“A Jail More Beautiful Than A Palace”

by Jim on 30 May 2011

After Easter weekend I shared part of a poem by John Bunyan (Prison Meditations).  I’m still reading Fearless Pilgrim, a new biography of Bunyan, and wanted to share another quote from him about suffering.

John Bunyan

He knew a lot about suffering, by the way, spending many of the prime years of his life in jail away from his young family.  This is from his book Seasonable Counsel: or, Advice To Sufferers., written in 1684 (the same year he wrote the second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress).  The English has been modernized somewhat.

Your own doubts and mistrusts about what he will do, and about where you will go, when you for him have suffered awhile, he can resolve, yes, dissolve, crush, and bring to nothing.—He can make fear flee far away: and place heavenly confidence in its room.  He can bring invisible and eternal things to the eye of your soul, and make you see that in those things in which your enemies shall see nothing, that you will count worth the loss of ten thousand lives to enjoy.  … Yes, he can himself come near and bring his heaven and glory to you.  The Spirit of glory and of God rests upon them that are but reproached for the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14)…

Those that honour God, he will honour, yes, will put some of his glory upon them, but they shall be honoured.  There is none can tell what God can do.  He can make those things that in themselves are most fearful and terrible to behold, the most pleasant, delightful, and desirable things.  He can make a jail more beautiful than a palace; restraint, more sweet by far than liberty.  And "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" (Heb 11:26).  It is said of Christ, That "for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb 12:2).

You can read the whole book at Seasonable Counsel: or, Advice To Sufferers.

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