14 23 991 The pilgrim s progress, John Bunyan 1628 1688 The Pilgrim s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into than 200 languages, and has never been out of print It has also been cited as the first novel written in English 2003 1381 414 02 9649230505 411 414 1390 215 9789645706577 This Famous Story Of Man S Progress Through Life In Search Of Salvation Remains One Of The Most Entertaining Allegories Of Faith Ever Written Set Against Realistic Backdrops Of Town And Country, The Powerful Drama Of The Pilgrim S Trials And Temptations Follows Him In His Harrowing Journey To The Celestial CityAlong A Road Filled With Monsters And Spiritual Terrors, Christian Confronts Such Emblematic Characters As Worldly Wiseman, Giant Despair, Talkative, Ignorance, And The Demons Of The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death But He Is Also Joined By Hopeful And FaithfulAn Enormously Influential Th Century Classic, Universally Known For Its Simplicity, Vigor, And Beauty Of Language, The Pilgrim S Progress Remains One Of The Most Widely Read Books In The English Language I read this book during my second deployment to Iraq as well and it took me quite a while to finish it I had seen this book referenced often and I wanted to read it on my own The overall consensus is that it is a very compelling book and will pull at your soul s emotional strings with its simplicity and candor But also there were three major hurdles to finishing this book for me, at least It was first published in 1678 so it is not an easy read The diction is alien to me, but also one does not fall into the parlance of Mr Bunyan s time as easily as even the made up language of A Clockwork Orange Here is an example of the text Mercy Then said Mercy, I confess my ignorance I spake what I understood not I acknowledge that thou doest all things well Yikes Also, the original was not written like a screenplay so it is at times confusing who is speaking to whom Luckily, the Penguin Classics version marks all dialog with the speaker as a preface in italics Secondly, the allegory is very simple The characters names are the likes of Mr Great Heart, Mr Timorous, Mr Feeble Minded, the Giant Despair, etc The situations that all the characters face are definitely unique, but not so riveting as a result of surprise This barrier for me though is acceptable the stark simplicity of the journey actually increases the voracity of Bunyan s words The story is not for the sake of story telling the allegory actually need not be so imaginative in this case.Finally, and this may seem superficial, but Bunyan s poetry skills are pretty awful The poem opens with a long bit of rhyming poetry that almost made me quit reading Ironically, the poem is an apology of Bunyan s allegorical shortcomings I still didn t enjoy reading the poems I actually found myself skipping even the shortest attempts at rhyme in the plot by the first 30 pages of the book I find it interesting that Bunyan s prose can be so powerful that he felt the need to attempt ABAB style poetry in his work Maybe he felt the need to counter the beautiful epic style of John Milton s Paradise Lost published first about 12 years before TPP I don t know, but either way it is a serious barrier.Bunyan earns most of his Paul Dollars approximately worth 5 Shrewt bucks or 1000 Stanley Nickles, for you Office fans in the transcendence of the story into the heart of the Christian reader I felt Bunyan s soul guiding Christian through his pilgrimage At the beginning of the story when Christian tells his plans to his family, they chastise him and mock him after ignoring him of course As he finally departs alone, his family and neighbors snub him and hurl curses from both sides of the road This forces Christian to put his fingers in his ears and run as quickly as possible away from the City of Destruction You can t help but be captivated by Christian s steadfast loyalty to his mission going to Heaven, or the land beyond the river that has no bridge Here are some examples of Bunyan s greatest words No man can tell what in combat attends us but he that hath been in the battle himself Page 113 after he fights the demon Apollyon In reply to Christan s query, tell me particularly what effect this a vision of Christ had upon your spirit, Hopeful answers with conviction that almost wrought me with tears It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance for there never came thought into mine heart before now that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus Yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus Page 125 Awesome This book was a good spiritual book for me at this time in my life I recommend it for anyone who wishes to keep the fire of their faith burning. I have a few versions of this on my shelves from the nicely bound hard back to paper backs I can hand out you know loan.This is as I m sure most already know an allegorical journey depicting the struggles of living the Christian life John Bunyan was a Baptist imprisoned when it was against the law to be a be Baptist He was imprisoned for aprox twelve years for refusing to convert to Anglicanism Church of England this sort of thing by the way is the reason for the first amendment, not a worry that a child would be asked to pray when their parent is an atheist or the fear that IN God We Trust might end up on a coin.While he was imprisoned Bunyan wrote this book Even if you disagree with his doctrine I and many other Christians do in some places this work is well worth reading.Pilgrim lives in the City of Destruction He s one of the few who realizes that the City of Destruction is actually destined for destruction He learned this by reading the book in his hand Setting out for the Celestial City he must first go to and through the Wicket Gate and to the Cross There the huge burden that weighs him down, his sin falls away and his name is changed to Christian.The book then follows Christian s journey, in allegorical form giving account of his trials, his mistakes and ultimate destination.The book was written in 1678 and sometimes the language may stymy a bit, but it s a wonderful book Even if the theology may not be spot on for all Christians it is true to the basic teachings It will encourage Christians and by existing at all endorses freedom of speech. Midway upon the journey between my home and work did I open the case of my kindle, and in that case I did there find a kindle Then, I turned this kindle on and lo what there did I find The Pilgrim s Progress And so mine eyes began to read the screen Thus, I did set upon another journey at that time, traveling from the beginning of the book to the end And there I did find many new acquaintances.My first companion I came upon was Mr Amusement But he quickly left me, and then did Mr Boredom come along Occasionally Mr Interest dropped by, as did Mr Entertainment, but Mr Boredom was my most faithful companion from beginning to end When finally I did reach the end, a beautiful man did appear called Mr Relief, and his good friend Mr Thank God This Is Over did appear as well Yea, and we all fell to laughing. The Pilgrim s Progressis a wonderful work written by a 17th century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution J.C Ryle wrote of this book, I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together The Pilgrim s Progress is a wonderful allegory of the beginning, progression, and conclusion of the true Christian life Rich in Biblical theology, it tells the story of the trials, temptations, and triumphs of a man named Christian in his pilgrimage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and eternal life Many of the events we read include universal tales about human struggles through hardship with which anyone can identify.Some of the places through which we follow Christian in his pilgrimage include the Delectable Mountains, Hill of Difficulty, Palace Beautiful an allegory of the local Christian congregation , Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, Valley of Humiliation, Hill Clear, Vanity Fair, Valley of the Shadow of Death, By Path Meadow, the dangerous Enchanted Ground, River of Death, etc.Sin makes this world a dry and weary land The road to the Celestial City is always an ascent Psalm 24 3 However, the Lord Jesus Christ is a place of shelter and refuge He is the Shelter from the storm of affliction and rain The Pilgrim s Progress encourages me that by God s grace, albeit whichever valleys through which I may pass, whatever slough into which I may have fallen, whatever rivers to ford, or whichever Hill of Difficulty I may climb in my journey my Guide is ever watchful, my Deliverer unfailing, and He is indeed faithful in keeping and persevering His people till they arrive home at the Celestial City that glorious, Heavenly City built not by the hands of man whose Maker and Builder is God Every Christian can learn and be encouraged by the Biblical instructions from this story. We used to sing He who would true valour see at my secondary modern school In fact it was the only song we d ever sing in school assemblies We d sing it in dire, dirge like manner, deep in the Slough of Despond of that Vanity Fair of adolescent school days and not like the hero who was ready to march through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to take on hobgoblins, hypocrites and the demands of life after the dreaded Eleven Plus Bunyan was active in the period of the Republic and the Restoration which saw upheaval both in terms of religion as well as politics as described in The World Turned Upside Down radical ideas during the English Revolution and was inspired to write after a brief spell of imprisonment It nice to turn to Bunyan after Paradise Lost or even the Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson and to read something written by somebody who was literate, but in comparison hardly educated but no less engaged and swept up by the spirit of their times The still small voice of a member of a minor religious group of low social status has carried along way through the English language It is testament too to the power of the Bible in the imagination and how what are really alien and remote narratives can be, have been and no doubt are, taken on and continually reused in diverse times and places to explain peoples sense of themselves and their place in the world.This particular edition includes a sequel to The Pilgrim s Progress Proof is any were needed that the mad passion for sequels has threatened to infect all writers since earliest times The sequel features Christian s wife and children on their pilgrim Sadly on account of their being women and children they don t get to fight hobgoblins. So you know when you hear that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever because of how revolutionary it was during its time period, and then you watch it and you realize that the key phrase is during its time period Well, reading Pilgrim s Progress is likely to leave many with the same feeling No doubt one of the greatest modern religious texts in terms of what it provided for early Puritans an easy and concrete representation of their theology and daily living practices , it leaves a little to be desired for those modern readers who are not steeped in Puritanical literary history Don t get me wrong, any book where you actually get to challenge your temptations to a sword fight is pretty cool, but the language and pace of the book removed the excitement from even those scenes Not to mention there are a few failed analogies in this allegory, especially in part II Apparently Christian women don t have to fight their own battles of faith, you just have to find your own Mr Great heart and tag along for the ride and be prepared to marry off your kids at a moment s notice Overall, I would recommend this classic work to those who are trained to appreciate this genre and style not me obviously , but not so much to anyone else. Pilgrim s Progress is about two delusional assholes wandering around being dicks to people, so it s basically a takeoff of Don Quixote But the dreaming narrator seems unconscious of the fact that the pilgrims are both jerks I suppose it s possible that they re not supposed to be jerks at all, butno, that can t be right They re such jerks.It starts with a guy named Christian abandoning his family to wander off in search of a magical city His wife and childrenbegan to cry after him to return, but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying Life Life Eternal life It s pretty funny, in a mean kind of way.So he takes off and immediately falls into the Slough of Despond translation Marsh of Bummers , and we immediately see that he s not only a dick see above but not very bright He flails away through the mud, and as he s finally struggling out of it, some other guy comes by like what s up, and Christian is all as I was going thither I fell in here, and the dude is like, But why did you not look for the steps Christian s all, There were stepsWomp womp.And then he runs across some virgins Come, good Christian, since we have been so loving to you, to receive you in our house this night Woohoo, virgins I guess it was pretty smart after all for him to run out on his family.He picks up his very own Sancho Panza along the way, a dude named Faithful people have funny names in this book and they recognize kindred dick spirits in each other they will have great fun being mean to everyone else they meet for the rest of the book Right away, for example, they run into a dude named Talkative, and they re just pricks to him for basically no reason I guess Talkative s name is ironic or something because he actually does very little of the talking, and whenever he does open his mouth they just bag on him mercilessly Faithful Some cry out against sin even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.The proverb is true of you which is said of a whore, to wit, that she is a shame to all women so are you a shame to all professors TalkativeSince you are readyto judge as rashly as you do, I cannot help but conclude that you are some peevish or melancholy man, not fit to be discourse with Talkative has done nothing to infer that he s a sinner Christian has heard rumors about him, that s all, and Faithful is like okay, good enough And then they ditch him.Anyway, so then they pass through Vanity Fair, which has all kinds of stuff for sale, but they re like We buy the truth which doesn t really make any sense but fine, save your money Unfortunately the merchants are pissed off about that, so they torture and burn Faithful to death, which you re like holy shit, where did that come from It s pretty gross Luckily he s replaced by a guy named Hopeful who s exactly the same as Faithful in every way, sowhatever If Christian s going to never mention Faithful again after watching him get tortured to death, I guess I won t either.So they ditch another guy or two, and sing some shitty songs their idea of a fun chat is to sing shitty songs and then Christian is all Oooh, shortcut and of course they re captured by a giant and chained up in his dungeon for like a week, and he s about to kill them when get this suddenly Christian is like oh shit, I totally forgot, I have a magic key with me that will open anything This is another ongoing theme Christian just forgetting shit It ll come up again later So they unlock their chains and amble off, and Christian s like I know the way back, and Hopeful is like you know what, maybe I ll lead the way for a while, homie ChristianWho could have thought that this path should have led us out of the way HopefulI was afraid on it at the very first, and therefore gave you that gentle caution.They should have named him Passive Aggressive They get lost again in no time, and once again they re eventually like oh shit, They also gave us a note of directions about the way, for our sure finding thereof, but therein we have also forgotten to read It s a miracle these two bumbling nincompoops ever make it anywhere at all.And then there s another case of them ditching a perfectly nice guy His name is Ignorance, of all things, and he s like I m a holy pilgrim too but Christian is all,Why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven IgnoranceMy heart tells me so ChristianThe wise man says, He that trusts his own heart is a fool Prov 28 26 IgnoranceThis is spoken of an evil heart, but mine is a good oneI will never believe that my heart is thus bad ChristianTherefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life IgnoranceThat is your faith, but not mine yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you Look, here s the thing it s not this dude s fault his parents named him Ignorance It was a dick move on their part, and sure, if it was me I might come up with a nickname like Igny or something, but I feel like Christian and Hopeful are judging him by the name than by the perfectly innocuous things he says This is an ongoing theme people with bummer names getting shat on for it and it just seems hella uncool.Anyway, Christian and Hopeful respond by wandering off while chanting at him, Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be, To slight good counsel, ten times given thee Actually chanting at him It s moments like this that led George Bernard Shaw to describe it as a consistent attack on morality and respectability, without a word that one can remember against vice and crime Later on Ignorance will get to the gates of Heaven and it turns out that Christian and Hopeful are right he totally doesn t get in He is instead bound and thrown straight into Hell, so that sucks for him, and if you thought that this was going to be a book where Christian and Hopeful learn a valuable lesson at the end about not being dicks to absolutely everyone, this ending isn t going to satisfy you any than Don Quixote s did.Because it turns out that the God of John Bunyan actually is Christian s God This is the menacing, Puritan God our American forefathers sailed to America shrieking about the one Sinners are in the Angry Hands of and I don t care for Him He is too much of a dick for me The book itself has its moments It s vividly written there are exciting parts it s not boring But it s nowhere near as good as its exact contemporary Paradise Lost, which leads you to wonder about its enduring popularity Is it just possible that Christians are so fond of it because it s quite a bit simpler than Milton Because the fact is, Christian is not very bright.