Written in the form of a highly imaginative allegory, The Pilgrim's Progress tells the unforgettable story of Christian and the extreme, soul-threatening dangers he encounters on his journey to the Celestial City. But it is also much more than an allegory; in a sense, it is both the personal story of Bunyan and the universal story of anyone who undertakes the same eternal pilgrimage. The result is a masterpiece of literature as well as spiritual truth-a book that at one time was loved and read in nearly every home in England and North America, a book that has endured as a classic for more than three centuries.
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About the Author
John Bunyan(1628–1688) was a Reformed Baptist preacher in the Church of England. He is most famous for his celebrated Pilgrim's Progress, which he penned in prison. Bunyan was author of nearly sixty other books and tracts, including The Holy Warand Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.
C. J. Lovik graduated from Westmont College California with a degree in Education and Communication and taught elementary school in Southern California. After teaching for many years, he started a manufacturing business and developed an online family-friendly Internet search engine. The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come is Lovik's first book.
Mike Wimmeris an award-winning illustrator of many children’s books, including Robert Burleigh’sOne Giant LeapandStealing Home.
Read an Excerpt
Pilgrim's Great Distress
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I came to a certain place where there was a cave; and I lay down in that place to sleep. As I slept, I dreamed a dream, and in this dream I saw a man clothed in rags, standing in a place with his face turned away from his own house. He had a book in his hand and a heavy burden upon his back.
I looked and saw him open the book and begin to read; and as he read, he wept and trembled. Not being able to contain himself, he cried out in a loud voice, "What shall I do?"
In this condition he went home and tried to keep to himself for as long as he could, so that his wife and children would not see him in distress. But after a short time his anguish had increased so much that he could not remain silent. So he began to share with his wife and children what was on his troubled mind; and this is what he told them:
"Dear wife and children, I am greatly troubled by this burden that torments me and grows and weighs so heavily upon me. Moreover, I have received information that the city in which we live will be burned with fire from Heaven. When this happens, all of us will be destroyed, unless (by a way I do not as yet see) some way of escape can be found, so that we may be delivered."
Hearing this, his family was greatly amazed, not because they believed what he said to them was true, but because they thought that he was losing his mind. So as the evening approached, hoping that sleep might settle his mind, they quickly put him to bed.
But the night was as troublesome to him as the day. Instead of sleeping, he spent the night in sighs and tears. So when morning came, his family came to find out how he was doing. "Worse and worse," he told them. He started speaking to them again about his fears and concerns, but they became cold toward him. They tried to change his outlook by treating him rudely. Sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and other times they would just ignore him.
So he began retiring to his private room to pray for them and to pity them, and also to try to find consolation for his own misery. He would often walk alone in the fields, sometimes reading and sometimes praying; and for a long time this is how he spent his days.
Then one day I saw the man walking in the fields (which he often did), reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind. As he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, "What shall I do to be saved?" I noticed that he looked this way and then that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because he could not decide which way to go. Just then I looked and saw someone named Evangelist coming toward him. Evangelist came up to the man and asked, "Why are you crying out?"
He answered, "Sir, I understand from reading the book in my hand that I am condemned to die and after that to come to judgment. I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second."
Then Evangelist asked, "Why are you not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils?"
The man answered, "Because I am afraid that this burden that is on my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Hell.
"And, sir," continued the man, "if I am not ready to die, then I am not prepared to go to judgment and from there to execution. Thinking about these things distresses me greatly."
Then Evangelist said, "If this is your condition, why are you standing still?"
The man responded, "Because I do not know where to go."
Then Evangelist gave him a parchment and unrolled it so that the man could read, "Flee from the wrath to come." When he had read it, the man looked at Evangelist very carefully and said, "Which way should I run?"
Then Evangelist, pointing with his finger to a very wide field asked, "Do you see the distant narrow gate?"
"No," the man replied.
Then Evangelist asked, "Do you see the distant shining light?"
"I think I do," the man answered.
Then Evangelist said, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly toward it, and soon you will see the narrow gate. And when you finally come to the gate, knock and you will be told what to do."
So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. He had not run very far from his home when his wife and children, realizing what was happening, cried after him to return. But the man put his fingers in his ears and ran on crying, "Life! Life! Eternal life!" So without looking back, he fled toward the middle of the valley.
The neighbors also came out to see what was going on, and when they saw who it was that was running, some mocked him, others yelled out threats, and some cried after the man to return. Among those were two who decided to bring him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other was Pliable.
Now by this time the man was a good distance away. But Obstinate and Pliable were determined to pursue him, which they did. Soon they caught up with him, and he asked them, "Why have you run after me?" The neighbors answered, "To persuade you to go back with us."
"But that is not possible," the man replied. "You live in the City of Destruction, the place where I was born; and I believe that if you stay in that city you will die sooner or later, and then you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone. Please consider, good neighbors, coming along with me."
"What!" said Obstinate. "And leave our friends and comforts behind us?"
"Yes," said the fleeing man Christian (for that was his name), "because all that you leave behind is not worthy to be compared with even a little of what I am seeking to enjoy. And if you will come along with me and not give up, we will both be blessed with treasure to spare, beyond anything we can imagine. Come along with me and see if what I am telling you is not true."
"What are you looking for?" Obstinate replied. "What is so valuable that you would turn your back on all the world to find it?"
"I am looking," Christian explained, "for an 'inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in Heaven.' It is kept safe there to be given at the appointed time to those who diligently seek it. You can read about it in my book."
"Nonsense!" said Obstinate. "Away with your book. Will you come back with us or not?"
"No!" said Christian. "I have laid my hand to the plow and cannot look back. I have started this journey, and I must finish it."
"Come on, Pliable," Obstinate urged his companion. "Let's turn around and go home without him. There is a group of these mixed-up lunatics who get a crazy idea in their head and are wiser in their own eyes than seven men who can render a reason."
Then Pliable said, "Don't be so harsh. If what the good Christian says is true, the things he is looking for are better than anything we have. I feel like I should go along with my neighbor."
"What! More fools still?" Obstinate replied. "Do what I say, and go back. Who knows where this lunatic will lead you? Go back; go back and be wise."
"Don't listen to him," Christian urged. "Come with me, Pliable. There are things to be gained such as I was telling you about, and many more glories besides. If you don't believe me, read about it in this book; and as far as the trustworthiness of this book goes, it is all confirmed by the blood of Him who made it." "Well, neighbor Obstinate," said Pliable, "I have come to a decision. I have decided to go along with Christian and to cast in my lot with him." Pliable thought for a second and then turned to Christian and asked, "But do you know the way to the desired place?"
"I was given directions by a man whose name is Evangelist," Christian said. "He told me to go as quickly as I could to the little gate that is just up ahead, and once there we will receive instructions about the way before us."
"Come then, good neighbor," Pliable replied. "Let's be going." Then they went on together.
"And I will go back to my home," said Obstinate. "I will not be a companion of such misled fanatical fellows."
Now I saw in my dream, after Obstinate returned to the City of Destruction, that Christian and Pliable began to talk as they walked together through the middle of the valley. Thus they began to converse.
"I am glad," Christian said, "that you were persuaded to come along with me. I am surprised that Obstinate returned so quickly to the City of Destruction. I think if he had felt the power and terror of the unseen, as I have, he would have been persuaded to come along with us."
"Come, neighbor Christian, since it is just the two of us, tell me more about the wonderful things that await us when we arrive at the place to which we are going."
"I can better conceive of them with my mind," Christian explained, "than talk about them. But since you are interested, I will read about them from my book."
"And do you think that the words of your book are true?" Pliable asked.
"Yes, very sure, for the words were written by the One who cannot lie," Christian replied.
"Well said; please tell me about the things that await us." "There is an endless Kingdom to be inhabited and everlasting life to be given to us so that we may live in that Kingdom forever," Christian explained. "Well said. What else?" Pliable asked.
"We will be given crowns of glory and clothing that will make us shine like the sun!"
"This sounds very pleasant. What else?"
"There shall neither be crying nor sorrow, for He who is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes." "And what company shall we have there?" Pliable asked.
"We will be with seraphim and cherubim and creatures who will dazzle your eyes when you look at them. You will meet with thousands who have gone before us to that place. None of them are hurtful, but all of them are loving and holy, every one walking in the sight of God and standing in His presence with acceptance forever. In a word, there we will see the elders with their golden crowns. There we will see the holy virgins with their golden harps. There we will see men who were cut in pieces by the world, burnt in flames, eaten by beasts, drowned in the seas, suffering all this and more for the love they have for the Lord of the place. Everyone in that place is clothed with immortality, as with a robe."
"Hearing about this is enough to excite my heart," Pliable replied. "But are these things to be enjoyed by anyone? What do we have to do to share in all these things?"
"The Lord," Christian replied, "the governor of the country, has recorded in this book that if we are truly willing to have it, He will give it to us freely."
"Well, my good companion, I am glad to hear about these things. Come, let's hasten our pace," Pliable replied.
"I cannot go as fast as I would like because of this burden that is on my back."
Now I saw in my dream, just as they had finished talking, that they came near to a very miry swamp that was in the middle of the valley. Then suddenly both Christian and Pliable, who were not paying attention to where they were walking, fell into the swamp. The name of the swamp was Despond. They wallowed there until they were both completely covered with mud. Christian, weighed down by the burden on his back, began to sink.
Then Pliable said, "Ah, neighbor Christian, where are you now?"
"Honestly," said Christian, "I don't know."
Christian's answer offended Pliable, who angrily said to Christian, "Is this the happiness you have been telling me about all the time we have been together? If we have this much difficulty at the beginning of our journey, what may we expect between now and the end of our journey? If I get out of this swamp alive, you can have the brave country that you're so fond of talking about without me." And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two and got out of the mire on the side of the swamp that was nearest to the City of Destruction. So away he went, and Christian never saw him again.
Christian was left to struggle in the Swamp of Despond alone. In spite of the difficulty, Christian still tried to get to the side of the swamp that was the furthest from the City of Destruction and nearest the narrow gate. He finally reached the edge of the swamp, but he could not, no matter how hard he tried, lift himself out of the swamp because of the heavy burden that was on his back. Just then I saw in my dream that a man whose name was Help came to him and asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Sir," said Christian, "I was told to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to the narrow gate so that I would escape the wrath to come. And as I was going there, I fell in here."
"But why didn't you look for the steps?" Help asked.
"I was so frightened that I stepped the wrong way and fell into the swamp."
Then Help said, "Give me your hand." So Christian gave him his hand, and he pulled him out, set him on solid ground, and told him to go on his way.
Going over to the man who had pulled him out of the swamp, Christian asked, "Sir, since this swamp is right between the City of Destruction and the narrow gate, why hasn't someone filled this swamp so that travelers could walk over it safely?"
"This miry swamp," Help replied, "cannot be filled or repaired. It is the low spot where collects all the scum and filth that goes along with conviction for sin, and that is why it is called the Swamp of Despond. When a sinner is awakened to his lost condition, then doubts, fears, and discouraging apprehensions swell up in his soul, along with other miseries, which all get together and settle in this swamp. And that is why the ground is so bad in this place.
"It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad. His laborers, at the direction of his Majesty's surveyors, have been trying to repair it for sixteen hundred years. To the best of my knowledge, this place has swallowed up twenty thousand wheelbarrows of wholesome instruction brought from all corners of the King's dominion. But even after all the best material for mending this swamp has been applied, it still remains the Swamp of Despond. There are, by the direction of the Lawgiver, good solid steps placed through the middle of the swamp, but the poor weather and filth that spews from the swamp make them hard to see. Even when the weather is good and the steps plainly seen, some men are so confused and mixed-up that they miss the steps and end up in the swamp. One thing you can be sure of, though — once you go through the narrow gate, the ground is good."CHAPTER 2
The Way of the World or the Narrow Way
Now I saw in my dream that by this time Pliable had returned to his home. Upon his arrival his neighbors came to visit him. Some of his neighbors called him a wise man for coming back. Some called him a fool for starting such a hazardous journey with Christian in the first place. Others mocked Pliable for his cowardliness, saying, "If we had begun such a journey, we would not have abandoned it because of a few difficulties." Embarrassed and pouting, Pliable hid himself for a time. But at last he got a little of his confidence back and joined in with the others in deriding poor Christian behind his back.
Now as Christian was walking by himself, he spied someone faroff, crossing over the field to meet him. When their paths crossed, the gentleman who met up with Christian introduced himself as Mr. Worldly-Wiseman. He lived in the town of Carnal Policy, a very great town that was near the place from which Christian had come.
Mr. Worldly-Wiseman immediately suspected that Christian was the person who had set out from the City of Destruction, since news of his departure had spread as far as the cities and towns surrounding Christian's former home. As Mr. Worldly-Wiseman viewed Christian's disheveled appearance and heard his sighs and groans, he was convinced that this was the rumored man and began to talk to him. "Where are you going?" Mr. Worldly-Wiseman asked. "How did you get yourself into such bad shape, and what are you doing with this great burden on your back?"
"Indeed," Christian replied, "a burden heavy as any creature ever had! And since you ask me, 'Where are you going?' I will tell you, sir. I am going to the small sheep gate that lies ahead, for I am informed that there will I enter into a way where I will soon get rid of my heavy burden."
"Do you have a wife and children?" Worldly-Wiseman asked.
"Yes, but I am so oppressed by this burden that I cannot take pleasure in my family as I used to. I now feel as if I am a man who has no family."
"Will you listen to me if I give you counsel?"
"If it is good I will, for I stand in need of good counsel," Christian replied.
"I advise you to quickly get rid of your burden," WorldlyWiseman explained, "for you will never be settled in your mind until then, nor will you enjoy the benefits of the blessings that God has given you."
"That is what I am seeking," said Christian. "I want nothing more than to be rid of this heavy burden. But I cannot free myself from it, nor is there any man in our country who can take it off my shoulders. That is why I am going toward the small gate ahead, as I told you, so that I may be rid of my burden."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Pilgrim's Progress"
Copyright © 2009 C. J. Lovik.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations 9
Publisher's Foreword 11
Editor's Introduction C. J. Lovik 14
Chapter 1 Pilgrim's Great Distress 19
Chapter 2 The Way of the World or the Narrow Way 31
Chapter 3 A Burden Lifted and a Journey Begun 59
Chapter 4 A Fierce Battle and a Dark Valley 87
Chapter 5 A Faithful Friend 101
Chapter 6 A Faith Beyond Words 111
Chapter 7 On Trial for the Gospel 123
Chapter 8 Confronting Worldly Attachments 141
Chapter 9 Refreshment at God's River 151
Chapter 10 Prisoners of Despair 157
Chapter 11 Shepherds' Warnings, Dangers Avoided 167
Chapter 12 Faith Under Attack 175
Chapter 13 Flattering Enemies and Renewed Trust 185
Chapter 14 Stubborn Ignorance 199
Chapter 15 Home In the Celestial City 211
The Conclusion 223
Editor's Notes 224
What People are Saying About This
"This classic has refreshed my spirit time and again when my soul has longed for Christ-centered guidance through a maze of modern detours and diversions. I'm so grateful this special edition of The Pilgrim's Progress is now available not only to a new generation of Christians but also to believers like myself who need direction and refreshment along our journey toward Home."
Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder, Joni and Friends
"If any smoothing of Bunyan's seventeenth-century language plus new colored pictures can set The Pilgrim's Progress aglow in the hearts of today's young readers, this lovely book will surely do it."
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College
"Every generation is heir to John Bunyan's timeless allegory, and to each generation falls the task of commending this tale anew. The collaboration of editor C. J. Lovik and illustrator Mike Wimmer has yielded a book that could well be a classic for our time. With great care, Lovik has combined the best elements of Bunyan's rich, evocative prose with accessibility for the modern reader. And in Wimmer, Bunyan has met his illustrator for the twenty-first century. The thirty illustrations that grace this edition are a world in themselves-the equal of any that appear in J.R.R. Tolkien's books."
Kevin Belmonte, author,John Bunyan
"If you are looking for a classic edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, with a simplified form of Bunyan's original text, traditional color illustrations, and explanatory notes, this is undoubtedly the version for you."
Tim Dowley, author,The Christians
"For two centuries following its publication (Part 1 in 1678, Part 2 in 1684), The Pilgrim's Progress gained the status of best-read book (apart from the Bible). This magnificent production by Crossway with stunning illustrations by Mike Wimmer should help reinstate Bunyan's classic allegory to the status it belongs. It should be a question we ask ourselves: Have I read The Pilgrim's Progress? If not, repent immediately, for in taking up this volume you will find pastoral insights from a pastor of souls to help you discover the biblical way of salvation and aid you in the journey home."
Derek W. H. Thomas,Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries; Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina
"C. J. Lovik's new edition of The Pilgrim's Progress almost takes one's breath away. The text is readable, the notes are clear, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. This is a book to be in everyone's library and will definitely occupy a prominent place in the libraries provided for Rafiki's children and adults in Africa. It is a joy to know that Lovik's edition of the Bunyan classic will be read by and to thousands of children throughout the world."
Rosemary Jensen, Founder and President, Rafiki Foundation; author of Praying the Attributes of God and Living the Words of Jesus
"This is one of the best books I've ever read."
Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; President, 9Marks
"The Pilgrim's Progress has long been a favorite of many. Now there is even more to love with this beautiful, updated edition. Editor's notes clarify the ideas in John Bunyan's classic allegory, while footnotes show where in Scripture Bunyan found them. The detailed color illustrations will delight both new readers and long-time lovers of this beloved tale."
Starr Meade, author, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds; The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study; and Give Them Truth
"Like countless others, I have been greatly influenced by The Pilgrim's Progress. Charles Spurgeon called it 'next to the Bible, the book that I value most.' It has already inspired generations, and I am confident that this new edition will inspire the rising generation. It is refreshingly readable while remaining true to this timeless classic. The illustrations, Scripture references, and study notes make it a superb resource for family devotions and study groups."
Susan Hunt,Former Director of Women's Ministries, PCA; coauthor, Women's Ministry in the Local Church
"The longer I journey through our dear Immanuel's land, the more grateful I am for John Bunyan's 'dream' and the cruel imprisonment that occasioned it. What a gift weary travelers have been given in this precious, timeless classic-and what beauty, insight, and encouragement was borne out of his suffering! Unafraid to challenge the outward trials of moralism, materialism, and persecution, humble enough to confess his own doubts and despair, Bunyan leads us on our way to the Celestial City we long to see. And what a gift modern readers have been blessed with in C. J. Lovik's careful editing and Mike Wimmer's luminous illustrations! This book is beautiful! The Pilgrim's Progress has always been a cherished treasure, but this edition makes Christian's story-our story-sing! I'm so thankful for it!"
Elyse Fitzpatrick, author, Give Them Grace
"If a picture truly does speak a thousand words, this version of The Pilgrim's Progress will be the best of all. Combining the beauty of Mike Wimmer's illustrations with this timeless classic is a stroke of genius."
Steve Murphy, Publisher, Homeschooling Today magazine