After awhile—because supper was not ready—the Interpreter took them into his significant rooms, and showed them what Christian, Christiana’s husband, had seen some time before. Here, therefore, they saw the man in the cage; the man and his dream; the man that cut his way through his enemies; and the picture of the biggest of them all; together with the rest of those things that were then so profitable to Christian.
This done, and after these things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck rake in his hand. There stood also One over his head with a celestial crown in his hand, and proffered to give him that crown for his muck rake; but the man did neither look up nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.
Then said Christiana, “I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this; for this is a figure of a man of this world. Is it not, good sir?”
Interpreter: “You have said the right,” said he: “and his muck rake does show his carnal mind. And whereas you see him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to what he says that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in his hand, it is to show that heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now, whereas you were also shown that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let you know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men’s minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.”
Christiana: Then said Christiana, “Oh, deliver me from this muck rake!”
Interpreter: “That prayer,” said the Interpreter, “has been lain by till ’tis almost rusty. ‘Give me not riches’ is scarce the prayer of one of ten thousand. Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most are the great things now looked after.”
With that Mercy and Christiana wept and said, “It is, alas ! too true.”
Notes and Commentary
The Interpreter begins by showing Christiana, Mercy, and the children the significant rooms that Christian had seen in Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Those lessons proved to be invaluable to Christian, helping him overcome dangers and obstacles as he journeyed to the Celestial City. Once the pilgrims have had some time to digest (meditation on) the truths of those lessons, the Interpreter shows them even more. The wisdom in God’s Word can never be exhausted.
They see a man in a room who looks only downward. He has a muck rake in his hand. There is One standing over him, offering him a celestial crown. If he would but look up, he could cast away the muck rake in exchange for the crown. The man, however, pays no heed to the crown and contents himself with pushing around the straw, sticks, and dirt on the floor, endeavoring to pile up a mound of muck he can call his own.
Thus now, when they had talked away a little more time, they drew nigh to a house which stood in the way, which house was built for the relief of pilgrims; as you will find more fully related in the first part of these records of the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” So they drew on towards the house (the house of the Interpreter); and when they came to the door, they heard a great talk in the house. They then gave ear, and heard, as they thought, Christiana mentioned by name; for you must know that there went along, even before her, a talk of her and her children’s going on pilgrimage. And this thing was the more pleasing to them, because they had heard that she was Christian’s wife—that woman who was some time ago so unwilling to hear of going on pilgrimage. Thus, therefore, they stood still; and heard the good people within commending her who, they little thought, stood at the door. At last Christiana knocked, as she had done at the gate before. Now when she had knocked, there came to the door a young damsel named Innocent, and opened the door, and looked, and behold two women were there.
Damsel: Then said the damsel to them, “With whom would you speak in this place?”
Christiana: Christiana answered, “We understand that this is a privileged place for those that are become pilgrims, and we now at this door are such; wherefore, we pray that we may be partakers of that for which we at this time are come. For the day, as you see, is very far spent, and we are loath tonight to go any farther.”
Damsel: Pray what may I call your name, that I may tell it to my Lord within?
Christiana: My name is Christiana. I was the wife of that pilgrim that some years ago did travel this way; and these be his four children. This maiden also is my companion, and is going on pilgrimage too.
Innocent: Then ran Innocent in (for that was her name), and said to those within, “Can you think who is at the door? There is Christiana and her children, and her companion, all waiting for entertaining here.”
Then they leaped for joy, and went and told their master. So he came to the door, and looking upon her, he said, “Are you that Christiana whom Christian, the good man, left behind him when he betook himself to a pilgrim’s life?”
Christiana: I am that woman that was so hard hearted as to slight my husband’s troubles, and that left him to go on in his journey alone, and these are his four children; but now I also am come, for I am convinced that no way is right but this.
Interpreter: Then is fulfilled that which also is written of the man that said to his son, “Go, work today in my vineyard.” And he said to his father, “I will not,” but afterwards repented and went.
Christiana: Then said Christiana, “So be it. Amen. God make it a true saying upon me; and grant that I may be found at the last of him in peace without spot and blameless.”
Interpreter: “But why do you stand thus at the door? Come in, you daughter of Abraham. We were talking about you just now, for tidings have come to us before how you have become a pilgrim. Come, children, come in; come, maiden, come in.” So he had them all into the house.
So when they were within, they were bidden to sit down and rest; the which when they had done, those that attended upon the pilgrims in the house came into the room to see them. And one smiled, and another smiled, and they all smiled for joy that Christiana had become a pilgrim. They also looked upon the boys; they stroked them over the faces with the hand, in token of their kind reception of them; they also carried it lovingly to Mercy, and bade them all welcome into their master’s house.
Notes and Commentary
The pilgrims now arrive at “a house which stood in the way, which house was built for the relief of pilgrims.” The House of the Interpreter is a familiar place in ThePilgrim’s Progress. Christian spent much time here in Part 1, learning lessons and seeing “excellent things.”
The House of the Interpreter is a splendid representation of God’s Word. Each room and object in the house points to profitable truths from the Bible. The Interpreter, who welcomes the pilgrims to “come in,” is the Holy Spirit, who illumines Scripture and helps us rightly understand and apply its truths.
Open your Bibles this evening to Psalm 43. Tonight, we return to our study of Psalm 42 and 43. These two psalms are two halves of a single psalm. Together they form a lament with 3 stanzas and 3 refrains.
In this psalm, the psalmist expresses sorrow. He is afflicted and oppressed. He is separated from the people of God. And he is providentially hindered from being in Jerusalem at a time when the nation is gathering to worship God. His heart longs to “go with the throng” and join with the “multitude observing the pilgrim festival.”
In this study we are specifically interested in what we can learn about worship. What are the joys that come from corporate worship? What are the blessings that the psalmist longs for and desires to experience again?
The Psalmist longed to be in God’s presence in the midst of God’s people. His chief joy in worship was seeking God and delighting in God with the people of God.
When God brought Israel out of bondage and established them as a people, He promised to be their God, to be near them, to tabernacle among them. This great truth—God dwells with His people—fills the Old Testament and finds its fulfillment in the coming of Christ, the Messiah, who is Immanuel, “God with us.”
The presence of God with His people was the psalmist’s greatest joy in worship.
The psalmist remembered the times and places where God had brought deliverance to His people. He was encouraged and drew strength when he saw and heard about God working in the lives of His people.
He also longed to return to worship so he himself could testify of God’s goodness in delivering him from his trial. He desired that his own suffering be turned to praise and thanksgiving. He looked forward to the time when he could bring a peace offering of thanksgiving and testify to the gathered congregation that God had heard and answered his prayer. All the people of God would rejoice and give thanks when they saw him—his joy and thanksgiving to God would be multiplied many times over in the context of corporate worship! His experience would bring encouragement and strength to others who were facing difficulty.
This evening we are going to consider the third joy of corporate worship. It is found in the third stanza (Psalm 43:1–4) and the final refrain (43:5): The Joy of Walking Together in Light and Truth.
O Spirit, now we thank You For giving us Your Word. Please bless its proclamation, The truths that we have heard. Indwell us and empow’r us, And cause us to obey; Shine now the light of Scripture On all we do and say.
Great Artist of the Scriptures, In beauty You have made God’s Word to shine in glory That cannot fail or fade. In poetry and proverbs, Through narrative and line; In prophecy and hist’ry, God’s truth in splendor shines.
You, down through many ages Inspired men to write, Progressively revealing, You brought God’s truth to light. O Spirit, come illumine This truth for us today; And guide us in sound doctrine, The straight and narrow way.
Wield now Your Sword, O Spirit, The quick and living Word, And rend our hearts asunder With truths that we have heard. O search us now and know us, Expose iniquity; Conform us to our Savior, And holy we shall be.
This hymn is a prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit, who inspired and crafted the Word of God. It is written to serve as a closing hymn following the preaching of the Word. In the hymn we respond to the preaching by asking the Spirit to “bless its proclamation” and apply it in an effective way to our lives. The final verse is based on Hebrew 4:12. Scripture is the sword of the Spirit, who skillfully and lovingly lays bare our hearts with truth.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The idea for the hymn came in October 1995 during a Sunday School class taught by Steve Garrick at Heritage Baptist Church. Steve was teaching a series of lessons on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. During the lesson on October 22nd, he compared the Spirit’s work in bringing us God’s Word to that of an artist. When God revealed His Word to us, he did not package it as a “systematic theology.” He chose and inspired men to write from their own experiences in poetry, proverb, narrative, history, and prophesy. The Bible is a great work of art crafted by the Spirit “through many ages” as God-breathed revelation. I thought during the class that the comparison would work well for lyrics to a hymn. I finally wrote the hymn several months later. I finished the lyrics on July 8, 1996 while driving to Dallas Baptist University, where I was teaching Classical Guitar during the summer semester. The hymn tune is named for Pastor Steve Garrick.
Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that teach on the doctrine of Scripture: Special Revelation. The songs are arranged under 17 theological statements, including one for which I have not yet found related songs
If you have additional suggestions for songs related to the doctrine of Scripture that should be included in the index, please comment or send me a message.
Note: The songs are listed below by title and author. For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the page for Songs and God’s Word in the Theological Index of Music for Worship online. I will be updating the online Index with more songs and topics in the days ahead as I receive recommendations.