John Bunyan (1628-1688): His Life, Times, and Work

By John Brown; Frank Mott Harrison | Go to book overview

EXCERPTS
From Dr. Brown's Prefaces to the First and Third Editions
(1885 and 1887).

EVERY author has, of course, a more or less sufficient reason for sending forth his book to the world. If I honestly gave mine I should say that in the first instance I drifted into its production by force of circumstances rather than set it before myself of deliberate choice.

As the minister for more than twenty years of the Church. of which Bunyan also was minister, and as the official guardian of such personal relics and memorials of him as remain to us, I have necessarily been brought into intercourse with the yearly increasing stream of visitors who, from all parts of the world, come to Bedford and Elstow to see for themselves the scenes and associations of Bunyan's life. I have found from a somewhat wide observation that, more than most writers, he has not only secured the intellectual interest of his readers, but also their personal affection; and that everything relating to him that can he reliably told is matter of unfailing interest to minds the most diverse. Innumerable questions from others, therefore, first sent me forth on researches of my own, and, as a relaxation from the more serious duties of my ministry, this work became to me one of the pleasures of my life.

My long residence among the scenes and surroundings of Bunyan's life has given me some advantage over previous biographers, who were only able to make occasional visits to the neighbourhood. I have had, however, still greater advantage in the fact that recent years have made available, for purposes of local and personal history, resources till lately quite unknown or inaccessible to the historical student. For the purpose of this biography researches have been made among the stores brought to light by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Through the labours of the gentlemen who have acted as inspectors under that Commission, there have been found, among the MSS. of the House of Lords and in the numerous private collections scattered through the country, documents which have

-xxii.-

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