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Sunday, March 04, 2007

From Pilgrim's Progress: Using fiction to impart truth

{5} 'Well, yet I am not fully satisfied, That this your book will stand, when soundly tried.' Why, what's the matter? 'It is dark.' What though? 'But it is feigned.' What of that? I trow? Some men, by feigned words, as dark as mine, Make truth to spangle and its rays to shine.

'But they want solidness.' Speak, man, thy mind. 'They drown the weak; metaphors make us blind.'

Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen Of him that writeth things divine to men; But must I needs want solidness, because By metaphors I speak? Were not God's laws, His gospel laws, in olden times held forth By types, shadows, and metaphors? Yet loth Will any sober man be to find fault With them, lest he be found for to assault The highest wisdom. No, he rather stoops, And seeks to find out what by pins and loops, By calves and sheep, by heifers and by rams, By birds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs, God speaketh to him; and happy is he That finds the light and grace that in them be. John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress (1678, public domain. One version gives paragraph numbers.) Here Bunyan is answering possible objections to the way he has written, in "The Author's Apology for His Book." As the Wikipedia article on Bunyan says, the book is "arguably the most famous published Christian allegory."

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