Tuesday, May 29, 2007

London Highlights, Pt. 1

My wife Kim and I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting London this past weekend. Having accompanied her to Harrod's the evening we arrived, I felt I was warranted in dragging her to Bunhill Fields, a cemetery where several well-known Dissenters are buried, the following morning. If you're ever in London, I highly recommend you visit this quiet, tree-shaded oasis on the east side of the busy city centre.

The most famous personage at rest there is probably the great preacher and author, John Bunyan (1628-1688).

Here's a passage from my favorite section of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. It describes the arrival of the main character, Christian, and his companion Hopeful, at the Celestial City:

"Now when they were come up to the gate, there was written over it, in letters of gold,

"BLESSED ARE THEY THAT DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, THAT THEY MAY HAVE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE, AND MAY ENTER IN THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY."

Then I saw in my dream, that the shining men bid them call at the gate: the which when they did, some from above looked over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, etc., to whom it was said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning: those therefore were carried in unto the King, who, when he had read them, said, Where are the men? To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate. The King then commanded to open the gate, "That the righteous nation (said he) that keepeth the truth may enter in." [Isa. 26:2.]


Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honor. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them,

"ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD."

I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying,

"BLESSING, AND HONOR, AND GLORY, AND POWER, BE UNTO HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB, FOR EVER AND EVER."

Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal. There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. And after that they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them."


Some Bunyan links:

2 comments:

Edwin Tay said...

Chris, glad that you took the trip there. It's a moving place to be. Did you also see the graves of John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, Isaac Watts, and Susannah Wesley? What about John Wesley's grave behind Wesley Chapel just across the road from Bunhillfields?

H.C. Ross said...

Hi Edwin,

I saw Owen's, Goodwin's and Susannah Wesley's, and I did get a photo of Wesley's Chapel, but unfortunately I didn't go to see his grave behind it. I also saw William Blake's. I plan on writing another post or two on these others soon.

Chris

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