Monday, May 3, 2010
Pilgrims Progress - The Frightening Encounter with Talkative
Talkative likes to talk.
But it's only words and only to be heard.
Most frightening is this encounter for me as I read through the Pilgrim's Progress for Talkative brings rise for self-examination. Have I only words? Have I only good knowledge but no good life to match? Have I only a form of godliness but by my life deny its power?
I really did appreciate Christian's advice to Faithful concerning this character:
"Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about the power of religion; and ask him plainly, (when he has approved of it, for that he will,) whether this thing be set up in his heart, house, or conversation."
From this I reflected also upon my recent meditations in Romans Six as though Christian was advising Faithful to inquire of Talkative:
What work has been done in your heart? If you are dead with Christ how then can you live any longer in sin? If you are buried with Christ in baptism then you are raised up to walk in newness if life - has you life be renewed? Have you been born again? What is the fruit of it? What heart-work has been done in you and is being done in you? You approve of the power of religion - well then has the power of religion borne fruit in your heart? In your home? In your whole manner and way of life?
At first read, the following poem was difficult for me to grasp. It didn't hit me so well. But as my three little ones and I read it over and over again out loud, I saw the benefit of poetry - at least Bunyan's poetry and especially the need for poetry to be read aloud. I'm pretty old to only recently come to this realization but it has been one for which I have found much enjoyment. Not content with reading out loud as we memorized the poem and recited it out loud we began acting it out - Talkative strutting and pounding his chest showing his feathers, boldly and bravely expecting to power-down all before him with his vast knowledge, big words and much talking.
BUT SO SOON - with Faithful's heart-work inquiresTalkative -- LIKE THE MOON PAST THE FULL INTO THE WANE HE GOES. I Love it!
Wanting no part of heart-work, the realities of Christ in the heart of man were too much for Talkative he departs. I've seen it happen in my own life. Sometimes there is one who will siphon off all your strength with much talking but never listening, much talking but once you are able to bring the conversation to the power of the gospel in the life, the realities of Christ in you, off the man and onto Christ, LIKE THE MOON PAST THE FULL INTO THE WANE HE GOES. Yet, glad for the opportunity to be of real help, we hope for more.
"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."
And so Faithful says to Christian: (Try reading out loud four of five times.)
“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 knows.”