Redimete Diem!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16, ESV)

Home  |  The Pilgrim's Progress Worship  |  Sermons | Courses
Christian Ethics  |  Miscellany  | FamilyQuestions, etc.

Notes Regarding the Characters in Pilgrim's Progress

Lesson #14

Judge Hate-Good - The portrait of Judge hate-good in The Pilgrim's Progress is but a poor replica, as our artists say, of the portrait of Judge Jeffreys in our English history books.  I am sure you have often read, with astonishment at Bunyan’s literary power, his wonderful account of the trial of Faithful, when, as Bunyan says, he was brought forth to his trial in order to [bring about] his condemnation.  But, powerful as Bunyan’s whole picture of Judge hate-good's court is, it is a tame and a poor picture compared with what all the historians tell of the injustice and cruelty of the court of Judge Jeffreys.  Macaulay’s portrait of the Lord Chief Justice of England for ferocity and fiendishness beats out of sight Bunyan's picture of that judge who keeps Satan’s own seal in Bunyan’s Book. ... Was Judge Jeffreys, some of you will ask me, born and bred in hell?  Was the devil his father, and original sin his mother?  Or, was he not the very devil himself come to earth for a season in English flesh?  No, my brethren, not so.  Judge Jeffreys was one of ourselves. ... [B]e not deceived by your own deceitful heart, nor by any other deceiver’s smooth speeches.  Judge Jeffreys is in yourself, only circumstances have not yet let him fully show himself in you.  Still, if you look close enough and deep enough into your own hearts, you will see the same wicked light glancing sometimes there that used so to terrify Judge Jeffrey’s prisoners when they saw it in his wicked eyes.  If you lay your ear close enough to your own heart, you will sometimes hear something of that same hiss with which that human serpent sentenced to torture and to death the men and the women who would not submit to his command.  The same savage laughter also will sometimes all but escape your lips as you think of how your enemy has been made to suffer in body and in estate.  O yes, the very same hell-broth that ran for blood in Judge Jeffreys’ heart is in all our hearts also; and those who have the least of its poison left in their hearts will be the foremost to confess its presence, and to hate and condemn and bewail themselves on account of its terrible dregs. ... Before you say any more about yourself, and before you leave the house of God, lift up your broken heart and with all your might bless God that He has opened your eyes and taught you how to look at yourself and how to hate yourself.  There are hundreds of honest Christian men and women in this house at this moment to whom God has not done as, in His free grace, He has done to you.  For He has not only begun a good work in you, but He has begun that special and peculiar work which, when it goes on to perfection, makes a great and an eminent saint of God.  To know your own heart as you evidently know it, and to hate it as you say you hate it, and to hunger after a clean heart as, with every breath, you hunger, - all that, if your would only believe it, sets you, or will yet set you, high up among the people of God.  Be comforted; it is your bounden duty to be comforted.  God deserves it at your hands that you be more than comforted amid such unmistakable signs of His eminent grace to you.  And be patient under your exceptional sanctification.  Rome was not built in a day.  You cannot reverse the awful law of your sanctification.  You cannot be saved by Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit without seeing yourself, and you cannot see yourself without hating yourself, and you cannot begin to hate yourself without all your hatred henceforth turning against yourself.  You are deep in the red-hot bosom of the refiner's fire.  And when you are once sufficiently tried by the Divine Refiner of Souls, He will in His own good time and way bring you out as gold.  Be patient, therefore, till the coming of the Lord. (Whyte, pp. 191, 194-5, 199-200)

Pickthank - Pickthank represents a set of tools that persecutors continually use; namely, men of no religious principle; who assume the appearance of zeal for any party, as may best promote their interests; and who inwardly despise both the superstitious and the spiritual worshipper.  These men discern little in the conduct or circumstances of believers to excite either their rage, or envy; but if their superiors be disposed to persecute, they will afford their assistance; for preferment runs in this channel. (Scott, p. 219)

Faithful's Defense - Christians in such circumstances should be more concerned for the honour of God than for their own credit or safety.  [A]nd they should take occasion to bear a decided testimony to the truths, commandments and institutions of the Scripture; ... .  That faith, (by which alone we approach God, and acceptably worship him,) has no other object than divine revelation; nothing done without the express warrant of Scripture can be profitable to eternal life, whatever may be said for its expediency. ... Human faith may please men; but without a divine faith it is impossible to please God, either in general or any particular action.  And, as we can seldom speak against the vile lusts of men, without being judged by implication to rail against such as are notoriously addicted to them, we cannot be the followers of Him, ‘whom the world hated, because he testified of it that its works were evil’, unless we be willing to risk all consequences in copying his example. (Scott, p. 220-1)



notes taken from:

Bunyan Characters in the Pilgrim's Progress by Alexander Whyte, London:Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1902.

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan with Explanatory Notes by Thomas Scott, Swengel, PA:Reiner Pub., 1976.

David G. Barker