Did Bunyan have hidden meaning for his characters?

Walk to Emmaus

John Bunyan’s pilgrim is named Christian who met many interesting people on his way to the Celestial City. I introduce you to a few. Some traveled with Christian, such as Faithful and Hopeful. Right there you know that names have meaning. Faithful was Christian’s first companion, but they did not meet until after Christian had been to the cross and helpful instruction invested in him. At first Faithful came reluctantly alongside Christian, but then he found benefit in their discourses and evaluating others along the way, as well as keeping to the right path that did not always look straight or smooth.

The first person Christian met was Evangelist who pointed him in the right direction and warned him of taking any shortcuts. Two men from the same hometown, the City of Destruction, chased after Christian. Obstinate set his mind to persuade Christian to return home, but Christian was determined because of two items he possessed: the Book that showed him the way and the burden of sin on his back. Pliable, the other neighbor, easily drew near to accompany Christian when he learned of upcoming rewards such as golden streets and gates of pearl. But Pliable, true to his name, soon headed back when they met unexpectedly with difficulty.

A strong man named Help got Christian out of that difficulty and set him on his way again, promising that help was always available. Christian soon met Mr. Worldly Wiseman who berated Evangelist’s direction and persuaded Christian to take another (easier) route. Yet this gave Christian false hope in the village of Morality where he would meet a man called Legality. Evangelist rescued Christian who confessed his wrong. He quickly set out for the Wicket Gate where Goodwill let him inside. From there his journey added benefits and endured hardships.

If this begins to resemble our Christian walk, you understand Bunyan’s purpose in developing this story he puts forth as a dream. Remember that Bunyan wrote this in prison. He knew hardship and the loss of fellowship. Many more characters develop the character of Christian who in the end enters the Celestial City with his friend Hopeful. We learn much more about growing as a Christian when we travel along with them.

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I love the Lord. To those I love I am wife, mother, granny, great-granny. To my corner of the world I am a writer.

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