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The Life of John Bunpan.
rutramed to him—two bons and two daughters, and one of the latter was 110c and became the object of great solicitude to Lim, linking his heart more arti to this world than all other matters of temporal cancern He soon marTil again; and had the happiness to find his second wife a perfectly worthy Bucoutor of the first. She became in every practical war, a true mother to ist four children, as well as a true helpmate to himself; and she is commonly Sabieved to be the type of the Christiana of the second part of his Pilgrim's Presb.
Amid the violent change of state policy which took place at the Restorativa. Bunyan early apprehended disastrous proceedings against the Puritans, ad thought it prudent to do what he could to avert them within the sphere of his own itinerancies. He had hitherto preached in all sorts of places where he could obtain congregations, and had even been adınitted to the pulpits of the parish churches; but he now renounced everything which could be construed into clerical pretension, and held his meetings only in such humble modes and in such obscure places as were least likely to proroke remark. Yet he saw the entire religious liberties of his country to be at stake, and early learned that nonconformist preachers in all quarters were voluntarily succumbing into silence; and he felt bound, for the sake of his brethren and for the sake of the truth itself, to maintain as full a show of independence as could at all comport with prudence. “Many preachers," says the old extant manuscript life of him, "fled because they were hirelings, and cared not what became of the flock so they got their fleeces. But our true champion stood, resolved not to let go what God had so mercifully put into his hands. Yet that he might not appear contemptuous to the government he lived under, he thought fit to move in this with caution, and therefore assembled more privately, sometimes in a barn, at other times in a milk-house or stable, and indeed such convenient places as they could, to avoid giving offence; considering it not the place that God regards, but the purity of heart and intention. But these places were not so secret but prying eyes got an inlet; and some disturbances they had by the order of the justices, with louder threats, that, if they repeated the like again, they must expect to find no favour. He finding he could not go on with his proceedings here, resolved, as it was commanded the apostles in such cases by our blessed Saviour, to fly unto another city or place; and so, acquainting most of his hearers whither he intended to retire, many followed him; and in his journeyings, he visited many at their houses, and gave them consolation, arming them with a steady resolve to be patient in suffering, and trust to God for their reward."
In November, 1660, only five months after the Restoration, and before any formal proclamation had yet been issued against nonconforming assemblies, Bunyan was arrested, by order of a Justice of the name of Wingate, at a meetThe Life of John Bunyan.
ing of about forty.persons in a private house, at Samsell, near Harlington, in Bedfordshire. He got previous intelligence of the intention to arrest him, but did not chose either to abscond or to put off the meeting; and when he arrived at the place, and was advised by a friend to go away, he 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." And in he went, and began to preach; and in a few minutes, the house was beset by a constabulary force. · Upon the first demand,” says the old manuscript account, “the doors were opened. And although Mr. Bunyan was persuaded to fly by a back door into an adjacent wood, he would not be prevailed withal to do it in so good a work, but kept his standing, and continued speaking to the people when they entered. The Justice commanded him down from his stand; but he mildly told him he was about his Master's business, and must rather obey his voice than that
Then a constable was ordered to fetch him down; who, coming up and taking hold on his coat, no sooner did Mr. Bunyan fix his eyes steadfastly upon him, having his Bible then open in his hand, but the man let go, looked pale, and retired; upon which said he to his auditors, 'See how this man trembles at the Word of God!' But, knowing it in vain to contend, being commanded in the King's name to be obedient, he came down, and was carried to the Justice's house."
On formal examination next day by the Justice, Bunyan was told that he must find sureties for his good conduct or go to jail. He had sureties ready, and called them in; and they were told that they must keep Bunyan from preaching else they would forfeit their bonds. But Bunyan promptly declared that he should certainly break them, for he would not abstain from speaking the word of God. A mittimus, therefore, was made out, to commit him to Bedford jail, there to remain till the quarter sessions. He was afterwards offered his liberty if he would promise not to call the people any more together; but he declined all compromise, and, according to his own record, “ went away to prison with God's comfort in his soul.”
After he had lain in prison about seven weeks, Bunyan was indicted and brought to trial at the quarter sessions, as a person“ who devilishly and maliciously abstained from coming to church to hear divine service, and who was a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom.” The trial was as absurd as the indictment, and bore a remarkable resemblance to some of the most notorious and infamous prosecutions for religion in the times of the Wycliffites and the early Protestants. It was practically a wrangle about the established liturgy, and was at length forcibly driven to a point. “You The Life of John Bunyan.
es the indictment then?" sail the magistrate. “This," answered Bunyan, iscuss:-we have had many meetings together, both to pray to God, and
er bort one another; and we had the sweet comforting presence of the Lord 5.1. us for our encouragement; blessed be his name! There I confess my
, and no otherwise.” Then said the magistrate, “ Hear your judgret! You must be had back again to prison, and there lie for three months
isy; and at three months' end, if you do not submit to go to church to Lear lirine service, and leave your preaching, you must be banished the realm. Add if after such a day as shall be appointed you to be gone, you shall be izzi in this realm, or be found to come over again without special licence f: the ki:... you must stretch by the neck for it: I tell you plainly.” Bun52a ananered resolutely, that “if he were out of prison to-day, he would preach the Guzel again tomorrow, by the help of God!” He was therefore ordered Fork to prison. “And,” said he, “I can truly say, I bless the Lord for it; that y beart 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 tare trifles, where he saith, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all you aniversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”
On the 3d of April, 1661, near the end of the three months which were to bring the alternate of recantation or banishment, Bunyan was officially visited and grobed by the Clerk of the Peace. This man was sent by the Justices, who dreaded the public effects of going to extremity with Bunyan, and anxiously wished him to give in; and as the Clerk was an able diplomatist, and was thought by Bunyan to be secretly his friend, and had power to attempt a compromise by offering him liberty to make private exhortations, he might seem to all ordinary observers to be perfectly certain of carrying his point. But Bunyan was infiexible; he would not accept any compromise; he felt as Paul and Silas did, when they said respecting the magistrates of Philippi who had wrongously imprisoned them, “ And now do they thrust us out privily? nay, verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out.” “He would be nothing but a preacher or a prisoner,-a minister or a martyr. This was not obstinacy in him. He had felt it to be his duty to preach salvation to others, even when he had little or no hope of salvation for himself. Neither the fear nor the fire of the wrath of God, even when at their height in his own mind, could stop him from warning men to flee from that wrath. It was not likely, therefore, that the wrath of man would weigh with him."
Twenty days after Bunyan’s conference with the Clerk of the Peace occurred the coronation of Charles II. This gave permission to all prisoners within certain limits to sue out a pardon in the course of the succeeding twelvemonth, and had the effect of postponing all further proceedings against Bunyan till the summer assizes. Bunyan's wife, at the time of his apprehension, was far
The Life of John Bunyan.
gone in pregnancy, and suffered so severe a shock by the news of his imprisonment that she fell into eight days' severe labour, and was delivered of a dead child; but now she had recovered some strength, and she commenced one of the noblest courses of effort which ever any biographer had the happiness to narrate for attempting the recovery of her husband's freedom. She travelled on foot to London, and tried, in the simplicity of her heart, to get access by petition to the House of Lords, but was informed by one of them, whom she calls Lord Barkwood, that the only parties who could effect her object were the judges at the assizes. One of these proved to be the celebrated Sir Matthew Hale, whose beautiful Christian character soared lark-like up from the odiousness of his position; and the other was Twisden, who crawled contentedly and pleasedly along the slimy statute-path of the Stuart persecution. In August, when the assize-time arrived, Mrs. Bunyan presented a petition to Judge Hale, and was mildly received, but got little encouragement. Next day she threw a petition into the coach to Judge Twisden; "who, when he had seen it, snapt her up, and angrily told her that Bunyan was a convicted person, and could not be released unless he would promise to preach no more.” Another time, she pushed her case before Judge Hale as he sat on the bench; but a Justice who was present opposed her, and induced Sir Matthew to waive it. A fourth and last time, more strenuously than ever, and encouraged by the High-Sheriff, she sought the presence of both judges, as they sat with many justices and gentry in the inn; and, approaching them“ with abashed face and a trembling heart," she roundly stated that Bunyan was held unlawfully in prison, that the indictment against him was false, and that he had been apprehended before any proclamations were issued against the meetings. “Will your husband leave preaching?" said Twisden. “If he will do so, then send for him.” “My Lord,” replied she, “he dares not leave preaching as long as he can speak.” Sir Matthew Hale heard her patiently, and expressed great sympathy for her personal sufferings and domestic condition; but explained to her that Bunyan was regarded by the Justices as quite legally convicted, and that he could be extricated from prison only by application to the King, or by suing out a pardon, or getting a writ of error. Thus did the noble-minded woman fail in her enterprise; and she concludes her account of it by saying, “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.”
Bunyan, however, found a remarkable friend in his jailer, and was allowed, for a time, to live almost in the manner of a prisoner liberated on parole. He left the jail as often and as long as he pleased, went whither and did whatever
The Life of John Bunyan.
he chose, remained away over nights, made long visits to his family, attended the meetings of his church, conducted midnight preaching services in the country, and altogether endured no other restraints than were requisite to elude his persecutors, or to lull their suspicion. “I followed my wonted course of preaching,” says he,“ 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, &c., but to mind the word of God, which giveth direction to Christians in every point.” Suspicion could not fail to be excited; but, for several months, it was singularly foiled and stultified. And one particular instance of Bunyan's and the jailer's protection from it is a good specimen of the thousand beautiful little lessons on special providence which everywhere abound in the histories of the persecutions of Christians. “It being known to some of the prelates that Bunyan was often out of prison, they sent down an officer to talk with the jailer on the subject, and, in order to find him out, he was to arrive there in the middle of the night. Bunyan was at home with his family; but so restless that he could not sleep. He therefore told his wife that he must return immediately. He did so, and the jailer blamed him for coming in at so unreasonable an hour. Early in the morning the messenger came, and said, ' Are all the prisoners safe?' 'Yes.' 'Is John Bunyan safe?' 'Yes. “Let me see him.' He was called, and appeared; and all was well. After the messenger left, the jailer said to Bunyan, 'Well, you may go out again when you think proper;
know when to return better than I can tell you.'” Bunyan roamed so largely at liberty as to make a visit to London. This was a perilous step, and led to important consequences, both good and bad. Bunyan had few influential friends in the country, and did well to seize the opportunity of finding some in the metropolis, who might either help him as a prisoner or obtain him facilities as an author. He was instantly appreciated, and soon formed connexions which gave him ready access to the public through the press, and armed him with incomparably greater powers of usefulness than if he had continued, to the end of his days and unmolestedly, a mere preacher. But he also drew the notice of some of the minions of the government; and, when he went back to Bedford, he learned, to his astonishment, that he was suspected in London, feignedly so perhaps, as the clandestine plotter of an insurrection. Both he and his jailer were, in consequence, put under ban; and the latter was forced to tell him that he must no longer look out at the door. “My enemies," says Bunyan, “ were so angry that they had almost cast my jailer out of his place, threatening to indict him, and to do what they could against him."
Bunyan now made a strenuous attempt to obtain a hearing at the assizes in January, 1662; and he got his name put into the calendar, and received