Fathers: Don’t Be a Saint Abroad and a Devil at Home


I collect interesting editions of Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan. 

It’s a really goofy “hobby,” I know. (Is “hobby” even the right thing to call it? Fetish? What?…) But anyway, now you know what to get me for my birthday instead of that thing you got me that was really thoughtful but kinda lame.

Pilgrim’s Progress is the #2 best-selling book of all time. In human history. Besides THE BIBLE. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Next to the Bible, the book I value most is John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.”  So, seriously, if you haven’t read it, you need to get on that. The book is an allegory of the Christian journey from death to life, which means that all the characters represent something or someone. Kind of like The Wizard of Oz. Wait… You knew that The Wizard of Oz is an allegory, right? Did I just wreck it for you? Sorry, bro. I thought we were all in on that.

Here’s a selection that seems particularly apropos for Father’s Day. This is the main character, “Christian,” speaking to “Faithful” (one of the good guys) about their temporary travel companion, “Talkative” (not such a good guy):

“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 we can “talk religion” if we are not holy. It matters little what people think of the power of our minds if they think little of our piety. Let me say on Fathers Day, dads: Pastor your family by setting the example of godliness for your family. Live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t be a saint abroad and a devil at home.


3 thoughts on “Fathers: Don’t Be a Saint Abroad and a Devil at Home”

  1. You should talk with my dad. He just mentioned this week that he loved this book and thought it would be a great gift for people who go through Alpha.

  2. I read “Little Pilgrim’s Progress” by Helen Taylor to my 6-year-old son and we both LOVED it! I definitely recommend this version–for children and adults alike.

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