Lesson One ―Introduction

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Reading: Pp. ix ~ 10

Main Subjects:
  1. John Bunyan's Life
  2. The Impacts of The Pilgrim's Progress
  3. The List of Characters

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 1. John Bunyan's Life ―Emily Lu --back to top--

The Biography of John Bunyan

By Emily Lu

   John Bunyan was born in 1628, near Bedford in central England. John Bunyanís parents  were modest people. He had very limited schooling and at a very early age, he began training in his fatherís trade as a tinker or metal worker.

   By the 1640s, the Civil War was in effect and at the age of seventeen, John Bunyan joined the Parliamentary army in the battle against the forces of Charles I. Two years later at the time of his discharge, Bunyan returned to his home region and his fatherís trade as a tinker, he also got married and began a family.

   From the start of his new life, he was curiously unsettled and restless with guilt. He underwent a conversion and became very concerned with religion. In 1655, he joined a Protestant church in Bedford and he soon discovered his gift as a preacher and a polemicist. John Bunyan was a nonconformist. He wrote many religious tracts but one of his first
memorable works was, Grace Abounding to the Chief of sinners. Throughout his life he was arrested and imprisoned for not having a license to preach. As he was arrested one time, authorities had thought that his stay would be brief and that he world agree to give up his Nonconformist preaching and turn to Anglican practices. As a it turned out, he refused and therefore was confined to 12 years of prison but it was also during that very imprisonment that he had begun the work of art, The Pilgrimís Progress. The book is a masterpiece of religious allegory turned into intense drama. This book has been translated into at least seventy languages. It was published in 1678 and won instant fame and still remains to this day very popular among many readers.

   The Book, Pilgrimís Progress is a story of a man named Christian. A man, who had a heavy burden of sins upon himself and of the pilgrimage to the Celestial City to find a way to free himself of his sins. During his journey, he had Evangelist to point him to the straight path to salvation and  he found many friends that help him reach his goal like Hopeful and Faithful but he also faced many evil temptations and bad people like Worldly. Although this book was born in a prison, it matured into a fable of indescribable release. Whether Bunyan and Christian had shared specific religious beliefs, many readers take comfort in Christians bravery and triumph over evil and terror but to have found freedom from bondage a message of continuous hope for all those who journey as pilgrims in a delicate, exposed but beautiful world.

Biography Vocabulary

  • Allegory - The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.
    Evocation - expression
  • Unsurpassed - not capable of being improved on
  • Nonconformist - One who does not conform to, or refuses to be bound by, accepted beliefs, customs, or practices
  • Polemicist - a writer who argues in opposition to others (especially in theology)
  • Anglican- Of or characteristic of the Church of England
  • Tract- A leaflet or pamphlet containing a declaration or appeal, especially one put out by a religious or political group.
  • Fable- A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
  • Bondage- The state of one who is bound.

 2.   How The Pilgrim's Progress Affects Us and What We Can Learn From It ―Vicki Shen
       --back to top--

 1.     How can The Pilgrimís Progress affect us?

The Pilgrimís Progress can affect us in many different ways. Spiritually, it helps us to learn to have good qualities, like Hopeful, Faithful, and Pliable; and to not be tempted by bad qualities, such as Obstinate, Envy, and Worldly. We can learn to not despair when we are in trouble because that can only lead to more misery.

Because of this bookís exceptionally real metaphorical situations, it can guide us when we are despairing since we will be able to relate to Christianís situation and his desolation. We can learn to cope with or overcome the biggest obstacles in our lives, similarly like Christian, who overcame the Giant of Despair and resisted the pressures of Envy, No-good and other evil characters.

Additionally, The Pilgrimís Progress is inspirational and uplifting, in the way that we can embark on our own journey to ďconvertĒ to become a better person, to resist temptation.

 2.     What Can We Learn From The Pilgrimís Progress?

The Pilgrimís Progress is a very allegorical book. Although the story itself seems like a fantasy, it symbolizes the same exact things that we could be going through spiritually as a Christian. It is an excellent book to learn from.

Likewise to us, the main character in the book, Christian, carries a huge burden of sins and recognizes that he must repent. On his way to the Celestial City, he encounters many other evil and good characters, such as Giant of Despair, Obstinate, Faithful, etc. Just like Christian, we must learn to embrace the good qualities, such as Hopeful, and learn to ignore the evil qualities, such as Worldly. This way, we can become better Christians.

Additionally, we could learn that the conversion that Christian went through was hard, troublesome, and full of evil temptations, but by putting his faith in God, he was able to resist all the malicious pressure in his life and successfully make his conversion. To apply this to our own lives, just put your faith in God when you feel hopeless and miserable, and everything will turn out great in the end.

In addition, trust that God will guide you in the right direction in all the paths of your life. Godís decisions are the most superior, just as Christian learned when he embarked on his journey. He trusted that God would direct him on the right path to the Celestial City, and by doing that, he succeeded.


3. The List of Characters: --back to top--

Good Characters

Bad Characters

Christian

Obstinate

Evangelist

Pliable

Help

Mr. Worldly Wiseman

Good Will

Mr. Legality

Interpreter

Passion

Patience

Man-in-the-Cage

Watchful the Porter

Simple

Discretion

Sloth

Prudence

Presumption

Piety

Formalist

Charity

Hypocrisy

Faithful

Timorous

Hopeful

Mistrust

Shepherd

Apollyon

Knowledge

Talkative

Experience

Pope

Sincere

Pagan

Judge

Moses

 

Adam

 

Shame

 

Men

 

Hategood

 

Envy

 

Superstition

 

Pickthank

 

By-end

 

Money-love

 

Save-all

 

Hold-the-World

 

Demas

 

Despair

 

Diffidence

 

Ignorance

 

Faint-heard

 

Atheist

 

Mr. Blindman

 

Mr. No-good

 

Mr. Malice

 

Mr. Love-lust

 

Mr. Live-loose

 

Mr. Heady

 

Mr. High-mind

 

Mr. Enmity

 

Mr. Liar

 

Mr. Cruelty

 

Mr. Hate-light

 

Mr. Implacable

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Last updated: October 22, 2005