Matthew: Why doth the Fire fasten upon the Candlewick?
Prudence: To shew that unless Grace doth kindle upon the Heart there will be no true Light of Life in us.
Matthew: Why is the Wick and Tallow and all spent to maintain the light of the Candle?
Prudence: To shew that Body and Soul and all, should be at the Service of, and spend themselves to maintain in good Condition that Grace of God that is in us.
-The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Second Part by John Bunyan-
Question-Why are the wick and tallow of the candle consumed to maintain light, and what does the fire on the wick indicate?
Answer-Unless the grace of God is in the heart, there will be no true light in the life; and that the body and heart of a Christian must be expended to maintain the light of true love.
I think it is hard to remember darkness once there is some light, even a little bit. But, there are some things on earth that serve as a great reminder.
On a return road trip home from Florida to Illinois after attending a friend’s wedding, I debated a way to stretch my legs beyond the normal rest stop. I know how easy it is to forget that there are interesting things along the way when we are in such a hurry to ‘get there’, wherever that may be. And, I have learned just how surprisingly good it is to ‘stop and smell the roses’ even if the roses are caverns that run miles deep below the surface of Kentucky.
Though the topside offers such beautiful scenes like those displayed from the ferry boat transport on the Green River that is nestled within Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, KY, the surfaces below provide the real adventure and the greatest challenge. Make no mistake, the visitor’s entrance is clear that the journey can be difficult due to some narrow passages (beware the claustrophobic), or the sheer will it takes to ascend hundreds of stairs at the end of the abbreviated trek after the slow descent into the depths of the caves. But if you dare, put on your walking shoes and be amazed at the beauty that lies beneath.
Don’t worry, I would not give away the entire riches that are on display because it is something best seen with your own eyes. But I will tell you that you can learn how the contents of the cave helped with the War of 1812. If you choose your route carefully from the several guided tours that are provided, you can discover such things as the Golden Fleece and the Crystal Lake for yourself.
As beautiful as those items were to the eyes, there is something that I hope that you don’t miss ‘seeing’ that does not involve any attraction, cave formation or really anything at all. Deep beneath the surface in the largest section of the cave that is well lit upon entry, you will be advised that the lights are going to be turned off. They begin with the lights that border the cave. Then, they proceed to those standing along the path until there is just one light remaining and then ‘poof’. It is turned off, too. It is so dark that your eyes cannot even adapt because there is truly not even a shred of light to allow them to do so. It is a true and utter darkness that has been known to scare both child and adult alike until the guide either strikes a match or snaps on a lighter. Then, it is amazing how much you can see from that tiny ray of hope until the area is once again illuminated. You can hear the corporate sigh of relief in the expended breaths of the explorers at that moment.
Infamous for other things like coal mines and whiskey, the state has become to me a place where you can remember, of all things-darkness. In so doing, I have tasted a greater appreciation of light and an inkling of how we all take abundant light for granted. It is a reminder that one day, there will be no light for a time on this earth. Even now, I am challenged to provide a twinkle of light though it may flicker and fade from disappointment, anger and frustration. Or worse, the twinkle can be snuffed out by those emboldened to do so who have even gone to the extent of attempting to steal my lighter and matches. But, I choose to remember that even the tiniest flicker of light can begin to illuminate complete darkness, give people hope and relieve fear.
It puts the wants of another before my urgent needs. I grieve my losses. It is painful. It saps my very energy in the midst of learning to grieve instead for lost souls. But I know that I can do this because I can remember darkness.
The darkness....what a clear picture of what the Bible calls 'utter darkness'.....where all who reject Jesus will end up for eternity. Not only in darkness, but torment and fire in the utter darkness. What an excellent description from your article. Thanks for sharing this. GOD BLESS YOU