MEDITATIONS UPON AN EGG

The egg’s no chick by falling from the hen;
Nor man a Christian, till he’s born again.
The egg’s at first contained in the shell;
Men, afore grace, in sins and darkness dwell.
The egg, when laid, by warmth is made a chicken,
And Christ, by grace, those dead in sin doth quicken.
The egg, when first a chick, the shell’s its prison;
So’s flesh to the soul, who yet with Christ is risen.
The shell doth crack, the chick doth chirp and peep,
The flesh decays, as men do pray and weep.
The shell doth break, the chick’s at liberty,
The flesh falls off, the soul mounts up on high
But both do not enjoy the self-same plight;
The soul is safe, the chick now fears the kite.

2

But chicks from rotten eggs do not proceed,
Nor is a hypocrite a saint indeed.
The rotten egg, though underneath the hen,
If crack’d, stinks, and is loathsome unto men.
Nor doth her warmth make what is rotten sound;
What’s rotten, rotten will at last be found.
The hypocrite, sin has him in possession,
He is a rotten egg under profession.

3

Some eggs bring cockatrices; and some men
Seem hatch’d and brooded in the viper’s den.
Some eggs bring wild-fowls; and some men there be
As wild as are the wildest fowls that flee.
Some eggs bring spiders, and some men appear
More venom’d than the worst of spiders are.
Some eggs bring piss-ants, and some seem to me
As much for trifles as the piss-ants be.
Thus divers eggs do produce divers shapes,
As like some men as monkeys are like apes.
But this is but an egg, were it a chick,
Here had been legs, and wings, and bones to pick.

V

OF FOWLS FLYING IN THE AIR

Methinks I see a sight most excellent,
All sorts of birds fly in the firmament:
Some great, some small, all of a divers kind,
Mine eye affecting, pleasant to my mind.
Look how they tumble in the wholesome air,
Above the world of worldlings, and their care.
And as they divers are in bulk and hue,
So are they in their way of flying too.
So many birds, so many various things
Tumbling i’ the element upon their wings.

Comparison

These birds are emblems of those men that shall
Ere long possess the heavens, their all in all.
They are each of a diverse shape and kind,
To teach we of all nations there shall find.
They are some great, some little, as we see,
To show some great, some small, in glory be.
Their flying diversely, as we behold,
Do show saints’ joys will there be manifold;
Some glide, some mount, some flutter, and some do,
In a mix’d way of flying, glory too.
And all to show each saint, to his content,
Shall roll and tumble in that firmament.

John Bunyan, A Book for Boys and Girls

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