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Tue, Aug 31st - 5:14AM

Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

John Bunyan (1628-1688) was a working man with little schooling, a rustic who followed his father as a wandering tinker, mending pots and pans at great houses and villages - and preaching where anyone would listen. In 1660, he was arrested for illegal preaching and non-attendance at his parish church. He spent 12 years in the prison and in 1675/76 he was there again. At some point during the two periods he produced part one of The Pilgrim's Progress.

The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, is the allegorical story of the character Christian's journey in search of salvation (1st part published 1678; 2nd part, 1684). Ten editions of this great work were printed during Bunyan's lifetime, and it eventually became the most widely read book in English after the Bible. Noted for its simple, biblical style, The Pilgrim's Progress is now generally considered one of the finest allegories in English literature, and it has been translated into many languages.

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Thu, Aug 26th - 5:20AM

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations.

In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times each week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor at the 5000-seat New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave that denomination. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon's which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon's College, which was named after him posthumously.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, poetry, hymnist, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.

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Thu, Aug 19th - 1:44PM

Have a Little Faith

Mitch Albom tells a good story and Have a Little Faith (Sphere, 2009) is not only a good story but a true one. It begins when Mitch is approached, after giving a speech, by his childhood rabbi who asks if he will do his eulogy. Mitch is rather surprised but agrees. However he realizes if he is to do his eulogy he will need to know him as a person instead of just his childhood rabbi. And so begins an eight year relationship which is life changing for Mitch. He discovers amongst other things that his old rabbi is genuine, honest, humble, God believing, hard working, a faithful carer of his flock, and a bad dresser!

While telling this story, Mitch also weaves into the narrative the story of Henry Covington. Henry is a reformed drug addict who is now the pastor of a church basically made up of homeless people. Henry's church is in Detroit where Mitch also lives. It seems Mitch's relationship with the rabbi has pricked Mitch's conscious so he gets involved in helping this church as they aid the homeless.

As the book draws to a close Mitch makes the common author error of telling too much. Rather than leave these two stories side by side and let the reader make up their own minds about the validity of each person's faith, Mitch decides to share with us his own opinions and strongly implies that all faiths are the same. A conclusion I cannot agree with. This detracted from my enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining story.

Reviewed by Susan Barnes who likes to write inspirational articles, book reviews, and devotional comments on Bible passages. More of her writing can be found at:

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Thu, Aug 12th - 4:43AM

Have Faith

A preacher who was in the habit of writing his sermons out carefully found himself at church one Sunday morning without his manuscript.

"As I have forgotten my notes," he said at the beginning of his sermon, "I will have to rely on the Lord for guidance. Next week I shall come better prepared."

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Sat, Aug 7th - 7:34AM

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Paradise Lost (1667) is considered John Milton's masterpiece and one of the greatest poems in world literature. In its 12 cantos he tells the story of the fall of Adam in a context of cosmic drama and profound speculations. The poet's announced aim was to "justify the ways of God to men." The poem was written with soaring imagination and far-ranging intellectual grasp in his most forceful and exalted style.

Paradise Regained (1671), which tells of human salvation through Christ, is a shorter and lesser work, although still one of great richness and strength. John Milton (1608-1674) was quite blind by 1652. The Great Plague brought Milton to Chalfont St Giles in 1665 where he completed dictating both works.

Milton intended to become a clergyman in the Church of England, but growing dissatisfaction with the state of the Anglican clergy led him to abandon this purpose. He was the ablest pamphleteer of his time and among his tracts was A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes (1659), in which he gave practical suggestions for government reform and argued against a professional clergy and in favor of allowing people to interpret Scripture according to their own conscience.

Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick

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