Once the most deeply cherished book in English-speaking households other than the Bible itself, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is the allegorical tale of Christian the pilgrim on his journey to the Celestial City. Along the way, Christian encounters both worthy companions and dreadful adversaries. Although The Pilgrim’s Progress was written more than three hundred years ago, this stirring spiritual narrative still bears the power to challenge and encourage readers on their own spiritual journeys.
Hendrickson Christian Classics is planned to include all the timeless books that generations of believers have treasured. Each volume in the series is freshly retypeset, while thoughtful new prefaces explore their spiritual and historical contexts. For contemporary readers, here is an essential library of Christian wisdom through the ages.
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|Age Range:||3 - 15 Years|
About the Author
James Langton trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks. James was born in York, England, and is now based in New York City.
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The Pilgrim's Progress
By John Bunyan, Lore Ferguson Wilbert
B&H Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 B&H Publishing Group
All rights reserved.
The Beginning of Christian's Journey and the Burden He Carried
* * *
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I came to a certain place where there was a den, and I laid down to sleep there. And as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and saw a Man clothed with rags, standing there, faced away from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read. And as he read, he wept and trembled. Not being able longer to contain, he broke out with a lamentable cry, saying, "What shall I do?"
In this way he went home, and restrained himself as long as he could, so his wife and children should not know his distress, but he could not be silent long, because his trouble increased. Soon he spoke his mind to his wife and children. He began to say to them: "O my dear wife, and you my children, I, your dear friend, am undone by reason of a burden that lies hard upon me; moreover, I am informed for certain that our City will be burned with fire from Heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with you, my wife, and you, my sweet Babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (which I cannot see yet) some way of escape can be found, where we may be delivered." At this his Relations were amazed; not that they believed what he had said to them was true, but because they thought some frenzy temper had got into his head. Since it was drawing towards night, and they were hoping sleep might settle his brain, they hastily got him to bed: But the night was as troublesome to him as the day, and instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning had come they asked how he was and he told them worse and worse. He also began talking to them again, but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his temper by harsh and surly words to him. Sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would just neglect him. And so he began to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery. He would also walk alone in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying. He spent his days like this for a long time.
I saw a time when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was accustomed to, 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 saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run, but he stood still, because, as I saw, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, asking, "Why do you cry?" He answered, "Sir, I see by the Book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to Judgment, and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second."
Christian no sooner leaves the World but meets
Evangelist, who lovingly him greets
With tidings of another: and doth shew
Him how to mount to that from this below.
Then Evangelist said, "Why are you unwilling to die, since this life is attended with so many evils?"
The Man answered, "Because I fear this burden upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet. And, sir, if I am not fit to go to prison, I am not fit to go to judgment, and from there to execution. The thoughts of these things make me cry."
Then Evangelist said, "If this is your condition, why are you standing still?"
He answered, "Because I do not know where to go." Then Evangelist gave him a Parchment-roll, and there was written within, "Fly from the wrath to come."
The Man read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully said, "Where must I fly?" Evangelist said, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, "Do you see yonder Wicket gate?"
The Man said, "No."
The other asked, "Do you see yonder shining Light?"
He said, "I think I do."
Then Evangelist said, "Keep that Light in your eye, and go up directly there: so shall you see the Gate; at which, when you knock, it shall be told you what you shall do."
So I saw in my Dream that the Man began to run.
Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, seeing it, began to cry after him to return. But the Man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, "Life! Life! Eternal Life!" He did not look behind him, but fled towards the middle of the Plain.
The Neighbors also came out to see him run, and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return. And among those that did so, there were two that resolved to fetch him back by force. One was named Obstinate and the name of the other was Pliable. Now by this time the Man had gone a good distance from them, but they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then the Man said, "Neighbors, why have you come for me?"
They replied, "To persuade you to go back with us."
But he said, "That can by no means be, for you live," said he, "in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born, I see it to be so. Dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the Grave, into a place that burns with Fire and Brimstone. No, be content, good Neighbors, and go along with me."
"What," said Obstinate, "and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!"
"Yes," said Christian, for that was his name. "Because all which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy. If you will go along with me and hold it, you shall fare as I myself, for where I go, there is enough and more to spare. Come away, and prove my words."
"What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?" asked Obstinate
Christian replied, "I seek an incorruptible Inheritance, undefiled, and one that fades not away, and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be given at the time appointed, on those who diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my Book."
"Tush," said Obstinate, "away with your Book. Will you go back with us or not?"
"No, not I," said the other, "because I have laid my hand to the Plow."
"Come then, Neighbor Pliable," Obstinate said. "Let us turn again, and go home without him. There is a company of these crazed-headed coxcombs, who, when they have a fancy, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men who can render a reason."
Then Pliable said, "Don't revile! If what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours. My heart is inclined to go with my Neighbor."
"What! There are more of you who are fools?" said Obstinate. "Listen to me, and go back. Who knows where such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise."
"Come with me, Neighbor Pliable," said Christian. "For there are such things I spoke of and more Glories besides. If you do not believe me, read here in this Book. And for the truth of what is expressed in it, look, all is confirmed by the blood of Him who made it."
"Well, Neighbor Obstinate," said Pliable, "I have made my decision. I intend to go along with this good man and to cast in my lot with him, but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?"
"A man whose name is Evangelist is directing me," said Christian, "to get me to a little Gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way."
"Come then, good Neighbor," said Pliable. "Let us be going." Then they went both together.
"And I will go back to my place," said Obstinate. "I will not be a companion of such misled, fantastical fellows."
Now I saw in my Dream that when Obstinate had gone back, Christian and Pliable went walking over the Plain and there they began their conversation.
"Come, Neighbor Pliable," said Christian. "How do you do? I am glad you were persuaded to go along with me. If Obstinate had felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not have lightly gone back."
Pliable replied, "Come, Neighbor Christian, since it is only us two here, tell me now further what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, where we are going."
"I can better conceive of them with my mind than speak of them with my tongue. But since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my Book," Christian said.
"And do you think that the words of your Book are certainly true?"
"Yes, truly. For it was made by him who cannot lie."
"Well said," Pliable replied. "But what things are they?"
"There is an endless Kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting Life to be given us who will inhabit the Kingdom for ever."
"What else?" Pliable asked.
Christian replied, "There are Crowns of glory to be given us, and Garments that will make us shine like the Sun in the firmament of Heaven."
"This is excellent! And what else?"
"There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow," Christian said happily. "The owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes."
"And what company shall we have there?"
"There we shall be with Seraphims and Cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. Also we shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place. None of them are hurtful, but loving and holy. Everyone will be walking in the sight of God and standing in his presence with acceptance forever. In a word, there we shall see the Elders with their golden Crowns, there we shall see the Holy Virgins with their golden Harps, and there we shall see men that by the World were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts, drowned in the seas, for the love that they had for the Lord of the place, all well, and clothed with Immortality as with a garment."
"The hearing of this is enough to ravish one's heart," said Pliable. "But are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to partake in them too?" Christian replied, "Oh! The Lord, the Governor of the country, has recorded that in this Book. Basically, if we are truly willing to have it, he will bestow it upon us freely."
"Well, my good companion, I am glad to hear of these things. Come on, let walk faster!"
Christian responded, "Well, I cannot go as fast as I would, because of this Burden upon my back."
Now I saw in my Dream that just as they had ended this talk, they drew near to a very miry Slough, that was in the midst of the plain. The travelers, not paying attention, both fell suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Dispond. Here therefore they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt. And Christian, because of the Burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.
Then Pliable said, "Ah, Neighbor Christian, where are you now?"
"Truly," said Christian, "I do not know."
At that Pliable began to be offended and angrily said to his fellow, "Is this the happiness you have told me of all this while? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect between this and our Journey's end? If I survive this, you shall possess the brave Country alone without me." And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the Slough which was next to his own house. Away he went and Christian saw him no more.
Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Dispond alone, but still he endeavoured to struggle to the side of the Slough that was further from his own house, and next to the Wicket gate. He finally did, but could not get out, because of the Burden upon his back. But I saw in my Dream that a mancame to him, whose name was Help, and asked him what he did there.
"Sir," said Christian, "I was told to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder Gate, that I might escape the wrath to come. But as I was going there, I fell in here."
"But why did you not look for the steps?" Help asked.
"Fear followed me so hard that I fled this way and fell in," Christian said.
Then Help reached out his hand and said, "Give me your hand."
Christian gave him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and told him to go on his way.
Then I stepped to the one who had plucked him out, and said, "Sir, since this place is on the way from the City of Destruction to yonder Gate, why is it that it is not fixed so that poor travelers might go there with more security?" And he said unto me, "This miry Slough is a place that cannot be mended. It is the descent where the scum and filth that comes with conviction for sin continually runs, and therefore it is called the Slough of Dispond. For even while the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arises in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place. This is the reason for the badness of this ground.
"It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad. His laborers also have, by the direction of His Majesty's Surveyors, been for more than sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, to see if perhaps it might have been mended. And to my knowledge," said he, "there have been swallowed up at least twenty thousand cart-loads, millions of wholesome instructions, that have at all seasons been brought from all places of the King's dominions (and they say they are the best materials to make the ground good), if this is all true, it might have been mended, but it is the Slough of Dispond still, and so will be when they have done what they can.
"True, there are by the direction of the Lawgiver, certain good and substantial steps, placed even through the very midst of this Slough. But as this place spews out its filth in the change of weather, these steps are hardly seen. Or if they are, men through the dizziness of their heads, step here anyway and then they are lost to their purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there. But the ground is good once they are in at the Gate."
Now I saw in my Dream that by this time Pliable came home again. So his Neighbors came to visit him, and some of them called him wise man for coming back, and some called him fool for hazarding himself with Christian. Others again mocked his cowardliness, saying, "Surely since you began to venture, we would not have been so cowardly to have given out for a few difficulties." So Pliable sat sneaking among them. But at last he grew more confident, and then they all turned their tales, and began to deride poor Christian behind his back, including Pliable.
Now as Christian was walking by himself, he saw one far off crossing over the field to meet him. They happened to meet just as they were crossing each other. The gentleman's name was Mr. Worldly Wiseman. He dwelled in the Town of Carnal Policy, a very great Town, and also heard about from where Christian came. This man then, meeting with Christian, and having heard some inkling of him, for Christian's setting forth from the City of Destruction was heard about, not only in the Town where he dwelled, but also it began to be the town-talk in some other places — Master Worldly Wiseman, therefore, thought for sure it was Christian by seeing his laborious going, by observing his sighs and groans and the like, began to talk with Christian.
"How now, good fellow," Master Worldly Wiseman said, "where are you going burdened so heavily?"
"A burdened manner indeed," replied Christian. "The largest burden I have ever had. And where you ask me, where am I going? I tell you, Sir, I am going to yonder Wicket gate before me, for there, as I am told, I shall be rid of my heavy Burden."
"Have you a wife and children?" Master Worldly Wiseman asked.
"Yes, but I am so laden with this Burden, that I cannot take pleasure in them as formerly; I think I am as if I had none."
"Will you listen to me if I give you counsel?"
"If it be good, I will," said Christian. "For I am in need of good counsel."
Master Worldly Wiseman said then, "I would advise you to get rid yourself of your Burden, for you will never be settled in your mind until then, nor can you enjoy the benefits of the blessing which God has given upon you until then."
"That is what I seek, even to be rid of this heavy Burden. But get it off myself? I cannot, nor is there any man in our country who can take it off my shoulders. Therefore am I going this way, as I told you, that I may be rid of my Burden."
"Who told you to go this way to be rid of your Burden?" Master Worldly Wiseman asked.
"A man that appeared to me to be a very great and honorable person. His name as I remember is Evangelist."
Master Worldly Wiseman said, "Well, I curse him for his counsel! There is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world than how he has directed you, and that you shall find, if you will be ruled by his counsel. You have met with something (as I perceive) already, for I see the dirt of the Slough of Dispond is upon you. That Slough is the beginning of the sorrows that do attend those who go on in that way. Hear me, I am older than you: in the way you go, you are likely to meet with Wearisomeness, Painfulness, Hunger, Perils, Nakedness, Sword, Lions, Dragons, Darkness, and in a word, Death, and what not! These things are certainly true, having been confirmed by many testimonies. And why should a man so carelessly cast away himself, by giving heed to a stranger?"
Excerpted from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, Lore Ferguson Wilbert. Copyright © 2017 B&H Publishing Group. Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
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
|The First Part|
|The Author's Apology||5|
|The Pilgrim's Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream||13|
|The Second Part|
|The Author's Apology||171|
|The Pilgrim's Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream||179|
|The Author's Vindication of his Pilgrim, Found at the End of his Holy War||323|
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"Next to the Bible, the book that I value most is John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" ... it is ... the Bible in another shape." ~ C. H. Spurgeon (Famous 19th century preacher)
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'This wonderful work is one of the very few books which may be read over repeatedly at different times, and each time with a new and a different pleasure'