| * THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS *|
This past Christmas, my mother gave me a very precious gift. She was quite aware of my fondness for books, and particularly the impact that they have had upon my life. She was aware of one book, in particular, that had a profound effect upon my life. My mom presented me with a very old copy of John Bunyans [i]The Pilgrims Progress[/i].
While attending high school, I was assigned to read [i]The Pilgrims Progress[/i]. I had only recently met the Lord, and I was quite weary about being assigned a book that dealt with the Christian faith. Our class had just recently completely study of Hawthornes [i]The Scarlett Letter[/i], which probably served to scrutinize the Puritans faith far more than tell a tragic story (although I did find it quite interesting). I was unaware about the content of [i]Pilgrims Progress[/i]. Since it was required by the teacher, I was concerned that it might view the Christian faith in a favorable light.
I was wrong! This book has excited my faith more than any other work (except, of course, the Word of God)!
My teacher explained that [i]The Pilgrims Progress[/i] was the most read book in the English language outside of the Bible. We were assigned to read the book in about three weeks, which was a chore for most of the students. The teacher warned that the book would be difficult for most students since it was written in archaic 17th Century English vernacular. She was right. Most of the students could hardly understand the book and subsequently flunked each reading test. The students treated it as though it were a chore to read. I, on the other hand, treated it like a treasure.
The moment that I began reading this book, I realized that it was no ordinary work of fiction. I was already aware that the book was meant to be an allegory of the Christian faith. Little did I know that it was going to be such a reflection of the events that had only recently begun transpiring in my own life.
[i]Pilgrims Progress[/i] was written by a simple tinkerer named John Bunyan. Bunyan was a very interesting character. He had undergone a dramatic conversion from life as a wild manly man into a kindhearted husband, father and evangelist who was scorned for his faith. Known as the bumbling Baptist (because of his belief in baptism by immersion), Bunyan had a dramatic conversion that he wrote in his autobiography, [i]Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners[/i]. In [i]Grace Abounding[/i], Bunyan wrote about the folly in which he had mocked the Christian faith, and the agonizing torment in which he realized the damnable condition of his own soul. Bunyan miserably endured life while believing that his soul was beyond salvation. His entire countenance and personality changed when he realized and experienced the awesome grace of God.
Bunyan quickly began preaching about his newfound faith in Christ. He would preach anywhere and everywhere. This was difficult in 17th Century England. At the time, ministers generally belonged to either the Catholic Church or the Church of England. However, some countrymen also belonged to smaller sects. Bunyan was quite the nonconformist. He regularly preached against the vices of Catholic, Anglican and even Quaker doctrines. This obviously made him quite unpopular with many people. Still, Bunyan took heart in the fact that he was preaching what he believed to be a representation of the true Gospel one that took grace very seriously.
Eventually, John Bunyan was jailed for, of all things, preaching without a license. His original sentence was to last only three months. However, Bunyan refused to receive a license from the official churches. Consequently, he remained in prison for over 12 years. Shortly after being released, Bunyan would again be arrested for preaching without a license. However, the enormous popularity amongst the public which resulted from his book caused the authorities to eventually release him after less than a year.
It was during his first imprisonment that John Bunyan wrote [i]The Pilgrims Progress[/i]. The actual title is [i]The Pilgrims Progress from This World to That Which is to Come[/i]. Little did Bunyan realize that this little book would become so immensely popular. Today, it is generally regarded as one of the greatest books ever written. It is also regarded as the purest example of an allegory in the English language. The book begins with a reference to the jail cell (or den) in which Bunyan had a dream.
[i] As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den , and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream.[/i]
I have read this book many times during and after high school. I was actually required to read it in four classes (three in high school and once in college). I will never forget actually weeping as I read the words while in high school. Reading about [i]Christian[/i] as he journeyed to the [i]Celestial City[/i] was almost like reading parts of my own testimony! The trials, tribulations and difficulties that he faced were like a mirror of my own.
It is my hope that those among us who have not been privileged to have read this classic might become familiar with it. Since the book has been around for several centuries, it is available free of charge on the Internet. I wanted to include a few sections of the book here, in the hope of provoking discussion of the allegory or as a provocation for others to read it. I feel quite certain that you would be blessed.
An audio version of this book is available [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=276]right here[/url] at Sermon Index. I encourage anyone who hasnt done so to read this work.
| 2008/2/9 21:26||Profile|
| Re: *THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS*|
| 2008/2/9 21:27||Profile|
| Re: * THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS *|
[b]THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS In the Similitude of a Dream [/b]
With the authors original notations in red.
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den , and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. [color=990000] [Isa. 64:6; Luke 14:33; Ps. 38:4; Hab. 2:2; Acts 16:30,31][/color]
I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, "What shall I do?" [color=990000] [Acts 2:37] [/color]
In this plight, therefore, he went home and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus he began to talk to them: O my dear wife, said he, and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our city will be burned with fire from heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.
At this his relations were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So, when the morning was come, they would know how he did. He told them, Worse and worse: he also set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriages to him; sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him.
Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.
Now, I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was wont, reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and, as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, "What shall I do to be saved?"
I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him and asked, Wherefore dost thou cry? [color=990000] [Job 33:23] [/color]
He answered, Sir, I perceive by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgement [color=990000] [Heb. 9:27][/color]; and I find that I am not willing to do the first [color=990000] [Job 16:21][/color], nor able to do the second. [color=990000] [Ezek. 22:14][/color]
CHRISTIAN no sooner leaves the World but meets EVANGELIST, who lovingly him greets With tidings of another: and doth show Him how to mount to that from this below.
Then said Evangelist, Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils? The man answered, Because I fear that this burden is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet. [color=990000] [Isa. 30:33] [/color]And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit, I am sure, to go to judgement, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.
Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, Flee from the wrath to come. [color=990000] [Matt. 3.7][/color]
The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket-gate? [color=990000] [Matt. 7:13,14][/color] The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder shining light? [color=990000] [Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19] [/color]He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto: so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.
So I saw in my dream that the man began to run.
| 2008/2/9 21:27||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: * THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS *|
Thanks brother, great reading all your expressions. Had thought about taking this back up again and recall another conversation not too far back about the 'second part' of this. Have you read it?
The audio is very good by the way.
| 2008/2/9 22:40||Profile|
Do you see yonder wicket gate? No. do you see yonder light? I think so . GO FOR IT!
pilgrims progress is awesome!
| 2008/2/9 23:51||Profile|
Here is the next section of [i]Pilgrim's Progress[/i]:
So I saw in my dream that the man began to run.
Now, he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! life! eternal life! [color=660000]
[Luke 14:26][/color] So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain. [color=660000]
[Gen. 19:17] [/color]
The neighbours also came out to see him run [color=660000]
[Jer. 20:10][/color]; and, as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and, among those that did so, there were two that resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate and the name of the other Pliable. Now, by this time, the man was got a good distance from them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, Neighbours, wherefore are ye come? They said, To persuade you to go back with us. But he said, That can by no means be; you dwell, said he, in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born: I see it to be so; and, dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone: be content, good neighbours, and go along with me.
OBST. What! said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?
CHR. Yes, said Christian, for that was his name, because that ALL which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that which I am seeking to enjoy [color=660000]
[2 Cor. 4:18][/color]; and, if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and to spare.[color=660000]
[Luke 15:17][/color] Come away, and prove my words.
OBST. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
CHR. I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away [color=660000]
[1 Pet. 1:4][/color], and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there [color=660000]
[Heb. 11:16][/color], to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
OBST. Tush! said Obstinate, away with your book; will you go back with us or no?
CHR. No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the plough. [color=660000]
OBST. Come, then, neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason. [color=660000]
[Prov. 26:16] [/color]
PLI. Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbour.
OBST. What! more fools still! Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise.
CHR. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour, Pliable; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glorious besides. If you believe not me, read here in this book; and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it. [color=660000]
[Heb. 9:17-22; 13:20] [/color]
PLI. Well, neighbour Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?
CHR. I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.
PLI. Come, then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went both together.
OBST. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate; I will be no companion of such misled, fantastical fellows.
Now, I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their discourse.
CHR. Come, neighbour Pliable, how do you do? I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me. Had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.
PLI. Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but us two here, tell me now further what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going.
CHR. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue. God's things unspeakable: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.
PLI. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true?
CHR. Yes, verily; for it was made by Him that cannot lie. [color=660000]
[Titus 1:2] [/color]
PLI. Well said; what things are they?
CHR. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever. [color=660000]
[Isa. 45:17; John 10:28,29] [/color]
PLI. Well said; and what else?
CHR. There are crowns and glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven. [color=660000]
[2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 3:4; Matt. 13:43] [/color]
PLI. This is very pleasant; and what else?
CHR. There shall be no more crying, nor Sorrow: for He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes. [color=660000]
[Isa. 25.6-8; Rev. 7:17, 21:4] [/color]
PLI. And what company shall we have there?
CHR. There we shall be with seraphims and cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. [color=660000]
[Isa. 6:2] [/color]There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place; none of them are hurtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in the sight of God, and standing in his presence with acceptance for ever. [color=660000]
[1 Thess. 4:16,17; Rev. 5:11] [/color]In a word, there we shall see the elders with their golden crowns [color=660000]
[Rev. 4:4][/color], there we shall see the holy virgins with their golden harps [color=660000]
[Rev. 14:1-5][/color], there we shall see men that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love that they bare to the Lord of the place, all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment. [color=660000]
[John 12:25; 2 Cor. 5:4][/color]
PLI. The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's heart. But are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers thereof?
CHR. The Lord, the Governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book; the substance of which is, If we be truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely.
PLI. Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things: come on, let us mend our pace.
CHR. I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back.
Now I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended this talk they drew near to a very miry slough, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.
PLI. Then said Pliable; Ah! neighbour Christian, where are you now?
CHR. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.
| 2008/2/10 15:36||Profile|