I woke this morning to dark and rainy skies. As I looked out the window and took it all in I was reminded of one of John Bunyan's poems.
UPON A LOWERING MORNING. Well, with the day I see the clouds appear, And mix the light with darkness everywhere; This threatening is, to travellers that go Long journeys, slabby rain they’ll have, or snow.
Else, while I gaze, the sun doth with his beams Belace the clouds, as ‘twere with bloody streams;
This done, they suddenly do watery grow, And weep, and pour their tears out where they go.
Comparison. Thus ‘tis when gospel light doth usher in To us both sense of grace and sense of sin; Yea, when it makes sin red with Christ’s blood, Then we can weep till weeping does us good.
It has been years since I've read his A Book for Boys and Girls, Or Temporal Things Spiritualized. So, I spent time in it this morning and was blessed. I encourage you to download it and read through it when you have some time to sit and think.
There's much to learn from Bunyan's poetry here. For one, his thoughtful analogies between things observed in the natural world and theological truth/Christian experience is both beautiful and instructive.
UPON THE SWALLOW. This pretty bird, O! how she flies and sings, But could she do so if she had not wings? Her wings bespeak my faith, her songs my peace; When I believe and sing my doubtings cease.
It's not that Bunyan's poetry towers above that of other poets', but that he has taken the time to slow down and consider the things he saw and draw spiritual analogies that are helpful to himself as well as others. Is anyone doing this sort of thing today? And if so how about in urban and suburban settings? Obviously, Bunyan's context is more "country" than city.
It does make me think of what we see happening in the hip hop world as Christians rise up in it with rhymes and words that reflect the truth of Scripture. In fact Bunyan's "Of Man By Nature" actually reads like something Shai Linne or LeCrae would say today.
OF MAN BY NATURE. From God he’s a backslider, Of ways he loves the wider; With wickedness a sider, More venom than a spider. In sin he’s a considerer, A make-bate and divider; Blind reason is his guider, The devil is his rider.
Head over to Chapel Library for the free download (PDF). Be sure to check out The Sinner and the Spider.