Symbolism In The Pilgrim's Allegory

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Lutheran theology echoes throughout the Pilgrim’s Progress, particularly through John Bunyan’s representations of law and grace. These are two critical ideas that Bunyan presents through his allegory. The ideas are detailed mostly in the beginning of Christian’s journey, as the beginning of one’s faith, where it is easiest to become confused on the nature of salvation. To fully grasp Bunyan’s meaning is to understand what law and grace mean, and how they relate to each other. The concepts, like every other idea in this story, are defined through metaphor. Unlike every other idea, these concepts are not directly converted into metaphors. Instead, we have to examine other concepts to understand law and grace.
Each situation that Christian and other characters faced can be categorized as stories about righteousness, religion, and morality. Christian and the people around him exhibited forms of these terms that indicate whether they have
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Law functions in two ways in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Divine law is the God-given moral code, and standard for perfect obedience to Him. It is the divine revelation of our fallen condition. Divine law is to be pursued, but it cannot be achieved. Because no one can change his or her behavior to achieve perfection, law is responsible for alerting us to our fallen condition, but we cannot secure any sort of salvation through it. Once it has completed its function of showing us our sin nature, if we place any faith in law, we stray into condemnation. Man-made law is an imperfect reflection of divine law. If used outside of its purpose to govern general human behavior, it quickly becomes vain, offering a false sense of security and robbing people of hope at the same time. This is why, throughout The Pilgrim’s Progress, divine law functions through obstacles and detours, and man-made law manifests as

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