The Pilgrim’s Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.
J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.”
The Pilgrim’s Progress is a wonderful allegory of the beginning, progression, and conclusion of the true Christian life. Rich in Biblical theology, it tells the story of the trials, temptations, and triumphs of a man named Christian in his pilgrimage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and eternal life. Many of the events we read include universal tales about human struggles through hardship with which anyone can identify.
Some of the places through which we follow Christian in his pilgrimage include the Delectable Mountains, Hill of Difficulty, Palace Beautiful (an allegory of the local Christian congregation), Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, Valley of Humiliation, Hill Clear, Vanity Fair, Valley of the Shadow of Death, By-Path Meadow, the dangerous Enchanted Ground, River of Death, etc.
Sin makes this world a dry and weary land. The road to the Celestial City is always an ascent (Psalm 24:3). However, the Lord Jesus Christ is a place of shelter and refuge. He is the Shelter from the storm of affliction and rain.
The Pilgrim’s Progress encourages me that by God’s grace, albeit whichever valleys through which I may pass, whatever slough into which I may have fallen, whatever rivers to ford, or whichever Hill of Difficulty I may climb in my journey … my Guide is ever watchful, my Deliverer unfailing, and He is indeed faithful in keeping and persevering His people till they arrive home at the Celestial City—that glorious, Heavenly City built not by the hands of man—whose Maker and Builder is God.