By Bill Federer, staff writer
Imprisoned twelve years for preaching without a license from the King, he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory of a man named Christian fleeing the City of Destruction and directed by Evangelist to follow a narrow path to the City of Zion.
The friends and dangers he meets along the way inspired the modern story Wizard of Oz.
This classic was written by John Bunyan, who died AUGUST 31, 1688.
It was translated into over a hundred languages and found in nearly every colonial American home.
Mark Twain alluded to it in the title of his book, “Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrim’s Progress,” as did C.S. Lewis in his 1933 book, “Pilgrim’s Regress.”
Ronald Reagan, greeting Australia’s Prime Minister, June 30, 1981, said:
“Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, ‘We are all travelers in what John Bunyan calls the wilderness of this world. And the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend-they keep us worthy of ourselves.’”
On April 14, 1906, in an address given at the laying of the Cornerstone of the office building of the House of Representatives, President Theodore Roosevelt stated:
“In Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ you may recall the description of the man with the muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward, with the muck-rake in his hand, who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.”
Franklin Roosevelt said January 19, 1936:
“When Theodore Roosevelt died, the Secretary of his class at Harvard, in sending classmates a notice of his passing, added this quotation from Pilgrim’s Progress:
‘My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.’”
President Grover Cleveland, who had memorized Pilgrim’s Progress, once commented:
“I have always felt that my training as a minister’s son has been more valuable to me as a strengthening influence than any other incident in life.”
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