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years of stormy wayfaring, it is equally true that it could not have been written except after a period of rest“ beside still waters.” The soul, made great by the storm, must move into serenity before it can produce its greatest and best.
“ From the uproar
I retired into a silent bay.” The book is a prison book; and it was generally accepted that it was written during the twelve years imprisonment. But this would leave too wide a gap between writing and publishing it. The research and surmise of Dr. John Brown have now been established that there was a second imprisonment of some months in 1676: it is more likely that the book was written then. Probably it was finished after his release. Dr. Brown points to a curious break in the story, which seems to support this view. Bunyan writes at the close of the description of the Delectable Mountains, “So I awoke from my dream.” The next paragraph begins : “And I slept, and dreamed again, and saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains along the highway towards the city. The break not being “artistically required by the plot of the story,” may well have been a marginal note of the author's personal experience.
“As I walked through the wilderness of this world I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream.” So the story begins. And thus Dante begins his great song :
"In the middle of life's journey I found myself in a darkling wood, where the traces of the straight path were lost.” In the latter case the darkling wood represents the state of the soul astray ; in the former, the Den signifies, simply, the gaol in which the author was confined. The “ dream was at first no better than an intrusion.
“ When at the first I took my pen in hand,
Thus for to write, I did not understand
1 “John Bunyan” (Isbister & Co.), p. 262.
In this homely fashion does the author tell the origin of one of the world's greatest books. It came from that breath of inspiration, which bloweth where it listeth. At first it was scarcely welcome. How could so schooled a Puritan cherish a thing that had so secular a mode? A mere story !--how could a grave messenger of the truth deal in such trivial ware? “ The Author's Apology for his book”-inserted as preface-reveals his misgivings. “O man of God,” he asks,
“ Art thou offended? Dost thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress?" Costly, from their birth, are the Immortals—both men and books : they come as strangers and aliens, speaking no familiar language, treading no frequented paths, borne earthward from where starry wings, in silence and light, stir undying thought.
The author's apology was not needed. Man, everywhere, found too much of himself in the book, to be over-careful about its “dress.” To the scholar, to the man of letters, it is a classic of the Saxon tongue; to the theologian, it is an exposition of the plan of salvation ; to the child, it is a series of marvellous stories: but it is man as man, of every age and every land, that it finds most. The politician has discovered in “Mr. Facing-both-ways" a useful weapon; the man of letters has discovered in Greatheart the most precious name for a hero-missionary ; the university professor has discovered in the House Beautiful the fittest prologue and epilogue of his lectures on Church history. But more than all these and such like, the book is the book of man. It has been already translated into some eighty languages, and is still adding to its kingdom : for in whatever language it speaks, it has the tone of friend and brother. It has been torn up and repaired to become a vehicle of sectarian teaching : these perish, the book itself remains. While it is true that it grew in Puritan soil, its root is not Puritan, but human. “He is the poet of Puritanism," says the author of "Mark Rutherford,"
."." but also of something greater—that is to say, of a certain class of experiences, incident not especially to the theologian, artist, or philosopher, but to our common nature.” Now it is from the forests of Madagascar the voice that loves the Pilgrim speaks ; and now it is from the vineyards of Lebanon, as a lonely keeper watches the sun set and the moon rise over fields of snow.
It is not necessary to discuss its originality. Whether Introduction.
Bunyan read Spenser, whether he was familiar with de Guileville’s Le Pélerinage de l'Homme, matters little. If he borrowed from any one, he paid royal interest. If he had marble from Carrara, the chiselling, the imagination, are his own ; and it is that which makes the marble divine. But the truth is, that most of the suggestions which might have come from such predecessors in allegory, can be traced, with far more likelihood, to the English Bible-Genevan and
Authorised. Remembering his scanty earning and his forcible style, every discussion leaves him at the last thrilled and ruled by that one Book.
In all the “curiosities of literature” is there one more strange than this, that a tinker's son, the years of his youth wasted in folly, the years of his prime wasted in prison, should have given the world one of its creative books? Today, any relic of his is a prize to be snatched. The chair that belonged to him is a national treasure ; the book which
Bunyan's Deed of Gift.
To all people to whom this present writing shall com, I, John Bunyan of the parish of St. Cuthbirts in the towne of Bedford in the county of Bedford, Brazier send greeting. Know ye that I the said John Bunyan as well for and in consideration of the natural affection and love which I have and bear unto my wellbeloved wife Elizabeth Bunyan as also for divers other good causes and considerations me at this present esspecially moveing, have given and granted and by these presents do give grant and conferm unto the said Elizabeth Bunyan my said wife all and singuler my goods chattels, debts, ready mony, plate, Rings, household stuffe, Aparrel, utensills, Brass, pewter, Beding, and all other my substance whatsoever, moveable and immoveable, of what kinde, nature, quality or condition soever the same are or be, and in what place, or places soever the same be, shall, or may be found, as well in mine own custodes, possession, as in the possession, hands, power, and custody of any other person or persons whatsoever. To have and to hold all and singuler the said goods, chattels, debts, and all other the aforesaid premises unto the said Elizabeth, my wife, her executors, administerators and assignes to her and their proper uses and behoofs, freely and quietly without
of challinge, claime or demand of me the said John Bunyan or of
any other person or persons, what soever for me,
name, by my means,
procurement, and without any mony or other
thing therfore to be yeeilded, paid or done unto me the said John Bunyan,
my executors, administrators or assigns. And I, the said John Bunyan, all and singular do give the said goods, chattels and premises to the said Elizabeth my wife, her executors, administrators and assignes to the use aforesaid, against all people do warrant and forever defend by these presents. And further, know
ye, that I the said John Bunyan have put the said Elizabeth my
in peacable and quiet possession of all and singuler the aforesaid premises by the delivrye
unto her at the ensealing hereof one coyned peece
silver, commonly called two pence fixed on the seal of these presents. In
wittnes wherof, I the said John Bunyan have hereunto set my hand and seall this 23rd day of December, in the first year of the reigne of
sovraigne lord King James the Second of England,
year of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 1685.
Sealed and delivered in the