By: Mark Baker
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th Century “Prince of Preachers,” loved John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He referred to the work often in his preaching. He read it at least once a year. It is said that he read the work over one hundred times in the course of his life. Many newer Christian books have become popular and quickly soared to the top of the charts, but Pilgrim’s progress still holds the record of the best-selling book of all time second to the Bible. Since its publishing date in 1678, it has been translated in over two hundred languages. It has never gone out of print. For many popular Christian books, the verdict is still out as to whether or not it is truly a good and profitable book. For Pilgrim’s Progress, time has already given the verdict: Bunyan’s work is a timeless classic. Now it is up to us to read it and receive the benefits from this monumental work.
John Bunyan was imprisoned multiple times for preaching the gospel. He spent over twelve years in jail. He had a series of dreams during his imprisonment that depicted the events that he tells in the book. I suppose if there is any way to receive inspiration for your next writing project, this is the way to go! The beauty of the work is how instantly relatable it is to any Christian. For example, in one of the most moving and powerful scenes in the book, Christian loses his burden as he gazes upon the cross of Christ. No other remedy or treatment had worked; only the power of the crucified and risen Christ could loose Christian from his burden! However, as Christian then proceeds on the way to the Celestial City, he soon finds himself trapped in the “Slough of Despondency.” He looks to his right and his left and sees others who are living in the City of Destruction who seem to be having an easier time than he is, even though he is trying to live according to God’s plan. Christian is finally pulled out by a man named Help, who shows Christian that God has heard his cries (Psalm 40:2). These allegorical stories are ones that every Christian will be able to relate to, and they will serve as a great encouragement to believers who, like Christian, are on the “way” to God’s Celestial City.