Pilgrim's Progress was published FEBRUARY 18
, 1678. An allegory of a pilgrim traveller named "Christian" journeying to the Celestial City, it was written by John Bunyan, born in Bedford, England. At age 29, Bunyan became a Baptist
minister and was imprisoned over 12 years for preaching without a license While in jail, he supported his family by making shoelaces. His book, found in nearly every colonial New England home, was the world's best-seller for centuries. Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Autobiography: "From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes." Franklin continued: "My old favorite author, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress...has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible
." In it, John Bunyan wrote: "Christian ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross...So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back."