Vanity Fair Sermon Illustrations

Vanity Fair Sermon Illustrations

Then I saw in my dream, that when they were gone out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town was 'Vanity,' and at that town there is a fair kept called Vanity Fair because the town where it is kept is lighter than vanity; and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is vanity.

The fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient standing. I will show you the original of it.

Almost five thousand years ago, there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City, as these two honest persons were; and Beelzebub, Appolyon and Legion, with their companions, perceiving the path that the pilgrims made, that the way to the city lay through this town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity; therefore at this fair are all such merchandises sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones and what not.

Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just through this town, and he that will go to the City, and yet not go through this town, must needs go out of the world. The Prince of princes Himself, when here, went through this town to His own country.

Now these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this fair. Well, so they did: but behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people of the fair were moved and the town itself as it were in a hubbub about them, and that for several reasons:

First, the pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in the fair. The people, therefore, made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools, some they were bedlams, and some they were outlandish men.

Secondly, and as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech, for few could understand what they said; they naturally spoke the language of Canaan, but they that kept the fair were the men of the world; so that, from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other.

Thirdly, but that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares; they cared not so much as to look upon them, and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, 'Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,' and look upwards, signifying that their trade and traffic was in heaven.—Pilgrim's Progress

(Eccles. 1. 2; 2. 11; Eph. 4. 17)

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