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Lincolns and Pioneer Life-- What Abraham Liked to Read-- Pilgrim's Progress

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The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, [1678]  & Abraham Lincoln, an Avid Young Reader  


The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan

Because of the widespread longtime popularity of The Pilgrim's Progress, Christian's hazards—whether originally from Bunyan or borrowed by him from the Bible—the "Slough of Despond", the "Hill Difficulty", "Valley of the Shadow of Death", "Doubting Castle", and the "Enchanted Ground", his temptations (the wares of "Vanity Fair" and the pleasantness of "By-Path Meadow"), his foes ("Apollyon" and "Giant Despair"), and the helpful stopping places he visits (the "House of the Interpreter", the "House Beautiful", the "Delectable Mountains", and the "Land of Beulah") have become commonly used phrases proverbial in English. For example, "One has one's own Slough of Despond to trudge through."

1 Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of a Christian's journey (here represented by a character called 'Christian') from the "City of Destruction" to the "Celestial City". Along the way he visits such locations as the Slough of Despond, Vanity Fair, the Doubting Castle, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death.   Pilgrim's Progress tells the story of a man's journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City Click here to see the Sacred Text Archive to see the illustrated map of this journey.
2 Bunyan, the author, had very little formal education and a humble background. Nonetheless Pilgrim's Progress is considered one of the masterpieces of English literature, and is required reading for Christians who are on the spiritual path in a world of temptations.

Click Here to read the entire book of Pilgrim's Progress on-line 

        From Internet Sacred Text Archive Online  (the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web.)



An excerpt from the Apology of the original book

This Book is writ in such a Dialect As may the minds of listless men affect:  It seems a novelty, and yet contains nothing but sound and honest Gospel strains. 




Would'st thou divert thyself from Melancholy?
Would'st thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?
Would'st thou read Riddles, and their Explanation?
Or else be drowned in thy Contemplation?
Dost thou love picking meat? Or would'st thou see
A man i' th' Clouds, and hear him speak to thee?
Would'st thou be in a Dream, and yet not sleep?
Or would'st thou in a moment laugh and weep?
Would'st thou lose thyself, and catch no harm,
And find thyself again without a charm?
Would'st read thyself, and read thou know'st not what,
And yet know whether thou art blest or not,
By reading the same lines? O then come hither,
And lay my Book, thy Head, and Heart together.



From Part One: Section Two

    He that will enter in must first without
Stand knocking at the Garet, nor need he doubt
That is a knocker but to enter in,
For God can love him, and forgive his sin.
He knocked therefore more than once or twice, saying,

    May I now enter here? Will he within
Open to sorry me, though I have been
An undeserving Rebel? Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high.
     At last there came a grave person to the gate named Good-Will, who
asked Who was there? and whence he came? and what he would have?
     Chr. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come. I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this Gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
     Good-will. I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the Gate.



Part Two: Section VII

     But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back, that he always abhorred, but he was ready to die for fear.

    O, the Hobgoblins will have me, the Hobgoblins will have me, cried he, and I could not beat him out on't. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, 'twas enough to encourage them to come and
fall upon us.
     But this I took very great notice of, that this Valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose these Enemies here had now a special check from our Lord, and a command not to meddle until
Mr Fearing was past over it.



A Newspaper clipping describing President Theodore Roosevelt and the former President Lincoln's love of the Great Heart in the Pilgrims Progress Story




Click Here for a Study Guide and Plot Summary to Follow while Reading Pilgrims Progress

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