Wednesday, March 15, 2017




          By John Bunyan

    Friend, I salute thee in the Lord,
    And wish thou may'st abound
    In faith, and have a good regard
    To keep on holy ground.

    Thou dost encourage me to hold
    My head above the flood;
    Thy counsel better is than gold:
    In need thereof I stood.

    Good counsel's good at any time;
    The wise will it receive,
    Tho' fools count he commits a crime
    Who doth good counsel give.

    I take it kindly at thy hand
    Thou didst unto me write;
    My feet upon Mount Zion stand,
    In that take thou delight.

    I am indeed in prison now
    In body, but my mind
    Is free to study Christ, and how
    Unto me he is kind.

    For tho' men keep my outward man
    Within their locks and bars,
    Yet by the faith of Christ I can
    Mount higher than the stars.

    Their fetters cannot spirits tame,
    Nor tie up God from me;
    My faith and hope they cannot lame;
    Above them I shall be.

    I here am very much refreshed
    To think, when I was out
    I preached life and peace and rest
    To sinners round about.

    My business then was souls to save
    By preaching grace and faith,
    Of which the comfort now I have,
    And have it shall till death.

    They were no fables that I taught,
    Devis'd by cunning men,
    But God's own word, by which were caught
    Some sinners now and then.

    Whose souls by it were made to see
    The evil of their sin;
    And need of Christ to make them free
    From death, which they were in.

    And now those very hearts that then
    Were foes unto the Lord,
    Embrace his Christ and truth, like men
    Conquer'd by his word.

    I hear them sigh, and groan, and cry
    For grace to God above;
    They loathe their sin, and to it die;
    'Tis holiness they love.

    This was the work I was about
    When hands on me were laid;
    'Twas this from which they pluck'd me out;
    And vilely to me said:

    You heretic, deceiver, come,
    To prison you must go;
    You preach abroad, and keep not  home,
    You are the Church's foe.

    But having peace within my soul,
    And truth on every side,
    I could with comfort them control,
    And at their charge deride.

    Wherefore to prison they me sent,
    Where to this day I lie;
    And can with very much content
    For my profession die.

    The prison very sweet to me
    Hath been since I came here,
    And so would also hanging be,
    If God would there appear.

    Here dwells good conscience, also peace;
    Here be my garments white;
    Here, though in bonds, I have release
    From guilt, which else would bite.

    When they do talk of banishment,
    Of death, or such like things,
    Then to me God send heart's content,
    That like a fountain springs.

    Alas I they little think what peace
    They help me to, for by
    Their rage my comforts do increase;
    Bless God, therefore, do I.

    If they do give me gall to drink,
    Then God doth sweet'ning cast—
    So much thereto that they can't think
    How bravely it doth taste.

    For as the devil sets before
    Me heaviness and grief,
    So God sets Christ and grace much more,
    Whereby I take relief.

    Though they say then that we are fools
    Because we here do lie,
    I answer, Jails are Christ his schools,
    In them we learn to die.

    'Tis not the baseness of this state
    Doth hide us from God's face;
    He frequently, both soon and late,
    Doth visit us with grace.

    Here come the angels, here come saints,
    Here comes the Spirit of God,
    To comfort us in our restraints
    Under the wicked's rod.

    God sometimes visits prisoners more
    Than lordly palaces;
    He often knocketh at the door
    When he their houses miss.

    The truth and life of heav'nly things
    Lift up our hearts on high,
    And carry us on eagles' wings
    Beyond carnality.

    It takes away those clogs that hold
    The hearts of other men,
    And makes us lively, strong and bold
    Thus to oppose their sin.

    By which means God doth frustrate
    That which our foes expect—
    Namely, our turning the apostate,
    Like those of Judas' sect.

    Here comes to our remembrance
    The troubles good men had
    Of old, and for our furtherance
    Their joys when they were sad.

    To them that here for evil lie
    The place is comfortless,
    But not to me, because that I
    Lie here for righteousness.

    The truth and I were both here cast
    Together, and we do
    Lie arm in arm, and so hold fast
    Each other; this is true.

    This jail to us is as a hill,
    From whence we plainly see
    Beyond this world, and take our fill
    Of things that lasting be.

    From hence we see the emptiness
    Of all the world contains;
    And here we feel the blessedness
    That for us yet remains.

    Here we can see how all men play
    Their parts, as on a stage—
    How good men suffer for God's way,
    And bad men at them rage.

    Here we can see who holds that
    Which they in Scripture find:
    Here we see also who turns round
    Like weathercocks with wind.

    We can also from hence behold
    How seeming friends appear
    But hypocrites, as we are told
    In Scripture everywhere.

    When we did walk at liberty
    We were deceiv'd by them,
    Who we from hence do clearly see
    Are vile, deceitful men.

    These politicians that profess
    For base and worldly ends,
    Do not appear to us at best
    But Machiavellian friends.

    Though men do say we do disgrace
    Ourselves by lying here
    Among the rogues, yet Christ our face
    From all such filth will clear.

    We know there's neither flout nor frown
    That we now for him bear,
    But will add to our heavenly crown
    When he comes in the air—

    When he our righteousness forth brings
    Bright shining as the day,
    And wipeth off those sland'rous things
    That scorners on us lay.

    We sell our earthly happiness
    For heavenly house and home;
    We leave this world because 'tis less
    And worse than that to come.

    We change our drossy dust for gold,
    From death to life we fly;
    We let go shadows, and take hold
    Of immortality.

    We trade for that which lasting is,
    And nothing for it give
    But that which is already His
    By whom we breathe and live.

    That liberty we lose for him
    Sickness might take away;
    Our goods might also for our sin
    By fire or thieves decay.

    Again we see what glory 'tis
    Freely to bear our cross
    For Him who for us took up his
    When he our servant was.

    I am most free that men should see
    A hole cut through my ear;
    If others will ascertain me,
    They'll hang a jewel there.

    Just thus it is:  we suffer here
    For Him a little pain,
    Who when he doth again appear
    Will with him let us reign.

    If all must either die for sin
    A death that's natural,
    Or else for Christ, 'tis best with him
    Who for the last doth fall.

    Who now dare say we throw away
    Our goods or liberty,
    When God's most holy word doth say
    We gain thus much thereby?

    Hark yet again, you carnal men,
    And hear what I shall say
    In your own dialect, and then
    I'll you no longer stay.

    You talk sometimes of valour much,
    And count such bravely mann'd
    That will not stick to have a touch
    With any in the land.

    If these be worth commending, then,
    That vainly show their might,
    How dare you blame those holy men
    That in God's quarrel fight?

    Though you dare crack a coward's
    Or quarrel for a pin,
    You dare not on the wicked frown,
    Nor speak against their sin.

    For all your spirits are so stout
    For matters that are vain,
    Yet sin besets you round about;
    You are in Satan's chain.

    You dare not for the truth engage,
    You quake at 'prisonment;
    You dare not make the tree your stage
    For Christ, that King potent.

    Know, then, true valour there doth dwell
    Where men engage for God
    Against the Devil, death and hell,
    And bear the wicked's rod.

    These be the men that God doth count
    Of high and noble mind;
    These be the men that do surmount
    What you in nature find.

    First, they do conquer their own hearts,
    All worldly fears, and then
    Also the devil's fiery darts,
    And persecuting men.

    They conquer when they thus do fall,
    They kill when they do die;
    They overcome then most of all,
    And get the victory.

    The worldling understands not this,
    'Tis clear out of his sight;
    Therefore he counts this world his bliss,
    And doth our glory slight.

    The lubber knows not how to spring
    The nimble footman's stage;
    Neither can owls or jackdaws sing
    When they are in the cage.

    The swine doth not the pearls regard,
    But them doth slight for grains,
    Though the wise merchant labours hard
    For them with greatest pains.

    Consider, man, what I have said,
    And judge of things aright;
    When all men's cards are fully play'd,
    Whose will abide the light?

    Will those who have us hither cast?
    Or they who do us scorn?
    Or those who do our houses waste?
    Or us who this have borne?

    And let us count those things the best
    That best will prove at last;
    And count such men the only blest
    That do such things hold fast.

    And what tho' they us dear do cost,
    Yet let us buy them so;
    We shall not count our labour lost
    When we see others' woe.

    And let saints be no longer blam'd
    By carnal policy,
    But let the wicked be asham'd
    Of their malignity.    

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