An Application of Bunyan: Nothing New Under the Sun

July 16, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

As Christian and Faithful continue along the way, Faithful recounts yet another of his encounters, this time with the one named Shame. He bore this name because of his intent, which was to shame and ridicule any who considered religion to be of any importance. Likewise, the very thought that one might be concerned with what he might say or do was ludicrous to this man named Shame. Indeed, though Faithful questions whether this name was appropriate to the man, it seems most appropriate, indeed.  For while seeking to shame others, he possessed no shame of his own.

Pilgrims’, he objected were poor, and base fools, ignorant of understanding in all “Natural Science”. Furthermore, he said, “…it was a shame to sit whining and mourning under a sermon, and a shame to come sighing and groaning home…it was a shame to ask my neighbor forgiveness for petty faults, or to make restitution where I have taken from any.”  He said also, that “religion made a man grow strange to the great, because of a few vices…”  Is not this, he said, a shame?

As I read this, I was struck by how contemporary it sounded.  Though Bunyan wrote this in the 17th century, it certainly could have been written in the 21st.   In virtually every external appearance, we find that almost everything has changed in these last 400 years, or so.  And yet, the human heart has not changed.  The depravity of man has not changed.  Man’s futility of mind has not changed.  The arguments may become more sophisticated.  The science may become more exact. But man continues to suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  Man continues to throw off the shackles of God’s Law, not understanding that what he thinks is freedom is actually bondage leading to death.

Faithful responded quite wisely, when he said, “…this Shame tells me what men are; but tells me nothing what God and the word of God is…Therefore, thought I, what God says is best, though all the men in the world are against it.”

May that be our stand, as well.  “What God says is best, though all the men in the world are against it.”

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