THE PLACE OF THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS IN
HAVING looked at the relation the two parts of The Pilgrim's Progress sustain to each other, it may be interesting to form some estimate of the book as a whole, and to account for its widespread and various influence. In attempting to do so it would be beside our purpose to compare it with the few kingly books enthroned on the supreme heights of literature, and reigning there by common suffrage of civilised nations and successive centuries. There is no need to demand entrance for it where entrance would not be willingly and universally accorded. This allegory has its distinctive merits and its own distinct place in the short roll-call of really illustrious books.
One of the foremost causes of its success is that with such singular felicity it meets a pre-existing love of metaphor, fable, parable, and allegory, which is deeply rooted in human nature. How congenial this form of literature was to the temperament of the Oriental, no one with the Bible in his hand needs to be told. Nor is the love of it confined to the glowing East or to the Sunny South. Kriloff has shown that even on the snowy steppes of the ungenial North, the Russian peasant finds a new charm for his intellect and a fresh glow for his feeling in mindpictures based upon the instinctive conviction that the outward world of fact and form stands in vital relation with the inward world of personal experience and abstract truth.
Not that we are to suppose that allegory has been made to minister merely to the pleasures of the imagination. There has usually been serious earnest purpose beneath the charm of the story. It has either set forth the pregnant choice made at fateful moments of human life between folly and wisdom, between pleasure and duty, with the far-reaching consequences resulting from the choice; or, and this perhaps more frequently, it has become a protest under thinly veiled disguise against the oppressor's wrong and the proud man's contumely. The two