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rused the Pilgrim as a pleasing tale, have generally retained a remembrance of its leading incidents, which, after continuing perhaps in a dormant state for several years, has at length germinated, as it were, into the most important and seasonable instruction, while the events of their own lives placed it before their minds in a new and affecting point of view. It may,
therefore, be questioned, whether modern ages have produ. ced any work which has more promoted the best inter, ests of mankind.
It would not perhaps be difficult to show, that the PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, as first published, is as really an original production of vigorous native genius, as any of those works, in prose or verse, which have excited the admiration of mankind through successive ages,
and in different nations. It does not indeed possess those ornaments which are so often mistaken for intrinsic excellence : but the rudeness of its style (which however is characteristic of the subject) concurs to prove it a most extraordinary book ;--for had it not been written with very great ingenuity, a religious treatise, evidently inculcating doctrines yet disesteemed by the unenlightened mind, it would not, in so homely a garb, have so durably attracted the attention of a polished age. Yet, it is undeniable that BunYAN's PILGRIM continues to be read and admired by vast multitudes ; while publications on a similar plan, by persons of respectable learning and talents, are consigned to almost total neglect and oblivion !
This is not, however, that view of the work which entitles it to highest honour, or most endears it to the pious mind : for, comparing it with the other produc
tions of the same author, (which are indeed edifying to the humble believer, but not so much suited to the taste of the ingenious) we shall be led to conclude, that in perusing this he was highly favoured with a peculiar measure of the divine assistance; especially when we recollect, that, within the confines of a gaol, he was able so to delineate the Christian's course, with its various difficulties, perils, conflicts, &c. that scarcely any thing seems to have escaped his notice. Indeed, the accurate observer of the church in his own days, and the learned student of ecclesiastical history, must be equally surprised to find, that hardly one remarkable character, good or bad, or mixed in any manner or proportion imaginable; or that one fatal delusion, bypath, or injurious mistake, can be singled out, which may not be paralleled in the PILGRIM'S PROGRESS: that is, as to the grand outlines; for the minutiæ, about which too many narrow minds waste their zeal, are with very few exceptions wisely passed over. This circumstance is surprising; that every part of this singular book suits the various descriptions of such as profess godliness; and relates the experiences, temptations, conflicts, supports, and consolations of Christians in our own times, as exactly as if it had been penned from the observation of them, and for their immediato benefit: while, like the sacred Scriptures, it remains a sealed book to all who are strangers to the power
of godliness, and that peace which passeth understanding .
These remarks may be very properly concluded with the words of a justly admired poet of the present day, who in the following lines has fully sanctioned all that has been here advanced
“O thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing
Back to the season of life's happy spring,
COWPER, TIROCINIUM, V. 129.
In respect to the present edition of the PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, it may
proper to observe, that the Notes, explanatory and practical, are selected from those publications, known to have been edited by the celebrated reverend Messrs. Mason, Scott, and Burder: to the ingenuity of the latter is the present work indebted for that excellent plan, the division by chapters.--Great pains have been taken to examine every scriptural reference, in order to render this edition as correct as possible. The author's marginal references seemed so essential a
part of the work, that it was deemed indispensably requisite to insert them in their places. But as the other marginal notes are only useful in pointing out any passage in the text, to which the reader might wish to refer; it was thought most adviseable to supply their place by a running title on the top of every page, conveying as nearly as possible the same ideas: for, indeed, they so encumber the page, and break in upon the uniformity of printing, that all hopes of elegance must be precluded while they are retained.
To render the PILGRIM's PROGRESS of still greater use, this edition is presented to the public in a form entirely new. The work is divided into distinct sections, of convenient length; the design of which is to oblige the reader to make a frequent pause : for so entertaining is the narrative, that the heart becomes in. terested in the event of every transaction, and is tempted to proceed with a precipitation that excludes proper reflections: so that it may be justly feared, that thousands have read it with no other advantage than tem. porary amusement, without the least conception of its spiritual design.
Several ministers have thought it a pleasing and profitable exercise, to read and explain the PILGRIM to their people in private meetings. Should any into whose hands this edition may come, think proper to pursue such a method, they will find some assistance from the division of chapters made ready to their hand, as well as by some hints which possibly might not have occurred to them.
It is also submitted to the consideration of heads of families, whether the Pilgrim, in this form, may not
be well adapted for the purpose of reading to their children and servants on Lord's-day evenings. The subject matter is so entertaining, that the attention of all would be secured; and the practical improvements might tend, by the blessing of God, to enlighten their minds in the grand truths of the gospel of Christ.