Mr. By-Ends & Demas (Lesson)

The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

We have just finished the story of one who, having named the name of Christ, and been faithful to His cause, -one who paid the ultimate price for his faith. This next episode paints a very different picture: one of following "religion" when it is easy, convenient, and profitable.

Mr. By-Ends represents Christianity-lite, which turns out in the end not to be Christianity at all. When we read about Mr. By-ends and his friends, Mr. Hold-the -World, Mr. Money-Love, and Mr. Save-All, two professions come readily to mind: politicians and preachers. These are the two high-visibility porfessions that regularly give Christianity a black eye, by using Christianity to gain respectability, influence, or wealth. But one does not have to be Jim and Tammy Faye, or Robert Tilton to be convicted by these scenarios. To some degree, all of us who name the name of Christ, have to examine ourselves regularly to be sure we are not holding our faith wrongly, to our own advantage. The story as it unfolds in the next few pages nips at all of our heels. Here are just a few excerpts of those pages. I will post the entire chapter, plus the chapter titled "Demas" in my next post.

By-Ends. ‘Tis true, we somewhat differ in religion from those of the stricter sort; yet but in two small points: First, we never strive against wind and tide; secondly, we are always most zealous when religion goes in his silver slippers–we love much to walk with him in the street if the sun shines, and the people applaud it

Chr. If you will go with us, you must go against wind and tide, the which, I perceive, is against your opinion; you must also own religion in his rags as well as when in his silver slippers; and stand by him too when bound in irons, as well as when he walks the streets with applause.
By-ends. You must not impose nor lord it over my faith; leave me to my liberty, and let me go with you.
Chr. Not a step farther, unless you will do, in what I propound, as we.
By-ends. Then said BY-ENDS, "I shall never desert my old principles, since they are harmless and profitable.

Mr. HOLD-THE-WORLD, Mr. MONEY-LOVE, and Mr. SAVE-ALL –men that Mr. BY-ENDS had formerly been acquainted with; for in their minority they were schoolfellows, and were taught by one Mr. GRIPEMAN, a schoolmaster in Love-gain, which is a market town in the county of Coveting, in the north. This schoolmaster taught them the art of getting, either by violence, fraud, flattery, lying, or by putting on a guise of religion;

Chr. the man that takes up religion for the world will throw away religion for the world; for so surely as Judas designed the world in becoming religious, so surely did he also sell religion and his Master for the same.

Aye, and hold you there still, good Mr. BY-ENDS; for, for my part, I can count him but a fool, that, having the liberty to keep what he has, shall be so unwise as to lose it.

These last words spoken by Mr. Hold-the-World remind me of the famous quote by Jim Elliott "A man is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot loose."

Below, I have listed a number of scripture verses, in addition to those listed within the text, that we will use in connection with the discussion of this lesson

Matthew 7:13, 14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.You cannot serve God and money.

Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

1 Timothy 6 . . .people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

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