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Pilgrim's Progress > Pilgrim's Progress Week 3

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments We start right out with the pillar monument to Lot's wife, which reminds them of the danger of turning back. Timely advice for Hopeful. They then find the River of the water of life where they nap, then on waking try a short cut, but as we know from The Lord of the Rings (or was it The Hobbit?), "short cuts make long delays." Theirs does indeed because it gets them imprisoned in Doubting Castle, where they are tortured until Christian remembers that he has the key Promise.

Things are now looking up as they travel through the Delectable Mountains and County of Beulah, though there are still challenges to overcome and flattery to avoid.

The Dark River is the final hurdle to overcome (it's always darkest before the dawn), and Christian nearly loses his life, but he and Hopeful pull through and reach the Celestial City, which is every bit as glorious as Christian(s) had (have) been promised.

One thing I did notice, which may be a reflection of the times in which Bunyan wrote -- there are many male characters who represent various aspects or attributes, but very few female, and almost all of those good. On the good side we have the shining ones, and of course Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity. On the bad side there is Diffidence, and the three daughters of the First Adam who are offered as a digression, but that's all I noticed (unless you count Lot's wife, who appears only as a monument). I guess this isn't surprising for a book written in the 1600s, but I would have thought that there might be some female temptations more tempting than Adam's daughters. After all, there are plenty of women in the Bible, not all of who are of the sterling character of Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity. Why don't they, or the attributes they represent, make more of an appearance in PP?


message 2: by Roger (last edited Apr 29, 2015 04:43AM) (new)

Roger Burk | 1649 comments One would expect Lust to put in an a notable appearance, but sins of the flesh don't seem to get a lot of attention. A sinful life is described as undifferentiated drinking and carousing. This puzzles me a bit. We don't hear much about what exactly Christian's original burden of sin consists of. It doesn't appear to be guilt for specific misdeeds, at least none that we hear of. It seems that sin is more like a general alienation from God, rather than contravening a particular command. It's a surprisingly modern outlook.


message 3: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Hold those thoughts for part two. Since this is a G rated book, I don't expect much Lust to break out, but I imagine it will be alluded to.

If Christian were assigned a particular sin, he would not work as an Anyman in the allegory. Insert your besetting sin here.


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Laurel wrote: "Hold those thoughts for part two. Since this is a G rated book, I don't expect much Lust to break out, but I imagine it will be alluded to."

Well, Adam the First did have three daughters, two of them Lust, but Christian didn' succumb to the offer to marry them.


message 5: by Adelle (last edited Apr 29, 2015 09:05PM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Everyman wrote: "
Well, Adam the First did have three daughters, two of them Lust, but Christian didn't succumb to the offer to marry them.

..."


"Technically" the offer of the daughter in marriage was made to Faithful, not Christian. ("Technically"... I say, just in case one is reading "Faithful" as an aspect of Christian.)

I haven't worked out Faithful's motivation yet.


message 6: by Adelle (last edited Apr 29, 2015 09:13PM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Mmmm. And suddenly I saw Christian and Hopeful as Pooh and Piglet.

Page 114/115.

The Way is rough, and Christian says, "Here is the easiest going; come good Hopeful, and let us go over."

Christian, like Pooh, is leading the way here and pretty much making the decisions.

And Hopeful... rather like Piglet... here is following ... but, rather like Piglet... he asks those seemingly simple questions... full of wisdom:

"But how if this Path should lead us out of the way?"

And Christian, rather like Pooh, brushes aside the concerns:

"That's not like..."

And then there is an adventure.


message 7: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1649 comments It's remarkable that we hear nothing of the sacraments of baptimism and the eucharist, so much a part of a Christian life.


message 8: by Adelle (last edited Apr 30, 2015 10:18AM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Roger, I saw your Post 7 just as I was about to post here. I've been trying to find something regarding Bunyan's beliefs.

"In A Confession of My Faith, and a Reason of My Practice, Bunyan states that it is a mistake 'to think that because in past time baptism was administered upon conversion, that therefore it is the initiating and entering ordinance into church communion.' Baptism was not a means of grace, and was thus a matter for individual conscience" (from the Essay by Gordon Campbell)

I didn't see anything related directly to the Eucharist. Well... I take that back... maybe.

Campbell writes that Christian "may be alluding to communion ... in the description of Christian's meal in the Palace Beautiful: 'Now the table was furnished with fat things and with wine that was well refined, and all their talk at the table was about the Lord of the Hill' (p85). Is this merely a description of Christian fellowship, or does it constitute an unritualistic Lord's supper, with the 'fat things' of Isaiah 25:6 standing in for the more usual bread?' Baptism and the Lord's Supper were, Bunyan said, 'shadowish, or figurative ordinances'"




In Week 1, Post 54, Everyman Adelle wrote: "Since Bunyan is trying to convert souls, he must not believe in determinism. Right? "

That's a really great question. Or really, two questions.

First, what Bunyan believed.



Well then. It’s take me a good long time, but I think I found something regarding what Bunyan believed. The information is from an essay, “The Theology of The Pilgrim’s Progress” by Gordon Campbell. I haven’t been able to find an online link. Campbell has written a number of books on the Reformation, etc. (How inappropriate of me to write, “the Reformation, etc.”


No spoilers. (view spoiler)


message 9: by David (new)

David Sarkies (dasarkies) | 6 comments Good point that you make Everyman. There doesn't seem to be all that many female temptations, and I am not sure if it was necessarily the times in which he was writing. The 1600s weren't necessarily all that puritanical. As for the G rating, that wasn't an issue back then since people generally didn't rate books, and only those that could actually read would read them. However, maybe he was writing so that literate children could also read them without being made aware of the 'sins of that adults'.


message 10: by David (new)

David Sarkies (dasarkies) | 6 comments As for the sacraments, Bunyan was a dissenter, which meant that he was working to break away from the Catholic and the Anglican church. Maybe he considered that all of the sacraments (as opposed to those that have remained in in protestant movement - marriage, baptism, and ordination) where hinderances?


message 11: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments That's what I meant by G rated, David: he was writing a book that families could read together, I can imagine them reading part of the story, looking up the verses in the footnotes, and discussing how the story and the Scriptures tied together and how they related to their lives.

You are right that these were not Puritan times. The book was published during the Restoration, so Vanity Fair and Doubting Castle were very real indeed.


message 12: by Laurel (last edited May 01, 2015 01:00PM) (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments David wrote: "As for the sacraments, Bunyan was a dissenter, which meant that he was working to break away from the Catholic and the Anglican church. Maybe he considered that all of the sacraments (as opposed to..."

That's right. Believer's baptism (not infants), and the Lord's Supper, or Communion as opposed to mass. Add weddings and funerals and ordination, and that's about it.


message 13: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 229 comments I suppose that, for whatever reason, this is a less 'steamy' version of biblical allegories. Certainly 'The Songs of Solomon' are full of sensual language. Certain writers of the scriptures seemed not to be dogged much by prudishness. Perhaps, the times in which Bunyan lived did have a puritanical influence on him or perhaps he felt uncomfortable with sexual issues. Who knows?

I do love the description of the City. As has been said the sacraments were avoided by certain Christian churches. The Salvation Army does not practise communion, in terms of bread and wine. And obviously neither do the Quakers.


message 14: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1649 comments At any point, does Christian get the idea that he needs to perform good works--feeding the hungry and so forth? That's a big part of Christ's teaching, but I can't recall that Christian takes notice of it.


message 15: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Roger wrote: "At any point, does Christian get the idea that he needs to perform good works--feeding the hungry and so forth? That's a big part of Christ's teaching, but I can't recall that Christian takes noti..."

Here it is:

{195} FAITHFUL. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and
hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.

CHRISTIAN. They are two things, indeed, and are as diverse as are the
soul and the body; for as the body without the soul is but a dead
carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also.
The soul of religion is the practical part: "Pure religion
and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, To visit the
fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world." [James 1:27; see vv. 22-26] This
Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will
make a good Christian, and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing
is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to
prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life; and let us assure
ourselves, that at the day of doom men shall be judged according
to their fruits. [Matt. 13, 25] It will not be said then, Did you
believe? but, Were you doers, or talkers only? and accordingly
shall they be judged. The end of the world is compared to our
harvest; and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit.
Not that anything can be accepted that is not of faith, but I speak
this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will
be at that day.



message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Adelle wrote: "Mmmm. And suddenly I saw Christian and Hopeful as Pooh and Piglet."

LOL!!


message 17: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Nemo wrote: "Roger wrote: "At any point, does Christian get the idea that he needs to perform good works--feeding the hungry and so forth? That's a big part of Christ's teaching, but I can't recall that Christ..."

Here it is:


Well, yes, Christian talks that talk. But has he walked that walk? We don't see him anywhere visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, or otherwise carrying out any acts of Christian charity, do we? So in this regard, is Roger right, and is Christian not teaching by example how to be a good Christian?


message 18: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Everyman wrote: "Well, yes, Christian talks that talk. But has he walked that walk?..."

He has certainly walked (the walk) to the Celestial City.

All the characters in PP are allegorical, how can one put widows and the fatherless into such an allegory?


message 19: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Nemo wrote: "All the characters in PP are allegorical, how can one put widows and the fatherless into such an allegory?
"


Well, he could at least have fed a stray dog somewhere along the road. [g]


message 20: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Everyman wrote: "Nemo wrote: "All the characters in PP are allegorical, how can one put widows and the fatherless into such an allegory?
"

Well, he could at least have fed a stray dog somewhere along the road. [g]"


He has been feeding stray dogs for more than three hundred years (and counting).


message 21: by Lily (last edited May 04, 2015 11:39AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4917 comments Nemo wrote: "He has been feeding stray dogs for more than three hundred years (and counting). ..."

LOL! Ouch!

I'd like to think of a clever sentence in retort, but you leave me wordless at the moment, Nemo.

But that's okay, I've probably already used too many today.


message 22: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments Poor Ignorance. I thought he might not get in and have to turn around and go home, possibly to try again after becoming less ignorant in the future.


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Is it just me, or do other people think that the people Christian encounters become less interesting to us as readers as he progresses? Mr. Worldly-wise and Mr. Talkative, for example, I found interesting and worth discussing. Less so Ignorance and Atheist.


message 24: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Here is something to discuss: Why does Atheist appear near the end of Christian's pilgrimage, instead of the very beginning?


message 25: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Tk wrote: "Poor Ignorance. I thought he might not get in and have to turn around and go home, possibly to try again after becoming less ignorant in the future."

"Willful Ignorance" would be a better name for him. He will not learn, and so cannot become less ignorant.


message 26: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4917 comments Patrice wrote: "...But are there some who believe that good works are unnecessary? ..."

The logic runs something along these lines -- salvation is God's choice, so, yes, "good works" are not "necessary." However, response to salvation, as a part of worshiping God and responding to the call to obedience, leads to doing good works.


message 27: by Nemo (last edited May 05, 2015 09:30PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments I tend to look at "works" from a slightly different angle.

Aristotle writes to the effect that the end of man is to think and act. If a man doesn't think or act, he is not actually living or fulfilling his end; If a newborn baby doesn't eat, grow and play around, something is terribly wrong.

A Christian is "born again" of God, and begins a new life in Christ. It is natural for the new man to grow spiritually and do good works in worshipping God, just as thinking and acting is natural to man. If a Christian doesn't do good works, something is not right.

From this pov, good works is not only unnecessary but also impossible before a man is saved, i.e., "born again". But good works must necessarily follow if he is saved.


message 28: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Patrice wrote: "I thought that Aristotle said that all men want to "know". ..."

Yes, and he also wrote that knowing what justice is and being just are not the same.

The Bible is full of examples of people knowing the just Law of God and disobeying it.


message 29: by David (new)

David Sarkies (dasarkies) | 6 comments Possibly what Bunyan is doing here is looking at particular responses to God, with Worldly-Wise believing he does not need God as he believes the wisdom of the world is sufficient, or with Ignorance being wilfully ignorant and using this as a defence. You are correct in that faith leads to good works, and as James says 'faith, without good works, is dead'.

Maybe Bunyan was also influences by Reformation thinking (Luther referred to the book of James as the 'gospel of straw' since it had a focus on works). At the time (and even these days) many people believe that as long as you go to church, participate in the sacraments, that is enough. Then there is the sacrament of confession, where it was believed that all you needed to do was confess to a priest and that was enough.

Maybe Christian's burden was his belief that to get into heaven he had to be 'good enough', and it was only when he realised that salvation was a gift of faith as opposed to a reward for works that he was freed from that burden. Quite possibly Christian was always a 'good man' it is just that what he didn't understand was that he was already saved.


message 30: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1649 comments I think Ignorance gets a raw deal. He is a decent fellow, ready to pray and fast and do good works, not proud, but willing to admit that he must believe in Christ for justification. But that is not good enough for Christian, who tells him that "the righteousness of [Christ's] is not an act of grace by which he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands." If you ask me, Christian is putting too much weight on getting the wording exactly right. And in the end, poor Ignorance gets trussed up and chucked into Hell. It seems arbitrary. Who today would consign so inoffensive a character to such a fate?


message 31: by Nemo (last edited May 06, 2015 07:40AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments David wrote: "Maybe Bunyan was also influences by Reformation thinking (Luther referred to the book of James as the 'gospel of straw' since it had a focus on works). ."

Bunyan speaks of Original Sin by the mouth of the Interpreter (week 1). So he was influenced by the Reformers, Calvin in particular, who had no difficulty reconciling James with sola fide.


message 32: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Roger wrote: " If you ask me, Christian is putting too much weight on getting the wording exactly right. And in the end, poor Ignorance gets trussed up and chucked into Hell. It seems arbitrary."

Sometimes one gets the word wrong, because he is bad at words and cannot express himself clearly, though he understand the subject correctly.
But in the case of Ignorance, I think Bunyan is saying that he gets the word wrong because he has not understood nor experienced the reality of justification by grace -- he still trusts in the goodness of his own person and the merits of his works which deserve "justification".


message 33: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments Nemo wrote: "Willful Ignorance" would be a better name for him. He will not learn, and so cannot become less ignorant."

But how do we know he won't learn now that he wasn't allowed in? It seems that would be the "aha!" moment, but alas it is too late.

It seems to me that if he is willfully ignorant, or anything else that will keep them from getting into the Celestial City, not getting in at the end of the journey could be an opportunity for him to realize his errors and re-assess. Obviously he has done something wrong or has the incorrect attitude, but before he has a chance to correct it, off he goes! It seems bearing the return journey home, changing his approach, and returning through all of this journey again with the correct situation would be enough.

I suppose it's because people who have crossed the river have shed their mortality and therefore cannot return. Or perhaps they could, if the King was willing. I like the idea that if one at least makes it across the river, one has enough faith to be allowed to correct errors keeping one from entering the city.


message 34: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Lily wrote: "Patrice wrote: "...But are there some who believe that good works are unnecessary? ..."

The logic runs something along these lines -- salvation is God's choice, so, yes, "good works" are not "nece..."


(KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
—Ephesians 2:8

We can never work our way to salvation; we would always fall short. But the grace of God that saves us puts a new love in our hearts that makes us want to be a servant of God and of man, like Jesus.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Nemo wrote: "Here is something to discuss: Why does Atheist appear near the end of Christian's pilgrimage, instead of the very beginning?"

And how did he manage to get there, when Christian had such a challenging time despite his belief and having his roll to help and advise him?


message 36: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Patrice wrote: " I had a very good friend, not sure which denomination but I'd guess Evangelical, who told me that good works were NOT necessary for salvation, only faith."

That was one of the great debates of the religious turmoil of the reformation. There were many clerics on both sides of the issue. I'm not sure where Bunyan came out on it, though probably some of the reference sites cited throughout this discussion would tell.


message 37: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Roger wrote: "But that is not good enough for Christian, who tells him that "the righteousness of [Christ's] is not an act of grace by which he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands.""

And one wonders when Christian became such a know-it-all that he can law down the law in such uncertain terms. Seems he's turned from a pilgrim into an evangelist somewhere along the way.


message 38: by Mary (last edited May 06, 2015 12:48PM) (new)

Mary Catelli Roger wrote: " We don't hear much about what exactly Christian's original burden of sin consists of."

That would make him more an individual Christian instead of the allegorical type of Every-Christian. All Christians are sinners, and really, the details don't affect their need much.


message 39: by Nemo (last edited May 06, 2015 08:12PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Tk wrote: "Nemo wrote: "Willful Ignorance" would be a better name for him. He will not learn, and so cannot become less ignorant."

But how do we know he won't learn now that he wasn't allowed in? "


He learned the fact that he was rejected, but it doesn't follow that he would be willing to learn why he was rejected, or that he would be willing to change his ways. To borrow an analogy from Bunyan, it is as if someone were caught stealing and punished, instead of learning that stealing is wrong, he would try to improve his skills in stealing not to get caught the next time.


message 40: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Patrice wrote: "Paying lip service isn't the same as internalizing and KNOWING God. I thought that's what you were saying..."

The big question is how man can internalize and know God, isn't it? :)


message 41: by Lily (last edited May 07, 2015 06:03AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4917 comments Nemo wrote: "The big question is how man can internalize and know God, isn't it? :)"

Fifty years ago, in my twenties, I would have been entirely comfortable with such word choice, Nemo. Today, I cringe. Sorry, but "humans" is a perfectly good word.


message 42: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Now you've gone to preaching, Lily. ;)


message 43: by Lily (last edited May 07, 2015 08:19AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4917 comments Laurel wrote: "Now you've gone to preaching, Lily. ;)"

LOL!

(Incidentally, not what I think of preaching as being!?)


message 44: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Lily wrote: ".. Sorry, but "humans" is a perfectly good word. ."

There is still only "man" in "human", and in "woman". :)

P.S. Come to think of it, it's very good of Bunyan to write the pilgrimages of not only Christian, but also Christiana.


message 45: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments Nemo wrote: "Tk wrote: "Nemo wrote: "Willful Ignorance" would be a better name for him. He will not learn, and so cannot become less ignorant."

But how do we know he won't learn now that he wasn't allowed in? ..."


Sorry if I implied it would definitely follow. I wasn't saying that, just that there's never a chance to find out if it would follow.

Re: the analogy. The thief can become better at not getting caught and perpetrate future crimes because humans err. When the thief is released, society doesn't know if he is rehabilitated or not. This is a risk. If Ignorance is still not rehabilitated despite his great shock, there is no loss to the Celestial City as he still cannot enter. This guarding of the gate is without error. He cannot somehow commit a "crime" by sneaking in if indeed he is not rehabilitated.

Ah well, it's all allegorical anyway. :-) I just felt a bit shocked when they tied him up and threw him into a handy chute to Hell. I thought not gaining entry after all the toil and danger, plus viewing the beauty of the city and gardens, would be punishment (and incentive to change) enough.


message 46: by Adelle (last edited May 07, 2015 08:35PM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Tk wrote: "..Ah well, it's all allegorical anyway. :-) I just felt a bit shocked when they tied him up and threw him into a handy chute to Hell. I thought not gaining entry after all the toil and danger, plus viewing the beauty of the city and gardens, would be punishment (and incentive to change) enough."

I'm thinking that allegorically the point at which he reaches the Celestial Gates is the endpoint of his life. The point where he is judged... hence...there is no longer any time available for him to change.


message 47: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Tk wrote: "I thought not gaining entry after all the toil and danger, plus viewing the beauty of the city and gardens, would be punishment (and incentive to change) enough."

You're not alone in thinking that. There are many who believe in universal salvation, perhaps for the same reason. Although I disagree with it, the idea does appeal to me on some level -- it's hard to imagine that anyone would be so willful and obstinate as to turn his back when surrounded by the boundless Love of God, but Adam did.

Nobody deserves to enter the Celestial City because of what he has done, but because of what Christ has done for him. Unless Ignorance take this to heart, he will never change his ways, no matter how many chances are given him. He had many chances on this side of the river, including his meeting with Christian, but he rejected them all.

(Speaking of chances, it is reported that there are about 360,000 babies born each day in the world, that is 4 per second. That is how many chances each of us have to enter the Celestial City.)

As it is written, "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts"


message 48: by Tk (last edited May 08, 2015 04:51PM) (new)

Tk | 51 comments Adelle wrote: "I'm thinking that allegorically the point at which he reaches the Celestial Gates is the endpoint of his life. The point where he is judged... hence...there is no longer any time available for him to change. "

Yes, this makes sense to me. And I understand what Nemo is saying as well. Perhaps it would have been less shocking had Bunyan not thrown Ignorance down the chute and then ended the book. That was abrupt! I must have modern ideas that the book should have had a happy ending; Ignorance should have gone down the chute and then Christian would enter the Celestial City and live (literally) happily ever after. :-)


message 49: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1649 comments Bunyan seems to really want to reach people like Ignorance--honest, pious, righteous, mild, well-respected, ready to face death calmly trusting in Christ, but without a deep sense of sin and worthlessness.


message 50: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Roger wrote: "Bunyan seems to really want to reach people like Ignorance--honest, pious, righteous, mild, well-respected, ready to face death calmly trusting in Christ, but without a deep sense of sin and worthl..."

I think Bunyan would say that Ignorance was trusting not Christ but his own merits when facing death, otherwise it wouldn't be "Vain Hope" that carried him.


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