The prior post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/pilgrims-progress-study-guide-5/
Christian in the Valley of the Shadow of Death:
- Why does Christian go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?
- This letter from Samuel Rutherford helps us understand this passage:
WELL-BELOVED AND DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST,—I could not get an answer written to your letter till now, in respect of my wife’s disease; and she is yet mightily pained. I hope that all shall end in God’s mercy. I know that an afflicted life looks very like the way that leads to the kingdom; for the Apostle hath drawn the line and the King’s market-way, “through much tribulation, to the kingdom” (Acts 14:22; 1 Thess. 3:4). The Lord grant us the whole armour of God.
….all God’s plants, set by His own hand, thrive well; and if the work be of God, He can make a stepping-stone of the devil himself for setting forward the work.
For yourself, I would advise you to ask of God a submissive heart. Your reward shall be with the Lord, although the people be not gathered (as the prophet speaks); and suppose the word do not prosper, God shall account you “a repairer of the breaches.”
And take Christ caution, ye shall not lose your reward. Hold your grip fast. If ye knew the mind of the glorified in heaven, they think heaven come to their hand at an easy market, when they have got it for threescore or fourscore years wrestling with God. When ye are come thither, ye shall think, “All I did, in respect of my rich reward, now enjoyed of free grace, was too little.” Now then, for the love of the Prince of your salvation, who is standing at the end of your way, holding up in His hand the prize and the garland to the race-runners, Forward, forward; faint not.
Take as many to heaven with you as ye are able to draw. The more ye draw with you, ye shall be the welcomer yourself. Be no niggard or sparing churl of the grace of God; and employ all your endeavours for establishing an honest ministry in your town, now when ye have so few to speak a good word for you. I have many a grieved heart daily in my calling. I would be undone, if I had not access to the King’s chamber of presence, to show Him all the business.
The devil rages, and is mad to see the water drawn from his own mill; but would to God we could be the Lord’s instruments to build the Son of God’s house….
Samuel Rutherford and Andrew A. Bonar, Letters of Samuel Rutherford: With a Sketch of His Life and Biographical Notices of His Correspondents (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1891), 50–51.