’May I now enter here?
Will he within
Open to sorry me, though I have been
A wandering rebel? Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high.’
2. ‘We make no objections against any,’ said Goodwill; ’notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither, they are in no wise cast out.’ He told me all things that ever I did, said the woman of Samaria, telling her neighbours about our Lord’s conversation with her. And, somehow, there was something in the gatekeeper’s words that called back to Christian, if not all the things he had ever done, yet from among them the worst things he had ever done. They all rose up black as hell before his eyes as the gatekeeper did not name them at all, but only said ‘notwithstanding all that thou hast done.’ Christian never felt his past life so black, or his burden so heavy, or his heart so broken, as when Goodwill just said that one word ‘notwithstanding.’ ’We make no objections against any; notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither, they are in no wise cast out.’
’An interpreter, one among a thousand.’—Elihu.
We come to-night to the Interpreter’s House. And since every minister of the gospel is an interpreter, and every evangelical church is an interpreter’s house, let us gather up some of the precious lessons to ministers and to people with which this passage of the Pilgrim’s Progress so much abounds.
1. In the first place, then, I observe that the House of the Interpreter stands just beyond the Wicket Gate. In the whole topography of the Pilgrim’s Progress there lies many a deep lesson. The church that Mr. Worldly-Wiseman supported, and on the communion roll of which he was so determined to have our pilgrim’s so unprepared name, stood far down on the other side of Goodwill’s gate. It was a fine building, and it had an eloquent man for its minister, and the whole service was an attraction and an enjoyment to all the people of the place; but our Interpreter was never asked to show any of his significant things there; and, indeed, neither minister nor people would have understood him had he ever done so. And had any of the parishioners from below the gate ever by any chance stumbled into the Interpreter’s house, his most significant rooms would have had no significance to them. Both he and his house would have been a mystery and an offence to Worldly-Wiseman, his minister, and his fellow-worshippers. John Bunyan has the clear warrant both of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul for the place on which he has planted the Interpreter’s house. ‘It is given to you,’ said our Lord to His disciples, ’to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.’ And Paul tells us that ’the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,