Posted by Mark Herzer

STUDY SESSION 3

Introduction (pp. 41-55)

Christian will meet with false professors as well as good brethren in the faith. In this study, Christian will encounter the Porter and the Beautiful House.

 

Readers

Narrator (41) – large amount of reading

Christian (42)

“there came one to him” (42) – one line

Timorous (42) – very small amount

Mistrust (42) – very small amount

Porter named “Watchful” (45, 53)

Discretion (48) – short

Piety (48) – a good amount

Prudence (50) – a page

Charity (51) – almost two pages

 

Vocabulary

amain (42) = with all your strength (adv.)

chid (44) = chided, scolded, rebuked

benighted (45) = in a pitiful condition or overtaken by darkness

doleful (45) = woeful, sorrowful, sad, etc.

ake (49) = ache

conversation (52) = this word often means one’s lifestyle, behavior

accoutred (55) = clothed or equipped

 

Questions (pp. 41-55)

Page #

41        Must every believer climb up the hill (Difficulty)? Why or why not? What if the person says that he has not met with any difficulties? (see Lions†)

42        What is Bunyan saying when he mentions that the “Roll fell out of his hand”? What was the lesson in this incident (44)? What does the loss of the Roll represent?

44        What is “sinful sleep”? [“He that sleeps is a loser.” 42]

48        What does this [Beautiful] “House” represent?

50        Christian said that he had “much shame and detestation” when he thought about the Countrey he left. Is this the experience of all true Christians? What if the overall (secret) tendency and affection is to yearn for that Countrey? What does this show? (see Observations and Notes)

50        Prudence asks about the country Christian left and wondered he still had remnants of that country in him (“Do you not yet beat away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?). What was his answer and what does it illustrate?

50        How does Christian get strength to fight his inner corruptions? What are the “Golden Hours”?

51-2     Explain what Christian means when he says, “I know also that a man by his conversation, may soon overthrow what by argument or perswasion he doth labour to fasten upon others for their good.”

52        What do you suppose the “supper” represented?

53        What do you think the “Study” represents? What happened in the study?

54        Christian is led into the “Armory.” Again, what do you think this represents? Do all Christians avail themselves of this? How is the “Armory” related to the “Study”?

 

Observations & Notes

LIONS (42)

Unlike our generation, many believers were jailed for their convictions. Baptists and other Non-Conformists did not follow the Church of England or the established church of the land. They were not allowed to preach or meet without conforming to the religion of the land (that is why some of them “Pilgrims” went to America and Holland). Bunyan most likely was referring to the civil and ecclesiastical powers that vexed him and other believers.

However, on p. 45 we read: “fear not the Lions, for they are Chained; and are placed there for trial of faith where it is; and for discovery of those that have none…” This suggests it may simply be the trials we meet on our pilgrimage. If they are before the House Beautiful, then it may be best to view the lions as trials and persecutions believers encounter in their endeavors to attend the church.

 

HOUSE BEAUTIFUL (45)

This represents the church. Cheever says, “It is well to remark here that the House Beautiful stands beside the road; it does not cross it, so as to make the strait and narrow way run through it, so as that there is no possibility of continuing in that way without passing through it.”[1] He takes this to be Bunyan’s way of saying that the Visible Church is not necessary to salvation. Several other comments are offered. Perhaps Cheever’s point is not entirely accurate. Whatever he should draw from this imagery, the church is necessary (though not absolutely in the Roman Catholic sense). She is the body of Christ and no man is ordinarily saved outside of the visible church. Yet, his point that “he staid not there for pleasure; that was not the end of the journey, nor the object of it” (p. 307) is worthy of note.

 

ROLL (45)

“For this Roll was the assurance of his life, and acceptance at the desired Haven.”  (45) He also calls it his “Evidence” (47) — “but that in my sleep I lost my Evidence…” Assurance can be lost and regained. It is often lost when we sin (as in this case).

 

SHAME AND DETESTATION (50)

“Those who stood by and observed Prudence wondered at her delight in the sad discourse on which the pilgrim now entered. But she had her own reasons for her delight in this particular kind of discourse, and it was seldom that she lighted on a pilgrim who both understood her questions and responded to them as did this man now sitting beside her. Now, my brethren, all parable apart, is that your religious experience? Are you full of shame and detestation at your inward cogitations? Are you tormented, enslaved, and downright cursed with your own evil thoughts?” (Whyte, Bunyan Characters, First Series, 152-153)

 

GOLDEN HOURS (50)

“The golden hours, (fleeting and precious,) are earnests of the everlasting holy felicity of heaven.” (Thomas Scott, 71)

 

ARMORY (54)

“The following allusions in the scriptural history, which have a peculiar propriety in a allegory, intimates that the means of grace are made effectual by the power of God, which we should depend on, in implicit obedience to his appointments.” (Thomas Scott, 76) Also note, there is no armor on our backs (which we will see on p. 55).


[1] George B. Cheever, Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1891?), 306.


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