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Review of Pilgrims Progress By John Bunyan EmptyFri May 23, 2014 12:22 am by Camille
God always provides for our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

As long as we are doing the work of the Lord God will always meet our needs. As long as we are pointing others to God, He will always see that you have plenty.

Do the work of the Lord share what you know from the bible and share your testimony of how you were healed or set free and God …

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 Review of Pilgrims Progress By John Bunyan

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PostSubject: Review of Pilgrims Progress By John Bunyan   Review of Pilgrims Progress By John Bunyan EmptyTue Jan 27, 2015 3:40 am

Part 1

As briefly noted before, The Pilgrim's Progress, Part I, was conceived and largely written by Bunyan while he was lying in prison, and he tells us the circumstances. He was working hard to finish another book when he conceived the idea of writing a story about the adventures that a devout Christian might meet in trying to save his soul by setting out on a pilgrimage to Heaven. Bunyan, wishing to complete the book in hand; put the new idea in the back of his mind. But it would not stay there, crowding up front and blazing through his mind "like sparks that from the coals of fire do fly." So many ideas flashed into his mind that he had a hard time in keeping notes for future use.

Bunyan scholars do not entirely agree, but generally believe that the author wrote most of Pilgrim's Progress (Part I) during his first long imprisonment and completed it during his second incarceration during 1675. In any case, whenever completed, Bunyan showed his manuscript to friends and asked their counsel on whether to publish it or not. Some said yes. As many said not, arguing that Bunyan had treated sacred matters in too colloquial and familiar a style and manner. Bunyan decided to go ahead, writing:

Now was I in a strait, and did not see
Which was the best thing to be done by me;
At last I thought, since you are thus divided,
I print it will, and so the case decided.

It was well for Bunyan and his fame — and his lean pocketbook — that he so decided, for what he called his "Scribble" was immediately acclaimed and enjoyed a phenomenal success. The first edition, published in London in 1678 by Nathaniel Ponder "At the Sign of the Peacock in the Poultry," was quickly sold out, requiring a second edition within the year. Next year, a third edition appeared, in which Bunyan made many revisions and added a number of scenes as afterthoughts. This third edition, the last personally revised by Bunyan, is regarded as the definitive edition of the book, and the one that has been generally published down the years. By 1688, when Bunyan died, the book had sold more than 100,000 copies, a quite fantastic figure for the time. It was soon translated into French and Dutch, and published in Puritan New England. Later, the book was translated into other languages, including even the Chinese.

The first edition had small pages, octavo in size, and ran to 332 pages. Rather messily printed on cheap paper, it sold for ls.6d. a copy. This was within the means of those whom Bunyan wished to reach. He did not write for the literati or the carriage trade, for the nobles and others who lived in the Big Houses. He wrote for the people among whom he had been born and lived his life — humble and rather poor people, for the most part, such as he had met in the cottages of the Bedfordshire countryside. He knew and shared their way of life, their interests, their dreams. He talked their language, and they responded. That Pilgrim's Progress, at the time it appeared, was ridiculed and scorned by the literati, academic pundits, and polished, sophisticated aristocrats did not bother Bunyan one bit. He had found his audience, a much larger audience than any other writer of his day enjoyed.

In his writing, Bunyan commanded a good effective style. It was simple, strong, masculine, and direct, without any literary flourishes or affectations. As he more than once said, "do not affect high expressions; they will drown your children . . . Words easy to be understood do often hit the mark when high and learned ones do only pierce the air." He had a very observant eye for graphic and significant detail in his descriptions of incidents, landscapes, and characters. He could tick off a character by merely giving him a name — Pliant, Obstinate, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Evangelist, Mr. Talkative, Lord Hate-good, Mercy, Great-heart, Miss Much-afraid, et al. His syntax is often faulty, his punctuation misleading, and his spelling very erratic even by the lax standards of his day (in the seventeenth century, almost every man was his own speller). Even so, he captures and holds the reader's attention, and knows how to keep his story going except in those passages where he gets his characters involved in long conversations about abstruse points of theology.

To Bunyan, there were angels, and they were real, not merely symbolic. So, too, were fiends, devils, giants, and hideous monsters. Bunyan could describe them so well because he had seen them and encountered them in the hallucinations and nightmares to which he was subject in his younger years. Bunyan accepted dreams as real, as well as prophetic. He never forgot the time he "saw" God, "wrapped all in fire," riding a dark thunderhead in the sky and scowling down on the earth as if about to hurl a thunderbolt to destroy it in a single blinding flash.

In approaching his audience, whether in sermons or in writing, Bunyan first "preached terror," as he himself tells us, condemning all the weaknesses of the flesh and pointing out all the awful threats of "the Law." After his audience had been softened up a bit, as it were, he would offer sinners — and, in his mind, almost everybody was a sinner — the consolation and hope that they could save their souls and enjoy eternal life of unspeakable joy in Heaven if they opened their hearts to Christ's love. He would forgive all their sins if they mended their ways, and conscientiously kept at it. This methodology Bunyan followed in arranging the scenes and episodes in Pilgrim's Progress: first a fall or a block, then redemption.

In his theological views, Bunyan was what is now known as a Fundamentalist. He believed in the Bible from cover to cover. Everything worth knowing was spelled out in Holy Writ. All things had happened just as the Book said they had. The world was created in seven days; Adam and Eve had been evicted from the Garden of Eden for eating an apple (one of Bunyan's Pilgrims was shown such an apple from the Garden); Lot's wife had been turned into a pillar of salt (Bunyan believed it was still to be seen in the Middle East); the waters of the Red Sea had been miraculously parted for the escape of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt; Moses had struck a rock with his rod and out gushed a stream of cold, clear spring water to quench the thirst of his desperately parched followers (Bunyan's hero, Christian, was shown Moses' rod, as well as the slingshot and the very stone with which David had slain Goliath); angels hovered everywhere, with Satan always just around the corner.

Bunyan would have been simply horrified by interpretations given to Scripture by modern divines. As for philosophic studies in comparative religion, he would have regarded them as the sheerest blasphemy. There was only one religion, the Christian, as appended to the ancient Hebraic — and not all of the Christian either, only the Protestant branch — and not all of that branch either, only that of English Puritanism.

To understand Bunyan and what he is saying in Pilgrim's Progress, it is essential to understand the origin, background, and effects of the Puritan movement which so deeply affected England and our own country as well through the powerful influence of Puritan New England. After his break from the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1500s, less for doctrinal reasons than for reasons of state, Henry VIII set up his own church, the Church of England, with himself virtually as pope. The king was not a Protestant, and did not propose to become one, keeping most of Roman ritual and belief. His was an official church, a state church, to which everyone had to belong and pay tithes. No other form of worship was tolerated.

Under Henry's successors, an increasing number began to find fault with that church, objecting that it was corrupt and slothful (as it was in part), and that many of its practices were "unlawful," that is, there was no warrant for them in the Bible. The more these men dug into Scripture, the less justification could they find for a great deal of current belief and observance. The originally simple Christian faith, they declared, had been corrupted by time and "human invention." The imperative need was to restore it to its "ancient puritie" — or, as our American Pilgrim Forefathers phrased it, "to its primative order, libertie, and bewtie."

These views upset the orthodox, especially the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In 1565, Archbishop Parker denounced those holding such views as "these precise men." They were first dubbed the Precisians, but soon became known as the Puritans — so named, it should be observed, for their theological doctrine, not for their moral and social code, which developed later.

The Puritans sought a simple church structure, with no super-structure of bishops, archbishops, deans, and such officers. Where in the Bible could one find "warrant" for such officers? Every congregation should be more or less on its own, choosing its own minister, or pastor, or "teacher," without any dictation from outside. The congregation should be a democratic fellowship, with each communicant establishing his or her own relationship with God without benefit of clergy. The minister might help to guide them, of course, but the best guide was to read the Bible assiduously, which Bunyan had done. It was this need for each individual to establish his own unique personal relationship with God that led the Puritan to his zeal amounting at times to fanaticism, to his continuous soul-searching, to his self-righteous disposition to criticize and belittle those who did not see eye to eye with him and, above all, to his overpowering sense of guilt about his derelictions, however trivial — so great and oppressive a feeling of guilt that it once almost swamped Bunyan and is evident in all of his works.

Pilgrim's Progress is a Puritan story, and Bunyan chose to tell it in the form of an allegory, a form with which he was familiar from his reading, however sketchy that may have been except for the Bible and the Book of Martyrs. In addition, Bunyan chose to present his allegory in the form of a dream, which gave the widest latitude to his always fertile and often rather fevered imagination.

Bunyan's was a simple mind which did not deal in logic, reason, or abstractions. These were beyond the grasp of Bunyan, who saw the world and projected it in the form of visual images, in a sort of fantasy, and yet his dreams and visions are clear and consistently sound, having an inner logic of their own that makes them as complete and meaningful as ordinary perceptions. Bunyan had an extraordinary gift for pictorializing and personifying abstractions, and for transforming what would otherwise have been dull arguments and pedantic verbalistics into shining metaphor, into parable, into allegory, filled with movement, life, and color. Heightening the effects achieved by Bunyan, there is a rough poetic quality in his prose, though the snatches of verse he interspersed in his texts are without exception execrable.

George Bernard Shaw, in the preface to his play Man and Superman, declared his opinion that, as a dramatic writer, Bunyan is "better than Shakespeare." One suspects that G. B. S. is here pulling our leg, as he so liked to do, and did so well, so often. In any case, this may be said of Pilgrim's Progress: With its allegorical form and content, it is the best of its kind in the language and will never be matched, for no one in our scientific, atomic, skeptical age could or would attempt anything like it. At the very least, we can examine, appraise, and perhaps admire the work as an antique three centuries old, reflecting the tastes and craftsmanship of a vanished era with a very different way and view of life.

Part 2

In 1684, six years after the first edition of The Pilgrim's Progress Bunyan published a sequel. Also called The Pilgrim's Progress, it had the same title page except that "Second Part" was added and the descriptive summary was changed to read: "Wherein Is Set Forth the Manner of the Setting Out of Christian's Wife and Children, Their Dangerous Journey and Safe Arrival at the Desired Country." Though issued separately and years apart, the two books are now usually published together in a single volume.

Bunyan begins with a long preface, written in verse and entitled "The Author's Way of Sending Forth His Second Part of The Pilgrim." In this, Bunyan notes with pride and satisfaction the success and widespread influence of his first book:

In France and Flanders, where men kill each other,
My Pilgrim is esteemed a brother.
In Holland, too, 'tis said, as I am told,
My Pilgrim is with some worth more than gold.
Highlanders and wild Irish can agree
My Pilgrim should familiar with them be.
'Tis in New England under such advance,
Receives there so much loving countenance,
As to be trimmed, new clothed, and decked with gems . . .
If thou art nearer home, it will appear
My Pilgrim knows no ground of shame or fear;
City and country will him entertain
With "Welcome Pilgrim." Yea, they can't
Refrain from smiling . . .

Bunyan expresses a hope and a confidence that his story about the Pilgrimage of Christiana and her children, and the people they pick up along the way, will be as well received as his story about Christian. In this, he was disappointed, for his sequel, like so many sequels, was an inferior work, or at least was generally regarded as such by the more devout. And yet, Part II has its points. It tells a story with many more human touches than Part 1. It is not so epic, insistent, single-minded, having many pleasant diversions and digressions.

Character List

Part 1

Part I of the book has only one main character, Christian, the Pilgrim. He appears in every scene and dominates them all. Other characters are those he chances to meet on his journey and with whom he talks for a longer or shorter time. Only two of them, Faithful and Hopeful, share any of his experiences.

Christian A poor, ragged man who flees from the wicked City of Destruction, convinced that God is about to blast it for its sins, and sets out on a pilgrimage to find the Celestial City, where his soul will be saved and he can live for all eternity in the company of God, and of the Heavenly Host.

Evangelist Preacher of the Holy Word, always eager to help those who are seriously concerned about the state of their souls and about finding the way to Heaven.

Obstinate Who accepts things as they are, resisting any change, and thinks anyone undertaking a pilgrimage like Christian's is a fool, out of his mind.

Pliant A well-intentioned man who decides to join Christian on his pilgrimage but, having little courage and less resolution, turns back at the first obstacle.

Mr. Worldly Wiseman Knows the world and has come to terms with it on a high moral level. A generous and sympathetic man, he obeys the Ten Commandments and lives in great esteem among his friends and neighbors. With his plausibility he almost seduces Christian in advising him to settle down in the village of Morality instead of going on toward the Celestial City.

Good-will Keeper of the Wicket Gate, entrance to the Holy Way, or "King's Highway," leading to the Celestial City on Mount Zion.

Interpreter The Holy Spirit which inhabits a large house that Christian visits and where he is shown many wonders and given a number of exhortations on the way he should go.

Three Shining Ones Angels who meet Christian at the Cross.

Formalist and Hypocrisy Formalist is one of those who knows all the outward forms of religion, but not the inner spirit. The Gospel is in his head, not in his heart. Hypocrisy is what his name implies, being all things to all men. Both Formalist and Hypocrisy come to a bad end at the foot of Difficulty Hill.

Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity Virgins in charge of Palace Beautiful, where Christian rests for several days and is shown the "rarities" of the place.

Apollyon A foul fiend whom Christian encounters in the Valley of Humiliation. The monster has scales like a fish, wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. Out of a hole in his belly belch smoke and flame. Christian has a narrow escape from death when Apollyon attacks him.

Faithful A townsman from the City of Destruction whom Christian meets as he emerges from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The two Pilgrims go along together until Faithful meets his death by execution at Vanity Fair.

Mr. Talkative One of those willing to discuss anything, often very sensibly, but never willing to do anything. "Good riddance," says Christian when Talkative decides to go his own way to salvation.

Lord Hate-good The judge who sentences Faithful to a frightful death at Vanity Fair.

Hopeful A refugee from Vanity Fair who joins Christian, and the two of them go on together all the way to the Celestial City.

By-ends From the wealthy town of Fair-speech, By-ends likes religion when it "goes in silver slippers," with the sun shining and the people applauding. By-ends is a nickname given to him by friends because of his knack in snatching every opportunity for profit that falls in his way.

Giant Despair Who surprises Christian and Hopeful while asleep in By-path Meadow, seizes them as trespassers, and throws them into the cellar dungeon in his stronghold, Doubting Castle. The prisoners are about to be killed by the giant when Christian suddenly remembers that he has a magic key that will open all the doors and gates of the castle, and they escape back to the Holy Way.

Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere Shepherds tending the flocks of the Lord on the heights of the Delectable Mountains. The shepherds are very helpful to the Pilgrims, giving them exact directions to the Celestial City and telling them what to avoid along the way.

Ignorance A "very brisk" lad who comes down a little crooked lane from the Country of Conceit and encounters Christian and Hopeful in the Holy Way. They think he is all wrong in his ideas, but he tells them to mind their own business. Trailing along behind, Ignorance makes it all the way to the gates of the Celestial City. But as he does not have the proper credentials, the "King" (God) has him thrown down a side pit into Hell.

Turn-away An apostate who has been seized by seven devils, tied with seven stout cords, and is being carried off to be tossed down the side mouth to Hell which Christian and Hopeful had been shown, to their great fright, in the Delectable Mountains.

Flatterer A "man black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe," who induces the two Pilgrims to follow him, leading them a circular course into a net from which there appears to be no means of escape. But a Shining One appears with a whipcord, cuts the net, and leads them back to the Holy Way.

Atheist Who laughs at the Pilgrims, telling them that he has made great search and there is no such place as the Celestial City, which greatly shocks Christian and Hopeful: "What! no Mount Zion!"

Part 2

Christiana Christian's wife, who, regretting that she did not go with her husband in the first place, decides to follow him to the Celestial City, taking along her family: Matthew, James, Samuel, and Joseph. The latter, though referred to as "the children," must have been adolescents, for all get married along the way.

Mercy A "comely" young woman, a friend and neighbor, who joins Christiana on her pilgrimage; later, marries Matthew.

Great-heart A stalwart and well-armed Christian soldier, who is assigned by Interpreter to escort Christiana and her party to the Celestial Gate; he is a great giant-killer, and fond of giving religious advice and delivering sermonettes on almost any occasion.

Old Honest Though a native of the Town of Stupidity, he has seen the "Light" and joins Christiana's party; while argumentative and long-winded, he is one of Bunyan's more engaging characters.

Gaius "A very honorable disciple," who keeps a pleasant inn between the Valley of the Shadow of Death and Vanity Fair; it is he who, much to her surprise, tells Christiana of her husband's illustrious ancestry, going back to St. Peter, St. Paul, and other notables.

Mnason A native of the island of Cyprus, at whose house the Pilgrims stay while at Vanity Fair; his daughters Grace and Martha are married to Christiana's unwedded sons, Samuel and Joseph.

Feeble-mind A man of a "whitely look" who joins the Pilgrim party after being rescued from the hands of the giant Slay-good by Great-heart.

Ready-to-halt A badly crippled man who also joins the pilgrimage even though he has to hobble along painfully on crutches.

Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid Rescued from the dungeon in Doubting Castle when Great-heart leads an expedition to kill Giant Despair and tear down his castle; Despondency and Much-afraid join the pilgrimage and go on complaining to the end.

Valiant-for-truth Another Christian sword-bearer and great giant-killer who carries and mightily wields "a right Jerusalem blade"; talks a lot, too.

Stand-fast Who is met in the Enchanted Ground, kneeling on the path and imploring God for Christ's sake to save him from a "witch" who is determined to seduce him.

Madam Bubble "A tall comely dame," carrying a huge purse filled with gold; she is the witch, "a bold and impudent [ PROFANITY],"who tries to divert Stand-fast from his pious duty by offering him "her body, her purse, and her bed"; ashe is poor and very sleepy at the moment, Stand-fast is sorely tempted to embrace her.

Assorted Giants, Fiends, Monsters, etc. Grim, or Bloody-man, who emerges from a cave near Palace Beautiful and is beheaded by Great-heart;this giant symbolizes the civil authorities charged with enforcing the penal laws against Nonconform ists.

Giant Slay-good, slain by Great-heart because he is a general nuisance around Gaius inn and also acannibal

Maul, a giant who spoils young Pilgrims with sophistry (a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church), Greatheart stops all this by taking off the giant's head after a three round fight

An unnamed beast like nothing ever seen before a huge dragon with seven heads and ten horns (anothersymbol of the Roman Catholic Church) Great heart fails to kill him but inflicts such injuries that everyoneis certain the monster will die of his wounds.

Giant Despair, who is done in by Great heart and his friends in revenge for the indignities and crueltiesheaped upon Christian, Hopeful, and other Pilgrims.

We have the complete Movie here on God's Way Forum.


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