All posts by Ken

Ken Puls is a follower of Jesus, husband, father, worship leader, pastor and song writer. Over the past 27 years of ministry he has composed over 50 songs and hymns. He directs the music and media ministries at Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL.

Uncertainties as the Journey Begins

Christiana encourages Mercy

By this time Christiana was got on her way; and Mercy went along with her. So as they went, her children being there also, Christiana began to discourse. And, “Mercy,” said Christiana, “I take this as an unexpected favor that you should set foot out of doors with me, to accompany me a little in my Way.”

Mercy: Then said young Mercy (for she was but young), “If I thought it would be to purpose to go with you, I would never go near the town any more.”

Christiana: “Well, Mercy,” said Christiana, “cast in your lot with me. I well know what will be the end of our pilgrimage: my husband is where he would not but be for all the gold in the Spanish mines. Nor shall you be rejected, though you go but upon my invitation. The King who has sent for me and my children is one that delights in mercy. Besides, if you are willing, I will hire you, and you shall go along with me as my servant. Yet we will have all things in common between you and me; only go along with me.”

Mercy: “But how shall I be ascertained that I also shall be entertained? Had I this hope but from one that can tell, I would make no stick at all; but would go, being helped by him that can help, though the way was never so tedious.”

Christiana: “Well, loving Mercy, I will tell you what you should do. Go with me to the Wicket Gate, and there I will further inquire for you; and if there you should not meet with encouragement, I will be content that you should return to your place. I also will pay you for your kindness which you showed to me and my children, in your accompanying of us in our way as you are doing.”

Mercy: “Then will I go thither, and will take what shall follow; and the Lord grant that my lot may there fall even as the King of heaven shall have his heart upon me!”

Christiana then was glad in her heart, not only that she had a companion, but also for that she had prevailed with this poor maid to fall in love with her own salvation. 

Notes and Commentary

One of the lessons Bunyan emphasizes often in The Pilgrim’s Progress (both Part One and Part Two), is our need to walk the journey together. We need Christian fellowship. We need our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need their wisdom, strength, love, and encouragement. And they need ours! In Part One Faithful and then Hopeful became Christian’s companions. Here in Part Two Christiana from the outset walks with Mercy.

As Christiana begins her journey to the Celestial City, she is delighted that Mercy has decided to accompany her. Mercy is most willing to go, but is hesitant, not knowing how she will be received when they reach their destination. Mercy does not want to return to Destruction. If she could be certain that her journey would “be to purpose” (be successful), she would “never go near the town any more.” Though she is troubled by uncertainty, she still agrees to go on the journey.

What convinces her to go? What overcomes her doubts and persuades her to leave the life she has always known?

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2022 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc
.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

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Scorned by the World

Mrs. Timorous and Neighbors

So Mrs. Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey. But when Timorous was got home to her house, she sent for some of her neighbors: to wit, Mrs. Bat’s-Eyes, Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Light-mind, and Mrs. Know-Nothing. So when they were come to her house, she fell to telling the story of Christiana and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:

Timorous: Neighbors, having had little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and when I came at the door I knocked, as you know ‘tis our custom. And she answered, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” So in I went, thinking all was well; but when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that; and she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.

Mrs. Know-Nothing: Then said Mrs. Know-Nothing, “And what, do you think she will go?”

Timorous: “Aye, go she will, whatever come on’t; and methinks I know it by this, for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way), is one great argument with her to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, the bitter goes before the sweet. Yea, and for as much as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.”

Mrs. Bat’s-eyes: “Oh, this blind and foolish woman,” said she; “will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.”

Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, “Away with such fantastical fools from the town—a good riddance, for my part, I say, of her. Should she stay where she dwells, and retain this her mind, who could live quietly by her? For she will either be dumpish or unneighborly, or talk of such matters as no wise body can abide. Wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure. Let her go, and let better come in her room: ’twas never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.”

Then Mrs. Light-mind added as follows: “Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton’s, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I, and Mrs. Love-the-Flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others. So there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say, my lady herself is an admirably well bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.”

Notes and Commentary

Thus far in the story we have seen the first stirrings of grace in Christiana as well as in Mercy. Now, as Christiana and Mercy make preparations to leave the City of Destruction, Bunyan draws our attention to one who is determined to stay.

Mrs. Timorous, as her name implies, is one who is driven by her own fears and apprehensions. Thoughts of taking a journey, such as Christiana and Mercy are planning, cause her trepidation. Think of the friends and family they will leave behind! Think of the unknowns and uncertainties! Think of the dangers they will face (dangers confirmed by the stories she has heard about Christian)! A journey to search for a Celestial City—Mrs. Timorous will have nothing to do with it. The thoughts of leaving her present comforts and familiar surroundings are too much to bear. 

Christiana once thought this way. And so Mrs. Timorous was aghast when she stopped by to visit and discovered Christiana preparing to embark on such a journey. How could Christiana so suddenly change her mind? Has she lost all reason? How could she now be willing to risk all (even the well-being of her children) to set out on the Way? It makes no sense! Mrs. Timorous tried her best to discourage Christiana from going, yet Christiana could not be dissuaded. And now, even Mercy is persuaded to join her.

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2022 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc
.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Night Sky just before the Dawn

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of ev’ry nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

2. Joy to those who long to see Thee
Day-spring from on high, appear.
Come, Thou promised Rod of Jesse,
Of Thy birth, we long to hear!
O’er the hills the angels singing
News, glad tidings of a birth;
“Go to Him your praises bringing
Christ the Lord has come to earth!”

3. Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end.
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder,
Christ was born the Lord of all.

4. Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us for ever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Words by Charles Wesley, 1744
Hymn Tune: HYFRYDOL (8.7.8.7.D.)  
Music by Rowland Prichard, 1830

©Public Domain

Download Free Sheet Music including Chord Charts for Guitar and an arrangement of the hymn tune HYFRYDOL for Classical Guitar.

More Hymns from History

More Christmas Hymns arranged for Classical Guitar

He Does All Things Well

Sunrise in the Valley

Often in this life we face circumstances that make no sense. Difficulties arise that we don’t expect. Trials come our way that overwhelm our thoughts. Friendships, jobs, ministries, vocations—in which we’ve invested our time and efforts—can vanish. In such times, we need to remember to trust God and acknowledge Him. Though we don’t understand why we must walk through such troubles, we can look to God and know He will guide us. God’s Word tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5–6)

God is sovereign and wise. He understands all things and directs all things according to His will. Though we may not understand, we are exhorted to rest our faith in Him (trust in the Lord) and give Him praise (acknowledge Him). Though we may not see the pathway ahead, we are urged to trust Him completely (with all your heart) and praise Him always—in times of sorrow and pain as well as in times of joy (in all your ways).

God is accomplishing and completing His perfect plan. He is at work in ways that are beyond our thoughts and far above our prayers. 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8–9)

The following song is a reminder to trust God and give Him praise, even when life doesn’t make sense. We cannot comprehend all He is doing in us and around us. We often don’t know what to think, what to say, and how to pray. But our God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” His ways are sure. His Word is true. We need only watch with eyes of faith. Behold! His perfect plan will indeed unfold. 

Listen and download a recording of this song from Bandcamp:

He Does All Things Well

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).

God is faithful,
God is near.
He’ll not leave you,
So do not fear.

All around you,
Everyday,
He is working,
So watch and pray. 

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

God is sovereign,
God is wise.
Don’t be downcast,
Just lift your eyes.

All that happens
Serves His will,
Even hard things,
So trust Him still.

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

When the changes comes,
He knows what is best.
When you’re beaten down,
He will give you rest.

When you’re tossed and turned,
He’ll steadfast remain.
When the wound is deep,
He will heal your pain.

When the door is closed,
He will show the way.
When the path grows dark,
He shines bright as day.

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

Yes, wait and see
What the Lord will do.
His ways are sure
And His Word is true.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

Words and Music ©2021 Kenneth A Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

Mercy’s Reply

Mercy, Christiana and Mrs. Timorous

Then Timorous also reviled her, and said to her fellow, “Come, neighbor Mercy, let’s leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.”

But Mercy was at a stand, and could not so readily comply with her neighbor; and that for a twofold reason. First, her bowels yearned over Christiana; so she said within herself, “If my neighbor will needs be gone, I will go a little way with her, and help her.” Secondly, her bowels yearned over her own soul (for what Christiana had said had taken some hold upon her mind). Wherefore she said within herself again, “I will yet have more talk with this Christiana: and if I find truth and life in what she shall say, myself with my heart shall also go with her.” Wherefore Mercy began thus to reply to her neighbor Timorous.

Mercy: “Neighbor, I did indeed come with you to see Christiana this morning; and since she is, as you see, a taking of her last farewell of her country, I think to walk this sunshiny morning a little way with her to help her on the way.”

But she told her not of her second reason; but kept that to herself.

Timorous: Well, I see you have a mind to go a-fooling too; but take heed in time, and be wise: while we are out of danger we are out; but when we are in we are in.

Notes and Commentary

Christiana is undeterred in her determination to set out on a journey to the Celestial City. She has explained to her friends her reasons for leaving. She read them her letter of invitation and assurance. And she shared her hope that the King will be merciful and welcome her at journey’s end. When Christian asks, “What now will you say to this?” Mrs. Timorous is aghast. She believes Christiana’s hopes to be madness. She feels offended that Christiana will not listen to reason and heed her advice to stay. She also assumes that Mercy thinks as she does. She reviles Christiana and encourages Mercy to join her in leaving: “Come, neighbor Mercy, let’s leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.”

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2021 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc
.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page

Visited by Neighbors

Mrs. Timorous and Mercy come to visit

But while they were thus about to be gone, two of the women that were Christiana’s neighbors came up to her house, and knocked at her door. To whom she said, as before, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” At this the women were stunned; for this kind of language they used not to hear, or to perceive to drop from the lips of Christiana. Yet they came in; but behold, they found the good woman preparing to be gone from her house.

So they began, and said, “Neighbor, pray what is your meaning by this?”

Christiana answered and said to the eldest of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous, “I am preparing for a journey.” (This Timorous was daughter to him that met Christian upon the Hill Difficulty, and would have had him go back for fear of the lions.)

Timorous: “For what journey, I pray you?”

Christiana: “Even to go after my good husband. And with that she fell a-weeping.”

Timorous: “I hope not so, good neighbor. Pray, for your poor children’s sakes, do not so unwomanly cast away yourself.”

Christiana: “Nay, my children shall go with me; not one of them is willing to stay behind.”

Timorous: “I wonder, in my very heart, what or who has brought you into this mind.”

Christiana: “Oh, neighbor, knew you but as much as I do, I doubt not but that you would go with me.”

Timorous: Prithee, what new knowledge have you got that so turns your thoughts from your friends, and that tempts you to go nobody knows where?

Then Christiana replied, “I have been sorely afflicted since my husband’s departure from me; but specially since he went over the river. But that which troubles me most is, my churlish carriages to him when he was under his distress. Besides, I am now as he was then; nothing will serve me but going on pilgrimage. I was dreaming last night that I saw him. Oh that my soul was with him! He dwells in the presence of the King of the country; he sits and eats with him at his table; he is become a companion of immortals; and has a house now given him to dwell in, to which the best palaces on earth if compared, seem to me to be but as a dunghill.”

“The Prince of the place has also sent for me, with promise of entertainment if I shall come to him. His messenger was here even now, and has brought me a letter, which invites me to come.” And with that she plucked out her letter, and read it, and said to them, “What now will you say to this?’”

Timorous: “Oh, the madness that has possessed you and your husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbor Obstinate, can yet testify; for he went along with him. Yea, and Pliable too, until they, like wise men, were afraid to go any farther. We also heard, over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death, and many other things. Nor is the danger that he met with at Vanity Fair to be forgotten by you. For if he, though a man, was so hard put to it, what can you, being but a poor woman, do? Consider, also, that these four sweet babes are your children, your flesh and your bones. Wherefore, though you should be so rash as to cast away yourself, yet, for the sake of the fruit of your body, keep yourself at home.”

But Christiana said unto her, “Tempt me not, my neighbor; I have now a price put into mine hand to get gain, and I should be a fool of the greatest size if I should have no heart to strike in with the opportunity. And for that you tell me of all these troubles that I am like to meet with in the way, they are so far off from being to me a discouragement, that they show I am in the right. The bitter must come before the sweet; and that also will make the sweet the sweeter. Wherefore, since you came not to my house in God’s name, as I said, I pray you to be gone, and not to disquiet me further.”

Then Timorous also reviled her, and said to her fellow, “Come, neighbor Mercy, let’s leave her in her own hands, since she scorns our counsel and company.”

Notes and Commentary

Soon after Secret wishes Christiana and her children well on their journey, there is another knock at the door. Two neighbors, Mrs. Timorous and Mercy, stop by to visit. Upon hearing the knock, Christiana replies, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” This was the same greeting she had given when Secret came to visit. Secret’s reply was  “Amen,” and “Peace be to this house!” But the two women are stunned by the greeting. These are not the words they expected to hear! They were accustomed to hearing complaints and laments from Christiana. They were expecting her to still be bitter towards God. After all, Christian, her husband, fled Destruction in search of eternal life, though she had cried after him to return. Now Mrs. Timorous and Mercy enter the house and find Christiana and her children preparing to leave on a journey of their own.

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2021 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page

Christiana Prepares for Her Journey

Christiana and her children

Now I saw in my dream, that this old gentleman, as he told me this story, did himself seem to be greatly affected therewith. He moreover, proceeded and said, “So Christiana called her sons together, and began thus to address herself unto them, “My sons, I have, as you may perceive, been of late under much exercise in my soul about the death of your father; not for that I doubt at all of his happiness for I am satisfied now that he is well. I have also been much affected with the thoughts of mine own state and yours, which I verily believe is by nature miserable. My carriages also to your father in his distress is a great load to my conscience; for I hardened both my own heart and yours against him, and refused to go with him on pilgrimage.”

“The thoughts of these things would now kill me outright, but that for a dream which I had last night, and but that for the encouragement that this stranger has given me this morning. Come, my children, let us pack up, and be gone to the gate that leads to the celestial country; that we may see your father, and be with him and his companions in peace, according to the laws of that land.”

Then did her children burst out into tears for joy that the heart of their mother was so inclined. So their visitor bade them farewell: and they began to prepare to set out for their journey.

Notes and Commentary

In Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christiana made a foolish decision to remain in the City of Destruction. She hardened her heart (as well as the hearts of her children) against her husband and refused to follow him on his pilgrimage to the Celestial City. But now in Part 2 her heart is fearful and broken. She fears judgment if she stays. She fears danger if she leaves her home to embark on a journey. Yet she has a persistent hope that she will one day share the same heavenly reward that Christian has attained. Her hope has been strengthened by a visit from Secret (the hidden work of the Spirit upon the heart). And now she holds a Letter close to her heart (assurance that she will be received at the gates to the Celestial City with joy).

Christiana’s sorrows, fears, and hopes are encouraging evidence that grace is stirring in her heart. But sorrows, fears, and hopes are all for naught if she remains in Destruction. In themselves, they provide no refuge from the coming judgment. If she and her family are to be saved, they must “pack up and be gone.” They must find “the gate that leads to the celestial country.” They must find Christ!

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2021 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page

Ten Years Online

Guitar and Mountains

Today (July 30, 2021) marks the ten year anniversary of kenpulsmusic.com. In 2011 I launched a website with a small collection of sheet music featuring hymns and songs that I had written. Today the site features over 2000 resources including:

Take time to visit the site, explore, and share.

The Drop That Grew Into a Torrent

Fountain at Samford University

Charles H. Spurgeon is well known as a great preacher and pastor. He championed the truth of God’s Word and labored to make known the gospel of Jesus Christ. Spurgeon, however, was also a hymn-writer and compiler of hymns. He prepared a collection of hymns for use at the Metropolitan Tabernacle during his ministry. And he composed hymns.

The last hymn written by Spurgeon is included in the second volume of his autobiography, The Full Harvest, reprinted by Banner of Truth in 1973. On pages 426–427 he provides the words to the hymn and the following account:

The hymn was written in the early part of the year 1890, and was inserted in the programme used at the next College Conference. Those who were present, on that occasion, are not likely to forget the thrilling effect produced when five hundred ministers and students joined in singing it to the tune “Nottingham”. At the commencement, all sat and sang; but as they came to the later verses, they spontaneously rose, the time was quickened, and Mr. Manton Smith’s cornet helped to swell the volume of praise expressed by the writer.

The hymn is a glorious expression of praise for God’s grace coming upon a dry and dead sinner, raising him up, and plunging him into the glories of knowing and serving Jesus. The verses form a grand crescendo that reaches its peak in Christ alone.

“I will make the dry lands a spring of living water”

The Drop that Grew into a Torrent
A Personal Experience

1. All my soul was dry and dead
Till I learned that Jesus bled;
Bled and suffered in my place,
Bearing sin in matchless grace.

2. Then a drop of Heavenly love
Fell upon me from above,
And by secret, mystic art
Reached the center of my heart.

3. Glad the story I recount,
How that drop became a fount,
Bubbled up a living well,
Made my heart begin to swell.

4. All within my soul was praise,
Praise increasing all my days;
Praise which could not silent be:
Floods were struggling to be free.

5. More and more the waters grew,
Open wide the flood-gates flew,
Leaping forth in streams of song
Flowed my happy life along.

6. Lo! A river clear and sweet
Laved my glad, obedient feet!
Soon it rose up to my knees,
And I praised and prayed with ease.

7. Now my soul in praises swims,
Bathes in songs, and psalms and hymns;
Plunges down into the deeps,
All her powers in worship steeps.

8. Hallelujah! O my Lord!
Torrents from my soul are poured!
I am carried clean away,
Praising, praising all the day.

9. In an ocean of delight,
Praising God with all my might,
Self is drowned; so let it be:
Only Christ remains to me.

C.H. Spurgeon, 1890

Download music for this hymn:

  • The words set to the tune NOTTINGHAM, sung at the Pastor’s College, based on music by W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)
  • A setting of the tune NOTTINGHAM for Classical Guitar

Originally posted on the Founders site (April 11, 2013).

Brushing Up Your Guitar Playing

Guitar Tracks

If you enjoy classical guitar music and want to brush up on your playing this summer, check out this page:

Student Resources and Music for Classical Guitar

These are some of the exercises and pieces I give to my guitar students at FSW. The pieces are arranged from easiermore challenging, to even more challenging.

New this summer: STUTTGART: A Study in Counterpoint

This study uses the hymn tune STUTTGART and includes playing music in two-parts (bass and melody together), playing tremelo (with melody on top), and playing two-parts with added harmony.

You can download this study or all of the resources for free.

Explore the site for more Music for Classical Guitar.