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CHRISTIAN AND FAITHFUL
The Vanity Fair of this world. Temptations to worldliness.-The deportment of the
Pilgrims.— Their strange appearance to the men of Vanity Fair.— Their trial in the Fair.—
The martyrdom of Faithful.—How this pilgrimage is regarded in our day.Sketch of Vanity Fair in our time.- Visit to Giant Pope's Cave.-Characters of By-ends, Money-love, Hold-the-world, and Save-all.—Logic of Mr. Money-love.Temptations to filthy lucre.-Demas and the mines.-Danger of the love of money, and of conformity to the world.
VANITY Fair is the City of Destruction in its gala dress, in its most seductive sensual allurements. It is this world in miniature, with its various temptations. Hitherto we have observed the Pilgrims by themselves, in loneliness, in obscurity, in the hidden life and experience of the people of God. The allegory thus far has been that of the soul, amidst its spiritual enemies, toiling towards heaven; now there comes a scene more open, tangible, external; the allurements of the world are to be presented, with the manner in which the true Pilgrim conducts himself amidst them. It was necessary that Bunyan should show his pilgrimage in its external as well as its secret spiritual conflicts; it was necessary that he should draw the contrast between the pursuits and deport
ment of the children of this world, and the children of light, that he should show how a true Pilgrim appears, and is likely to be regarded, who, amidst the world's vanities, lives above the world, is dead to it, and walks through it as a stranger and a pilgrim towards heaven.
The temptations to worldliness are the strongest and most common in the Christian race; they are so represented in Scripture ; we are told of the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things choking the word, that becometh unfruitful; and in many passages we are warned against the love of the world, the imitation of its manners, and the indulgence of its feelings. Especially in that striking passage in John, and the corresponding one in James. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is of the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. James is yet more severe.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses ! know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Certainly, it was to illustrate these passages that Bunyan composed this portion of the Pilgrim's Progress. It was also to show the truth of that saying, which the apostles and primitive Christians seem to have kept among the choice jewels of truth nearest their hearts, among their amulets of apples of gold, in pictures of silver, that through
much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of heaven. In the world ye shall have tribulation, said our blessed Lord to his disciples, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. I have chosen you out of the world, and ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Bunyan would show, by the treatment of the pilgrims in Vanity Fair, that this hatred is not gone out of existence. He would show that the Christian life is not a pilgrimage merely of inward experiences, but that they who will live godly in Christ Jesus are a peculiar people, and must, in some sort or other, suffer persecution. They are strangers in a strange country. The world, its spirit and pursuits, are foreign from and hostile to their habits, inclinations and duties, as children of the Saviour. To be conformed to the world is to depart from the way of life; the whole race of genuine pilgrims must therefore be a strange and singular people, a people of nonconformists, whose deportment rebukes and reproves the world, and convinces it of sin. It does this just so far as they live up to the rules of their pilgrimage.
It is not always the case, however, that simplebearted godliness, travelling through the world, meets with such persecution as Christian and Faithful did in passing through Vanity Fair. This sketch of Bunyan borrows some shades from the severe aspect of his own times ; yet the general picture is a picture of all times, the general lessons are lessons for the instruction of all pilgrims.
The spirit of Fox's old Book of Martyrs is here; the spirit of the Reformation, and the constancy and endurance of those who rode in the chariot of fire to Heaven. Bunyan himself was almost a Martyr-Pilgrim, and he himself had passed through Vanity Fair with much the same treatment as Christian and Faithful experienced ; this passage is a copy of his own life, not less than the passage through the terrors of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Moreover, the picture of the Fair itself is drawn from scenes with which Bunyan was familiar in England ; from those motley assemblages of booths, people, and sins, still to be witnessed in that country under the names of Greenwich Fair, Bartholomew Fair, and others; scenes where may be witnessed the world of sin in miniature. These places served Bunyan for the setting of his allegory, which is conducted with the utmost beauty, fulness of meaning, and truth to nature.
The merchandise of this Fair, comprising all conceivable commodities that can come under the categories of the Apostle John, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is described with great power of satire. The most abundant commodity was the merchandise of Rome, a sort of ware at present in greater demand in Vanity Fair, than of long time, since Bunyan's day, it hath been. Through this place of Vanity Fair, once passed the Lord of life and glory, when the Prince and Owner of the Fair tempted him with the offer of all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
In this Fair the garments of the Pilgrims were so strange, so different, from the raiment of the men of the Fair ; also their language, being “ that of Canaan,” was so unknown that they passed for barbarians, and were treated as such. Also, their utter indifference as to all the merchandise of the Fair, and their refusal to buy thereof, or to partake in the vain and sinful amusements of the place, made them to be considered as persons out of their senses. So there was a great hubbub in the Fair about them, and they were taken and confined in the Cage, and made a spectacle, and afterwards they were grievously beaten, as being the authors of such a disturbance. These men, that have turned the world upside down, are come hither also. But their patience, forbearance, and gentleness of deportment did win them some friends even among the men of the Fair, which they of the contrary party being very much enraged at, it was at length resolved that these men should be put to death.
Now came on the trial; and here again, as in every part of the allegory, Bunyan's own experience served him in good stead; here again he draws his picture from real life, from his own life. Little could he have thought, when a few years ago amidst the taints of his enemies, he himself stood at the bar to be examined for the crime of preaching the gospel, that the providence of God was then laying up in store materials of human life and character to be used with such powerful effect in his then unconcieved imagined allegory. These phases of a world at enmity against God were