Part of my route took me along the John Bunyan trail. I must say there wasn't much in the way of signage and nor have I be able to find out much about the route's association with John Bunyan-who remains Bedford's greatest claim to fame (unless you prefer the R101 airship or Paula Radcliffe). He wrote the masterpiece which is Pilgrim's Progress-a book which is remarkable for having always been in print since it was written 1677.
I took a slight detour when I got to Bromham stopping off at the Bromham Swan for a pint of my favourite ale-Green King's Abbot Ale whilst I settled down in front of a log fire to read a portion of a lesser known work of John Bunyan-The heavenly footman. Written in 1698 it has a brief description of the Christian doctrine of justification which teaching had played such a crucial role in the Reformation. This is how Bunyan puts it,
'a man is forced to suffer the destruction of his own righteousness for the righteousness of another. This is no easy matter for a man to do; I assure you it stretcheth every vein in his heart before he will be brought to yield to it......to throw himself wholly upon the righteousness and obedience of another man... this is the first thing'.
Now Bunyan is speaking about Christ and ceasing to count on our own achievements. What a joy it is to rely upon and put my trust in another (or throw myself as Bunyan would say) who is Christ,when it comes to how I stand before God. None of us measure up, no amount of religious activity will help us climb the ladder to a holy God. I can live at peace with myself and with God because of someone else's goodness and sacrifice. It does't seem fair does it. No wonder John Newton called it Amazing Grace.