Pilgrims Progress

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In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian appears as the protagonist of the allegory tormented by spiritual anguish. A spiritual guide named Evangelist visits Christian and urges him to leave the City of Destruction. Christian then decides to travel on a strenuous trip to gain salvation in the Celestial City, known as Mount Zion. On his trip, Christian meets Worldly Wiseman, who urges him to lead a practical, happy existence without religion. Refusing, Christian is sheltered in Goodwill’s house where Goodwill tells him to visit the Interpreter’s home, where Christian learns many lessons about faith. Proceeding from Interpreter's House, Christian comes to higher ground on which stands a Cross. Below it, down the slope, is an open sepulcher. Just as Christian reaches the Cross, the heavy bundle on his back slips from his shoulders, rolls down the slope, and falls into the sepulcher, to be seen no more. As Christian stands weeping with joy, three "Shining Ones" (angels) appear. One tells him that all of his sins are now forgiven. Another strips him of his rags, and clothes him in bright new raiment. The third puts a mark on his forehead and hands him a parchment, "a Roll with a seal upon it," This Roll he should read as he journeys along and when he gets to the Celestial Gate, he should present it as his credentials, as his passport to Heaven so to speak. The symbolism of the Cross and the open sepulcher, and of Christian's release from the heavy burden of sin he has been carrying, is obvious, as is the appearance of the three Shining Ones who give him new raiment and the Roll that identifies him as one of the chosen, one of the Elect. The significance of Difficulty Hill is also plain. Though it runs straight, the path to Heaven has its ups and downs, and the ups must be surmounted. The challenges and trials cannot safely be avoided and there is no easy way around them.
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