John Bunyan was born in 1628 in Elstow, England, and died in 1688 in London. His allegorical novel "The Pilgrim's progress" tells us about a dream he had, and which he invites us to interpret in order to walk in the paths of righteousness. Here is what he says: "Put by the curtains, look within my veil, Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail. There, if thou seekest them, such things thou’lt finds as will be helpful to an honest mind. What of my dross thou findest there, be bold To throw away, but yet preserve the gold" (P247).
This book shows us through the journey of the main character, Christian, the different stages of the Christian walk: the questionings, the conversion, the failures and victories up until the arrival to the City of Zion.
In fact, the apostle Paul encouraged the Colossians with these words: "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened in all respects to his glorious power, so that you are always with joy and persevering and patient" (Colossians 1: 9-11).
"What should I do to be saved?" Here is the question that arose when a man read in the Bible that he was condemned to die, and that he would be tried although he was not prepared to endure this trial.
He thus decided to leave the city of Destruction, his hometown, in order to escape the coming judgment. As he was escaping, he met Evangelist who told him he had to follow the light to remain on the narrow path that would lead him to the City of Zion.
He met several people who tried to make him veer from the path of Truth, namely OBSTINATE, who came from his hometown; MR WORLDLY WISEMAN, who came from the city of Worldly Wisdom, and APOLLYON, the prince of this present world.
However, he also met people who encouraged and helped him in his walk towards Salvation, among whom was EVANGELIST, who reprimanded him in his errors, HELP, who brought him out of the Slough of Despond, the INTERPRETER, who explained to him the work of the Cross, along with other secrets of the Kingdom, so that his faith fainted not, and finally, HOPEFUL, a companion who encouraged him from the day they met up until the day they entered the Heavenly Palace.
AN EDIFYING BOOK
John Bunyan's work is in every way a source of edification for Christians. What is remarkable is that the author does not present us with a new doctrine manual or seven things to know to be saved. The contents of the book recounts a revelation he received from the Lord in the form of a dream. As such, he does not introduce himself, nor does he tell a fantastic story that would originate from his own intelligence.
The Pilgrim's progress has the humility to present Christ, "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14: 6) through the life of Christian.
It is an encouragement for each stage of the Christian life. Indeed, everyone reading this book will be able to identify with this character not only in weakness, discouragement, temptation, struggles, doubt but also in victory, joy, peace, comfort and happiness, and therefore be strengthened in such a way that they may not abandon the faith and the path that leads to eternal life.
A reference to the Scriptures at the bottom of some pages makes reading the book even more enjoyable.
Besides, the author expresses himself in simple language and colourful style, which makes the message of this book, suitable for both children and adults, easier to understand.
To conclude, The Pilgrim's progress gives a good illustration of the following passage: "Beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2: 11).
This is why this book is highly recommendable.