post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Sacred Allegories
Author: Rev. William Adams
Major Themes: Christian Allegories
Synopsis: Four challenging but encouraging short allegories depicting our duties as Christians, somewhat reminiscent of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Several months ago, a friend discovered I love allegories, and since he had recently come across a new set of allegories that he really enjoyed, he looked for a copy of them for our family as well. Sacred Allegories was the book he sent up one fall morning. The book went to Mom’s room, as we figured she’d probably get to it first, but she didn’t end up reading it right away so I took it out to my room and had it on my nightstand for quite a while. Turned out to be a fascinating set of allegories depicting different aspects of the Christian life, each encouraging and somewhat challenging. Made for a great way to unwind at the end of the day!
There are four different stories in this book, each concerned with a different aspect of Christian living. The first, The Shadow of the Cross, tells of children who are set in a beautiful garden, and given crosses that they are to hold above their heads to protect themselves from harm. However, not everyone obeys the commands they are given, and several suffer because of that. This story illustrates the importance of keeping Christ’s commands always close to us.
The second, The Distant Hills, tells of two sisters who were rescued and set in a place where they were to pass a day and a night before being taken to the distant hills. For their comfort and encouragement they are each given flutes to play on (signifying prayer), and told to be sure not to go close to the dangerous wall (signifying the world). However, one sister disobeys, and finds it hard to get back to the place of peace where she once was. This story shows the beauty of following the Lord contrasted with the hard life of the sinner.
The third, The Old Man’s Home, tells of an elderly man who lived in an asylum. After his death, as people were reflecting on his life, they realized the only thing he lived for was to get to heaven. His gaze never shifted from his dear Savior’s face, even though he was surrounded by pain and sorrow. This story was quite the encouragement to me to keep my eyes on the Lord too—no matter what happens.
The fourth and final story, The King’s Messengers, is quite different from the three previous ones. Each of them, for the most part, were allegories of the Christian life in general. This story, however, is mostly concerned with Matthew 6:19-21:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Through the lives of four different brothers, we are shown how most of us in this world tend to lay up our treasures. It’s a very convicting story, one that all would do well to read from time to time.
In all, I really appreciated Sacred Allegories. Some of the stories are almost sweet, some are quite sad, but together they present a striking picture of what we as Christians should be living for. Like Pilgrim’s Progress, many parts made me “love Him all the more”, as Christian was heard to say at one point. If you love allegories, I’m sure you’ll love these timeless stories as well. I highly recommend this book if you can find it—it’s been out of print for a long time, and is possibly even in the public domain now, but as far as I can gather there are still a few copies available. I loved the engraved pictures in my edition as well—very detailed and beautiful.