What is all the fuss about The Pilgrims Progress? Why is it so well-loved? Why do readers return to it so often when it is only fiction?
Although it is only fiction, it was written when Pastor Bunyan was imprisoned for his faith in Jesus Christ.
The story is not only edifying but fun (please excuse such a puny little word to describe such a book).
It is simple, in our seemingly very complicated world.
To appreciate the old and new things in God’s Kingdom is truly a good thing:
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. 52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
It is uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring.
In the book’s characters we recognize ourselves and others.
So, here is a little more about this respected man and his beloved “little book,” as he called it. First, for your amazement and amusement, is the text of its full title.
That which is to come:
Delivered under the Similitude of a
Wherein is Discovered,
The manner of his setting out,
His Dangerous Journey; And safe
Arrival at the Desired Countrey
~ I have used Similitudes, Hos. 12. 10. ~
Here is a little bit of info about the book and its author from The British Library.
“The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which is to Come by John Bunyan (1629-1688) is a Christian allegory (a story in which people, places and events represent abstract concepts). The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678… John Bunyan was an itinerant tinker and a non-comformist who spent many years in prison for refusing to obey injunctions not to preach. He wrote the greater part of Pilgrim’s Progress while in Bedford Gaol.”
Bunyan could write about such things effectively because of his love for Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the souls of men and women. For years the Bible kept him company in jail, and it was during his second imprisonment that he wrote this “little book.” You see, dear pilgrims, The Men of This World are not able to silence God’s children, not with warrants for arrest, jail time, or even execution.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Here is a brief account of the circumstances of John Bunyan’s death, from the Penguin Classics The Pilgrim’s Progress, edited with an introduction and notes by Roger Sharrock (1987). These circumstances were characteristic of Bunyan’s life of service.
[In 1688] He died in London at the house of a friend, 31 August, after contracting a fever during a journey by horse from Reading to offer reconciliation in a family dispute.