A book more than 100 years old: Pilgrim’s Progress

pilgrim's progressThe Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream was first published in 1678, and was written during the time when the author, John Bunyan was in prison. This book has been referenced in a lot of my reading materials, so I resolved to read this book in this lifetime. It was fortunate that I found a “modern” version of Bunyan’s work in a bookstore while I was searching the shelves for classics.

This version,Pilgrim’s Progress (in Today’s English), which was retold by James H. Thomas, was first published in 1964.

The Story: 

The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the Christian life, told in two parts. The main character in the first part was named Christian, who was first called Graceless. He came from the City of Destruction where he lived with his wife, Christiana, and their four sons. After reading the book in his hand, he became aware of his sinful nature that burdened his soul. With the help of Evangelist who encouraged him and showed him the way to the Wicket Gate where he could be free of his burden, he left the City of Destruction despite his wife’s opposition and started his pilgrimage to the Celestial City.

The second part tells the story of Christiana, Christian’s wife, who eventually decided to follow her husband’s footsteps along with her four sons–Matthew, James, Samuel, and Joseph.

My Rating: 5 edifying stars

This book shows how one Christian journey is different from another. Some started strong but are not able to finish well. Some experienced a rough start but was able to get through to the end with an amazing testimony. There are also few who were consistent in their Christian walk. This is true because not one Christian is the same with another. We have our own set of strengths and weaknesses. What we have, others may lack.

That is why it is important to not venture on this journey alone. Christian would not have succeeded in reaching the Celestial City, if it wasn’t for his fellow pilgrims–Faithful and Hopeful–who encouraged and rebuked him along the way. As it is written in the book, “the meeting of believers is like appearing of the moon and stars on a stormy night to mariners.”  

The book also warns Christians of the different types of people that they would meet that could swerve them away from the right path, if not careful. We must always be vigilant, and rooted in the Word of God, so as not to be easily swayed and discouraged when difficulty arises.

My favorite quotes: 

“It happens to us as to all transient humanity. Sometimes we are up and sometimes we are down; we are on the mountain top, then in the valley. Sometimes our way is joyous and easy—filled with sunshine and gladness—then we go through clouds and darkness, and the way is difficult and long. We seldom fare the same for any length of time. The wind is not always in our favor; though we do sometimes ride the tide. We have our battles and our victories. We meet with friends and foes. We have our triumphs, our troubles and tribulations; yet we can truthfully say that the grace of God is sufficient for every type of person in all situations of life if one will only believe.”

“If any pilgrim, when taken by violent hands, will keep his heart and mind fixed on the Lord, he will not die, nor suffer more than he is able to bear, at the hands of the enemy.”

“These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God has forsaken you. They are sent to call to your mind that which you have received of His goodness, that you may trust Him in your distress.”