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ADVISE TO SUFFERS Not equipages to ride, but dainty formalities. — Ed. “A good and harmless conscience”; not as the procuring cause of confidence in God’s tender care of us, but as the strong evidence of our election and regeneration. — Ed. “Bravery”; magnificence or excellence. “Like a stately ship, with all her bravery on, and tackle trim, sails filled,” etc. — Samson Agonistes. — Ed. “Bodily pains”; bodily industry or painstaking. — Ed. “Winch”; to wince or kick with impatience. “Shuck”; to shrug up the shoulders, expressive of dislike or aversion. — Ed. “Much”; in a great degree. “Will they, nil they”; nillan, a Saxon word, meaning “not will” or contrary to the will — whether with or against their will. “Need hath no law; will I, or nil I, it must be done.” — Damon and Pathias, 1571. “If now to man and wife to will and nil The self-same thing, a note of concord be, I know no couple better can agree.” — Ben Johnson. — Ed. Wicked men sell themselves to do the devil’s work. How degrading to the dignity of man! Enlisting under a foreign prince to destroy their own nation, and in so doing to destroy themselves. For an account of the atrocities and horrors of this war, read the history of the Waldenses. — Ed. This frequently happened. In Bedford, Nic. Hawkins attended a meeting, and was fined two pounds; but when the harpies went to take away his goods, finding that “they had been removed beforehand, and his house visited with the small pox, the officers declined entering.” — Persecution in Bedford, 1670, p. 6. — Ed. “Dispose”; power, disposal. “All that is mine, I leave at thy dispose.” — Shakespeare. — Ed. In Ireland, whole provinces were desolated, both by Protestants and Papists, with a ferocity scarcely credible. In England, the state awfully tormented its pious Christian subjects, to whom their Lord’s words must have been peculiarly consoling: “Fear not them which kill the body.” Did they suffer? How holy were their enjoyments! — Ed. An awful instance occurred soon after the publication of this “Advice.”
John Child, a Baptist minister, one of Bunyan’s friends, to escape persecution, conformed, and became terrified with awful compunction of conscience. His cries were fearful: “I shall go to hell”; “I am broken in judgment”; “I am as it were in a flame.” In a fit of desperation he destroyed himself on the 15th October, 1684. — Ed. “What bottom”; what ground or foundation. — Ed. This identical stone is said to be in the chair on which our monarchs are crowned in Westminster Abbey. — Ed. In so unbounded, eternal and magnificent a mansion, well might he exclaim, “This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Where God meets us with his special presence, we ought to meet him with the most humble reverence; remembering his justice and holiness, and our own meanness and vileness. — Ed. The only way of driving sin out of the world is to make known the Savior. Reader, can you solve Mr. Bunyan’s riddle? When fierce persecution rages — when the saints are tormented with burning, hanging, and imprisonment — then, like Stephen, to fix our eyes upon Jesus, and the gates of heaven open to receive us, submitting with patience to the will of God. This is the way to drive out sin. — Ed. How indescribably blessed is the Christian. It is true that he has to perform his pilgrimage through an enemy’s country, beset with snares, pit-falls, and temptations; but in all his buffetings and storms of sorrow, his soul is safe; God is a wall of fire round about it, and the glory in the midst of it. He will guide us by his counsel, and then receive us to his glory. — Ed. “Looser sort of Christians”; among Christians there are gradations of character. Some are fixed upon the Savior, and can say, “For me to live is Christ.” Such decision ensures safety and happiness; while the looser sort are subject to many sorrows and continual danger. May we press on towards the mark. “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” — Ed. This truth ought to be imprinted on every heart. As the absence of darkness is light, so liberty from the thraldom of sin, and from the slavery of Satan, essentially induces holiness of life. Thus holiness and liberty are joined together. — Ed. If this was our conduct, how soon should we get rid of our enemies: “for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Who would risk such punishment a second time? — Ed. This old proverb is a very striking illustration of the words of Paul: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” — Ed. The saint must be “made meet for the inheritance.” If he neglects the means given in the Word, his Father, in mercy, “will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men” ( 2 Samuel 7:14). — Ed. “But if you give sin entrance at the door, It’s sting will in, and may come out not more.” Bunyan’s Caution. An equally cruel scene took place in the presence of Stow, the historian, in the reign of Elizabeth. The bailiff of Romford coming to London, was asked by the curate of Aldgate the news: he replied, “Many men be up in Essex,” [Qu. not in bed?]. For this he was hung the next morning in front of Mr. Stow’s house. How grateful ought we to be that such sanguinary laws have fled, with the dark mists of error and cruelty, before the spreading light of the gospel. — Ed. They shed their blood for Him who afterwards shed his blood for them. These were the infantry of the noble army of martyrs. If these infants were thus baptized with blood, though their own, into the church triumphant, it could be said that what they got in heaven abundantly compensated for what they lost on earth. — Henry. “New-fashioned carriages”; not equipages to ride in, but dainty formalities. “Nor in my carriage a feigned niceness shown.” — Dryden. “Trades in the carriage of a holy saint.” — Shakespeare. — Ed. Bunyan, when sent to prison, was thus threatened: “If you do not go to church, or transport yourself, you must stretch by the neck for it.”
This led to those painful reflections: “If I should make a scrabbling shift to clamber up the ladder, yet I should, either with quaking or other symptoms of faintings, give occasion to the enemy to reproach the way of God and his people for their timorousness.” — Grace Abounding, No. 334. — Ed. A life of faith and holiness is the Christian’s badge and livery. No particular costume, that may conceal a carnal heart — not a baptismal profession, that may be made by a hypocrite; but it is “the hidden man of the heart,” evidenced by a “meek and quiet spirit — in all holy conversations and godliness.” This is the Christian’s badge and livery, by which he becomes “a living epistle, known and read of all men.” — Ed. These awful cruelties were practiced upon Richard Atkins, in July, 1581. He went to Rome to reprove the people of idolatry. In St.
Peter’s Church, he knocked the chalice out of the priest’s hand, and spilt the wine; he then endeavored to seize the host, but was prevented. For these mad pranks he suffered savage torments. — Fox, edit. 1631, vol. 3, p. 1022. — Ed. Every Christian must be decided in his own conscience as to the formalities of religion; but he who prefers talking of forms and ceremonies to communion in the substance, is in a melancholy state. — Ed. What a severe reproach it is to human nature, to see a lovely child in rags and shoeless, running the streets, exposed to the pitiless weather, while a splendid equipage passes, in which a lady holds up her lapdog at the window to give it an airing!! Is not this a greater crime than sends many a poor wretch to the treadmill? — Ed. Revenge naturally rises in the mind of man under a sense of injury. To return good for evil is one of the effects of the new birth. But while this is done, it is also our duty to petition kings and parliaments to remove evils. — Ed. “Forth of doors”; out of doors, public. — Ed. “Now it is Christmas”; instead of keeping one day in the year to commemorate the nativity of Christ in excessive feasting, every day must be kept holy, in the recollection both of the birth and death of the Savior. All eyes are upon the young convert, watching for his halting; therefore, let every day be holy. — Ed. A striking expression. If a man’s righteousness be killed, it must be by his own will. He must be the butcher to kill himself. — Ed. It is indeed sad to see professors, for the sake of paltry pelf, or to escape from persecution, denying the Lord Jesus. It subjects religion to scorn and contempt, and doubles the sorrows and sufferings of real Christians. Bunyan expresses himself here in a most admirable manner. — Ed. Bunyan’s familiarity with these illustrious men was obtained by reading Fox’s Acts and Monuments, when in prison. — Ed. “Quail”; to overpower. Well might the abettors of Antichrist wonder at the Christian’s support under the most cruel tortures. While “looking unto Jesus” and the bright visions of eternal glory, like Stephen, he can pray of his enemies, and tranquilly fall asleep while undergoing the most frightful sufferings. — Ed. “A naked man”; unarmed, or defenseless. “Had I but serv’d my God with half the zeal I serv’d my king, he would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies.”
How awful the delusion to be mistaken in this, the foundation of all hope of a blessed immortality. “Create in me a clean heart, O God!” How consoling the fact: “Now a creation none can destroy but a Creator!” and “changes not, therefore we are not consumed.” — Ed. “O happie he who doth possesse Christ for his fellow-prisoner, who doth gladde With heavenly sunbeames jails that are most sad.”
Written on the prison walls of the Tower of London by William Prynne. — Ed. “Sore temptations” poor Bunyan found them. When dragged from his home to prison, he speaks of his poor blind daughter in language of impassioned solicitude: “Poor child, thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind shall blow upon thee! Oh! the hardships I thought my blind one might go under would break my heart to pieces.” — “The parting with my wife and poor children hath oft been to me in this place as the pulling my flesh from my bones.” — Grace Abounding, 327, 328. — Ed. “Thodes”; whirlwinds. This word does not occur in any English dictionary or glossary. It gave me much trouble, and a walk of seven miles, to discover its meaning. It is the Saxon for noise, whirlwind, turbulence. This provincial word was probably derived from some Saxon tribe that settled in Bedfordshire. — Ed. “To shuck”; to shake violently — from which is the noun, “a peashuck,” the shell from which peas have been shaken. — Ed. How correct, but how dismal a picture is here drawn of the persecutor!
God has wise and holy ends in protecting and prolonging the lives even of very wicked men. “Slay them not, lest my people forget; scatter them by thy power.” Compare Ecclessiastes 8:10. Pity the persecutor — pray for him; but if he repent not, stand off; “God will have his full blow at him in his time,” and crush him down into misery and despair. — Ed. Like a multitude of passages in Bunyan’s writings, this passage is exceedingly striking. It illustrates our Lord’s words in Matthew 5:44,45: “Love your enemies — that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” — Ed. “Stage”; upon which many a Nonconformist stood with his head in the pillory. “Ladder” to the gallows, upon which victims suffered death by hanging. — Ed.