In my last post I mentioned that I had only read excerpts from John Bunyan’s book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The reason is that it was so hard for me to understand, and although I tried reading it several times, I could never keep up with the allegorical meanings of everything.
My daughter graciously let me borrow her copy of Little Pilgrim’s Progress, written by Helen L. Taylor and illustrated by Joe Sutphin. Published in 2021 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, this book, written for children, is definitely more my speed. I have been reading and loving it. The illustrations alone are amazing! They bring peace and calm to the soul as you examine the details of all the little animals pictured throughout.
Helen L. Taylor writes in the Preface, “Although The Pilgrim’s Progress is read with delight by hundreds of children, few of them, probably, are able to grasp more than a faint idea of its meaning….If John Bunyan were alive at the present time, I think he would forgive me for the liberty I have taken in attempting to unlock his treasury and to bring ‘that gold, those pearls, and precious stones’ a little nearer to the childish hands, which are always so ready to receive such gifts.”
The story begins in picture form, depicting the death of little Christian rabbit’s mother. He and his father are left alone.
The written story begins with, “Little Christian lived in a great city called Destruction.” (p.23) Christian finds an “old Book” written about “the King and the Celestial City and their own Wicked Prince and his city, which would certainly be burned when the King came.” (p.24)
Evangelist finds Christian and explains that the way to the Celestial City is through the narrow gate. Evangelist gives Christian a paper written in “gold and beautiful colors.” Christian reads:
“I LOVE THEM THAT LOVE ME, AND THOSE THAT SEEK ME EARLY SHALL FIND ME.” (p. 29)
Christian begins his journey to find the narrow gate and the cross. He bears a burden (sin) on his back that is heavy and he would like to lay it down, but is told it cannot be laid down until he reaches The Cross.
He meets various characters along the way that either help him forward, or try to turn him back and finally reaches the Narrow-Gate. Over the gate, carved in stone he read:
“KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU.” (p.46)
Christian knocked and “Goodwill” opens the door. When Christian announces he is there wishing to go to the King, Goodwill swings the door wide then covers him with his wing to protect him from the arrows of the “Wicked Prince”. As Christian leaves the narrow gate to continue on his way, he speaks to Goodwill:
“‘I wonder whether you could unfasten my burden for me,’ said little Christian when he was saying good-bye. ‘I could walk so much better without it.’ I cannot do that,’ said Goodwill. ‘You must carry it patiently until you come to the Cross, and then it will fall off, and you will never see it again.'” (p.48)
Christian makes it to the Cross and as he “began to climb the path that led to it, he felt that the bands that fastened his burden were breaking. Then it fell from his shoulders and rolled to the bottom of the hill, and when he turned to see what had become of it, he found that it was quite gone.” (p. 55)
Three figures appear to him wearing shining clothes:
“‘You have often displeased the King,’ said one of them, ‘but I have come to tell you that He has quite forgiven you, and the naughty things that you have done will not be remembered anymore.'” (p.58)
Christian’s dirty clothes are removed and he is dressed in white. The KIng’s mark is placed on his forehead, and he is given a roll of parchment that he can read along the way. He is given the instruction to take good care of it as he would have to show it at the gate of the Celestial City. (see p. 59)
It would sound like the story ends here with salvation, but there are 299 pages to this book. There are more adventures ahead for Christian, good days and bad days, friends and foes along the way.
I have never been more excited to keep reading and finish a book. I want to see how Helen Taylor depicts the Christian walk for children.
I would highly recommend this book for adults. If you have never understood The Pilgrim’s Progress, start with this children’s edition. Read it with your children and grandchildren, they will love it and love the pictures. You can find it for sell at Christianbook.com or Amazon.com.
If you decide to buy the book, share that with us in the comments below:)