A scholarly edition of The Pilgrim's Progress by Roger Sharrock. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
About the Author
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was an English writer and Baptist preacher best known for his Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. He wrote more than 60 books and tracts in total. Buynan spent many years in prison because of his faith, and it was during this time that he began writing The Pilgrim’s Progress. Part One was published in 1678; Part Two in 1684.
Read an Excerpt
In my journey through the wilderness of this world there came a time when I found myself caged up in a very dreary dungeon. Now how I came to be in that place, and what befell me there, is not for me to relate in this little book. What is for me to tell is the story of my dream. For, you see, while I was shut up in that most loathsome place surrounded by profligates and felons, I seemed to breathe the very atmosphere of heaven. Yea, 'twas there that I laid me down to sleep; and, as I slept, I dreamed a most wonderful dream.
In this amazing dream I saw before me the most miserable man I have ever seen. He stood before the front door of a very tumble-down and miserable excuse of a house. He was dressed in garments that would scarcely merit the title of clothing in the genteel place where you dwell. Rags is what they really were! More frayed and tattered than the clothing on any bag-man beggar you are ever like to see. His face was very sad and was, for the better part of the time, turned away from his house. In his right hand he held a little black book, and upon his back he bore a huge burdena great big black bundle of a burden that looked as if it must shortly press him down to the ground. 'Twas a very mysterious burden that he carried, for, as large and heavy as it looked to me, I soon perceived that it was invisible to those about him. But you can be sure that it was quite real to him; aye, just as real to him as the burdens of your soul are real to you.
Now, as I beheld in my dream, I saw him open the book and read; and, as he read, he began to weep and tremble. He bowed lower andlower, as if his weighty burden was somehow growing even heavier. Finally, unable to endure any longer, he cried out with the most mournful voice I have ever heard, saying, "Oh, alas! Woe is me. Woe, woe, woe! Is there no one to help me?"
But to his despairing cry there came neither answer nor reply. He looked left, down the winding, twisting lanes of his tumble-down town and saw nothing but other people clothed in rags just as patched and worn as his own. He looked right, up the twisting, winding streets of his tumble-down town, and again saw nothing but more people in the same miserable state. In this dejected frame of mind he turned to enter his little tottering shack of a house. Once within that dreary little one-candle cottage, he tried his very best to act as normal as possible, lest he should alarm his wife and young children. But, try as he might, he could not contain the moans and groans that forced themselves from unwilling lips. Finally, noticing that his wife and children kept stealing quick, sideways glances at him, and seeing that keeping his silence only seemed to add to his sorrows, he decided to open his heart to his loved ones. And this is what he said:
"Oh, my dear wife, and you, my tender children! I, your poor father, am all lost and undone. And why all lost and undone, do you ask? 'Tis because of this huge burden strapped tightly to my back."
Then said his dubious wife, Christiana, "Uh, burden? What burden, my dear?"
"I don't see any burden, Papa," piped up Matthew, his eldest son. To this the man replied,
"Can you truly not see it?"
"No," they chorused, all as one voice.
"Oh dear! What can I say?" he groaned. "For whether you can see it or no, this weight is about to crush out my life!"
"Dear, dear," said his wife, her brow deeply furrowed with grave concern, "An invisible burden so heavy as to crush out your life? What can it be?"
"Hear me! Hear me well, my dear ones. I have been reading words from this my little book."
At this his family exchanged one of those knowing glances that shouted silently, "Oh no! We were afraid something like this was going to happen."
At last Samuel, with strained politeness, ventured to ask, "And uh ... ahem, what do the words in your little book say, dear father?"
"They tell me that this, our city, will soon be burned with fire from heaven!"
"What!" cried his ashen-faced wife, with a shocked expression. "Burned down!"
"Yes! Burned to ashes!"
"Yes!" he insisted, even more earnestly. "And in that fearful overthrow, we shall all miserably come to our ruin!"
"Oh, my dear husband!" she exclaimed, dropping her head into her hands with a moan.
"And, as for a way of escape," he added despairingly, "I can see none."
"None!" she exploded.
"None?" cried Joseph, fearfully.
"Nun?" burbled baby James.
"No, none! None at all," he answered sorrowfully. "We are doomed to perish with this miserable town of Destruction!"
Now at these words his family was put into a state of shock. Not that they believed that what he had told them was true, mind you. Oh no! Certainly not! But rather because they conceived that he had gone stark raving mad! Therefore, since it was getting on toward evening, they served him a spot of hot tea with a touch of lemon and honey, wrapped his neck with a heavy, grey woolen rag, and bundled him off to bed. "There," said his wife as she latched the door quietly behind her, "A good night's sleep ought to settle his brains a bit."
But the night was just as troublesome to him as the day. Therefore, instead of sleeping peacefully, he tossed to his left and cried out: "Ah, woe is me! Lost and undone am I! All lost and undone!" Then there would be sighs and tears as he rolled onto his right moaning, "Ah, what shall become of me, wicked man that I am?" And so he spent the long lingering hours of darkness.
Now when morning was finally come, Matthew, his eldest, donned his sunniest smile and cheerfully addressed him saying, "Are you feeling happier now, dear father?"
"Yes, how goes it with you, dear husband?" sighed Christiana, trying her best to squeeze a touch of optimism into her fatigued voice.
"Worse!" he moaned.
"Yes! Worse and yet more worse!" he continued.
"Oh, dear!" she cried with more impatience than concern. "What more can we do for you, poor man?"
To this he answered, desperately, "We must set ourselves to study and pray that we may know how to escape this city of Destruction."
"Escape!" she exploded, "My dear husband! There is nothing to escape from! Now come to your senses before the magistrates declare you to be a lunatic and cage you up forever!"
"No! No!" He cried. "I am in my right mind. There is dangerand we must escape forthwith. But how? Only how?"
"Husband!" snapped Christiana, her pot of anger beginning to boil over, "come to yourself this instant!"
Now, thoroughly convinced that their husband and father was indeed going quite mad, they sought to drive his affliction away by treating him with the utmost hardness and disrespect. Sometimes they would scold him, sometimes mock and mimic him. At other times they would totally ignore him. But, as you well know, this is no way to treat a soul in distress. Not only did it fail to help him, it actually added to his burden because now he began to fear all the more for his family's salvation.
This added burden of worry drove him more often than ever to his chamber where he would pray for their souls as well as his own. At other times he would walk all alone in the fields, sometimes reading from his book, and sometimes praying. And thus for many a day did he spend his time.
Now, as my dream unfolded, I saw him once again walking in the fields. He was, as before, reading in his little book, and still groaning under his heavy burden, which, by now, was even larger than before. At last he burst out as he had done earlier, crying: "Oh wretched man that I am! What shall I do to be saved?" And, as before, so now again, there was no reply.
I saw also that he cast hungry eyes this way to the left, and that way to the right, seeking some place to flee for his escape. Yet he continued to stand, trembling, out in the midst of the field, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. Then, from the right, I saw a man named Evangelist approaching, who addressed him thus, "Good day, Christian."
"Good day," moaned the man woefully. "But, pray tell, sir, why did you address me as Christian?"
"Because if you continue to read from that little book in your hand, a Christian is what you must surely become," said Evangelist with joyful assurance.
"Hmm. Even though my name is now 'Graceless'?" asked the man doubtfully.
"Aye," said Evangelist earnestly. "Though your name should be called death itself, yet would the reading of that Word give you life!"
At this, a look of great puzzlement came over Christian's face, and he asked sincerely, "How can these things be?"
Excerpted from The New Amplified Pilgrim's Progress by James Pappas, Jr. (adapted from John Bunyan's original text). Copyright © 1999 by Orion's Gate. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had been searching for an 'authentic' translation of Pilgrim's Progress when I stumbled upon Cheryl V. Ford's unabridged, modern version of this terrific book. This particular translation includes many margin notes which are helpful in the full understanding of such a powerful work
I've wanted to finish the Old English, original version of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress this year. I've finally done it. I have to admit, there were some tough times trying to get through this version. Case in point: "...for there was now no let in their way, no, not there where but now they were stopped with a pit." That one made the kids chuckle. But making it through the entire book was worth it. Knowing the context in which this wonderful allegory was written and experiencing that humble tinker painting pictures in my mind using beautiful language is worth every page. Some have said that The Pilgrim's Progress is the most widely read book of all time, next to the Bible. If you take the time to read through it, you'll understand why. Bunyan knew the human heart well, he knew the struggles of living the Christian life well and he knew the many different strengths and weaknesses of God's people, even after they are saved. He captured these things throughout this work and the story comes across not only highly entertaining and engaging, but also instructive and encouraging. If you have ever wanted to read this 17th century classic, but are scared or turned off by some of the archaic language, I would highly recommend Edward Hazelbaker's modern English version. It has excellent retention of the original flow of thought, but includes great cross references and thorough explanatory notes at the end of each chapter.
I loved it !! Its a great book for young and old! Its' awsome!! It's the perfect book too teach christians how to handel the trials that come into their lives. Read it . . . it will do you good!! God Bless! ~ Cerasi =)
A true classic for both the Christian and the non-Christian world. Excellent example of allegory.
Written in the 1600's while John Bunyan was in prison for his criticism of the "Church". The book however, supports the "Church" ... maybe he had a change of heart while in prison? It begins with the author entering into a dream where Christian foresees the destruction of his city and desires to travel to the Celestial city. He longs for his family to join him but they aren't convinced and refuse to go. Along the way he meets many different characters which try to distract him and convince him to turn back. Some of whom he comes in contact with are: good will, faith, by-ends, hope, ignorance, giant despair, etc. All of which teach him a different lesson. Eventually he does make it to the Celestial city and is welcome in. Part two is Christian's wife Christiana who decides she was foolish to stay behind and longs to join her husband. She sets off with her 4 sons along the same journey with Mercy accompanying her. They come across some of the same challenges as Christian but have more help along the way. An interesting read on the struggles in life and the desire to live with God again.
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is a landmark work in both Christian theology and English literature. Since its publication in 1678, it has encouraged countless Christians on their journey from this world to the next, and its impact on the literary tradition of England has been profound.Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory in the purest sense of the word; everything in the book has a one-to-one correlation with a spiritual principle. In part one, a man living in the City of Destruction becomes troubled by what he reads in a book (the Bible) and leaves his home, warning his scoffing family and neighbors that their city is going to be destroyed. He carries a heavy weight on his back and initially undertakes his journey to find a way to take it off. Along the way he meets a man named Evangelist who speaks truth to him, but not all fellow travelers are so congenial. He meets with characters with names like Mr. Worldly-wiseman, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Timorous, Mistrust, and Wanton, as well as Apollyon (an archdevil) and the Giant Despair, among others. Through a landscape of theological traps and oases Christian (for that is now his name) must make his way ever onward to the Celestial City, sustained on his travels by the Lord of Pilgrims.The second part recounts the story of Christiana, Christian's wife, who eventually follows her husband's path from the City of Destruction to eternal life in the Celestial City. In terms of sheer dramatic effect, part two is far inferior to part one; instead of fleeing her city in despair over its coming destruction, Christiana receives an invitation from the Lord of Pilgrims to join Him and her husband in His city. She takes along her four sons and her handmaid Mercy, and they are aided on their journey by a Mr. Great-heart. There seems to be less action and more catechizing in this section of the book, but there are some valuable theological refinements as well. There are some pilgrims who probably wouldn't have been considered worthy of pilgrimage in the first part, like Mr. Fearing, Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-Afraid. These pilgrims are characterized by fear and weakness, but they are still loved by their Lord and they too eventually come to the Celestial City.Nowadays I think there is an attitude of amused condescension that many feel toward Pilgrim's Progress because of its theological themes sticking out in plain sight under the see-through fictional covering. I know I felt that way... oh Bunyan, my dear man, you mean well but must you be so hamfisted? Can't you cover things up a little more artistically, add some adornment to your catechismic dialogues? Don't you know that straight allegory is far, far out of fashion just now? But this was before I read it, before I understood the narrative power that can come from an author being completely honest about his themes and intentions. By stripping away every non-essential, Bunyan can get down to the theology while still working within his fictional frame. The result is rich doctrine with the immediacy of a gripping story ¿ a heady mix that is very rarely imitated successfully.And you can't doubt the man's sincerity. Bunyan knew what it meant to be persecuted; he started the book from a prison cell where he ultimately spent twelve years of his life, imprisoned for holding church services outside the bounds of the Church of England. His imprisonment was costly not just to him, but to his family. His message is given weight by his experiences ¿ here is a man who knows what it means to be on pilgrimage through lands ruled by the enemy. Persecution is inevitable; Christians will suffer in this world. But equally true is our reward in the Celestial City, where our Lord Himself will welcome us home. What a hope, what a joy on our journey!I have said that Pilgrim's Progress is stripped down, but maybe a truer statement would be that our conceptions of the Christian life are covered in needless accretions that both
I know exactly how Christian feels. His non-conformity has estranged him not only from the world, but from his wife and children, who laugh at him and his philosophy with the others. Why would Christian choose this lonely path? It is because he has had revelation of the future, which brings realization of the present and past. He simply does not find his lifestyle appealing anymore. It was not a fondness of isolation that brought Christian to his pilgrimage, it was Divine Providence--the Revealer. He did not ignore it and go back to his life of illusion. He asked "What shall I do?", and he was given answer. As we come to learn, setting forth on the pilgrimage is only a first step. Bunyan was not only allegory, Bunyan was life, truth, experience. Spending much of his time in prison, Bunyan related to us why his choices were right. He brought to Christianity something no one had. He brought simple truth, logical reasoning, a map to a map. As our protangonist, Christian, comes to his last step, the world and his family take note of his accomplishments. They become open to the Holy Spirit's whispers. They follow, as Christian showed them how, as Christian learned from Christ. They go from this world, to that which is to come. All Faiths will enjoy this read, as all Faiths have. The book's age is a testament to the wisdoms within. You will recognize all of the characters here--their names reveal them.
This is a classic for good reason. While it was written three hundred years ago, the characters come to life and shed light on the struggle of living as a Christian. This is a must read.
I throughly enjoyed this book. There are so many references to this work throughout modern and classic literature that it was interesting to finally hear the original work. Furthermore, I highly recommend listening to the public domain audio recording of this book found at librivox.com. Although these audio files are not professionally done, the English woman who reads this work for Librivox has a wonderful voice that really compliments the work and brings the book to life.
This is the complete edition,. including the wife's journey to the Celestial City and JB's afterword. I was raised on the first part of the book. I attended a summer camp called Pilgrim Camp on the north end of Brant Lake, New York, where they studied this book as hard or harder than the Bible (at least, in the younger years of under 10), and I am glad they did. PP is a wonderfully spiritual allegory every child should read WITH his family.Publishing just the first section, however, seems to be the rule rather than the exception. I had a lovely 16" x 12" 1898 volume with aleather-covered and etched cover, engravings by Andre Dore on every few pages, I bought in Daytona Beach in 1968 for $80.00. Heaven knows how much it goes for now. This story gets better in quality as our lives get more spiritless in quantity.
This is a book that must have been groundbreaking for its time. I did not enjoy it too much. Christian, the main character has almost an obstacle course of sinners and evil to pass through to get to his final destination. I found myself hoping he would fail rather than succeed.