Pilgrim’s Progress: Thoughts of a Reader

Imagine that one day in our secular and immoral world, someone gave you a book. And this wasn’t just any ordinary, boring book. What if this book was not just an interesting story, but a beautiful parable full of symbolism? What if this book, written over a hundred years before the Restoration of Christ’s gospel, accurately and literally described the physical and spiritual path to heaven? Sound interesting?

Enter Pilgrim’s Progress. You may have heard the name before–it used to be the standard for all literary works, and for good reason. This book was written by a Christian man named John Bunyan—a fearless soul who taught from the Bible and held religious meetings even though it was against the law. Because of his courage, John Bunyan was thrown in prison. While there, he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, narrated as a dream—a dream about a man’s journey to heaven.

In John Bunyan’s book, everything is named exactly what it is. His skillful choice of titles for different characters makes them come to life in detail and depth for the reader as they embody and portray exactly what the writer named them. He also carefully names places, objects, and events to give them significant spiritual meaning. The religious reader finishes the book astounded at the wealth of knowledge and understanding this great writer had about the gospel and the plan of salvation.

The story follows Christian, a man from the City of Destruction. Awakened to a knowledge of his sins by the words of a book, Christian carries his burden of sin and is shown that the City will be destroyed because of wickedness. As he expresses his feelings and knowledge to his family, they reject his words. A man named Evangelist tells Christian that the only way to rid himself of his burden and find salvation for himself and his family is to take the path to the Celestial City. Knowing it is his only option, Christian leaves the City, becoming a pilgrim headed for the Celestial City.

Pilgrim’s Progress documents Christian’s travels and his encounters with Despair, Despond, Sin, Vanity, Worldly-Wise, and more, all symbolic of our real earth-life challenges. Will Christian find the strength to stay on his course and reach his destination? Read and find out.

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