An excerpt from Bunyan’s A Book for Boys and Girls, published in 1686, which consists of forty-nine spiritual lessons based on aspects of nature and everyday life.

The Sinner and the Spider

Sinner.

What black, what ugly crawling thing art thou?

Spider.

I am a spider——

Sinner.

A spider, ay, also a filthy creature.

Spider.

Not filthy as thyself in name or feature.
My name entailed is to my creation,
My features from the God of thy salvation.

Sinner.

I am a man, and in God’s image made,
I have a soul shall neither die nor fade,
God has possessed me with human reason
Speak not against me lest thou speakest treason.
For if I am the image of my Maker,
Of slanders laid on me He is partaker.

Spider.

I know thou art a creature far above me,
Therefore I shun, I fear, and also love thee.
But though thy God hath made thee such a creature,
Thou hast against him often played the traitor.
Thy sin has fetched thee down: leave off to boast;
Nature thou hast defiled, God’s image lost.
Yea, thou thyself a very beast hast made,
And art become like grass, which soon doth fade.
Thy soul, thy reason, yea, thy spotless state,
Sin has subjected to th’ most dreadful fate.
But I retain my primitive condition,
I’ve all but what I lost by thy ambition.

Sinner.

Thou venomed thing I know not what to call thee
The dregs of nature surely did befall thee,
Thou wast made of the dross and scum of all,
Man hates thee; cloth, in scorn, thee spider call.

Spider.

My venom’s good for something, ’cause God made itThy sin hath spoiled thy nature, doth degrade it.Of human virtues, therefore, though I fear thee,I will not, though I might, despise and jeer thee.Thou say’st I am the very dregs of nature,Thy sin’s the spawn of devils, ’tis no creature.Thou say’st man hates me ’cause I am a spider,Poor ...

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