'He that is down need fear no fall; He that is low no pride; He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide,' &c.
The careful perusal of every one of his treatises, has excited in my mind a much livelier interest than any other religious works which, in a long life, have come under my notice. In fact, the works of Bunyan to a country minister may be compared to a vast storehouse, most amply replenished with all those solemn subjects which call for his prayerful investigation; well arranged, ready of access, striking in their simplicity, full of vivid ideas conveyed in language that a novice may understand. They are all so admirably composed that pious persons, whether in houses of convocation or of parliament, or the inmates of a workhouse, may equally listen to them with increasing delight and instruction. No man ever more richly enjoyed the magnificent language of Job. He called it 'that blessed book.' The deep interest that he took in its scenery may be traced through all his writings. His spirit, with its mighty powers, grasped the wondrous truths so splendidly pourtrayed in that most ancient book. The inspired writings, which so eminently give wisdom to the simple, expanded his mind, while his mental powers were strengthened and invigorated by his so deeply drinking into the spirit of the inspired volume.
The time was drawing near when, in the midst of his usefulness, and with little warning, he was to be summoned to his eternal rest. He had been seriously attacked with that dangerous pestilence which, in former years, ravaged this country, called the sweating sickness, a malady as mysterious and fatal as the cholera has been in later times. The disease was attended by great prostration of strength; but, under the careful management of his affectionate wife, his health became sufficiently restored to enable him to undertake a work of mercy; from the fulfillment of which, as a blessed close to his incessant earthly labour, he was to ascend to his Father and his God to be crowned with immortality. A father had been seriously offended with his son, and had threatened to disinherit him. To prevent the double mischief of a father dying in anger with his child, and the evil consequence to the child of his being cut off from his patrimony, Bunyan again ventured, in his weak state, on his accustomed work, to win the blessings of the peace-maker. He made a journey on horseback to Reading, it being the only mode of travelling at that time, and he was rewarded with success. Returning home by way of London to impart the gratifying intelligence, he was overtaken by excessive rains, and, in an exhausted state, he found a kindly refuge in the house of his Christian friend Mr. Strudwick, and was there seized with a fatal fever. His much-loved wife, who had so powerfully pleaded for his liberty with the judges, and to whom he had been united thirty years, was at a great distance from him. Bedford was then two days' journey from London. Probably at first, his friends had hopes of his speedy recovery; but when the stroke came, all his feelings, and those of his friends, appear to have been absorbed, by the anticipated blessings of immortality, to such an extent, that no record is left as to whether his wife, or any of his children, saw him cross the river of death. There is abundant testimony of his faith and patience, and that the presence of God was eminently with him.
He bore his trying sufferings with all the patience and fortitude that might be expected from such a man. His resignation was most exemplary; his only expressions were 'a desire to depart, to be dissolved, to be with Christ.' His sufferings were short, being limited to ten days. He enjoyed a holy frame of mind, desiring his friends to pray with him, and uniting fervently with them in the exercise. His last words, while struggling with death, were, 'Weep not for me, but for yourselves. I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, no doubt, through the mediation of his blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner; where I hope we ere long shall meet, to sing the new song, and remain everlastingly happy, world without end. Amen.' He felt the ground solid under his feet in passing the black river which has no bridge, and followed his pilgrim into the celestial city in August, 1688, in the sixtieth year of his age. There is some uncertainty as to the day of his decease: Charles Doe, in the Struggler, 1692, has August 31, and this has been copied in all his portraits. In the life appended to the Grace Abounding, 1692, his death-day is stated as August 12; and in the memoir appended to the third part of the Pilgrim, also in 1692, the date is August 17. The circumstances of his peaceful decease are well compared by Dr. Cheever to the experience of Mr. Standfast, when he was called to pass the river: the great calm—the firm footing—the address to by-standers—until his countenance changed, his strong man bowed under him, and his last words were, 'Take me, for I come to thee.' Then the joy among the angels while they welcomed the hero of such spiritual fights, and conducted his wandering soul to the New Jerusalem, which he had so beautifully described as 'the holy city'; and then his wonder and amazement to find how infinitely short his description came to the blissful reality.
The deep affliction that his church was plunged into led to several special meetings. Wednesday, the 4th of September, 'was kept in prayer and humiliation for this heavy stroke upon us—the death of dear brother Bunyan; it was appointed also, that Wednesday next be kept in prayer and humiliation on the same account. At the meeting held on the 11th, it was appointed that all the brethren meet together on the 18th of this month, September, to humble themselves for this heavy hand of God upon us, and also to pray unto the Lord for counsel and direction what to do, in order to seek out for a fit person to make choice of for an elder. On the 18th, when the whole congregation met to humble themselves before God, by fasting and prayer, for his heavy and severe stroke upon us in taking away our honoured brother Bunyan by death, it was agreed by the whole congregation that care be taken to seek out for one suitably qualified to be chosen an elder among us, and that care was committed by the whole to the brethren at Bedford.' Thus did the church manifest that they had improved in wisdom under his ministry by flying, in their extreme distress, to the only source of consolation.
The saddest feelings of sorrow extended to every place where he had been known. His friend, the Rev. G. Cockayn, of London, says, 'it pleased the Lord to remove him, to the great loss and inexpressible grief of many precious souls.' Numerous elegies, acrostics, and poems were published on the occasion of his decease, lamenting the loss thus sustained by his country—by the church at large, and particularly by the church and congregation at Bedford. One of these, 'written by a dear friend of his,' is a fair sample of the whole:—
A SHORT ELEGY IN MEMORY OF MR. JOHN BUNYAN, WRITTEN BY A DEAR FRIEND OF HIS.
The pilgrim traveling the world's vast stage, At last does end his weary pilgrimage: He now in pleasant valleys does sit down, And, for his toil, receives a glorious crown. The storms are past, the terrors vanish all, Which in his way did so affrighting fall; He grieves nor sighs no more, his race is run Successfully, that was so well begun. You'll say he's dead: O no, he cannot die, He's only changed to immortality— Weep not for him, who has no cause of tears; Hush, then, your sighs, and calm your needless fears. If anything in love to him is meant, Tread his last steps, and of your sins repent: If knowledge of things here at all remains Beyond the grave, to please him for his pains And suffering in this world; live, then, upright, And that will be to him a grateful sight. Run such a race as you again may meet, And find your conversation far more sweet; When purged from dross, you shall, unmix'd, possess The purest essence of eternal bliss
'He in the pulpit preached truth first, and then He in his practice preached it o'er again.'
His remains were interred in Bunhill Fields, in the vault of his friend Mr. Strudwick, at whose house he died. His tomb has been visited by thousands of pilgrims, blessing God for his goodness in raising up such a man, so signally fitted to be a blessing to the times in which he lived. All the accounts of his decease, published at the time, agree as to his place of burial. The words of Mr. Doe, who probably attended the funeral, are, 'he was buried in the new burying-place, near the artillery ground, where he sleeps to the morning of the resurrection.' His Life and Actions, 1692, records that 'his funeral was performed with much decency, and he was buried in the new burying-ground by Moorfields.' The Struggler calls it 'Finsbury burying-ground, where many London Dissenting ministers are laid.' Bunhill Fields burying-ground for Dissenters was first opened in 1666. The inscription upon the tomb to his memory was engraven many years after his funeral. It is not contained in the list of inscriptions published in 1717. His widow survived him four years. He had six children by his first wife, three of whom survived him—Thomas, Joseph, and Sarah. His son Thomas joined his church in 1673, and was a preacher in 1692. He appears to have been usefully employed in visiting absent members until December 1718. My kind friend, the Rev. J. P. Lockwood, rector of South Hackney, recently discovered entries in the register of Kimbolton, in Huntingdonshire, probably of the descendants of this son, Thomas. November 26, 1698, John Bonion and Mary Rogers, married: she was buried, September 7, 1706; and he again married Anne, and buried her in 1712, leaving a son and two daughters. His death is not recorded. One of the descendants, Hannah Bunyan, died in 1770, aged seventy-six years, and lies in the burial-ground by the meeting-house at Bedford. John Bunyan's son, Joseph, settled at Nottingham, and marrying a wealthy woman, conformed to the Church. A lineal descendant of his was living, in 1847, at Islington, near London, aged eighty-four, Mrs. Senegar, a fine hearty old lady, and a Strict Baptist. She said to me, 'Sir, excuse the vanity of an old woman, but I will show you how I sometimes spend a very pleasant half-hour.' She took down a portrait on canvas of her great forefather, and propped it up on the table with a writing-desk, with a looking-glass by its side. 'There, Sir, I look at the portrait, and then at myself, and can trace every feature; we resemble each other like two pins.' 'Excepting the imperial and moustachios,' I replied; to which she readily assented. It was the fact that there was a striking family likeness between the picture and her reflection in the looking-glass. Another descendant, from the same branch of the family, is now living at Lincoln. He was born in 1775, and possessed a quarto Bible, published by Barker and Bill in 1641, given by John Bunyan to his son Joseph. This was preserved in his family until the present year, when it came into the editor's possession, with the following relics, which were, and I trust will yet be preserved with the greatest care:—An iron pencase, made by Bunyan the brazier, with some stumps of old pens, with which it is said he wrote some of his sermons and books; the buckles worn by him, and his two pocket-knives, one of them made before springs were invented, and which is kept open by turning a ferrule; his apple-scoop, curiously carved, and a seal; his pocket-box of scales and weights for money, being stamped with the figures on each side of the coins of James and Charles I. These were given by Robert Bunyan, in 1839, then sixty-four years of age, to a younger branch of the family, Mr. Charles Robinson, of Wilford, near Nottingham (his sister's son), for safe custody. He died in 1852; while his aged uncle remains in good health, subject to the infirmities of his seventy-eighth year. On many of the blank spaces in the Bible are the registers of births and deaths in the family, evidently written at the time. Those relics are deposited in a carved oak box. They were sold with the late Mr. Robinson's effects, January, 1853, and secured for me by my excellent friend James Dix, Esq., of Bristol, who met with them immediately after the sale, on one of his journeys at Nottingham. They are not worshipped as relics, nor have they performed miracles, but as curiosities of a past age they are worthy of high consideration. Everything that was used by him, and that survives the ravages of time, possesses a peculiar charm; even the chair in which he at is preserved in the vestry of the new chapel, and is shown to those who make the pilgrimage to the shrine of Bunyan.
In the same vestry is also a curious inlaid cabinet, small, and highly finished. It descended from Bunyan to a lady who lived to an advanced age—Madam Bithray; from her to the Rev. Mr. Voley; and of his widow it was purchased to ornament the vestry of Bunyan's meeting-house.
The personal appearance and character of our pilgrim's guide, drawn by his friend Charles Doe, will be found at the end of his Grace Abounding; to which is appended his Dying Sayings—'of sin—afflictions—repentance and coming to Christ—of prayer—of the Lord's day, sermons, and week days: "Make the Lord's day the market for thy soul"—of the love of the world—of suffering—of death and judgment—of the joys of heaven—and the torments of hell.'
How inscrutable are the ways of God! Had Bunyan lived a month longer, he would have witnessed the glorious Revolution—the escape of a great nation. The staff and hope of Protestant Europe was saved from a subtle—a Jesuitical attempt—to introduce Popery and arbitrary government. The time of his death, as a release from the incumbrance of a material body, was fixed by infinite wisdom and love at that juncture, and it ought not to be a cause of regret. His interest in the welfare of the church ceased not with his mortal life. How swiftly would his glorified spirit fly to see the landing of William, and hover with joy over the flight of the besotted James! He was now in a situation to prove the truth of that saying, 'the angels desire to look into' the truth and spread of the glad tidings. How he would prove the reality of his opinion, expressed in The Holy War, of the interest taken by the inhabitants of heaven in the prosperity of the church on earth. When Mansoul was conquered, the spirits that witnessed the victory 'shouted with that greatness of voice, and sung with such melodious notes, that they caused them that dwell in the highest orbs to open their windows, and put out their heads and look down to see the cause of that glory' (Luke 15:7-10). So may we imagine that the happy, happy, glorified spirit of Bunyan would look down rejoicing, when, a few years after he had yielded up his pastoral cares, the seed which he had been instrumental in sowing produced its fruit in such numbers, that the old meeting-house was pulled down, and in its place a large and respectable one was erected. And again, on the 20th February, 1850, with what joy would he look down upon the opening of a still larger, more commodious, and handsome meeting-house, bearing his name, and capable of holding 1150 worshippers. One of Bunyan's pungent, alarming sayings to the careless was, 'Once die, we cannot come back and die better.' If anything could tempt him, in his angelic body, to re-visit this earth, it would be to address the multitude at the new Bunyan Chapel with his old sermon on The Jerusalem Sinner Saved, or Good News to the Vilest of Men. But we have Moses and the prophets—Christ and his apostles; if we shut our ears to them, neither should we listen to a messenger from the New Jerusalem.
When it is recollected that Bunyan received the most imperfect rudiments of education in a charity school when very young, which were 'almost entirely' obliterated by bad habits—that he was a hard-working man through life, maintaining himself, a wife, and four children, by his severe labour as a brazier—and yet, by personal efforts, he educated himself and wrote sixty-two valuable religious treatises, numbering among them his inimitable allegories, The Pilgrim's Progress and Holy War, made a Concordance to the Bible, and conducted important controversies. Preaching, while at liberty, almost innumerable sermons on the Lord's-days and week-days, early in the morning and late at night. Visiting his flock with pastoral care—founding churches in the villages, and even in towns and cities far distant from his dwelling—constantly giving advice to promote peace and good will, and rendering benevolent aid by long journeys! His whole life presents to us a picture of most astonishing, energetic perseverance. Every moment of time must have been employed as if he valued it as a precious trust, which, if once lost, could never be regained. Who of us can compare our life with his last thirty years, and not blush with shame!
The finest trait in Bunyan's Christian character was his deep, heartfelt humility. This is the more extraordinary from his want of secular education, and his unrivalled talent. The more we learn, the greater is the field for research that opens before us, insomuch that the wisest philosophers have most seriously felt the little progress they have made. He acknowledged to Mr. Cockayn, who considered him the most eminent man, and a star of the first magnitude in the firmament of the churches, that spiritual pride was his easily besetting sin, and that he needed the thorn in the flesh, lest he should be exalted above measure. A sense of this weakness probably led him to peculiar watchfulness against it. His self-abasement was neither tinctured with affectation, nor with the pride of humility. His humble-mindedness appeared to arise form his intimate communion with Heaven. In daily communion with God, he received a daily lesson of deeper and deeper humility. 'I am the high and lofty One, I inhabit eternity! verily this consideration is enough to make a broken-hearted man creep into a mouse-hole, to hide himself from such majesty! There is room in this man's heart for God to dwell.' 'I find it one of the hardest things that I can put my soul upon, even to come to God, when warmly sensible that I am a sinner, for a share in grace and mercy. I cannot but with a thousand tears say, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Ezra 9:15).'
The Revs. Messrs. Chandler and Wilson, bear the following testimony as eye-witnesses to his character:—'His fancy and invention were very pregnant and fertile. His wit was sharp and quick—his memory tenacious, it being customary with him to commit his sermons to writing after he had preached them,' a proof of extraordinary industry. 'His understanding was large and comprehensive—his judgment sound and deep in the fundamentals of the gospel. His experience of Satan's temptations in the power and policy of them, and of Christ's presence in, and by his Word and Spirit to succour and comfort him, was more than ordinary; the grace of God was magnified in him and by him, and a rich anointing of the Spirit was upon him; and yet this great saint was always in his own eyes the chiefest of sinners, and the least of saints. He was not only well furnished with the helps and endowments of nature, beyond ordinary, but eminent in the graces and gifts of the Spirit, and fruits of holiness. He was from first to last established in, and ready to maintain, that God-like principle of having communion with saints as such, without any respect to difference in things disputable among the godly. His carriage was condescending, affable, and meek to all, yet bold and courageous for Christ. He was much struck at, in the lat times of persecution; being far from any sinful compliance to save himself, he did cheerfully bear the cross.' Such was the character given of him by these two eminent divines, in 1693, while his memory, in its fullest fragrance, was cherished by all the churches.
This humility peculiarly fitted him to instruct the young, of whom he was very fond—
'Nor do I blush, although I think some may Call me a baby, 'cause I with them play; I do 't to show them how each fingle fangle On which they doating are, their souls entangle; And, since at gravity they make a tush, My very beard I cast behind a bush.'
He had friends among the rich as well as the poor. Of this his solid gold ring and handsome cabinet are proofs. From a letter in the Ellis correspondence, we learn that Bunyan had so secured the affections of the Lord Mayor of London, as to be called his chaplain.
Among his religious friends and associates he must have been a pleasing, entertaining, lively companion. However solemn, nay awful, had been his experience when walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, yet when emerging from the darkness and enjoying the sunshine of Divine favour, he loved social intercourse and communion of saints. It is one of the slanders heaped upon Christianity to call it a gloomy, melancholy theme: though 'it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,' yet the wisely pious man will endeavour, even at an elegant entertainment or a Lord Mayor's dinner, to drop useful hints. Whenever Bunyan describes a social party, especially a feast, he always introduces a wholesome dish; and it is singular, in the abundance of publications, that we have not been favoured with John Bunyan's Nuts to Crack at Religious Entertainments, or a Collection of his Pious Riddles. Thus, at the splendid royal feast given to Emmanuel, when he entered Mansoul in triumph, 'he entertained the town with some curious riddles, of secrets drawn up by his father's secretary, by the skill and wisdom of Shaddai, the like to which there are not in any kingdom.' 'Emmanuel also expounded unto them some of those riddles himself, but O how were they lightened! They saw what they never saw, they could not have thought that such rarities could have been couched in such few and ordinary words. The lamb, the sacrifice, the rock, the door, the way.' 'The second Adam was before the first, and the second covenant was before the first.' 'Was Adam bad before he eat the forbidden fruit?' 'How can a man say his prayers without a word being read or uttered?' 'How do men speak with their feet?' Answer, Proverbs 6:13. 'Why was the brazen laver made of the women's looking-glasses?' 'How can we comprehend that which cannot be comprehended, or know that which passeth knowledge?' 'Who was the founder of the state or priestly domination over religion?' What is meant by the drum of Diabolus and other riddles mentioned in The Holy War? The poetical riddles in The Pilgrim's Progress are very striking—
'A man there was, though some did count him mad, The more he cast away, the more he had.'
How can 'evil make the soul from evil turn.'
Can 'sin be driven out of the world by suffering?'
'Though it may seem to some a riddle, We use to light our candles at the middle.'
'What men die two deaths at once?'
'Are men ever in heaven and on earth at the same time?'
'Can a beggar be worth ten thousand a-year and not know it?'
He even introduced a dance upon the destruction of Despair, Mr. Ready-to-halt, with his partner Miss Much-afraid, while Christiana and Mercy furnished the music. 'True, he could not dance without one crutch in his hand; but I promise you he footed it well. Also the girl was to be commended, for she answered the music handsomely.' Is this the gloomy fanaticism of a Puritan divine? It is true, that promiscuous dancing, or any other amusement tending to evil, he had given up and discountenanced, but all his writings tend to prove that the Christian only can rationally and piously enjoy the world that now is, while living in the delightful hope of bliss in that which is to come.
Bunyan's personal appearance and character was drawn by his friend Mr. Doe. 'He appeared in countenance stern and rough, but was mild and affable; loving to reconcile differences and make friendships. He made it his study, above all other things, not to give occasion of offence. In his family he kept a very strict discipline in prayer and exhortations. He had a sharp, quick eye, and an excellent discerning of persons; of good judgment and quick wit. Tall in stature, strong-boned; somewhat of a ruddy face with sparkling eyes; his hair reddish, but sprinkled with gray; nose well set; mouth moderately large; forehead something high, and his habit always plain and modest.'
My determination in writing this memoir has been to follow the scriptural example, by fairly recording every defect discoverable in Bunyan's character; but what were considered by some to be blemishes, after his conversion, appear, in my estimation, to be beauties. His moral and religious character was irreproachable, and his doctrinal views most scriptural; all agree in this, that he was a bright and shining light; unrivalled for his allegories, and for the vast amount of his usefulness. His friend, Mr. Wilson, says, 'Though his enemies and persecutors, in his lifetime, did what they could to vilify and reproach him, yet, being gone, he that before had the testimony of their consciences, hath now their actual commendation and applause.' To this we may add, that he was without sectarianism, a most decided Bible Christian. This reveals the secret of his striking phraseology. It was in the sacred pages of Divine truth that he learned grammar and rhetoric. Style, and all his knowledge of the powers of language—all were derived from the only source of his religious wisdom and learning. He lived, and thought, and wrote under the influence of the holy oracles, translated by the Puritans in 1560, compared with the version of 1611. This gives a charm to all his works, and suits them to every human capacity.
Reader, the object of biography is to excite emulation. Why should not others arise as extensively to bless the world as Bunyan did? The storehouses of heaven from which he was replenished with holy treasures, are inexhaustible. As he said, 'God has bags of mercy yet unsealed.' We have the same holy oracles, and the same mercy-seat. The time is past for merely challenging the right to personal judgment of religious truths. In Britain the lions are securely chained, and the cruel giants disabled. The awful crime of imprisoning and torturing man for conscience' sake, exists only in kingdoms where darkness reigns—
''Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy.'
We stand upon higher ground than our forefathers; we take our more solemn stand upon the imperative duty of personal investigation—that no one can claim the name of Christian, unless he has laid aside all national, or family, or educational prejudices, and drawn from the holy oracles alone all his scheme of salvation and rules of conduct. All the secret of Bunyan's vast usefulness, the foundation of all his honour, is, that the fear of God swallowed up the fear of man; that he was baptized into the truths of revelation, and lived to exemplify them. He was a bright and shining light in a benighted world; and of him it may be most emphatically said, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.'
1. For a most interesting account of the rise of Sixtus V, see the new volume of the Lounger's Common-place Book, 1807, p. 152.
2. The Rev. J. H. A. Rudd, the Vicar of Elstow, has most kindly furnished me with an extract from the registers of all the entries relative to Bunyan's family. The register commences in 1641, and has been searched to 1750. It confirms the Rev. J. Juke's impression, that soon after Bunyan joined Gifford's church he left Elstow to live in Bedford.
Thomas Bonion, buried, Dec. 9, 1641. Margaret Bonion, wife, buried, June 20, 1644. Margaret Bonion, b., July 24, 1644. Charles, the son of Thos. Bunion, bapt., May 22, 1645. Charles Bunion, bur., May 30, 1645. Mary, the daught. of Joh. Bonion, bapt., July 20, 1650 Elizabeth, the daughter of John Bonyon, was born 14th day of April, 1654.
Thomas Bonion of the town of Bedford, and Elizabeth of the parish of Elstow, were married, May 10, 1656. (The Christian name of the husband, and the surname of the wife, are very much obliterated.)
Ann Bonyonn, Widdo, was buried, 12th day of April, 1659. Thos. Bunyan, buried, Feby. 7th, 1675. Ann Bunyon, Widdo, buried in Woolen, September 25, 1680.
The marriage here recorded, May 10, 1656, could not be that of John Bunyan to his second wife Elizabeth; for she declared to Judge Hale in August, 1661, that she had 'not been married to him yet full two years.'—Vol. i. 61.
3. This cottage has long ceased to exist, and has been replaced by another of the poorest description. But from an old print we have given in the Plate, p. 1, vol. i., a representation of the original, with the shed at side often mentioned as 'The forge'; thus leading us to believe, that to the 'tinker's' humble calling might be united that of the 'smith,' a more manly and honourable trade.
4. Grace Abounding, No. 2.
5. Vol. iii., p. 674.
6. Vol. ii., p. 140.
7. Vol. i., p. 490.
8. Vol. ii., p. 617.
9. Grace Abounding, No. 18.
10. Extracted from the first edition in the British Museum. It was much altered in the subsequent impressions.
11. In 1566, Sir Thomas Harper, Lord Mayor of London, gave 180 for thirteen acres and a rood of meadow land in Holborn. This was settled, in trust, to promote the education of the poor in and round Bedford. In 1668, it produced a yearly revenue of 99—a considerable sum in that day, but not in any proportion to the present rental, which amounts to upwards of 12,000 a-year.
12. Grace Abounding, No. 3.
13. Vol. i., p. 618.
14. Grace Abounding, No. 4.
15. Philip's Life of Bunyan, p. 4.
16. Vol. iii., p. 597.
17. Vol. ii., p. 564.
18. Grace Abounding, No. 27.
19. Grace Abounding, No. 5.
20. Ibid., No. 8.
21. Life, p. vii.
22. Ibid. p. viii.
23. Life, pp. xli., xlii.
24. Vol. i., p. 79.
25. Job 33:15.
26. Grace Abounding, No. 5, vol. i., p. 6.
27. Life appended to the first and second editions of the forged third part of Pilgrim's Progress.
28. Grace Abounding, Nos. 12-14, vol. i., p. 7. How do these hair-breadth escapes illustrate the unerring providence of God, and the short-sightedness of even pious Christians. It is easy to imagine the exclamations of a reflecting character when hearing of the marvelous escapes of this wicked youth. 'Dark providences! the good and benevolent are snatched away; but such a plague as this has his life preserved to pester us still. Short-sighted mortal, "shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"' No life in the British empire was so precious in the sight and gracious purposes of God, as that of the poor depraved lad; which was thus preserved by the special care of Divine providence.
29. Life appended to part third of Pilgrim's Progress, 1692. This is omitted from the third edition (1700), and all the subsequent ones.
30. Vol. ii., p. 74.
31. Vol. i., p. 732.
32. Vol. ii., p. 738.
33. Vol. ii., p. 709; ii., p. 45; ii., 601.
34. Vol. iii., p. 727; v. 7, 8.
35. The women were remarkably active in defending the town.
36. Thoresby's Leicester, 4to, p. 128.
37. Hist. of Rebellion, edition 1712, vol. ii., p. 652.
38. Vol. i., p. 661.
39. Vol. iii., p. 357.
40. Vol. iii., p. 113, 358.
41. Vol. i., p. 726.
42. Vol. i., p. 694.
43. The Political Sentiments of John Bunyan, re-published by John Martin, 1798.
44. Life of Bunyan, 1692, p. 12.
45. Ibid., 1692, p. 13.
46. Vol. i., p. 7.
47. The Pathway to Heaven is the work of that pious puritan Dent, and is full of those striking illustrations which were admirably adapted to prepare Bunyan for writing his allegories. A copy with the name Ma Bunyann, written on the title page, has long been in the editor's library. We give a facsimile of the writing, as it has been supposed that of Bunyan. This is very doubtful; it appears more like a woman's hand; but, if it is the name of Mrs. Bunyan, then it indicates that his daughter Mary, baptized 20th July, 1650, was called after her.
48. Life of Bunyan, 1691, p. 13.
49. This is a solemn consideration; many profess to serve God while they are bond-slaves to sin; and many are servants in his family who are not sons, nor heirs, of heaven. Blessed are those who are both servants and sons.
50. Vol. i., p. 7, 8.
51. Jan. 3, 1644-5.
52. Aug. 23, 1645.
53. 4to Edit., 1644.
54. Neale, 1822, vol. ii., p. 220.
55. Life of Alfred, comparing him to Charles I. Preface. 8vo. 1634.
56. Vol. i., p. 8, 9.
57. The game of cat, tipcat, or "sly," so called by Wilson, in his life of Bunyan [Wilson's Edition of Works, vol. i., fol. 1736], is an ancient game well known in many parts of the kingdom. A number of holes are made in the ground, at equal distances, in a circular direction; a player is stationed at each hole; the opposite party stand around; one of them throws the cat to the batsman nearest to him; every time the cat is struck, the batsmen run from one hole to the next, and score as many as they change positions; but if the cat is thrown between them before reaching the hole, the batsman is out [Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, 8vo., p. 110]. Such was the childish game played by men on the Lord's-day.
58. Life by C. Doe, 1698.
59. Vol. i., p. 9.
60. Saved by Grace, vol. i., p. 351.
61. Vol. i., p. 9; No. 32.
62. Folio edition, pp. 595-6.
63. In the Engraving, p. 1, vol. i., is a view of part of the village green, Elstow, with the ancient building now used as a school-house, as seen from the church-yard. This building is older than the time of Bunyan, and was the scene of village meetings at the period in which he lived, and doubtless associated with his dancing and thoughtless amusements, as the green itself was the scene of the game of cat. A view looking towards the church is given in Vignette to vol. i. of the Works.
64. Vol. i., p. 10.
65. Southey's Life, pp. xxv., xxxii.
66. Vol. i., p. 80.
67. Vol. i., p. 11.
68. Vol. iii., p. 607.
69. Heresiography. 4tp. 1654. p. 143.
70. Vol. iii., p. 151.
71. Vol. iii., p. 118.
72. Vol. i., p. 11.
73. Vol. i., p. 11.
74. Vol. i., p. 591.
75. The Rev. H. J. Rose, in his Biographical Dictionary, distorts this singular affair into, 'he laid claim to a faith of such magnitude as to work miracles!'
76. Vol. i., p. 12.
77. Vol. iii., pp. 155, 156.
78. Vol. i., p. 12.
79. It is as easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, as for a man to pass through this door with the world on his back.
80. Vol. i., p. 13.
81. Vol. i., p. 13.
82. Holy War, vol. iii., p. 342, 346.
83. Bunyan on the Throne of Grace, vol. i., p. 677.
84. Vol. i., p. 80.
85. Holy War, vol. iii., p. 297.
86. Vol. i., p. 14.
87. Vol. iii., p. 123.
89. Vol. i., p. 14.
90. April 1645. About 300 discontented persons got together in Kent, and took Sir Percival Hart's house; Colonel Blunt attacked and dispersed them with horse and foot, regained the house, and made the chief of them prisoners. Whitelock, folio 137.
91. Vol. i., p. 15.
92. Vol. i., p. 15; No. 82.
93. Vol. i., p. 16.
94. Vol. i., p. 17, 18.
95. Vol. iii., p. 113.
96. Bunyan's Saints' Privilege and Profit, vol. i., p. 661.
97. Bunyan's Saved by Grace, vol. i., p. 340.
98. Vol. i., p. 17.
99. Bunyan's Christ a Complete Saviour, vol. i., p. 210.
100. Rogers on Trouble of Mind. Preface. Thus temptations are suited to the state of the inquiring soul; the learned man who studies Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, is filled with doubts arising from 'philosophy and vain deceit, profane and vain babblings'; the unlettered mechanic is tried not by logic, but by infernal artillery; the threatenings of God's Word are made to obscure the promises. It is a struggle which, to one possessing a vivid imagination, is attended with almost intolerable agonies—unbelief seals up the door of mercy.
Bunyan agreed with his learned contemporary, Milton, in the invisible agency of good and bad spirits.
'Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep!'
The malignant demons watch their opportunity to harass the pilgrim with evil thoughts, injected when least expected.
101. Vol. i., p. 19.
102. Vol. i., p. 20.
103. The anxiety of this pious teacher was to press upon his hearers to take special heed, not to receive any truth upon trust from any man, but to pray over it and search 'the Holy Word.' This, Mr. Southey designates, 'doctrine of a most perilous kind.' How happy would it be for society if every religious teacher pressed this perilous doctrine upon their hearers, that it might bring forth the same fruit universally, as it did specially in Bunyan. Compare Grace Abounding, No. 117, and Southey's Life, p. 27, 28.
104. Vol. i., p. 21.
105. Vol. i., p. 22.
106. Vol. iii., p. 115.
107. Vol. iii., p. 270.
108. Luther fell into the same mistake as to the Baptists, that Bunyan did as to the Quakers. Both were keenly alive to the honour of Christianity, and were equally misled by the loose conduct of some unworthy professors. Luther charges the Baptists as being 'devils possessed with worse devils' [Preface to Galatians]. 'It is all one whether he be called a Frank, a Turk, a Jew, or an Anabaptist' [Com. Gal. iv. 8, 9]. 'Possessed with the devil, seditious, and bloody men' [Gal. v. 19]. Even a few days before his death, he wrote to his wife, 'Dearest Kate, we reached Halle at eight o'clock, but could not get on to Eisleben, for there met us a great Anabaptist, with waves and lumps of ice, which threatened us with a second baptism.' Bunyan, in the same spirit, calls the Quakers 'a company of loose ranters, light notionists, shaking in their principles!' [Vol. ii., p. 133, 9, 21]. Denying the Scriptures and the resurrection [Com. Gal. iv. 29]. These two great men went through the same furnace of the regeneration; and Bunyan, notwithstanding Luther's prejudices against the Baptists, most affectionately recommended his Comment on the Galatians, as an invaluable work for binding up the broken-hearted.
109. Vol. i., p. 23.
110. Vol. ii., p. 181.
111. Vol. ii., p. 260.
112. Vol. i., p. 25; No. 158.
113. See note in vol. i., p. 26.
114. Vol. i., p. 29.
115. Vol. i., p. 30
116. The study of those scriptures, in order that the solemn question might be safely resolved, 'Can such a fallen sinner rise again?' was like the investigation of the title to an estate upon which a whole livelihood depended. Every apparent flaw must be critically examined. Tremblingly alive to the importance of a right decision, his prayers were most earnest; and at length, to his unspeakable delight, the word of the law and wrath gave place to that of life and grace.
117. Vol. i., p. 35.
118. Vol. iii., p. 100.
119. Irish sixpences, which passed for fourpence-halfpenny. See the note on vol. i., p. 36. Since writing that note I have discovered another proof of the contempt with which that coin was treated:—'Christian, the wife of Robert Green, of Brexham, Somersetshire, in 1663, is said to have made a covenant with the devil; he pricked the fourth finger of her right hand, between the middle and upper joints, and took two drops of her blood on his finger, giving her a fourpence-halfpenny. Then he spake in private with Catharine her sister, and vanished, leaving a smell of brimstone behind!'—Turner's Remarkable Providences, folio, 1667, p. 28.
120. Vol. i., p. 36.
121. Holy War.
122. Vol. ii., p. 141.
123. Luther and Tyndale.
124. Vol. iii., p. 398.
125. Vol. i., p. 495.
126. Vol. iii., p. 398.
127. Vol. iii., p.190.
128. Vol. iii., p. 186.
129. Bunyan on Christian Behaviour, vol. ii., p. 550.
130. Vol. ii., p. 570.
131. Vol. ii., p. 585.
132. The Nineteenth Article.
133. The sufferings of the Episcopalians were severe; they drank the bitter cup which they had shortly before administered to the Puritans. Under suspicion of disloyalty to the Commonwealth, they were most unjustly compelled to swallow the Covenant as a religious test, or leave preaching and teaching. Their miseries were not to be compared with those of the Puritans. Laud was beheaded for treason, but none were put to death for nonconformity. It was an age when religious liberty was almost unknown. These sufferings were repaid by an awful retaliation and revenge, when Royalty and Episcopacy were restored.
134. Penn's Christian Quaker.
135. Folio, p. 417.
136. Vol. iii., p. 107.
137. Vol. iii., p. 765. The author of Bunyan's Life, published in 1690, dates his baptism 'about the year 1653.'
138. Life from his Cradle to his Grave, 1700.
139. September 21.
140. In the same year, and about the same period, Oliver Cromwell was made Lord Protector. Upon this coincidence, Mr. Carlisle uses the following remarkable language:—'Two common men thus elevated, putting their hats upon their heads, might exclaim, "God enable me to be king of what lies under this! For eternities lie under it, and infinities, and heaven also and hell! and it is as big as the universe, this kingdom; and I am to conquer it, or be for ever conquered by it. Now, WHILE IT IS CALLED TO-DAY!'"
141. In possession of the Society of Antiquities.
142. Vol. i., p. 39.
143. Vol. i., p. 20.
144. Reading and Preaching.
145. Not to wait for one another, each one to come in good time.
146. Alluding to Bunyan, or his co-pastor, Burton, or to both of them.
147. Bunyan was about twenty-seven years of age.
148. This letter was copied into the church records at the time: the original cannot be found. It was published with Ryland's Funeral Sermon on Symonds, 1788, and in Jukes' very interesting account of Bunyan's church, in 1849. The signature is copied from an original in the Milton State Papers, library of the Antiquarian Society.
149. Vol. i., p. 39.
150. Vol. i., p. 545.
151. Grace Abounding, No. 255, vol. i., p. 39.
152. Vol. i., p. 545.
153. Grace Abounding, No 255-259, vol. i., p. 39.
154. Vol. i., p. 40.
155. Vol. iii., p. 655.
156. Rogers on Trouble of Mind.
157. Grace Abounding, No. 260.
158. 1st edition, p. 355.
159. Vol. ii., p. 425.
160. Vol. i., p. 40.
161. Vol. i., p. 769.
162. Vol. i., p. 549.
163. Church Book, 1671.
164. This secrecy became needful after the Restoration, as noticed more fully afterwards, p. lix. During those years of persecution, a frequent place of resort was a dell in Wain-wood, about three miles from Hitchin. Of this locality the following notice will be acceptable:—On the 19th of May, 1853, a splendidly hot day, my pilgrimage to the shrines of Bunyan was continued at Hitchin and its vicinity, in company with S. B. Geard, Esq. Here it was my honour to shake hands with honest Edward Foster, whose grandfather often entertained and sheltered John Bunyan. So singular a case I had never met with, that three lives should connect, in a direct line, evidence of transactions which occurred at a distance of 190 years. His grandfather was born in 1642, and for many years was a friend and companion of the illustrious dreamer. In 1706, when he was sixty-four years of age, his youngest son was born, and in 1777, when that son was seventy-one years of age, his youngest son was born, and in 1853 he has the perfect use of limbs and faculties, and properly executes the important office of assistant overseer to his extensive parish. With such direct testimony, we visited the very romantic dell, where, in the still hours of midnight, the saints of God were wont to meet and unite in Divine worship. It is a most romantic dell, in Wain-wood, which crowns a hill about three miles from Hitchin. We had some difficulty in making our way through the underwood—crushing the beautiful hyacinths and primroses which covered the ground in the richest profusion, and near the top of the hill came suddenly upon this singular dell—a natural little eminence formed the pulpit, while the dell would hold under its shade at least a thousand people—and now I must give you the countryman's eloquent description of the meetings of his ancestors. "Here, under the canopy of heaven, with the rigour of winter's nipping frost, while the clouds, obscuring the moon, have discharged their flaky treasures, they often assembled while the highly-gifted and heavenly-minded Bunyan has broken to them the bread of life. The word of the Lord was precious in those days. And here over his devoted head, while uncovered in prayer, the pious matrons warded off the driving hail and snow, by holding a shawl over him by its four corners. In this devoted dell these plain unpolished husbandmen, like the ancient Waldenses, in the valleys of Piedmont, proved themselves firm defenders of the faith in its primitive purity, and of Divine worship in its primitive style."
Their horses on which they rode, from various parts, were sheltered in neighbouring friendly farms, while they, to avoid suspicion, ascended the hill by scarcely visible footpaths. Could fine weather be insured, it would form a lovely spot for a meeting to celebrate the third jubilee of religious toleration—there listen to a Bunyan of our age, and devise measures for religious equality. Then we might close the service by solemnly objuring every system which gave power to tyrannise over the rights of conscience. Here, as in other places where Bunyan founded churches, the cause of Christ hath spread. At Hitchin, in 1681, about thirty-five Christians united in the following covenant:—
'We who, through the mercy of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have obtained grace to give ourselves to the Lord, and one to another by the will of God, to have communion with one another, as saints in one gospel fellowship:—Do, before God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy angels, agree and promise to walk together in this one gospel communion and fellowship as a church of Jesus Christ, in love to the Lord and one to another, and endeavour to yield sincere and hearty obedience to the laws, ordinances, and appointments of our Lord and Lawgiver in his church. And also do agree and promise, the Lord assisting, to follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another, that so living and walking in love and peace, the God of love and peace may be with us. Amen.'
This was probably drawn by Bunyan, and so simple and comprehensive has it proved, that the church has flourished, and lately a spacious and handsome place of worship has been erected, to accommodate a thousand worshippers, at a cost of 3000, all paid for, with a surplus fund in hand for contingencies, of 500. In addition, there are also large and commodious chapels for the Independents, Wesleyans, and Quakers.
165. Christ a Complete Saviour, vol. i., p. 210.
166. Law and Grace, vol. i., pp. 549, 550.
167. Life of Bunyan, p. xiv.
168. Sighs, vol. iii., p. 712.
169. Gospel Truths, vol. ii., p. 178.
170. Like the Beef-eaters, or yeomen of the guard at the present day.
171. Journal, folio, 1694, p. 144. Is it surprising that the Quakers, at such a time, assumed their peculiar neatness of dress?
172. Vol. ii., p. 178, 566.
173. Grace Abounding, vol. i., p. 41.
174. Nehemiah Coxe is said to have been a descendant from Dr. Richard Coxe, preceptor to Edward VI, and Dean of Oxford. He fled from persecution under Mary, was a troubler of his brother refugees by his turbulent temper, and his attachment to superstitious ceremonies. On his return, he was made Bishop of Ely, and became a bitter persecutor. Benjamin Coxe, A.M., probably a son of the furious bishop, was as ardently fond of rites and ceremonies. He was cited to appear before Laud for denying the jure divino of bishops, and the poor bishop said, "God did so bless me that I gave him satisfaction." Mr. Coxe soon after came out as a Baptist, and having preached at Bedford, he settled in Coventry. Here he disputed with Mr. Baxter and the Presbyterians; and the Independents had him imprisoned for defending adult baptism (Crosby, History of Baptists, i. 354), a very short mode of settling the controversy. Probably Nehemiah Coxe was his son, settled at Bedford as a shoemaker. He was a learned man, and, when tried at Bedford assizes for preaching the gospel, he was indicted in the usual Norman-French, or Latin; and pleaded first in Greek, which the prosecutors not understanding, he pleaded in Hebrew, arguing, that as his indictment was in a foreign tongue, he was entitled to plead in any of the learned languages. The counsel being ignorant of those languages, and the judge glad to get rid of a vexatious indictment, dismissed him, saying to the counselors, 'Well, this cordwainer hath wound you all up, gentlemen.' This anecdote is handed down in a funeral sermon by T. Sutcliff, on the death of Symonds, one of the pastors of the church at Bedford.
Another of this little band that was set apart with Bunyan, became so useful a preacher as to have been honoured with a record in the annals of persecution in the reign of Charles II. John Fenn was on Lord's-day, May 15, 1670, committed to prison for preaching in his own house; and on Tuesday, all his goods and stock in trade were seized and carted away, leaving his family in the most desolate condition.
In the following week, Edward Isaac, a blacksmith, another of this little band, having been fined, had all his stock in trade, and even the anvil upon which he worked, seized and carted away.
Such were the severe trials which these excellent citizens were, with their families, called to pass through, by the tyranny of the church; but they were light, indeed, in comparison with those that awaited the amiable and pious Bunyan.
175. If Christians recollected with what anxiety their teachers prepared and delivered their sermons, how constant and prayerful would be their attendance on the means of grace.
176. Grace Abounding, vol. i., p. 42. The taunts and revilings of a poet laureate upon Bunyan's preaching and sufferings need only a passing notice. No words could be more vile and slanderous than those of Mr. Southey. He says, 'Peace might be on his lips, and zeal for the salvation of others in his heart, but he was certainly, at that time, no preacher of good will, nor of Christian charity.' How can we judge of a preacher's good will, but by 'peace on his lips?' and what is the criterion of Christian charity, except it be 'zeal for the salvation of others in his heart?'
177. Grace Abounding, No. 293, vol. i., p. 44.
178. Vol. i., p. 59. Eben. Chandler thus describes Bunyan: 'His wit was sharp and quick, his memory tenacious; it being customary with him to commit his sermons to writing after he had preached them.'—Chandler and Wilson's Preface to Bunyan's Works, folio, 1692. All these autographs have unaccountably disappeared.
179. Noticed in the life annexed to Pilgrim, Part III.
180. In the editor's library, folio, 1635. Orthography was little cared for in those days. On the beautiful portrait of Andrews, is the autograph of Annie Brokett hir Blook!
181. This document is copied on page xxvi.
182. See page lxxii.
183. Vol. ii., p. 132.
184. Vol. ii., p. 133.
185. Vol. ii., pp. 140, 141.
186. The American authors of a recent life of Burrough, (William and Thomas Evans, Philadelphia, republished by Gilpin, London, 1851), have given an unfair account of his controversy with Bunyan, drawn from Burrough's works in the shape of a supposed dialogue. Such a disputation can only be understood by reading both sides of the question. We unite with them in admiring the character of that young but noble martyr. They are, however, wrong in their conclusion that 'the meekness and gentleness of Christ softened and adorned his whole character.' He was one of those that are called in the Holy War, 'rough hewn men fit to break the ice.' Vol. iii. p. 270
187. Vol. ii., p. 201.
188. P. 16.
189. It is difficult to describe the state of those times. James Naylor rode into Bristol, a multitude accompanying him, strewing their scarfs, handkerchiefs, and garments on the ground for his horse to tread on, and singing, Hosanna in the highest; holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Israel. He was addressed as the everlasting son of righteousness, and prince of peace. His brain was bewildered with adulation. Women kissed his feet, and called him Jesus the Son of God. To stop the tumult, he was apprehended, and had he been simply subjected to the discipline of a mad-house, like Mr. Brothers of a later period, his blood would soon have recovered from its agitation. Instead of this, a grand parade was made by trying him before a Committee of the House of Commons, and, upon a report of the whole house, he was convicted of 'horrid blasphemy,' and it was by the small majority of fourteen that his life was spared. His cruel sentence was whipping, pillory, his tongue bored through with a red hot iron, a large letter B burnt into his forehead, and to be imprisoned during the pleasure of Parliament. By his followers he was considered a martyr; but the infatuation soon subsided. After his release, he was mercifully restored to his senses, and became a useful Quaker.
190. These commissioners were called 'triers,' and, being high Calvinists, were nick-named Dr. Absolute, chairman, Mr. Fatality, Mr. Fri-babe, Mr. Dam-man, Mr. Narrow-grace, Mr. Indefectible, Mr. Dubious, and others. They turned out of their livings those clergymen who were proved to be immoral in their conduct, and others who did not come up to the orthodox standard. Of these, Mr. Walker, in his account of the sufferings of the clergy, gives a long list.
191. This Act or ordinance of Parliament involved some of our excellent ancestors in trouble. Hansard Knollys, Wm. Kiffin, Mr. Lamb, and many others, were imprisoned for short periods; Edward Barbour for eleven months. To avoid the informers, adult baptism was performed at midnight; for this Henry Denne suffered imprisonment. That gracious and valuable minister, Vavasor Powel also suffered a short imprisonment during the Protectorate; his life was afterwards sacrificed by a tedious imprisonment in the following reign. He was taken, with his flock, at a midnight meeting; and for safe custody they were locked up in the parish church, and there he preached without molestation. When conveyed to the justice's house, while waiting his worship's leisure, he again preached. When this magistrate arrived, he was violently enraged that his house should have been turned into a conventicle. He would have committed them at once to prison, but two of his daughters were so affected with the sermon, that, at their intercession, after severe threatenings, the preacher and his friends were set at liberty.
192. From the original, in the editor's possession.
193. Cotton Mather says that these laws were never carried to extremity, and were soon laid entirely by. Hist. of America.
194. Jukes' History of Bunyan's Church, p. 16.
195. Works, vol. iii., p. 667; especially pp. 672, 673.
196. No. 280-317, vol. i., p. 42-46.
197. Life and Death of Mr. J. Bunyan, 1700, p. 27.
198. Vol. iii., p. 767.
199. Grace Abounding, vol. i., p. 46.
200. See Note, vol. i., p. 45.
201. 4tp. London, 1659. A MS copy is in the editor's possession.
202. Vol. i., p. 683.
203. Vol. iii., p. 445.
204. Vol. iii., p. 48.
205. Vol. ii., p. 635.
206. Vol. iii., p. 680.
207. See postscript to The True Faith of the Gospel of Peace, British Museum.
208. Vol. ii., p. 201.
209. Vol. i., p. 46.
210. Macaulay's History of England, vol. i.
211. Life of Badman.
212. Penn's England's Interest, 4to, 1676, p. 2.
213. Vol. ii., p. 593.
214. Vol. i., p. 51.
215. Vol. i., p. 51.
216. This very interesting Memoir was published by the Society of Friends, 1825.
217. Case and Opinion, under the head 'Conventicles,' British Museum. There is also a rare Tract, to prove that the Persecuting Acts expired Oct. 24th, 1670.
218. Vol. i., p. 54. How unspeakable the mercy, that the persecutor cannot plunge his implements of torture into the spirit, nor prevent its intercourse with heaven!
A very deeply interesting narrative of all the particulars of this examination and form of trial, was recorded by the sufferer. See vol. i., p. 50.
219. There were three prisons in Bedford—the county jail, the bridewell, and the tower jail. No decisive evidence has been discovered as to which prison Bunyan was committed. Two views of the bridge and prison are given in the plate at p. 63, vol. i.
220. Howard's Account of Lazarettos, &c. 4to, 1789, p. 150.
221. Elstow is a perpetual curacy or vicarage, worth at that time only 35 per annum! forming one of the discreditable anomalies of the church, in the division of its immense revenues.
222. He has favoured us with the following description of it:—'The ring is of fine gold, very like in colour to that which has been brought into this country from California. The head is, I think, engraven, but the letters have not that sharpness about them which indicates the engraving tool; and the I. B. are undoubted indents made after the ring was finished.' It is not the usual emblem of a mourning gift, for that would have the cross-bones under the skull; it was more probably given as a special mark of esteem. Three things are certain—1st, That it so valuable a gift excited the poor man's pride, its loss must have been a serious annoyance to one whose family was dependent upon his daily labour. 2d, His preaching talent must have been highly appreciated, before he was known as the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, to have brought him so valuable a token of respect. But the most pleasing and remarkable reflection, is the surprising progress of good-will among men of various denominations, that a ring, worn by a despised and persecuted Nonconformist of a former age, is now highly prized and worn, from respect to his memory, by a dignified clergyman of the Established church.
223. This was not his only ring; he left, inter alia, all his rings to his wife. See. p. lxxii.
224. After he had lain in jail five or six days, an application was made to a liberal justice at Elstow, named Crumpton, to release him on bail; but he declined, fearing to give offence. He, however, so felt for this persecuted servant of Christ, as to sell him an edifice and barn, which, upon his release, was converted into a large meeting-house.
225. Vol. ii., p. 107.
226. Vol. iii., p. 341, 366.
227. From his autograph, in the editor's possession, he spelt his name John Keling.
228. Lord Campbell's lives of the Chief Justices.
229. Vol. i., p. 57. This forcibly reminds us of Greatheart's reply to Giant Maul—'I am a servant of the God of heaven; my business is to persuade sinners to repentance; if to prevent this be thy quarrel, let us fall to it as soon as thou wilt,' vol. iii., p. 210. Southey attempts to vindicate the justices in condemning Bunyan, and grossly mis-states the facts; deeming him to be unreasonable and intolerant; that preaching was incompatible with his calling, and that he ought not to have sacrificed his liberty in such a cause! The poet-laureate makes these assertions, knowing the vast benefits which sprung from the determined piety and honesty of the persecuted preacher. Would not By-ends, Facing-both-ways, and Save-all, have jumped to the same conclusion?
230. Vol. i., p. 56.
231. Every Christian should read the appalling account of these sufferings, recently published under the title of Ladies of the Covenant.
232. Vol. iii., p. 17.
233. History of Baptists, vol. ii., p. 172. Robinson was a nephew of Archbishop Laud, and appeared to inherit his evil spirit.
234. Wilson's History of Dissenting Churches, and the Trial of Rosewell.
235. Vol. i., p. 198; and Grace Abounding, No. 326.
236. Vol. i., p. 48.
237. Baptized at Elstow, July 20, 1650.
238. Vol. i., p. 168.
239. Vol. ii., p. 279.
240. Vol. ii., p. 733.
241. Vol. i., p. 60.
242. The cut, copied from an old drawing of the house taken before its entire demotion, at the end of last century, exhibits its quaint characteristics. The bridge foot is to the spectator's right; the church tower behind is that of St. Mary's, also seen in our view of the jail, which would, of course, be seen from the bow-windows of the old inn, in which the Judges met.
243. Vol. i., p. 60.
244. Lectures on the Pilgrim's Progress.
245. This valuable set of books came into the possession of my old friend Mr. Wontner, of the Minories, London; it descended at his decease, to his widow, who resided on Camberwell Green, and from her to a daughter, married to Mr. Parnel, an orange merchant in Botolph Lane. He was tempted to sell it to Mr. Bohn, the bookseller, from whom it was bought for the Bedford library.
246. Charles Doe in Heavenly Footman, 2d edition, 1700.
247. Introduction to the Pilgrim, vol. iii., p. 6, 7.
248. Psalmody Edit., 1775, p. 137. George Whitefield, in recommending the works of Bunyan, says, 'Ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross; the Spirit of Christ and of glory shall rest upon them' [Preface to Bunyan's Works, 1767]. Admiring the courage and honesty of Bunyan, when alluding to the Prayer-Book, we earnestly unite in his petition—'The Lord in mercy turn the hearts of his people, to seek more after the Spirit of prayer, and, in the strength of that, to pour out their souls before the Lord.'
249. This was published in 1698.
250. Heavenly Footman, 2d edition, 1700, p. 126.
251. Vol. iii., p. 397, 398.
252. This deeply interesting book is dedicated to four sorts of readers—the godly, the learned, the captious, and to the mother of harlots. To her he says, 'I have nothing here to please your wanton eye, or voluptuous palate; no paint for thy wrinkled face, nor crutch to support thy tottering kingdom.' It is a very amusing preface.
253. Vol. iii., p. 610.
254. Vol. i., p. 4.
255. Author's Apology for the Pilgrim.
256. Vol. i., p. 602.
257. Vol. iii., p. 7.
258. Grace Abounding, No. 322.
259. Vol. i., p. 65.
260. Vol. i., p. 741.
261. This jug is in possession of Mrs. Hillyard, widow of the late Mr. Hillyard, who was minister of the chapel for fifty years, and died in 1839. One tradition says the jug was used as noted in the text; another that his broth was brought to 'chapel' in it, for his Sunday dinner, in the vestry.
262. Vol. ii., p. 737-739.
263. 2 Cor 1:5; vol. ii., p. 735.
264. Vol. ii., p. 700.
265. Vol. i., p. 47.
266. Vol. i., p. 278; and vol. iii., p. 13.
267. Vol. ii., p. 593.
268. Vol. ii., p. 594.—Heroic man! British Christians are most deeply indebted to thee, and thy fellow-sufferers, for the high privileges they now enjoy. May thy name be had in everlasting remembrance.
269. Vol. i., p. 62.
270. It has been doubted whether he was justified in thus making excursions from the prison. This may be answered by the question—Was Peter justified in leaving the prison, and going to the prayer-meeting at Mary's house? Acts 12:7-19.
271. Vol. iii., p. 19.
273. For an accurate copy of this declaration, see vol. iii., p. 21.
274. The ecclesiastical year commenced in March. The tenth month means December.
275. For a copy of these licenses, see vol. iii., p. 24.
276. 4to, vol. vii., p. 75.
277. I am greatly indebted to J. P. Brown, Esq., James Street, Islington, for directing my attention to these letters.
278. Vol. iii., pp. 21-29.
279. Vol. iii., p. 27.
280. Vol. i., p. 47; No. 319.
281. Jukes' History of Bunyan's Church, p. 24.
282. Continuation of Life to Grace Abounding.
283. It is generally believed at Bedford, that, after Bunyan was imprisoned, his family removed from Elstow to Bedford, in order that they might have more frequent access to him; and that, on his release, he made his abode there. His humble dwelling was much like that of his father at Elstow, most unassuming; just such a cottage as a poor wounded sinner would feel at home in when visiting his pastor for advice. The late Rev. J. Geard, of Hitchin, in his Diary, says—'July 17, 1774. I preached, for the first time, at Bedford, to the successors of good Mr. Bunyan's congregation, and the next day called at the house where he used to live, and went into the room that tradition reported was his study. This house, though it had been the habitation of so truly great a man, was now let for about 40s. per annum.' Allowing for the difference in the value of money, Bunyan would have now paid 16s. a-year rent for his humble abode. It will be always matter of regret, that it was not purchased and preserved by the members of the 'Old Meeting,' when it was offered them before its destruction; we procured, however, a drawing of it, which is here engraved. The cottage was in the parish of St. Cuthbert, in the street opposite the meeting-house, and here Bunyan lived, while he was pastor, from 1681 to 1688.
284. Pilgrim, vol. iii., p. 198.
285. Vol. ii., p. 649.
286. Vol. ii., p. 538.
287. Vol. ii., p. 219.
288. Vol. i., p. 757.
289. Vol. ii., 649.
290. Vol. ii., p. 638.
291. Vol. ii., p. 641.
292. Vol. iii., p. 758.
293. Christian Church, 8vo, 1747, p. 280.
294. The General Doctrine of Toleration, applied to Free Communion, p. 8. George Whitefield most warmly approved the communion of all God's saints with each other. This, I must own, more particularly endears Mr. Bunyan to my heart. He was of a catholic spirit. The want of water (adult baptism), with this man of God, was no bar to outward Christian communion. And I am persuaded that if, like him, we were more deeply and experimentally baptized into the benign and gracious influences of the blessed Spirit, we should be less baptized into the waters of strife about circumstantials and non-essentials. For being thereby rooted and grounded in the love of God, we should necessarily be constrained to think and let think, bear with and forbear one another in love, and without saying, I am of Paul, Apollos, or Cephas; have but one grand, laudable, disinterested strife, namely, who should live, preach, and exalt the ever-loving, altogether-lovely Jesus most.
295. Vol. iii., p. 398.
296. He hesitated as to the propriety of publishing it, probably from the influence of the weighty opinion of Martin Luther. 'The people are greatly delighted with allegories and similitudes, and therefore Christ oftentimes useth them; for they are, as it were, certain pictures which set forth things as if they were painted before our eyes. Paul was a marvelous cunning workman in handling allegories, but Origen and Jerome turn plain Scriptures into unfit and foolish allegories. Therefore, to use allegories, it is oftentimes a very dangerous thing' [Com. on Gal. iv. 21]. Such instructions, from one he so much venerated, curbed his exuberant imagination, and made him doubly watchful, lest allegorizing upon subjects of such vast importance might 'darken counsel by words without knowledge.'
297. Vol. iii., p. 739.
298. Even Dean Swift, in his popular Letter to a Young Divine, says, 'I have been better entertained, and more informed by a few pages in the Pilgrim's Progress, than by a long discourse upon the will and the intellect, and simple and complex ideas.' Nothing short of extraordinary merit could have called for such a eulogy from so severe a critic.
299. Vol. iii., p. 166.
300. Within the Editor's memory, polished writers hesitated to name our incomparable allegorist, on account of his humble name and education. Thus Cowper sang—
'I name thee not, lest so despised a name Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame.'
Now nearly all men find it difficult to do that name sufficient honour. One of the most splendid steam-ships in America is called after his name. A magnificent ship, for the China trade, was built at Aberdeen by Walter Hood & Co., which so swiftly traversed the ocean as to have made the voyage from Canton to London in ninety-nine days, without any aid from steam. This beautiful and grand specimen of the perfection of naval architecture is named The John Bunyan. Roman Catholics have printed large editions of the Pilgrim, with slight omissions, for circulation among the young under the care of the nuns. Our English fanatics have committed a crime that would make a papist blush. A Rev. E. Neale has clumsily altered the Pilgrim's Progress, that Bunyan might appear to teach the things which Bunyan's righteous heaven-born soul abhorred. It is a piece of matchless self-conceit to think of mending that which has been admired by the wisest of the human race in all nations, and which has obtained an unbounded popularity. Such an attempt to alter it is an acknowledgment that all the boasted power of Oxford, Exeter, and Rome, are unable to invent a tale to supersede the matchless beauties of the work of our spiritually-minded, heavenly-assisted brazier. If Mr. Neale should, at any time, alter a deed and the punishment for that felony is transportation for life. A similar forgery was committed in a recent London edition of Dr. Cheever's Hill Difficulty. The Tractarians, doubtless, commit these scandalous outrages upon the Fathers, and all other writers, and deserve the contempt of every honest, upright mind.
301. Vol. i., p. 473.
302. Vol. i., p. 480.
303. Two views of this meeting-house, an exterior and interior, after its conversion into a workshop, are given in the Plate facing page i. of this Memoir. In the interior, part of the beams and pillars that supported the gallery still remain.
304. Toplady's Works, vol. iv., p. 463.
305. Vol. iii., p. 637.
306. One of his anecdotes is remarkable, as exhibiting the state of medical knowledge in his neighbourhood. A poor wretch, who had taught his son to blaspheme, was affected with a nervous twisting of the muscles of his chest. This was supposed to arise from a Satanic possession. One Freeman, a more than ordinary doctor, attempted the cure. They bound the patient to a form, with his head hanging down over the end; set a pan of coals under his mouth, and put something therein that made a great smoke, to fetch out the devil. There they kept the man till he was almost smothered, but no devil came out of him [Vol. iii., p. 605]. The death-bed scene of the broken-hearted Mrs. Badman, is delicately and beautifully drawn.
307. Sutcliff's History of Bunyan's Church.
308. Vol. iii., p. 245.
309. A beautiful satire is contained in the account of the traitors—tradition, human wisdom, and man's invention. This picture is drawn by an inimitable artist. Nor have we seen anything more admirably adapted to the present state of our Tractarian times. Vol. iii. 277.
310. Vol. i., p. 22, No. 128.
311. Vol. ii., p. 574.
312. Life, 1692.
313. Grace Abounding (continued), vol. i., p. 63, and Life, 1692.
314. Vol. i., p. 505.
315. Vol. i., p. 719.
316. Vol. i., p. 753.
317. Some of the wax remains, but the coin is lost.
318. Vol. iii., p. 763.
319. Vol. i., p. 81.
320. Mr. Philip, Critique on Bunyan, p. vi. and xvi.
321. Vol. ii., p. 425.
322. Vol. iii., p. 766.
323. Grace Abounding, 1692.
324. No. 25, E.; 26, W.; 26, N.; 27, S.
325. As matters of curious interest to all lovers of Bunyan, we insert, in the accompanying page, engravings of these relics, from drawings by Mr. Edward Offor.
326. The chair is engraved above, and it will be seen that it has suffered some little dilapidation since the last published engraving of it. The legs have been cut down to suit the height of one of his successors in the ministry!! With regard to the pulpit, an old resident in Bedford says—The celebrated John Howard presented a new pulpit in the room of the old one, which was cut up. Of part of the wood a table was made, which now belongs to Mrs. Hillyerd.
327. Vol. iii., p. 297.
328. Vol. i., p. 714.
329. Vol. i., p. 686.
330. Vol. i., pp. 690, 691.
331. Vol. ii., p. 261.
332. Vol. iii., p. 748.
333. It is noticed, in a letter to the Secretary for Ireland, dated September 6, 1688—'On teusday last died the Lord Mayor Sir J. Shorter. A few days before died Bunnian his lordship's teacher or chaplain a man said to be gifted that way though once a cobler' [Ellis's Cor., vol. ii., p. 161]. We can excuse the sarcasm of a Roman Catholic, and with equal good nature, and more truth, remark, that the great and eminent pope, Sixtus V., was once a swineherd—not a bad school in which to study how to keep up a despotic sway over the Papacy.
334. Vol. iii., p. 308.
335. Law and Grace, marg., vol. i., p. 524.
336. Vol. ii., p. 651.
337. Vol. i., pp. 634, 635.
338. Vol. ii., p. 653.
339. Vol. i., p. 647.
340. Vol. ii., p. 15.
341. Vol. ii., p. 497.
342. Vol. iii., p. 251.
343. Emblem xiv., vol. iii., p. 751.
344. Christ is made known by the sufferings of his saints, vol. ii., p. 701, and note.
345. Vol. iii., p. 751, and note.
346. Vol. iii., p. 595.
347. Vol. ii., p. 22.
348. Vol. ii., p. 257.
349. Works, folio, 1693.