He Who Would Valiant Be

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This hymn which reminds us that the servants of Christ must follow Him and have the courage to be with Him is “He Who Would Valiant Be.”  The original text was written by John Bunyan who was born on Nov. 30, 1628, at Elstow in Bedfordshire, England.  Educated briefly in the local school, he became a tinker (an itinerate mender of domestic tin utensils such as pots and pans; one who does repairing work; a jack-of-all-trades) like his father.  During the English Civil War of 1646, he served in the parliamentary army.  After 1653 he was a member of a Baptist congregation in Bedord and clashed with his fellow nonconformists, the Quakers.  As a result, he authored two religious pamphlets in 1656 and 1657 to defend his faith and began a new career as an itinerant preacher.  After being arrested in 1660 for preaching without a license, he spent most of the next twelve years in jail and while there produced ten books, including his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, in 1666, and started his most famous work, Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory of salvation.  Following his release from prison in 1672 and his temporary reimprisonment for nonconformism, he completed Pilgrim’s Progress and published it in two parts, the first in 1678 and the second in 1684.

The section originally entitled “Who Would True Valor See” was believed to have been penned during his twelve-year prison sentence for refusing to conform to the official state church and was published in the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress in 1684.

He who would valiant be
‘gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy
follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound—
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might,
though he with giants fight;
he will make good his right
to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
us with Thy Spirit,
we know we at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, flee away!
I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day
to be a pilgrim.

A servant of Jesus Christ, husband, father and an entrepreneur. Aspiring theologian and preacher. Owolabi is happily married to Oluseun and their union is blessed with children.

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