August 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

One of the great Christian classics that I have always admired is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  I was reading it recently and came across the part where Faithful and Christian (formally known as Pilgrim) were walking along the way with a man named Talkative.  At first faithful is quite taken with how much he seems to have in common with Mr Talkative, but Christian informs him of Talkative’s reputation.  He has a reputation for acting quite differently than he talks.  So Faithful confronts Talkative in a loving, but straightforward way and this is how Talkative responds…

   Talkative: Since you are so ready to take up reports, and to judge so
   rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or
   melancholy man, not fit to be discoursed with; and so adieu.

   Then up came Christian, and said to his brother, I told you how it
   would happen; your words and his lusts could not agree. He had rather
   leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said: let
   him go; the loss is no man's but his own. He has saved us the trouble
   of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he
   is, would have been but a blot in our company: besides, the apostle
   says, "From such withdraw thyself."

   Faithful: But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may
   happen that he will think of it again: however, I have dealt plainly
   with him, and so am clear of his blood if he perisheth.

   Christian: You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is
   but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes
   religion to stink so in the nostrils of many as it doth; for they are
   these talkative fools, whose religion is only in word, and who are
   debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted
   into the fellowship of the godly) do puzzle the world, blemish
   Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal
   with such as you have done; then should they either be made more
   conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for
   them. Then did Faithful say,

   "How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!

   How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes

   To drive down all before him! But so soon

   As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon

   That's past the full, into the wane he goes;

   And so will all but he that heart-work know."

May we be doers of the word and not talkers only.  I hope we relish the people in our lives that love us enough to encourage us to that “heart-work”.

Harry Fleming

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