Grace Abounding with Other Spiritual Autobiographies

Grace Abounding with Other Spiritual Autobiographies

Grace Abounding with Other Spiritual Autobiographies

Grace Abounding with Other Spiritual Autobiographies

Synopsis

`I evidently saw that unless the great God of his infinite grace and bounty, had voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I should desire, and long, and labour until my heart did break, no good could come of it . . . How can you tell you are Elected?' (GA, 47) In seventeenth-century England, the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, with its belief in the predetermined salvation of the few and damnation of the many, led many Christians to an anguished search for evidence of God's favour. John Bunyan's Grace Abounding records this spiritual crisis and its gruelling fluctuations between hope and despair in all its psychological intensity. It is a classic of spiritual autobiography - a genre which flourished in seventeenth-century England, as anxiety over one's spiritual state encouraged rigorous self-scrutiny and the sharing of spiritual experiences. This edition sets Grace Abounding alongside four of the most interesting and varied contemporary spiritual autobiographies, making its cultural milieu more meaningful to the modern reader.

Excerpt

A Preface:
Or brief Account of the publishing of this Work:

Written by the Author thereof, and dedicated to those whom God hath counted him worthy to beget to Faith, by his Ministry in the Word.

CHildren, Grace he with you, Amen. I being taken from you in presence, and so tied up, that I cannot perform that duty that from God doth lie upon me, to you-ward, for your further edifying and building up in Faith and Holiness, &c. Yet that you may see my Soul hath fatherly care and desire after your spiritual and everlasting welfare; I now once again, as from the top of Shenir and Hermon, so from the Lions Dens, and from the Mountains of the Leopards, (Song 4. 8.) do look yet after you all, greatly longing to see your safe arrival into the desired Haven.

I thank God upon every Remembrance of you, and rejoyce even while I stick between the Teeth of the Lions in the Wilderness, at the grace, and mercy, and knowledge of Christ our Saviour, which God hath bestowed upon you, with abundance of Faith and Love. Your hungerings and thirstings also after further acquaintance with the Father in his Son; your tenderness of Heart, your trembling at sin, your sober and holy deportment also, before both God and men, is great refreshment to me: For you are my glory and joy, 1 Thes. 2. 20.

I have sent you here enclosed a drop of that honey, that I have taken out of the Carcase of a Lyon, Judg. 14. 5, 6, 7, 8. I have eaten thereof my self also, and am much refreshed thereby. (Temptations when we meet them at first, are as the Lyon that roared upon Sampson: but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall finde a Nest of Honey within them.) the Philistians understand me not. It is a Relation of the work of God upon my own Soul, even from the very fast, now; wherein you may perceive my castings down, and raisings up: for he. woundeth, and his hands make whole. It is written in the Scripture, Isai.

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