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

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

IV.
SPIRITUAL CONFLICT.*

ON the disbanding of the army in 1646-7, Bunyan returned to his tinkering life at Elstow, and two or three years later took to himself a wife. Who she was and where he found her we have now no means of knowing. There is no entry of the marriage in the register at Elstow, which may arise from the fact that he found her at a distance, or that they were, according to the custom of the Commonwealth, married before some justice of the peace whose registers are lost. Apparently she was an orphan and a native of some other place than Elstow, for she used to talk to Bunyan about her father as though they were unknown to each other, telling him "what a godly man he was and how he would reprove and correct vice both in his House and amongst his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in his Days both in Word and Deed." We know not who she was, we do not even know her Christian name, but we do know that her advent brought to Bunyan what he had not had since his mother's death, a real home brightened by the presence of love. It was not brightened by much else. "This woman and I," says he, "came together as poor as poor might be, not having so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both." It was an unpromising beginning, but many that are more promising turn out worse. It may be that where there are health and hope and honest industry, mutual love and trust can better supply the lack of dish and spoon than an abundance of dishes and spoons can supply the lack of love.

*Vide Addendum.

Though the young wife brought no dower of wealth to her husband, she brought to him that which wealth cannot buy-- saintly memories of a godly home and trained instincts for good; and, as we have seen, she would beguile their summer evening walks and their fireside winter talks by memories of the good man, her father, who had gone to heaven. She brought with her

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