On his journey to that great Celestial City a weary and battle worn Pilgrim came upon the town of Vanity. He was exhausted from his long journey. Not too long ago he had been at a crossroads where he had almost completely abandoned the way of the King and his own heart had recently nearly succumbed to abandoning the Book he had long held dear.
After finding his feet again, he had resumed his journey once more, but his mind began to wonder if he really was the same as the days gone by. The days where he was not afraid to take his stand against those who opposed the Book. The days where he trusted the King’s Edict and its power in bringing other Pilgrims with him on toward that Great City. The days where he desired to follow the Book no matter where it led to or what consequences it might bring.
The man’s name was Mr. S.B.C and these thoughts were heavy upon the traveler as he entered the town of Vanity. Part of him thought he knew this place. He remembered that it held a year-round fair known as “Vanity Fair.” He remembered that as a child he was taught of a pair of companions who entered this place once, Christian and Faithful.
These two men’s clothing and speech had caused them to immediately stand out to the crowd at the Fair. And when Christian and Faithful rejected the merchants and their wares, along with the town and its decadence, they had been brought before the officers of the city and imprisoned. Christian made it out alive, but Faithful met his untimely demise as one of whom the world was not worthy.
Mr. S.B.C remembered the story. And he remembered the courage it used to bring to his heart. But as he entered the great Fair, his mind began to change. He began to consider that perhaps those who’ve gone before him were slightly mistaken, and frankly, a bit outdated in their way of thinking.
Is not this Vanity Fair filled with those who need to hear of the great King? And perhaps partaking of the town’s amusements, purchasing it’s goods, and participating in its carnality would be a gateway to the people.
Unlike Christian and Faithful, Mr. S.B.C was not met with a skeptical eye upon his tour of the Fair, for he quickly changed his raiment to resemble the people’s so that he was hardly noticed. And when he spoke, the people understood him well. It seems he had forgotten most of the language of Canaan, and was fluent in the happenings and dialect of the world. In fact, it became such that nothing about Mr. S.B.C, other than perhaps his name, could distinguish him from those happily enjoying Vanity Fair.
Again, he felt his heart at war with in him – as though his conscience warned him of the ways he was embracing. But ultimately, he pressed on. And when he passed by one well dressed merchant, he stopped to consider his goods. From this man, Mr. S.B.C. bought a large book that explained the Fair’s rules for life and included and free ticket that would allow him to travel anywhere in town he desired.
And when he came upon another merchant, being out of money, and encumbered by now holding two books, he traded in his King’s Book for the seller’s irresistible commodities.
How happily now Mr. S.B.C danced in the streets of the Fair. He purchased a home in the town and entertained the people weekly. How great the crowds he could gather causing the people to laugh and sing. Sometimes he tried to bring insight to the people on how they could live better and do better, and he even at times mentioned the name of the King. But all knew this was only a farce.
The people were much too happy with the experiences of the Fair to ever really embrace the King’s edict. And why should they care about another City when Mr. S.B.C. seemed to love and enjoy their town so well?
Other Pilgrims would travel through the town stopping their ears to hear what the merchants sold. And when they came upon Mr. S.B.C. they firmly scolded him and pleaded with him to carry on with them to the Celestial City.
But he would have none of it. His heart was proud, and his ways had become one with the Fair. To leave the Town would be much too difficult at this point and would include too much humility and chastisement from the people of Vanity. And, the saddest part of all, he did not ultimately want to leave. He desired the Fair more than the King.
But one night near one of the Fair’s Amusements – the Kingdom of Magic – his heart burned within him. It seemed the final vestiges of his once faithful heart cried out to him. He was at war within himself over his lust for the Fair versus faithfulness to His King. He began to wonder to himself if the path he had chosen was correct. Perhaps he should not make his home in the town called Vanity and find the Book he abandoned and trust it once again. Perhaps he should repent and march away from the town and onto the Celestial City – the city of the glorious King.
But the outcome of his decision we do not know, for he ponders still. Soon, though, we will understand if his way forward will be by the Book he has abandoned or if he will fade back into the crowd of Vanity Fair. For now, we wait even as we hope and pray for his soul and appeal to the merciful King of the Ages to Himself rescue Mr. S.B.C from his debauchery.