We recently read through the first half of Bunyan’s classic “The Pilgrim’s Progress” as an activity with all the Ellerslie students. There was a section in particular that I thought worth sharing here. “Christian” is explaining to his companion “Hopeful” why some people who begin and seem to walk for a while in faith, then turn aside and grow more and more sinful and hateful towards the faith they once professed!Â He outlines nine “steps” that progressively lead someone from living a life of seeming godliness and faith, to life of animosity towards the truth they once claimed to believe! May these be a helpful warning to your soul.
1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.
3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.
4. After that, they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.
5. They then begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly, and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming color to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmities they have espied in them) behind their backs.
6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.
7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.
8. After this they begin to play with little sins openly.
9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.