Pilgrim’s Progress: The symbol of the Christian journey (The Interpreter’s house
Posted by Michelle on February 18, 2008
In this report I will be listing the symbolism between the Christian Journey and the things that Pilgrim saw at the Interpreter’s house in the book Pilgrim’s Progress. When Christian arrived at the Interpreter’s house he was welcomed by the Interpreter. The Interpreter then showed him many things. The first thing he saw was a parlor that was layered with dust. The Interpreter then ordered the room to be swept, but when servant swept the floor dust flew through the air and didn’t do anything except almost make Christian choke. Interpreter then ordered a servant to wash the room. A maid then stepped in and sprinkled the ground with water until the room was clean. The dust symbolizes sin, and the room the heart of a person. The broom stirring up the dust symbolizes the law coming and trying to purify the heart, but only making a person more aware of his sin. The water represents the gospel coming and cleaning a person’s heart and making it ready for Christ to live in our hearts. Interpreter then showed Christian two boys one was named Passion and the other was named Patience. Both were waiting to receive an inheritance. Their “Governor” wanted them to wait until the next year. Unfortunately Passion wouldn’t wait so he was given his inheritance. But soon Passion’s riches faded away and he was left with rags. Then when the new-year came Patience was given his inheritance, but his inheritance didn’t fade away. This symbolizes those who don’t wait for the next Kingdom (Heaven) for their good things but would have them now. Their good things will fade away. But those who do wait for Heaven will have riches that will not fade away. After this Interpreter took Christian to another room and showed him a fire burning in a fire place; there also was a man trying to put out the fire by dosing it with water but despite all his efforts the fire burned continuously. Christian then saw that there was another man secretly and steadily dosed the fire with oil so that the fire burned continuously. The fire represents our faith in Christ, the man with the water the devil who tries to subdue our faith, and finally the man with the oil is the Holy Spirit who in secret uses the Gospel to boost our faith. The Interpreter also showed Christian another thing. Here he saw that there was a castle and in it people wearing robes and outside the castle a line of people who wanted to get in. But in front of the door there where soldiers who wanted to harm the people who tried to enter. He then saw a man walk up to the scribe who was waiting to take down the names of those who entered. The man told the scribe to write down his name, he then was given a helmet and he unsheathed his sword. The valiant man charged at the soldiers and managed to cut a way through them and entered the castle. This symbolizes that though as Christians we will be persecuted and mocked, but in the end we will still enter Heaven. After this Christian was shown a man in a cage; Christian then asked him why he was sad he answered that he couldn’t get out of the cage, and that he had sinned enough that he had been “shut out of his promise.” He also said that “God had denied him repentance” and that “God himself had shut him in the cage.” This signifies that it is possible to sin until your heart is hardened. Last Christian saw a man trembling. Upon being asked why he did so the man answered that he had had a dream and that in the dream he had seen the “Heavens” turn black and that he had heard a horn blown and had seen a man sitting on a cloud. He heard the man command “Arise ye dead and come to judgment.” Also he commanded his angels to “Gather the tares, chaff, and stubble” and to “cast them in the burning lake.” Finally he commanded them to “Gather the wheat into my garner.” The man went on to say that he was afraid because he had thought that the “Day of Judgment” had come and that he was not ready. I believe that this isn’t so much a symbolism as a warning that we should be watchful because only God knows what day the end of the world will come.