The category of book I’ve been reading the last two weeks is: A book written by a Puritan. The book I chose for this category was Pilgrim’s Progress. Below you’ll find some information about the book, a summary, and some closing thoughts. If you’d like to skip straight to my ratings, click here.
Bibliographic Information: Bunyan, John. Pilgrim’s Progress. Kindle Community: HarperPerennialClassics. 2012.
Summary: The Pilgrim’s Progress is the story of Christian’s life from the day he rejects life in his town which he finds out is soon to be the subject of God’s eternal wrath and destruction. Along the way, Christian meets with a few different aptly named characters both good and bad. Some, such as as Evangelist who beckons Christian to leave his hometown of destruction and Faithful who serves as an example of being faithful to the journey despite the tribulation he faces, help Christian to stay on the right path despite its challenges. Others, like Mr. Worldly Wiseman who tries to convince Christian to depart from his journey and have houses and money and fame and Despair who takes Christian prisoner in his castle of Doubt until Christian almost dies, seek to cause Christian to stray from his path or abandon the quest altogether. The journey Christian takes is to the Celestial City where he will cast off his burden and enjoy the presence of the Master of the city. Despite temptations and hardships, Christian does eventually make it to the Celestial City and is welcomed into the rest of the Master.
7/10 About half of this book was really good. Bunyan does a fair job in his allegory of the Christian life. His characters are poignant and, despite how long ago it was written, still relevant today. The use of Scripture is unique to say the least, and helpful if not sometimes awkwardly thrust upon the reader. The story itself is interesting and though you may guess from the beginning (especially if you read my review before you read the book) that Christian makes it to his destination, there are a few points when you, like Christian, wonder how he will go further. The language of the book makes it tough reading at points, especially when Bunyan begins to wax eloquent about Scripture. All in all, anyone who can trudge (again similar to Christian) through the tough parts and make it to the end, picking up nuggets of truth and encouragement along the way will be encouraged and receive the reward of a better understanding of a 17th century idea of the Christian life.
A few of my favorite quotes:
And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel. And with that he saw Evangelist coming to meet him; at the sight also of whom he began to blush for shame.
To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond.
He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them.
Brave FAITHFUL, bravely done in word and deed; Judge, witnesses, and jury have, instead Of overcoming thee, but shown their rage: When they are dead, thou’lt live from age to age