Having retrieved his roll, retracing his steps up the hill, more nimbly this time having his evidence in hand, Christian is tested by the lions before Palace Beautiful. The Porter, whose name is Watchful, provides the needed encouragement and Christian now stands on the right side of the lions face to face with The Porter.
The Porters Encouragement:
... perceiving that Christian made a halt, as if he would go back, cried unto him, Is thy strength so small? Mark 4:40. 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: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee. Then I saw that he went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the Porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. Then he clapped his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the gate where the Porter was.
And so The Porter probes Christian a little:
The Porter also asked whence he was, and whither he was going.
Christian: I am come from the city of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion: but because the sun is now set, I desire, if I may, to lodge here to-night.
The Porter: What is your name?
Christian: My name is now Christian, but my name at the first was Graceless: I came of the race of Japheth, whom God will persuade to dwell in the tents of Shem. Gen. 9:27.KNOWN NOW WHAT WAS UNKNOWN BEFORE:
We do not rightly know our own name prior to conversion. It is only after the Spirit of God has begun a work in us do we perceive truly what we were before "Graceless," "Dead," "Enemies of the Most High God." And the longer I walk in Christ, the more I see how true these words are of me prior to the day-dawning within. My name is now CHRISTIAN, but my name at the first was GRACELESS. Thanks be to God! 2Pet 1:19 also Rom 8:15
The next part of Christian's response to the Porter stumped me.
"I came of the race of Japheth."
The biblical reference coming from this portion of scripture:
Gen 9:19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. 20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
Bunyan's point in mentioning this can be explained from the Geneva Bible Notes, or even Calvin's, or later also Poole's and John Gill's Commentaries, which explain that this is prophecy from the lips of Noah by the Spirit of God teaching us that:
Japheth is standing for his descendants the Gentiles of which Christian says "I am of their race."
Christian adding: "whom God will persuade to dwell in the tents of Shem" AND God did bring both the sons of Shem, which are the Jews, and the sons of Japheth, which are the Gentiles, together in one common household of faith.
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
What can I say? More and More my enjoyment of God's Word increases as does my enjoyment
of Bunyan teaching it to me through his little book, how true Bunyan's own encouraging Apology:
May I not write in such a style as this?
In such a method too, and yet not miss
My end-thy good? Why may it not be done?
Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none.
Yea, dark or bright, if they their silver drops
Cause to descend, the earth, by yielding crops,
Art thou for something rare and profitable?
Or would’st thou see a truth within a fable?
Art thou forgetful? Wouldest thou remember
From New-Year’s day to the last of December?
Then read my fancies; they will stick like burs,
And may be, to the helpless, comforters.
I strongly encourage if you haven't to click here to read the whole Bunyan's Apology
Geneva Bible Notes:
He declares that the Gentiles, who came from Japheth, and were separated from the Church, should be joined to the same by the persuasion of God's Spirit, and preaching of the gospel.
Calvin's Commentary: -- Click here for full text
27....the meaning will be, that the posterity of Japheth, which for a time would be scattered, and removed far from the tents of Shem, would at length be increased, so that it should more nearly approach them, and should dwell together with them, as in a common home. But I rather approve the other version, ‘God shall gently bring back, or incline Japheth.’302 Moreover, whichever interpretation we follow, Noah predicts that there will be a temporary dissension between Shem and Japheth, although he retains both in his family and calls both his lawful heirs; and that afterwards the time will come, in which they shall again coalesce in one body, and have a common home. It is, however, most absolutely certain, that a prophecy is here put forth concerning things unknown to man, of which, as the event, at length, shows God alone was the Author. Two thousand years and some centuries more, elapsed before the Gentiles and the Jews were gathered together in one faith. Then the sons of Shem, of whom the greater part had revolted and cut themselves off from the holy family of God, were collected together, and dwelt under one tabernacle.303 Also the Gentiles, the progeny of Japheth, who had long been wanderers and fugitives were received into the same tabernacle. For God, by a new adoption, has formed a people out of those who were separated, and has confirmed a fraternal union between alienated parties. This is done by the sweet and gentle voice of God, which he has uttered in the gospel; and this prophecy is still daily receiving its fulfillment, since God invites the scattered sheep to join his flock, and collects, on every side, those who shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. It is truly no common support of our faith, that the calling of the Gentiles is not only decreed in the eternal counsel of God, but is openly declared by the mouth of the Patriarch; lest we should think it to have happened suddenly or by chance, that the inheritance of eternal life was offered generally to all. But the form of the expression, ‘Japheth shall dwell in the tabernacles of Shem,’304 commends to us that mutual society which ought to exist, and to be cherished among the faithful. For whereas God had chosen to himself a Church from the progeny of Shem, he afterwards chose the Gentiles together with them, on this condition, that they should join themselves to that people, who were in possession of the covenant of life.
Footnotes taken from Calvin's Commentary:
302 See marginal reading of English version, “God will persuade Japheth.” — See also Schindler’s Lexicon, sub voce פתה, and Ainsworth in loco. It is however objected, and not without reason, that the word here rendered persuade is rarely, if ever, used in a good sense, that it generally means to entice, or allure to evil; and, therefore, the most judicious critics seem rather inclined to fall back upon the version given in the text of our translation, than to accept the marginal reading, with which Calvin agrees. See Professor Bush’s note on this place. Dathe gives the preference to the Arabic version, which signifies that God will prosper Japheth; but for this there is no sufficient authority. — Ed
303 Allusion here seems to be made to the words quoted by James from the prophecy of Amos: “I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof and I will set it up.” — Acts 15:16. — Ed.
304 It is not clear whether the original really means that “Japheth,” or that “God,” “shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” If the former, then this is a plain prediction of events which have been in a remarkable manner fulfilled, by the conversion of the Gentiles, and by the diffusion of a vast European population over those regions which were originally occupied by the descendants of Shem. If the original really means the latter, then it has been fulfilled by the manifestation of God’s glory among the Israelites, first through the Shechinah which appeared in the tabernacle and temple, and then more especially through the advent of the Messiah, of whom St. John says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14.) — Ed.