The Pilgrim's Progress ~ John Bunyan<br />Book Review / SummaryIf I were to be stranded on a desert island and allowed only one other book  apart from the Scriptures this would be my book of choice. There are many  editions of this world classic, but I would have to have an unabridged edition  with all of its quaint diction. Not simply because there is something very  special about the expressiveness of the language of that day but more so because  any attempts of editing/altering this book will inevitably kill off something in  the process. If I had to describe this book in one word I would have to say that  it is ‘inspired’. Note that is with a small ‘i’. I do not place any writing on a  level with Scripture itself but I do recognize the same ‘God-breathed’ life in  some Christian writings, be they books, hymns, Bible studies etc. This book  undoubtedly has such a hallmark.So what is it all about? Well, Bunyan, who was incidentally in prison at the  time he wrote it, says that this story was given to him in “the similitude of a  dream.” I don’t think he was actually saying that he dreamt all of it while  asleep, but he wrote it in the style of a vivid dream. He ‘watches on’, as it  were, and relates what happens to a man called ‘Christian’ as this man takes a  journey (a pilgrimage) from ‘The City of Destruction’ to ‘The Celestial City’.

Christian takes his journey and traverses all kinds of places en route – ‘The  Slough of Dispond’, ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘The Interpreter’s House’ and so on. It is  not only the places that are allegorical but also the people. On the positive  side he encounters such people as ‘Evangelist’, ‘Hopeful’, ‘Faithful’ and ‘The  Shepherds’ who tend sheep in ‘Emanuel’s Land’. But he also comes to blows,  victories and defeats with such characters as ‘The Flatterer’, ‘Mr Legality’,  ‘Mr Hate-Good’, and ‘Apollyon’ himself.

This book, like Scripture in a way, is multifaceted and multi-layered. I think I  have read this three times now and each time there are ‘new things’ I see which  are being alluded to. Depending on ones spiritual understanding of certain  issues and ones current spiritual experience different things come through. I  think also that perhaps some elements may be better understood by someone who is  aware of some of the history of that time, mainly those issues that relate to  the great divide of establishment religion and true faith in Christ.

Please don’t let these last comments put you off if you don’t consider yourself  to have great enlightenment on anything. The whole point of what I mentioned  earlier is that this book will ‘reveal/speak’ things to you wherever you are  along the road of your personal pilgrimage with Him. There is so much more which  could be said about this great classic. Many people have had an appreciation for  this book (again just like the Authorized Version of the Bible) for its literary  value, but any who only come that far have entirely missed its real beauty. If I  had to choose a few more words to describe this book, I would have to include  the word ‘beauty’, along with ‘poignancy’ and ‘prophecy’. I cannot state enough  what a rich treasury of spiritual instruction this book is to those who will  apply themselves a little to unlocking its messages.

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