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    BY REV. JOHN P. GULLIVER, D.D., PRESIDENT OF KNOX COLLEGE, GALESBURG, ILLINOIS, THE career of Bunyan is a marvel. It will repay the labor of a careful analysis by the rhetorician, the orator, the writer of fiction, the preacher, the Sabbath-school teacher and the Christian parent; for each of these may draw out from some portion of his multifarious productions the secret of success in his own department of effort.


    Bunyan was successful even in his wickedness. He styles himself, as Paul did, “The chief of sinners.” In both cases the title was deserved, not so much on account of eminent depravity as of eminent ability and energy. All the natural qualities which afterward gave him power as a Christian preacher and writer were exhibited in his leadership in profanity, in revilings, and in all iniquity.

    Bunyan was successful as a Christian man, as a popular orator, as a practical religious writer, and to no small extent as a theologian. In some of these departments his success has been most remarkable.

    Bunyan was an illiterate man. He was an ordinary mechanic — “a tinker,” as the parlance of the times termed him. Unlike the craftsmen of our nation and age, he had enjoyed only the most limited opportunity for education.

    Yet his language possesses some of the highest qualities known to rhetoric; his thought, even in his most abstract treatises, where it is cumbered with the system of minute subdivision then in vogue, is precise, discriminating, comprehensive, and at times profound; while the peculiar vitality of the Pilgrim’s Progress and the Holy War has made them the delight alike of child and man, of the cottager and the king, of the cultured and the unlettered. If there is any book except King James’ Bible which has a surer prospect than any other of a permanent place in English literature, that book is Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Is it claiming too much if it is placed on an equality, in this respect, even with the Paradise Lost and the plays of Shakespeare?

    In language, Bunyan certainly has the advantage, for he wrote in the dialect of the English Bible, which was the popular dialect of the day, modified and elevated to suit the sacred use to which it was applied. The words of Shakespeare already require a glossary. Much of his vocabulary, though by no means the whole of it, is destined to become as obsolete as that of Chaucer is now. But the most unlettered reader finds no obscurity clouding the words of Bunyan’s allegories. They are taken from the very warp and woof of the English language, not merely as it was spoken at the time, but as it has been spoken since, and as it will continue to be spoken so long as the English Bible gives law to English speech. The words of the royal Milton, immortal as they will surely be among the learned, are growing yearly less intelligible to the people. But the words of Bunyan, aside from an occasional quaintness, are as easily understood by the English-speaking population of the world as they were the day they were written. In other respects than in language it would be presumptuous to compare Bunyan with the masters of English literature. His classical training was confined to Fox’s “Book of Martyrs” and the Bible. His early reading was comprehended by “The Practice of Piety” and the “Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven” — two books which constituted the only marriage-portion of his wife. But the paucity of his resources only renders more wonderful the results he gained. If we consider literary success to consist in power over men, it may be doubted whether Bunyan should not still be placed in the very front rank. The impersonations of Shakespeare will undoubtedly be as permanent as are the traits of the human nature which he has photographed. But it can be said, with equal truth, that the impersonations of Bunyan, rude and unfinished as they sometimes seem, will possess an interest so long as the process of man’s redemption from sin is a thing which angels or men desire to look into. The classic machinery of Milton’s visions, grand and impressive as it certainly is, begins to seem ponderous and unwieldy to the readers of our times, as if we were made the spectators of a tournament of mediaeval knights in iron armor. But the creations of the Interpreter’s House, Doubting Castle, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and of the Land of Beulah, are as clear and fresh and beautiful to the readers of the nineteenth as to those of the sixteenth century. The literary immortality which has been an object of intense ambition to many of the most gifted men of the race has been gained, without a thought or an effort, by the humble story-teller of Bedford jail. Similar remarks might be made concerning the theological rank of these writings. Not a despicable theologian in his graver homilies, Bunyan becomes almost an inspired prophet in his religious fictions. The greatest of the systematic theologians will be left behind by the progress of the careful study of God’s truth. But when Augustine and Calvin and Edwards have ceased to be recognized as authorities, the theology they taught, changed from the abstract to the concrete, will be studied and accepted in the simple adventures of Christian and his family, in the deeds of Faithful and the experience of Hopeful, and in the wonderful sights of the Delectable Mountains. That such anticipations concerning the literary “immortality” of these unique works of sanctified genius are not visionary, may be safely argued from their immediate success at the time of their publication, and from the permanency of their high place in literature since.

    The sale which followed their first publication in England, amounting to more than one hundred thousand copies — an immense issue for the times — their republication in the infant colonies of New England, their speedy translation into the languages of the French, the Dutch, the Flemings, the Highland Scotch, and the Irish, is but the introduction of a career of influence and popularity to which, among uninspired writings, the works of Shakespeare present perhaps the only parallel in the history of literature.

    Such a phenomenon in the world of letters, and such a power in the kingdom of Christ, challenge a scrutinizing examination alike from the critic and the Christian.


    Our main inquiry in this essay will be for the causes of this success. What made Bunyan for six years after his conversion a conventicle exhorter so formidable to the proud Episcopate of the realm that only the thick walls of the Bedford jail, under the sentence of the Bedford justices, sustained by no less a jurist than Sir Matthew Hale, could protect the English hierarchy against his sturdy blows?

    Why should the refusal to use the “Book of Common Prayer” — a frequent and in most men a scarcely noticeable violation of the bigoted English statutes of the day — have become a crime of such magnitude in Bunyan as to demand the expiation of a twelve years’ imprisonment?

    What was the inspiration that made those twelve years an era in English literature, and endowed the Bedford jail with a literary celebrity not inferior to that of the Arno and the Avon? And what was the spell which, after his release, drew constant crowds to the dreamer’s spacious chapel in Bedford?

    It is plain that the discovery of Bunyan’s secret, if our analysis be delicate enough to catch and retain for examination a quality so spiritual, would render a most important service to all who, in any capacity, are seeking “to preach the gospel to every creature.”


    The writer who can at the same time inform the intellect and move the sensibilities, has reached the perfection of his art. The speaker who can “so speak” as to affect at once the scholar and the peasant, and to charm all classes of men by the same spell, is the consummate orator. Among the examples of such success, Jesus our Savior stands unapproached. Of his merely human imitators, perhaps none has achieved so great and so permanent success asJOHN BUNYAN. To analyze the style of the one and to determine the elements of his power will be to discover the secret of the other. Such an analysis, moreover, will give the solution of one of the most important questions of our era, viz.: How may the gospel be so preached that men shall crowd to hear it, as they thronged the river banks in the days of John the Baptist, as they covered the mountain acclivities to listen to Jesus of Nazareth, and as they flocked to the spacious chapel in Bedford and hung entranced upon the lips of Bunyan?

    Contrary to a very common impression, it must be admitted that our Savior was eminently a doctrinal preacher. Whether his success were owing to this peculiarity, or whether he was successful in spite of it, no man can question the fact that instruction, and that in the deep things of God — in “those things which,” as he himself says, “had been kept secret from the foundation of the world” — was his constant aim. That is a most superficial and unappreciative view of Christ’s teaching which supposes it to have been wholly or chiefly confined to the sphere of practical ethics.

    From the Sermon on the Mount, which is a most compact and profound doctrinal discourse, to the conversation with Peter in the twenty-first chapter of John, which was a most acute analysis of the “evidences of regeneration,” “his doctrine drops as the rain and distils as the dew.” Such themes as the origin of evil and its proper treatment, the nature, origin, and evidences of the new birth, the impossibility of salvation by personal goodness, the necessity of faith to produce personal goodness, the mystery whereby Christ, “being a man, made himself equal with God;” the peculiarities of the kingdom of heaven as compared with human governments, the absolute, Divine control over free human acts, the essential unity of the believing soul and its Savior, together with many another of the most profound and even metaphysical truths, such as are calling forth the liveliest denunciations of the sensational preacher of our era, were the themes of his daily discourse. Nor need we hesitate to admit that this richness in doctrinal discussion was a positive and even a prime element in his success, as it must be in all permanent success in popular teaching, everywhere and in every age. Truth is the natural pabulum of the human soul. From infancy to old age, among barbarians and philosophers, the inquiry is the same: “What is truth?” If the feelings are moved, or the will is determined, it is always by means of something thought — that is, through the intellect. Even the fancies of the poetical preacher are attractive only through their verisimilitude. Christ gave to the famishing minds about him this bread of life in rich abundance, and they who ate of it never knew hunger again.

    To say that the writings of Bunyan, the most attractive religious teacher of modern times, are distinguished for their wealth of doctrinal truths, is to repeat what every reader, even of his most popular works, well knows. In his three great religious dramas, the Pilgrimages of Christian and Christiana and the Holy War, every character is a personified fact, and every incident is a vitalized doctrine. No man can thoroughly understand the Pilgrim’s Progress without becoming an accomplished theologian. The power of the book is largely due to this fact. As a story, it has no plot. Its characters are simple enough for a nursery tale. Its fancies are quaint, and even rude. The playwright and the bookmonger would ridicule an author who should expect success with the public by the use of such simple machinery. Yet the Pilgrim’s Progress is successful, more successful, certainly in popular impressiveness, than even the plays of Shakespeare, to which, in some respects, it bears a marked resemblance, but to which, in all the requisites for dramatic impression, except the single one now under discussion, it would be preposterous to compare it. The peculiar power of the book is to be found in its presentation of truth. The doctrines bristle along its pages like cannon upon the walls of a citadel. The attention of the reader is constantly aroused by a strong, bold, and almost explosive utterance of the successive truths of evangelical Christianity, reinforced, almost uniformly, by a scriptural reference, and expressed with such unquestionable common sense as to silence cavil before it can be spoken.

    The opening scene gives vividly a contrast between justification by faith and by works, which is equal in polemic power to a dozen controversial treatises. In the progress of the allegory all the great doctrines, from total depravity to the resurrection, are clearly set forth, with the omission of scarcely a shade or a phase which has any practical adaptation or value.

    The reader is constantly stimulated by new discoveries. He adds, from each page, something to his store of thought on the profoundest and mightiest themes which can engage the human mind. He is not only entertained, but he is conscious of being instructed. His pleasure is accompanied with respect for the author, for the work, for himself as engaged in the best culture both of mind and heart, and for the system of Christian doctrine which shines out so clearly and gloriously from the simple narrative he is reading.

    In these particulars a marked similarity is to be traced between the writings of Bunyan and the teachings of the “Great Teacher.”

    Modern preachers who specially aim at popularity usually seek by avoiding doctrine, especially in its more profound and analytic forms. Our Savior, as we have seen, as well as the humble preacher of Bedford, while preaching the doctrines, attained an unparalleled degree and permanence of popularity.

    How was this accomplished? The inquiry is a vital one. Upon its solution the question of the success of the Church in preaching the gospel to the world which lieth in wickedness depends.

    Now, if we look at the manner of the teaching of Christ, as we have already examined its matter, we shall observe, first, that the truth he uttered was spoken with precison, so that he was never obliged to retract or amend his words. It was spoken, also, plainly, except in cases when he chose to give an esoteric cast to his language, in order to communicate to his disciples instructions which the multitude were not prepared to receive.

    Never was the apparatus of language so skillfully used to bring the conclusions of metaphysical philosophy and the direct revelations of the heavenly Father within the reach of the humblest intellect.

    It was spoken impressively also. The words which he uttered were words of grace, of a rare and exceeding beauty — so that men “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.”

    They were concrete words. An abstract truth was seldom presented alone, but generally in its combination with some familiar, every-day object. The definition of neighbor is the story, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” Evil is tares; good is wheat. The great perplexing problem of the permission of sin is solved by an ordinary farmer in an ordinary operation of agriculture. Instead of stating a philosophical problem and giving a philosophical solution, he turns to his hearers, and with a “But what think ye! ” he proceeds to tell a simple story, in which the principle he would teach is involved, and then leaves the conclusion to their own discernment, only adding the caution, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

    But the great power of the preaching of Jesus was its personality.

    It struck home. Men felt that they were dealing with one who understood them. The Pharisees very often “perceived that he spake of them.”

    Sometimes a more promiscuous crowd were struck by a penetrative word as with a shock from an electric battery, and, “being convicted by their own consciences, went out, one by one, beginning at the oldest, unto the last.” All his preaching showed that “he knew what was in man.” This personality was not only seen in appeals to the conscience. He touched the heart also. He was full of human sympathies. It is true that his keen analysis delighted the perplexed intellect, and that his clear illustrations made even “wayfaring” men, though fools in ignorance, exult in the possession of some grand truth which prophets and wise men had desired to see, but had not seen it. But it was his love, or to express the thought more precisely, it was his broad, sympathetic humanity, that chiefly made great multitudes follow him in the city and upon the mountain, across the sea and into the wilderness, held by a spell which they could hardly have defined, and yet were unable to resist. The word humanity is used rather than the word love, in this connection, because something more is meant than a simple feeling of tenderness or a desire to promote happiness. The word is used to designate sympathy with all human emotion and aspiration, as well as with men’s modes of thought and habits of life. It is the sentiment described by the heathen poet when he said: “I am human, and nothing which is human is foreign to me.” Jesus showed himself a man under all circumstances. He was tempted at all points as man is, and knew how to succor tempted man.

    There was nothing regal or priestly or even somber about him. The traditional assertion, “Our Savior wept, but was never known to smile,” has more antiquity than authenticity. He certainly never betrays any anxiety about his dignity. He shows the most intense hatred of formality and of all the requirements of religious etiquette. He can hardly conceal his contempt for the ecclesiastical martinets who sought to stone him because he had made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day. He taught that the Sabbath, and so all God’s institutions, was made for man, whom God made, and as God made him. He preached a gospel which was antagonistic to sin in man, but not antagonistic to man. His teaching and his life were full of this beautiful and sympathetic humanity. Men instinctively felt that Jesus was their fellow, a man indeed absolutely pure, and a being in some relations infinitely more than man, but in his human relations a being on their level. While he sometimes drew from them the adoring exclamation, “My Lord and my God!” at other times they hesitated not to ask querulously, “Lord, carest thou not that we perish?” while provident Martha, in the very tenderest mood of grief, reproached him, with the familiarity of a sister, in the words, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” The scenes at the blessing of the children, at the grave of Lazarus, at the summary ejection of the money-changers from the temple, are only excerpts from a life of intense sympathy with all that is human in man. He was a stranger only to the sin of man, alienated only from the progeny of evil in the soul — the works of those who are of their father the devil, and who do his deeds.

    This broad, deep humanity, tinging all the language of his teaching and interpenetrating its very substance, seemed, when he spoke, to envelop speaker and hearers in one comprehensive, magnetic atmosphere, and made their hearts beat together as one, till the very life of Christ was communicated to those around him, and an all-enveloping sympathy — which was more than a sympathy, which was a substance, unseen and ethereal, but potential and pervading — made the vastest multitude one intellectual and moral being, thinking, feeling, moving with the one master spirit. It is no wonder they were astonished at his power over them, or that his bitterest enemies were compelled to exclaim, “Never man spake like this man.”

    A discriminating and thorough analysis of the teaching and oratory of the great masters of eloquence will show that, in various proportions, the elements of power now enumerated have been present in their speech and writings. It will also be found that this power has been just in proportion to the perfection they had attained in these various essentials of true eloquence.

    There may be profound thought which is yet not precise and clear, and the result will be only bewilderment in the hearer. There may be clear thought which is not profound or original or forcible, and the result will be, at the best, only a patient approval of what is to the audience a very dull discourse. Or the thought may be both clear and profound, while the words are anything but “gracious words.” The rhetoric may be rough or pedantic, or suggestive of disagreeable associations, or flighty with prettinesses or rotund with bombast. Or the composition may be faultless in thought and expression, and yet may be so abstract in form that the common people will be far from hearing it gladly, while even the philosopher will experience a stir of the thoughts rather than a quickening of the conscience or a marshalling of the purposes to right action. Or the preacher may have the clearness of Addison, the profundity of Plato, the beautiful diction of Vaughn, and the concreteness of Dean Swift, all combined, yet, if he be not interpenetrated with humanity and surrounded with it as an atmosphere, he will never do what Luther did, nor what Whitefield did, nor what Bunyan did, nor, even at a distant approximation, what Christ did.

    Perhaps this analysis of manner in the successful religious teacher will guide us to the secret, in part at least, of Bunyan’s great and continued influence over all classes of men while teaching the whole circle of Christian doctrine. In the first place, then, every reader of Bunyan must have observed the precision and clearness of his style and thought. The reader is never compelled to go over a sentence the second time. The impression it makes upon his mind is clear, well-cut, and immediate.

    Occasionally he comes upon a sentence whose quaintness gives him a moment’s pause, as when Faithful commences his defense before the court at Vanity Fair in this way: “That he had only set himself against that which had set itself against Him that is higher than the highest. ” But the delay reveals to him a pith and richness of meaning which will be likely to make him linger upon the sentence till it is indelibly printed upon his memory.

    Generally, however, the thought of the author is seized at once. The impression upon the imagination and feelings is not impaired by even the least perplexity of the intellect. Each sentence is a nail fastened in a sure place. The suggestion that Bunyan is a profound writer will hardly, however, be so readily assented to. Certainly, if our idea of profundity in a writer is that he shall be shadowy and unintelligible, or that he shall be abstract, or that he shall wander into the regions of the unknown and the un-knowable, then Bunyan is not profound. Bunyan is no Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is no German philosopher turned into a mere ghost of a man by the excessive subjectivity of his speculations. He is no propounder of theories concerning matters which no theory can explain. The theologians of all the evangelical schools accept the Pilgrim’s Progress. It does not even enter their ancient battle-grounds.

    But if to be profound is to go to the bottom of the subject in hand, if it is to follow with a sharp analysis the dividing line between things that differ, if it is to search every element that enters into a just and safe conclusion, then Bunyan is profound.

    The way of life is the subject of the Bible. To point out that way a certain number of facts and truths are considered necessary by Infinite Wisdom.

    These, when arranged systematically and discriminated from error, constitute our systems of theology.

    The way of life is also the subject of Bunyan’s allegories. It would be a curious experiment should some constructive mind attempt to draw from them a system of underlying doctrine, as theologians have done from the Bible. If nothing were omitted which Bunyan uses, if all his qualifications were noted and all perversions guarded against, there can be little doubt that a very complete body of divinity would be the result. It is this peculiarity which is the basis of Bunyan’s strength. The reader is gaining truth — the food of the soul — in every line.

    That Bunyan has the next requisite of a popular style is evident.

    No reader doubts that he uses concrete rather than abstract terms, or, more precisely, that he individualizes rather than generalizes his ideas. He invests the most abstract qualities with all the charm of a personal individuality. He turns a doctrine into an exciting adventure. He converts great moral facts into solid existences, as a mountain, a burden on the back, a man in a cage, a giant’s castle, a celestial city. In this he closely follows the Bible, and never fails to appropriate its imagery when it is possible to do so. There is nothing in Shakespeare more perfect than the impersonations of Obstinate and Pliable in the very beginning of his story. The description of Vanity Fair, its streets, its rulers, its citizens, and its doings, makes a group which the painter could transfer almost unchanged from the paper to the canvas.

    In the Holy War the generalizations of mental philosophy in all their multitude rise before us in the form of walls and gates and magistrates and armies, as if “spirits from the vasty deep” had suddenly taken to themselves form and solidity, and were lifting their huge proportions all around us.

    What a study is his nomenclature alone! Who but Bunyan would have concocted such a catalogue as this of the court at Vanity Fair? Judge, My Lord Hate-good. Witnesses, Envy, Superstition, and Pick-thank. The Prince of the Realm, Beelzebub. The Nobility, Lord Oldman, Lord Carnal-delight, Lord Luxurious, Lord Desire-of- vain-glory, Lord Lechery, Sir Having-greedy.

    The statutes are acts come down from Pharaoh, Darius, and Nebuchadnezzar! The roll of the Jury puts a fitting climax upon this pyramid of personification: Mr. Blindman, the foreman, Mr. No-good, Mr.

    Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr. High-mind, Mr.

    Enmity, Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, Mr. Implacable!

    What an immense acquisition of power would come to many of the ablest preachers of our era if they could learn Bunyan’s art of giving to their airy abstractions “a local habitation and a name,” not by descriptive appellations, but by descriptive impersonations! The whole power of many preachers, otherwise of very inferior abilities and attainments, lies in the possession of this art. Let the philosopher and the scholar beware how they despise a gift which, however unnecessary within the walls of the university, is one of the grand instrumentalities by which men are to be brought up from the East and the West and the North and the South to sit down together in the kingdom of God.

    Bunyan’s humanity, by which we mean, as before, a broad and deep sympathy with all that belongs to men, is another of the chief elements of his power. He comes into contact with his readers at every point. He is so guileless, so frank, so fearless, so kindly, so keen, so witty, so intensely in earnest, that, before you are aware of it, he has thrown over you the spell of an enchanter. No man ever attained more perfectly the divine art of drawing human beings “with the cords of love and the bands of a man.”

    The element of humor plays a very important part in this attractive process — not less important because there is no open expression of it. It would shock some persons to hear the intimation that our Savior ever indulged in humor. But a fair analysis would readily detect something closely analogous to this fascinating quality in many passages, especially those of a controversial character. The repartees made to the ecclesiastical lawyers who attempted to “entangle him in his talk” had in them that sense of logical absurdity and that enjoyment of deserved personal discomfiture which are important elements in the higher grades of humor. The scene at Gadara, when the devils were taken at their word and sent into a herd of swine is essentially ludicrous, and may have been intended to match the malignant design of these rampant spirits, of drawing Jesus into trouble with the Gadarene pork-merchants by bringing them and their boasted power into ridicule.

    Bunyan is full of humor, though he is too serious and earnest to wish to employ it except in his exposures of error and wickedness. What an exquisite bit of satire, for example, is the conversation with By-ends, just after Christian leaves Vanity Fair, “the parishioner of Mr. Two-tongues” and “the lineal descendant of a waterman who got his living by rowing one way and looking the other,” by which laudable occupation, remarks Mr.

    By-ends, “I got most of my estate.”

    The same keen quick perception of the incongruities and contradictions, which are the staple of all rhetorical retributions for folly and pretence, pervades all Bunyan’s works, and constantly draws toward him the peculiar sympathy which the story-teller and the wit are sure to awaken.

    Let not the Christian teacher who possesses this charming gift consider it only a misfortune and an impediment. Carefully employed, it will bring him, more quickly than any other, into a magnetic sympathy with men. The most violent prejudices against an orator or his cause may often be dispelled by a few pleasantries. Wit can give even to logic a finer edge and a sharper point. Humor may play over the surface of the most serious discourse, as heat-lightning over the moonless sky, not obtrusively, yet lighting all the firmament of thought with a bewitching iridescence.

    Every page of Bunyan’s allegories, and every verse of his quaint but rude poetry, wavers in this magnetic atmosphere of humor. What, for example, could be more suppressed, and yet effective, than the sly sarcasm of the lines in which he describes the reception of his Pilgrim’s Progress by his immediate friends? “Then I set pen to paper with delight, And quickly had my thoughts in black and white.

    For having now my method by the end, Still as I pulled, it came: and so I penned It down; until it came at last to be, For length and breadth, the bigness which you see. “Well, when I had thus put my ends together, I showed them others, that I might see whether They would condemn them, or them justify; And some said, ‘Let them live;’ some, ‘Let them die;’ Some said, ‘John, print it;’ others said, ‘Not so;’ Some said it might do good; others said, ‘No.’” Closely connected with this quality of humor in Bunyan was that peculiar compound of self-forgetfulness and truthfulness which for want of an English name we have agreed to term naivete This charming quality, which opens men’s hearts like the pressing of a secret spring in the iron door of a money-vault, is conspicuous not only in the quotations just given, but in almost every sentence Bunyan wrote. We feel at home as soon as we begin to read. In a very few minutes we are on such terms of intimacy with the author that, while we are conscious of his access to the most secret places of our hearts, we feel that we have a free entrance to his also.

    If Bunyan preached as he wrote, as he undoubtedly did, he must in his very first sentence have introduced himself to his hearers and drawn them into the sphere of his personal life. Edward Everett, when once asked how he gained the sympathy of a strange audience in a strange place so uniformly and quickly, replied, “I always search out some historical incident or some local association, through which I ingratiate myself with the people I am to address.” Without egotism, certainly without vanity, but with a selfforgetful ingenuousness that goes out in sympathy and confidence toward others, and loves to make them sharers of his thoughts and hopes and joys, the preacher who partakes of the spirit of Bunyan will envelop his audience with the atmosphere of his own personality. He will lay his heart upon the heart of each hearer till their beating is in unison. Another element of this quality, which we have termed the humanity of Bunyan, is imaginative in its character. It is a part of our humanity to love analogies. It impresses us much more to be told “God is a rock” than to be assured, in literal phrase, “God is firm and strong.” A whole treatise upon conviction of sin cannot move us as does the picture of the Slough of Despond, in which Pliable appears crawling out upon one side and Christian catching the hand of Help on the other. The machinery of these allegories is certainly not elaborate. On the contrary, it is very simple, if not rude. Yet it may well be doubted whether the most exquisite impersonations of Shakespeare or the grandest fancies of Milton really make so strong and permanent an impression upon us as the story of the town of Mansoul, with its walls and its gates, its magistrates, its sovereigns, and its wars. Few have ever looked on the picture of the land of Beulah, and the passage of the Pilgrims to the Celestial City, without experiencing a glow of emotion such as even the masters of romance and song have seldom been able to inspire. The language of imagination was natural to Bunyan, as it was to our Savior. He was writing another book, supposed to be “The Heavenly Footman,” when, as he tells us, “before I was aware, I thus began,” and the result was — The Pilgrim’s Progress! “And thus it was: I, writing of the way And race of saints in this our gospel day, Fell suddenly into an allegory, About their journey and the way to glory, In more than twenty things, which I set down.

    This done, I twenty more had in my crown; And they again began to multiply Like sparks that from the coals of fire do fly.” Such labor is play, and such play of the finest faculties of the mind of man is power. No culture is complete which fails first to develop, then to regulate, the imagination, and no man is the full possessor of the “humanity” now under discussion who is not master of the “humanities” by which it is trained and strengthened.

    In enumerating the various elements of Bunyan’s power over men we must not omit the mention of pathos.

    We have already spoken of sympathy with our common humanity on the side of its fancy, in its love of frankness, and in its appreciation of wit. But the human heart has a tender side also. Tears lurk close to smiles and fun frolics in the very arms of sadness. The heart-stricken Cowper wrote “John Gilpin” out of the depths of a troubled spirit. Gough, the orator of the heart, gives the warning, “If you have tears, prepare to shed them now,” by a side-splitting joke, close upon which follows a picture of the drunkard’s wife and babes, the home laid desolate, the generous, loving heart made fiendish by drink, which has the force of a thousand arguments to convince and persuade.

    The preacher of the Gospel handles themes full of the tenderest pathos.

    Love is the subject of the Gospel. Tenderness is its essential spirit.

    Ministration to the diseases and sorrows of the human heart is its chief work. We plead for no sickly, certainly no sanctimonious, pathos. But when a man like Bunyan, full of vigor, with no vaporish humors, alive to all pleasant fancies and all generous wit, tells us of his own protracted mental sufferings, or pictures those scenes of gentleness which especially abound in the narrative of Christiana and her children, he takes our hearts captive.

    We are clay in his hands. He moulds us as he will. This broad humanity in Bunyan is manifested still further in his ready sympathy in all the forms of human feeling. It is especially conspicuous in his charity of spirit, which even his twelve years of imprisonment could not disturb so as to call out one sharp or bitter word toward his enemies. It is manifested in that infectious enthusiam which is a prime element of power in every successful career, and which communicates to ordinary men an inspiration of hope and courage and strength such as puts its author almost in the place of a deity among his followers.

    It is the combination of these and kindred qualities in Bunyan, constituting a broad, generous, well-developed humanity, which seems to have been the source of that peculiar magnetism which is so perceptible in his writings, and which must have been still more fully felt in his personal presence.

    If our analysis is correct, and if this magnetic humanity is one great source of the power which attained such development in Bunyan, and which is seen in absolute perfection in Him who, five days before his crucifixion, could fill Jerusalem and even the very courts of the Temple with the hosannas of the populace, then every preacher of the gospel, whether by tongue or pen, should give to its culture the most assiduous study.

    It is not to be denied that a class of men who have none of the higher qualities we have named, who, unlike Bunyan, have little or no real instruction to give, who sneer at “theology” because they know nothing about it, and who are held in deserved contempt by scholarly men, are notwithstanding getting and retaining the ear of the busy, mercurial, quickwitted American people, not by any means on account of their emptiness, but wholly in spite of it, and yet are wielding an amount of influence over public opinion and character which is undoubtedly preparing the way, first, for loose doctrine, then for false doctrine, and at last for a complete apostasy from Christ, both in opinion and life.

    The secret of the power of these preachers is to be found in their intense sympathy with men, and in the numerous points of contact with their audiences at which that sympathy is evolved. It is simple slander upon the people to say, as is often done, that they do not love thought. All men love thought, but they love something else better. They love a man better than they love his thoughts. He who shows himself to be a man, highly developed in all the characteristics of a man as God made him, will be more to them than the greatest philosopher or the profoundest theologian. “And I,” says our Savior — not my doctrine, not my law, but I — “if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”


    It still remains that another and a far more important secret of Bunyan’s success should be mentioned. He wrote what he had himself experienced.

    His “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners ” is the “Pilgrim’s Progress” and the “Holy War” in a subjective form. It is easy to trace, in this account of his personal experience, the original of all the chief scenes of his allegories. Here is the Slough of Despond, and a miry place it was to poor Bunyan. The Interpreter’s House stood hard by his home. The fight with Apollyon was a real one. Vanity Fair and its courts were a transcript of the society and government of the times in England. Some of the characters can even now be traced to the living men around him, and in Bunyan’s day a large number must have been capable of identification.

    Without the terrible spiritual experience of Bunyan and his protracted sufferings, these immortal productions would have been impossible. The seed of the plentiful harvest which they have brought into the kingdom of God was sown in anguish and tears.

    The force of this personal experience threw, often into a single sentence, the results of a lifetime of intense thought. It localized under the eye of the reader the concentrated vitality of Bunyan’s whole physical, intellectual and spiritual energies for long years. Here is the power of these works in one of its chief elements. While all the auxiliaries which we have named, of defined doctrine, of clear speech, of beauty in expression, of correctness in conception, of personal application, of a large humanity in its humor, in its frankness, in its fancy, in its pathos, in its sympathy, in its charity, and in its inspiring enthusiasm, were present, yet none of them were present in such an eminent degree as to place the author where he is — in the very front rank of literature. In fact, the critic often feels that there is a deficiency in these particulars which suggests somewhat painfully the idea of poverty in literary resources. Still, he is conscious of power. He feels that the author has reached the end of writing, while he seems deficient in the qualities by which that end is ordinarily gained. Like the famous sentence of Massilion at the commencement of his sermon on the death of the Duchess of Orleans, “God only is great! which simple words caused a vast assembly to bow their heads in worship and awe — the words of Bunyan seem possessed of a power of which no critical account can be given. The explanation is, in part at least, that these words were forged upon the anvil of experience, and were ejected with the concentrated momentum of years of emotion and thought.

    So it has been with all great orators. The finest similes of Daniel Webster were not wrought out at the moment when they leaped, as if unbidden, from his lips. They were the fruit of hours of elevated communion with nature and with truth, and when they were uttered they were a lightning- stroke, because the massed electricity of vast hidden regions of lofty emotion found vent in them. Very simple were the words of Whitefield.

    The rudest collier among his audiences could have uttered them as easily as he. Yet when he raised his hands and exclaimed, “Oh the wonderful love of Christ!” vast assemblies were bathed in tears, because these words, when uttered by Whitefield, meant vastly more than when uttered by an ordinary man.

    Napoleon’s charge at Lodi carried his troops victorious over batteries which had mowed down the columns of every other French general, because at the moment his whole military history was brought to the minds both of friend and foe, and the united force of a hundred battle-fields swept over the bridge of fire. The great chief himself recognized this principle of cumulation when he said to his army in Egypt, “From the summit of those pyramids forty centuries look down upon you.” The deeds witnessed by those mute sentinels of history, during two-thirds of the world’s life, commingled with the deeds of today, and every blow of the modern army gathered into itself the combined energies of ages of heroism.

    The words, as well as the deeds, of power which have moved the world have ever been the voice of the accumulated experience of generations. So the words by which one individual moves another must be the voice of accumulated personal experience.

    Our Savior penetrated in an instant the hearts of all about him, not only because he knew man, but because he had been tried as man is. He paints heaven and the glory of his Father, he describes hell in language of fearful power, because he speaks that which he knows and testifies that which he has seen. John could not be commissioned to write the Apocalypse of the future until he had been shown, amid the dark mountains of the isle of Patmos, the actual vision of the supernatural world. Even Paul could not be entrusted with his great message until he had been caught up in the third heaven and heard that “which it is not lawful for man to utter.” In ordinary speech, the words of an eye-witness, though they are the same words, are always uttered with a zest which the manufactured utterances of a mere investigator can never acquire.

    Bunyan’s rude and unfinished word-pictures stand before us in the warm colors and sharp outlines which belong to acts rather than representations.

    We do not read a biography. We see a life. Hence we are moved by Bunyan’s words as by a cry of agony or a shout of joy uttered at our side.

    We are in no mood to criticize the artistic execution, as if a dramatist were exhibiting before us. Here is living suffering and actual happiness. A human heart is uttering itself, not a musical tone or an elocutionary inflection. This is the power of reality. All the rules of mere representation here fail of application.

    The preacher who speaks out his own experience has a power which transcends all the canons of art. Art will unquestionably add to this power and bring it to a polished perfection, but it will not create it. The preacher who moves men must learn to say, not only “Thou art the man,” but also, “I am the man.” The former without the latter will be scolding, not preaching. It may be very faithful and very just, but men will grow worse under it rather than better. The latter without the former is simply the egoistic form of the sensational style. It is the insufferable personality of a coarse, vain man thrust between his hearers and the truth. But the two, united as they were in Bunyan, cry to men to escape the city of Destruction, where I lived; to roll off their burdens at the cross, where I found pardon; to avoid Doubting Castle, where I was ensnared; to resist the Devil, with whom I contended in the Valley of Humiliation; to eschew the allurements of Vanity Fair, which I have seen to “bite like a serpent and sting like an adder;” to seek the instruction and delights of the Delectable Mountains, where I have drunk of the river of God’s pleasures.

    There is a sense in which the true preacher can say, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord.” There is another sense in which he can say, “We preach ourselves as your servants, for Jesus’ sake.”


    We shall detain the reader only to call attention to one more element of Bunyan’s power. He was a man in constant communion with God. His spiritual autobiography is not needed to assure us of this fact. All his writings bear testimony to it. Such a fact is of course beyond the scope of ordinary literary criticism. The power of the men who have received from God “a mouth and a wisdom which all their adversaries are not able to gainsay or resist” is a mystery to the critics of the Schools. They find in it only a new proof of the superstition of the ignorant masses, who can be so moved without any apparent cause. But in this case, as in others, the foolishness of God is wiser than men. One divine word, though it be ever so simple, is mighty to the pulling down of the strongest holds. The man who utters that divine word possesses, it may be, not eloquence, not learning, not logic, not any of the ordinary forces of the orator, but he has inspiration. In the highest spiritual sense, “the inspiration of the Almighty hath given him understanding,” and with understanding comes power.

    In using the word inspiration we have restricted it to thought- inspiration. Word- inspiration is confined to the superintendence of the Spirit over those who spake “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” In the Holy Scriptures both the thoughts and the language, so far as necessary, were directed from on high. “Expressing things taught by the Spirit, in language taught by the Spirit,” is probably the idea intended in the words, “Comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    But there is no evidence that in our times any aid is given to utterance, except as it is given through the thoughts, emotions and purposes which are created by the present Spirit in the soul. That form of inspiration is still the privilege of every man who has become united with God. The original union of man with his Maker is a union of nature — a union which has been broken by sin. But the union of the “new creature” with the Creator is a union of thought, affection and purpose. The soul experiences the modicum of truth which is contained in the heathen idea of absorption into the deity. “It returns into the bosom of Divinity,” not to lose its conscious existence, but to become more active amid divine activities, to become more loving with Him “who first loved us,” to energize its will-power by blending it with the will of God. Just in proportion to the perfection of this union does the restored wanderer become “a partaker of the Divine nature;” just in that proportion he can say, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;” and just in that proportion does it remain true, as of old, that it is given him, at the hour of need, what he ought to speak. The particular words will indeed be modified by the habits and taste of the speaker. Here comes in the need and the duty of personal culture. But the thought or emotion will issue defined and strong and glowing from the mind of God.

    In a real, in the most important, sense, the words of the man of prayer are the words of God.

    The inspiration of thoughts is a higher inspiration than that of words. The one implies union with God in character and by constant communion. The other may be granted to a Balaam who “loved the wages of unrighteousness.

    The inspiration of Bunyan is the inspiration of a man who had become “the temple of the living God.” When this fact is fully comprehended, it ceases to be a mystery that none of his adversaries were able to resist the wisdom and power with which he spake. All the other sources of strength which we have enumerated sink into insignificance when compared with this.

    Let this unquestionable fact be a rebuke to the men of ambition who trust mainly in the arts of popularity or in the forces of learning and culture, and convert their pulpits, the one into an actor’s stage, the other into a professor’s chair. Let it be for the encouragement and joy of every man of faith who puts forth all his powers, however humble they may be, in close and constant sympathy with God.

    Bunyan, like the woman who anointed the Savior’s feet, has done deeds by the simple power of faith which shall be told for a memorial of him wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world. By the same faith may every man become a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ to the perishing millions of earth! “When one who holds communion with the skies Has filled his urn where these pure waters rise, And once more mingles with us meaner things, ‘Tis e’en as if an angel shook his wings!

    Ambrosial fragrance fills the circuit wide.

    That tells us whence his treasures are supplied! A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR’S CALL TO THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY.

    AND NOW I am speaking my experience, I will in this place thrust in a word or two concerning my preaching the word, and of God’s dealing with me in that particular also. After I had been about five or six years awakened, and helped myself to see both the want and worth of Jesus Christ our Lord, and also enabled to venture my soul upon him; some of the most able among the saints with us, I say, the most able for judgment and holiness of life, as they conceived, did perceive that God had counted me worthy to understand something of his will in his holy and blessed word, and had given me utterance in some measure, to express what I saw to others, for edification; therefore they desired me, and that with much earnestness, that I would be willing at someoftimes, to take in hand, in one of the meetings, to speak a word of exhortation unto them.

    To which, though at the first it did much dash, and abash my spirit, yet being still by them desired and entreated, I consented to their request, and did twice, at two several assemblies, but in private, though with much weakness and infirmity, discover my gift amongst them; at which they not only seemed to be, but did solemnly protest, as in the sight of the great God, they were both affected and comforted; and gave thanks to the Father of mercies, for the grace bestowed on me.

    After this, sometimes, when some of them did go into the country to teach, they would also that I should go with them; where, though as yet, I did not, nor durst not, make use of my gift in an open way, yet more privately, still, as I came amongst the good people in those places, I did sometimes speak a word of admonition unto them also, the which they, as the other, received with rejoicing at the mercy of God to me-ward, professing their souls were edified thereby.

    Wherefore to be brief, at last, being still desired by the church, after some solemn prayer to the Lord, with fasting, I was more particularly called forth, and appointed to a more ordinary and public preaching of the word, not only to and amongst them that believed, but also to offer the Gospel to those who had not yet received the faith thereof; about which time I did evidently find in my mind a secret pricking forward thereto; though I bless God, not for desire of vain glory, for at that time I was most sorely afflicted with the fiery darts of the devil, concerning my eternal state.

    But yet I could not be content, unless I was found in the exercise of my gift, unto which also I was greatly animated, not only by the continual desires of the godly, but also by that saying of Paul to the Corinthians: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the household of Stephanus, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboreth.”

    By this text I was made to see that the Holy Ghost never intended that men who have gifts and abilities, should bury them in the earth, but rather did command and stir up such to the exercise of their gift, and also did commend those that were apt and ready so to do. “They have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” This Scripture, in these days, did continually run in my mind, to encourage me, and strengthen me in this my work for God. I have also been encouraged from several other Scriptures and examples of the godly, both specified in the word, and other ancient histories. ( Acts 8:4, and Acts 18:24, Acts 25. 1 Peter 4:10. Romans 12:6. Fox’s Acts and Monuments.)

    Wherefore, though of myself of all the saints the most unworthy, yet I, but with great fear and trembling at the sight of my own weakness, did set upon the work, and did according to my gift, and the proportion of my faith, preach that blessed Gospel that God has showed me in the holy word of truth; which when the country understood, they came in to hear the word by hundreds, and that from all parts, though upon divers and sundry accounts.

    And I thank God, that he gave unto me some measure of bowels and pity for their souls, which also did put me forward to labor, with great diligence and earnestness, to find out such a word as might, if God would bless it, lay hold of, and awaken the conscience, in which also the good Lord had respect to the desire of his servant; for I had not preached long, before some began to be touched and greatly afflicted in their minus at the apprehension of the greatness of their sin, and of their need of Jesus Christ.

    But I first could not believe that God should speak by me to the heart of any man, still counting myself unworthy; yet those who were thus touched, would love me, and have a particular respect for me; and though I did put it from me, that they should be awakened by me, still they would confess it, and affirm it before the saints of God; they would also bless God for me, (unworthy wretch that I am!) and count me God’s instrument that showed to them the way of salvation.

    Wherefore seeing them in both their words and deeds to be so constant, and also in their hearts so earnestly pressing after the knowledge of Jesus Christ, rejoicing that ever God did send me where they were; then began I to conclude it might be so, that God had owned in his work such a foolish one as I, and then came that word of God to my heart, with much sweet refreshment, “The blessing of them that were ready to perish is come upon me; yea, I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.”

    At this therefore, I rejoiced; yea, the tears of those whom God did awaken by my preaching would be both solace and encouragement to me; I thought on those sayings, “Who is he that maketh me glad, but the same that is made sorry by me?” And again, “Though I be not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am unto you; for the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord.”

    These things therefore, were as another argument unto me, that God had called me to, and stood by me in this work.

    In my preaching of the word, I took special notice of this one thing, namely, that the Lord did lead me to begin where his word begins with sinners; that is, to condemn all flesh, and to open and allege, that the curse of God by the law, doth belong to, and lay hold on all men as they come into the world, because of sin. Now this part of my work I fulfilled with great sense; for the terrors of the law, and the guilt of my transgressions, lay heavy on my conscience; I preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel; even that under which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment.

    Indeed, I have been as one sent to them from the dead; I went myself in chains, to preach to them in chains; and carried that fire in my own conscience, that I persuaded them to be aware of. I can truly say, and that without dissembling, that when I have been to preach, I have gone full of guilt and terror, even to the pulpit door, and there it hath been taken off, and I have been at liberty in my mind until I have done my work; and then immediately, even before I could get down the pulpit stairs, I have been as bad as I was before; yet God carried me on, but surely with a strong hand, for neither guilt nor hell could take me off my work.

    Thus I went on for the space of two years, crying out against men’s sins, and their fearful state because of them. After which the Lord came in upon my soul with some sure peace and comfort through Christ; for he did give me many sweet discoveries of his blessed grace through him. Wherefore now I altered in my preaching, (for still I preached what I saw and felt;) now therefore I did much labor to hold forth Jesus Christ in all his offices, relations, and benefits unto the world, and did strive also to discover, to condemn, and remove those false supports and props on which the world doth lean, and by them fall and perish. On these things also I stayed as long as on the other.

    After this, God led me into something of the mystery of the union of Christ; wherefore that I discovered and showed to them also. And when I had traveled through these three chief points of the word of God, about the space of five years or more, I was caught in my present practice, and cast into prison, where I have lain above as long again to confirm the truth by way of suffering, as I was before in testifying of it according to the Scriptures, in a way of preaching.

    When I had been preaching, I thank God, my heart hath often all the time of this and the other exercise, with great earnestness cried to God that he would make the word effectual to the salvation of the soul; still being grieved lest the enemy should take the word away from the conscience, and so it should become unfruitful; wherefore I should labor so to speak the word, as that thereby, if it were possible, the sin and person guilty might be particularized by it.

    Also when I have done the exercise, it hath gone to my heart, to think the word should now fall as rain on stony places; still wishing from my heart, Oh, that they who have heard me speak this day, did but see as I do, what sin, death, hell, and the curse of God is; and also what the grace, and love, and mercy of God is, through Christ, to men in such a case as they are, who are yet estranged from him. And indeed I did often say in my heart before the Lord, “That if to be hanged up presently before their eyes, would be a means to awaken them, and confirm them, in the truth, I gladly should be contented.”

    For I have been in my preaching, especially when I have been engaged in the doctrine of life by Christ without works, as if an angel of God had stood by at my back to encourage me. Oh! it hath been with such power and heavenly evidence upon my own soul, while I have been laboring to unfold it, to demonstrate it, and to fasten it upon the consciences of others, that I could not be contented with saying, “I believe, and am sure;” methought I was more than sure, (if it be lawful to express myself,) that those things which then I asserted, were true.

    When I first went to preach the word abroad, the doctors and priests of the country did open wide against me; but I was persuaded of this, not to render railing for railing; but to see how many of their carnal professors I could convince of their miserable state by the law, and of the want and worth of Christ; for, thought I, “This shall answer for me in time to come, when they shall be for my hire before their face.”

    I never cared to meddle with things that were controverted, and in dispute among the saints, especially things of the lowest nature; yet it pleased me much to contend with great earnestness for the word of faith, and the remission of sins by the death and sufferings of Jesus: but I say, as to other things, I should let them alone, because I saw they engendered strife, and because that they neither in doing, nor in leaving undone, did commend us to God to be his; besides, I saw my work before me did run in another channel, even to carry an awakening word; to that therefore I did stick and adhere.

    I never endeavored to, nor durst make use of other men’s lines, ( Romans 15:18,) (though I do not condemn all that do;) for I verily thought, and found by experience, that what was taught me by the word and Spirit of Christ; could be spoken, maintained, and stood to by the soundest and best-established conscience; and though I will not now speak all that I know in this matter, yet my experience hath more interest in that text of Scripture, ( Galatians 1:11,12) than many amongst men are aware.

    If any of those who were awakened by my ministry, did after that fall back, (as sometimes too many did,) I can truly say, their loss hath been more to me, than if my own children, begotten of my own body, had been goofing to the grave. I think verily, I may speak it without any offence to the Lord, nothing has gone so near me as that; unless it was the fear of the loss of the salvation of my own soul. I have counted as if I had goodly buildings and lordships in those places where my children were born: my heart hath been so wrapped up in the glory of this excellent work, that I counted myself more blessed and honored of God by this, than if he had made me emperor of the Christian world, or the lord of all the glory of the earth without it!

    Oh these words I “He that converteth a sinner from the error of his way, doth save a soul from death. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. For what is our hope, our joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not ye even in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” These, I say, with many others of a like nature, have been great refreshments to me.

    I have observed, that where I have had a work to do for God, I have had first, as it were, the going of God upon my spirit, to desire I might preach there: I have also observed, that such and such souls in particular, have been strongly set upon my heart, and I stirred up to wish for their salvation; and that these very souls have, after this, been given in as the fruits of my ministry. I have observed, that a word cast in by the by, hath done more execution in a sermon, than all that was spoken besides; sometimes also, when I have thought I did no good, then I did the most of all; and at other times, when I thought I should catch them, I have fished for nothing.

    I have also observed that where there has been a work to do upon sinners, there the devil hath begun to roar in the hearts and by the mouths of his servants: yea, often times, when the wicked world hath raged most, there hath been souls awakened by the word; I could instance particulars, but I forbear.

    My great desire in my fulfilling my ministry was to get into the darkest places of the country, even amongst those people that were farthest off of profession; yet not because I could not endure the light, (for I feared not to show my Gospel to any,) but because I found my spirit did lean most after awakening and converting work, and the word that I carried did lean itself most that way also: “Yea so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.”

    In my preaching I have really been in pain, and have as it were, travailed to bring forth children to God; neither could I be satisfied unless some fruits did appear in my work. If I were fruitless it mattered not who commended me; but if I were fruitful, I cared not who did condemn. I have thought of that, “Lo! children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows in the hands of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath filled his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

    It pleased me nothing to see people drink in my opinions, if they seemed ignorant of Jesus Christ and the worth of their own salvation, sound conviction for sin, especially unbelief, and an heart set on fire to be saved by Christ, with strong breathings after a truly sanctified soul; that it was that delighted me; those were the souls I counted blessed.

    But in this work, as in all other, I had my temptations attending me, and that of divers kinds, as sometimes I should be assaulted with great discouragements therein, fearing that I should not be able to speak a word at all to edification; nay, that I should not be able to speak sense to the people; at which times I should have such a strange faintness and strengthlessness seize upon my body, that my legs have scarce been able to carry me to the place of exercise.

    Sometimes again, when I have been preaching, I have been violently assaulted with thoughts of blasphemy, and strongly tempted to speak the words with my mouth before the congregation. I have also at sometimes, even when I have begun to speak the word with much clearness, evidence, and liberty of speech, yet been before the ending of that opportunity, so blinded and so estranged from the things I have been speaking, and have been also so straitened in my speech, as to utterance before the people, that I have been as if I had not known, or remembered what I have been about; or as if my head had been in a bag all the time of my exercise.

    Again, when as sometimes I have been about to preach upon some smart and searching portion of the word, I have found the tempter suggest, “What! will you preach this? This condemns yourself; of this your own soul is guilty; wherefore, preach not of this at all; or if you do, so mince it as to make way for your own escape; lest instead of awakening others, you lay that guilt upon your own soul, that you will never get from under.”

    But I thank the Lord, I have been kept from consenting to these so horrid suggestions, and have, rather as Samson, bowed myself with all my might, to condemn sin and transgression wherever I found it; yea, though therein also, I did bring guilt upon my own conscience. Let me die, thought I, with the Philistines, rather than deal corruptly with the blessed word of God. “Thou that teachest another, teachest not thou thyself?” It is far better that thou do judge thyself, even by preaching plainly to others, than thou, to save thyself, imprison the truth in unrighteousness. Blessed be God for help in this also.

    I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been often tempted to pride and liftings up of heart; and though I dare not say I have not been affected with this, yet truly the Lord, of his precious mercy, hath so carried it towards me, that for the most part I have had but small joy to give way to such a thing; for it hath been my every day’s portion, to be let into the evil of my own heart and still made to see such a multitude of corruptions and infirmities therein, that it hath caused hanging down of the head, under all my gifts and attainments. I have felt this thorn in the flesh, the very mercy of God to me.

    I have had also together with this, some notable place or other of the word presented before me, which word hath contained in it some sharp and piercing sentence concerning the perishing of the soul, notwithstanding gifts and parts; as for instance, that hath been of great use to me, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.”

    A tinkling cymbal is an instrument of music with which a skilful player can make such melodious and heart-inflaming music, that all who hear him play, can scarcely hold from dancing; and yet behold the cymbal hath not life, neither comes the music from it, but because of the art of him that plays therewith; so then the instrument at last may come to naught and perish, though in times past such music hath been made upon it.

    Just thus I saw it was, and will be, with them that have gifts, but want saving grace; they are in the hand of Christ, as the cymbal in the hand of David; and as David could with the cymbal make that mirth in the service of God, as to elevate the hearts of the worshippers, so Christ can use these gifted men, as with them to affect the souls of his people in his church; yet when he hath done all, hang them by, as lifeless, though sounding cymbals.

    This consideration therefore, together with some others, were for the most part, as a maul on the head of pride, and desire of vain glory. What, thought I, shall I be proud because I am a sounding brass? Is it so much to be a fiddle? Hath not the least creature that hath life, more of God in it than these? Besides I knew it was love should never die, but these must cease and vanish; so I concluded, a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all the gifts; yea, and I am fully convinced of it, that it is possible for souls that can scarce give a man an answer, but with great confusion as to method; I say it is possible for them to have a thousand times more grace, and to be more in the love and favor of the Lord, than some who by the virtue of the gift of knowledge, can deliver themselves like angels.

    Thus therefore I came to perceive, that though gifts in themselves were good, to the thing for which they are designed, to wit, the edification of others, yet empty, and without power to save the soul of him that hath them if they be alone. Neither are they, as so, any sign of a man’s state to be happy, being only a dispensation of God to some, of whose improvement, or non-improvement, they must when a little love more is over, give as account to him that is ready to judge the quick and dead.

    This showed me too, that gifts being alone, were dangerous, not in themselves, but because of those evils that attend them that have them, to wit, pride, desire of vain glory, self-conceit, etc., all which are easily blown up at the applause and condemnation of every unadvised Christian, to the endangering of a poor creature to fall into the condemnation of the devil.

    I saw therefore, that he that hath gifts, had need to be let into a sight of the nature of them, to wit, that they come short of making of him to be in a truly saved condition, lest he rest in them, and so fall short of the grace of God.

    He hath cause also to walk humbly with God and be little in his own eyes, and to remember withal, that his gifts are not his own, but the church’s; and that by them he is made a servant to the church; and he must give at last an account of his stewardship unto the Lord Jesus, and to give a good account will be a blessed thing.

    Let all men therefore, prize a little with the fear of the Lord, (gifts indeed are desirable;) but yet great grace and smaller gifts are better than great gifts and no grace. It doth not say, the Lord gives gifts and glory, but the Lord gives grace and glory; and blessed is such an one, to whom the Lord gives grace, true grace, for that is a certain forerunner of glory.

    But when Satan perceived that his thus tempting and assaulting me, would not answer his design; to wit, to overthrow the ministry, and make it ineffectual, as to the ends thereof; then he tried another way, which was, to stir up the minds of the ignorant and malicious to load me with slanders and reproaches: now therefore, I may say, that what the devil could devise, and his instruments invent, was whirled up and down the country against me, thinking, as I said, that by that means they should make my ministry to be abandoned.

    It began therefore to be rumored up and down among the people, that I was a witch, a jesuit, a highwayman, and the like.

    To all which, I shall only say, God knows that I am innocent. But as for mine accusers, let them provide themselves to meet me before the tribunal of the Son of God, there to answer for all these things, with all the rest of their iniquities, unless God shall give them repentance for them, for the which I pray with all my heart.

    But that which was reported with the boldest confidence, was that I had my misses, my whores, my bastards yea, two wives at once, and the like.

    Now these slanders, with the other, I glory in, because but slanders, foolish or knavish lies, and falsehoods cast upon me by the devil and his seed. And should I not be dealt with thus wickedly by the world, I should want one sign of a saint, and a child of God. “Blessed are ye,” said the Lord Jesus, “when men shall revile, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil of you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

    These things therefore, upon my own account troubled me not; no, though they were twenty times more than they are. I have a good conscience, and whereas they speak evil of me, as an evil-doer, they shall be ashamed that falsely accuse my good conversation in Christ.

    So then, what shall I say to those who have thus bespattered me? Shall I threaten them? Shall I chide them? Shall I flatter them? Shall I entreat them to hold their tongues? No, not I. Were it not for that these things make them ripe for damnation that are the authors and abettors, I would say unto them, “Report it,” because it will increase my glory.

    Therefore I bind these lies and slanders to me as an ornament;, it belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached, and reviled; and since all this is nothing else, as my God and my conscience do bear me witness, I rejoice in reproaches for Christ’s sake.

    Now, as Satan endeavored, by reproaches and slanders to make me vile among my countrymen, that, if possible, my preaching might be made of none effect; so there was added hereto a long and tedious imprisonment, that thereby I might be frightened from the service of Christ, and the world terrified and made afraid to hear me preach. Of which I shall in the next place give you a brief account.

    A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR’S IMPRISONMENT HAVING made profession of the glorious Gospel of Christ a long time, and preached the same about five years, I was apprehended at a meeting of good people in the country; among whom had they let me alone I should have preached that day; but they took me away from amongst them, and had me before a justice; who, after I had offered security for my appearing the next sessions, yet committed me, because my sureties would not consent to be bound, that I should preach no more to the people.

    At the sessions after, I was indicted for an upholder and maintainer of unlawful assemblies and conventicles, and for not conforming to the national worship of the Church of England; and after some conference there with the justices, they taking my plain dealing with them for a confession, as they termed it, of the indictment, did sentence me to a perpetual banishment, because I refused to conform. So being again delivered up to the jailer’s hands, I was had home to prison, and there have lain now complete twelve years, waiting to see what God would suffer these men to do with me.

    In which condition I have continued with much content, through grace; but have met with many turnings and goings upon my heart, both from the Lord, Satan, and my own corruptions: by all which, glory be to Jesus Christ, I have also received, among many things, much conviction, instruction, and understanding; of which at large I shall not here discourse; only give you a hint or two, a word that may stir up the godly to bless God and to pray for me; and also to take encouragement should the case be their own, not to fear what man can do unto them.

    I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the word of God as now.

    Those Scriptures that I saw nothing in before, are made in this place and state to shine upon me. Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now: here I have seen and felt him indeed. Oh that word! “We have not preached unto you cunningly devised fables;” and that, “God raised Christ from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God,” were blessed words unto me, in this my imprisoned condition.

    These three or four Scriptures also have been great refreshments in this condition to me, ( John 14:1,2,3,4. John 16:33. Colossians 3:3,4. Hebrews 12:22,23,24.) So that sometimes, when I have been in the savor of them, I have been able “to laugh at destruction, and to fear neither the horse nor his rider.” I have bad sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world. Oh the Mount Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels and God the Judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus, have been sweet unto me in this place! I have seen that here, which I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to express. I have seen a truth in this Scripture, “Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

    I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all turns, and at every offer of Satan to afflict me, etc., as I have found him since I came in hither; for look how fears have presented themselves, so have supports and encouragements; yea, when I have started, even as it were at nothing else but my shadow, yet God, as being very tender of me, hath not suffered me to be molested, but would, with one Scripture or another, strengthen me against all, insomuch that I have often said, “Were it lawful, I could pray for greater trouble, for the greater comfort’s sake.”

    Before I came to prison, I saw what was a-coming; and had especially two considerations warm upon my heart. The first was, how to be able to encounter death, should that be here my portion. For the first of these, that Scripture was great information to me, namely, to pray to God “to be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness.” I could seldom go to prayer before I was imprisoned, but for not so little as a year together, this sentence, or sweet petition, would, as it were, thrust itself into my mind, and persuade me, that if ever I would go through long suffering I must have patience, especially if I would endure it joyfully.

    As to the second consideration, that saying was of great use to me, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we might not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead.” By this Scripture I was made to see, that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can properly be called a thing of this life; even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyments, and all as dead to me, and myself as dead to them.

    The second was, to live upon God that is invisible; as Paul said in another place, the way not to faint is, “to look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” And thus I reasoned with myself: If I provide only for a prison then the whip comes unawares; and so doth also the pillory. Again, if I only provide for these, then I am not fit for banishment. Further, if I conclude that banishment is the worst, then if death come I am surprised. So that I see the best way to go through sufferings, is to trust in God through Christ, as touching the world to come; and as touching this world, to “count the grave my house, to make my bed in darkness, and to say to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the worm, Thou art my mother and sister;” that is, to familiarize these things to me.

    But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man encompassed with infirmities. The parting with my wife and poor children hath often been to me, in this place, as the pulling the flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was likewise to meet with; especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had beside. Oh! the thoughts of the hardships I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

    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 should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it. And now I thought on those two milch kine that were to carry the ark of God into another country, to leave their calves behind them.

    But that which helped me in this temptation was divers considerations, of which three in special here I will name. The first was, the consideration of those two Scriptures, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me:” and again, “The Lord said, Verily, it shall go well with thy remnant: verily, I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil,” etc.

    I had also this consideration, that if I should now venture all for God, I engaged God to take care of my concernments; but if I forsook him and his ways, for fear of any trouble that should come to me or mine, then I should not only falsify my profession, but should count also that my concernments were not so sure, if left at God’s feet, whilst I stood to and for his name, as they would be, if they were under my own care, though with the denial of the way of God. This was a smarting consideration, and as spurs unto my flesh. That Scripture also greatly helped it to fasten the more upon me, where Christ prays against Judas, that God would disappoint him in his selfish thoughts, which moved him to sell his master. Pray read it soberly. ( <19A906> Psalm 109:6,7,8, etc.)

    I had also another consideration, and that was, the dread of the torments of hell, which I was sure they must partake of, that for fear of the cross, do shrink from their profession of Christ, his words and laws, before the sons of men. I thought also of the glory he had prepared for those that in faith, and love and patience, stood to his ways before them. These things, I say, have helped me, when the thoughts of the misery that both myself and mine, might for the sake of my profession, be exposed to, hath lain pinching on my mind.

    When I have indeed conceited, that I might be banished for my profession, then I have thought of that Scripture, “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy;” for all they thought they were too bad to dwell and abide amongst them. I have also thought of that saying, “The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, that bonds and afflictions abide me.” I have verily thought, that my soul and it have sometimes reasoned about the sore and sad estate of a banished and exiled condition, how they are exposed to hunger, to cold, to perils, to nakedness, to enemies, and a thousand calamities; and at last, it may be to die in a ditch, like a poor, forlorn, and desolate sheep. But I thanked God, hitherto I have not been moved by these most delicate reasonings, but rather by them more approved my heart to God.

    I will tell you a pretty business: I was once above all the rest, in a very sad and low condition for many weeks, at which time also I being but a young prisoner, and not acquainted with the laws, had this lain much upon my spirit, “That my imprisonment might end at the gallows for aught that I could tell.” Now therefore Satan laid hard at me, to beat me out of heart, by suggesting thus unto me: “But how if, when you come indeed to die, you should be in this condition; that is, as not to savor the things of God, nor to have any evidence upon your soul for a better state hereafter?” for indeed at that time all the things of God were hid from my soul.

    Wherefore, when I at first began to think of this, it was a great trouble to me; for I thought with myself, that in the condition I now was, I was not fit to die; neither indeed did think I could, if I should be called to it; besides, I thought with myself, if I should make a scrambling shift to clamber up the ladder, yet I should, either with quaking, or other symptoms of fainting, give occasion to the enemy to reproach the way of God and his people, for their timorousness. This therefore lay with great trouble upon me; for methought I was ashamed to die with a pale face, and tottering knees in such a case as this.

    Wherefore I prayed to God, that he would comfort me, and give strength to do and suffer what he should call me to. Yet no comfort appeared, but all continued hid. I was also at this time so really possessed with the thought of death, that oft I was as if on a ladder with a rope about my neck. Only this was some encouragement to me, I thought I might now have an opportunity to speak my last words unto a multitude which I thought would come to see me die; and, thought I, if it must be so, if God will but convert one soul by my last words, I shall not count my life thrown away, nor lost.

    But yet all the things of God were kept out of my sight, and still the tempter followed me with, “But whither must you go when you die? What will become of you? Where will you be found in another world? What evidence have you for heaven and glory, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified?” Thus was I tossed for many weeks, and knew not what to do: at last this consideration fell with weight upon me, “That it was for the word and way of God that I was in this condition; wherefore I was engaged not to flinch an hair’s breadth from it.”

    I thought also, that God might choose whether he would give me comfort now, or at the hour of death; but I might not therefore choose whether I would hold my profession or no. I was bound, but he was free; yea, it was my duty to stand to his word, whether he would ever look upon me, or save me at the last; wherefore, thought I, save the point being thus, I am for going on, and venturing my eternal state with Christ, whether I have comfort here or no. If God doth not come in, thought I, “I will leap off the ladder, even blindfold into eternity; sink or swim, come heaven, come hell.

    Lord Jesus, if thou wilt catch me, do; if not, I will venture for thy name.”

    I was no sooner fixed upon this resolution but the word dropped upon me, “Doth Job serve God for naught?” As if the accuser had said, “Lord, Job is no upright man; he serves thee for by-respects: hast thou not made an hedge about him?” etc. But put forth now thine hand, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. How now, thought I, is this the sign of a renewed soul, to desire to serve God when all is taken from him?

    Is he a godly man that will serve God for nothing rather than give out?

    Blessed be God then, I hope I have an upright heart; for I am resolved, God giving me strength, never to deny my profession, though I had nothing at all for my pains. And as I was thus considering, that Scripture was set before me, ( Psalm 44:12, etc.)

    Now was my heart full of comfort, for I hoped it was sincere. I would not have been without this trial for much; I am comforted every time I think of it; and I hope I shall bless God forever, for the teachings I have had by it.

    Many more of the dealings of God towards me I might relate, “but these out of the spoils won in battle have I dedicated to maintain the house of God.”


    OF all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God, and truth of his Gospel, is the worst, and the worst to be borne.

    When this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removeth the foundation from under me. Oh! I have often thought of that word, “Have your loins girt about with truth:” and of that, “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

    Sometimes, when, after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from him hath been the discovery of his grace. Sometimes, when I have been comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble. And then again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise to give such way to comfort. With such strength and weight have both these been upon me.

    I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my soul with never so blessed a discovery of himself, yet I have found again, that such hours have attended me afterwards that I have been in my spirit so filled with darkness, that I could not so much as once conceive, what that God, and what that comfort was, with which I have been refreshed.

    I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible, than I could well tell how to stand under; and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick: or rather, my heart hath been so dead and dry unto it, that I could not conceive the least dram of refreshment though I have looked it all over.

    Of all fears, they are best that are made, by the blood of Christ: and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ: Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God. I hope I know something of these things.

    I find to this day seven abominations in my heart. 1. Inclining to unbelief. 2. Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ manifesteth. 3. A leaning to the works of the law. 4. Wanderings and coldness in prayer. 5. To forget to watch for that I pray for. 6. Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have. 7. I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves. “When I would do good, evil is present with me.”

    These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good. 1. They make me abhor myself. 2. They keep me from trusting my heart. 3. They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness. 4. They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus. 5. They press me to pray unto God. 6. They show me the need I have to watch and be sober. 7. And provoke me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world.



    BUNYAN’ S liberation from prison was obtained from Charles II. by Whitehead the Quaker. This discovery was not made when I published his life in 1839. On his release, he soon became one of the most popular preachers of the day, and was, if not the chaplain, “the Teacher” of Sir John Shorter, the Mayor of London. — Southey’s Life.

    But although free and popular, Bunyan evidently dreaded every new crisis in public affairs. He had reason to do so. Venner’s conspiracy had increased the severity of his first six years’ imprisonment. On the occasion of the Fire in London, he was thrown into prison again. And soon after James II. came to the throne, in 1685, Bunyan conveyed the whole of his property to his wife, by a singular Deed, which can only be accounted for by his suspicions of James and Jeffreys, and by his horror at the revocation of the Edict of Nantz. The asylum which the Refugees found in England did not prove to him that he was safe. No wonder. “KIRKE and his lambs ” were abroad, and the Bedford justices still in power.

    It was under these suspicious circumstances that he divested himself of all his property, in order to save his family from want, should he again be made a victim. These coincidences give peculiar interest to the Deed of Conveyance; a facsimile of which, from the original, is now presented to the public. The history of its transmission I am unable to give. There is, however, not the shadow of a doubt resting upon its authenticity. Bunyan’s own signature is unquestionable. I have been able also to verify that by the Instrument in which Ruffhead conveyed to Bunyan the ground on which his chapel was built. The original is now endorsed on the back thus: “This Will is left by indenture hereunto subscribed, to the Revelations Samuel Hillyard, Minister of Bunyan’s Meeting, to be presented to the Trustees of the said Meeting, to be held by them in continuance. Dated this 26th day of October, 1832. Bedford. Witness, A. Brandram, Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society; G. P. Livius; J. S. Grimshaw, Vicar of Biddenham.” “According to the above statement, this writing of John Bunyan’s was put into my hand at the death of Mrs. Livius, and it is my wish that it should be attached to the Church Book. Samuel Hillyard.” “Witness, Robert Philip, Author of the Life and Times of Bunyan; William White, Bookseller. Bedford, October 30th, 1838.” Mrs. Livius, if not a descendant, was, I think, in some way related to the Bunyan family.

    It will be seen that the Deed would not have secured the entire property to Mrs. Bunyan. It shows, however, Bunyan’s solicitude for her comfort, and his confidence in her prudence. And his Elizabeth well deserved both!

    Whatever Bunyan may have feared when he thus disposed of all the little property he had, nothing befell him under James II. He published “The Pharisee and Publican” in 1685, the year of the king’s accession, and in 1688, Charles Doe says, “he published six Books (being the time of King James II.’s Liberty of Conscience).” This appears from Dee’s List. It throws also much light upon Bunyan’s death. Such labor could not fail to sap his strength, even if he did nothing but carry the six books through the press; for none of them are small except the last. The usual account of Bunyan’s death, is, that he caught cold, whilst returning from Reading to London on horseback. Violent fever ensued, and after an illness of ten days, he resigned his spirit. Now all this is as true as it is brief; but it is not all the truth. “He was seized with a sweating distemper,” says Doe, “after he published six books; which, after some weeks’ going about, proved his death.” — Doe’s Circular. This fact was not known even to his first biographer. The Sketch in the British Museum states, that taking a tedious journey in a slabby rainy day, and returning late to London, he was entertained by one Mr. Strudwick, a grocer on Snow Hill, with all the kind endearments of a loving friend; but soon found himself indisposed with a kind of shaking, as it were an ague, which increasing to a kind of fever, he took to his bed, where, growing worse, he found he had not long to last in this world, and therefore prepared himself for another, towards which he had been journeying as a Pilgrim and Stranger upon earth, the prime of his days.” — See “Grace Abounding To The Chief of Sinners”.

    The occasion of his journey to Reading, which has always been called “a labor of love and charity,” will now be more interesting than it hitherto has been. It was not undertaken by a man in health; but by an overwrought author, sinking under “a sweating distemper.” Mr. Ivimey’s account of Bunyan’s errand being the best, I quote it: “The last act of his life was a labor of love and charity. A young gentleman, a neighbor of Mr. Bunyan, falling under his father’s displeasure, and being much troubled in mind on that account, and also from hearing it was his father’s design to disinherit him, or otherwise deprive him of what he had to leave, he pitched upon Mr. Bunyan as a fit man to make way for his submission, and prepare his mind to receive him; which he being willing to undertake any good office, readily engaged in, and went to Reading, in Berkshire, for that purpose. There he so successfully accomplished his design, by using such pressing arguments and reason against anger and passion, and also for love and reconciliation, that the father’s heart was softened, and his bowels yearned over his son. “After Mr. Bunyan had disposed everything in the best manner to promote an accommodation, as he returned to London on horseback, he was overtaken with excessive rains, and coming to his lodgings extremely wet, he fell sick of a violent fever, which he bare with much constancy and patience: and expressed himself as if he wished nothing more than to depart and to be with Christ, considering it as gain, and life only a tedious delay of expected felicity. Finding his strength decay, he settled his wordly affairs as well as the shortness of the time and the violence of the disorder would permit; and, after an illness of ten days, with unshaken confidence, he resigned his soul, on the 31st of August, 1688, being sixty years of age, into the hands of his most merciful Redeemer; following his Pilgrim from the City of Destruction to the New Jerusalem, his better part having been all along there in holy contemplations, pantings, and breathings after the hidden manna and the water of life.” His tomb is in Bunhill Fields. His cottage at Elstow, although somewhat modernized, is substantially as he left it. His chair, jug, Book of Martyrs, Church Book, and some other relics, are carefully preserved at his chapel in Bedford; and best of all, his catholic spirit also is preserved there.



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