18, 2007

Christian meets Ignorance

It is truly amazing to see how John Bunyan, writing Pilgrim’s Progress from the Bedford Jail, was able so astutely to analyze the human heart and anticipate so many of the false paths while illuminating the true.

As Christian leaves the Delectable Mountains on the highway towards the city, he meets with "a brisk lad" whose name is Ignorance. Ignorance is a man who strives to be religious and live a good life, but who is ignorant of the fact that one is only saved through Christ alone (Solus Christus).

Christian learns that Ignorance is heading for the Celestial City, but this man has not begun his journey by passing through the "Wicket-gate."

Christian asks how Ignorance hopes to enter the gates of the Celestial City without the parchment given those who pass through the Wicket-gate:

Christian: "But how do you think to get in at the gate, for you may find some difficulty there?"

Ignorance: "As other good people do."

Christian: "But what have you to show at the gate, that may cause that the gate should be opened to you?"

Ignorance: "I know my Lord’s will, and I have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and given alms, and have left my own country for whither I am going."

Christian: "But thou camest not in at the Wicket-gate that is at the head of this way; thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane, and therefore, I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning day shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance to that city."

Ignorance: "Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me; I know you not: be content to follow the religion of your country and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the gate you talk of, all the world knows that that is a long way off of our country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it; nor need they matter whether they do or no, since we have, as you see, a fine pleasant green lane, that comes down from our country the next way into the way."

Seeing that Ignorance is "wise in his own conceit" Christian and Hopeful discuss how they are to respond. Hopeful concludes with this verse:

"Let Ignorance a little while now muse
On what is said, and let him not refuse
Good counsel to embrace, lest he remain
Still ignorant of what’s the chiefest gain
God saith, Those that no understanding have,
(Although he made them) them he will not save."

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