A Saint Abroad and a Devil at Home

The first time I read The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan (in which all of the characters are ‘descriptively named’), I began to cry as I read this paragraph, because I knew which of these characters I most resembled.

[Christian, speaking to Faithful about their travel companion, Talkative]: “Remember the proverb, ‘They say and do not: but the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.’ He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth: but he knows only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is empty of religion, as the white of an egg is of [flavor]. There is there neither prayer nor sign of repentance for sin… Thus say the common people that know him: A saint abroad and a devil at home. …For my part, I am of the opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God, prevent not, the ruin of many more.”

It is far more important to live well than to speak well. It matters little how well read we are if we are not holy. It matters little what people think of our minds if they think little of our piety. Shall we not devote at least as much time and energy toward our sanctification as we do toward our education?


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