An Application of Bunyan – The Danger of Becoming a Demas

December 19, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

Christian and Hopeful quickened their pace, and leaving Mr. By-ends and others of his acquaintance behind, passed through what Bunyan describes as a “delicate plain”, called Ease, arriving, on the other side of the plain, at a hill called Lucre, which had within it a silver mine.  And there, by the mine, stood Demas, encouraging pilgrim’s to turn from the path and enter into the silver mine, where, with a little labor, he promised, they might become rich.

Hopeful entertained the idea for a moment, but not so Christian.  He had heard of this place and knew that many had lost their way and their lives there.  Demas would not give up so easily, however, and sought to tempt the pilgrims once more, saying, “Will you not come over and see?”  Christian forcefully and directly replied,

“Thou art an enemy to the right ways of the Lord of this Way, and hast been already condemned for thine own turning aside, by one of His majestic judges.  And why sleekest thou to bring us into condemnation?  Besides, if we at all turn aside, our Lord and King will certainly hear thereof, and will there put us to shame, where we would stand with boldness before Him.”

By this time, due to the delay caused by their conversation with Demas, Mr. By-ends and his companions had caught up with Christian and Hopeful.  By-ends, begin true to his own principles of pragmatism, listened to the call of Demas, leaned over to gaze into the pit, and was never seen again.

And Christian sang:

“By-ends and Silver Demas both agree,

One calls, the other runs, that he may be,

A sharer in his lucre, so these two

Take up in this world, and no further go.”

Though Mr. Bunyan could not, all the time, find his rhyme, surely his point is clear and true.  Is there any temptation which has turned more pilgrims from the way than the possibility of riches and ease?  There it is, just beyond the fingertips.  If you would but lean a bit further over the edge of the abyss, surely you could grab hold, get back on the path, and continue on your way.  But it is to no avail.  It’s always just a little too far away…just out of reach.

Why is that?  Is it not because we are in a constant state of discontent?  “How much is enough?” the rich man was asked.  “Just a little bit more”, he replied.  Just a little bit more.  Always just a little bit more.  And down we go, headlong into the pit, believing that if we take just one more step, we will obtain that which will satisfy and then we’ll get back on the path.  But with every step we are further away from the path, and our hunger for that which is just out of reach grows more insatiable, and our desire to return to the path grows less and less urgent…or desirable.

Then, at some imperceptible point, a change takes place.  We are no longer “Pilgrim”.  We have become “Demas”.  We are no longer characterized by our journey to the Celestial City.  We have become characterized by love for this present world. 

And if we had eyes to see, see it we would.  The bottom of the pit…the mine shaft…strewn with the bodies of multitudes who had begun a pilgrim’s journey, only to suffer the end of a Demas.

Keep well back from the edge.  Stay on the path.  Be thankful for all with which you have been blessed and continue on the way.  This world, which every Demas loves, will leave you dead and broken at the bottom of the pit.  Follow the path, and there will be glory forever.  Not silver and gold, mind you, but the glory of dwelling with the King forever, which is better than everything and anything which captures the heart of a Demas.

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