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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Christiana sees a man with the wrong priorities

After a while, because supper was not ready, the Interpreter took them into his significant rooms, and showed them what Christian, Christiana's husband, had seen some time before. Here, therefore, they saw the man in the cage, the man and his dream, the man that cut his way through his enemies, and the picture of the biggest of them all, together with the rest of those things that were then so profitable to Christian.

This done, and after these things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck-rake in his hand. There stood also one over His head with a celestial crown in His hand, and proffered him that crown for his muck-rake; but the man did neither look up, nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.

Then said Christiana, I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this; for this is a figure of a man of this world, is it not, good Sir?

INTER. Thou hast said the right, said He, and his muck-rake doth show his carnal mind. And whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to what He says that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in His hand, it is to show that Heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now, whereas, it was also showed thee, that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men's minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.

CHRIST. Then said Christiana, O deliver me from this muck-rake!

INTER. That prayer, Said the Interpreter, has lain by till it is almost rusty. "Give me not riches," is scarce the prayer of one of ten thousand (Prov. 30:8). Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most, are the great things now looked after.

This is an extract from the second part of Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan (1684, public domain).

Thanks for reading.

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