The Pilgrim’s Progress

by John Bunyan, Part I-1678, Part II-1684

Lora Lee told me about this book and the movie. The book has never been out of print and, second to the Bible, is the most popular book in the world. The writing style is Old English, of course, since it was written 350 years ago. At first it was hard to understand, but once you get used to it, it is easier. The story is about Christian, a man who leaves his City of Destruction, with a heavy burden on his back, to make his way to the Celestial City. Along the way, he faces all kinds of dangerous pitfalls: Obstinate, Pliable, the Slough of Despond, Worldly Wiseman, Sloth, Presumption, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Beezlebub Castle, Hill Difficulty, the lions, Bloody-Man, Maul, Slay-good, the valley of humiliation and death in which he has a battle with Apollyon; Talkative, the evil town of Vanity Fair in which his friend, Faithful, is given a mock trial and wrongly convicted by Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank and then burned at the stake; Giant Despair, Doubting Castle, Ignorance, Mistrust, Timorous, Turn-away, and Atheist just to name a few of the dangers and pitfalls that tried to turn him back. He also had to leave behind his wife and four sons because they refused to believe.

Christian does finally make it across the river and into the glorious Celestial City. He has help all along the way from Evangelist, Goodwill, Interpreter; he finds Grace at the Cross and his burden falls away; Piety, Prudence, Charity, Faithful, Hopeful, Shepherd, and places like House Beautiful and the Delectable Mountains.

Part II is the story of his wife, Christiana, and their four sons, along with a friend named Mercy, who decide to take the Way after being convicted of their sin and desiring to follow Christian and leave the City of Destruction. They face far fewer trials because they request a guide, one Great-heart, to accompany and protect them along the Way. They all come to the Celestial City along with a few others picked up on the way, such as Honest, Feeble-Mind, Stand-fast, Ready-to-halt, Much-afraid, Despondency, and Valiant-for-truth. All come to the glorious Celestial City. Very good book!

Here are some quotes from the book:

Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, “I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and people; I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.”

CHRISTIAN: “Apollyon, beware what you do, for I am in the King’s highway, the way of holiness, therefore take heed to yourself.”

Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, “I am void of fear in this matter, prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no farther; here will I spill thy soul.”

And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast, but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that….

…This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent. For you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker….

…But as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly reached out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! When I fall, I shall arise” (Micah 7:8); and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian, perceiving that, made at him again, saying, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37) And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian saw him no more. (James 4:7)

from pages 65 and 66 during Christian’s battle with Apollyon

…the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men’s minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.”

Christiana: “O deliver me from this muck-rake!”

from page 206 and 207 where Christiana meets Muck-rake, a man that only looks down at straws and sticks and dust, refusing the calls from above where there is a celestial crown and heaven

Christiana answered: “First, the loss of my husband came into my mind, at which I was heartily grieved; but all that was but natural affection. Then after that came the troubles and pilgrimage of my husband’s into my mind, and also how like a churl I had carried it to him as to that. So guilt took hold of my mind, and would have drawn me into the pond, but that opportunely I had a dream of the wellbeing of my husband, and a letter sent me by the King of that country where my husband dwells, to come to him. The dream and the letter together so wrought upon my mind, that they forced me to this way.”

from pages 211 and 212 where Christiana is describing to Interpreter how she came to believe

So glad Lora Lee told me about this book! I’d heard about it but never thought to read it, and I’m glad I did. I am glad I know what it’s all about now. LOVED it and the movie, too!