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Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan

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5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.


When, by the good hand of my God, I had for five or six years
together, without any interruption, freely preached the blessed
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and had also, through His blessed
grace, some encouragement by His blessing thereupon; the devil,
that old enemy of man's salvation, took his opportunity to inflame
the hearts of his vassals against me, insomuch that at the last, I
was laid out for by the warrant of a justice, and was taken and
committed to prison. The relation thereof is as followeth:-

Upon the 12th of this instant, November 1660, I was desired by some
of the friends in the country to come to teach at Samsell, by
Harlington, in Bedfordshire. To whom I made a promise, if the Lord
permitted, to be with them on the time aforesaid. The justice
hearing thereof (whose name is Mr Francis Wingate), forthwith
issued out his warrant to take me, and bring me before him, and in
the meantime to keep a very strong watch about the house where the
meeting should be kept, as if we that were to meet together in that
place did intend to do some fearful business, to the destruction of
the country; when alas! the constable, when he came in, found us
only with our Bibles in our hands, ready to speak and hear the word
of God; for we were just about to begin our exercise. Nay, we had
begun in prayer for the blessing of God upon our opportunity,
intending to have preached the word of the Lord unto them there
present: but the constable coming in prevented us. So I was taken
and forced to depart the room. But had I been minded to have
played the coward, I could have escaped and kept out of his hands.
For when I was come to my friend's house, there was whispering that
that day I should be taken, for there was a warrant out to take me;
which when my friend heard, he being somewhat timorous, questioned
whether we had best have our meeting or not; and whether it might
not be better for me to depart, lest they should take me and have
me before the justice, and after that send me to prison (for he
knew better than I what spirit they were of, living by them): to
whom I said, No, by no means, I will not stir, neither will I have
the meeting dismissed for this. Come, be of good cheer; let us not
be daunted; our cause is good, we need not be ashamed of it; to
preach God's Word, is so good a work, that we shall be well
rewarded, if we suffer for that; or to this purpose--(But as for my
friend, I think he was more afraid of me, than of himself.) After
this I walked into the close, where I somewhat seriously
considering the matter, this came into my mind, That I had showed
myself hearty and courageous in my preaching, and had, blessed be
grace, made it my business to encourage others; therefore thought
I, if I should now run, and make an escape, it will be of a very
ill savour in the country. For what will my weak and newly-
converted brethren think of it, but that I was not so strong in
deed as I was in word? Also I feared that if I should run now
there was a warrant out for me, I might by so doing make them
afraid to stand, when great words only should be spoken to them.
Besides I thought, that seeing God of His mercy should choose me to
go upon the forlorn hope in this country; that is, to be the first,
that should be opposed, for the gospel; if I should fly, it might
be a discouragement to the whole body that might follow after. And
further, I thought the world thereby would take occasion at my
cowardliness, to have blasphemed the gospel, and to have had some
ground to suspect worse of me and my profession, than I deserved.
These things with others considered by me, I came in again to the
house, with a full resolution to keep the meeting, and not to go
away, though I could have been gone about an hour before the
officer apprehended me; but I would not; for I was resolved to see
the utmost of what they could say or do unto me. For blessed be
the Lord, I knew of no evil that I had said or done. And so, as
aforesaid, I begun the meeting. But being prevented by the
constable's coming in with his warrant to take me, I could not
proceed. But before I went away, I spake some few words of counsel
and encouragement to the people, declaring to them, that they saw
we were prevented of our opportunity to speak and hear the Word of
God, and were like to suffer for the same; desiring them that they
would not be discouraged, for it was a mercy to suffer upon so good
account. For we might have been apprehended as thieves or
murderers, or for other wickedness; but blessed be God it was not
so, but we suffer as Christians for well doing: and we had better
be the persecuted, than the persecutors, etc. But the constable
and the justice's man waiting on us, would not be at quiet till
they had me away and that we departed the house. But because the
justice was not at home that day, there was a friend of mine
engaged for me to bring me to the constable on the morrow morning.
Otherwise the constable must have charged a watch with me, or have
secured me some other way, my crime was so great. So on the next
morning we went to the constable, and so to the justice. He asked
the constable what we did, where we was met together, and what we
had with us? I trow, he meant whether we had armour or not; but
when the constable told him that there were only met a few of us
together to preach and hear the Word, and no sign of anything else,
he could not well tell what to say: yet because he had sent for
me, he did adventure to put out a few proposals to me, which were
to this effect, namely, What I did there? And why I did not
content myself with following my calling? for it was against the
law, that such as I should be admitted to do as I did.

John Bunyan. To which I answered, That the intent of my coming
thither, and to other places, was to instruct, and counsel people
to forsake their sins, and close in with Christ, lest they did
miserably perish; and that I could do both these without confusion
(to wit), follow my calling, and preach the Word also.

At which words, he was in a chafe, as it appeared; for he said that
he would break the neck of our meetings.

Bun. I said, It may be so. Then he wished me to get sureties to
be bound for me, or else he would send me to the jail.

My sureties being ready, I called them in, and when the bond for my
appearance was made, he told them, that they was bound to keep me
from preaching; and that if I did preach, their bonds would be
forfeited. To which I answered, that then I should break them; for
I should not leave speaking the Word of God: even to counsel,
comfort, exhort, and teach the people among whom I came; and I
thought this to be a work that had no hurt in it: but was rather
worthy of commendation, than blame.

Wingate. Whereat he told me, that if they would not be so bound,
my mittimus must be made, and I sent to the jail, there to lie to
the quarter sessions.

Now while my mittimus was making, the justice was withdrawn; and in
comes an old enemy to the truth, Dr Lindale, who, when he was come
in, fell to taunting at me with many reviling terms.

Bun. To whom I answered, that I did not come thither to talk with
him, but with the justice. Whereat he supposed that I had nothing
to say for myself, and triumphed as if he had got the victory;
charging and condemning me for meddling with that for which I could
show no warrant; and asked me, if I had taken the oaths? and if I
had not, it was pity but that I should be sent to prison, etc.

I told him, that if I was minded, I could answer to any sober
question that he should put to me. He then urged me again, how I
could prove it lawful for me to preach, with a great deal of
confidence of the victory.

But at last, because he should see that I could answer him if I
listed, I cited to him that verse in Peter, which saith, every man
hath received the gift, even so let him minister the same, etc.

Lind. Aye, saith he, to whom is that spoken?

Bun. To whom, said I, why to every man that hath received a gift
from God. Mark, saith the apostle, As every man that hath received
a gift from God, etc.; and again, You may all prophesy one by one.
Whereat the man was a little stopt, and went a softlier pace: but
not being willing to lose the day, he began again, and said:-

Lind. Indeed, I do remember that I have read of one Alexander a
coppersmith, who did much oppose, and disturb the apostles;--
(aiming it is like at me, because I was a tinker).

Bun. To which I answered, that I also had read of very many
priests and pharisees, that had their hands in the blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ.

Lind. Aye, saith he, and you are one of those scribes and
pharisees: for you, with a pretence, make long prayers to devour
widows' houses.

Bun. I answered, that if he had got no more by preaching and
praying than I had done, he would not be so rich as now he was.
But that scripture coming into my mind, Answer not a fool according
to his folly, I was as sparing of my speech as I could, without
prejudice to truth.

Now by this time my mittimus was made, and I committed to the
constable, to be sent to the jail in Bedford, etc.

But as I was going, two of my brethren met with me by the way, and
desired the constable to stay, supposing that they should prevail
with the justice, through the favour of a pretended friend, to let
me go at liberty. So we did stay, while they went to the justice;
and after much discourse with him, it came to this: that if I
would come to him again, and say some certain words to him, I
should be released. Which when they told me, I said if the words
was such that might be said with a good conscience, I should or
else I should not. So through their importunity went back again,
but not believing that I should be delivered: for I feared their
spirit was too full of opposition to the truth to let me go, unless
I should, in something or other, dishonour my God and wound my
conscience. Wherefore, as I went, I lifted up my heart to God, for
light and strength to be kept, that I might not do any thing that
might either dishonour Him, or wrong my own soul, or be a grief or
discouragement to any that was inclining after the Lord Jesus

Well, when I came to the justice again, there was Mr Foster of
Bedford, who, coming out of another room, and seeing me by the
light of the candle (for it was dark night when I went thither), he
said unto me, Who is there? John Bunyan? with such seeming
affection, as if he would have leaped on my neck and kissed me,
which made me somewhat wonder, that such a man as he, with whom I
had so little acquaintance, and, besides, that had ever been a
close opposer of the ways of God, should carry himself so full of
love to me; but, afterwards, when I saw what he did, it caused me
to remember those sayings, Their tongues are smoother than oil, but
their words are drawn swords. And again, Beware of men, etc.
When I had answered him, that blessed be God, I was well; he said,
What is the occasion of your being here? or to that purpose. To
whom I answered, that I was at a meeting of people a little way
off, intending to speak a word of exhortation to them; the justice
hearing thereof, said I, was pleased to send his warrant to fetch
me before him, etc.

Fost. So (said he), I understand: but well, if you will promise
to call the people no more together, you shall have your liberty to
go home; for my brother is very loath to send you to prison, if you
will be but ruled.

Bun. Sir (said I), pray what do you mean by calling the people
together? my business is not anything among them, when they are
come together, but to exhort them to look after the salvation of
their souls, that they may be saved, etc.

Fost. Saith he, We must not enter into explication, or dispute
now; but if you will say you will call the people no more together,
you may have your liberty; if not, you must be sent away to prison.

Bun. Sir, said I, I shall not force or compel any man to hear me;
but yet, if I come into any place where there is a people met
together, I should, according to the best of my skill and wisdom,
exhort and counsel them to seek out after the Lord Jesus Christ,
for the salvation of their souls.

Fost. He said, That was none of my work; I must follow my calling;
and if I would but leave off preaching, and follow my calling, I
should have the justice's favour, and be acquitted presently.

Bun. To whom I said, that I could follow my calling, and that too,
namely, preaching the Word: and I did look upon it as my duty to
do them both, as I had an opportunity.

Fost. He said, To have any such meetings was against the law; and,
therefore, he would have me leave off, and say, I would call the
people no more together.

Bun. To whom I said, that I durst not make any further promise;
for my conscience would not suffer me to do it. And again, I did
look upon it as my duty to do as much good as I could, not only in
my trade, but also in communicating to all people wheresoever I
came the best knowledge I had in the Word.

Fost. He told me that I was the nearest the Papists of any, and
that he would convince me of immediately.

Bun. I asked him, Wherein?

Fost. He said, In that we understood the Scriptures literally.

Bun. I told him that those that were to be understood literally,
we understood them so; but for those that was to be understood
otherwise, we endeavoured so to understand them.

Fost. He said, Which of the Scriptures do you understand

Bun. I said this, He that believes shall be saved. This was to be
understood just as it is spoken; that whosoever believeth in Christ
shall, according to the plain and simple words of the text, be

Fost. He said that I was ignorant, and did not understand the
Scriptures; for how, said he, can you understand them when you know
not the original Greek? etc.

Bun. To whom I said, that if that was his opinion, that none could
understand the Scriptures but those that had the original Greek,
etc., then but a very few of the poorest sort should be saved (this
is harsh); yet the Scripture saith, That God hides these things
from the wise and prudent (that is, from the learned of the world),
and reveals them to babes and sucklings.

Fost. He said there were none that heard me but a company of
foolish people.

Bun. I told him that there was the wise as well as the foolish
that do hear me; and again, those that were most commonly counted
foolish by the world are the wisest before God; also, that God had
rejected the wise, and mighty, and noble, and chosen the foolish,
and the base.

Fost. He told me that I made people neglect their calling; and
that God had commanded people to work six days, and serve Him on
the seventh.

Bun. I told him that it was the duty of people, (both rich and
poor), to look out for their souls on them days as well as for
their bodies; and that God would have His people exhort one another
daily, while it is called to-day.

Fost. He said again that there were none but a company of poor,
simple, ignorant people that come to hear me.

Bun. I told him that the foolish and the ignorant had most need of
teaching and information; and, therefore, it would be profitable
for me to go on in that work.

Fost. Well, said he, to conclude, but will you promise that you
will not call the people together any more? and then you may be
released and go home.

Bun. I told him that I durst say no more than I had said; for I
durst not leave off that work which God had called me to.

So he withdrew from me, and then came several of the justice's
servants to me, and told me that I stood so much upon a nicety.
Their master, they said, was willing to let me go; and if I would
but say I would call the people no more together, I might have my
liberty, etc.

Bun. I told them there were more ways than one in which a man
might be said to call the people together. As for instance, if a
man get upon the market-place, and there read a book, or the like,
though he do not say to the people, Sirs, come hither and hear; yet
if they come to him because he reads, he, by his very reading, may
be said to call them together; because they would not have been
there to hear if he had not been there to read. And seeing this
might be termed a calling the people together; I durst not say, I
would not call them together; for then, by the same argument, my
preaching might be said to call them together.

Wing. and Fost. Then came the justice and Mr Foster to me again;
(we had a little more discourse about preaching, but because the
method of it is out of my mind, I pass it); and when they saw that
I was at a point, and would not be moved nor persuaded, Mr Foster,
the man that did at first express so much love to me, told the
justice that then he must send me away to prison. And that he
would do well, also, if he would present all those that were the
cause of my coming among them to meetings. Thus we parted.

And, verily, as I was going forth of the doors, I had much ado to
forbear saying to them that I carried the peace of God along with
me; but I held my peace, and, blessed be the Lord, went away to
prison, with God's comfort in my poor soul.

After I had lain in the jail five or six days, the brethren sought
means, again, to get me out by bondsmen; (for so ran my mittimus,
that I should lie there till I could find sureties). They went to
a justice at Elstow, one Mr Crumpton, to desire him to take bond
for my appearing at the quarter sessions. At the first he told
them he would; but afterwards he made a demur at the business, and
desired first to see my mittimus, which ran to this purpose: That
I went about to several conventicles in the county, to the great
disparagement of the government of the church of England, etc.
When he had seen it, he said that there might be something more
against me than was expressed in my mittimus; and that he was but a
young man, therefore he durst not do it. This my jailor told me;
and, whereat I was not at all daunted but rather glad, and saw
evidently that the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the
justice, I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at
liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if
not, His will be done; for I was not altogether without hopes but
that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in the
country, therefore I could not tell well which to choose; only I,
in that manner, did commit the thing to God. And verily, at my
return, I did meet my God sweetly in the prison again, comforting
of me and satisfying of me that it was His will and mind that I
should be there.

When I came back again to prison, as I was musing at the slender
answer of the justice, this word dropt in upon my heart with some
life, For He knew that for envy they had delivered Him.

Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my being
in prison; where I lie waiting the good will of God, to do with me
as He pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to
the ground without the will of my Father, which is in heaven. Let
the rage and malice of men be never so great, they can do no more,
nor go any further, than God permits them; but when they have done
their worst, We know all things shall work together for good to
them that love God.


Here is the Sum of my Examination before Justice KEELIN, Justice
CHESTER, Justice BLUNDALE, Justice BEECHER, Justice SNAGG, etc.

After I had lain in prison above seven weeks, the quarter-sessions
were to be kept in Bedford, for the county thereof, unto which I
was to be brought; and when my jailor had set me before those
justices, there was a bill of indictment preferred against me. The
extent thereof was as followeth: That John Bunyan, of the town of
Bedford, labourer, being a person of such and such conditions, he
hath (since such a time) devilishly and perniciously abstained from
coming to church to hear Divine service, and is a common upholder
of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great
disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom,
contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord the King, etc.

The Clerk. When this was read, the clerk of the sessions said unto
me, What say you to this?

Bun. I said, that as to the first part of it, I was a common
frequenter of the Church of God. And was also, by grace, a member
with the people, over whom Christ is the Head.

Keelin. But, saith Justice Keelin (who was the judge in that
court), do you come to church (you know what I mean); to the parish
church, to hear Divine service?

Bun. I answered, No, I did not.

Keel. He asked me, Why?

Bun. I said, Because I did not find it commanded in the Word of

Keel. He said, We were commanded to pray.

Bun. I said, But not by the Common Prayer-Book.

Keel. He said, How then?

Bun. I said, With the Spirit. As the apostle saith, I will pray
with the Spirit, and with the understanding. 1 Cor. xiv. 15.

Keel. He said, We might pray with the Spirit, and with the
understanding, and with the Common Prayer-Book also.

Bun. I said, that the prayers in the Common Prayer-Book were such
as was made by other men, and not by the motions of the Holy Ghost,
within our hearts; and as I said, the apostle saith, he will pray
with the Spirit, and with the understanding; not with the Spirit
and the Common Prayer-Book.

Another Justice. What do you count prayer? Do you think it is to
say a few words over before or among a people?

Bun. I said, No, not so; for men might have many elegant, or
excellent words, and yet not pray at all; but when a man prayeth,
he doth, through a sense of those things which he wants (which
sense is begotten by the Spirit), pour out his heart before God
through Christ; though his words be not so many and so excellent as
others are.

Justices. They said, That was true.

Bun. I said, This might be done without the Common Prayer-Book.

Another. One of them said (I think it was Justice Blundale, or
Justice Snagg), How should we know that you do not write out your
prayers first, and then read them afterwards to the people? This
he spake in a laughing way.

Bun. I said, it is not our use, to take a pen and paper, and write
a few words thereon, and then go and read it over to a company of

But how should we know it, said he?

Bun. Sir, it is none of our custom, said I.

Keel. But said Justice Keelin, It is lawful to use the Common
Prayer, and such like forms: for Christ taught His disciples to
pray, as John also taught his disciples. And further, said he,
Cannot one man teach another to pray? Faith comes by hearing; and
one man may convince another of sin, and therefore prayers made by
men, and read over, are good to teach, and help men to pray.

While he was speaking these words, God brought that word into my
mind, in the eighth of the Romans, at the 26th verse. I say, God
brought it, for I thought not on it before: but as he was
speaking, it came so fresh into my mind, and was set so evidently
before me, as if the scripture had said, Take me, take me; so when
he had done speaking,

Bun. I said, Sir, the scripture saith, that it is the spirit that
helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as
we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with
sighs and groanings which cannot be uttered. Mark, said I, it doth
not say the Common Prayer-Book teacheth us how to pray, but the
Spirit. And it is the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities, saith
the apostle; he doth not say it is the Common Prayer-Book.

And as to the Lord's prayer, although it be an easy thing to say,
Our Father, etc., with the mouth; yet there is very few that can,
in the Spirit, say the two first words in that prayer; that is,
that can call God their Father, as knowing what it is to be born
again, and as having experience, that they are begotten of the
Spirit of God: which if they do not, all is but babbling, etc.

Keel. Justice Keelin said that that was a truth.

Bun. And I say further, as to your saying that one man may
convince another of sin, and that faith comes by hearing, and that
one man may tell another how he should pray, etc., I say men may
tell each other of their sins, but it is the Spirit that must
convince them.

And though it be said that faith comes by hearing: yet it is the
Spirit that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else
they are not profited by hearing. Heb. iv. 12.

And that though one man may tell another how he should pray: yet,
as I said before, he cannot pray, nor make his condition known to
God, except the Spirit help. It is not the Common Prayer-Book that
can do this. It is the Spirit that showeth us our sins, and the
Spirit that showeth us a Saviour, Jn. xvi. 16, and the Spirit that
stirreth up in our hearts desires to come to God, for such things
as we stand in need of, Matt. xi. 27, even sighing out our souls
unto Him for them with groans which cannot be uttered. With other
words to the same purpose. At this they were set.

Keel. But says Justice Keelin, What have you against the Common

Bun. I said, Sir, if you will hear me, I shall lay down my reasons
against it.

Keel. He said I should have liberty; but first, said he, let me
give you one caution; take heed of speaking irreverently of the
Common Prayer-Book; for if you do so, you will bring great damage
upon yourself.

Bun. So I proceeded, and said, My first reason was, because it was
not commanded in the Word of God, and therefore I could not use it.

Another. One of them said, Where do you find it commanded in the
Scripture, that you should go to Elstow, or Bedford, and yet it is
lawful to go to either of them, is it not?

Bun. I said, To go to Elstow, or Bedford, was a civil thing, and
not material, though not commanded, and yet God's Word allowed me
to go about my calling, and therefore if it lay there, then to go
thither, etc. But to pray, was a great part of the Divine worship
of God, and therefore it ought to be done according to the rule of
God's Word.

Another. One of them said, He will do harm; let him speak no

Keel. Justice Keelin said, No, no, never fear him, we are better
established than so; he can do no harm; we know the Common Prayer-
Book hath been ever since the apostles' time, and it is lawful for
it to be used in the church.

Bun. I said, Show me the place in the epistles, where the Common
Prayer-Book is written, or one text of Scripture, that commands me
to read it, and I will use it. But yet, notwithstanding, said I,
they that have a mind to use it, they have their liberty; that is,
I would not keep them from it; but for our parts, we can pray to
God without it. Blessed be His name!

With that, one of them said, Who is your God? Beelzebub?
Moreover, they often said, that I was possessed with the spirit of
delusion, and of the devil. All which sayings I passed over; the
Lord forgive them! And further, I said, Blessed be the Lord for
it; we are encouraged to meet together, and to pray, and exhort one
another; for, we have had the comfortable presence of God among us.
For ever blessed be His holy name!

Keel. Justice Keelin called this pedler's French, saying, that I
must leave off my canting. The Lord open his eyes!

Bun. I said that we ought to exhort one another daily, while it is
called to-day, etc.

Keel. Justice Keelin said that I ought not to preach; and asked me
where I had my authority? with other such like words.

Bun. I said that I would prove that it was lawful for me, and such
as I am, to preach the Word of God.

Keel. He said unto me, By what Scripture?

Bun. I said, By that in the first epistle of Peter, chap. iv. 10,
11, and Acts xviii., with other Scriptures, which he would not
suffer me to mention. But said, Hold; not so many, which is the

Bun. I said this: As every man hath received the gift, even so
let him minister the same unto another, as good stewards of the
manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the
oracles of God, etc.

Keel. He said, Let me a little open that Scripture to you: As
every man hath received the gift; that is, said he, as every one
hath received a trade, so let him follow it. If any man have
received a gift of tinkering, as thou hast done, let him follow his
tinkering. And so other men their trades. And the divine his
calling, etc.

Bun. Nay, sir, said I, but it is most clear, that the apostle
speaks here of preaching the Word; if you do but compare both the
verses together, the next verse explains this gift what it is,
saying, if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. So
that it is plain, that the Holy Ghost doth not so much in this
place exhort to civil callings, as to the exercising of those gifts
that we have received from God. I would have gone on, but he would
not give me leave.

Keel. He said, We might do it in our families, but not otherways.

Bun. I said, If it was lawful to do good to some, it was lawful to
do good to more. If it was a good duty to exhort our families, it
was good to exhort others; but if they held it a sin to meet
together to seek the face of God, and exhort one another to follow
Christ, I should sin still; for so we should do.

Keel. He said he was not so well versed in Scripture as to
dispute, or words to that purpose. And said, moreover, that they
could not wait upon me any longer; but said to me, Then you confess
the indictment, do you not? Now, and not till now, I saw I was

Bun. I said, This I confess, we have had many meetings together,
both to pray to God, and to exhort one another, and that we had the
sweet comforting presence of the Lord among us for our
encouragement; blessed be His name therefore. I confessed myself
guilty no otherwise.

Keel. Then, said he, bear your judgment. You must be had back
again to prison, and there lie for three months following; and at
three months' end, if you do not submit to go to church to hear
Divine service, and leave your preaching, you must be banished the
realm: and if, after such a day as shall be appointed you to be
gone, you shall be found in this realm, etc., or be found to come
over again without special licence from the king, etc., you must
stretch by the neck for it, I tell you plainly: and so he bid my
jailor have me away.

Bun. I told him, as to this matter, I was at a point with him; for
if I were out of prison to-day, I would preach the Gospel again to-
morrow, by the help of God.

Another. To which one made me some answer: but my jailor pulling
me away to be gone, I could not tell what he said.

Thus I departed from them; and I can truly say, I bless the Lord
Jesus Christ for it, that my heart was sweetly refreshed in the
time of my examination, and also afterwards, at my returning to the
prison. So that I found Christ's words more than bare trifles,
where He saith, I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your
adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist. Luke xxi.
15. And that His peace no man can take from us.

Thus have I given you the substance of my examination. The Lord
make this profitable to all that shall read or hear it. Farewell.

The Substance of some Discourse had between the Clerk of the Peace
and myself; when he came to admonish me, according to the tenor of
that Law, by which I was in prison.

When I had lain in prison other twelve weeks, and now not knowing
what they intended to do with me, upon the third of April 1661,
comes Mr Cobb unto me (as he told me), being sent by the justices
to admonish me; and demand of me submittance to the church of
England, etc. The extent of our discourse was as followeth.

Cobb. When he was come into the house he sent for me out of my
chamber; who, when I was come unto him, he said, Neighbour Bunyan,
how do you do?

Bun. I thank you, Sir, said I, very well, blessed be the Lord.

Cobb. Saith he, I come to tell you, that it is desired you would
submit yourself to the laws of the land, or else at the next
sessions it will go worse with you, even to be sent away out of the
nation, or else worse than that.

Bun. I said that I did desire to demean myself in the world, both
as becometh a man and a Christian.

Cobb. But, saith he, you must submit to the laws of the land, and
leave off those meetings which you was wont to have; for the
statute-law is directly against it; and I am sent to you by the
justices to tell you that they do intend to prosecute the law
against you if you submit not.

Bun. I said, Sir, I conceive that that law by which I am in prison
at this time, doth not reach or condemn either me, or the meetings
which I do frequent; that law was made against those, that being
designed to do evil in their meetings, making the exercise of
religion their pretence, to cover their wickedness. It doth not
forbid the private meetings of those that plainly and simply make
it their only end to worship the Lord, and to exhort one another to
edification. My end in meeting with others is simply to do as much
good as I can, by exhortation and counsel, according to that small
measure of light which God hath given me, and not to disturb the
peace of the nation.

Cobb. Every one will say the same, said he; you see the late
insurrection at London, under what glorious pretences they went;
and yet, indeed, they intended no less than the ruin of the kingdom
and commonwealth.

Bun. That practice of theirs, I abhor, said I; yet it doth not
follow that, because they did so, therefore all others will do so.
I look upon it as my duty to behave myself under the King's
government, both as becomes a man and a Christian, and if an
occasion were offered me, I should willingly manifest my loyalty to
my Prince, both by word and deed.

Cobb. Well, said he, I do not profess myself to be a man that can
dispute; but this I say, truly, neighbour Bunyan, I would have you
consider this matter seriously, and submit yourself; you may have
your liberty to exhort your neighbour in private discourse, so be
you do not call together an assembly of people; and, truly, you may
do much good to the church of Christ, if you would go this way; and
this you may do, and the law not abridge you of it. It is your
private meetings that the law is against.

Bun. Sir, said I, if I may do good to one by my discourse? why may
I not do good to two? And if to two, why not to four, and so to
eight? etc.

Cobb. Ay, saith he, and to a hundred, I warrant you.

Bun. Yes, Sir, said I, I think I should not be forbid to do as
much good as I can.

Cobb. But, saith he, you may but pretend to do good, and instead,
notwithstanding, do harm, by seducing the people; you are,
therefore, denied your meeting so many together, lest you should do

Bun. And yet, said I, you say the law tolerates me to discourse
with my neighbour; surely there is no law tolerates me seduce any
one; therefore if I may by the law discourse with one, surely it is
to do him good; and if I by discoursing may do good to one, surely,
by the same law, I may do good to many.

Cobb. The law, saith he, doth expressly forbid your private
meetings; therefore they are not to be tolerated.

Bun. I told him that I would not entertain so much
uncharitableness of that Parliament in the 35th of Elizabeth, or of
the Queen herself, as to think they did, by that law, intend the
oppressing of any of God's ordinances, or the interrupting any in
way of God; but men may, in the wresting of it, turn it against the
way of God; but take the law in itself, and it only fighteth
against those that drive at mischief in their hearts and meeting,
making religion only their cloak, colour, or pretence; for so are
the words of the statute: If any meetings, under colour or
pretence of religion, etc.

Cobb. Very good; therefore the king, seeing that pretences are
usually in and among people, so as to make religion their pretence
only; therefore he, and the law before him, doth forbid such
private meetings, and tolerates only public; you may meet in

Bun. Sir, said I, let me answer you in a similitude: Set the case
that, at such a wood corner, there did usually come forth thieves,
to do mischief; must there therefore a law be made, that every one
that cometh out there shall be killed? May not there come out true
men as well as thieves out from thence? Just thus is it in this
case; I do think there may be many that may design the destruction
of the commonwealth; but it doth not follow therefore that all
private meetings are unlawful; those that transgress, let them be
punished. And if at any time I myself should do any act in my
conversation as doth not become a man and Christian, let me bear
the punishment. And as for your saying I may meet in public, if I
may be suffered, I would gladly do it. Let me have but meeting
enough in public, and I shall care the less to have them in
private. I do not meet in private because I am afraid to have
meetings in public. I bless the Lord that my heart is at that
point, that if any man can lay any thing to my charge, either in
doctrine or in practice, in this particular, that can be proved
error or heresy, I am willing to disown it, even in the very
market-place; but if it be truth, then to stand to it to the last
drop of my blood. And, Sir, said I, you ought to commend me for so
doing. To err and to be a heretic are two things; I am no heretic,
because I will not stand refractorily to defend any one thing that
is contrary to the Word. Prove any thing which I hold to be an
error, and I will recant it.

Cobb. But, goodman Bunyan, said he, methinks you need not stand so
strictly upon this one thing, as to have meetings of such public
assemblies. Cannot you submit, and, notwithstanding, do as much
good as you can, in a neighbourly way, without having such

Bun. Truly, Sir, said I, I do not desire to commend myself, but to
think meanly of myself; yet when I do most despise myself, taking
notice of that small measure of light which God hath given me, also
that the people of the Lord (by their own saying), are edified
thereby. Besides, when I see that the Lord, through grace, hath in
some measure blessed my labour, I dare not but exercise that gift
which God hath given me for the good of the people. And I said
further, that I would willingly speak in public if I might.

Cobb. He said, that I might come to the public assemblies and
hear. What though you do not preach? you may hear. Do not think
yourself so well enlightened, and that you have received a gift so
far above others, but that you may hear other men preach. Or to
that purpose.

Bun. I told him, I was as willing to be taught as to give
instruction, and I looked upon it as my duty to do both; for, said
I, a man that is a teacher, he himself may learn also from another
that teacheth, as the apostle saith, We may all prophesy one by
one, that all may learn. 1 Cor. xiv. 31. That is, every man that
hath received a gift from God, he may dispense it, that others may
be comforted; and when he hath done, he may hear and learn, and be
comforted himself of others.

Cobb. But, said he, what if you should forbear awhile, and sit
still, till you see further how things will go?

Bun. Sir, said I, Wickliffe saith, that he which leaveth off
preaching and hearing of the Word of God for fear of
excommunication of men, he is already excommunicated of God, and
shall in the day of judgment be counted a traitor to Christ.

Cobb. Ay, saith he, they that do not hear shall be so counted
indeed; do you, therefore, hear?

Bun. But, Sir, said I, he saith, he that shall leave off either
preaching or hearing, etc. That is, if he hath received a gift for
edification, it is his sin, if he doth not lay it out in a way of
exhortation and counsel, according to the proportion of his gift;
as well as to spend his time altogether in hearing others preach.

Cobb. But, said he, how shall we know that you have received a

Bun. Said I, Let any man hear and search, and prove the doctrine
by the Bible.

Cobb. But will you be willing, said he, that two indifferent
persons shall determine the case; and will you stand by their

Bun. I said, Are they infallible?

Cobb. He said, No.

Bun. Then, said I, it is possible my judgment may be as good as
theirs. But yet I will pass by either, and in this matter be
judged by the Scriptures; I am sure that is infallible, and cannot

Cobb. But, said he, who shall be judge between you, for you take
the Scriptures one way, and they another?

Bun. I said the Scripture should: and that by comparing one
Scripture with another; for that will open itself, if it be rightly
compared. As for instance, if under the different apprehensions of
the word Mediator, you would know the truth of it, the Scriptures
open it, and tell us that he that is a mediator must take up the
business between two, and a mediator is not a mediator of one,--but
God is one, and there is one Mediator between God and men, even the
man Christ Jesus. Gal. iii. 20; 1 Tim. ii. 5. So likewise the
Scripture calleth Christ a complete, or perfect, or able high
priest. That is opened in that He is called man, and also God.
His blood also is discovered to be effectually efficacious by the
same things. So the Scripture, as touching the matter of meeting
together, etc., doth likewise sufficiently open itself and discover
its meaning.

Cobb. But are you willing, said he, to stand to the judgment of
the church?

Bun. Yes, Sir, said I, to the approbation of the church of God;
(the church's judgment is best expressed in Scripture). We had
much other discourse which I cannot well remember, about the laws
of the nation, and submission to governments; to which I did tell
him, that I did look upon myself as bound in conscience to walk
according to all righteous laws, and that, whether there was a king
or no; and if I did any thing that was contrary, I did hold it my
duty to bear patiently the penalty of the law, that was provided
against such offenders; with many more words to the like effect.
And said, moreover, that to cut off all occasions of suspicion from
any, as touching the harmlessness of my doctrine in private, I
would willingly take the pains to give any one the notes of all my
sermons; for I do sincerely desire to live quietly in my country,
and to submit to the present authority.

Cobb. Well, neighbour Bunyan, said he, but indeed I would wish you
seriously to consider of these things, between this and the
quarter-sessions, and to submit yourself. You may do much good if
you continue still in the land; but alas, what benefit will it be
to your friends, or what good can you do to them, if you should be
sent away beyond the seas into Spain, or Constantinople, or some
other remote part of the world? Pray be ruled.

Jailor. Indeed, Sir, I hope he will be ruled.

Bun. I shall desire, said I, in all honesty to behave myself in
the nation, whilst I am in it. And if I must be so dealt withal,
as you say, I hope God will help me to bear what they shall lay
upon me. I know no evil that I have done in this matter, to be so
used. I speak as in the presence of God.

Cobb. You know, saith he, that the Scripture saith, the powers
that be, are ordained of God.

Bun. I said, Yes, and that I was to submit to the King as supreme,
and also to the governors, as to them who are sent by Him.

Cobb. Well then, said he, the King then commands you, that you
should not have any private meetings; because it is against his
law, and he is ordained of God, therefore you should not have any.

Bun. I told him that Paul did own the powers that were in his day,
to be of God; and yet he was often in prison under them for all
that. And also, though Jesus Christ told Pilate, that He had no
power against him, but of God, yet He died under the same Pilate;
and yet, said I, I hope you will not say that either Paul, or
Christ, were such as did deny magistracy, and so sinned against God
in slighting the ordinance. Sir, said I, the law hath provided two
ways of obeying: the one to do that which I, in my conscience, do
believe that I am bound to do, actively; and where I cannot obey
actively, there I am willing to lie down, and to suffer what they
shall do unto me. At this he sat still, and said no more; which
when he had done, I did thank him for his civil and meek
discoursing with me; and so we parted.

O! that we might meet in heaven!

Farewell. J. B.

Here followeth a discourse between my Wife and the Judges, with
others, touching my Deliverance at the Assizes following; the which
I took from her own Mouth.

After that I had received this sentence of banishing, or hanging,
from them, and after the former admonition, touching the
determination of the justices if I did not recant; just when the
time drew nigh, in which I should have abjured, or have done worse
(as Mr Cobb told me), came the time in which the King was to be
crowned. Now, at the coronation of kings, there is usually a
releasement of divers prisoners, by virtue of his coronation; in
which privilege also I should have had my share; but that they took
me for a convicted person, and therefore, unless I sued out a
pardon (as they called it), I could have no benefit thereby,
notwithstanding, yet, forasmuch as the coronation proclamation did
give liberty, from the day the King was crowned, to that day
twelvemonth, to sue them out; therefore, though they would not let
me out of prison, as they let out thousands, yet they could not
meddle with me, as touching the execution of their sentence;
because of the liberty offered for the suing out of pardons.
Whereupon I continued in prison till the next assizes, which are
called Midsummer assizes, being then kept in August, 1661.

Now, at that assizes, because I would not leave any possible means
unattempted that might be lawful, I did, by my wife, present a
petition to the judges three times, that I might be heard, and that
they would impartially take my case into consideration.

The first time my wife went, she presented it to Judge Hale, who
very mildly received it at her hand, telling her that he would do
her and me the best good he could; but he feared, he said, he could
do none. The next day, again, lest they should, through the
multitude of business, forget me, we did throw another petition
into the coach to Judge Twisdon; who, when he had seen it, snapt
her up, and angrily told her that I was a convicted person, and
could not be released, unless I would promise to preach no more,

Well, after this, she yet again presented another to judge Hale, as
he sat on the bench, who, as it seemed, was willing to give her
audience. Only Justice Chester being present, stept up and said,
that I was convicted in the court, and that I was a hot-spirited
fellow (or words to that purpose), whereat he waived it, and did
not meddle therewith. But yet, my wife being encouraged by the
high-sheriff, did venture once more into their presence (as the
poor widow did before the unjust judge) to try what she could do
with them for my liberty, before they went forth of the town. The
place where she went to them, was to the Swan-chamber, where the
two judges, and many justices and gentry of the country, was in
company together. She then coming into the chamber with a bashed
face, and a trembling heart, began her errand to them in this

Woman. My lord (directing herself to judge Hale), I make bold to
come once again to your Lordship, to know what may be done with my

Judge Hale. To whom he said, Woman, I told thee before I could do
thee no good; because they have taken that for a conviction which
thy husband spoke at the sessions: and unless there be something
done to undo that, I can do thee no good.

Woman. My lord, said she, he is kept unlawfully in prison; they
clapped him up before there was any proclamation against the
meetings; the indictment also is false. Besides, they never asked
him whether he was guilty or no; neither did he confess the

One of the Justices. Then one of the justices that stood by, whom
she knew not, said, My Lord, he was lawfully convicted.

Wom. It is false, said she; for when they said to him, Do you
confess the indictment? he said only this, that he had been at
several meetings, both where there were preaching the Word, and
prayer, and that they had God's presence among them.

Judge Twisdon. Whereat Judge Twisdon answered very angrily,
saying, What, you think we can do what we list; your husband is a
breaker of the peace, and is convicted by the law, etc. Whereupon
Judge Hale called for the Statute Book.

Wom. But, said she, my lord, he was not lawfully convicted.

Chester. Then Justice Chester said, My lord, he was lawfully

Wom. It is false, said she; it was but a word of discourse that
they took for a conviction (as you heard before).

Chest. But it is recorded, woman; it is recorded, said Justice
Chester; as if it must be of necessity true, because it was
recorded. With which words he often endeavoured to stop her mouth,
having no other argument to convince her, but it is recorded, it is

Wom. My Lord, said she, I was a while since at London, to see if I
could get my husband's liberty; and there I spoke with my lord
Barkwood, one of the House of Lords, to whom I delivered a
petition, who took it of me and presented it to some of the rest of
the House of Lords, for my husband's releasement; who, when they
had seen it, they said, that they could not release him, but had
committed his releasement to the judges, at the next assizes. This
he told me; and now I am come to you to see if any thing may be
done in this business, and you give neither releasement nor relief.
To which they gave her no answer, but made as if they heard her

Chest. Only Justice Chester was often up with this,--He is
convicted, and it is recorded.

Wom. If it be, it is false, said she.

Chest. My lord, said Justice Chester, he is a pestilent fellow,
there is not such a fellow in the country again.

Twis. What, will your husband leave preaching? If he will do so,
then send for him.

Wom. My lord, said she, he dares not leave preaching as long as he
can speak.

Twis. See here, what should we talk any more about such a fellow?
Must he do what he lists? He is a breaker of the peace.

Wom. She told him again, that he desired to live peaceably, and to
follow his calling, that his family might be maintained; and
moreover, said, My Lord, I have four small children, that cannot
help themselves, one of which is blind, and have nothing to live
upon, but the charity of good people.

Hale. Hast thou four children? said Judge Hale; thou art but a
young woman to have four children.

Wom. My lord, said she, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not
been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child
when my husband was first apprehended; but being young, and
unaccustomed to such things, said she, I being smayed at the news,
fell into labour, and so continued for eight days, and then was
delivered, but my child died.

Hale. Whereat, he looking very soberly on the matter, said, Alas,
poor woman!

Twis. But Judge Twisdon told her, that she made poverty her cloak;
and said, moreover, that he understood I was maintained better by
running up and down a preaching, than by following my calling.

Hale. What is his calling? said Judge Hale.

Answer. Then some of the company that stood by, said, A tinker, my

Wom. Yes, said she; and because he is a tinker, and a poor man,
therefore he is despised, and cannot have justice.

Hale. Then Judge Hale answered very mildly, saying, I tell thee,
woman, seeing it is so, that they have taken what thy husband spake
for a conviction; thou must either apply thyself to the King, or
sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error.

Chest. But when Justice Chester heard him give her this counsel;
and especially (as she supposed) because he spoke of a writ of
error, he chafed, and seemed to be very much offended; saying, My
lord, he will preach and do what he lists.

Wom. He preacheth nothing but the Word of God, said she.

Twis. He preach the Word of God! said Twisdon; and withal, she
thought he would have struck her; he runneth up and down, and doth

Wom. No, my lord, said she, it is not so; God hath owned him, and
done much good by him.

Twis. God! said he, his doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.

Wom. My lord, said she, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it
will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil.

Twis. My lord, said he, to Judge Hale, do not mind her, but send
her away.

Hale. Then said Judge Hale, I am sorry, woman, that I can do thee
no good; thou must do one of those three things aforesaid, namely,
either to apply thyself to the King, or sue out his pardon, or get
a writ of error; but a writ of error will be cheapest.

Wom. At which Chester again seemed to be in a chafe, and put off
his hat, and as she thought, scratched his head for anger: but
when I saw, said she, that there was no prevailing to have my
husband sent for, though I often desired them that they would send
for him, that he might speak for himself; telling them, that he
could give them better satisfaction than I could, in what they
demanded of him, with several other things, which now I forget;
only this I remember, that though I was somewhat timorous at my
first entrance into the chamber, yet before I went out, I could not
but break forth into tears, not so much because they were so hard-
hearted against me, and my husband, but to think what a sad account
such poor creatures will have to give at the coming of the Lord,
when they shall there answer for all things whatsoever they have
done in the body, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.

So, when I departed from them, the book of statutes was brought,
but what they said of it I know nothing at all, neither did I hear
any more from them.

Some Carriages of the Adversaries of God's Truth with me at the
next Assizes, which was on the 19th of the first month, 1662.

I shall pass by what befell between these two assizes, how I had,
by my jailor, some liberty granted me, more than at the first, and
how I followed my wonted course of preaching, taking all occasions
that were put into my hand to visit the people of God; exhorting
them to be steadfast in the faith of Jesus Christ, and to take heed
that they touched not the Common Prayer, etc., but to mind the Word
of God, which giveth direction to Christians in every point, being
able to make the man of God perfect in all things through faith in
Jesus Christ, and thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works. 2
Tim. iii. 17. Also how I having, I say, somewhat more liberty, did
go to see the Christians at London; which my enemies hearing of,
were so angry, that they had almost cast my jailor out of his
place, threatening to indict him, and to do what they could against
him. They charged me also, that I went thither to plot and raise
division, and make insurrection, which, God knows, was a slander;
whereupon my liberty was more straitened than it was before; so
that I must not now look out of the door. Well, when the next
sessions came, which was about the 10th of the 11th month (1661), I
did expect to have been very roundly dealt withal; but they passed
me by, and would not call me, so that I rested till the assizes,
which was held the 19th of the first month (1662) following; and
when they came, because I had a desire to come before the judge, I
desired my jailor to put my name into the calendar among the
felons, and made friends of the judge and high-sheriff, who
promised that I should be called: so that I thought what I had
done might have been effectual for the obtaining of my desire: but
all was in vain; for when the assizes came, though my name was in
the calendar, and also though both the judge and sheriff had
promised that I should appear before them, yet the justices and the
clerk of the peace, did so work it about, that I, notwithstanding,
was deferred, and was not suffered to appear: and although I say,
I do not know of all their carriages towards me, yet this I know,
that the clerk of the peace (Mr Cobb) did discover himself to be
one of my greatest opposers: for, first he came to my jailor and
told him that I must not go down before the judge, and therefore
must not be put into the calendar; to whom my jailor said, that my
name was in already. He bid him put it out again; my jailor told
him that he could not: for he had given the judge a calendar with
my name in it, and also the sheriff another. At which he was very
much displeased, and desired to see that calendar that was yet in
my jailor's hand, who, when he had given it him, he looked on it,
and said it was a false calendar; he also took the calendar and
blotted out my accusation, as my jailor had written it (which
accusation I cannot tell what it was, because it was so blotted
out), and he himself put in words to this purpose: That John
Bunyan was committed to prison; being lawfully convicted for
upholding of unlawful meetings and conventicles, etc. But yet for
all this, fearing that what he had done, unless he added thereto,
it would not do, he first ran to the clerk of the assizes; then to
the justices, and afterwards, because he would not leave any means
unattempted to hinder me, he came again to my jailor, and told him,
that if I did go down before the judge, and was released, he would
make him pay my fees, which he said was due to him; and further,
told him, that he would complain of him at the next quarter
sessions for making of false calendars, though my jailor himself,
as I afterwards learned, had put in my accusation worse than in
itself it was by far. And thus was I hindered and prevented at
that time also from appearing before the judge: and left in



A Continuation of Mr BUNYAN'S LIFE; beginning where he left off,
and concluding with the Time and Manner of his Death and Burial:
together with his true Character, etc.

Reader, the painful and industrious author of this book, has
already given you a faithful and very moving relation of the
beginning and middle of the days of his pilgrimage on earth; and
since there yet remains somewhat worthy of notice and regard, which
occurred in the last scene of his life, the which, for want of
time, or fear, some over-censorious people should impute it to him
as an earnest coveting of praise from men, he has not left behind
him in writing. Wherefore, as a true friend, and long acquaintance
of Mr Bunyan's that his good end may be known, as well as his evil
beginning, I have taken upon me, from my knowledge, and the best
account given by other of his friends, to piece this to the thread
too soon broke off, and so lengthen it out to his entering upon

He has told you at large, of his birth and education; the evil
habits and corruptions of his youth; the temptations he struggled
and conflicted so frequently with, the mercies, comforts, and
deliverances he found, how he came to take upon him the preaching
of the Gospel; the slanders, reproaches and imprisonments that
attended him, and the progress he notwithstanding made (by the
assistance of God's grace) no doubt to the saving of many souls:
therefore take these things, as he himself hath methodically laid
them down in the words of verity; and so I pass on to what remains.

After his being freed from his twelve years' imprisonment and
upwards, for nonconformity, wherein he had time to furnish the
world with sundry good books, etc., and by his patience, to move Dr
Barlow, the then Bishop of Lincoln, and other church-men, to pity
his hard and unreasonable sufferings, so far as to stand very much
his friends, in procuring his enlargement, or there perhaps he had
died, by the noisomeness and ill usage of the place. Being now, I
say, again at liberty, and having through mercy shaken off his
bodily fetters,--for those upon his soul were broken before by the
abounding grace that filled his heart,--he went to visit those that
had been a comfort to him in his tribulation, with a Christian-like
acknowledgment of their kindness and enlargement of charity; giving
encouragement by his example, if it happened to be their hard haps
to fall into affliction or trouble, then to suffer patiently for
the sake of a good conscience, and for the love of God in Jesus
Christ towards their souls, and by many cordial persuasions,
supported some whose spirits began to sink low, through the fear of
danger that threatened their worldly concernment, so that the
people found a wonderful consolation in his discourse and

As often as opportunity would admit, he gathered them together
(though the law was then in force against meetings) in convenient
places, and fed them with the sincere milk of the Word, that they
might grow up in grace thereby. To such as were anywhere taken and
imprisoned upon these accounts, he made it another part of his
business to extend his charity, and gather relief for such of them
as wanted.

He took great care to visit the sick, and strengthen them against
the suggestions of the tempter, which at such times are very
prevalent; so that they had cause for ever to bless God, Who had
put it into his heart, at such a time, to rescue them from the
power of the roaring lion, who sought to devour them; nor did he
spare any pains or labour in travel, though to remote counties,
where he knew or imagined any people might stand in need of his
assistance; insomuch that some, by these visitations that he made,
which was two or three every year (some, though in a jeering manner
no doubt, gave him the epithet of Bishop Bunyan) whilst others
envied him for his so earnestly labouring in Christ's vineyard; yet
the seed of the Word he (all this while) sowed in the hearts of his
congregation, watered with the grace of God, brought forth in
abundance, in bringing in disciples to the church of Christ.

Another part of his time is spent in reconciling differences, by
which he hindered many mischiefs, and saved some families from
ruin, and in such fallings-out he was uneasy, till he found a means
to labour a reconciliation, and become a peace-maker, on whom a
blessing is promised in holy writ; and indeed in doing this good
office, he may be said to sum up his days, it being the last
undertaking of his life, as will appear in the close of this paper.

When in the late reign, liberty of conscience was unexpectedly
given and indulged to dissenters of all persuasions, his piercing
wit penetrated the veil, and found that it was not for the
dissenters' sakes they were so suddenly freed from the hard
prosecutions that had long lain heavy upon them, and set in a
manner, on an equal foot with the Church of England, which the
papists were undermining, and about to subvert: he foresaw all the
advantages that could have redounded to the dissenters would have
been no more than what Polyphemus, the monstrous giant of Sicily,
would have allowed Ulysses, viz.: That he would eat his men first,
and do him the favour of being eaten last: for although Mr Bunyan,
following the examples of others, did lay hold of this liberty, as
an acceptable thing in itself, knowing God is the only Lord of
conscience, and that it is good at all times to do according to the
dictates of a good conscience, and that the preaching the glad
tidings of the Gospel is beautiful in the preacher; yet in all this
he moved with caution and a holy fear, earnestly praying for the
averting impending judgments, which he saw, like a black tempest,
hanging over our heads for our sins, and ready to break in upon us,
and that the Ninevites' remedy was now highly necessary: hereupon
he gathered his congregation at Bedford, where he mostly lived, and
had lived and spent the greatest part of his life; and there being
no convenient place to be had for the entertainment of so great a
confluence of people as followed him upon the account of his
teaching, he consulted with them for the building of a meeting-
house, to which they made their voluntary contributions with all
cheerfulness and alacrity; and the first time he appeared there to
edify, the place was so thronged, that many was constrained to stay
without, though the house was very spacious, every one striving to
partake of his instructions, that were of his persuasion, and show
their good-will towards him, by being present at the opening of the
place; and here he lived in much peace and quiet of mind,
contenting himself with that little God had bestowed upon him, and
sequestering himself from all secular employments, to follow that
of his call to the ministry; for as God said to Moses, He that made
the lips and heart, can give eloquence and wisdom, without
extraordinary acquirements in an university.

During these things, there were regulators sent into all cities and
towns corporate, to new model the government in the magistracy,
etc., by turning out some, and putting in others: against this Mr
Bunyan expressed his zeal with some weariness, as foreseeing the
bad consequence that would attend it, and laboured with his
congregation to prevent their being imposed on in this kind; and
when a great man in those days, coming to Bedford upon some such
errand, sent for him, as 'tis supposed, to give him a place of
public trust, he would by no means come at him, but sent his

When he was at leisure from writing and teaching, he often came up
to London, and there went among the congregations of the non-
conformists, and used his talent to the great good-liking of the
hearers; and even some to whom he had been mis-represented, upon
the account of his education, were convinced of his worth and
knowledge in sacred things, as perceiving him to be a man of round
judgment, delivering himself plainly and powerfully; insomuch that
many, who came mere spectators for novelty sake rather than to
edify and be improved, went away well satisfied with what they
heard, and wondered, as the Jews did at the Apostles, viz.: Whence
this man should have these things; perhaps not considering that God
more immediately assists those that make it their business
industriously and cheerfully to labour in His vineyard.

Thus he spent his latter years in imitation of his great Lord and
Master, the ever-blessed Jesus; he went about doing good, so that
the most prying critic, or even Malice herself, is defied to find,
even upon the narrowest search or observation, any sully or stain
upon his reputation, with which he may be justly charged; and this
we note, as a challenge to those that have the least regard for
him, or them of his persuasion, and have one way or other appeared
in the front of those that oppressed him; and for the turning whose
hearts, in obedience to the commission and commandment given him of
God, he frequently prayed, and sometimes sought a blessing for
them, even with tears, the effects of which, they may,
peradventure, though undeservedly, have found in their persons,
friends, relations, or estates; for God will hear the prayer of the
faithful, and answer them, even for them that vex them, as it
happened in the case of Job's praying for the three persons that
had been grievous in their reproach against him, even in the day of
his sorrow.

But yet let me come a little nearer to particulars and periods of
time, for the better refreshing the memories of those that knew his
labour and suffering, and for the satisfaction of all that shall
read this book.

After he was sensibly convicted of the wicked state of his life,
and converted, he was baptized into the congregation, and admitted
a member thereof, viz., in the year 1655, and became speedily a
very zealous professor; but upon the return of King Charles to the
crown in 1660, he was the 12th of November taken, as he was
edifying some good people that were got together to hear the word,
and confined in Bedford jail for the space of six years, till the
act of Indulgence to dissenters being allowed, he obtained his
freedom, by the intercession of some in trust and power, that took
pity on his sufferings; but within six years afterwards he was
again taken up, viz., in the year 1666, and was then confined for
six years more, when even the jailor took such pity of his rigorous
sufferings, that he did as the Egyptian jailor did to Joseph, put
all the care and trust in his hand: When he was taken this last
time, he was preaching on these words, viz.: Dost thou believe the
Son of God? And this imprisonment continued six years, and when
this was over, another short affliction, which was an imprisonment
of half a year, fell to his share. During these confinements he
wrote the following books, viz.: Of Prayer by the Spirit: The
Holy City's Resurrection: Grace Abounding: Pilgrim's Progress,
the first part.

In the last year of his twelve years' imprisonment, the pastor of
the congregation at Bedford died, and he was chosen to that care of
souls, on the 12th of December 1671. And in this his charge, he
often had disputes with scholars that came to oppose him, as
supposing him an ignorant person, and though he argued plainly, and
by Scripture, without phrases and logical expressions, yet he
nonplussed one who came to oppose him in his congregation, by
demanding, Whether or no we had the true copies of the original
Scriptures; and another, when he was preaching, accused him of
uncharitableness, for saying, It was very hard for most to be
saved; saying, by that he went about to exclude most of his
congregation; but he confuted him, and put him to silence with the
parable of the stony ground, and other texts out of the 13th
chapter of St Matthew, in our Saviour's sermon out of a ship; all
his methods being to keep close to the Scriptures, and what he
found not warranted there, himself would not warrant nor determine,
unless in such cases as were plain, wherein no doubts or scruples
did arise.

But not to make any further mention of this kind, it is well known
that this person managed all his affairs with such exactness, as if
he had made it his study, above all other things, not to give
occasion of offence, but rather suffer many inconveniences, to
avoid being never heard to reproach or revile any, what injury
soever he received, but rather to rebuke those that did; and as it
was in his conversation, so it is manifested in those books he has
caused to be published to the world; where like the archangel
disputing with Satan about the body of Moses, as we find it in the
epistle of St Jude, brings no railing accusation (but leaves the
rebukers, those that persecuted him) to the Lord.

In his family he kept up a very strict discipline in prayer and
exhortation; being in this like Joshua, as the good man expresses
it, viz., Whatsoever others did, as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord: and indeed a blessing waited on his labours and
endeavours, so that his wife, as the Psalmist says, was like a
pleasant vine upon the walls of his house, and his children like
olive branches round his table; for so shall it be with the man
that fears the Lord, and though by reason of the many losses he
sustained by imprisonment and spoil, of his chargeable sickness,
etc., his earthly treasure swelled not to excess; he always had
sufficient to live decently and creditably, and with that he had
the greatest of all treasures, which is content; for as the wise
man says, That is a continual feast.

But where content dwells, even a poor cottage is a kingly palace,
and this happiness he had all his life long; not so much minding
this world, as knowing he was here as a pilgrim and stranger, and
had no tarrying city, but looked for one made with hands eternal in
the highest heavens: but at length was worn out with sufferings,
age, and often teaching, the day of his dissolution drew near, and
death, that unlocks the prison of the soul, to enlarge it for a
more glorious mansion, put a stop to his acting his part on the
stage of mortality; heaven, like earthly princes, when it threatens
war, being always so kind as to call home its ambassadors before it
be denounced, and even the last act or undertaking of his, was a
labour of love and charity; for it so falling out that a young
gentleman, a neighbour of Mr Bunyan's, happening into the
displeasure of his father, and being much troubled in mind upon
that account, and also for that he heard his father purposed 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 father's mind to receive him; and he,
as willing to do any good office, as it could be requested, as
readily undertook it; and so riding to Reading in Berkshire, he
then there used such pressing arguments and reasons against anger
and passion, as also for love and reconciliation, that the father
was mollified, and his bowels yearned to his returning son.

But Mr Bunyan, after he had disposed all things to the best for
accommodation, returning to London, and being overtaken with
excessive rains, coming to his lodgings extremely wet, fell sick of
a violent fever, which he bore with much constancy and patience,
and expressed himself as if he desired nothing more than to be
dissolved, and be with Christ, in that case esteeming death as
gain, and life only a tedious delaying felicity expected; and
finding his vital strength decay, having settled his mind and
affairs, as well as the shortness of time, and the violence of his
disease would permit, with a constant and christian patience, he
resigned his soul 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
contemplation, pantings and breathings after the hidden manna and
water of life, as by many holy and humble consolations expressed in
his letters to several persons in prison, and out of prison, too
many to be inserted at present. He died at the house of one Mr
Struddock, a grocer, at the Star on Snow Hill, in the parish of St
Sepulchre's, London, on the 12th of August 1688, and in the
sixtieth year of his age, after ten days' sickness; and was buried
in the new burying place near the Artillery Ground; where he sleeps
to the morning of the resurrection, in hopes of a glorious rising
to an incorruptible immortality of joy and happiness; where no more
trouble and sorrow shall afflict him, but all tears be wiped away;
when the just shall be incorporated as members of Christ their
head, and reign with Him as kings and priests for ever.

A brief Character of Mr JOHN BUNYAN

He appeared in countenance to be of a stern and rough temper, but
in his conversation mild and affable; not given to loquacity or
much discourse in company, unless some urgent occasion required it;
observing never to boast of himself or his parts, but rather seem
low in his own eyes, and submit himself to the judgment of others,
abhorring lying and swearing, being just in all that lay in his
power to his word, not seeming to revenge injuries, loving to
reconcile differences, and make friendship with all; he had a sharp
quick eye, accompanied with an excellent discerning of persons,
being of good judgment and quick wit. As for his person, he was
tall of stature, strong boned, though not corpulent, somewhat of a
ruddy face, with sparkling eyes, wearing his hair on his upper lip,
after the old British fashion; his hair reddish, but in his latter
days, time had sprinkled it with grey; his nose well set, but not
declining or bending, and his mouth moderate large; his forehead
somewhat high, and his habit always plain and modest. And thus
have we impartially described the internal and external parts of a
person, whose death hath been much regretted; a person who had
tried the smiles and frowns of time; not puffed up in prosperity,
nor shaken in adversity; always holding the golden mean.

In him at once did three great worthies shine,
Historian, poet, and a choice divine:
Then let him rest in undisturbed dust,
Until the resurrection of the just.


In this his pilgrimage, God blessed him with four children, one of
which, named Mary, was blind, and died some years before; his other
children were Thomas, Joseph, and Sarah; his wife Elizabeth having
lived to see him overcome his labour and sorrow, and pass from this
life to receive the reward of his work, long survived him not; but
in 1692 she died, to follow her faithful pilgrim from this world to
the other, whither he was gone before her; whilst his works, which
consist of sixty books, remain for the edifying of the reader, and
praise of the author.

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