Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: The Pilgrim's Progress (1678)

The Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan. 1678. 185 pages?

I've read Pilgrim's Progress a few times now. There are scenes that I absolutely love in this classic allegory. However, there are plenty of scenes in between those scenes that I love.

Christian, our hero, is on a faith journey; when we first meet him, he is burdened down with a pack on his back, a pack of sin and shame, a true burden. But having read the Bible and listening to Evangelist, he repents, believes, and starts on his way to Celestial City. He travels via the Wicket Gate, there being just one way of course. He's given specific instructions on what to do, where to go, warned of special dangers, given certain promises. One of the things he is given is a key--the promises of God--a key that will open any door he needs. 

Along the way, he meets other people. Each person has a special significant name much like his own. For example: Obstinate, Pliable, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Lord Hate-good, Ignorance, Atheist,  etc. (You would think that he would after learning the name of the individual be a little more careful or discerning?) Each place has a name as well: City of Destruction, Slough of Despond, Valley of Humiliation, Vanity Fair, By-Path Meadow, Doubting Castle, The Celestial City, etc.

If there is one thing that Pilgrim's Progress is rich in, it is instruction. Yes, it is a dream-allegory. We're reminded time and time again that Christian is dreaming. But it is a very instructional often didactic dream. I have a few favorite scenes in this one. I love seeing Christian and Hopeful in Doubting Castle, I do. The reason? Well, I love how they "solve" this problem. I also love it near the end when Christian finally takes the time to hear Hopeful's testimony. True, Christian's questions to his friend sound a bit like a catechism, but, I love reading Hopeful's responses.

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

The Doubting Castle scene is my favorite too. The Lord has used it to encourage me when my faith was small.