House of the Forest of Lebanon

HFL Feb 2016

I am building, again.  Not a complete replica of a House that was part of  Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, but a small version of it near the bottom of the garden which runs down into Birch Wood.  (Sixty years ago, Dad persuaded the developer of Great Bounds estate Richard Thorpe, to stop building down into Birch Wood and around the pond, but to give the wood to the parish council instead, as a local amenity.)

John Bunyan wrote a “Discourse of the House of the Forest of Lebanon”, published four years after his death.  It is little-known, unlike his “Pilgrim’s Progress” which for a century or more would have been, after the Bible the most likely book found in poorer homes.  The main point of the Discourse is, that this House  “.. is typical of the churches of Christ while in a state of holy warfare….  surrounded by enemies, they have inexhaustible internal comfort, strength, and consolation. Like the house in the forest of Lebanon, they are also pleasantly, nay, beautifully situated. If Mount Zion was the joy of the whole earth, the mountains of Damascus were a picture of the earthly paradise. So beautiful is the scenery, and balmy the air, that one part is called Eden, or the garden of the Lord. It is described by Arabian poets as always bearing winter far above upon his head, spring on its shoulders, and autumn in his bosom, while perpetual summer lies sleeping at his feet. It was upon this beautiful spot, called by Isaiah “the glory of Lebanon,” that Solomon built his house in the forest.”

Bunyan did not have access to commentators and scholars, almost certainly the House of the Forest of Lebanon was in fact part of the Temple complex built by Solomon in Jerusalem.  Bunyan did however study many direct and indirect Bible verses to this House, and in the months to come, as my build progresses, there may well be more references to this “Discourse.”  It contains many great insights.