The Pilgrim’s Progress

by: John Bunyan

Important Quotations Explained

1
But must I needs want solidness, because
By metaphors I speak? Were not God’s laws,
His gospel laws, in olden time held forth
By types, shadows, and metaphors?

In these lines from the Author’s Apology that prefaces Part I, Bunyan defends the content of his work from those who might accuse him of playing with mere fantasies. Bunyan denies that his book must “want,” or lack, solidity simply because it uses a metaphorical style. He affirms that metaphors can go hand in hand with serious thought.

Bunyan’s self-defense goes to the heart of a long-standing tradition of religious leaders looking askance at literature and deeming it mere entertainment, empty of spiritual value. Religious fiction writers through the ages have defended themselves in much the same way that Bunyan does here. He notes that the Bible itself contains metaphors and “types,” or examples representing general truths. God’s gospel laws refer to the New Testament, in which Christ delivers many of his most profound spiritual statements through parables in which the actual content of the story is different from what the story seems to portray. Bunyan’s scene of the floor sweeper in the Interpreter’s house in Part I is an example of the author composing his own parables much like those of Jesus.