Illustrated edition of the select works of John Bunyan : with an original sketch of the author's life and times ; (Volume 1) online

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Prof. John DeWitt, D.D.

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Bunyan, John, 1628-1688.
Illustrated edition of the
select works of John Bunyan

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HEN at the first I took my pen in hand,
Thus for to write, I did not understand.
That I at all should make a little book
In such a mode : nay I had undertook
To make another; which, when almost done.
Before I was aware, I this begun."

And thus it was : I writing of the way

And race of saints in this our gospel-day.

Fell suddenly into an allegory

About their journey, and the way to glory,

In more than twenty things which I set down ;

This done, I twenty more had in my crown ;

And they again began to multiply.

Like sparks that fi-om the coals of fire do fly;

Nay, then, thought I, if that you breed so fast,

I'll put you by yourselves, lest you at last

Should prove ad injimtum, and eat out

The book that I already am about.

Well, so I did; but yet I did not think

To shew to all the world my pen and ink

In such a mode; I only thought to make

I knew not what; nor did I undertake

» This apology, though given in the form of a poem, can hardly be regarded as an attempt at
poetry. Bunyan wished to write a familiar epistle in a homely fashion ; to communicate his thoughts
on certain matters, and not to win admiration for the elaborate finish of his verses, was undoubtedly
his object.

VOL. 1. B


Thereby to please my neighbour; no, not 1
I did it my ownself to gratify.''

Neither did I but vacaut seasons bpend
In this my scribble; nor did I intend
But to divert myself, in doing this,
From worser thoughts which made me io amiss.

Thus I set my pen to paper with de^ght,
And quickly had my thoughts in black and white.
For ha\-ing now my method by the end.
Still as I pidl'd, it came; and so I penn'd
It down; until at last it came to be,
For length and breadth, the bigness which you see.

Well, when I had thus put my ends together,
I shewed them others, that I might see whether
They would condemn them, or them justify;
And some said. Let them live; some, Let them die:
j Some said, John, print it; others said, Not so:

Some said. It might do good; others said. No.'

Now I was in a strait, and did not see
Which was the best thing to be done by me:
At last I thought, since you are thus divided,
I print it will; and so the case decided.

For thought I, some I see would have it done.
Though others in that channel do not run:
To prove then who ad\'ised for the best
Thus I thought fit to put it to the test.

I farther thought, If now I did deny
Those that would have it, thus to gratify;
I did not know, but hinder them I might
Of that which would to them be great delight:

" 'the author liore tells us that he had no determined object in view, when he commenced the
Pilgrim's Pkogiikss. He wrote not with any tliought of pleasing another, but simply for his own
amusement. It is often the good jjleasure of Providence to produce the most stupendous results
from the agency of insti-uments, which to a mere worldly eye would appear inadequate or con-

« In these lines we trace the progress of his meditations. The subject grew upon him as he
proceeded, till at length, the work such as we now see it, was complete. A remarkable fact is in
this line recorded. Great and universal as the admiration now felt for the Pilgrim's Progress
is, those who had the privilege of seeing it first, could not agree upon its merits. Some advised
that he should print, others gave contrary counsel —

"Some said it might do good; others said. No."
Buch in many cases has been the case with the productions of genius. The bold original per-
formance of Bunyan which had " snatched a grace beyond the reach of art," tried by the canons
of contemporary criticism, was found wanting.


For those which were not for its coming forth,

I said to them, Offend you I am loath;

Yet since yoiir brethren pleased with it be.

Forbear to judge, till you do further see.
If that thou wilt not read, let it alone.

Some love the meat, some love to pick a bone.

Yea, that I might them better moderate,

I did too with them thus expostulate:
May I not write in such a stile as this ?

In such a method too, and yet not miss

My end, thy good?"" Wliy may it not be done?

Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none.

Yea, dark, or bright, if they their silver drops

Cause to descend, the earth, by yielding crops,

Gives praise to both, and carpeth not at either;

But treasures up the fruit they yield together;

Yea, so commixes both, that in their fruit

None can distinguish this from that; they suit

Her well when hungry; but if she be full.

She spews up both, and makes their blessing null.
You see the ways the fisherman doth take

To catch the fish; what engines doth he make:

Behold! How he engageth all his wits;

Also his snares, lines, angles, hooks, and nets:

Yet fish there be, that neither hook, nor line.

Nor snare, nor net, nor engine, can make thine:

They must be groped for, and be tickled too.

Or they will not be catch'd whate'er you do.
How does the fowler seek to catch his game

By divers means? all which one cannot name;

His gun, his net, his lime-twigs, light, and bell:

He creeps, he goes, he stands; yea, who can tell

Of all his postures? yet there's none of these

Will make him master of what fowls he please;

Yea, he must pipe and whistle to catch this;

Yet if he does so, that bii'd he wiU miss.

If that a pearl may in a toad's head dwell,

And may be found too in an oyster-sheU;
■" The importance of gaining sound christian instruction was deeply felt by the author. His
prayer, on reading the books of the Antinomians was, " Lord, leave me not to my own blind-
ness. If this doctrine be of God let me not despise it; if it be of the Devil let me not em
brace it."


If things that promise nothing, do contain
What better is than gold; who will disdain,
Tliat have an inkling of it, there to look
That they may find it ? Now my Uttle book,
(Though void of all these paintings that may make
It with this or the other man to take)
Is not without those things that do excel.
A^Hiat do in brave, but empty notions dwell.

Well, yet I am not fully satisfied,
That this your book will stand, when soundly tried.

WTiy, what's the matter? It is dark: W\\a.t though?
But it is feigned: WTiat of that? I trow,'
Some men by feigned words, as dark as mine,
Make truth to spangle, and its rays to shine;
But they want solidness: speak, man, thy mind;
They drown the weak, metaphors make us blind.

Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writcth things di^dne to men:
But must I needs want solidness, because
By metaphors I speak? Were not God's law:
His gospel-laws, in older times held forth
By shadows, types, and metaphors? Yet loath
Will any sober man be to find fault
With them, lest he be found for to assavdt
The highest wisdom: no, he rather stoops,
And seeks to find out what by pins and loops.
By calves and sheep, by heifers and by rams.
By bii'ds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs,
God speaketh to him; and full happy he.
That finds the light and grace that in them bs.

Be not too fonvard, therefore, to conclude.
That I want solidness; that I am rude;
All things solid in shew, not solid be;
All things in parables despise not we;
Lest things most luu-tful, hghtly we receive;
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.

• The author now proceeds very earnestly to defend his work from the objections which met it
— that his narrative vias feigned. Entering on this task, the strength of his argument gives dignity
.ind force to his verse, —

** Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writcth things divine to men."
But he demands, must solidity be necessarily wanting, because he writes metaphorically, aad feigns
>,ici<lcntR and characters ?


My dark and cloudy words they do but hold
The truth, as cabinets inclose the gold.

The prophets used much by metaphors
To set forth truth : yea, who so considers
Christ, his apostles too, shall plainly see,
That truth to this day in such mantles be.

I'm not afraid to say. That Holy Writ,
Which, for its style and phrase, puts down all wit.
Is every where so full of all these things,
(Dark figures, allegories,) yet there springs
From that same book, that lustre, and those rays
Of light, that turns our darkest nights to days.'

Come, let my carper to his Ufe now look.
And find there darker lines than in my book
He findeth any : yea, and let him know.
That in his best things there are worse lines too

May we but stand before impartial men.
To his poor one I dare adventure ten.
That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better than his lies in silver shrines.
Come, truth, although in swaddling clouts, I find^
Infoi-ms the judgment, rectifies the mind :
Pleases the understanding, makes the will
Submit, the memory too it doth fill
With what doth our imaginations please ;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.

Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use.
And old wives' fables he is to refuse ;
But yet grave Paul him no where did forbid
The use of parables, in which lay hid
That gold, those pearls, and precious stones that were
Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.

Let me add one word more, O man of God.
Art thou oifended ? Dost thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress ?
Or, that I had in things been more express
To those that are my betters, (as is fit,)
Three things let me propound, then I submit.

■ With equal solemnity and resolution he contends for the propriety of teaching important truths
through the medium of fiction. He cites for this purpose the prophets, the apostle Paul, and gene-
ralljiholy writ —

" Which, for its style and phrase, puts down all wit."


1. I find not that I am denied the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse

Put on the -nords, things, readers, or be rude
In handUng figure, or simiUtude,
In application ; but all that I may.
Seek the advance of truth this or that way.
Denied, did I say ? Nay, I have leave,
(Examples too, and that from them that have
God better pleased by their words or ways.
Than any man that breatheth now-a-days,)
Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.

2. I find that men (as high as trees) will write
Dialogue- ways ; yet no man doth them slight,
For writing so. Indeed if they abuse

Truth, cm-sed be they and the craft they use
To that intent; but yet let Ti'uth be free
To make her sallies upon thee and me,
Which way it pleases God : for who knows how
Better than he that taught us first to plow,
To guide om- minds and pens for this design ?
And he makes base things usher in divine.

3. I find that holy wi-it in many places,

Hath semblance with this method, where the cases
Do call for one thing to set forth another ;
Use it I may then, and yet nothing smother
Ti'uth's golden beams ; nay, by this method may
Make it cast forth its rays as light as day.«

And now, before I do put up my pen,
I'll shew the profit of my book, and then
Commit both thee and it unto that hand
That pulls the strong down, and makes weak ones stand.

This book, it ehalketh out before thine eyes
The man that seeks the everlasting prize :
It shews you whence he comes, whither he goes
VA^hat he leaves undone, also what he does ;
It shews you how he runs, and runs,
'Till he unto the Gate of Glory comes.

It shews too, who set out for life amain
As if the lasting crown they would obtain.
» The author had what one of his biographers calls a " a sort of waking vision, ' in which the
progress of a sinner from worldly cai-es to heavenly joy was forcibly impressed upon him.


Here also you may see the reason wliy
They lose their labour, and like fools do dit

This book wiU make a traveller of thee.
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be ;
It will direct thee to the Holy Land,
If thou wilt its directions understand :
Yea, it will make the slothful active be ;
The blind also delightful things to see.

Art thou for something rare and profitable ?
Or, woiddst thou see a truth within a fable ?
Art thou forgetful ? or would' st thou remember
From New-year's Day to the last of December,
Then read my fancies, they will stick like burrs.
And may be to the helpless — comforters.

This book is writ in such a dialect,
As may the minds of listless men affect :''
It seems a novelty, and yet contains
Nothing but sound and honest gospel-strains.

Would'st thou divert thyself from melancholy ?
Would'st thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly ?
Would'st thou read riddles and their explanation ?
Or else be drowned in thy contemplation ?
Dost thou love picking meat ? Or would'st thou see
A man i' ti' clouds, and hear him speak to thee ?
Woidd'st thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep ?
Or, would'st thou in a moment laugh and weep ?
Or woiild'st thou lose thyself, and catch no harm ?
And find thyself again without a charm ?
"Would'st read thyself, and read thou know'st not what.
And yet know whether thou art blest, or not.
By reading the same lines ? O then come hither,
And lay my book, thy head and heart together.


>■ Here the worthy and important object of the writer is frankly stated ; he gave his thoughts
such a fanciful arrangement, as might arrest the attention of " listless men." It was thus the
Saviour in his immortal parables, taught lessons of heavenly wisdom. He aimed at affecting
" the listless," at saving the ninety-nine sinners, not the single just person who " needed no

S 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.
' di'eamed, and, behold, I saw a man clothed
with rags, standing in a certain place, with his
face from his own house, a book in his hand,
and a great burden upon his back. I looked,
and saw him open the book, and read therein ; and, as he read, he
wept and trembled ; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake
out with a lamentable cry, saying, "What shall I do!"

In this plight, therefore, he went home, and refrained himself as long
as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress ;
but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased.
Wherefore, at length, he brake his mind to his wife and children ; and
thus he began to talk to them : O, my dear wife, said he, and you, the
children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reasop

" Tlie eilitors of some editions of the Pilgrim's Progress have supposed that by •"den,"
the writer meant the prison, in which he was incarcerated at Bedford, where they assert the
Pilgrim's Progress was written. He would hardly be expected so to name a place in which
he states himself to have "continued wth much content." From dn interesting discovery of
papers relative to our author, made so recently as in 183S, by a Mr. Kilpin, of Bedford, it is
now known that it was not written while he was in prison, and was not commenced till
the year 1676; his second imprisonment having terminated in 1672.


of a burden tluit lictli hurd upon me ; moreover, I am certainly mformed
that this our city will be burnt with fire from heaven ; in which fearful
overthrow, both myself, with thee, my wife, and you, my sweet babes,
shall miserably come to rain, except (the which yet I see not) some way
of escape may be found, whereby we may be delivered." At this his
relations were sore amazed, not for that they beheved what he had said of
them was true, but because they thought some frenzy distemper had got
that into his head ; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping
that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed : but
the night was as troublesome to him as the day ; wherefore, instead of sleep-
ing, he spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning was come, they
would know how he did : he told them worse and worse : he also set to
talking to them again, but they began to be hardened. They also thought
to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriage to him : some-
times they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they
would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his
chamber, to pray for and pity them ; and also to condole his own misery.
He would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and some-
times praying ; and thus for some days he spent his time.

Now, I saw upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he
was (as he was wont) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his
mind ; and as he read, he burst out as he had done before, crying, "What
shall I do to be saved?"

I saw also that he looked this way and that w'ay, as if he would i-un,
yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to
go. I looked then, and saw a man, named Evangelist, coming to him,
and asked, " Wherefore dost thou cry?"

He answered. Sir, I perceive by the book in my hand, that I am con-
demned to die, and after that to come to judgment ; and I find that I am
not wiUing to do the first, nor able to do the second.''

Then said Evangelist, Why not willing to die, since this life is attended
with so many evils? The man answered, Because I fear that this burden
that is upon my back will sink me lower than the gi-ave, and I shall fall
into Tophet. And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit to go
to judgment, and fi-om thence to execution : and the thoughts of these
things make me cry.

' The autlior here describes what his owa I'uelings had been in other days.


Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still ?
He answered. Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a
parchment-roll, and there was written within, " Fly from the wrath to

The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully,
said, whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger
over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket-gate ? The man said. No
Then said the other. Do you see yonder shining light ? He said, I think
I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly
thereto, so shalt thou see the gate ; at which, when thou knockest, it
shalt be told thee what thou shalt do." So I saw in my dream that the
man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his
wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return ; but the
man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, " Life! life! eternal
life!" So he looked not behind him, but fled toward the middle of the

The neighbours also came out to see him run ; and, as he ran, some
mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return: and
among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him
back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the
other Pliable. Now by this time the man was got a good distance from
them ; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did,
and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, Neighbours,
wherefore are ye come ? They said, to persuade you to go back with us :
but he said. That can by no means be ; you dwell, said he, in the city of
Destruction (the place also where I was born), I see it to be so ; and dying
there sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place
that burns with fire and brimstone. Be content, good neighbours, and
go along with me.

What, said Obstmate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us.

Yes, said Christian (for that was his name), because that "all which
you shall forsake," is not worthy to be compared with a little of that
which I am seeking to enjoy : and if you will go along with me, and
behold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and
to spare : come, and prove my words.

° " O ! what did I see in that blessed, sixth chapter of St. John, ' And him that cvmeth
unto me, I will in no tvise cast out.' " — Grace Abounding.


Obs. What arc tlie things you seek, since you leave all the world to
find them ?

Chr. I seek an " inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth
not away ;" and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at
the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you
will, in my book.

Obs. Tush, said Obstinate ; away with your book : will you go back
with us or no ?

Chr. No, not I, said the other ; because I have laid my hand to the

Obs. Come, then neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and go home
without him ; there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that
when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven
men that can render a reason .

Pli. Then said Pliable, Do not revile ; if what the good Christian says is
true, the things he looks after are better than ours ; my heart inclines to
go with my neighbour.

Obs. What, more fools still ! Be ruled by me, and go back ; who
knows where such a brain-sick fellow will lead you ? Go back, go back,
and be wise.

Chr. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour Pliable; there are
such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glorious besides ;
if you believe not me, read here in this book, and for the truth of what
is expressed therein, behold all is confirmed by the blood of Him that
made it.

Pli. Well, neighbour Obstinate, saith Pliable, I begin to come to a
point : I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot
with him ; but my good companion, do you know the way to this desired
place ?

Chr. I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me
to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about
the way.

Pli. Come then, good neighbour, let us be going. Then they went
both together.

Obs. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate : I will be no
companion of such misled fantastical fellows.

Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was going back, Chris-



tian and Pliable -went talking over the plain, and thus they began their
discourse : —

Chr. Come, neighbour Pliable, how do you do ? I am glad you are
persuaded to go along with me ; had even Obstinate himself but felt what
I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not
thus lightly have given us the back.

Pli. Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none but us two here,
tell me now further, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither
we are going.

Chr. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them
with my tongue ; but yet since you are desirous to know, I will read them
in my book.

Pli. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly true ?

Chr. Yes, verily, for it was made by him that cannot he.

Pli. Well said ; what things are they ?

Chr. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life
to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever.

Pli. "Well said ; and what else ?

Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us ; and garments that will
make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven.

Pli. This is veiy pleasant : and what else ?

Online LibraryUnknownIllustrated edition of the select works of John Bunyan : with an original sketch of the author's life and times ; (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 67)