Valiant Pilgrim: The Story of John Bunyan and Puritan England

Excerpt

"I found my condition, in his experience, so largely and profoundly handled, as if his Book had been written out of my heart." JOHN BUNYAN: Grace Abounding.

WHEN I started work on this book, a friend said to me: "I'm not sure whether I'm glad about your story of Bunyan. His magnificent Pilgrim's Progress is enough for me; I don't want to know about his life."

No doubt many readers feel the same as my friend. They are satisfied with the allegorical Christian in whom each one of us can find his own soul, and imagine a gulf between the author and his creation which does not exist.

The immortal figure with a Book in his hand and a Burden on his baack, crying, "What shall I do?" is John Bunyan himself, though he is more than Bunyan. As Professor G. M. Trevelyan has shown in his essay on Bunyan's England, this lonely Puritan traveller symbolizes the unique contribution of the seventeenth century to our turbulent past.

He is the individual who established, through political confusion and religious persecution, the right to maintain a direct relationship between himself and God. To him we owe that freedom of worship which the English-speaking world, unlike other nations of our day, has never forfeited.

The epic story of Chrristian's creator is hence not merely dramatic and absorbing in itself. The fact that it is a mirror of seventeenth-century England in the quality and direction of its spiritual adventure gives it a special relevance for our own epoch, in which the same struggle is taking place in a different form. It brings the challenge of hope and courage to all who are fighting for the integrity of the human soul against totalitarian philosophies and spiritual demoralization.

The popular failure to realize the significance of John Bunyan's life apart from his books is due, I am afraid, mainly to his . . .

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1950

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