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Title: Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
Author: Bunyan, John, 1628-1688
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" ***

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SINNERS***


Transcribed from the 1905 The Religious Tract Society edition by David
Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

                          [Picture: Book cover]



                 GRACE ABOUNDING TO THE CHIEF OF SINNERS


                         IN A FAITHFUL ACCOUNT OF
                    THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JOHN BUNYAN
                    A BRIEF RELATION OF THE EXCEEDING
                      MERCY OF GOD IN CHRIST TO HIM
                                  NAMELY

                IN HIS TAKING HIM OUT OF THE DUNGHILL, AND
           CONVERTING HIM TO THE FAITH OF HIS BLESSED SON JESUS
             CHRIST.  HERE IS ALSO PARTICULARLY SHEWED, WHAT
             SIGHT OF, AND WHAT TROUBLES HE HAD FOR SIN; AND
             ALSO, WHAT VARIOUS TEMPTATIONS HE HATH MET WITH,
                AND HOW GOD HATH CARRIED HIM THROUGH THEM.

                _THOROUGHLY REVISED BY THE EIGHTH EDITION_

                                   WITH
                       EIGHT COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS
                            BY HAROLD COPPING

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                                  London
                       THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOLCIETY
              4 Bouverie Street and 65 St Paul’s Churchyard
                                   1905

                                * * * * *

                     _Come and hear all ye that fear_
                 _God_, _and I will declare what He hath_
                  _done for my soul_.—_Psalm lxvi. 16_.

                                * * * * *



PREFATORY NOTE


THE text in this edition is as nearly as possible that of the eighth,
which was corrected by Bunyan himself a few weeks before his death.  The
text of ‘A Relation’ is that of the first edition of 1765.  A few minor
changes have been introduced for the convenience of the reader.  The use
of capital letters has been considerably modified, and the orthography
has been in places modernized.  In some few instances the Scripture
references have been added to quotations where they did not appear in the
original.  It must be remembered that Bunyan often quoted Scripture
inexactly, and it has not been deemed necessary to make all his
quotations follow the text of the Authorized Version.

The marginal summary is not part of the original, but has been prepared
for this edition in order that it may correspond with the Society’s
editions of the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.’ {7}

The illustrations have been prepared for this work by Mr. Harold Copping,
whose illustrations to the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ have justly attracted
much attention.



CONTENTS

                                                                  PAGE
PREFATORY NOTE                                                       7
A PREFACE                                                           11
GRACE ABOUNDING TO THE CHIEF OF SINNERS, paragraphs 1–339           17
       A Brief Account of the Author’s Call to the Work of         147
       the Ministry
       A Brief Account of the Author’s Imprisonment                169
       The Conclusion, paragraphs 1–7                              180
A RELATION OF THE IMPRISONMENT OF THE AUTHOR IN THE MONTH          183
OF NOVEMBER 1660
A CONTINUATION OF THE AUTHOR’S LIFE                                229
A BRIEF CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR                                    241
POSTSCRIPT                                                         243



A PREFACE


OR, BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PUBLISHING 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 be 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 farther edifying and building up
in faith and holiness, etc., yet that you may see my soul hath fatherly
care and desire after your spiritual and everlasting welfare, I now once
again, as before, from the top of _Shenir_ and _Hermon_, so now from _the
lions’ dens_, _from the mountains of the leopards_ (Song iv. 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 rejoice, even while I
stick between the teeth of the lion in the wilderness, that 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
after farther acquaintance with the Father, in the Son; your tenderness
of heart, your trembling at sin, your sober and holy deportment also,
before both God and men, is a great refreshment to me; _For ye are our
glory and joy_.  1 Thess. ii. 20.

I have sent you here enclosed, a drop of that honey that I have taken out
of the carcase of a lion.  Judg. xiv. 5–8.  I have eaten thereof myself,
and am much refreshed thereby.  (Temptations, when we meet them at first,
are as the lion that roared upon _Samson_; but if we overcome them, the
next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.)  The
_Philistines_ understand me not.  It is something of a relation of the
work of God upon my soul, even from the very first, till now, wherein you
may perceive my castings down, and risings up: for He woundeth, and His
hands make whole.  It is written in the Scripture, Isa. xxxviii. 19, _The
father to the children shall make known Thy truth_.  Yea, it was for this
reason I lay so long at Sinai, Lev. iv. 10, 11, to see the fire, and the
cloud, and the darkness, _that I might fear the Lord all the days of my
life upon earth_, _and tell of His wondrous works to my children_.  Psalm
lxxviii. 3–5.

Moses, Numb. xxxiii. 1, 2, writ of the journeys of the children of
_Israel_, from _Egypt_ to the land of _Canaan_; and commanded also that
they did remember their forty years’ travel in the wilderness.  _Thou
shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty
years in the wilderness_, _to humble thee_, _and to prove thee_, _and to
know what was in thine heart_, _whether thou wouldst keep His
commandments_, _or no_.  Deut. viii. 2.  Wherefore this I have
endeavoured to do; and not only so, but to publish it also; that, if God
will, others may be put in remembrance of what He hath done for their
souls, by reading His work upon me.

It is profitable for Christians to be often calling to mind the very
beginnings of grace with their souls.  _It is a night to be much observed
unto the Lord_, _for bringing them out from the land of Egypt_.  _This is
that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in
their generations_.  Exod. xii. 42.  _O my God_ (saith _David_), Ps.
xlii. 6, _my soul is cast down within me_; _therefore will I remember
thee from the land of Jordan_, _and of the Hermonites_, _from the hill
Mizar_.  He remembered also the lion and the bear, when he went to fight
with the giant of _Gath_.  1 Sam. xvii. 36, 37.

It was _Paul’s_ accustomed manner, Acts xxii., and that, when tried for
his life, Acts xxiv., even to open before his judges the manner of his
conversion: he would think of that day, and that hour, in which he first
did meet with grace; for he found it supported him.  When God had brought
the children of Israel out of the Red Sea, far into the wilderness, yet
they must turn quite about thither again, to remember the drowning of
their enemies there, Numb. xiv. 25, for though they sang his praise
before, yet they soon forgat his works.  Psalm cvi. 11, 12.

In this discourse of mine, you may see much; much I say, of the grace of
God towards me: I thank God, I can count it much; for it was above my
sins and Satan’s temptations too.  I can remember my fears and doubts,
and sad months, with comfort; they are as the head of _Goliah_ in my
hand: there was nothing to _David_ like _Goliah’s_ sword, even that sword
that should have been sheathed in his bowels; for the very sight and
remembrance of that did preach forth God’s deliverance to him.  Oh! the
remembrance of my great sins, of my great temptations, and of my great
fear of perishing for ever!  They bring afresh into my mind, the
remembrance of my great help, my great supports from heaven, and the
great grace that God extended to such a wretch as I.

My dear children, call to mind the former days, and years of ancient
times: remember also your songs in the night, and commune with your own
Hearts, Ps. lxxiii. 5–12.  Yea, look diligently, and leave no corner
therein unsearched for that treasure hid, even the treasure of your first
and second experience of the grace of God towards you.  Remember, I say,
the word that first laid hold upon you: remember your terrors of
conscience, and fear of death and hell: remember also your tears and
prayers to God; yea, how you sighed under every hedge for mercy.  Have
you never a hill _Mizar_ to remember?  Have you forgot the close, the
milk-house, the stable, the barn, and the like, where God did visit your
souls?  Remember also the word, the word, I say, upon which the Lord hath
caused you to hope: if you have sinned against light, if you are tempted
to blaspheme, if you are drowned in despair, if you think God fights
against you, or if heaven is hid from your eyes; remember it was thus
with your father; _but out of them all the Lord delivered me_.

I could have enlarged much in this my discourse, of my temptations and
troubles for sin; as also of the merciful kindness and working of God
with my soul: I could also have stepped into a style much higher than
this, in which I have here discoursed, and could have adorned all things
more than here I have seemed to do, but I dare not: God did not play in
tempting of me; neither did I play, when I sunk as into the bottomless
pit, when the _pangs of hell caught hold upon me_; wherefore I may not
play in relating of them, but be plain and simple, and lay down the thing
as it was; he that liketh it, let him receive it, and he that doth not,
let him produce a better.  Farewell.

My dear Children,

_The milk and honey are beyond this wilderness_.  _God be merciful to
you_, _and grant that you be not slothful to go in to possess the land_.

                                                              JOHN BUNYAN.



GRACE ABOUNDING TO THE CHIEF OF SINNERS
OR,
A BRIEF RELATION OF THE EXCEEDING MERCY OF GOD IN CHRIST, TO HIS POOR
SERVANT, JOHN BUNYAN


IN this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it will
not be amiss, if in the first place, I do in a few words give you a hint
of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby the goodness and
bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced and magnified before
the sons of men.

2.  For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and
inconsiderable generation; my father’s house being of that rank that is
meanest, and most despised of all the families in the land.  Wherefore, I
have not here, as others, to boast of noble blood, or of any high-born
state, according to the flesh; though, all things considered, I magnify
the heavenly Majesty, for that by this door He brought me into the world,
to partake of the grace and life that is in Christ by the gospel.

3.  But yet, notwithstanding the meanness and inconsiderableness of my
parents, it pleased God to put it into their hearts, to put me to school,
to learn both to read and write; the which I also attained, according to
the rate of other poor men’s children: though, to my shame, I confess, I
did soon lose that I had learned, even almost utterly, and that long
before the Lord did work His gracious work of conversion upon my soul.

4.  As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God in
the world, it was, indeed, _according to the course of this world and the
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience_.  Eph. ii. 2, 3.
It was my delight to be ‘taken captive by the devil _at his will_,’ 2
Tim. ii. 26; being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so
strongly work, and put forth itself, both in my heart and life, and that
from a child, that I had but few equals (especially considering my years,
which were tender, being but few) both for cursing, swearing, lying, and
blaspheming the holy name of God.

5.  Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as
a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness
considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he
did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with
fearful visions.  For often, after I have spent this and the other day in
sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the
apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought,
laboured to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

6.  Also I should, at these years, be greatly afflicted and troubled with
the thoughts of the fearful torments of hell-fire; still fearing, that it
would be my lot to be found at last among those devils and hellish
fiends, who are there bound down with the chains and bonds of darkness,
unto the judgment of the great day.

7.  These things, I say, when I was but a child, but nine or ten years
old, did so distress my soul, that then in the midst of my many sports
and childish vanities, amidst my vain companions, I was often much cast
down, and afflicted in my mind therewith, yet could I not let go my sins:
yea, I was also then so overcome with despair of life and heaven, that I
should often wish, either that there had been no hell, or that I had been
a devil; supposing they were only tormentors; that if it must needs be,
that I went thither, I might be rather a tormentor, than be tormented
myself.

8. A while after those terrible dreams did leave me, which also I soon
forgot; for my pleasures did quickly cut off the remembrance of them, as
if they had never been: wherefore with more greediness, according to the
strength of nature, I did still let loose the reins of my lust, and
delighted in all transgressions against the law of God: so that until I
came to the state of marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the youth
that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.

9.  Yea, such prevalency had the lusts and fruits of the flesh in this
poor soul of mine, that had not a miracle of precious grace prevented, I
had not only perished by the stroke of eternal justice, but had also laid
myself open, even to the stroke of those laws which bring some to
disgrace and open shame before the face of the world.

10.  In these days the thoughts of religion were very grievous to me; I
could neither endure it myself, nor that any other should; so that when I
have seen some read in those books that concerned Christian piety, it
would be as it were a prison to me.  _Then I said unto God_, _Depart from
me_, _for I desire not the knowledge of Thy ways_.  Job xxi. 14, 15.  I
was now void of all good consideration, heaven and hell were both out of
sight and mind; and as for saving and damning, they were least in my
thoughts.  _O Lord_, _Thou knowest my life_, _and my ways were not hid
from Thee_!

11.  But this I well remember, that though I could myself sin with the
greatest delight and ease, and also take pleasure in the vileness of my
companions; yet, even then, if I had at any time seen wicked things, by
those who professed goodness, it would make my spirit tremble.  As once
above all the rest, when I was in the height of vanity, yet hearing one
to swear, that was reckoned for a religious man, it had so great a stroke
upon my spirit, that it made my heart ache.

12.  But God did not utterly leave me, but followed me still, not now
with convictions, but judgments; yet such as were mixed with mercy.  For
once I fell into a creek of the sea, and hardly escaped drowning.
Another time I fell out of a boat into _Bedford_ river, but, mercy yet
preserved me alive: besides, another time, being in a field, with one of
my companions, it chanced that an adder passed over the highway, so I
having a stick in my hand, struck her over the back; and having stunned
her, I forced open her mouth with my stick, and plucked her sting out
with my fingers; by which act had not God been merciful unto me, I might
by my desperateness, have brought myself to my end.

13.  This also I have taken notice of, with thanksgiving: When I was a
soldier, I with others, were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege
it; but when I was just ready to go, one of the company desired to go in
my room: to which, when I had consented, he took my place; and coming to
the siege, as he stood sentinel, he was shot in the head with a
musket-bullet and died.

14.  Here, as I said, were judgments and mercy, but neither of them did
awaken my soul to righteousness; wherefore I sinned still, and grew more
and more rebellious against God, and careless of my own salvation.

15.  Presently after this, I changed my condition into a married state,
and my mercy was, to light upon a wife whose father was counted godly:
This woman and I, though we came together as poor as poor might be (not
having so much household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us both), yet
this she had for her part: _The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven_ and _The
Practice of Piety_; which her father had left her when he died.  In these
two books I would sometimes read with her, wherein I also found some
things that were somewhat pleasing to me (but all this while I met with
no conviction).  She also would be often telling of me what a godly man
her father was, and how he would reprove and correct vice, both in his
house, and among his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in
his days, both in word and deed.

          [Picture: Bunyan and his Wife read her Father’s Books]

16.  Wherefore these books, with this relation, though they did not reach
my heart, to awaken it about my sad and sinful state, yet they did beget
within me some desires to religion: so that because I knew no better, I
fell in very eagerly with the religion of the times; to wit, to go to
church twice a day, and that too with the foremost; and there should very
devoutly, both say and sing, as others did, yet retaining my wicked life;
but withal, I was so over-run with the spirit of superstition, that I
adored, and that with great devotion, even all things (both the
high-place, priest, clerk, vestment, service, and what else) belonging to
the church; counting all things holy that were therein contained, and
especially, the priest and clerk most happy, and without doubt, greatly
blessed, because they were the servants, as I then thought, of God, and
were principal in the holy temple, to do His work therein.

17.  This conceit grew so strong in a little time upon my spirit, that
had I but seen a priest (though never so sordid and debauched in his
life), I should find my spirit fall under him, reverence him, and knit
unto him; yea, I thought, for the love I did bear unto them (supposing
them the ministers of God), I could have laid down at their feet, and
have been trampled upon by them; their name, their garb, and work did so
intoxicate and bewitch me.

18.  After I had been thus for some considerable time, another thought
came in my mind; and that was, whether we were of the _Israelites_ or no?
For finding in the scripture that they were once the peculiar people of
God, thought I, if I were one of this race, my soul must needs be happy.
Now again, I found within me a great longing to be resolved about this
question, but could not tell how I should: at last I asked my father of
it; who told me, _No_, _we were not_.  Wherefore then I fell in my
spirit, as to the hopes of that, and so remained.

19.  But all this while, I was not sensible of the danger and evil of
sin; I was kept from considering that sin would damn me, what religion
soever I followed, unless I was found in Christ: nay, I never thought of
Him, or whether there was such a One, or no.  _Thus man_, _while blind_,
_doth wander_, _but wearieth himself with vanity_, _for he knoweth not
the way to the city of God_.  Eccles. x. 15.

20.  But one day (amongst all the sermons our parson made) his subject
was, to treat of the Sabbath day, and of the evil of breaking that,
either with labour, sports or otherwise.  (Now, I was, notwithstanding my
religion, one that took much delight in all manner of vice, and
especially that was the day that I did solace myself therewith):
wherefore I fell in my conscience under his sermon, thinking and
believing that he made that sermon on purpose to show me my evil doing.
And at that time I felt what guilt was, though never before, that I can
remember; but then I was, for the present, greatly loaden therewith, and
so went home when the sermon was ended, with a great burthen upon my
spirit.

21.  This, for that instant did benumb the sinews of my best delights,
and did imbitter my former pleasures to me; but hold, it lasted not, for
before I had well dined, the trouble began to go off my mind, and my
heart returned to its old course: but oh! how glad was I, that this
trouble was gone from me, and that the fire was put out, that I might sin
again without control!  Wherefore, when I had satisfied nature with my
food, I shook the sermon out of my mind, and to my old custom of sports
and gaming, I returned with great delight.

22.  But the same day, as I was in the midst of a game of Cat, and having
struck it one blow from the hole, just as I was about to strike it the
second time, a voice did suddenly dart from heaven into my soul, which
said, _Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven_, _or have thy sins and
go to hell_?  At this I was put to an exceeding maze; wherefore leaving
my cat upon the ground, I looked up to heaven, and was, as if I had, with
the eyes of my understanding, seen the Lord Jesus looking down upon me,
as being very hotly displeased with me, and as if He did severely
threaten me with some grievous punishment for these and other ungodly
practices.

               [Picture: Bunyan hears a Voice from Heaven]

23.  I had no sooner thus conceived in my mind, but, suddenly, this
conclusion was fastened on my spirit (for the former hint did set my sins
again before my face), _That I had been a great and grievous sinner_,
_and that it was now too late for me to look after heaven_; _for Christ
would not forgive me_, _nor pardon my transgressions_.  Then I fell to
musing on this also; and while I was thinking of it, and fearing lest it
should be so; I felt my heart sink in despair, concluding it was too
late; and therefore I resolved in my mind I would go on in sin: for,
thought I, if the case be thus, my state is surely miserable; miserable
if I leave my sins, and but miserable if I follow them; I can but be
damned, and if I must be so, I had as good be damned for many sins, as be
damned for few.

24.  Thus I stood in the midst of my play, before all that then were
present: but yet I told them nothing: but I say; having made this
conclusion, I returned desperately to my sport again; and I well
remember, that presently this kind of despair did so possess my soul,
that I was persuaded I could never attain to other comfort than what I
should get in sin; for heaven was gone already, so that on that I must
not think; wherefore I found within me great desire to take my fill of
sin, still studying what sin was yet to be committed, that I might taste
the sweetness of it; and I made as much haste as I could to fill my belly
with its delicates, lest I should die before I had my desire; for that I
feared greatly.  In these things, I protest before God, I lye not,
neither do I feign this form of speech; these were really, strongly, and
with all my heart, my desires: _The good Lord_, _Whose mercy is
unsearchable_, _forgive me my transgressions_!

25.  And I am very confident, that this temptation of the devil is more
usual among poor creatures, than many are aware of, even to over-run the
spirits with a scurvy and seared frame of heart, and benumbing of
conscience, which frame he stilly and slily supplieth with such despair,
that, though not much guilt attendeth souls, yet they continually have a
secret conclusion within them, that there is no hope for them; _for they
have loved sins_, _therefore after them they will go_.  Jer. ii. 25, and
xviii. 12.

26.  Now therefore I went on in sin with great greediness of mind, still
grudging that I could not be so satisfied with it, as I would.  This did
continue with me about a month, or more; but one day, as I was standing
at a neighbour’s shop window, and there cursing and swearing, and playing
the madman, after my wonted manner, there sate within, the woman of the
house, and heard me; who, though she also was a very loose and ungodly
wretch, yet protested that I swore and cursed at that most fearful rate,
that she was made to tremble to hear me; and told me further, _that I was
the ungodliest fellow for swearing_, _that she ever heard in all her
life_; _and that I_, _by thus doing_, _was able to spoil all the youth in
the whole town_, _if they come but in my company_.

27.  At this reproof I was silenced, and put to secret shame; and that
too, as I thought, before the God of heaven; wherefore, while I stood
there, and hanging down my head, I wished with all my heart that I might
be a little child again, that my father might learn me to speak without
this wicked way of swearing; for, thought I, I am so accustomed to it,
that it is in vain for me to think of a reformation; for I thought it
could never be.

28.  But how it came to pass, I know not; I did from this time forward,
so leave my swearing, that it was a great wonder to myself to observe it;
and whereas before I knew not how to speak unless I put an oath before,
and another behind, to make my words have authority; now I could, without
it, speak better, and with more pleasantness than ever I could before.
All this while I knew not Jesus Christ, neither did I leave my sports and
plays.

29.  But quickly after this, I fell into company with one poor man that
made profession of religion; who, as I then thought, did talk pleasantly
of the scriptures, and of the matters of religion; wherefore falling into
some love and liking to what he said, I betook me to my Bible, and began
to take great pleasure in reading, but especially with the historical
part thereof; for as for Paul’s Epistles, and such like scriptures, I
could not away with them, being as yet ignorant, either of the
corruptions of my nature, or of the want and worth of Jesus Christ to
save me.

30.  Wherefore I fell to some outward reformation both in my words and
life, and did set the commandments before me for my way to heaven; which
commandments I also did strive to keep, and, as I thought, did keep them
pretty well sometimes, and then I should have comfort; yet now and then
should break one, and so afflict my conscience; but then I should repent,
and say, I was sorry for it, and promise God to do better next time, and
there get help again; for then I thought I pleased God as well as any man
in _England_.

31.  Thus I continued about a year; all which time our neighbours did
take me to be a very godly man, a new and religious man, and did marvel
much to see such a great and famous alteration in my life and manners;
and indeed so it was, though yet I knew not Christ, nor grace, nor faith,
nor hope; for, as I have well seen since, had I then died, my state had
been most fearful.

32.  But, I say, my neighbours were amazed at this my great conversion,
from prodigious profaneness, to something like a moral life; and truly,
so they well might; for this my conversion was as great, as for Tom of
Bethlehem to become a sober man.  Now therefore they began to praise, to
commend, and to speak well of me, both to my face, and behind my back.
Now I was, as they said, become godly; now I was become a right honest
man.  But oh! when I understood these were their words and opinions of
me, it pleased me mighty well.  For, though as yet I was nothing but a
poor painted hypocrite, yet, I loved to be talked of as one that was
truly godly.  I was proud of my godliness, and indeed, I did all I did,
either to be seen of, or to be well spoken of, by men: and thus I
continued for about a twelvemonth, or more.

33.  Now you must know, that, before this, I had taken much delight in
ringing, but my _conscience_ beginning to be tender, I thought such
_practice_ was but vain, and therefore forced myself to leave it; yet my
mind hankered; wherefore I would go to the steeple-house, and look on,
though I durst not ring: but I thought this did not become religion
neither; yet I forced myself, and would look on still, but quickly after,
I began to think, _how if one of the bells should fall_?  Then I chose to
stand under a main beam, that lay overthwart the steeple, from side to
side, thinking here I might stand sure; but then I should think again,
should the bell fall with a swing, it might first hit the wall, and then,
rebounding upon me, might kill me for all this beam; this made me stand
in the steeple-door; and now, thought I, I am safe enough; for if the
bell should now fall, I can slip out behind these thick walls, and so be
preserved notwithstanding.

34.  So after this I would yet go to see them ring, but would not go any
farther than the steeple-door; but then it came into my head, how if the
steeple itself should fall?  And this thought (it may for aught I know)
when I stood and looked on, did continually so shake my mind, that I
durst not stand at the steeple-door any longer, but was forced to flee,
for fear the steeple should fall upon my head.

                     [Picture: Bunyan at the Steeple]

35.  Another thing was, my dancing; I was a full year before I could
quite leave that; but all this while, when I thought I kept this or that
commandment, or did, by word or deed, anything that I thought was good, I
had great peace in my conscience, and should think with myself, God
cannot choose but be now pleased with me; yea, to relate it in mine own
way, I thought no man in _England_ could please God better than I.

36.  But poor wretch as I was!  I was all this while ignorant of Jesus
Christ; and going about to establish my own righteousness; and had
perished therein, had not God in mercy showed me more of my state by
nature.

37.  But upon a day, the good providence of God called me to _Bedford_,
to work on my calling; and in one of the streets of that town, I came
where there were three or four poor women sitting at a door, in the sun,
talking about the things of God; and being now willing to hear them
discourse, I drew near to hear what they said, for I was now a brisk
talker also myself, in the matters of religion; but I may say, _I heard
but understood not_; for they were far above, out of my reach.  Their
talk was about a new birth, the work of God on their hearts, also how
they were convinced of their miserable state by nature; they talked how
God had visited their souls with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with
what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and
supported, against the temptations of the devil: moreover, they reasoned
of the suggestions and temptations of Satan in particular; and told to
each other, by which they had been afflicted and how they were borne up
under his assaults.  They also discoursed of their own wretchedness of
heart, and of their unbelief; and did contemn, slight and abhor their own
righteousness, as filthy, and insufficient to do them any good.

          [Picture: Bunyan listens to the poor women of Bedford]

38.  And, methought, they spake as if joy did make them speak; they spake
with such pleasantness of scripture language, and with such appearance of
grace in all they said, that they were to me, as if they had found a new
world; as if they were _people that dwelt alone_, _and were not to be
reckoned among their neighbours_.  Numb. xxiii. 9.

39.  At this I felt my own heart began to shake, and mistrust my
condition to be naught; for I saw that in all my thoughts about religion
and salvation, the new-birth did never enter into my mind; neither knew I
the comfort of the word and promise, nor the deceitfulness and treachery
of my own wicked heart.  As for secret thoughts, I took no notice of
them; neither did I understand what Satan’s temptations were, nor how
they were to be withstood, and resisted, etc.

40.  Thus, therefore, when I had heard and considered what they said, I
left them, and went about my employment again, but their talk and
discourse went with me; also my heart would tarry with them, for I was
greatly affected with their words, both because by them I was convinced
that I wanted the true tokens of a truly godly man, and also because by
them I was convinced of the happy and blessed condition of him that was
such a one.

41.  Therefore I should often make it my business to be going again and
again into the company of these poor people; for I could not stay away;
and the more I went amongst them, the more I did question my condition;
and as I still do remember, presently I found two things within me, at
which I did sometimes marvel (especially considering what a blind,
ignorant, sordid and ungodly wretch but just before I was).  The one was
a very great softness and tenderness of heart, which caused me to fall
under the conviction of what by scripture they asserted, and the other
was a great bending in my mind, to a continual meditating on it, and on
all other good things, which at any time I heard or read of.

42.  By these things my mind was now so turned, that it lay like an
horse-leech at the vein, still crying out, _Give_, _Give_, Prov. xxx. 15;
yea, it was so fixed on eternity, and on the things about the kingdom of
heaven (that is, so far as I knew, though as yet, God knows, I knew but
little), that neither pleasures, nor profits, nor persuasions, nor
threats, could loose it, or make it let go its hold; and though I may
speak it with shame, yet it is in very deed, a certain truth, it would
then have been as difficult for me to have taken my mind from heaven to
earth, as I have found it often since, to get again from earth to heaven.

43.  One thing I may not omit: There was a young man in our town, to whom
my heart before was knit, more than to any other, but he being a most
wicked creature for cursing, and swearing, and whoreing, I now shook him
off, and forsook his company; but about a quarter of a year after I had
left him, I met him in a certain lane, and asked him how he did: he,
after his old swearing and mad way, answered, he was well.  But, Harry,
said I, _why do you curse and swear thus_?  _What will become of you_,
_if you die in this condition_?  He answered me in a great chafe, _What
would the devil do for company_, _if it were not for such as I am_?

44.  About this time I met with some Ranters’ books, that were put forth
by some of our countrymen, which books were also highly in esteem by
several old professors; some of these I read, but was not able to make
any judgment about them; wherefore as I read in them, and thought upon
them (seeing myself unable to judge), I would betake myself to hearty
prayer in this manner.  _O Lord_, _I am a fool_, _and not able to know
the truth from error_: _Lord_, _leave me not to my own blindness_,
_either to approve of or condemn this doctrine_; _if it be of God_, _let
me not despise it_; _if it be of the devil_, _let me not embrace it_.
_Lord_, _I lay my soul in this matter only at Thy foot_, _let me not be
deceived_, _I humbly beseech Thee_.  I had one religious intimate
companion all this while, and that was the poor man I spoke of before;
but about this time, he also turned a most devilish Ranter, and gave
himself up to all manner of filthiness, especially uncleanness: he would
also deny that there was a God, angel, or spirit; and would laugh at all
exhortations to sobriety; when I laboured to rebuke his wickedness he
would laugh the more, and pretend that he had gone through all religions,
and could never light on the right till now.  He told me also, that in a
little time I should see all professors turn to the ways of the Ranters.
Wherefore, abominating those cursed principles, I left his company
forthwith, and became to him as great a stranger, as I had been before a
familiar.

45.  Neither was this man only a temptation to me, but my calling lying
in the country, I happened to light into several people’s company, who
though strict in religion formerly, yet were also swept away by these
Ranters.  These would also talk with me of their ways, and condemn me as
legal and dark; pretending that they only had attained to perfection,
that could do what they would and not sin.  Oh! these temptations were
suitable to my flesh, I being but a young man and my nature in its prime;
but God, who had, as I hoped, designed me for better things, kept me in
the fear of His name, and did not suffer me to accept such cursed
principles.  And blessed be God, Who put it into my heart to cry to Him
to be kept and directed, still distrusting my own wisdom; for I have
since seen even the effects of that prayer, in His preserving me, not
only from Ranting errors, but from those also that have sprung up since.
The Bible was precious to me in those days.

46.  And now methought, I began to look into the Bible with new eyes, and
read as I never did before, and especially the epistles of the apostle St
Paul were sweet and pleasant to me; and indeed I was then never out of
the Bible, either by reading or meditation; still crying out to God, that
I might know the truth, and way to heaven and glory.

47.  And as I went on and read, I lighted upon that passage, _To one is
given_, _by the Spirit_, _the word of wisdom_; _to another the word
knowledge by the same Spirit_; _and to another faith_, etc.  1 Cor. xii.
And though, as I have since seen, that by this scripture the Holy Ghost
intends, in special, things extraordinary, yet on me it did then fasten
with conviction, that I did want things ordinary, even that understanding
and wisdom that other Christians had.  On this word I mused, and could
not tell what to do, especially this word ‘Faith’ put me to it, for I
could not help it, but sometimes must question, whether I had any faith,
or no; but I was loath to conclude, I had no faith; for if I do so,
thought I, then I shall count myself a very cast-away indeed.

48.  No, said I, with myself, though I am convinced that I am an ignorant
sot, and that I want those blessed gifts of knowledge and understanding
that other people have; yet at a venture I will conclude, I am not
altogether faithless, though I know not what faith is; for it was shewn
me, and that too (as I have seen since) by Satan, that those who conclude
themselves in a faithless state, have neither rest nor quiet in their
souls; and I was loath to fall quite into despair.

49.  Wherefore by this suggestion I was, for a while, made afraid to see
my want of faith; but God would not suffer me thus to undo and destroy my
soul, but did continually, against this my sad and blind conclusion,
create still within me such suppositions, insomuch that I could not rest
content, until I did now come to some certain knowledge, whether I had
faith or no, this always running in my mind, _But how if you want faith
indeed_?  _But how can you tell you have faith_?  And besides, I saw for
certain, if I had not, I was sure to perish for ever.

50.  So that though I endeavoured at the first to look over the business
of Faith, yet in a little time, I better considering the matter, was
willing to put myself upon the trial whether I had faith or no.  But
alas, poor wretch! so ignorant and brutish was I, that I knew not to this
day no more how to do it, than I know how to begin and accomplish that
rare and curious piece of art, which I never yet saw or considered.

51.  Wherefore while I was thus considering, and being put to my plunge
about it (for you must know, that as yet I had in this matter broken my
mind to no man, only did hear and consider), the tempter came in with
this delusion, _That there was no way for me to know I had faith_, _but
by trying to work some miracle_; urging those scriptures that seem to
look that way, for the enforcing and strengthening his temptation.  Nay,
one day, as I was between _Elstow_ and _Bedford_, the temptation was hot
upon me, to try if I had faith, by doing some miracle; which miracle at
this time was this, I must say to the _puddles_ that were in the
horsepads, _Be dry_; and to the _dry places_, _Be you puddles_: and truly
one time I was going to say so indeed; but just as I was about to speak,
this thought came into my mind; _But go under yonder hedge and pray
first_, _that God would make you able_.  But when I had concluded to
pray, this came hot upon me; That if I prayed, and came again and tried
to do it, and yet did nothing notwithstanding, then to be sure I had no
faith, but was a cast-away, and lost; nay, thought I, if it be so, I will
not try yet, but will stay a little longer.

52.  So I continued at a great loss; for I thought, if they only had
faith, which could do so wonderful things, then I concluded, that for the
present I neither had it, nor yet for the time to come, were ever like to
have it.  Thus I was tossed betwixt the devil and my own ignorance, and
so perplexed, especially at some times, that I could not tell what to do.

53.  About this time, the state and happiness of these poor people at
Bedford was thus, _in a kind of a vision_, presented to me, I saw as if
they were on the sunny side of some high mountain, there refreshing
themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I was shivering and
shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow and dark clouds:
methought also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall that did compass about
this mountain, now through this wall my soul did greatly desire to pass;
concluding, that if I could, I would even go into the very midst of them,
and there also comfort myself with the heat of their sun.

54.  About this wall I bethought myself, to go again and again, still
prying as I went, to see if I could find some way or passage, by which I
might enter therein: but none could I find for some time: at the last, I
saw, as it were, a narrow gap, like a little door-way in the wall,
through which I attempted to pass: Now the passage being very strait and
narrow, I made many offers to get in, but all in vain, even until I was
well-nigh quite beat out, by striving to get in; at last, with great
striving, methought I at first did get in my head, and after that, by a
sideling striving, my shoulders, and my whole body; then I was exceeding
glad, went and sat down in the midst of them, and so was comforted with
the light and heat of their sun.

55.  Now this mountain, and wall, etc., was thus made out to me: The
mountain signified the church of the living God: the sun that shone
thereon, the comfortable shining of His merciful face on them that were
therein; the wall I thought was the word, that did make separation
between the Christians and the world; and the gap which was in the wall,
I thought, was Jesus Christ, Who is the way to God the Father.  John xiv.
6; Matt. vii. 14.  But forasmuch as the passage was wonderful narrow,
even so narrow that I could not, but with great difficulty, enter in
thereat, it showed me, that none could enter into life, but those that
were in downright earnest, and unless also they left that wicked world
behind them; for here was only room for body and soul, but not for body
and soul and sin.

56.  This resemblance abode upon my spirit many days; all which time I
saw myself in a forlorn and sad condition, but yet was provoked to a
vehement hunger and desire to be one of that number that did sit in the
sunshine: Now also I should pray wherever I was: whether at home or
abroad; in house or field; and would also often, with lifting up of
heart, sing that of the fifty-first Psalm, _O Lord_, _consider my
distress_; for as yet I knew not where I was.

57.  Neither as yet could I attain to any comfortable persuasion that I
had faith in Christ; but instead of having satisfaction here, I began to
find my soul to be assaulted with fresh doubts about my future happiness;
especially with such as these, _whether I was elected_?  _But how_, _if
the day of grace should now be past and gone_?

58.  By these two temptations I was very much afflicted and disquieted;
sometimes by one, and sometimes by the other of them.  And first, to
speak of that about my questioning my election, I found at this time,
that though I was in a flame to find the way to heaven and glory, and
though nothing could beat me off from this, yet this question did so
offend and discourage me, that I was, especially sometimes, as if the
very strength of my body also had been taken away by the force and power
thereof.  This scripture did also seem to me to trample upon all my
desires; _It is not of him that willeth_, _nor of him that runneth_; _but
of God that showeth mercy_.  Rom. ix. 16.

59.  With this scripture I could not tell what to do: for I evidently
saw, unless that 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.
Therefore this would stick with me, _How can you tell that you are
elected_?  _And what if you should not_?  _How then_?

60.  O Lord, thought I, what if I should not indeed?  It may be you are
not, said the Tempter; it may be so indeed, thought I.  Why then, said
Satan, you had as good leave off, and strive no farther; for if indeed,
you should not be elected and chosen of God, there is no talk of your
being saved; _For it is not of him that willeth_, _nor of him that
runneth_; _but of God that showeth mercy_.

61.  By these things I was driven to my wits’ end, not knowing what to
say, or how to answer these temptations: (indeed, I little thought that
Satan had thus assaulted me, but that rather it was my own prudence thus
to start the question): for that the elect only attained eternal life;
that, I without scruple did heartily close withal; but that myself was
one of them, there lay the question.

62.  Thus therefore, for several days, I was greatly assaulted and
perplexed, and was often, when I have been walking, ready to sink where I
went, with faintness in my mind; but one day, after I had been so many
weeks oppressed and cast down therewith as I was now quite giving up the
ghost of all my hopes of ever attaining life, that sentence fell with
weight upon my spirit, _Look at the generations of old_, _and see_; _did
ever any trust in God_, _and were confounded_?

63.  At which I was greatly lightened, and encouraged in my soul; for
thus, at that very instant, it was expounded to me: _Begin at the
beginning of Genesis_, _and read to the end of the Revelations_, _and see
if you can find_, _that there were ever any that trusted in the Lord_,
_and were confounded_.  So coming home, I presently went to my Bible, to
see if I could find that saying, not doubting but to find it presently;
for it was so fresh, and with such strength and comfort on my spirit,
that it was as if it talked with me.

64.  Well, I looked, but I found it not; only it abode upon me: Then did
I ask first this good man, and then another, if they knew where it was,
but they knew no such place.  At this I wondered, that such a sentence
should so suddenly, and with such comfort and strength, seize, and abide
upon my heart; and yet that none could find it (for I doubted not but
that it was in holy scripture).

65.  Thus I continued above a year, and could not find the place; but at
last, casting my eye upon the _Apocrypha_ books, I found it in
_Ecclesiasticus_, Eccles. ii. 10.  This, at the first, did somewhat daunt
me; but because by this time I had got more experience of the love and
kindness of God, it troubled me the less, especially when I considered
that though it was not in those texts that we call holy and canonical;
yet forasmuch as this sentence was the sum and substance of many of the
promises, it was my duty to take the comfort of it; and I bless God for
that word, for it was of God to me: that word doth still at times shine
before my face.

66.  After this, that other doubt did come with strength upon me, _But
how if the day of grace should be past and gone_?  How if you have
overstood the time of mercy?  Now I remember that one day, as I was
walking in the country, I was much in the thoughts of this, _But how if
the day of grace is past_?  And to aggravate my trouble, the Tempter
presented to my mind those good people of _Bedford_, and suggested thus
unto me, that these being converted already, they were all that God would
save in those parts; and that I came too late, for these had got the
blessing before I came.

67.  Now I was in great distress, thinking in very deed that this might
well be so; wherefore I went up and down, bemoaning my sad condition;
counting myself far worse than a thousand fools for standing off thus
long, and spending so many years in sin as I had done; still crying out,
Oh! that I had turned sooner!  Oh! that I had turned seven years ago!  It
made me also angry with myself, to think that I should have no more wit,
but to trifle away my time, till my soul and heaven were lost.

68.  But when I had been long vexed with this fear, and was scarce able
to take one step more, just about the same place where I received my
other encouragement, these words broke in upon my mind, _Compel them to
come in_, _that my house may be filled_; _and yet there is room_.  Luke
xiv. 22, 23.  These words, but especially those, _And yet there is room_,
were sweet words to me; for truly I thought that by them I saw there was
place enough in heaven for me; and moreover, that when the Lord Jesus did
speak these words, He then did think of me: and that He knowing that the
time would come, that I should be afflicted with fear, that there was no
place left for me in His bosom, did before speak this word, and leave it
upon record, that I might find help thereby against this vile temptation.
This I then verily believed.

69.  In the light and encouragement of this word I went a pretty while;
and the comfort was the more, when I thought that the Lord Jesus should
think on me so long ago, and that He should speak those words on purpose
for my sake; for I did think verily, that He did on purpose speak them to
encourage me withal.

70.  But I was not without my temptations to go back again; temptations I
say, both from Satan, mine own heart, and carnal acquaintance; but I
thank God these were outweighed by that sound sense of death, and of the
day of judgment, which abode, as it were, continually in my view: I would
often also think on _Nebuchadnezzar_; of whom it is said, _He had given
him all the kingdoms of the earth_.  Dan. v. 18, 19.  Yet, thought I, if
this great man had all his portion in this world, one hour in hell-fire
would make him forget all.  Which consideration was a great help to me.

71.  I was also made, about this time, to see something concerning the
beasts that _Moses_ counted clean and unclean: I thought those beasts
were types of men; the _clean_, types of them that were the people of
God; but the _unclean_, types of such as were the children of the wicked
one.  Now I read, that the clean beasts _chewed the cud_; that is,
thought I, they show us, we must feed upon the word of God: they also
_parted the hoof_.  I thought that signified, we must part, if we would
be saved, with the ways of ungodly men.  And also, in further reading
about them, I found, that though we did chew the cud, as the _hare_; yet
if we walked with claws, like a dog; or if we did part the hoof, like the
_swine_, yet if we did not chew the cud, as the sheep, we were still, for
all that, but unclean: for I thought the _hare_ to be a type of those
that talk of the word, yet walk in the ways of sin; and that the _swine_
was like him that parted with his outward pollutions, but still wanteth
the word of faith, without which there could be no way of salvation, let
a man be never so devout.  Deut. xiv.  After this, I found by reading the
word, that those that must be glorified with Christ in another world
_must be called by Him here_; called to the partaking of a share in His
word and righteousness, and to the comforts and first-fruits of His
Spirit; and to a peculiar interest in all those heavenly things, which do
indeed prepare the soul for that rest, and house of glory, which is in
heaven above.

72.  Here again I was at a very I great stand, not knowing what to do,
fearing I was not called; for, thought I, if I be not called, what then
can do me good?  None but those who are effectually called inherit the
kingdom of heaven.  But oh! how I now loved those words that spake of a
_Christian’s calling_! as when the Lord said to one, _Follow Me_; and to
another, _Come after Me_: and oh, thought I, that He would say so to me
too: how gladly would I run after Him!

73.  I cannot now express with what longings and breathings in my soul, I
cried to Christ to call me.  Thus I continued for a time, all on a flame
to be converted to Jesus Christ; and did also see at that day, such glory
in a converted state, that I could not be contented without a share
therein.  Gold! could it have been gotten for gold, what would I have
given for it?  Had I had a whole world, it had all gone ten thousand
times over for this, that my soul might have been in a converted state.

74.  How lovely now was every one in my eyes, that I thought to be
converted men and women.  They shone, they walked like a people that
carried the broad seal of heaven about them.  Oh! I saw the lot was
fallen to them in pleasant places, and they had a goodly heritage.  Psalm
xvi.  But that which made me sick, was that of Christ, in St Mark, _He
goeth up into a mountain_, _and calleth unto Him whom He would_, _and
they came unto Him_.  Mark iii. 13.

75.  This scripture made me faint and fear, yet it kindled fire in my
soul.  That which made me fear, was this; lest Christ should have no
liking to me, for He called _whom He would_.  But oh! the glory that I
saw in that condition, did still so engage my heart, that I could seldom
read of any that Christ did call, but I presently wished, _Would I had
been in their clothes_, _would I had been born Peter_; _would I had been
born John_; _or_, _would I had been by and had heard Him when He called
them_, _how would I have cried_, _O Lord_, _call me also_!  _But_, _oh_!
_I feared He would not call me_.

76.  And truly, the Lord let me go thus many months together, and shewed
me nothing; either that I was already, or should be called hereafter: but
at last after much time spent, and many groans to God, that I might be
made partaker of the holy and heavenly calling; that word came in upon
me: _I will cleanse their blood_, _that I have not cleansed_, _for the
Lord dwelleth in Zion_.  Joel iii. 21.  These words I thought were sent
to encourage me to wait still upon God; and signified unto me, that if I
were not already, yet time might come, I might be in truth converted unto
Christ.

77.  About this time I began to break my mind to those poor people in
_Bedford_, and to tell them my condition; which when they had heard, they
told Mr Gifford of me, who himself also took occasion to talk with me,
and was willing to be well persuaded of me, though I think from little
grounds: but he invited me to his house, where I should hear him confer
with others, about the dealings of God with their souls; from all which I
still received more conviction, and from that time began to see something
of the vanity and inward wretchedness of my wicked heart; for as yet I
knew no great matter therein; but now it began to be discovered unto me,
and also to work at that rate as it never did before.  Now I evidently
found, that lusts and corruptions put forth themselves within me, in
wicked thoughts and desires, which I did not regard before; my desires
also for heaven and life began to fail; I found also, that whereas before
my soul was full of longing after God, now it began to hanker after every
foolish vanity; yea, my heart would not be moved to mind that which was
good; it began to be careless, both of my soul and heaven; it would now
continually hang back, both to, and in every duty; and was as a clog on
the leg of a bird, to hinder me from flying.

78.  Nay, thought I, now I grow worse and worse: now I am farther from
conversion than ever I was before.  Wherefore I began to sink greatly in
my soul, and began to entertain such discouragement in my heart, as laid
me as low as hell.  If now I should have burned at the stake, I could not
believe that Christ had love for me: alas!  I could neither hear Him, nor
see Him, nor feel Him, nor favour any of His things; I was driven as with
a tempest, my heart would be unclean, and the _Canaanites_ would dwell in
the land.

79.  Sometimes I would tell my condition to the people of God; which,
when they heard, they would pity me, and would tell me of the promises;
but they had as good have told me, that I must reach the sun with my
finger, as have bidden me receive or rely upon the promises: and as soon
I should have done it.  All my sense and feeling were against me; and I
saw I had an heart that would sin, and that lay under a law that would
condemn.

80.  These things have often made me think of the child which the father
brought to Christ, _who_, _while he was yet coming to Him_, _was thrown
down by the devil_, _and also so rent and torn by him_, _that he lay down
and wallowed_, _foaming_.  Luke ix. 42; Mark ix. 20.

81.  Further, in these days, I would find my heart to shut itself up
against the Lord, and against His holy word: I have found my unbelief to
set, as it were, the shoulder to the door, to keep Him out; and that too
even then, when I have with many a bitter sigh, cried, Good Lord, break
it open: _Lord_, _break these gates of brass_, _and cut these bars of
iron asunder_.  Psalm cvii. 16.  Yet that word would sometimes create in
my heart a peaceable pause, _I girded thee_, _though thou hast not known
Me_.  Isaiah xlv. 5.

82.  But all this while, as to the act of sinning, I was never more
tender than now: my hinder parts were inward: I durst not take a pin or
stick, though but so big as a straw; for my conscience now was sore, and
would smart at every touch: I could not now tell how to speak my words,
for fear I should misplace them.  Oh, how gingerly did I then go, in all
I did or said!  I found myself as on a miry bog, that shook if I did but
stir, and was, as there, left both of God and Christ, and the Spirit, and
all good things.

83.  But I observed, though I was such a great sinner before conversion,
yet God never much charged the guilt of the sins of my ignorance upon me;
only He showed me, I was lost if I had not Christ, because I had been a
sinner: I saw that I wanted a perfect righteousness to present me without
fault before God, and this righteousness was no where to be found, but in
the Person of Jesus Christ.

84.  But my original and inward pollution; That, that was my plague and
affliction, that I saw at a dreadful rate, always putting forth itself
within me; that I had the guilt of, to amazement; by reason of that, I
was more loathsome in mine own eyes than was a toad, and I thought I was
so in God’s eyes too: Sin and corruption, I said, would as naturally
bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble out of a fountain: I
thought now, that every one had a better heart than I had; I could have
changed heart with any body; I thought none but the devil himself could
equalise me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind.  I fell
therefore at the sight of my own vileness deeply into despair; for I
concluded, that this condition that I was in, could not stand with a
state of grace.  Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God; sure, I am given
up to the devil, and to a reprobate mind: and thus I continued a long
while, even for some years together.

85.  While I was thus afflicted with the fears of my own damnation, there
were two things would make me wonder; the one was, when I saw old people
hunting after the things of this life, as if they should live here
always: the other was, when I found professors much distressed and cast
down, when they met with outward losses; as of husband, wife, child, etc.
Lord, thought I, what a-do is here about such little things as these!
What seeking after carnal things, by some, and what grief in others for
the loss of them! if they so much labour after, and shed so many tears
for the things of this present life, how am I to be bemoaned, pitied, and
prayed for!  My soul is dying, my soul is damning.  Were my soul but in a
good condition, and were I but sure of it, ah! how rich should I esteem
myself, though blessed but with bread and water!  I should count those
but small afflictions, and should bear them as little burthens.  _A
wounded spirit who can bear_!

86. And though I was much troubled, and tossed, and afflicted, with the
sight and sense and terror of my own wickedness, yet I was afraid to let
this sight and sense go quite off my mind: that unless guilt of
conscience was taken off the right way, that is, by the blood of Christ a
man grew rather worse for the loss of his trouble of mind, than better.
Wherefore, if my guilt lay hard upon me, then I should cry that the blood
of Christ might take it off: and if it was going off without it (for the
sense of sin would be sometimes as if it would die, and go quite away),
then I would also strive to fetch it upon my heart again, by bringing the
punishment of sin in hell fire upon my spirit; and should cry, _Lord_,
_let it not go off my heart_, _but the right way_, _by the blood of
Christ_, _and the application of Thy mercy_, _through Him_, _to my soul_,
for that scripture lay much upon me, _without shedding of blood is no
remission_.  Heb. ix. 22.  And that which made me the more afraid of
this, was, because I had seen some, who though when they were under
wounds of conscience, would cry and pray; yet seeking rather present ease
from their trouble, than pardon for their sin, cared not how they lost
their guilt, so they got it out of their mind: now, having got it off the
wrong way, it was not sanctified unto them; but they grew harder and
blinder, and more wicked after their trouble.  This made me afraid, and
made me cry to God the more, that it might not be so with me.

87.  And now I was sorry that God had made me man, for I feared I was a
reprobate; I counted man as unconverted, the most doleful of all the
creatures.  Thus being afflicted and tossed about my sad condition, I
counted myself alone, and above the most of men unblessed.

88.  Yea, I thought it impossible that ever I should attain to so much
goodness of heart, as to thank God that He had made me a man.  Man indeed
is the most noble by creation, of all creatures in the visible world; but
by sin he has made himself the most ignoble.  The beasts, birds, fishes,
etc.  I blessed their condition; for they had not a sinful nature; they
were not obnoxious to the wrath of God; they were not to go to hell-fire
after death; I could therefore have rejoiced, had my condition been as
any of theirs.

89.  In this condition I went a great while, but when comforting time was
come, I heard one preach a sermon on these words in the song, Song iv. 1,
_Behold_, _thou art fair_, _my love_, _behold_, _thou art fair_.  But at
that time he made these two words, _my love_, his chief and subject
matter: from which, after he had a little opened the text, he observed
these several conclusions: 1. _That the church_, _and so every saved
soul_, _is Christ’s love_, _when loveless_.  2. _Christ’s love without a
cause_.  3. _Christ’s love_, _when hated of the world_.  4. _Christ’s
love_, _when under temptation and under destruction_.  5. _Christ’s
love_, _from first to last_.

90.  But I got nothing by what he said at present; only when he came to
the application of the fourth particular, this was the word he said; _If
it be so_, _that the saved soul is Christ’s love_, _when under temptation
and desertion_; _then poor tempted soul_, _when thou art assaulted_, _and
afflicted with temptations_, _and the hidings of God’s face_, _yet think
on these two words_, ‘My love,’ _still_.

91.  So as I was going home, these words came again into my thoughts; and
I well remember, as they came in, I said thus in my heart, _What shall I
get by thinking on these two words_?  This thought had no sooner passed
through my heart, but these words began thus to kindle in my spirit,
_Thou art My Love_, _thou art My Dove_, twenty times together; and still
as they ran in my mind, they waxed stronger and warmer, and began to make
me look up; but being as yet, between hope and fear, I still replied in
my heart, _But is it true_, _but is it true_?  At which that sentence
fell upon me, _He wist not that it was true_, _which was done by the
Angel_.  Acts xii. 9.

92.  Then I began to give place to the word which with power, did over
and over make this joyful sound within my soul, ‘_Thou art my Love_,
_thou art My Love_, _and nothing shall separate thee from My Love_.  And
with that my heart was filled full of comfort and hope, and now I could
believe that my sins should be forgiven me; yea, I was now so taken with
the love and mercy of God, that I remember I could not tell how to
contain till I got home: I thought I could have spoken of His love, and
have told of His mercy to me, even to the very crows, that sat upon the
ploughed lands before me, had they been capable to have understood me:
wherefore I said in my soul, with much gladness, _Well_, _I would I had a
pen and ink here_, _I would write this down before I go any farther_;
_for surely I will not forget this forty years hence_.  But, alas! within
less than forty days I began to question all again; which made me begin
to question all still.

93.  Yet still at times I was helped to believe, that it was a true
manifestation of grace unto my soul, though I had lost much of the life
and favour of it.  Now about a week or a fortnight after this I was much
followed by this scripture, _Simon_, _Simon_; _behold_, _Satan hath
desired to have you_, Luke xxii. 31, and sometimes it would sound so loud
within me, yea, and as it was, call so strongly after me, that once,
above all the rest, I turned my head over my shoulder, thinking verily
that some man had behind me, called me; being at a great distance,
methought he called so loud: it came, as I have thought since, to have
stirred me up to prayer, and to watchfulness: it came to acquaint me,
that a cloud and a storm was coming down upon me: but I understood it
not.

94.  Also, as I remember, that time that it called to me so loud, was the
last time that it sounded in mine ears; but me thinks I hear still with
what a loud voice these words, _Simon_, _Simon_, sounded in mine ears.  I
thought verily, as I have told you, that somebody had called after me,
that was half a mile behind me: and although that was not my name, yet it
made me suddenly look behind me, believing that he that called so loud,
meant me.

95.  But so foolish was I, and ignorant, that I knew not the reason of
this sound; (which as I did both see and feel soon after, was sent from
heaven as an alarm, to awaken me to provide for what was coming,) only I
should muse and wonder in my mind, to think what should be the reason of
this scripture, and that at this rate, so often and so loud, should still
be sounding and rattling in mine ears: but, as I said before, I soon
after perceived the end of God therein.

96.  For, about the space of a month after, a very great storm came down
upon me, which handled me twenty times worse than all I had met with
before; it came stealing upon me, now by one piece, then by another:
First, all my comfort was taken from me; then darkness seized upon me;
after which, whole floods of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and
the scriptures, were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion and
astonishment.  These blasphemous thoughts were such as stirred up
questions in me against the very being of God, and of His only beloved
Son: As, whether there were in truth, a God or Christ?  And whether the
holy scriptures were not rather a fable, and cunning story, than the holy
and pure word of God?

97.  The tempter would also much assault me with this, _How can you tell
but that the_ Turks _had as good scriptures to prove their_ Mahomet _the
Saviour_, _as we have to prove our Jesus is_?  _And_, _could I think_,
_that so many ten thousands_, _in so many countries and kingdoms_,
_should be without the knowledge of the right way to heaven_, (_if there
were indeed a heaven_); _and that we only_, _who live in a corner of the
earth_, _should alone be blessed therewith_?  _Every one doth think his
own religion rightest_, _both_ Jews _and_ Moors, _and_ Pagans; _and how
if all our faith_, _and Christ_, _and scriptures_, _should be but a think
so too_?

98.  Sometimes I have endeavoured to argue against these suggestions, and
to set some of the sentences of blessed _Paul_ against them; but alas! I
quickly felt, when I thus did, such arguings as these would return again
upon me, _Though we made so great a matter of Paul_, _and of his words_,
_yet how could I tell_, _but that in very deed_, _he being a subtle and
cunning man_, _might give himself up to deceive with strong delusions_:
_and also take the pains and travel_, _to undo and destroy his fellows_.

99.  These suggestions, (with many others which at this time I may not,
and dare not utter, neither by word or pen,) did make such a seizure upon
my spirit, and did so overweigh my heart, both with their number,
continuance, and fiery force, that I felt as if there were nothing else
but these from morning to night within me; and as though indeed there
could be room for nothing else; and also concluded, that God had, in very
wrath to my soul, given me up to them, to be carried away with them, as
with a mighty whirlwind.

100.  Only by the distaste that they gave unto my spirit, _I felt there
was something in me that refused to embrace them_.  But this
consideration I then only had, when God gave me leave to swallow my
spittle; otherwise the noise, and strength, and force of these
temptations would drown and overflow, and as it were, bury all such
thoughts, or the remembrance of any such thing.  While I was in this
temptation, I often found my mind suddenly put upon it to curse and
swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, or Christ His Son,
and of the scriptures.

101.  Now I thought, _surely I am possessed of the devil_: at other
times, again, I thought I should be bereft of my wits; for instead of
lauding and magnifying God the Lord, with others, if I have but heard Him
spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other
would bolt out of my heart against Him; so that whether I did think that
God was, or again did think there was no such thing, no love, nor peace,
nor gracious disposition could I feel within me.

102.  These things did sink me into very deep despair; for I concluded
that such things could not possibly be found amongst them that loved God.
I often, when these temptations had been with force upon me, did compare
myself to the case of such a child, whom some gipsy hath by force took up
in her arms, and is carrying from friend and country.  Kick sometimes I
did, and also shriek and cry; but yet I was bound in the wings of the
temptation, and the wind would carry me away.  I thought also of Saul,
and of the evil spirit that did possess him: and did greatly fear that my
condition was the same with that of his.  1 Sam. x.

103.  In these days, when I have heard others talk of what was the sin
against the Holy Ghost, then would the tempter so provoke me to desire to
sin that against sin, that I was as if I could not, must not, neither
should be quiet until I had committed it; now no sin would serve but
that.  If it were to be committed by speaking of such a word, then I have
been as if my mouth would have spoken that word, whether I would or no;
and in so strong a measure was this temptation upon me, that often I have
been ready to clap my hand under my chin, to hold my mouth from opening;
and to that end also, I have had thoughts at other times, to leap with my
head downward, into some muckhill-hole or other, to keep my mouth from
speaking.

104.  Now again I beheld the condition of the dog and toad, and counted
the estate of every thing that God had made, far better than this
dreadful state of mine, and such as my companions were.  Yea, gladly
would I have been in the condition of a dog or horse: for I knew they had
no souls to perish under the everlasting weight of hell, or sin, as mine
was like to do.  Nay, and though I saw this, felt this, and was broken to
pieces with it; yet that which added to my sorrow was, I could not find,
that with all my soul I did desire deliverance.  That scripture did also
tear and rend my soul in the midst of these distractions, _The wicked are
like the troubled sea_, _when it cannot rest_, _whose waters cast up mire
and dirt_.  _There is no peace_, _saith my God_, _to the wicked_.  Isa.
lvii. 20, 21.

105.  And now my heart was, at times, exceeding hard; if I would have
given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed one: no nor
sometimes scarce desire to shed one.  I was much dejected, to think that
this would be my lot.  I saw some could mourn and lament their sin; and
others again, could rejoice and bless God for Christ; and others again,
could quietly talk of, and with gladness remember the word of God; while
I only was in the storm or tempest.  This much sunk me, I thought my
condition was alone, I should therefore much bewail my hard hap, but get
out of, or get rid of these things, I could not.

106.  While this temptation lasted, which was about a year, I could
attend upon none of the ordinances of God, but with sore and great
affliction.  Yea, then I was most distressed with blasphemies.  If I had
been hearing the word, then uncleanness, blasphemies and despair would
hold me a captive there: if I have been reading, then sometimes I had
sudden thoughts to question all I read: sometimes again, my mind would be
so strangely snatched away, and possessed with other things, that I have
neither known, nor regarded, nor remembered so much as the sentence that
but now I have read.

107.  In prayer also I have been greatly troubled at this time; sometimes
I have thought I have felt him behind me pulling my clothes: he would be
also continually at me in time of prayer, to have done, break off, make
haste, you have prayed enough, and stay no longer; still drawing my mind
away.  Sometimes also he would cast in such wicked thoughts as these;
that I must pray to him, or for him: I have thought sometimes of that,
_Fall down_; or, _if thou wilt fall down and worship me_.  Matt. iii. 9.

108.  Also, when because I have had wandering thoughts in the time of
this duty, I have laboured to compose my mind, and fix it upon God; then
with great force hath the tempter laboured to distract me, and confound
me, and to turn away my mind, by presenting to my heart and fancy, the
form of a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like, as if I should pray to
these: To these he would also (at sometimes especially) so hold my mind,
that I was as if I could think of nothing else, or pray to nothing else
but to these, or such as they.

109.  Yet at times I should have some strong and heart-affecting
apprehensions of God, and the reality of the truth of His gospel.  But,
oh! how would my heart, at such times, put forth itself with
unexpressible groanings.  My whole soul was then in every word; I should
cry with pangs after God, that He would be merciful unto me; but then I
should be daunted again with such conceits as these: I should think that
God did mock at these my prayers, saying, and that in the audience of the
holy angels, _This poor simple wretch doth hanker after Me_, _as if I had
nothing to do with My mercy_, _but to bestow it on such as he_.  _Alas_,
_poor soul_! _how art thou deceived_!  _It is not for such as thee to
have favour with the Highest_.

110.  Then hath the tempter come upon me, also, with such discouragements
as these: _You are very hot for mercy_, _but I will cool you_; _this
frame shall not last always_: _many have been as hot as you for a spurt_,
_but I have quenched their zeal_ (and with this, such and such, who were
fallen off, would be set before mine eyes).  Then I should be afraid that
I should do so too: But, thought I, I am glad this comes into my mind:
well, I will watch, and take what care I can.  _Though you do_, said
Satan, _I shall be too hard for you_; _I will cool you insensibly_, _by
degrees_, _by little and little_.  _What care I_, saith he, _though I be
seven years in chilling your heart_, _if I can do it at last_?
_Continual rocking will lull a crying child asleep_: _I will ply it
close_, _but I will have my end accomplished_.  _Though you be burning
hot at present_, _I can pull you from this fire_; _I shall have you cold
before it be long_.

111.  These things brought me into great straits; for as I at present
could not find myself fit for present death, so I thought, to live long,
would make me yet more unfit; for time would make me forget all, and wear
even the remembrance of the evil of sin, the worth of heaven, and the
need I had of the blood of Christ to wash me, both out of mind and
thought: but I thank Christ Jesus, these things did not at present make
me slack my crying, but rather did put me more upon it (_like her who met
with adulterer_, Deut. xxii. 26), in which days that was a good word to
me, after I had suffered these things a while:—_I am persuaded that
neither death_, _nor life_, _etc._, _shall be able to separate us from
the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord_.  Rom. viii. 38, 39.
And now I hoped long life would not destroy me, nor make me miss of
heaven.

112.  Yet I had some supports in this temptation, though they were then
all questioned by me; that in _Jer. iii._ at the first was something to
me; and so was the consideration of verse 5 of that chapter; that though
we have spoken and done as evil things as we could, yet we should cry
unto God, _My Father_, _Thou art the Guide of my youth_, and shall return
unto Him.

113.  I had, also, once a sweet glance from that in 2 Cor. v. 21:_ For He
hath made Him to be sin for us_, _Who knew no sin_, _that we might be
made the righteousness of God in Him_.  I remember that one day, as I was
sitting in a neighbour’s house, and there very sad at the consideration
of my many blasphemies; and as I was saying in my mind, _What ground have
I to say that_, _who have been so vile and abominable_, _should ever
inherit eternal life_?  That word came suddenly upon me, _What shall we
say to these things_?  _If God be for us_, _who can be against us_? Rom.
viii. 31.  That also was an help unto me, _Because I live_, _ye shall
live also_.  John xiv. 19.  But these words were but hints, touches, and
short visits, though very sweet when present; only they lasted not; but,
_like to_ Peter’s _sheet_, _of a sudden were caught up from me_, _to
heaven again_.  Acts x. 16.

114.  But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously discover
Himself unto me, and indeed, did quite, not only deliver me from the
guilt that, by these things was laid upon my conscience, but also from
the very filth thereof; for the temptation was removed, and I was put
into my right mind again, as other Christians were.

115.  I remember that one day, as I was travelling into the country, and
musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering the
enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came into my mind, _Having
made peace through the blood of His cross_.  Col. i. 20.  By which I was
made to see, both again and again, that God and my soul were friends by
His blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God, and my sinful soul could
embrace and kiss each other, through His blood.  This was a good day to
me; I hope I shall never forget it.

116.  At another time, as I sat by the fire in my house, and was musing
on my wretchedness, the Lord made that also a precious word unto me,
_Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood_, _He
also Himself likewise took part of the same_, _that through death He
might destroy him that had the power of death_, _that is the devil_; _and
deliver those who through fear of death_, _were all their lifetime
subject to bondage_.  Heb. ii. 14, 15.  I thought that the glory of these
words was then so weighty on me, that I was both once and twice ready to
swoon as I sate; yet not with grief and trouble, but with solid joy and
peace.

117.  At this time also I sate under of holy Mr _Gifford_, whose
doctrine, by God’s grace, was much for my stability.  This man made it
much his business to deliver the people of God from all those false and
unsound tests, that by nature we are prone to.  He would bid us take
special heed, that we took not up any truth upon trust; as from this, or
that, or any other man or men; but to cry mightily to God, that He would
convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein by His own
Spirit in the holy word; _For_, said he, _if you do otherwise_, _when
temptations come_, _if strongly_, _you not having received them with
evidence from heaven_, _will find you want that help and strength now to
resist_, _that once you thought you had_.

118.  This was as seasonable to my soul, as the former and latter rains
in their season (for I had found, and that by sad experience, the truth
of these his words: for I had felt _no man can say_, especially when
tempted by the devil, _that Jesus Christ is Lord_, _but by the Holy
Ghost_).  Wherefore I found my soul, through grace, very apt to drink in
this doctrine, and to incline to pray to God, that in nothing that
pertained to God’s glory, and my own eternal happiness, He would suffer
me to be without the confirmation thereof from heaven; for now I saw
clearly, there was an exceeding difference betwixt the notion of the
flesh and blood, and the revelations of God in heaven: also a great
difference betwixt that faith that is feigned, and according to man’s
wisdom, and that which comes by a man’s being born thereto of God.  Matt.
xvi. 15; 1 John v. 1.

119.  But, oh! now, how was my soul led from truth to truth by God!  Even
from the birth and cradle of the Son of God, to His accession, and second
coming from heaven to judge the world!

120.  Truly, I then found, upon this account, the great God was very good
unto me; for, to my remembrance, there was not any thing that I then
cried unto God to make known, and reveal unto me, but He was pleased to
do it for me; I mean, not one part of the gospel of the Lord Jesus, but I
was orderly led into it: methought I saw with great evidence, from the
relation of the four evangelists, the wonderful work of God, in giving
Jesus Christ to save us, from His conception and birth, even to His
second coming to judgment: methought I was as if I had seen Him born, as
if I had seen Him grow up; as if I had seen Him walk through this world,
from the cradle to the cross; to which also, when He came, I saw how
gently He gave Himself to be hanged, and nailed on it for my sins and
wicked doings.  Also as I was musing on this His progress, that dropped
on my spirit, _He was ordained for the slaughter_.  1 Peter i. 12, 20.

121.  When I have considered also the truth of His resurrection, and have
remembered that word, _Touch Me not_, _Mary_, etc., I have seen as if He
had leaped out of the grave’s mouth, for joy that He was risen again, and
had got the conquest over our dreadful foes.  John xx. 17.  I have also
in the spirit, seen Him a man, on the right hand of God the Father for
me; and have seen the manner of His coming from heaven, to judge the
world with glory, and have been confirmed in these things by these
scriptures following, Acts i. 9, 10, and vii. 56, and x. 42; Heb. vii. 24
and ix. 28; Rev. i. 18; 1 Thess. iv. 17, 18.

112.  Once I was troubled to know whether the Lord Jesus was man as well
as God, and God as well as man: and truly, in those days, let men say
what they would, unless I had it with evidence from heaven, all was
nothing to me; I counted myself not set down in any truth of God.  Well,
I was much troubled about this point, and could not tell how to be
resolved; at last, that in Rev. v. 6 came into my mind: _And I beheld_,
_and_, _to_, _in the midst of the throne_, _and of the four beasts_, _and
in the midst of the elders_, _stood a Lamb_, _as it had been slain_.  In
the midst of the throne, thought I, there is the Godhead; in the midst of
the elders, there is His manhood; but, oh! methought this did glister!
It was a goodly touch, and gave me sweet satisfaction.  That other
scripture also did help me much in this, _For unto us a Child is born_,
_unto us a Son is given_; _and the government shall be upon His
shoulder_: _and His name shall be called Wonderful_, _Counsellor_, _the
Mighty God_, _the Everlasting Father_, _the Prince of Peace_, etc.  Isa.
ix. 6.

123.  Also besides these teachings of God in His word, the Lord made use
of two things to confirm me in this truth; the one was the errors of the
Quakers and the other was the guilt of sin; for as the Quakers did oppose
this truth, so God did the more confirm me in it, by leading me into the
scripture that did wonderfully maintain it.

124. The errors that this people then maintained, were:—

‘1.  That the holy scriptures were not the word of God.

‘2.  That every man in the world had the spirit of Christ, grace, faith,
etc.

‘3.  That Christ Jesus, as crucified, and dying sixteen hundred years
ago, did not satisfy divine justice for the sins of the people.

‘4.  That Christ’s flesh and blood were within the saints.

‘5.  That the bodies of the good and bad that are buried in the
church-yard, shall not arise again.

‘6.  That the resurrection is past with good men already.

‘7.  That that man Jesus, that was crucified between two thieves, on
mount _Calvary_, in the land of _Canaan_, by _Jerusalem_, was not
ascended above the starry heavens.

‘8.  That He should not, even the same Jesus that died by the hands of
the Jews, come again at the last day; and as man, judge all nations,’
etc.

125.  Many more vile and abominable things were in those days fomented by
them, by which I was driven to a more narrow search of the scriptures,
and was through their light and testimony, not only enlightened, but
greatly confirmed and comforted in the truth: And, as I said, the guilt
of sin did help me much; for still as that would come upon me, the blood
of Christ did take it off again, and again, and again; and that too
sweetly, according to the scripture.  _O friends_! _cry to God to reveal
Jesus Christ unto you_; _there is none teacheth like Him_.

126.  It would be too long here to stay, to tell you in particular, how
God did set me down in all the things of Christ, and how He did, that He
might so do, lead me into His words; yea, and also how He did open them
unto me, and make them shine before me, and cause them to dwell with me,
talk with me, and comfort me over and over, both of His own being, and
the being of His Son, and Spirit, and word, and gospel.

127.  Only this, as I said before, I will say unto you again, that in
general, He was pleased to take this course with me; first, to suffer me
to be afflicted with temptations concerning them, and then reveal them
unto me; as sometimes I should lie under great guilt for sin, even
crushed to the ground therewith; and then the Lord would show me the
death of Christ; yea, so sprinkle my conscience with His blood, that I
should find, and that before I was aware, that in that conscience, where
but just now did reign and rage the law, even there would rest and abide
the peace and love of God, through Christ.

128.  Now I had an evidence, as I thought, of my salvation, from heaven,
with many golden seals thereon, all hanging in my sight.  Now could I
remember this manifestation, and the other discovery of grace, with
comfort; and should often long and desire that the last day were come,
that I might be for ever inflamed with the sight, and joy, and communion
of Him, Whose head was crowned with thorns, Whose face was spit upon, and
body broken, and soul made an offering for my sins.  For whereas before I
lay continually trembling at the mouth of hell, now methought I was got
so far therefrom, that I could not, when I looked back, scarce discern
it!  And oh! thought I, that I were fourscore years old now, that I might
die quickly, that my soul might be gone to rest.

129.  But before I had got thus far out of these my temptations, I did
greatly long to see some ancient godly man’s experience, who had writ
some hundreds of years before I was born; for those who had writ in our
days, I thought (but I desire them now to pardon me) that they had writ
only that which others felt; or else had, through the strength of their
wits and parts, studied to answer such objections as they perceived
others were perplexed with, without going down themselves into the deep.
Well, after many such longings in my mind, the God, in Whose hands are
all our days and ways, did cast into my hand (one day) a book of _Martin
Luther’s_; it was his Comment on the _Galatians_; it also was so old,
that it was ready to fall piece from piece if I did but turn it over.
Now I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hand, the
which when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition in his
experience so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been
written out of my heart.  This made me marvel: for thus thought I, _This
man could not know any thing of the state of Christians now_, _but must
needs write and speak the experience of former days_.

130.  Besides, he doth most gravely also in that book, debate of the rise
of these temptations, namely, blasphemy, desperation, and the like;
showing that the law of _Moses_, as well as the devil, death, and hell,
hath a very great hand therein: the which, at first, was very strange to
me; but considering and watching, I found it so indeed.  But of
particulars here, I intend nothing; only this methinks I must let fall
before all men—I do prefer this book of _Martin Luther_ upon the
_Galatians_ (excepting the Holy Bible) before all the books that ever I
had seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.

131.  And now I found, as I thought, that I loved Christ dearly: Oh!
methought my soul cleaved unto Him, my affections cleaved unto Him; I
felt love to Him as hot as fire; and now, as _Job_ said, _I thought I
should die in my nest_; but I did quickly find, that my great love was
but little; and that I, who had, as I thought, such burning love to Jesus
Christ, could let Him go again for a very trifle,—God can tell how to
abase us, and can hide pride from man.  Quickly after this my love was
tried to purpose.

132.  For after the Lord had, in this manner, thus graciously delivered
me from this great and sore temptation, and had set me down so sweetly in
the faith of His holy gospel, and had given me such strong consolation
and blessed evidence from heaven, touching my interest in His love
through Christ; the tempter came upon me again, and that with a more
grievous and dreadful temptation than before.

133. And that was, _To sell and part with this most blessed Christ_, _to
exchange Him for the things of this life_, _for any thing_.  The
temptation lay upon me for the space of a year, and did follow me so
continually, that I was not rid of it one day in a month: no, not
sometimes one hour in many days together, unless when I was asleep.

134.  And though, in my judgment, I was persuaded, that those who were
once effectually in Christ (as I hoped, through His grace, I had seen
myself) could never lose Him for ever; _The land shall not be sold for
ever_, _for the land is mine_, saith God.  Lev. xxv. 23.  Yet it was a
continual vexation to me, to think that I should have so much as one such
thought within me against a Christ, a Jesus, that had done for me as He
had done; and yet then I had almost none others, but such blasphemous
ones.

135.  But it was neither my dislike of the thought, nor yet any desire
and endeavour to resist, that in the least did shake or abate the
continuation or force and strength thereof; for it did always, in almost
whatever I thought, intermix itself therewith, in such sort, that I could
neither eat my food, stoop for a pin, chop a stick, or cast mine eye to
look on this or that, but still the temptation would come, _Sell Christ
for this_, _or sell Christ for that_; _sell Him_, _sell Him_.

136.  Sometimes it would run in my thoughts, not so little as a hundred
times together, _Sell Him_, _sell Him_, _sell Him_: against which, I may
say, for whole hours together, I have been forced to stand as continually
leaning and forcing my spirit against it, lest haply, before I were
aware, some wicked thought might arise in my heart, that might consent
thereto; and sometimes the tempter would make me believe I had consented
to it; but then I should be, as tortured upon a rack for whole days
together.

137.  This temptation did put me to such scares, lest I should at some
times, I say, consent thereto, and be overcome therewith, that by the
very force of my mind, in labouring to gainsay and resist this
wickedness, my very body would be put into action or motion, by way of
pushing or thrusting with my hands or elbows; still answering, as fast as
the destroyer said, _Sell Him_; _I will not_, _I will not_, _I will not_,
_I will not_; _no_, _not for thousands_, _thousands_, _thousands of
worlds_: thus reckoning, lest I should, in the midst of these assaults,
set too low a value on Him; even until I scarce well knew where I was, or
how to be composed again.

138.  At these seasons he would not let me eat my food at quiet; but,
forsooth, when I was set at the table at my meat, I must go hence to
pray; I must leave my food now, just now, so counterfeit holy also would
this devil be.  When I was thus tempted, I would say in myself, _Now I am
at meat_; _let me make an end_.  No, said he, _you must do it now_, _or
you will displease God_, _and despise Christ_.  Wherefore I was much
afflicted with these things; and because of the sinfulness of my nature
(imagining that these were impulses from God), I should deny to do it, as
if I denied God, and then should I be as guilty, because I did not obey a
temptation of the devil, as if I had broken the law of God indeed.

139.  But to be brief: one morning as I did lie in my bed, I was, as at
other times, most fiercely assaulted with this temptation, _To sell and
part with Christ_; the wicked suggestion still running in my mind, _Sell
Him_, _sell Him_, _sell Him_, _sell Him_, _sell Him_, as fast as a man
could speak: against which also, in my mind, as at other times, I
answered, _No_, _no_, _not for thousands_, _thousands_, _thousands_, at
least twenty times together: but at last, after much striving, even until
I was almost out of breath, I felt this thought pass through my heart,
_Let Him go_, _if He will_; and I thought also, that I felt my heart
freely consent thereto.  Oh! the diligence of Satan!  Oh! the
desperateness of man’s heart!

140.  Now was the battle won, and down fell I as a bird that is shot from
the top of a tree, into great guilt, and fearful despair.  Thus getting
out of my bed, I went moping into the field; but God knows, with as heavy
a heart as mortal man, I think, could bear; where for the space of two
hours, I was like a man bereft of life; and, as now, past all recovery,
and bound over to eternal punishment.

141.  And withal, that scripture did seize upon my soul: _Or profane
persons as Esau_, _who for one morsel of meat_, _sold his birthright_:
_for ye know_, _how that afterward_, _when he would have inherited the
blessing_, _he was rejected_; _for he found no place of repentance_,
_though he sought it carefully with tears_.  Heb. xii. 16, 17.

142.  Now was I as one bound, I felt myself shut up unto the judgment to
come; nothing now, for two years together, would abide with me, but
damnation, and an expectation of damnation: I say, nothing now would
abide with me but this, save some few moments for relief, as in the
sequel you will see.

143.  These words were to my soul, like fetters of brass to my legs, in
the continual sound of which I went for several months together.  But
about ten or eleven o’clock on that day, as I was walking under an hedge
(full of sorrow and guilt, God knows), and bemoaning myself for this hard
hap, that such a thought should arise within me, suddenly this sentence
rushed in upon me, _The blood of Christ remits all guilt_.  At this I
made a stand in my spirit: with that this word took hold upon me, _The
blood of Jesus Christ His Son_, _cleanseth us from all sin_.  1 John i.
7.

144.  Now I began to conceive peace in my soul, and methought I saw, as
if the tempter did leer and steal away from me, as being ashamed of what
he had done.  At the same time also I had my sin, and the blood of
Christ, thus represented to me, That my sin, when compared to the blood
of Christ, was no more to it, than this little clod or stone before me,
is to this vast and wide field that here I see.  This gave me good
encouragement for the space of two or three hours; in which time also,
methought, I saw, by faith, the Son of God, as suffering for my sins: but
because it tarried not, I therefore sunk in my spirit, under exceeding
guilt again.

145.  But chiefly by the aforementioned scripture concerning _Esau’s_
selling of his birthright; for that scripture would lie all day long, all
the week long, yea, all the year long in my mind, and hold me down, so
that I could by no means lift up myself; for when I would strive to turn
to this scripture or that, for relief, still that sentence would be
sounding in me; _For ye know_, _how that afterwards_, _when he would have
inherited the blessing_, _he found no place of repentance_, _though he
sought it carefully with tears_.

146.  Sometimes, indeed, I should have a touch from that in Luke xxii.
31, _I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not_; but it would not
abide upon me; neither could I, indeed, when I considered my state, find
ground to conceive in the least, that there should be the root of that
grace in me, having sinned as I had done.  Now was I tore and rent in an
heavy case for many days together.

147.  Then began I with sad and careful heart to consider of the nature
and largeness of my sin, and to search into the word of God, if I could
in any place espy a word of promise, or any encouraging sentence, by
which I might take relief.  Wherefore I began to consider that of Mark
iii. 28: _All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men_, _and
blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme_.  Which place,
methought at a blush, did contain a large and glorious promise for the
pardon of high offences; but considering the place more fully, I thought
it was rather to be understood, as relating more chiefly to those who
had, while in a natural estate, committed such things as there are
mentioned; but not to me, who had not only received light and mercy, but
that had both after, and also contrary to that, so slighted Christ as I
had done.

148.  I feared, therefore, that this wicked sin of mine, might be that
sin unpardonable, of which He there thus speaketh.  _But he that shall
blaspheme against the Holy Ghost_, _hath never forgiveness_, _but is in
danger of eternal damnation_.  Mark iii. 29.  And I did the rather give
credit to this, because of that sentence in the Hebrews: _For you know
how that afterwards_, _when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he
was rejected_; _for he found no place of repentance_, _though he sought
it carefully with tears_.  And this stuck always with me.

149.  And now was I both a burthen and a terror to myself; nor did I ever
so know, as now, what it was to be weary of my life, and yet afraid to
die.  Oh! how gladly now would I have been anybody but myself! anything
but a man, and in any condition but my own!  For there was nothing did
pass more frequently over my mind, than that it was impossible for me to
be forgiven my transgression, and to be saved from the wrath to come.

150.  And now I began to call again time that was spent; wishing a
thousand times twice told, that the day was yet to come when I should be
tempted to such a sin; concluding with great indignation, both against my
heart, and all assaults, how I would rather have been torn in pieces,
than be found a consenter thereto.  But alas! these thoughts, and
wishings, and resolvings were now too late to help me; this thought had
passed my heart, God hath let me go, and I am fallen.  Oh! thought I,
_that it were with me as in months past_, _as in the days when God
preserved me_!  Job xxix. 2.

151.  Then again, being loth and unwilling to perish, I began to compare
my sin with others to see if I could find that any of those that were
saved, had done as I had done.  So I considered _David’s_ adultery, and
murder, and found them most heinous crimes; and those too committed after
light and grace received: but yet by considering that his transgressions
were only such as were against the law of _Moses_, from which the Lord
Christ could, with the consent of His word, deliver him: but mine was
against the gospel; yea, against the Mediator thereof; I had sold my
Saviour.

152.  Now again should I be as if racked upon the wheel, when I
considered, that, besides the guilt that possessed me, I should be so
void of grace, so bewitched.  What, thought I, must it be no sin but
this?  Must it needs be the _great transgression_?  Ps. xix. 13.  Must
_that wicked one_ touch my soul?  1 John v. 18.  Oh! what sting did I
find in all these sentences?

153.  What, thought I, is there but _one_ sin that is unpardonable? but
_one_ sin that layeth the soul without the reach of God’s mercy; and must
I be guilty of _that_? must it needs be that?  Is there but one _sin_
among _so many_ millions of sins, for which there is no forgiveness; and
must I commit this?  Oh! unhappy _sin_!  Oh! unhappy _man_!  These things
would so break and confound my spirit, that I could not tell what to do;
I thought at times, they would have broke my wits; and still, to
aggravate my misery, that would run in my mind, _You know_, _how_, _that
afterwards_, _when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he was
rejected_.  _Oh_! _no one knows the terrors of those days but myself_.

154.  After this I began to consider of _Peter’s_ sin, which he committed
in denying his Master: and indeed, this came nighest to mine of any that
I could find, for he had denied his Saviour, as I, after light and mercy
received; yea, and that too, after warning given him.  I also considered,
that he did it both once and twice; and that, after time to consider
betwixt.  But though I put all these circumstances together, that, if
possible I might find help, yet I considered again, that his was but _a
denial of his Master_, but mine was, _a selling of my Saviour_.
Wherefore I thought with myself, that I came nearer to _Judas_, than
either to _David_ or _Peter_.

155.  Here again my torment would flame out and afflict me; yea, it would
grind me, as it were to powder, to consider the preservation of God
towards others, while I fell into the snare; for in my thus considering
of other men’s sins, and comparing them with mine own, I could evidently
see, God preserved them, notwithstanding their wickedness, and would not
let them, as He had let me, become a son of perdition.

156.  But oh! how did my soul at this time prize the preservation that
God did set about His people!  Ah, how safely did I see them walk, whom
God had hedged in!  They were within His care, protection, and special
providence: though they were full as bad as I by nature; yet because He
loved them, He would not suffer them to fall without the range of mercy:
but as for me, I was gone, I had done it: He would not preserve me, nor
keep me; but suffered me, because I was a reprobate, to fall as I had
done.  Now did those blessed places that speak of God’s keeping His
people, shine like the sun before me, though not to comfort me, yet to
show me the blessed state and heritage of those whom the Lord had
blessed.

157.  Now I saw, that as God had His hand in all the providences and
dispensations that overtook His elect; so He had His hand in all the
temptations that they had to sin against Him; not to animate them to
wickedness, but to choose their temptations and troubles for them; and
also to leave them for a time, to such sins only that might not destroy,
but humble them; as might not put them beyond, but lay them in the way of
the renewing His mercy.  But oh! what love, what care, what kindness and
mercy did I now see, mixing itself with the most severe and dreadful of
all God’s ways to His people!  He would let _David_, _Hezekiah_,
_Solomon_, _Peter_, and others, fall; but He would not let them fall into
sin unpardonable, nor into hell for sin.  Oh! thought I, these be the men
that God hath loved; these be the men that God, though He chastiseth
them, keeps them in safety by Him; and them whom He makes to abide under
the shadow of the Almighty.  But all these thoughts added sorrow, grief,
and horror to me, as whatever I now thought on, it was killing to me.  If
I thought how God kept His own, that was killing to me; if I thought of
how I was fallen myself, that was killing to me.  As all things wrought
together for the best, and to do good to them that were the called,
according to His purpose, so I thought that all things wrought for my
damage, and for my eternal overthrow.

158.  Then again I began to compare my sin with the sin of _Judas_, that,
if possible, I might find if mine differed from that, which in truth is
unpardonable: and oh! thought I, if it should differ from it, though but
the breadth of an hair, what a happy condition is my soul in!  And by
considering, I found that _Judas_ did this intentionally, but mine was
against my prayer and strivings: besides, his was committed with much
deliberation, but mine in a fearful hurry, on a sudden: all this while I
was tossed to and fro like the locusts, and driven from trouble to
sorrow; hearing always the sound of _Esau’s_ fall in mine ears, and the
dreadful consequences thereof.

159.  Yet this consideration about _Judas’s_ sin was, for awhile, some
little relief to me; for I saw I had not, as to the circumstances,
transgressed so fully as he.  But this was quickly gone again, for I
thought with myself, there might be more ways than one to commit this
unpardonable sin; also I thought there might be degrees of that, as well
as of other transgressions; wherefore, for aught I yet could perceive,
this iniquity of mine might be such, as might never be passed by.

160.  I was often now ashamed that I should be like such an ugly man as
Judas: I thought also how loathsome I should be unto all the saints at
the day of judgment: insomuch that now I could scarce see a good man,
that I believed had a good conscience, but I should feel my heart tremble
at him, while I was in his presence.  Oh! now I saw a glory in walking
with God, and what a mercy it was to have a good conscience before Him.

161.  I was much about that time tempted to content myself by receiving
some false opinion; as, that there should be no such thing as a day of
judgment; that we should not rise again; and that sin was no such
grievous thing: the tempter suggesting thus: _For if these things should
indeed be true_, _yet to believe otherwise would yield you ease for the
present_.  _If you must perish_, _never torment yourself so much
beforehand_: _drive the thoughts of damning out of your mind_, _by
possessing your mind with some such conclusions that_ Atheists _and_
Ranters _use to help themselves withal_.

162.  But oh! when such thoughts have led through my heart, how, as it
were, within a step, hath death and judgment been in my view! methought
the judge stood at the door; I was as if it was come already; so that
such things could have no entertainment.  But methinks, I see by this,
that Satan will use any means to keep the soul from Christ; he loveth not
an awakened frame of spirit; security, blindness, darkness, and error, is
the very kingdom and habitation of the wicked one.

163.  I found it a hard work now to pray to God, because despair was
swallowing me up; I thought I was as with a tempest driven away from God;
for always when I cried to God for mercy, this would come in, ’_Tis too
late_, _I am lost_, _God hath let me fall_; _not to my correction_, _but
condemnation_: _my sin is unpardonable_; _and I know_, _concerning Esau_,
_how that after he had sold his birthright_, _he would have received the
blessing_, _but was rejected_.  About this time I did light on that
dreadful story of that miserable mortal Francis Spira; a book that was to
my troubled spirit, as salt, when rubbed into a fresh wound: every
sentence in that book, every groan of that man, with all the rest of his
actions in his dolours, as his tears, his prayers, his gnashing of teeth,
his wringing of hands, his twining and twisting, and languishing, and
pining away under that mighty hand of God that was upon him, were as
knives and daggers in my soul; especially that sentence of his was
frightful to me, _Man knows the beginning of sin_? _but who bounds the
issues thereof_?  Then would the former sentence, as the conclusion of
all, fall like an hot thunderbolt again upon my conscience; _For you know
how that afterwards_, _when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he
was rejected_; _for he found no place of repentance_, _though he sought
it carefully with tears_.

164.  Then should I be struck into a very great trembling, insomuch that
at sometimes I could, for whole days together, feel my very body, as well
as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of this dreadful judgment
of God, that should fall on those that have sinned that most fearful and
unpardonable sin.  I felt also such a clogging and heat at my stomach, by
reason of this my terror, that I was, especially at some times, as if my
breast-bone would split asunder; then I thought of that concerning Judas,
who by _falling headlong_, _he burst asunder in the midst_, _and all his
bowels gushed out_.  Acts i. 18.

165.  I feared also that this was the mark that the Lord did set on
_Cain_, even continual fear and trembling, under the heavy load of guilt
that he had charged on him for the blood of his brother _Abel_.  Thus did
I wind, and twine, and shrink under the burthen that was upon me; which
burthen also did so oppress me, that I could neither stand, nor go, nor
lie, either at rest or quiet.

166.  Yet that saying would sometimes come into my mind, _He hath
received gifts for the rebellious_.  Psalm lxviii. 18.  The _rebellious_,
thought I! why surely they are such as once were under subjection to
their Prince; even those who after they have sworn subjection to His
government, have taken up arms against Him; and this, thought I, is my
very condition: I once loved Him, feared Him, served Him; but now I am a
rebel; I have sold Him, I have said, _Let Him go_, _if He will_; but yet
He has gifts for rebels; and then why not for me?

167.  This sometimes I thought on, and should labour to take hold
thereof, that some, though small refreshment, might have been conceived
by me; but in this also I missed of my desire; I was driven with force
beyond it; I was like a man going to execution, even by _that_ place
where he would fain creep in and hide himself, but may not.

168.  Again, after I had thus considered the sins of the _saints_ in
particular, and found _mine_ went beyond them, then I began to think with
myself, Set the case I should put _all theirs_ together, and _mine alone_
against them, might I not then find some encouragement? for if _mine_,
though bigger than any one, yet should be but equal to all, then there is
hopes; for that blood that hath virtue enough in it to wash away all
theirs, had virtue enough in it to do away mine, though this one be full
as big, if not bigger than all theirs.  Here again, I should consider the
sin of _David_, of _Solomon_, of _Manasseh_, of _Peter_, and the rest of
the great offenders; and should also labour, what I might with fairness,
to aggravate and heighten their sins by several circumstances.

169.  I should think with myself that _David_ shed blood to cover his
adultery, and that by the sword of the children of _Ammon_; a work that
could not be done, but by continuance, deliberate contrivance, which was
a great aggravation to his sin.  But then this would turn upon me: Ah!
but these were but sins against the law, from which there was a Jesus
sent to save them; but yours is a sin against the Saviour, and who shall
save you from that?

170.  Then I thought on _Solomon_, and how he sinned in loving strange
women, falling away to their idols, in building them temples, in doing
this after light, in his old age, after great mercy received: but the
same conclusion that cut me off in the former consideration, cut me off
as to this; namely, that all those were but sins against the law, for
which God had provided a remedy; _but I had sold my Saviour_, and there
remained no more sacrifice for sin.

171.  I would then add to these men’s sins, the sins of _Manasseh_; how
that he built altars for idols in the house of the Lord; he also observed
times, used enchantments, had to do with wizards, was a wizard, had his
familiar spirits, burned his children in the fire in sacrifice to devils,
and made the streets of _Jerusalem_ run down with the blood of innocents.
These, thought I, are great sins, sins of a bloody colour, but yet it
would turn again upon me, _They are none of them of the nature of yours_;
_you have parted with Jesus_, _you have sold your Saviour_.

172.  This one consideration would always kill my heart, _my sin was
point blank against my Saviour_; and that too, at that height, that I had
in my heart said of Him, _Let Him go_, _if He will_.  Oh! methought this
sin was bigger than the sins of a country, of a kingdom, or of the whole
world, _no_ one pardonable; nor _all_ of them together, was able to equal
mine; mine out-went them every one.

173.  Now I should find my mind to flee from God, as from the face of a
dreadful judge, yet this was my torment, I could not escape His hand:
(_It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God_.
Hebrew x.)  But, blessed be His grace, that scripture, in these flying
fits, would call, as running after me, _I have blotted out_, _as a thick
cloud_, _thy transgressions_; _and as a cloud_, _thy sins_: _return unto
Me_, _for I have redeemed thee_.  Isaiah xliv. 22.  This, I say, would
come in upon my mind, when I was fleeing from the face of God; for I did
flee from His face; that is, my mind and spirit fled before Him; by
reason of His highness, I could not endure: then would the text cry,
_Return unto Me_; it would cry aloud with a very great voice, _Return
unto Me_, _for I have redeemed thee_.  Indeed, this would make me make a
little stop, and, as it were, look over my shoulder behind me, to see if
I could discern that the God of grace did follow me with a pardon in His
hand; but I could no sooner do that, but all would be clouded and
darkened again by that sentence, _For you know_, _how that afterwards_,
_when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he found no place of
repentance_, _though he sought it carefully with tears_.  Wherefore I
could not refrain, but fled, though at some times it cried, _Return_,
_return_, as if it did hollow after me: but I feared to close in
therewith, lest it should not come from God; for that other, as I said,
was still sounding in my conscience, _For you know that afterwards_,
_when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he was rejected_, _etc._

174.  Once as I was walking to and fro in a good man’s shop, bemoaning of
myself in my sad and doleful state, afflicting myself with
self-abhorrence for this wicked and ungodly thought; lamenting also this
hard hap of mine for that I should commit so great a sin, greatly fearing
that I should not be pardoned; praying also in my heart, that if this sin
of mine did differ from that against the Holy Ghost, the Lord would show
it me.  And being now ready to sink with fear, suddenly there was, as if
there had rushed in at the window, the noise of wind upon me, but very
pleasant, and as if I heard a voice speaking, _Did’st thou ever refuse to
be justified by the blood of Christ_? and withal, my whole life of
profession past, was in a moment opened to me, wherein I was made to see,
that designedly I had not: so my heart answered groaningly, _No_.  Then
fell, with power, that word of God upon me, _See that ye refuse not Him
that speaketh_.  Hebrew xii. 25.  This made a strange seizure upon my
spirit; it brought light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart, of
all those tumultuous thoughts, that did before use, like masterless
hell-hounds, to roar and bellow, and make an hideous noise within me.  It
showed me also that Jesus Christ had yet a word of grace and mercy for
me, that He had not, as I had feared, quite forsaken and cast off my
soul; yea, this was a kind of chide for my proneness to desperation; a
kind of threatening of me, if I did not, notwithstanding my sins, and the
heinousness of them, venture my salvation upon the Son of God.  But as to
my determining about this strange dispensation, what it was, I know not;
or from whence it came, I know not; I have not yet in twenty years’ time
been able to make a judgment of it; _I thought then what here I should be
loth to speak_.  But verily that sudden rushing wind was, as if an angel
had come upon me; but both it, and the salutation, I will leave until the
day of judgment: only this I say, it commanded a great calm in my soul;
it persuaded me there might be hope: it showed me, as I thought, what the
sin unpardonable was, and that my soul had yet the blessed privilege to
flee to Jesus Christ for mercy.  But I say, concerning this dispensation;
I know not yet what to say unto it; which was also, in truth, the cause,
that at first I did not speak of it in the book; I do now also leave it
to be thought on by men of sound judgment.  I lay not the stress of my
salvation thereupon, but upon the Lord Jesus, in the promise; yet seeing
I am here unfolding of my secret things, I thought it might not be
altogether inexpedient to let this also show itself, though I cannot now
relate the matter as there I did experience it.  This lasted in the
savour of it for about three or four days, and then I began to mistrust,
and to despair again.

175.  Wherefore still my life hung in doubt before me, not knowing which
way I should tip; only this I found my soul desire, even to cast itself
at the foot of grace, by prayer and supplication.  But oh! ’twas hard for
me now, to have the face to pray to this Christ for mercy, against Whom I
had thus most vilely sinned: ’twas hard work, I say, to offer to look Him
in the face, against Whom I had so vilely sinned; and indeed, I have
found it as difficult to come to God by prayer, after backsliding from
Him, as to do any other thing.  Oh! the shame that did now attend me!
especially when I thought, I am now a-going to pray to Him for mercy,
that I had so lightly esteemed but a while before!  I was ashamed; yea,
even confounded, because this villany had been committed by me: but I saw
that there was but one way with me; I must go to Him, and humble myself
unto Him, and beg that He, of His wonderful mercy, would show pity to me,
and have mercy upon my wretched sinful soul.

176.  Which, when the tempter perceived, he strongly suggested to me,
_That I ought not to pray to God_, _for prayer was not for any in my
case_; _neither could it do me good_, _because I had rejected the
Mediator_, _by Whom all prayers came with acceptance to God the Father_;
_and without Whom_, _no prayer could come into His presence_: _wherefore
now to pray_, _is but to add sin to sin_; _yea_, _now to pray_, _seeing
God has cast you off_, _is the next way to anger and offend Him more than
you ever did before_.

177.  _For God_ (saith he) _hath been weary of you for these several
years already_, _because you are none of His_; _your bawlings in His
ears_, _hath been no pleasant voice to Him_; _and therefore He let you
sin this sin_, _that you might be quite cut off_; _and will you pray
still_?  This the devil urged, and set forth that in _Numbers_, when
_Moses_ said to the children _of Israel_, _That because they would not go
up to possess the land_, _when God would have them_, _therefore for ever
after He did bar them out from thence_, _though they prayed they might
with tears_.  Numbers xiv. 36, 37, etc.

178.  As it is said in another place, Exodus xxi. 14, _The man that sins
presumptuously shall be taken from God’s altar_, _that he may die_; even
as _Joab_ was by King _Solomon_, when he thought to find shelter there.
1 Kings ii. 27, 28, etc.  These places did pinch me very sore; yet my
case being desperate, I thought with myself, I can but die; and if it
must be so, it shall once be said, _That such an one died at the foot of
Christ in prayer_.  This I did, but with great difficulty, God doth know;
and that because, together with this, still that saying about _Esau_
would be set at my heart, even like a flaming sword, to keep the way of
the tree of life, lest I should take thereof and live.  Oh! who knows how
hard a thing I found it, to come to God in prayer!

179.  I did also desire the prayers of the people of God for me, but I
feared that God would give them no heart to do it; yea I trembled in my
soul to think, that some or other of them would shortly tell me, that God
hath said those words to them, that He once did say to the prophet
concerning the children of Israel, _Pray not for this people_, _for I
have rejected them_.  Jeremiah xi. 14.  So, _Pray not for him_, _for I
have rejected him_, yea, I thought that He had whispered this to some of
them already, only they durst not tell me so; neither durst I ask them of
it, for fear if it should be so, it would make me quite beside myself:
_Man knows the beginning of sin_ (said Spira), _but who bounds the issues
thereof_?

180.  About this time I took an opportunity to break my mind to an
ancient Christian, and told him all my case: I told him also, that I was
afraid that I had sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; and he told me,
_He thought so too_.  Here therefore I had but cold comfort; but talking
a little more with him, I found him, though a good man, a stranger to
much combat with the devil.  Wherefore I went to God again, as well as I
could, for mercy still.

                     [Picture: Bunyan seeks Comfort]

181.  Now also did the tempter begin to mock me in my misery, saying,
_That seeing I had thus parted with the Lord Jesus_, _and provoked Him to
displeasure_, _Who would have stood between my soul and the flame of
devouring fire_, _there was now but one way_; _and that was_, to pray
that God the Father would be a Mediator betwixt His Son and me; _that we
might be reconciled again_, _and that I might have that blessed benefit
in Him_, _that His blessed saints enjoyed_.

182.  Then did that scripture seize upon my soul, _He is of one mind_,
_and who can turn Him_!  Oh! I saw, it was as easy to persuade Him to
make a new world, a new covenant, or a new Bible, besides that we have
already, as to pray for such a thing.  This was to persuade Him, that
what He had done already was mere folly, and persuade Him to alter, yea,
to disannul the whole way of salvation.  And then would that saying rend
my soul asunder; _Neither is there salvation in any other_; _for there is
none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved_.
Acts iv. 12.

183.  Now the most free, and full and gracious words of the gospel, were
the greatest torment to me; yea, nothing so afflicted me, as the thoughts
of Jesus Christ, the remembrance of a Saviour; because I had cast Him
off, brought forth the villany of my sin, and my loss by it, to mind;
nothing did twinge my conscience like this: every time that I thought of
the Lord Jesus, of His grace, love, goodness, kindness, gentleness,
meekness, death, blood, promises, and blessed exhortations, comforts, and
consolations, it went to my soul like a sword; for still unto these my
considerations of the Lord Jesus, these thoughts would make place for
themselves in my heart: _Aye_, _this is the Jesus_, _the loving Saviour_,
_the Son of God_, _Whom you have parted with_, _Whom you have slighted_,
_despised_, _and abused_.  _This is the only Saviour_, _the only
Redeemer_, _the only One that could so love sinners_, _as to wash them
from their sins in His own most precious blood_; _but you have no part
nor lot in this Jesus_: _you have put Him from you_; _you have said in
your heart_, Let Him go, if He will.  _Now_, _therefore_, _you are
severed from Him_; _you have severed yourself from Him_: _behold then His
goodness_, _but yourself to be no partaker of it_.  Oh! thought I, what
have I lost, what have I parted with!  What has disinherited my poor
soul!  Oh! ’tis sad to be destroyed by the grace and mercy of God; to
have the Lamb, the Saviour, turn lion and destroyer.  Rev. vi.  I also
trembled, as I have said, at the sight of the saints of God, especially
at those that greatly loved Him, and that made it their business to walk
continually with Him in this world; for they did, both in their words,
their carriages, and all their expressions of tenderness and fear to sin
against their precious Saviour, condemn, lay guilt upon, and also add
continual affliction and shame upon my soul.  _The dread of them was upon
me_, _and I trembled at God’s Samuels_.  1 Sam. xvi. 4.

184.  Now also the tempter began afresh to mock my soul another way,
saying, _That Christ indeed did pity my case_, _and was sorry for my
loss_; _but forasmuch as I had sinned and transgressed as I had done_,
_He could by no means help me_, _nor save me from what I feared_: _for my
sin was not of the nature of theirs_, _for Whom He bled and died_;
_neither was it counted with those that were laid to His charge_, _when
He hanged on a tree_: _therefore_, _unless He should come down from
heaven_, _and die anew for this sin_, _though indeed He did greatly pity
me_, _yet I could have no benefit of Him_.  These things may seem
ridiculous to others, even as ridiculous as they were in themselves, but
to me they were most tormenting cogitations: every one of them augmented
my misery, that Jesus Christ should have so much love as to pity me, when
yet He could not help me; nor did I think that the reason why He could
not help me, was, because His merits were weak, or His grace and
salvation spent on others already, but because His faithfulness to His
threatening, would not let Him extend His mercy to me.  Besides, I
thought, as I have already hinted, that my sin was not within the bounds
of that pardon, that was wrapped up in a promise; and if not, then I knew
assuredly, that it was more easy for heaven and earth to pass away, than
for me to have eternal life.  So that the ground of all these fears of
mine did arise from a steadfast belief I had of the stability of the holy
word of God, and also from my being misinformed of the nature of my sin.

185.  But oh! how this would add to my affliction, to conceit that I
should be guilty of such a sin, for which He did not die.  These thoughts
would so confound me, and imprison me, and tie me up from faith, that I
knew not what to do.  But oh! thought I, that He would come down again!
Oh! that the work of man’s redemption was yet to be done by Christ! how
would I pray Him and entreat Him to count and reckon this sin among the
rest for which He died!  But this scripture would strike me down as dead;
_Christ being raised from the dead_, _dieth no more_; _death hath no more
dominion over Him_.  Rom. vi. 9.

186.  Thus, by the strange and unusual assaults of the tempter, my soul
was like a broken vessel, driven as with the winds, and tossed sometimes
headlong into despair; sometimes upon the covenant of works, and
sometimes to wish that the new covenant, and the conditions thereof,
might so far forth, as I thought myself concerned, be turned another way,
and changed, _But in all these_, _I was as those that jostle against the
rocks_; _more broken_, _scattered and rent_.  Oh! the un-thought-of
imaginations, frights, fears, and terrors, that are affected by a
thorough application of guilt yielding to desperation!  _This is the man
that hath his dwelling among the tombs with the dead_; _that is always
crying out_, _and cutting himself with stones_.  Mark v. 1, 2, 3.  But, I
say, all in vain; desperation will not comfort him, the old covenant will
not save him: nay, heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot or
tittle of the word and law of grace will fail or be removed.  This I saw,
this I felt, and under this I groaned; yet this advantage I got thereby,
namely, a farther confirmation of the certainty of the way of salvation;
and that the scriptures were the word of God.  Oh! I cannot now express
what then I saw and felt of the steadiness of Jesus Christ, the rock of
man’s salvation: What was done, could not be undone, added to, nor
altered.  I saw, indeed, that sin might drive the soul beyond Christ,
even the sin which is unpardonable; but woe to him that was so driven,
for the word would shut him out.

187.  Thus I was always sinking, whatever I did think or do.  So one day
I walked to a neighbouring town, and sate down upon a settle in the
street, and fell into a very deep pause about the most fearful state my
sin had brought me to; and after long musing, I lifted up I sat my head,
but methought I saw, as if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge
to give light; and as if the very stones in the street, and tiles upon
the houses, did bend themselves against me.  Methought that they all
combined together to banish me out of the world.  I was abhorred of them,
and unfit to dwell among them, or be partaker of their benefits, because
I had sinned against the Saviour.  O how happy now was every creature
over I was!  For they stood fast, and kept their station, but I was gone
and lost.

188.  Then breaking out in the bitterness of my soul, I said to myself
with a grievous sigh, _How can God comfort such a wretch_!  I had no
sooner said it, but this returned upon me, as an echo doth answer a
voice: _This sin is not unto death_.  At which I was, as if I had been
raised out of the grave, and cried out again, _Lord_, _how couldst Thou
find out such a word as this_!  For I was filled with admiration at the
fitness, and at the unexpectedness of the sentence; the fitness of the
word, the rightness of the timing of it; the power, and sweetness, and
light, and glory that came with it also, were marvellous to me to find: I
was now, for the time, out of doubt, as to that about which I was so much
in doubt before; my fears before _were_, that my sin was not pardonable,
and so that I had no right to pray, to repent, etc., or that, if I did,
it would be of no advantage or profit to me.  But now, thought I, if
_this sin_ is not unto death, then it is pardonable; therefore from this
I have encouragement to come to God by Christ for mercy, to consider the
promise of forgiveness, as that which stands with open arms to receive me
as well as others.  This therefore was a great easement to my mind, to
wit, that my sin was pardonable, that it was not the sin unto death (1
John v. 16, 17).  None but those that know what my trouble (by their own
experience) was, can tell what relief came to my soul by this
consideration: it was a release to me from my former bonds, and a shelter
from the former storm: I seemed now to stand upon the same ground with
other sinners, and to have as good right to the word and prayer as any of
they.

189.  Now I say, I was in hopes that my sin was not unpardonable, but
that there might be hopes for me to obtain forgiveness.  But oh! how
Satan did now lay about him for to bring me down again!  But he could by
no means do it, neither this day, nor the most part of the next, for this
good sentence stood like a mill-post at my back: yet towards the evening
of the next day, I felt this word begin to leave me, and to withdraw its
supportation from me, and so I returned to my old fears again, but with a
great deal of grudging and peevishness, for I feared the sorrow of
despair; nor could my faith now long retain this word.

190.  But the next day at evening, being under many fears, I went to seek
the Lord, and as I prayed, I cried, and my soul cried to Him in these
words, with strong cries: _O Lord_, _I beseech Thee_, _show me that Thou
hast loved me with everlasting love_.  Jer. xxxi. 3.  I had no sooner
said it, but with sweetness this returned upon me, as an echo, or
sounding again, _I have loved thee with an everlasting love_.  Now I went
to bed in quiet; also when I awakened the next morning, it was fresh upon
my soul; and I believed it.

191.  But yet the tempter left me not; for it could not be so little as
an hundred times, that he that day did labour to then break my peace.
Oh! the combats and conflicts that I did then meet with; as I strove to
hold by this word, that of _Esau_ would fly in my face like lightning: I
should be sometimes up and down twenty times in an hour; yet God did bear
me up, and keep my heart upon this word; from which I had also, for
several days together, very much sweetness, and comfortable hopes of
pardon: for thus it was made out unto me, _I loved thee whilst thou wast
committing this sin_, _I loved thee before_, _I love thee still_, _and I
will love thee for ever_.

192.  Yet I saw my sin most barbarous, and a filthy crime, and could not
but conclude, and that with great shame and astonishment, that I had
horribly abused the holy Son of God: wherefore I felt my soul greatly to
love and pity Him, and my bowels to yearn towards Him; for I saw He was
still my friend, and did reward me good for evil; yea, the love and
affection that then did burn within to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
did work at this time such a strong and hot desire of revengement upon
myself for the abuse I had done unto Him, that to speak as I then
thought, had I had a thousand gallons of blood within my veins, I could
freely then have spilt it all, at the command and feet of this my Lord
and Saviour.

193.  And as I was thus in musing, and in my studies, considering how to
love the Lord, and to express my love to Him, that saying came in upon
me, _If Thou_, _Lord_, _shouldst mark iniquities_, _O Lord_, _who should
stand_?  _But there is forgiveness with Thee_, _that Thou mayest be
feared_.  Psalm cxxx. 3, 4.  These were good words to me, especially the
latter part thereof; to wit, that there is forgiveness with the Lord,
that He might be feared; that is, as then I understood it, that He might
be loved, and had in reverence; for it was thus made out to me, _That the
great God did set so high an esteem upon the love of His poor creatures_,
_that rather than He would go without their love_, _He would pardon their
transgressions_.

194.  And now was that word fulfilled on me, and I was also refreshed by
it; _That thou mayest remember and be confounded_, _and never open thy
mouth any more_, _because of thy shame_, _when I am pacified toward thee
for all that thou hast done_, _saith the Lord God_.  Ezek. xvi. 63.  Thus
was my soul at this time (and as I then did think for ever) set at
liberty from being afflicted with my former guilt and amazement.

195.  But before many weeks were gone, I began to despond again, fearing,
lest, notwithstanding all that I had enjoyed, that I might be deceived
and destroyed at the last; for this consideration came strong into my
mind, _That whatever comfort and peace I thought I might have from the
word of the promise of life_, _yet unless there could be found in my
refreshment_, _a concurrence and agreement in the scriptures_, _let me
think what I will thereof_, _and hold it never so fast_, _I should find
no such thing at the end_; _And the scripture cannot be broken_.  John x.
35.

196.  Now began my heart again to ache, and fear I might meet with a
disappointment at last.  Wherefore I began with all seriousness to
examine my former comfort, and to consider whether one that had sinned as
I had done, might with confidence trust upon the faithfulness of God,
laid down in those words, by which I had been comforted, and on which I
had leaned myself: but now were brought those sayings to my mind.  _For
it is impossible for those who were once enlightened_, _and have tasted
of the heavenly gift_, _and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost_, _and
have tasted the good word of God_, _and the powers of the world to come_,
_if they shall fall away_, _to renew them again unto repentance_.  Heb.
vi. 4–6.  _For_, _if we sin wilfully_, _after we have received the
knowledge of the truth_, _there remains no more sacrifice for sin_, _but
a certain fearful looking for of judgment_, _and fiery indignation_,
_which shall devour the adversaries_.  Heb. x. 26, 27.  _As Esau_, _who
for one morsel of meat_, _sold his birthright_.  _For ye know how that
afterward_, _when he would have inherited the blessing_, _he was
rejected_; _for he found no place of repentance_, _though he sought it
carefully with tears_.  Heb. xii. 16, 17.

197.  Now was the word of the gospel forced from my soul; so that no
promise or encouragement was to be found in the Bible for me: and now
would that saying work upon my spirit to afflict me, _Rejoice not_, _O
Israel_, _for joy_, _as other people_.  Hos. ix. 1.  For I saw indeed,
there was cause of rejoicing for those that held to Jesus; but for me, I
had cut myself off by my transgressions, and left myself neither
foot-hold, or hand-hold, among all the stays and props in the precious
word of life.

198.  And truly, I did now feel myself to sink into a gulph, as an house
whose foundation is destroyed; I did liken myself in this condition, unto
the case of some child that was fallen into a mill-pit, who though it
could make some shift to scramble and sprawl in the water, yet because it
could find neither hold for hand nor foot, therefore at last it must die
in that condition.  So soon as this fresh assault had fastened on my
soul, that scripture came into my heart, This _for many days_.  Dan. x.
14.  And indeed I found it was so; for I could not be delivered, nor
brought to peace again, until well nigh two years and a half were
completely finished.  Wherefore these words, though in themselves, they
tended to discouragement, yet to me, who feared this condition would be
eternal, they were at some times as an help and refreshment to me.

199.  For, thought I, _many days_ are not for ever, _many days_ will have
an end; therefore seeing I was to be afflicted not a few but _many days_,
yet I was glad it was but _for many days_.  Thus, I say, I would recall
myself sometimes, and give myself an help, for as soon as ever the words
came into my mind, at first, I knew my trouble would be long, yet this
would be but sometimes; for I could not always think on this, nor ever be
helped by it, though I did.

200.  Now while the scriptures lay before me, and laid sin anew at my
door, that saying, in Luke xviii. 1, with others, did encourage me to
prayer: then the tempter laid again at me very sore, suggesting, _That
neither the mercy of God_, _nor yet the blood of Christ_, _did at all
concern me_, _nor could they help me for my sin_; _therefore it was but
in vain to pray_.  Yet, thought I, _I will pray_.  _But_, said the
tempter, _your sin is unpardonable_.  Well, said I, _I will pray_.  ’Tis
to no boot, said he.  Yet said I, _I will pray_.  So I went to prayer to
God; and while I was at prayer, I uttered words to this effect: _Lord_,
_Satan tells me_, _that neither Thy mercy_, _nor Christ’s blood_, _is
sufficient to save my soul_: _Lord_, _shall I honour Thee most_, _by
believing Thou wilt_, _and canst_? _or him_, _by believing Thou neither
wilt not nor canst_?  _Lord_, _I would fain honour Thee_, _by believing
Thou wilt and canst_.

201.  And as I was thus before the Lord, that scripture fastened on my
heart (O man, great is thy faith), Matt. xv. 28, even as if one had
clapped me on the back, as I was on my knees before God: yet I was not
able to believe this, that this was a prayer of faith, till almost six
months after; for I could not think that I had faith, or that there
should be a word for me to act faith on; therefore I should still be, as
sticking in the jaws of desperation, and went mourning up and down in a
sad condition.

202.  There was nothing now that I longed for more than to be put out of
doubt, as to this thing in question, and as I was vehemently desiring to
know, if there was indeed hope for me, these words came rolling into my
mind, _Will the Lord cast off for ever_? _and will He be favourable no
more_?  _Is His mercy clean gone for ever_?  _Doth His promise fail for
evermore_?  _Hath God forgotten to be gracious_?  _Hath He in anger shut
up His tender mercies_?  Ps. lxxvii. 7–9.  And all the while they run in
my mind, methought I had still this as the answer, ’_Tis a question
whether He hath or no_: _it may be He hath not_.  Yea, the interrogatory
seemed to me to carry in it a sure affirmation that indeed He had not,
nor would so cast off, but would be favourable: that His promise doth not
fail, and that He had not forgotten to be gracious, nor would in anger
shut up tender mercy.  Something also there was upon my heart at the same
time, which I cannot now call to mind, which, with this text, did sweeten
my heart, and make me conclude, that His mercy might not be quite gone,
nor clean gone for ever.

203.  At another time I remembered, I was again much under this question,
_Whether the blood of Christ was sufficient to save my soul_? in which
doubt I continued from morning, till about seven or eight at night: and
at last, when I was, as it were, quite worn out with fear, lest it should
not lay hold on me, these words did sound suddenly within my heart: _He
is able_.  But methought, this word _able_, was spoke loud unto me; it
showed a _great word_, it seemed to be writ in _great letters_, and gave
such a jostle to my fear and doubt (I mean for the time it tarried with
me, which was about a day) as I never had from that, all my life, either
before or after.  Heb. vii. 25.

204.  But one morning as I was again at prayer, and trembling under the
fear of this, _That no word of God could help me_, that piece of a
sentence darted in upon me, _My grace is sufficient_.  At this, methought
I felt some stay, as if there might be hopes.  But, oh! how good a thing
it is for God to send His word! for, about a fortnight before, I was
looking on this very place, and then I thought it could not come near my
soul with comfort, therefore I threw down my book in a pet: then I
thought it was not large enough for me; no, not large enough; but now it
was as if it had arms of grace so wide, that it could not only enclose
me, but many more such as I besides.

205.  By these words I was sustained, yet not without exceeding
conflicts, for the space of seven or eight weeks; for my peace would be
in it, and out, sometimes twenty times a day; comfort now, and trouble
presently; peace now, and before I could go a furlong, as full of fear
and guilt as ever heart could hold.  And this was not only now and then,
but my whole seven weeks’ experience: for this about _the sufficiency of
grace_, and _that_ of _Esau’s_ parting with his birthright, would be like
a pair of scales within my mind; sometimes one end would be uppermost,
and sometimes again the other; according to which would be my peace or
trouble.

206.  Therefore I did still pray to God, that He would come in with this
scripture more fully on my heart; to wit, that He would help me to apply
the whole sentence, for as yet I could not: that He gave, that I
gathered; but farther I could not go, for as yet it only helped me to
hope there might be mercy for me; _My grace is sufficient_: And though it
came no farther, it answered my former question, to wit, That there was
hope; yet because _for thee_ was left out, I was not contented, but
prayed to God for that also.  Wherefore, one day, when I was in a meeting
of God’s people, full of sadness and terror; for my fears again were
strong upon me; and, as I was now thinking, my soul was never the better,
but my case most sad and fearful, these words did with great power
suddenly break in upon me; _My grace is sufficient for thee_, _My grace
is sufficient for thee_, _My grace is sufficient for thee_, three times
together: And oh! methought that every word was a mighty word unto me; as
_My_, and _grace_, and _sufficient_, and _for thee_; they were then, and
sometimes are still, far bigger than others be.

207.  At which time my understanding was so enlightened, that I was as
though I had seen the Lord Jesus look down from heaven, through the tiles
upon me, and direct these words unto me.  This sent me mourning home; it
broke my heart, and filled me full of joy, and laid me low as the dust;
only it stayed not long with me, I mean in this glory and refreshing
comfort; yet it continued with me for several weeks, and did encourage me
to hope: but as soon as that powerful operation of it was taken from my
heart, that other, about _Esau_, returned upon me as before: so my soul
did hang as in a pair of scales again, sometimes up, and sometimes down;
now in peace, and anon again in terror.

208.  Thus I went on for many weeks, sometimes comforted, and sometimes
tormented; and especially at sometimes my torment would be very sore, for
all those scriptures forenamed in the _Hebrews_, would be set before me,
as the only sentences that would keep me out of heaven.  Then again I
would begin to repent that ever that thought went through me; I would
also think thus with myself: _Why_, _how many scriptures are there
against me_?  _There are but three or four_; _And cannot God miss them_,
_and save me for all them_?  Sometimes again I would think, _Oh_! _if it
were not for these three or four words_, _now how might I be comforted_!
And I could hardly forbear at some times, to wish them out of the book.

209.  Then methought I should see as if both _Peter_ and _Paul_, and
_John_, and all the writers, did look with scorn upon me, and hold me in
derision; and as if they had said unto me, _All our words are truth_,
_one of as much force as another_: _it is not we that have cut you of_,
_but you have cast away yourself_.  _There is none of our sentences that
you must take hold upon_, _but these and such as these_; _it is
impossible_, Heb. vi.; _there remains no more sacrifice for sin_, Heb. x.
_And it had been better for them not to have known the will of God_,
_than after they had known it_, _to turn from the holy commandment
delivered unto them_, 2 Peter ii. 21.  _For the Scriptures cannot be
broken_.  John x. 35.

210.  These, as the elders of the city of refuge, I saw, were to be
judges both of my case and me, while I stood with the _avenger_ of blood
at my heels, trembling at their gate for deliverance; also with a
thousand fears and mistrusts, I doubted that they would shut me out for
ever.  Joshua xx. 3. 4.

211.  Thus I was confounded, not knowing what to do, or how to be
satisfied in this question, _Whether the scriptures could agree in the
salvation of my soul_?  I quaked at the apostles; I knew their words were
true, and that they must stand for ever.

212.  And I remember one day, as I was in divers frames of spirit, and
considering that these frames were according to the nature of several
scriptures that came in upon my mind; if this of grace, then was I quiet;
but of that of _Esau_, then tormented.  Lord, thought I, _if both these
scriptures should meet in my heart at once_, _I wonder which of them
would get the better of me_.  So methought I had a longing mind that they
might come both together upon me; yea, I desired of God they might.

213.  Well, about two or three days after, so they did indeed; they
bolted both upon me at a time, and did work and struggle strangely in me
for a while; at last that about _Esau’s_ birthright began to wax weak,
and withdraw, and vanish; and this, about the sufficiency of grace
prevailed with peace and joy.  And as I was in a muse about this thing,
that scripture came in upon me, _Mercy rejoiceth against judgment_.
James ii. 13.

214.  This was a wonderment to me; yet truly, I am apt to think it was of
God; for the word of the law and wrath, must give place to the word of
life and grace; because, though the word of condemnation be glorious, yet
the word of life and salvation doth far exceed in glory.  2 Cor. iii.
8–11.  _Mark_ ix. 5–7.  _John_ vi. 37.  Also that _Moses_ and _Elias_
must both vanish, and leave Christ and His saints alone.

215.  This scripture also did now most sweetly visit my soul; _And him
that cometh to Me_, _I will in no wise cast out_.  Oh! the comfort that I
had from this word, _in no wise_!  As who should say, _By no means_, _for
nothing whatever he hath done_.  But Satan would greatly labour to pull
this promise from me, telling of me, _That Christ did not mean me and
such as I_, _but sinners of a lower rank_, _that had not done as I had
done_.  But I would answer him again, _Satan_, _here is in these words no
such exception_; _but him that comes_, _him_, _any him_: _him that cometh
to Me I will in no wise cast out_.  And this I well remember still, that
of all the slights that Satan used to take this scripture from me, yet he
never did so much as put this question, _But do you come aright_?  And I
have thought the reason was, because he thought I knew full well what
coming aright was; for I saw that to come aright, was to come as I was, a
vile and ungodly sinner, and to cast myself at the feet of mercy,
condemning myself for sin.  If ever Satan and I did strive for any word
of God in all my life, it was for this good word of Christ; he at one
end, and I at the other: Oh! what work did we make!  It was for this in
_John_, I say, that we did so tug and strive, he pulled, and I pulled;
but God be praised, I got the better of him; I got some sweetness from
it.

216.  But notwithstanding all these helps, and blessed words of grace,
yet that of _Esau’s_ selling of his birthright, would still at times
distress my conscience: for though I had been most sweetly comforted, and
that but just before, yet when that came into my mind, ’twould make me
fear again: I could not be quite rid thereof, ’twould every day be with
me: wherefore now I went another way to work, even to consider the nature
of this blasphemous thought, I mean, if I should take the words at the
largest, and give them their own natural force and scope, even every word
therein: so when I had thus considered, I found, that if they were fairly
taken, they would amount to this; _That I had freely left the Lord Jesus
Christ to His choice_, _whether He would be my Saviour or no_; for the
wicked words were these, _Let Him go_, _if He will_.  Then that scripture
gave me hope, _I will never leave thee_, _nor forsake thee_.  Heb. xiii.
5.  ‘O Lord,’ said I, _but I have left Thee_.  Then it answered again,
_But I will not leave thee_.  For this I thanked God also.

217.  Yet I was grievous afraid He should, and found it exceeding hard to
trust Him, seeing I had so offended Him: I could have been exceeding glad
that this thought had never befallen; for then I thought I could with
more ease and freedom in abundance, have leaned on His grace.  I saw it
was with me, as it was with _Joseph’s_ brethren; the guilt of their own
wickedness did often fill them with fears that their brother would at
last despise them.  Gen. l. 15, 16, etc.

218.  Yet above all the scriptures that I yet did meet with that in
_Joshua_ xx. was the greatest comfort to me, which speaks of the slayer
that was to flee for refuge: _And if the avenger of blood pursue the
slayer_, then saith _Moses_, _they that are the elders of the city of
refuge shall not deliver him into his hands_, _because he smote his
neighbour unwittingly and hated him not aforetime_.  Oh! blessed be God
for this word: I was convinced that I was the slayer; and that the
avenger of blood pursued me, I felt with great terror; only now it
remained that I inquire whether I have right to enter the city of refuge:
so I found, that he must not, _who lay in wait to shed blood_: It was not
the wilful _murderer_, but he who _unwittingly_ did it, he who did it
unawares; not out of spite, or grudge, or malice, he that shed it
unwittingly: even he who did not _hate his neighbour before_.  Wherefore,

219.  I thought verily I was the man that must enter, because I had
smitten my neighbour _unwittingly_, _and hated Him not aforetime_.  I
hated Him not aforetime; no, I prayed unto Him, was tender of sinning
against Him; yea, and against this wicked temptation I had strove for a
twelvemonth before; yea, and also when it did pass through my heart, it
did in spite of my teeth: wherefore I thought I had a right to enter this
city, and the elders, which are the _apostles_, were not to deliver me
up.  This therefore was great comfort to me, and gave me much ground of
hope.

220.  Yet being very critical, for my smart had made me that I knew not
what ground was sure enough to bear me, I had one question that my soul
did much desire to be resolved about; and that was, _Whether it be
possible for any soul that hath sinned the unpardonable sin_, _yet after
that to receive_, _though but the least_, _true spiritual comfort from
God though Christ_?  The which after I had much considered, I found the
answer was, No, they could not; and that for these reasons:—

221.  _First_, Because those that have sinned that sin, they are debarred
a share in the blood of Christ; and being shut out of that, they must
needs be void of the least ground of hope, and so of spiritual comfort;
_For to such there remains no more sacrifice for sin_.  Heb. x. 26, 27.
_Secondly_, Because they are denied a share in the promise of life: _It
shall never be forgiven him neither in this world_, _neither in the world
to come_.  Matt. xii. 32.  _Thirdly_, The Son of God excludes them also
from a share in His blessed intercession, being for ever ashamed to own
them, both before His holy Father, and the blessed angels in heaven.
Mark viii.

222.  When I had with much deliberation considered of this matter, and
could not but conclude that the Lord had comforted me, and that too after
this my wicked sin: then methought I durst venture to come nigh unto
those most fearful and terrible scriptures, with which all this while I
had been so greatly affrighted, and on which indeed, before I durst
scarce cast mine eye (yea, had much ado an hundred times, to forbear
wishing them out of the Bible), for I thought they would destroy me; but
now, I say, I began to take some measure of encouragement, to come close
to them to read them, and consider them, and to weigh their scope and
tendency.

223.  The which when I began to do, I found their visage changed: for
they looked not so grimly, as before I thought they did: and first I came
to the sixth of the _Hebrews_, yet trembling for fear it should strike
me; which when I had considered, I found that the falling there intended,
was a falling _quite away_; that is as I conceived, a falling from and
absolute denying of the gospel, of remission of sins by Jesus Christ;
for, from them the apostle begins his argument, verses 1, 2, 3, 4.
_Secondly_, I found that this falling away, must be openly, even in the
view of the world, even so as _to put Christ to an open shame_.
_Thirdly_, I found those he there intended, were for ever shut up of God,
both in blindness, hardness, and impenitency: _It is impossible they
should be renewed again unto repentance_.  By all these particulars, I
found to God’s everlasting praise, my sin was not the sin in this place
intended.

_First_, I confessed I was fallen, but not fallen away; that is, from the
profession of faith in Jesus unto eternal life.

_Secondly_, I confessed that I had put Jesus Christ to _shame_ by my sin,
but not to open _shame_; I did not deny Him before men, nor condemn Him
as a fruitless One before the world.

_Thirdly_, Nor did I find that God had shut me up, or denied me to come
(though I found it hard work indeed to come) to Him by sorrow and
repentance: blessed be God for unsearchable grace!

224.  Then I considered that in the 10th chapter of the _Hebrews_, and
found that the _wilful sin_ there mentioned, is not every wilful sin, but
that which doth throw off Christ, and then His commandments too.
_Secondly_, That must be done also openly, before two or three witnesses,
to answer that of the law, _verse_ 28.  _Thirdly_, This sin cannot be
committed, but with great despite done to the Spirit of Grace; despising
both the dissuasions from that sin, and the persuasions to the contrary.
But the Lord knows, though this my sin was devilish, yet it did not
amount to these.

225.  And as touching that in the 12th of the _Hebrews_, about _Esau’s_
selling of his birthright; though this was that which killed me, and
stood like a spear against me, yet now I did consider, _First_, that his
was not a hasty thought against the continual labour of his mind, but a
thought consented to, and put in practice likewise, and that after some
deliberation, Gen. xxv.  _Secondly_, It was a public and open action,
even before his brother, if not before many more; this made his sin of a
far more heinous nature than otherwise it would have been.  _Thirdly_, He
continued to slight his birthright: _He did eat and drink_, _and went his
way_: thus Esau _despised his birthright_, yea, twenty years after he was
found to despise it still.  And Esau said, _I have enough_, _my brother_,
_keep that thou hast unto thyself_.  Gen. xxxiii. 9.

226.  Now as touching this, _that_ Esau _sought a place of repentance_;
thus I thought: _First_, This was not for the _birthright_, but _the
blessing_: this is clear from the apostle, and is distinguished by Esau
himself; _He took away my birthright_ (that is, formerly); _and behold
now he hath taken away my blessing_.  Gen. xxvii. 36.  _Secondly_, Now,
this being thus considered, I came again to the apostle, to see what
might be the mind of God, in a New-Testament style and sense concerning
_Esau’s_ sin; and so far as I could conceive, this was the mind of God,
_that the birthright_ signified _regeneration_, and the _blessing_, the
_eternal inheritance_; for so the apostle seems to hint.  _Lest there be
any profane person_, _as_ Esau, _who for one morsel of meat sold his
birthright_; as if he should say, That shall cast off all those blessed
beginnings of God, that at present are upon him, in order to a new-birth;
lest they become as _Esau_, even be rejected _afterwards_, when they
would inherit the blessing.

227.  For many there are, who, in the day of grace and mercy, despise
those things which are indeed the birthright to heaven, who yet when the
deciding day appears, will cry as lord as _Esau_, _Lord_, _Lord_, _open
to us_; but then, as _Isaac_ would not repent, no more will God the
Father, but will say, _I have blessed these_, _yea_, and _they shall be
blessed_; but as for you, _Depart_, _you are the workers of iniquity_.
Gen. xxvii. 32; Luke xiii. 25–27.

228.  When I had thus considered these scriptures, and found that thus to
understand them, was not against, but according to other scriptures; this
still added further to my encouragement and comfort, and also gave a
great blow to that objection, to wit, _That the scriptures could not
agree in the salvation of my soul_.  And now remained only the hinder
part of the tempest, for the thunder was gone beyond me, only some drops
did still remain, that now and then would fall upon me; but because my
former frights and anguish were very sore and deep, therefore it oft
befall me still, as it befalleth those that have been scared with fire.
I thought every voice was, _Fire_! _fire_!  Every little touch would hurt
my tender conscience.

229.  But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some
dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly
this sentence fell upon my soul, _Thy righteousness is in heaven_; and
methought withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s
right hand: there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was,
or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, _He wants My
righteousness_; for that was just before Him.  I also saw moreover, that
it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor
yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness
was Jesus Christ Himself, _The same yesterday_, _to-day_, _and for ever_.
Heb. xiii. 8.

230.  Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed; I was loosed from my
afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that
time those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me: now went I
also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God; so when I came home,
I looked to see if I could find that sentence; _Thy righteousness is in
heaven_, but could not find such a saying; wherefore my heart began to
sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, 1 Cor. i. 30,
_Christ Jesus_, _who of God is made unto us wisdom_, _and righteousness_,
_and sanctification_, _and redemption_; by this word I saw the other
sentence true.

231.  For by this scripture I saw that the Man Christ Jesus, as He is
distinct from us, as touching His bodily presence, so He is our
righteousness and sanctification before God.  Here therefore I lived, for
some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ; Oh! methought,
Christ! Christ! there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes: I
was not now (only) for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ
apart, as of His blood, burial, or resurrection, but considering Him as a
whole Christ! as He in whom all these, and all His other virtues,
relations, offices and operations met together, and that He sat on the
right hand of God in heaven.

232.  ’Twas glorious to me to see His exaltation, and the worth and
prevalency of all His benefits, and that because now I could look from
myself to Him and should reckon, that all those graces of God that now
were green on me, were yet but like those cracked groats and
fourpence-halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their
gold is in their trunks at home: Oh! I saw my gold was in my trunk at
home!  In Christ my Lord and Saviour.  Now Christ was all; all my wisdom,
all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.

233.  Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union with
the Son of God; that I was joined to Him, that I was flesh of His flesh,
and bone of His bone; and now was that word sweet to me in Eph. v. 30.
By this also was my faith in Him, as my righteousness, the more confirmed
in me; for if He and I were one, then His righteousness was mine, His
merits mine, His victory also mine.  Now could I see myself in heaven and
earth at once: in heaven by my Christ, by my head, by my righteousness
and life, though on earth by my body or person.

234.  Now I saw Christ Jesus was looked upon of God; and should also be
looked upon by us, as that common or public person, in whom all the whole
body of His elect are always to be considered and reckoned; that we
fulfilled the law by Him, died by Him, rose from the dead by Him, got the
victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell, by Him; when He died, we
died, and so of His resurrection.  _Thy dead men shall live_, _together
with My dead body shall they arise_, saith He.  Isa. xxvi. 19.  And
again, _after two days He will revive us_, _and the third day He will
raise us up_, _and we shall live in His sight_.  Hosea vi. 2.  Which is
now fulfilled by the sitting down of the Son of Man on the right hand of
the Majesty in the heavens; according to that to the _Ephesians_, _And
hath raised us up together_, _and made us sit together in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus_.  Eph. ii. 6.

235.  Ah! these blessed considerations and scriptures, with many others
of like nature, were in those days made to spangle in mine eyes; so that
I have cause to say, _Praise ye the Lord_.  _Praise God in His
sanctuary_, _praise Him in the firmament of His power_; _praise Him for
His mighty acts_: _praise Him according to His excellent greatness_.
Psalm cl. 1, 2.

236.  Having thus in a few words given you a taste of the sorrow and
affliction that my soul went under, by the guilt and terror that this my
wicked thought did lay me under; and having given you also a touch of my
deliverance therefrom, and of the sweet and blessed comfort that I met
with afterwards, which comfort dwelt about a twelvemonth with my heart,
to my unspeakable admiration: I will now (God willing), before I proceed
any farther, give you in a word or two, what, as I conceive, was the
cause of this temptation; and also after that, what advantage, at the
last, it became unto my soul.

237.  For the causes, I conceived they were principally two: of which two
also I was deeply convinced all the time this trouble lay upon me.  The
first was, for that I did not, when I was delivered from the temptation
that went before, still pray to God to to keep me from the temptations
that were to come; for though, as I can say in truth, my soul was much in
prayer before this trial seized me, yet then I prayed only, or at the
most principally, for the removal of present troubles, and for fresh
discoveries of His love in Christ, which I saw afterwards was not enough
to do; I also should have prayed that the great God would keep me from
the evil that was to come.

238.  Of this I was made deeply sensible by the prayer of holy _David_,
who when he was under present mercy, yet prayed that God would hold him
back from sin and temptation to come; _Then_, saith he, _shall I be
upright_, _and I shall be innocent from the great transgression_.  Psalm
xix. 13.  By this very word was I galled and condemned quite through this
long temptation.

239.  That was also another word that did much condemn me for my folly,
in the neglect of this duty.  Heb. iv. 16: _Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace_, _that we may obtain mercy_, _and find grace to
help in time of need_.  This I had not done, and therefore was thus
suffered to sin and fall, according to what is written, _Pray that ye
enter not into temptation_.  And truly this very thing is to this day of
such weight and awe upon me, that I dare not, when I come before the
Lord, go of my knees, until I intreat Him for help and mercy against the
temptations that are to come; and I do beseech thee, reader, that thou
learn to beware of my negligence, by the afflictions, that for this thing
I did for days, and months, and years, with sorrow undergo.

240.  Another cause of this temptation was, that I had tempted God; and
on this manner did I do it: Upon a time my wife was great with child, and
before her full time was come, her pangs, as of a woman in travail, were
fierce and strong upon her, even as if she would have fallen immediately
in labour, and been delivered of an untimely birth: now at this very time
it was, that I had been so strongly tempted to question the being of God;
wherefore, as my wife lay crying by me, I said, but with all secrecy
imaginable, even thinking in my heart, _Lord_, _if Thou wilt now remove
this sad affliction from my wife_, _and cause that she be troubled no
more therewith this night_ (and now were her pangs just upon her), _then
I shall know that Thou canst discern the most secret thoughts of the
heart_.

241.  I had no sooner said it in my heart, but her pangs were taken from
her, and she was cast into a deep sleep, and so continued till morning;
at this I greatly marvelled, not knowing what to think; but after I had
been awake a good while, and heard her cry no more, I fell asleep also;
so when I awaked in the morning, it came upon me again, even what I had
said in my heart the last night, and how the Lord had showed me, that He
knew my secret thoughts, which was a great astonishment unto me for
several weeks after.

242.  Well, about a year and a half afterwards, that wicked sinful
thought, of which I have spoken before, went through my wicked heart,
even this thought, _Let Christ go_, _if He will_: so when I was fallen
under the guilt for this, the remembrance of my other thought, and of the
effect thereof, would also come upon me with this retort, which also
carried rebuke along with it, _Now you may see that God doth know the
most secret thoughts of the heart_.

243.  And with this, that of the passages that were betwixt the Lord, and
His servant _Gideon_, fell upon my spirit; how because that _Gideon_
tempted God with his fleece, both wet and dry, when he should have
believed and ventured upon His word; therefore the Lord did afterwards so
try him, as to send him against an innumerable company of enemies, and
that too, as to outward appearance, without any strength or help.  Judges
vi. 7.  Thus He served me, and that justly, for I should have believed
His word, and not have put an _if_ upon the all-seeingness of God.

244.  And now to show you something of the advantages that I also have
gained by this temptation: and first, by this I was made continually to
possess in my soul a very wonderful sense both of the blessing and glory
of God, and of His beloved Son; in the temptation that went before, my
soul was perplexed with unbelief, blasphemy, hardness of heart, questions
about the being of God, Christ, the truth of the word, and certainty of
the world to come: I say, then I was greatly assaulted and tormented with
atheism, but now the case was otherwise; now was God and Christ
continually before my face, though not in a way of comfort, but in a way
of exceeding dread and terror.  The glory of the holiness of God, did at
this time break me to pieces; and the bowels and compassion of Christ did
break me as on the wheel; for I could not consider Him but as a lost and
rejected Christ, the remembrance of which, was as the continual breaking
of my bones.

245.  The scriptures also were wonderful things unto me; I saw that the
truth and verity of them were the keys of the kingdom of heaven; _those_
that the scriptures favour, _they_ must inherit bliss; but _those_ that
they oppose and condemn, _must_ perish for evermore: Oh! this word, _For
the scriptures cannot be broken_, would rend the caul of my heart: and so
would that other, _Whose sins ye remit_, _they are remitted_; _but whose
sins ye retain_, _they are retained_.  Now I saw the apostles to be the
elders of the city of refuge.  Joshua xx. 4.  Those that they were to
receive in, were received to life; but those that they shut out, were to
be slain by the avenger of blood.

246.  Oh! one sentence of the scripture did more afflict and terrify my
mind, I mean those sentences that stood against me (as sometimes I
thought they every one did) more, I say, than an army of forty thousand
men that might have come against me.  Woe be to him against whom the
scriptures bend themselves!

247.  By this temptation I was made to see more into the nature of the
promises than ever I was before; for I lying now trembling under the
mighty hand of God, continually torn and rent by the thundering of His
justice: this made me with careful heart, and watchful eye, with great
fearfulness to turn over every leaf, and with much diligence, mixed with
trembling, to consider every sentence, together with its natural force
and latitude.

248.  By this temptation also I was greatly holden off from my former
foolish practice of putting by the word of promise when saw it came into
my mind; for now, though I could not suck that comfort and sweetness from
the promise, as I had done at other times; yet, like to a man sinking, I
would catch at all I saw: formerly I thought I might not meddle with the
promise, unless I felt its comfort, but now ’twas no time thus to do; the
avenger of blood too hardly did pursue me.

249.  Now therefore I was glad to catch at _that_ word which yet I feared
I had no ground or right to own; and even to leap into the bosom of that
promise that yet I feared did shut its heart against me.  Now also I
should labour to take the word as God hath laid it down, without
restraining the natural force of one syllable thereof: O! what did I now
see in that blessed sixth of John: _And him that cometh to me_, _I will
in no wise cast out_.  John vi. 37.  Now I began to consider with myself,
that God hath a bigger mouth to speak with, than I had a heart to
conceive with; I thought also with myself, that He spake not His words in
haste, or in an unadvised heat, but with infinite wisdom and judgment,
and in very truth and faithfulness.  2 Sam. iii. 28.

250.  I should in these days, often in my greatest agonies, even flounce
towards the promise (as the horses do towards sound ground, that yet
stick in the mire); concluding (though as one almost bereft of his wits
through fear) on this I will rest and stay, and leave the fulfilling of
it to the God of heaven that made it.  Oh! many a pull hath my heart had
with Satan, for that blessed sixth of John: I did not now, as at other
times, look principally for comfort (though, O how welcome would it have
been unto me!).  But now a word, a word to lean a weary soul upon, that
it might not sink for ever! ’twas that I hunted for.

251.  Yea, often when I have been making to the promise, I have seen as
if the Lord would refuse my soul for ever; I was often as if I had run
upon the pikes, and as if the Lord had thrust at me, to keep me from Him,
as with a flaming sword.  Then I should think of _Esther_, who went to
petition the king contrary to the law.  Esther iv. 16.  I thought also of
Benhadad’s servants, who went with ropes upon their heads to their
enemies for mercy.  1 Kings xx. 31, etc.  The woman of Canaan also, that
would not be daunted, though called dog by Christ, Matt. xv., 22, etc.,
and the man that went to borrow bread at midnight, Luke xi. 5–8, etc.,
were great encouragements unto me.

252.  I never saw those heights and depths in grace, and love, and mercy,
as I saw after this temptation; great sins to draw out great grace; and
where guilt is most terrible and fierce, there the mercy of God in
Christ, when showed to the soul, appears most high and mighty.  When
_Job_ had passed through his captivity, _he had twice as much as he had
before_.  Job xlii. 10.  Blessed be God for Jesus Christ our Lord.  Many
other things I might here make observation of, but I would be brief, and
therefore shall at this time omit them; and do pray God that my harms may
make others fear to offend, lest they also be made to bear the iron yoke
as I did.

I had two or three times, at or about my deliverance from this
temptation, such strange apprehensions of the grace of God, that I could
hardly bear up under it: it was so out of measure amazing, when I thought
it could reach me, that I do think if that sense of it had abode long
upon me, it would have made me incapable for business.

253.  Now I shall go forward to give you a relation of other of the
Lord’s dealings with me at sundry other seasons, and of the temptations I
then did meet withal.  I shall begin with what I met with when first I
did join in fellowship with the people of God in _Bedford_.  After I had
propounded to the church, that my desire was to walk in the order and
ordinances of Christ with them, and was also admitted by them: while I
thought of that blessed ordinance of Christ, which was His last supper
with His disciples before His death, that scripture, _Do this in
remembrance of Me_, Luke xxii. 19, was made a very precious word unto me;
for by it the Lord did come down upon my conscience with the discovery of
His death for my sins; and as I then felt, did as if He plunged me in the
virtue of the same.  But behold, I had not been long a partaker at that
ordinance, but such fierce and sad temptations did attend me at all times
therein, both to blaspheme the ordinance, and to wish some deadly thing
to those that then did eat thereof: that lest I should at any time be
guilty of consenting to these wicked and fearful thoughts, I was forced
to bend myself all the while, to pray to God to keep me from such
blasphemies: and also to cry to God to bless the bread and cup to them,
as it went from mouth to mouth.  The reason of this temptation, I have
thought since, was, because I did not with that reverence that became me
at first, approach to partake thereof.

254.  Thus I continued for three quarters of a year, and could never have
rest nor ease: but at the last the Lord came in upon my soul with that
same scripture, by which my soul was visited before: and after that, I
have been usually very well and comfortable in the partaking of that
blessed ordinance; and have, I trust, therein discerned the Lord’s body,
as broken for my sins, and that His precious blood hath been shed for my
transgressions.

255.  Upon a time I was something inclining to a consumption, wherewith
about the spring I was suddenly and violently seized, with much weakness
in my outward man; insomuch that I thought I could not live.  Now began I
afresh to give myself up to a serious examination after my state and
condition for the future, and of my evidences for that blessed world to
come: for it hath, I bless the name of God, been my usual course, as
always, so especially in the day of affliction, to endeavour to keep my
interest in the life to come, clear before mine eyes.

256.  But I had no sooner began to recall to mind my former experience of
the goodness of God to my soul, but there came flocking into my mind an
innumerable company of my sins and transgressions; amongst which these
were at this time most to my affliction; namely, my deadness, dulness,
and coldness in holy duties; my wanderings of heart, of my wearisomeness
in all good things, my want of love to God, His ways and people, with
this at the end of all, _Are these the fruits of Christianity_?  _Are
these tokens of a blessed man_?

257.  At the apprehensions of these things my sickness was doubled upon
me; for now I was sick in my inward man, my soul was clogged with guilt;
now also was my former experience of God’s goodness to me, quite taken
out of my mind, and hid as if they had never been, or seen: now was my
soul greatly pinched between these two considerations, _Live I must not_,
_die I dare not_.  Now I sunk and fell in my spirit, and was giving up
all for lost; but as I was walking up and down in the house as a man in a
most woeful state, that word of God took hold of my heart, _Ye are
justified freely by His grace_, _through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus_.  Rom. iii. 24.  But oh! what a turn it made upon me!

258.  Now was I as one awaked out of some troublesome sleep and dream;
and listening to this heavenly sentence, I was as if I had heard it thus
expounded to me: _Sinner_, _thou thinkest_, _that because thy sins and
infirmities_, _I cannot save thy soul_; _but behold My Son is by me_,
_and upon Him I look_, _and not on thee_, _and shall deal with thee
according as I am pleased with Him_.  At this I was greatly lightened in
my mind, and made to understand, that God could justify a sinner at any
time; it was but His looking upon Christ, and imputing His benefits to
us, and the work was forthwith done.

259.  And as I was thus in a muse, that scripture also came with great
power upon my spirit, _Not by works of righteousness that we have done_,
_but according to His mercy He hath saved us_, _etc._  2 Tim. i. 9; Tit.
iii. 5.  Now was I got on high, I saw myself within the arms of grace and
mercy; and though I was before afraid to think of a dying hour, yet, now
I cried, _Let me die_: Now death was lovely and beautiful in my sight,
for I saw _We shall never live indeed_, _till we be gone to the other
world_.  Oh! methought this life is but a slumber, in comparison with
that above.  At this time also I saw more in these words, _Heirs of God_,
Rom. viii. 17, than ever I shall be able to express while I live in this
world: _Heirs of God_!  God Himself is the portion of the saints.  This I
saw and wondered at, but cannot tell you what I saw.

260.  Again, as I was at another time very ill and weak, all that time
also the tempter did beset me strongly (for I find he is much for
assaulting the soul; when it begins to approach towards the grave, then
is his opportunity), labouring to hide from me my former experience of
God’s goodness: also setting before me the terrors of death, and the
judgment of God, insomuch that at this time, through my fear of
miscarrying for ever (should I now die), I was as one dead before death
came, and was as if I had felt myself already descending into the pit;
methought I said, There were no way, but to hell I must: but behold, just
as I was in the midst of those fears, these words of the angel’s carrying
_Lazarus_ into _Abraham’s_ bosom darted in upon me, as who should say,
_So it shall be with thee when thou dost leave this world_.  This did
sweetly revive my spirit, and help me to hope in God; which when I had
with comfort mused on a while, that word fell with great weight upon my
mind, _O death_, _where is thy sting_?  _O grave_, _where is thy
victory_?  1 Cor. xv. 55.  At this I became both well in body and mind at
once, for my sickness did presently vanish, and I walked comfortably in
my work for God again.

261.  At another time, though just before I was pretty well and savoury
in my spirit, yet suddenly there fell upon me a great cloud of darkness,
which did so hide from me the things of God and Christ, that I was as if
I had never seen or known them in my life: I was also so over-run in my
soul with a senseless heartless frame of spirit, that I could not feel my
soul to move or stir after _grace_ and _life_ by _Christ_; I was as if my
loins were broken, or as if my hands and feet had been tied or bound with
chains.  At this time also I felt some weakness to seize upon my outward
man, which made still the other affliction the more heavy and
uncomfortable to me.

262.  After I had been in this condition some three or four days, as I
was sitting by the fire, I suddenly felt this word to sound in my heart,
_I must go to Jesus_.  At this my former darkness and atheism fled away,
and the blessed things of heaven were set in my view.  While I was on
this sudden thus overtaken with surprise, Wife (said I), is there ever
such a scripture, _I must go to Jesus_?  She said, she could not tell;
therefore I sat musing still, to see if I could remember such a place: I
had not sat above two or three minutes, but that came bolting in upon me,
_And to an innumerable company of angels_; and withal, Hebrews twelfth,
about the mount _Sion_, was set before mine eyes.  Heb. xii. 22–24.

263.  Then with joy I told my wife, _O_! _now I know_, _I know_!  But
that night was a good night to me, I never had but few better; I longed
for the company of some of God’s people, that I might have imparted unto
them what God had showed me.  Christ was a precious Christ to my soul
that night; I could scarce lie in my bed for joy, and peace, and triumph,
through Christ.  This great glory did not continue upon me until morning,
yet the twelfth of the Author to the Hebrews, Heb. xii. 22, 23, was a
blessed scripture to me for many days together after this.

264.  The words are these: _Ye are come to mount Sion_, _and unto the
city of the living God_, _the heavenly Jerusalem_, _and to an innumerable
company of angels_, _to the general assembly and church of the
first-born_, _which are written in heaven_; _and to God the Judge of
all_, _and to the spirits of just men made perfect_, _and to Jesus the
Mediator of the New Covenant_, _and to the blood of sprinkling_, _that
speaketh better things than that of Abel_.  Through this blessed sentence
the Lord led me over and over, first to this word, and then to that; and
showed me wonderful glory in every one of them.  These words also have
oft since that time, been great refreshment to my spirit.  Blessed be God
for having mercy on me.



_A brief Account of the Author’s Call to the Work of the Ministry_


265.  AND now I am speaking my experience, I will in this place thrust in
a word or two concerning my preaching the word, and of God’s dealing with
me in that particular also.  For after I had been about five or six years
awakened, and helped myself to see both the want and worth of Jesus
Christ our Lord, and also enabled to venture my soul upon Him; some of
the most able among the saints with us, I say, the most able for judgment
and holiness of life, as they conceived, did perceive that God had
counted me worth to understand something of His will in His holy and
blessed word, and had given me utterance in some measure, to express what
I saw to others, for edification; therefore they desired me, and that
with much earnestness, that I would be willing, at sometimes to take in
hand, in one of the meetings, to speak a word of exhortation unto them.

266.  The which, though at the first it did much dash and abash my
spirit, yet being still by them desired and entreated, I consented to
their request, and did twice at two several assemblies (but in private),
though with much weakness and infirmity, discover my gift amongst them;
at which they not only seemed to be, but did solemnly protest, as in the
sight of the great God, they were both affected and comforted; and gave
thanks to the Father of mercies, for the grace bestowed on me.

267.  After this, sometimes, when some of them did go into the country to
teach, they would also that I should go with them; where, though as yet,
I did not nor durst not, make use of my gift in an open way, yet more
privately, still, as I came amongst the good people in those places, I
did sometimes speak a word of admonition unto them also; the which they,
as the other, received with rejoicing at the mercy of God to me-ward,
professing their souls were edified thereby.

268.  Wherefore, to be brief; at last, being still desired by the church,
after some solemn prayer to the Lord, with fasting, I was more
particularly called forth, and appointed to a more ordinary and public
preaching of the word, not only to and amongst them that believed, but
also to offer the gospel to those who had not yet received the faith
thereof; about which time I did evidently find in my mind a secret
pricking forward thereto; though I bless God, not for desire of
vain-glory; for at that time I was most sorely afflicted with the fiery
darts of the devil, concerning my eternal state.

269.  But yet could not be content, unless I was found in the exercise of
my gift, unto which also I was greatly animated, not only by the
continual desires of the godly, but also by that saying of _Paul_ to the
_Corinthians_: _I beseech you_, _brethren_ (_ye know the household of
Stephanas_, _that it is the first fruits of Achaia_, _and that they have
addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints_) _that ye submit
yourselves unto such_, _and to every one that helpeth with us_, _and
laboureth_.  1 Cor. xvi. 15, 16.

270.   By this text I was made to see that the Holy Ghost never intended
that men who have gifts and abilities, should bury them in the earth, but
rather did command and stir up such to the exercise of their gift, and
also did commend those that were apt and ready so to do.  _They have
addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints_.  This scripture, in
these days, did continually run in my mind, to encourage me, and
strengthen me in this my work for God; I have also been encouraged from
several other scriptures and examples of the godly, both specified in the
word, and other ancient histories: _Acts_ viii. 4 and xviii. 24, 25,
etc.; 1 _Pet._ iv. 10; _Rom._ xii. 6; _Fox’s Acts_ and _Mon._

271.  Wherefore, though of myself of all the saints the most unworthy;
yet I, but with great fear and trembling at the sight of my own weakness,
did set upon the work, and did according to my gift, and the proportion
of my faith, preach that blessed gospel that God had showed me in the
holy word of truth: which when the country understood, they came in to
hear the word by hundreds, and that from all parts, though upon sundry
and divers accounts.

272.  And I thank God, He gave unto me some measure of bowels and pity
for their souls, which also did put me forward to labour, with great
diligence and earnestness, to find out such a word as might, if God would
bless, lay hold of, and awaken the conscience; in which also the good
Lord had respect to the desire of His servant; for I had not preached
long, before some began to be touched, and be greatly afflicted in their
minds at the apprehension of the greatness of their sin, and of their
need of Jesus Christ.

273.  But I first could not believe that God should speak by me to the
heart of any man, still counting myself unworthy; yet those who thus were
touched, would love me and have a particular respect for me; and though I
did put it from me, that they should be awakened by me, still they would
confess it, and affirm it before the saints of God: they would also bless
God for me (unworthy wretch that I am!) and count me God’s instrument
that showed to them the way of salvation.

274.  Wherefore seeing them in both their words and deeds to be so
constant, and also in their hearts so earnestly pressing after the
knowledge of Jesus Christ, rejoicing that ever God did send me where they
were; then I began to conclude it might be so, that God had owned in His
work such a foolish one as I; and then came that word of God to my heart,
with much sweet refreshment, _The blessing of him that was ready to
perish_, _is come upon me_; _and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for
joy_.  Job xxix. 13.

275.  At this therefore I rejoiced; yea, the tears of those whom God did
awaken by my preaching, would be both solace and encouragement to me: for
I thought on those sayings, _Who is He then that maketh me glad_, _but
the same which is made sorry by Me_?  2 Cor. ii. 2.  And again, _If I be
not an Apostle to others_, _yet doubtless_, _I am unto you_: _for the
seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord_.  1 Cor. ix. 2.  These
things, therefore, were as another argument unto me, that God had called
me to, and stood by me in this work.

276.  In my preaching of the word, I took special notice of this one
thing, namely, that the Lord did lead me to begin where His word begins
with sinners; that is, to condemn all flesh, and to open and allege, that
the curse of God by the law, doth belong to, and lay hold on all men as
they come into the world, because of sin.  Now this part of my work I
fulfilled with great sense; for the terrors of the law, and guilt for my
transgressions, lay heavy on my conscience: I preached what I felt, what
I smartingly did feel; even that under which my poor soul did groan and
tremble to astonishment.

277.  Indeed, I have been as one sent to them from the dead; I went
myself in chains, to preach to them in chains; and carried that fire in
my own conscience, that I persuaded them to be aware of.  I can truly
say, and that without dissembling, that when I have been to preach, I
have gone full of guilt and terror, even to the pulpit door, and there it
hath been taken off, and I have been at liberty in my mind until I have
done my work; and then immediately, even before I could get down the
pulpit stairs, I have been as bad as I was before; yet God carried me on,
but surely with a strong hand, for neither guilt nor hell could take me
off my work.

278.  Thus I went on for the space of two years, crying out against men’s
sins, and their fearful state because of them.  After which, the Lord
came in upon my own soul, with some staid peace and comfort through
Christ; for He did give me many sweet discoveries of His blessed grace
through Him; wherefore now I altered in my preaching (for still I
preached what I saw and felt); now therefore I did much labour to hold
forth Jesus Christ in all His offices, relations, and benefits unto the
world; and did strive also to discover, to condemn, and remove those
false supports and props on which the world doth both lean, and by them
fall and perish.  On these things also I staid as long as on the other.

279.  After this, God led me into something of the mystery of the union
of Christ; wherefore that I discovered and showed to them also.  And,
when I had travelled through these three chief points of the word of God,
about the space of five years or more, I was caught in my present
practice, and cast into prison, where I have lain above as long again to
confirm the truth by way of suffering, as I was before in testifying of
it according to the scriptures, in a way of preaching.

280.  When I have been in preaching, I thank God my heart hath often all
the time of this and the other exercise, with great earnestness cried to
God that He would make the word effectual to the salvation of the soul;
still being grieved lest the enemy should take the word away from the
conscience, and so it should become unfruitful: wherefore I should labour
to speak the word, as that thereby, if it were possible, the sin and
person guilty might be particularized by it.

281.  And when I have done the exercise, it hath gone to my heart, to
think the word should now fall as rain on stony places; still wishing
from my heart, Oh! that they who have heard me speak this day, did but
see as I do, what sin, death, hell, and the curse of God is; and also
what the grace, and love, and mercy of God is, through Christ, to men in
such a case as they are, who are yet estranged from Him.  And indeed, I
did often say in my heart before the Lord, _That if to be hanged up
presently before their eyes_, _would be a means to awaken them_, _and
confirm them in the truth_, _I gladly should be contented_.

282.  For I have been in my preaching, especially when I have been
engaged in the doctrine of life by Christ, without works, as if an angel
of God had stood by at my back to encourage me: Oh! it hath been with
such power and heavenly evidence upon my own soul, while I have been
labouring to unfold it, to demonstrate it, and to fasten it upon the
conscience of others; that I could not be contented with saying, _I
believe_, _and am sure_; methought I was more than sure (if it be lawful
to express myself) that those things which then I asserted, were true.

283.  When I first went to preach the word abroad, the doctors and
priests of the country did open wide against me.  But I was persuaded of
this, not to render railing for railing; but to see how many of their
carnal professors I could convince of their miserable state by the law,
and of the want and worth of Christ: for, thought I, _This shall answer
for me in time to come_, _when they shall be for my hire before their
face_.  Gen. xxx. 33.

284.  I never cared to meddle with things that were controverted, and in
dispute among the saints, especially things of the lowest nature; yet it
pleased me much to contend with great earnestness for the word of faith,
and the remission of sins by the death and sufferings of Jesus: but I
say, as to other things, I should let them alone, because I saw they
engendered strife; and because that they neither in doing, nor in leaving
undone, did commend us to God to be His: besides, I saw my work before me
did run into another channel, even to carry an awakening word; to that
therefore did I stick and adhere.

285.  I never endeavoured to, nor durst make use of other men’s lines,
Rom. xv. 18 (though I condemn not all that do), for I verily thought, and
found by experience, that what was taught me by the word and Spirit of
Christ, could be spoken, maintained, and stood to, by the soundest and
best established conscience; and though I will not now speak all that I
know in this matter, yet my experience hath more interest in that text of
scripture, Gal. i. 11, 12, than many amongst men are aware.

286.  If any of those who were awakened by my ministry, did after that
fall back (as sometimes too many did), I can truly say, their loss hath
been more to me, than if one of my own children, begotten of my own body,
had been going to its grave: I think verily, I may speak it without any
offence to the Lord, nothing has gone so near me as that; unless it was
the fear of the loss of the salvation of my own soul.  I have counted as
if I had goodly buildings and lordships in those places where my children
were born; my heart hath been so wrapped up in the glory of this
excellent work, that I counted myself more blessed and honoured of God by
this, than if He had made me the emperor of the Christian world, or the
lord of all the glory of the earth without it!  Oh these words!  _He
which converteth the sinner from the error of his way_, _shall save a
soul from death_.  James v. 20.  _The fruit of the righteous is a tree of
life_; _and he that winneth souls is wise_.  Prov. xi. 30.  _They that be
wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament_, _and they that turn
many to righteousness_, _as the stars for ever and ever_.  Dan. xii. 3.
_For what is our hope_, _or joy_, _or crown of rejoicing_?  _Are not even
ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming_?  _For ye are
our glory and joy_.  1 Thes. ii. 19, 20.  These, I say, with many others
of a like nature, have been great refreshments to me.

287.  I have observed, that where I have had a work to do for God, I have
had first, as it were, the going of God upon my spirit, to desire I might
preach there: I have also observed, that such and such souls in
particular, have been strongly set upon my heart, and I stirred up to
wish for their salvation; and that these very souls have, after this,
been given in as the fruits of my ministry.  I have observed, that a word
cast in, by-the-bye, hath done more execution in a sermon, than all that
was spoken besides: sometimes also, when I have thought I did no good,
then I did the most of all; and at other times, when I thought I should
catch them, I have fished for nothing.

288.  I have also observed, that where there has been a work to do upon
sinners, there the devil hath begun to roar in the hearts and by the
mouths of his servants: yea, oftentimes, when the wicked world hath raged
most, there hath been souls awakened by the word: I could instance
particulars, but I forbear.

289.  My great desire in my fulfilling my ministry was to get into the
darkest places of the country, even amongst those people that were
farthest off of profession; yet not because I could not endure the light
(for I feared not to show my gospel to any) but because I found my spirit
did lean most after awakening and converting work, and the word that I
carried did lean itself most that way also; _Yea_, _so have I strived to
preach the gospel_, _not where Christ was named_, _lest I should build
upon another man’s foundation_.  Rom. xv. 20.

290.  In my preaching I have really been in pain, and have, as it were,
travailed to bring forth children to God; neither could I be satisfied
unless some fruits did appear in my work.  If I were fruitless, it
mattered not who commanded me: but if I were fruitful, I cared not who
did condemn.  I have thought of that: _Lo_! _children are an heritage of
the Lord_; _and the fruit of the womb is His reward_.—_As arrows are in
the hand of a mighty man_, _so are children of the youth_.  _Happy is the
man that hath his quiver full of them_: _they shall not be ashamed_, _but
they shall speak with the enemies in the gate_.  Psalm cxxvii. 3–5.

291.  It pleased me nothing to see people drink in opinions, if they
seemed ignorant of Jesus Christ, and the worth of their own salvation,
sound conviction for sin, especially for unbelief, and a heart set on
fire to be saved by Christ, with strong breathings after a truly
sanctified soul: that it was that delighted me; those were the souls I
counted blessed.

292.  But in this work, as in all other, I had my temptations attending
me, and that of divers kinds; as sometimes I should be assaulted with
great discouragement therein, fearing that I should not be able to speak
a word at all to edification; nay, that I should not be able to speak
sense unto the people; at which times I should have such a strange
faintness and strengthlessness seize upon my body, that my legs have
scarce been able to carry me to the place of exercise.

293.  Sometimes again when I have been preaching, I have been violently
assaulted with thoughts of blasphemy, and strongly tempted to speak the
words with my mouth before the congregation.  I have also at some times,
even when I have begun to speak the word with much clearness, evidence,
and liberty of speech, yet been, before the ending of that opportunity,
so blinded and so estranged from the things I have been speaking, and
have been also so straightened in my speech, as to utterance before the
people, that I have been as if I had not known, or remembered what I have
been about; or as if my head had been in a bag all the time of my
exercise.

294.  Again, when as sometimes I have been about to preach upon some
smart and searching portion of the word, I have found the tempter
suggest, _What_! _will you preach this_!  _This condemns yourself_; _of
this your own soul is guilty_; _wherefore preach not of it at all_; _or
if you do_, _yet so mince it_, _as to make way for your own escape_;
_lest instead of awakening others_, _you lay that guilt upon your own
soul_, _that you will never get from under_.

295.  But I thank the Lord, I have been kept from consenting to these so
horrid suggestions, and have rather, as Sampson, bowed myself with all my
might, to condemn sin and transgression, wherever I found it; yea, though
therein also I did bring guilt upon my own conscience: _Let me die_
(thought I), _with the Philistines_, Judges xvi. 29, 30, rather than deal
corruptly with the blessed word of God.  _Thou that teachest another_,
_teachest thou not thyself_?  It is far better that thou do judge
thyself, even by preaching plainly unto others, than that thou, to save
thyself, imprison the truth in righteousness.  Blessed be God for His
help also in this.

296.  I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been often
tempted to pride and liftings up of heart: and though I dare not say, I
have not been affected with this, yet truly the Lord of His precious
mercy, hath so carried it towards me, that for the most part I have had
but small joy to give way to such a thing: for it hath been my every
day’s portion to be let into the evil of my own heart, and still made to
see such a multitude of corruptions and infirmities therein, that it hath
caused hanging down of the head under all my gifts and attainments; I
have felt this thorn in the flesh, 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9, the very mercy of
God to me.

297.  I have also had, together with this, some notable place or other of
the word presented before me, which word hath contained in it some sharp
and piercing sentence concerning the perishing of the soul,
notwithstanding gifts and parts: as, for instance, that hath been of
great use to me: _Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels_,
_and have not charity_, _I am become as sounding brass_, _and a tinkling
cymbal_.  1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2.

298.  A tinkling cymbal is an instrument of music, with which a skilful
player can make such melodious and heart-inflaming music, that all who
hear him play, can scarcely hold from dancing; and yet behold the cymbal
hath not life, neither comes the music from it, but because of the art of
him that plays therewith; so then the instrument at last may come to
nought and perish, though in times past such music hath been made upon
it.

299.  Just thus I saw it was, and will be, with them who have gifts, but
want saving grace; they are in the hand of Christ, as the cymbal in the
hand of _David_: and as _David_ could with the cymbal make that mirth in
the service of God, as to elevate the hearts of the worshippers, so
Christ can use these gifted men, as with them to affect the souls of His
people in His church; yet when He hath done all, hang them by, as
lifeless, though sounding cymbals.

300.  This consideration therefore, together with some others, were for
the most part, as a maul on the head of pride, and desire of vain-glory.
What, thought I, shall I be proud because I am a sounding brass?  Is it
so much to be a fiddle? hath not the least creature that hath life, more
of God in it than these?  Besides, I knew ’twas love should never die,
but these must cease and vanish: so I concluded, a little grace, a little
love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all the gifts:
yea, and I am fully convinced of it, that it is possible for souls that
can scarce give a man an answer, but with great confusion as to method; I
say, it is possible for them to have a thousand times more grace, and so
to be more in the love and favour of the Lord, than some who by the
virtue of the gift of knowledge, can deliver themselves like angels.

301.  Thus therefore I came to perceive that, though gifts in themselves
were good, to the thing for which they are designed, to wit, the
edification of others; yet empty, and without power to save the soul of
him that hath them, if they be _alone_: neither are they, as so, any sign
of a man’s state to be happy, being only a dispensation of God to some,
of whose improvement, or non-improvement, they must when a little love
more is over, give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and
the dead.

302.  This showed me too, that gifts being alone, were dangerous, not in
themselves, but because of those evils that attend them that have them,
to wit, pride, desire of vain glory, self-conceit, etc., all which were
easily blown up at the applause and commendation of every unadvised
Christian, to the endangering of a poor creature to fall into the
condemnation of the devil.

303.  I saw therefore that he that hath gifts, had need be let into a
sight of the nature of them, to wit, that they come short of making of
him to be in a truly saved condition, lest he rest in them, and so fall
short of the grace of God.

304.  He hath cause also to walk humbly with God and be little in his own
eyes, and to remember withal, that his gifts are not his own, but the
churches; and that by them he is made a servant to the church; and he
must also give at last an account of his stewardship unto the Lord Jesus,
and to give a good account will be a blessed thing.

305.  Let all men therefore prize a little with the fear of the Lord
(gifts indeed are desirable), but yet great grace and small gifts are
better than great gifts and no grace.  It doth not say, the Lord gives
gifts and glory, but the Lord gives grace and glory; and blessed is such
an one, to whom the Lord gives grace, true grace; for that is a certain
forerunner of glory.

306.  But when Satan perceived that his thus tempting and assaulting of
me, would not answer his design; to wit, to overthrow the ministry, and
make it ineffectual, as to the ends thereof: then he tried another way,
which was, to stir up the minds of the ignorant and malicious to load me
with slanders and reproaches: now therefore I may say, that what the
devil could devise, and his instruments invent, was whirled up and down
the country against me, thinking, as I said, that by that means they
should make my ministry to be abandoned.

307.  It began therefore to be rumoured up and down among the people,
that I was a witch, a Jesuit, a highwayman, and the like.

              [Picture: Bunyan is looked on with Suspicion]

308.  To all which, I shall only say, God knows that I am innocent.  But
as for mine accusers, let them provide themselves to meet me before the
tribunal of the Son of God, there to answer for all these things (with
all the rest of their iniquities) unless God shall give them repentance
for them, for the which I pray with all my heart.

309.  But that which was reported with the boldest confidence, was, that
I had my _misses_, my _whores_, my _bastards_; yea, _two wives_ at once,
and the like.   Now these slanders (with the others) I glory in, because
but slanders, foolish or knavish lies, and falsehoods cast upon me by the
devil and his seed; and, should I not be dealt with thus wickedly by the
world, I should want one sign of a saint, and a child of God.  _Blessed
are ye_ (said the Lord Jesus) _when men shall revile you and persecute
you_, _and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake_;
_rejoice and be exceeding glad_, _for great is your reward in heaven_,
_for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you_.  Matt. iv.
11.

310.  These things therefore, upon mine own account, trouble me not; no,
though they were twenty times more than they are.  I have a good
conscience, and whereas they speak evil of me, as an evil-doer, they
shall be ashamed that falsely accuse my good conversation in Christ.

311.  So then, what shall I say to those who have thus bespattered me?
Shall I threaten them?  Shall I chide them?  Shall I flatter them?  Shall
I entreat them to hold their tongues?  No, not I.  Were it not for that
these things make them ripe for damnation, that are the authors and
abettors, I would say unto them, _Report it_, because ’twill increase my
glory.

312.  Therefore I bind these lies and slanders to me as an ornament; it
belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached
and reviled; and since all this is nothing else, as my God and my
conscience do bear me witness, I rejoice in reproaches for Christ’s sake.

313.  I also call all these fools or knaves, that have thus made it any
thing of their business to affirm any of the things afore-named of me;
namely, That I have been naught with other women, or the like.  When they
have used the utmost of their endeavours, and made the fullest inquiry
that they can, to prove against me truly, that there is any woman in
heaven, or earth, or hell, that can say, I have at any time, in any
place, by day or night, so much as attempted to be naught with them; and
speak I thus to beg my enemies into a good esteem of me?  No, not I: I
will in this beg belief of no man: believe or disbelieve me in this, all
is a-case to me.

314.  My foes have missed their mark in this shooting at me: I am not the
man: I wish that they themselves be guiltless.  If all the fornicators
and adulterers in _England_ were hanged up by the neck till they be dead,
_John Bunyan_, the object of their envy, would be still alive and well.
I know not whether there be such a thing as a woman breathing under the
copes of the whole heaven, but by their apparel, their children, or by
common fame, except my wife.

315.  And in this I admire the wisdom of God, that He made me shy of
women from my first conversion until now.  Those shy of women know, and
can also bear me witness, with whom I have been most intimately
concerned, that it is a rare thing to see me carry it pleasant towards a
woman: the common salutation of women I abhor; ’tis odious to me in
whomsoever I see it.  Their company alone, I cannot away with; I seldom
so much as touch a woman’s hand; for I think these things are not so
becoming me.  When I have seen good men salute those women that they have
visited, or that have visited them, I have at times made my objection
against it; and when they have answered, that it was but a piece of
civility, I have told them, it is not a comely sight.  Some indeed have
urged the holy kiss; but then I have asked why they made baulks? why they
did salute the most handsome, and let the ill-favoured go?  Thus, how
laudable soever such things have been in the eyes of others, they have
been unseemly in my sight.

316.  And now for a wind-up in this matter, I calling not only men, but
angels, to prove me guilty of having carnally to do with any woman save
my wife: nor am I afraid to do it a second time; knowing that it cannot
offend the Lord in such a case, to call God for a record upon my soul,
that in these things I am innocent.  Not that I have been thus kept,
because of any goodness in me, more than any other; but God has been
merciful to me, and has kept me; to whom I pray that He will keep me
still, not only from this, but every evil way and work, and preserve me
to His heavenly kingdom.  _Amen_.

317.  Now as Satan laboured by reproaches and slanders, to make me vile
among my countrymen; that, if possible, my preaching might be made of
none effect; so there was added hereto, a long and tedious imprisonment,
that thereby I might be frightened from my service for Christ, and the
world terrified, and made afraid to hear me preach; of which I shall in
the next place give you a brief account.



A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR’S IMPRISONMENT


318.  Having made profession of the glorious gospel of Christ a long
time, and preached the same about five years, I was apprehended at a
meeting of good people in the country (among whom, had they let me alone,
I should have preached that day, but they took me away from amongst
them), and had me before a justice; who, after I had offered security for
my appearing at the next sessions, yet committed me, because my sureties
would not consent to be bound that I should preach no more to the people.

319.  At the sessions after I was indicted for an upholder and maintainer
of unlawful assemblies and conventicles, and for not conforming to the
national worship of the church of _England_; and after some conference
there with the justices, they taking my plain dealing with them for a
confession, as they termed it, _of the indictment_, _did sentence me to a
perpetual banishment_, _because I refused to conform_.  So being again
delivered up to the jailer’s hands, I was had home to prison, and there
have lain now complete twelve years, waiting to see what God would suffer
these men to do with me.

320.  In which condition I have continued with much content, through
grace, but have met with many turnings and goings upon my heart, both
from the Lord, Satan, and my own corruptions; by all which (glory be to
Jesus Christ) I have also received among many things, much conviction,
instruction, and understanding, of which at large I shall not here
discourse; only give you a hint or two, a word that may stir up the godly
to bless God, and to pray for me; and also to take encouragement, should
the case be their own—_not to fear what man can do unto them_.

321.  I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the word of God
as now: those scriptures that I saw nothing in before, are made in this
place and state to shine upon me; Jesus Christ also was never more real
and apparent than now; here I have seen and felt Him indeed: Oh! that
word, _We have not preached unto you cunningly devised fables_, 2 Pet. i.
16, and that, _God raised Christ from the dead_, _and gave Him glory_,
_that our faith and hope might be in God_ 1 Pet. i. 21, were blessed
words unto me in this my imprisoned condition.


322.  These three or four scriptures also have been great refreshments in
this condition to me: John xiv. 1–4; John xvi. 33; Col. iii. 3, 4; Heb.
xii. 22–24.  So that sometimes when I have been in the savour of them, I
have been able to laugh at destruction, _and to fear neither the horse
nor his rider_.  I have had sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in
this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world: _Oh_! _the mount
Sion_, _the heavenly Jerusalem_, _the innumerable company of angels_,
_and God the Judge of all_, _and the spirits of just men made perfect_,
_and Jesus_, have been sweet unto me in this place: I have seen that
here, that I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to
express: I have seen a truth in this scripture, _Whom having not seen_,
_ye love_; _in whom_, _though now you see Him not_, _yet believing_, _ye
rejoice with joy unspeakable_, _and full of glory_.  1 Pet. i. 8.

323.  I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all turns, and
at every offer of Satan to afflict me, etc., as I have found Him since I
came in hither: for look how fears have presented themselves, so have
supports and encouragements; yea, when I have started, even as it were,
at nothing else but my shadow, yet God, as being very tender of me, hath
not suffered me to be molested, but would with one scripture or another,
strengthen me against all; insomuch that I have often said, _were it
lawful_, _I could pray for greater trouble_, _for the greater comfort’s
sake_.  Eccl. vii. 14; 2 Cor. i. 5.

324.  Before I came to prison, I saw what was coming, and had especially
two considerations warm upon my heart; the first was, how to be able to
encounter death, should that be here my portion.  For the first of these,
that scripture, Col. i. 11, was great information to me, namely, to pray
to God _to be strengthened with all might_, _according to His glorious
power_, _unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness_.  I could
seldom go to prayer before I was imprisoned; but for not so little as a
year together, this sentence, or sweet petition would, as it were, thrust
itself into my mind, and persuade me, that if ever I would go through
long-suffering, I must have all patience, especially if I would endure it
joyfully.

325.  As to the second consideration, that saying (2 Cor. i. 9) was of
great use to me, _But we had the sentence of death in ourselves_, _that
we should not trust in ourselves_, _but in God_, _which raiseth the
dead_.  By this scripture I was made to see, That if ever I would suffer
rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can
properly be called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife,
my children, my health, my enjoyments, and all as dead to me, and myself
as dead to them.

326.  The second was to live upon God that is invisible, as Paul said in
another place; the way not to faint is, _To look not on the things that
are seen_, _but at the things that are not seen_; _for the things that
are seen are temporal_, _but the things that are not seen are eternal_.
And thus I reasoned with myself, if I provide only for a prison, then the
whip comes at unawares; and so doth also the pillory: Again, if I only
provide for these, then I am not fit for banishment.  Further, if I
conclude that banishment is the worst, then if death comes, I am
surprised: so that I see, the best way to go through sufferings, is to
trust in God through Christ, as touching the world to come; and as
touching this world, _to count the grave my house_, _to make my bed in
darkness_; _to say to corruption_, _Thou art my father_, _and to the
worm_, _Thou art my mother and sister_: that is, to familiarize these
things to me.

327.  But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man and compassed
with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children, hath often
been to me in this place, as the pulling the flesh from the bones, and
that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but
also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships,
miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I
be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my
heart than all besides: Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my
poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

           [Picture: Bunyan Parting with his Wife and Children]

328.  Poor child! thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy
portion in this world!  Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger,
cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure
the wind should blow upon thee.  But yet recalling myself, thought I, I
must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you:
Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house
upon the head of his wife and children; yet, thought I, I must do it, I
must do it: and now I thought on those _two milch kine that were to carry
the ark of God into another country_, _and to leave their calves behind
them_.  1 Sam. vi. 10–12.

329.  But that which helped me in this temptation, was divers
considerations, of which, three in special here I will name, the first
was the consideration of these two scriptures, _Leave thy fatherless
children_, _I will preserve them alive_, _and let thy widows trust in
me_: and again, _The Lord said_, _Verily it shall be well with thy
remnant_, _verily_, _I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the
time of evil_, _and in time of affliction_.  Jer. xlix. 11; xv. 11.

330.  I had also this consideration, that if I should not venture all for
God, I engaged God to take care of my concernments: but if I forsook Him
and His ways, for fear of any trouble that should come to me or mine,
then I should not only falsify my profession, but should count also that
my concernments were not so sure, if left at God’s feet, whilst I stood
to and for His name, as they would be if they were under my own care,
though with the denial of the way of God.  This was a smarting
consideration, and as spurs unto my flesh.  That scripture also greatly
helped it to fasten the more upon me, where Christ prays against Judas,
that God would disappoint him in his selfish thoughts, which moved him to
sell his Master.  Pray read it soberly: Psalm cix. 6–8, etc.

331.  I had also another consideration, and that was, the dread of the
torments of hell, which I was sure they must partake of that for fear of
the cross, do shrink from their profession of Christ, His words and laws
before the sons of men: I thought also of the glory that He had prepared
for those that in faith, and love, and patience, stood to His ways before
them.  These things, I say, have helped me, when the thoughts of the
misery that both myself and mine, might for the sake of my profession be
exposed to, hath lain pinching on my mind.

332.  When I have indeed conceited that I might be banished for my
profession, then I have thought of that scripture: _They were stoned_,
_they were sawn asunder_, _were tempted_, _were slain with the sword_,
_they wandered about in sheep-skins_, _and goat-skins_, _being
destitute_, _afflicted_, _tormented_, _of whom the world was not worthy_;
for all they thought they were too bad to dwell and abide amongst them.
I have also thought of that saying, _the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every
city_, _that bonds and afflictions abide me_.  I have verily thought that
_my_ soul and _it_ have sometimes reasoned about the sore and sad estate
of a banished and exiled condition, how they were exposed to hunger, to
cold, to perils, to nakedness, to enemies, and a thousand calamities; and
at last, it may be, to die in a ditch, like a poor and desolate sheep.
But I thank God, hitherto I have not been moved by these most _delicate_
reasonings, but have rather, by them, more approved my heart to God.

333.  I will tell you a pretty business:—I was once above all the rest,
in a very sad and low condition for many weeks; at which time also, I
being but a young prisoner, and not acquainted with the laws, had this
lying much upon my spirits, _that my imprisonment might end at the
gallows for ought that I could tell_.  Now therefore Satan laid hard at
me, to beat me out of heart, by suggesting thus unto me: _But how if_,
_when you come indeed to die_, _you should be in this condition_; _that
is_, _as not to savour the things of God_, _nor to have any evidence upon
your soul for a better state hereafter_? (for indeed at that time all the
things of God were hid from my soul).

334.  Wherefore, when I at first began to think of this, it was a great
trouble to me; for I thought with myself, that in the condition I now was
in, I was not fit to die, neither indeed did I think I could, if I should
be called to it; besides, I thought with myself, if I should make a
scrambling shift to clamber up the ladder, yet I should either with
quaking, or other symptoms of fainting, give occasion to the enemy to
reproach the way of God and His people for their timorousness.  This,
therefore, lay with great trouble upon me, for methought I was ashamed to
die with a pale face, and tottering knees, in such a cause as this.

335.  Wherefore I prayed to God that He would comfort me, and give me
strength to do and suffer me what He should call me to; yet no comfort
appeared, but all continued hid: I was also at this time, so really
possessed with the thought of death, that oft I was as if I was on a
ladder with the rope about my neck; only this was some encouragement to
me; I thought I might now have an opportunity to speak my last words to a
multitude, which I thought would come to see me die; and, thought I, if
it must be so, if God will but convert one soul by my very last words, I
shall not count my life thrown away, nor lost.

336.  But yet all the things of God were kept out of my sight, and still
the tempter followed me with, _But whither must you go when you die_?
_what will become of you_? _where will you be found in another world_?
_what evidence have you for heaven and glory_, _and an inheritance among
them that are sanctified_?  Thus was I tossed for many weeks, and knew
not what to do; at last this consideration fell with weight upon me,
_that it was for the word and way of God that I was in this condition_,
_Wherefore I was engaged not to flinch an hair’s breadth from it_.

337.  I thought also, that God might choose whether He would give me
comfort now, or at the hour of death; but I might not therefore choose
whether I would hold my profession or no: I was bound, but He was free;
yea, ’twas my duty to stand to His word, whether He would ever look upon
me or save me at the last: wherefore, thought I, save the point being
thus, I am for going on, and venturing my eternal state with Christ,
whether I have comfort here or no; if God doth not come in, thought I, _I
will leap off the ladder even blindfold into eternity_, _sink or swim_,
_come heaven_, _come hell_, _Lord Jesus_, _if Thou wilt catch me_, _do_;
_if not_, _I will venture for Thy name_.

338.  I was no sooner fixed in this resolution, but the word dropped upon
me, _Doth Job serve God for nought_?  As if the accuser had said, _Lord_,
_Job is no upright man_, _be serves Thee for bye-respects_: _hast Thou
not made an hedge about him_, _etc._  _But put forth now Thine hand_,
_and touch all that he hath_, _and_, _he will curse Thee to Thy face_.
How now! thought I, is this the sign of an upright soul, to desire to
serve God, when all is taken from him?  Is he a godly man that will serve
God for nothing, rather than give out!  Blessed be God! then I hope I
have an upright heart, for I am resolved (God giving me strength) never
to deny my profession, though I have nothing at all for my pains: and as
I was thus considering, that scripture was set before me: Psalm xliv. 12,
etc.

339.  Now was my heart full of comfort; for I hoped it was sincere: I
would not have been without this trial for much; I am comforted every
time I think of it, and I hope I shall bless God for ever, for the
teaching I have had by it.  Many more of the dealings towards me I might
relate, _But these out of the spoils won in battle I have dedicated to
maintain the house of God_.  1 Chron. xxvi. 27.



THE CONCLUSION


1.  OF all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question
the being of God, and truth of His gospel is the worst, and the worst to
be borne; when this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me,
and removeth the foundation from under me: Oh! I have often thought of
that word, _Have your loins girt about with truth_; and of that, _When
the foundations are destroyed_, _what can the righteous do_?

2.  Sometimes, when after sin committed, I have looked for sore
chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from
Him, hath been the discovery of His grace.  Sometimes when I have been
comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble.
And then again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise, to
give such way to comfort; with such strength and weight have both these
been upon me.

3.  I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my
soul with never so blessed a discovery of Himself, yet I have found
again, that such hours have attended me afterwards, that I have been in
my spirit so filled with darkness, that I could not so much as once
conceive what that God and that comfort was, with which I have been
refreshed.

4.  I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible, than I could well
tell how to stand under; and yet at another time, the whole Bible hath
been to me as dry as a stick; or rather, My heart hath been so dead and
dry unto it, that I could not conceive the refreshment, though I have
looked it all over.

5.  Of all fears, they are best that are made by the blood of Christ; and
of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ:
Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms,
before God: I hope I know something of these things.

6.  I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: 1. Inclining to
unbelief; 2. Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ
manifesteth; 3. A leaning to the works of the law; 4. Wanderings and
coldness in prayer; 5. To forget to watch for that I pray for; 6. Apt to
murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have; 7. I
can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions
will thrust in themselves.  When I would do good, evil is present with
me.

7.  These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and
oppressed with, yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good; 1.
They make me abhor myself; 2. They keep me from trusting my heart; 3.
They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness; 4.
They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus; 5. They press me to pray
unto God; 6. They show me the need I have to watch and be sober; 7. And
provoke me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me
through this world.



A RELATION OF MY IMPRISONMENT IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 1660


WHEN, by the good hand of my God, I had for five or six years together,
without any interruption, freely preached the blessed gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ; and had also, through His blessed grace, some encouragement
by His blessing thereupon; the devil, that old enemy of man’s salvation,
took his opportunity to inflame the hearts of his vassals against me,
insomuch that at the last, I was laid out for by the warrant of a
justice, and was taken and committed to prison.  The relation thereof is
as followeth:—

Upon the 12th of this instant, November 1660, I was desired by some of
the friends in the country to come to teach at _Samsell_, by
_Harlington_, in _Bedfordshire_.  To whom I made a promise, if the Lord
permitted, to be with them on the time aforesaid.  The justice hearing
thereof (whose name is Mr _Francis Wingate_), forthwith issued out his
warrant to take me, and bring me before him, and in the meantime to keep
a very strong watch about the house where the meeting should be kept, as
if we that were to meet together in that place did intend to do some
fearful business, to the destruction of the country; when alas! the
constable, when he came in, found us only with our Bibles in our hands,
ready to speak and hear the word of God; for we were just about to begin
our exercise.  Nay, we had begun in prayer for the blessing of God upon
our opportunity, intending to have preached the word of the Lord unto
them there present: {184} but the constable coming in prevented us.  So I
was taken and forced to depart the room.  But had I been minded to have
played the coward, I could have escaped and kept out of his hands.  For
when I was come to my friend’s house, there was whispering that that day
I should be taken, for there was a warrant out to take me; which when my
friend heard, he being somewhat timorous, questioned whether we had best
have our meeting or not; and whether it might not be better for me to
depart, lest they should take me and have me before the justice, and
after that send me to prison (for he knew better than I what spirit they
were of, living by them): to whom I said, No, by no means, I will not
stir, neither will I have the meeting dismissed for this.  Come, be of
good cheer; let us not be daunted; our cause is good, we need not be
ashamed of it; to preach God’s Word, is so good a work, that we shall be
well rewarded, if we suffer for that; or to this purpose—(But as for my
friend, I think he was more afraid of me, than of himself.)  After this I
walked into the close, where I somewhat seriously considering the matter,
this came into my mind, That I had showed myself hearty and courageous in
my preaching, and had, blessed be grace, made it my business to encourage
others; therefore thought I, if I should now run, and make an escape, it
will be of a very ill savour in the country.  For what will my weak and
newly-converted brethren think of it, but that I was not so strong in
deed as I was in word?  Also I feared that if I should run now there was
a warrant out for me, I might by so doing make them afraid to stand, when
great words only should be spoken to them.  Besides I thought, that
seeing God of His mercy should choose me to go upon the forlorn hope in
this country; that is, to be the first, that should be opposed, for the
gospel; if I should fly, it might be a discouragement to the whole body
that might follow after.  And further, I thought the world thereby would
take occasion at my cowardliness, to have blasphemed the gospel, and to
have had some ground to suspect worse of me and my profession, than I
deserved.  These things with others considered by me, I came in again to
the house, with a full resolution to keep the meeting, and not to go
away, though I could have been gone about an hour before the officer
apprehended me; but I would not; for I was resolved to see the utmost of
what they could say or do unto me.  For blessed be the Lord, I knew of no
evil that I had said or done.  And so, as aforesaid, I begun the meeting.
But being prevented by the constable’s coming in with his warrant to take
me, I could not proceed.  But before I went away, I spake some few words
of counsel and encouragement to the people, declaring to them, that they
saw we were prevented of our opportunity to speak and hear the Word of
God, and were like to suffer for the same; desiring them that they would
not be discouraged, for it was a mercy to suffer upon so good account.
For we might have been apprehended as thieves or murderers, or for other
wickedness; but blessed be God it was not so, but we suffer as Christians
for well doing: and we had better be the persecuted, than the
persecutors, etc.  But the constable and the justice’s man waiting on us,
would not be at quiet till they had me away and that we departed the
house.  But because the justice was not at home that day, there was a
friend of mine engaged for me to bring me to the constable on the morrow
morning.  Otherwise the constable must have charged a watch with me, or
have secured me some other way, my crime was so great.  So on the next
morning we went to the constable, and so to the justice. {187a}  He asked
the constable what we did, where we was met together, and what we had
with us?  I trow, he meant whether we had armour or not; but when the
constable told him that there were only met a few of us together to
preach and hear the Word, and no sign of anything else, he could not well
tell what to say: yet because he had sent for me, he did adventure to put
out a few proposals to me, which were to this effect, namely, What I did
there?  And why I did not content myself with following my calling? for
it was against the law, that such as I should be admitted to do as I did.

_John Bunyan_.  To which I answered, That the intent of my coming
thither, and to other places, was to instruct, and counsel people to
forsake their sins, and close in with Christ, lest they did miserably
perish; and that I could do both these without confusion (to wit), follow
my calling, and preach the Word also.

At which words, he {187b} was in a chafe, as it appeared; for he said
that he would break the neck of our meetings.

_Bun._  I said, It may be so.  Then he wished me to get sureties to be
bound for me, or else he would send me to the jail.

My sureties being ready, I called them in, and when the bond for my
appearance was made, he told them, that they was bound to keep me from
preaching; and that if I did preach, their bonds would be forfeited.  To
which I answered, that then I should break them; for I should not leave
speaking the Word of God: even to counsel, comfort, exhort, and teach the
people among whom I came; and I thought this to be a work that had no
hurt in it: but was rather worthy of commendation, than blame.

_Wingate_.  Whereat he told me, that if they would not be so bound, my
mittimus must be made, and I sent to the jail, there to lie to the
quarter sessions.

Now while my mittimus was making, the justice was withdrawn; and in comes
an old enemy to the truth, Dr Lindale, who, when he was come in, fell to
taunting at me with many reviling terms.

_Bun._  To whom I answered, that I did not come thither to talk with him,
but with the justice.  Whereat he supposed that I had nothing to say for
myself, and triumphed as if he had got the victory; charging and
condemning me for meddling with that for which I could show no warrant;
and asked me, if I had taken the oaths? and if I had not, it was pity but
that I should be sent to prison, etc.

I told him, that if I was minded, I could answer to any sober question
that he should put to me.  He then urged me again, how I could prove it
lawful for me to preach, with a great deal of confidence of the victory.

But at last, because he should see that I could answer him if I listed, I
cited to him that verse in Peter, which saith, _every man hath received
the gift_, _even so let him minister the same_, _etc._

_Lind._  Aye, saith he, to whom is that spoken?

_Bun._  To whom, said I, why to every man that hath received a gift from
God.  Mark, saith the apostle, _As every man that hath received a gift
from God_, etc.; and again, _You may all prophesy one by one_.  Whereat
the man was a little stopt, and went a softlier pace: but not being
willing to lose the day, he began again, and said:—

_Lind._  Indeed, I do remember that I have read of one Alexander a
coppersmith, who did much oppose, and disturb the apostles;—(aiming it is
like at me, because I was a tinker).

_Bun._  To which I answered, that I also had read of very many priests
and pharisees, that had their hands in the blood of our Lord Jesus
Christ.

_Lind._  Aye, saith he, and you are one of those scribes and pharisees:
for you, with a pretence, make long prayers to devour widows’ houses.

_Bun._  I answered, that if he had got no more by preaching and praying
than I had done, he would not be so rich as now he was.  But that
scripture coming into my mind, _Answer not a fool according to his
folly_, I was as sparing of my speech as I could, without prejudice to
truth.

Now by this time my mittimus was made, and I committed to the constable,
to be sent to the jail in Bedford, etc.

But as I was going, two of my brethren met with me by the way, and
desired the constable to stay, supposing that they should prevail with
the justice, through the favour of a pretended friend, to let me go at
liberty.  So we did stay, while they went to the justice; and after much
discourse with him, it came to this: that if I would come to him again,
and say some certain words to him, I should be released.  Which when they
told me, I said if the words was such that might be said with a good
conscience, I should or else I should not.  So through their importunity
went back again, but not believing that I should be delivered: for I
feared their spirit was too full of opposition to the truth to let me go,
unless I should, in something or other, dishonour my God and wound my
conscience.  Wherefore, as I went, I lifted up my heart to God, for light
and strength to be kept, that I might not do any thing that might either
dishonour Him, or wrong my own soul, or be a grief or discouragement to
any that was inclining after the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well, when I came to the justice again, there was Mr _Foster_ of Bedford,
who, coming out of another room, and seeing me by the light of the candle
(for it was dark night when I went thither), he said unto me, Who is
there? _John Bunyan_? with such seeming affection, as if he would have
leaped on my neck and kissed {191a} me, which made me somewhat wonder,
that such a man as he, with whom I had so little acquaintance, and,
besides, that had ever been a close opposer of the ways of God, should
carry himself so full of love to me; but, afterwards, when I saw what he
did, it caused me to remember those sayings, _Their tongues are smoother
than oil_, _but their words are drawn swords_.   And again, _Beware of
men_, _etc._  When I {191b} had answered him, that blessed be God, I was
well; he said, What is the occasion of your being here? or to that
purpose.  To whom I answered, that I was at a meeting of people a little
way off, intending to speak a word of exhortation to them; the justice
hearing thereof, said I, was pleased to send his warrant to fetch me
before him, etc.

_Fost._  So (said he), I understand: but well, if you will promise to
call the people no more together, you shall have your liberty to go home;
for my brother is very loath to send you to prison, if you will be but
ruled.

_Bun._  Sir (said I), pray what do you mean by calling the people
together? my business is not anything among them, when they are come
together, but to exhort them to look after the salvation of their souls,
that they may be saved, etc.

_Fost._  Saith he, We must not enter into explication, or dispute now;
but if you will say you will call the people no more together, you may
have your liberty; if not, you must be sent away to prison.

_Bun._  Sir, said I, I shall not force or compel any man to hear me; but
yet, if I come into any place where there is a people met together, I
should, according to the best of my skill and wisdom, exhort and counsel
them to seek out after the Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of their
souls.

_Fost._  He said, That was none of my work; I must follow my calling; and
if I would but leave off preaching, and follow my calling, I should have
the justice’s favour, and be acquitted presently.

_Bun._  To whom I said, that I could follow my calling, and that too,
namely, preaching the Word: and I did look upon it as my duty to do them
both, as I had an opportunity.

_Fost._  He said, To have any such meetings was against the law; and,
therefore, he would have me leave off, and say, I would call the people
no more together.

_Bun._  To whom I said, that I durst not make any further promise; for my
conscience would not suffer me to do it.  And again, I did look upon it
as my duty to do as much good as I could, not only in my trade, but also
in communicating to all people wheresoever I came the best knowledge I
had in the Word.

_Fost._  He told me that I was the nearest the Papists of any, and that
he would convince me of immediately.

_Bun._  I asked him, Wherein?

_Fost._  He said, In that we understood the Scriptures literally.

_Bun._  I told him that those that were to be understood literally, we
understood them so; but for those that was to be understood otherwise, we
endeavoured so to understand them.

_Fost._  He said, Which of the Scriptures do you understand literally?

_Bun._  I said this, _He that believes shall be saved_.  This was to be
understood just as it is spoken; that whosoever believeth in Christ
shall, according to the plain and simple words of the text, be saved.

_Fost._  He said that I was ignorant, and did not understand the
Scriptures; for how, said he, can you understand them when you know not
the original Greek? etc.

_Bun._  To whom I said, that if that was his opinion, that none could
understand the Scriptures but those that had the original Greek, etc.,
then but a very few of the poorest sort should be saved (this is harsh);
yet the Scripture saith, _That God hides these things from the wise and
prudent_ (that is, from the learned of the world), _and reveals them to
babes and sucklings_.

_Fost._  He said there were none that heard me but a company of foolish
people.

_Bun._  I told him that there was the wise as well as the foolish that do
hear me; and again, those that were most commonly counted foolish by the
world are the wisest before God; also, that God had rejected the wise,
and mighty, and noble, and chosen the foolish, and the base.

_Fost._  He told me that I made people neglect their calling; and that
God had commanded people to work six days, and serve Him on the seventh.

_Bun._  I told him that it was the duty of people, (both rich and poor),
to look out for their souls on them days as well as for their bodies; and
that God would have His people exhort one another daily, while it is
called to-day.

_Fost._  He said again that there were none but a company of poor,
simple, ignorant people that come to hear me.

_Bun._  I told him that the foolish and the ignorant had most need of
teaching and information; and, therefore, it would be profitable for me
to go on in that work.

_Fost._  Well, said he, to conclude, but will you promise that you will
not call the people together any more? and then you may be released and
go home.

_Bun._  I told him that I durst say no more than I had said; for I durst
not leave off that work which God had called me to.

So he withdrew from me, and then came several of the justice’s servants
to me, and told me that I stood so much upon a nicety.  Their master,
they said, was willing to let me go; and if I would but say I would call
the people no more together, I might have my liberty, etc.

_Bun._  I told them there were more ways than one in which a man might be
said to call the people together.  As for instance, if a man get upon the
market-place, and there read a book, or the like, though he do not say to
the people, Sirs, come hither and hear; yet if they come to him because
he reads, he, by his very reading, may be said to call them together;
because they would not have been there to hear if he had not been there
to read.  And seeing this might be termed a calling the people together;
I durst not say, I would not call them together; for then, by the same
argument, my preaching might be said to call them together.

_Wing. and Fost._  Then came the justice and Mr Foster to me again; (we
had a little more discourse about preaching, but because the method of it
is out of my mind, I pass it); and when they saw that I was at a point,
and would not be moved nor persuaded, Mr Foster, the man that did at
first express so much love to me, told the justice that then he must send
me away to prison.  And that he would do well, also, if he would present
all those that were the cause of my coming among them to meetings.  Thus
we parted.

And, verily, as I was going forth of the doors, I had much ado to forbear
saying to them that I carried the peace of God along with me; but I held
my peace, and, blessed be the Lord, went away to prison, with God’s
comfort in my poor soul.

After I had lain in the jail five or six days, the brethren sought means,
again, to get me out by bondsmen; (for so ran my mittimus, that I should
lie there till I could find sureties).  They went to a justice at Elstow,
one Mr Crumpton, to desire him to take bond for my appearing at the
quarter sessions.  At the first he told them he would; but afterwards he
made a demur at the business, and desired first to see my mittimus, which
ran to this purpose: That I went about to several conventicles in the
county, to the great disparagement of the government of the church of
England, etc.  When he had seen it, he said that there might be something
more against me than was expressed in my mittimus; and that he was but a
young man, therefore he durst not do it.  This my jailor told me; and,
whereat I was not at all daunted but rather glad, and saw evidently that
the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the justice, I begged of
God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that
then I might be set at liberty; but if not, His will be done; for I was
not altogether without hopes but that my imprisonment might be an
awakening to the saints in the country, therefore I could not tell well
which to choose; only I, in that manner, did commit the thing to God.
And verily, at my return, I did meet my God sweetly in the prison again,
comforting of me and satisfying of me that it was His will and mind that
I should be there.

When I came back again to prison, as I was musing at the slender answer
of the justice, this word dropt in upon my heart with some life, _For He
knew that for envy they had delivered Him_.

Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my being in
prison; where I lie waiting the good will of God, to do with me as He
pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to the ground
without the will of my Father, which is in heaven.  Let the rage and
malice of men be never so great, they can do no more, nor go any further,
than God permits them; but when they have done their worst, We know all
things shall work together for good to them that love God.

Farewell.

                                * * * * *

_Here is the Sum of my Examination before Justice_ KEELIN, _Justice_
CHESTER, _Justice_ BLUNDALE, _Justice_ BEECHER, _Justice_ SNAGG, _etc._

                                * * * * *

AFTER I had lain in prison above seven weeks, the quarter-sessions were
to be kept in Bedford, for the county thereof, unto which I was to be
brought; and when my jailor had set me before those justices, there was a
bill of indictment preferred against me.  The extent thereof was as
followeth: That John Bunyan, of the town of Bedford, labourer, being a
person of such and such conditions, he hath (since such a time)
devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to church to hear
Divine service, and is a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and
conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good
subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord the
King, etc.

_The Clerk_.  When this was read, the clerk of the sessions said unto me,
What say you to this?

_Bun._  I said, that as to the first part of it, I was a common
frequenter of the Church of God.  And was also, by grace, a member with
the people, over whom Christ is the Head.

_Keelin_.  But, saith Justice _Keelin_ (who was the judge in that court),
do you come to church (you know what I mean); to the parish church, to
hear Divine service?

_Bun._  I answered, No, I did not.

_Keel._  He asked me, Why?

_Bun._  I said, Because I did not find it commanded in the Word of God.

_Keel._  He said, We were commanded to pray.

_Bun._  I said, But not by the Common Prayer-Book.

_Keel._  He said, How then?

_Bun._  I said, With the Spirit.  As the apostle saith, _I will pray with
the Spirit_, _and with the understanding_.  1 Cor. xiv. 15.

_Keel._  He said, We might pray with the Spirit, and with the
understanding, and with the Common Prayer-Book also.

_Bun._  I said, that the prayers in the Common Prayer-Book were such as
was made by other men, and not by the motions of the Holy Ghost, within
our hearts; and as I said, the apostle saith, he will pray with the
Spirit, and with the understanding; not with the Spirit and the Common
Prayer-Book.

_Another Justice_.  What do you count prayer?  Do you think it is to say
a few words over before or among a people?

_Bun._  I said, No, not so; for men might have many elegant, or excellent
words, and yet not pray at all; but when a man prayeth, he doth, through
a sense of those things which he wants (which sense is begotten by the
Spirit), pour out his heart before God through Christ; though his words
be not so many and so excellent as others are.

_Justices_.  They said, That was true.

_Bun._  I said, This might be done without the Common Prayer-Book.

_Another_.  One of them said (I think it was Justice _Blundale_, or
Justice _Snagg_), How should we know that you do not write out your
prayers first, and then read them afterwards to the people?  This he
spake in a laughing way.

_Bun._  I said, it is not our use, to take a pen and paper, and write a
few words thereon, and then go and read it over to a company of people.

But how should we know it, said he?

_Bun._  Sir, it is none of our custom, said I.

_Keel._  But said Justice _Keelin_, It is lawful to use the Common
Prayer, and such like forms: for Christ taught His disciples to pray, as
John also taught his disciples.  And further, said he, Cannot one man
teach another to pray?  Faith comes by hearing; and one man may convince
another of sin, and therefore prayers made by men, and read over, are
good to teach, and help men to pray.

While he was speaking these words, God brought that word into my mind, in
the eighth of the Romans, at the 26th verse.  I say, God brought it, for
I thought not on it before: but as he was speaking, it came so fresh into
my mind, and was set so evidently before me, as if the scripture had
said, Take me, take me; so when he had done speaking,

_Bun._  I said, Sir, the scripture saith, that _it is the spirit that
helpeth our infirmities_; for we know not what we should pray for as we
ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with sighs and
groanings which cannot be uttered.  Mark, said I, it doth not say the
Common Prayer-Book teacheth us how to pray, but the Spirit.  And it is
_the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities_, saith the apostle; he doth not
say it is the Common Prayer-Book.

And as to the Lord’s prayer, although it be an easy thing to say, _Our
Father_, etc., with the mouth; yet there is very few that can, in the
Spirit, say the two first words in that prayer; that is, that can call
God their Father, as knowing what it is to be born again, and as having
experience, that they are begotten of the Spirit of God: which if they do
not, all is but babbling, etc.

_Keel._  Justice _Keelin_ said that that was a truth.

_Bun._  And I say further, as to your saying that one man may convince
another of sin, and that faith comes by hearing, and that one man may
tell another how he should pray, etc., I say men may tell each other of
their sins, but it is the Spirit that must convince them.

And though it be said that _faith comes by hearing_: yet it is the Spirit
that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else _they are not
profited by hearing_.  Heb. iv. 12.

And that though one man may tell another how he should pray: yet, as I
said before, he cannot pray, nor make his condition known to God, except
the Spirit help.  It is not the Common Prayer-Book that can do this.  It
is the _Spirit that showeth us our sins_, and the _Spirit that showeth us
a Saviour_, Jn. xvi. 16, and the Spirit that stirreth up in our hearts
desires to come to God, for such things as we stand in need of, Matt. xi.
27, even sighing out our souls unto Him for them with _groans which
cannot be uttered_.  With other words to the same purpose.  At this they
were set.

_Keel._  But says Justice _Keelin_, What have you against the Common
Prayer-Book?

_Bun._  I said, Sir, if you will hear me, I shall lay down my reasons
against it.

_Keel._  He said I should have liberty; but first, said he, let me give
you one caution; take heed of speaking irreverently of the Common
Prayer-Book; for if you do so, you will bring great damage upon yourself.

_Bun._  So I proceeded, and said, My first reason was, because it was not
commanded in the Word of God, and therefore I could not use it.

_Another_.  One of them said, Where do you find it commanded in the
Scripture, that you should go to _Elstow_, or _Bedford_, and yet it is
lawful to go to either of them, is it not?

_Bun._  I said, To go to _Elstow_, or _Bedford_, was a civil thing, and
not material, though not commanded, and yet God’s Word allowed me to go
about my calling, and therefore if it lay there, then to go thither, etc.
But to pray, was a great part of the Divine worship of God, and therefore
it ought to be done according to the rule of God’s Word.

_Another_.  One of them said, He will do harm; let him speak no further.

_Keel._  Justice _Keelin_ said, No, no, never fear him, we are better
established than so; he can do no harm; we know the Common Prayer-Book
hath been ever since the apostles’ time, and it is lawful for it to be
used in the church.

_Bun._  I said, Show me the place in the epistles, where the Common
Prayer-Book is written, or one text of Scripture, that commands me to
read it, and I will use it.  But yet, notwithstanding, said I, they that
have a mind to use it, they have their liberty; that is, I would not keep
them from it; but for our parts, we can pray to God without it.  Blessed
be His name!

With that, one of them said, Who is your God?  Beelzebub?  Moreover, they
often said, that I was possessed with the spirit of delusion, and of the
devil.  All which sayings I passed over; the Lord forgive them!  And
further, I said, Blessed be the Lord for it; we are encouraged to meet
together, and to pray, and exhort one another; for, we have had the
comfortable presence of God among us.  For ever blessed be His holy name!

_Keel._  Justice _Keelin_ called this pedler’s French, saying, that I
must leave off my canting.  The Lord open his eyes!

_Bun._  I said that we ought to exhort one another daily, while it is
called to-day, etc.

_Keel._  Justice _Keelin_ said that I ought not to preach; and asked me
where I had my authority? with other such like words.

_Bun._  I said that I would prove that it was lawful for me, and such as
I am, to preach the Word of God.

_Keel._  He said unto me, By what Scripture?

_Bun._  I said, By that in the first epistle of Peter, chap. iv. 10, 11,
and Acts xviii., with other Scriptures, which he would not suffer me to
mention.  But said, Hold; not so many, which is the first?

_Bun._  I said this: _As every man hath received the gift_, _even so let
him minister the same unto another_, _as good stewards of the manifold
grace of God_.  _If any man speak_, _let him speak as the oracles of
God_, _etc._

_Keel._  He said, Let me a little open that Scripture to you: _As every
man hath received the gift_; that is, said he, as every one hath received
a trade, so let him follow it.  If any man have received a gift of
tinkering, as thou hast done, let him follow his tinkering.  And so other
men their trades.  And the divine his calling, etc.

_Bun._  Nay, sir, said I, but it is most clear, that the apostle speaks
here of preaching the Word; if you do but compare both the verses
together, the next verse explains this gift what it is, saying, _if any
man speak_, _let him speak as the oracles of God_.  So that it is plain,
that the Holy Ghost doth not so much in this place exhort to civil
callings, as to the exercising of those gifts that we have received from
God.  I would have gone on, but he would not give me leave.

_Keel._  He said, We might do it in our families, but not otherways.

_Bun._  I said, If it was lawful to do good to some, it was lawful to do
good to more.  If it was a good duty to exhort our families, it was good
to exhort others; but if they held it a sin to meet together to seek the
face of God, and exhort one another to follow Christ, I should sin still;
for so we should do.

_Keel._  He said he was not so well versed in Scripture as to dispute, or
words to that purpose.  And said, moreover, that they could not wait upon
me any longer; but said to me, Then you confess the indictment, do you
not?  Now, and not till now, I saw I was indicted.

_Bun._  I said, This I confess, we have had many meetings together, both
to pray to God, and to exhort one another, and that we had the sweet
comforting presence of the Lord among us for our encouragement; blessed
be His name therefore.  I confessed myself guilty no otherwise.

_Keel._  Then, said he, bear your judgment.  You must be had back again
to prison, and there lie for three months following; and at three months’
end, if you do not submit to go to church to hear Divine service, and
leave your preaching, you must be banished the realm: and if, after such
a day as shall be appointed you to be gone, you shall be found in this
realm, etc., or be found to come over again without special licence from
the king, etc., you must stretch by the neck for it, I tell you plainly:
and so he bid my jailor have me away.

_Bun._  I told him, as to this matter, I was at a point with him; for if
I were out of prison to-day, I would preach the Gospel again to-morrow,
by the help of God.

_Another_.  To which one made me some answer: but my jailor pulling me
away to be gone, I could not tell what he said.

Thus I departed from them; and I can truly say, I bless the Lord _Jesus
Christ_ for it, that my heart was sweetly refreshed in the time of my
examination, and also afterwards, at my returning to the prison.  So that
I found Christ’s words more than bare trifles, where He saith, _I will
give you a mouth and wisdom_, _which all your adversaries shall not be
able to gainsay_, _nor resist_.  Luke xxi. 15.  And that His peace no man
can take from us.

Thus have I given you the substance of my examination.  The Lord make
this profitable to all that shall read or hear it.  Farewell.

                                * * * * *

_The Substance of some Discourse had between the Clerk of the Peace and
myself_; _when he came to admonish me_, _according to the tenor of that
Law_, _by which I was in prison_.

                                * * * * *

WHEN I had lain in prison other twelve weeks, and now not knowing what
they intended to do with me, upon the third of April 1661, comes Mr Cobb
unto me (as he told me), being sent by the justices to admonish me; and
demand of me submittance to the church of England, etc.  The extent of
our discourse was as followeth.

_Cobb_.  When he was come into the house he sent for me out of my
chamber; who, when I was come unto him, he said, Neighbour _Bunyan_, how
do you do?

_Bun._  I thank you, Sir, said I, very well, blessed be the Lord.

_Cobb_.  Saith he, I come to tell you, that it is desired you would
submit yourself to the laws of the land, or else at the next sessions it
will go worse with you, even to be sent away out of the nation, or else
worse than that.

_Bun._  I said that I did desire to demean myself in the world, both as
becometh a man and a Christian.

_Cobb_.  But, saith he, you must submit to the laws of the land, and
leave off those meetings which you was wont to have; for the statute-law
is directly against it; and I am sent to you by the justices to tell you
that they do intend to prosecute the law against you if you submit not.

_Bun._  I said, Sir, I conceive that that law by which I am in prison at
this time, doth not reach or condemn either me, or the meetings which I
do frequent; that law was made against those, that being designed to do
evil in their meetings, making the exercise of religion their pretence,
to cover their wickedness.  It doth not forbid the private meetings of
those that plainly and simply make it their only end to worship the Lord,
and to exhort one another to edification.  My end in meeting with others
is simply to do as much good as I can, by exhortation and counsel,
according to that small measure of light which God hath given me, and not
to disturb the peace of the nation.

_Cobb_.  Every one will say the same, said he; you see the late
insurrection {210} at _London_, under what glorious pretences they went;
and yet, indeed, they intended no less than the ruin of the kingdom and
commonwealth.

_Bun._  That practice of theirs, I abhor, said I; yet it doth not follow
that, because they did so, therefore all others will do so.  I look upon
it as my duty to behave myself under the King’s government, both as
becomes a man and a Christian, and if an occasion were offered me, I
should willingly manifest my loyalty to my Prince, both by word and deed.

_Cobb_.  Well, said he, I do not profess myself to be a man that can
dispute; but this I say, truly, neighbour _Bunyan_, I would have you
consider this matter seriously, and submit yourself; you may have your
liberty to exhort your neighbour in private discourse, so be you do not
call together an assembly of people; and, truly, you may do much good to
the church of Christ, if you would go this way; and this you may do, and
the law not abridge you of it.  It is your private meetings that the law
is against.

_Bun._  Sir, said I, if I may do good to one by my discourse? why may I
not do good to two?  And if to two, why not to four, and so to eight?
etc.

_Cobb_.  Ay, saith he, and to a hundred, I warrant you.

_Bun._  Yes, Sir, said I, I think I should not be forbid to do as much
good as I can.

_Cobb_.  But, saith he, you may but pretend to do good, and instead,
notwithstanding, do harm, by seducing the people; you are, therefore,
denied your meeting so many together, lest you should do harm.

_Bun._  And yet, said I, you say the law tolerates me to discourse with
my neighbour; surely there is no law tolerates me seduce any one;
therefore if I may by the law discourse with one, surely it is to do him
good; and if I by discoursing may do good to one, surely, by the same
law, I may do good to many.

_Cobb_.  The law, saith he, doth expressly forbid your private meetings;
therefore they are not to be tolerated.

_Bun._  I told him that I would not entertain so much uncharitableness of
that Parliament in the 35th of _Elizabeth_, or of the Queen herself, as
to think they did, by that law, intend the oppressing of any of God’s
ordinances, or the interrupting any in way of God; but men may, in the
wresting of it, turn it against the way of God; but take the law in
itself, and it only fighteth against those that drive at mischief in
their hearts and meeting, making religion only their cloak, colour, or
pretence; for so are the words of the statute: _If any meetings_, _under
colour or pretence of religion_, _etc._

_Cobb_.  Very good; therefore the king, seeing that pretences are usually
in and among people, so as to make religion their pretence only;
therefore he, and the law before him, doth forbid such private meetings,
and tolerates only public; you may meet in public.

_Bun._  Sir, said I, let me answer you in a similitude: Set the case
that, at such a wood corner, there did usually come forth thieves, to do
mischief; must there therefore a law be made, that every one that cometh
out there shall be killed?  May not there come out true men as well as
thieves out from thence?  Just thus is it in this case; I do think there
may be many that may design the destruction of the commonwealth; but it
doth not follow therefore that all private meetings are unlawful; those
that transgress, let them be punished.  And if at any time I myself
should do any act in my conversation as doth not become a man and
Christian, let me bear the punishment.  And as for your saying I may meet
in public, if I may be suffered, I would gladly do it.  Let me have but
meeting enough in public, and I shall care the less to have them in
private.  I do not meet in private because I am afraid to have meetings
in public.  I bless the Lord that my heart is at that point, that if any
man can lay any thing to my charge, either in doctrine or in practice, in
this particular, that can be proved error or heresy, I am willing to
disown it, even in the very market-place; but if it be truth, then to
stand to it to the last drop of my blood.  And, Sir, said I, you ought to
commend me for so doing.  To err and to be a heretic are two things; I am
no heretic, because I will not stand refractorily to defend any one thing
that is contrary to the Word.  Prove any thing which I hold to be an
error, and I will recant it.

_Cobb_.  But, goodman _Bunyan_, said he, methinks you need not stand so
strictly upon this one thing, as to have meetings of such public
assemblies.  Cannot you submit, and, notwithstanding, do as much good as
you can, in a neighbourly way, without having such meetings?

_Bun._  Truly, Sir, said I, I do not desire to commend myself, but to
think meanly of myself; yet when I do most despise myself, taking notice
of that small measure of light which God hath given me, also that the
people of the Lord (by their own saying), are edified thereby.  Besides,
when I see that the Lord, through grace, hath in some measure blessed my
labour, I dare not but exercise that gift which God hath given me for the
good of the people.  And I said further, that I would willingly speak in
public if I might.

_Cobb_.  He said, that I might come to the public assemblies and hear.
What though you do not preach? you may hear.  Do not think yourself so
well enlightened, and that you have received a gift so far above others,
but that you may hear other men preach.  Or to that purpose.

_Bun._  I told him, I was as willing to be taught as to give instruction,
and I looked upon it as my duty to do both; for, said I, a man that is a
teacher, he himself may learn also from another that teacheth, as the
apostle saith, _We may all prophesy one by one_, _that all may learn_.  1
Cor. xiv. 31.  That is, every man that hath received a gift from God, he
may dispense it, that others may be comforted; and when he hath done, he
may hear and learn, and be comforted himself of others.

_Cobb_.  But, said he, what if you should forbear awhile, and sit still,
till you see further how things will go?

_Bun._  Sir, said I, _Wickliffe_ saith, that he which leaveth off
preaching and hearing of the Word of God for fear of excommunication of
men, he is already excommunicated of God, and shall in the day of
judgment be counted a traitor to Christ. {214}

_Cobb_.  Ay, saith he, they that do not hear shall be so counted indeed;
do you, therefore, hear?

_Bun._  But, Sir, said I, he saith, he that shall leave off either
preaching or hearing, etc.  That is, if he hath received a gift for
edification, it is his sin, if he doth not lay it out in a way of
exhortation and counsel, according to the proportion of his gift; as well
as to spend his time altogether in hearing others preach.

_Cobb_.  But, said he, how shall we know that you have received a gift?

_Bun._  Said I, Let any man hear and search, and prove the doctrine by
the Bible.

_Cobb_.  But will you be willing, said he, that two indifferent persons
shall determine the case; and will you stand by their judgment?

_Bun._  I said, Are they infallible?

_Cobb_.  He said, No.

_Bun._  Then, said I, it is possible my judgment may be as good as
theirs.  But yet I will pass by either, and in this matter be judged by
the Scriptures; I am sure that is infallible, and cannot err.

_Cobb_.  But, said he, who shall be judge between you, for you take the
Scriptures one way, and they another?

_Bun._  I said the Scripture should: and that by comparing one Scripture
with another; for that will open itself, if it be rightly compared.  As
for instance, if under the different apprehensions of the word
_Mediator_, you would know the truth of it, the Scriptures open it, and
tell us that he that is a mediator must take up the business between two,
and a mediator is not a mediator of one,—_but God is one_, _and there is
one Mediator between God and men_, _even the man Christ Jesus_.  Gal.
iii. 20; 1 Tim. ii. 5.  So likewise the Scripture calleth Christ a
_complete_, or perfect, or able _high priest_.  That is opened in that He
is called man, and also God.  His blood also is discovered to be
effectually efficacious by the same things.  So the Scripture, as
touching the matter of meeting together, etc., doth likewise sufficiently
open itself and discover its meaning.

_Cobb_.  But are you willing, said he, to stand to the judgment of the
church?

_Bun._  Yes, Sir, said I, to the approbation of the church of God; (the
church’s judgment is best expressed in Scripture).  We had much other
discourse which I cannot well remember, about the laws of the nation, and
submission to governments; to which I did tell him, that I did look upon
myself as bound in conscience to walk according to all righteous laws,
and that, whether there was a king or no; and if I did any thing that was
contrary, I did hold it my duty to bear patiently the penalty of the law,
that was provided against such offenders; with many more words to the
like effect.  And said, moreover, that to cut off all occasions of
suspicion from any, as touching the harmlessness of my doctrine in
private, I would willingly take the pains to give any one the notes of
all my sermons; for I do sincerely desire to live quietly in my country,
and to submit to the present authority.

_Cobb_.  Well, neighbour _Bunyan_, said he, but indeed I would wish you
seriously to consider of these things, between this and the
quarter-sessions, and to submit yourself.  You may do much good if you
continue still in the land; but alas, what benefit will it be to your
friends, or what good can you do to them, if you should be sent away
beyond the seas into _Spain_, or _Constantinople_, or some other remote
part of the world?  Pray be ruled.

_Jailor_.  Indeed, Sir, I hope he will be ruled.

_Bun._  I shall desire, said I, in all honesty to behave myself in the
nation, whilst I am in it.  And if I must be so dealt withal, as you say,
I hope God will help me to bear what they shall lay upon me.  I know no
evil that I have done in this matter, to be so used.  I speak as in the
presence of God.

_Cobb_.  You know, saith he, that the Scripture saith, _the powers that
be_, _are ordained of God_.

_Bun._  I said, Yes, and that I was to submit to the King as supreme, and
also to the governors, as to them who are sent by Him.

_Cobb_.  Well then, said he, the King then commands you, that you should
not have any private meetings; because it is against his law, and he is
ordained of God, therefore you should not have any.

_Bun._  I told him that _Paul_ did own the powers that were in his day,
to be of God; and yet he was often in prison under them for all that.
And also, though _Jesus Christ_ told _Pilate_, that He had no power
against him, but of God, yet He died under the same _Pilate_; and yet,
said I, I hope you will not say that either _Paul_, or Christ, were such
as did deny magistracy, and so sinned against God in slighting the
ordinance.  Sir, said I, the law hath provided two ways of obeying: the
one to do that which I, in my conscience, do believe that I am bound to
do, actively; and where I cannot obey actively, there I am willing to lie
down, and to suffer what they shall do unto me.  At this he sat still,
and said no more; which when he had done, I did thank him for his civil
and meek discoursing with me; and so we parted.

O! that we might meet in heaven!

                                                          Farewell.  J. B.

                                * * * * *

_Here followeth a discourse between my Wife and the Judges_, _with
others_, _touching my Deliverance at the Assizes following_; _the which I
took from her own Mouth_.

                                * * * * *

AFTER that I had received this sentence of banishing, or hanging, from
them, and after the former admonition, touching the determination of the
justices if I did not recant; just when the time drew nigh, in which I
should have abjured, or have done worse (as Mr Cobb told me), came the
time in which the King was to be crowned. {219}  Now, at the coronation
of kings, there is usually a releasement of divers prisoners, by virtue
of his coronation; in which privilege also I should have had my share;
but that they took me for a convicted person, and therefore, unless I
sued out a pardon (as they called it), I could have no benefit thereby,
notwithstanding, yet, forasmuch as the coronation proclamation did give
liberty, from the day the King was crowned, to that day twelvemonth, to
sue them out; therefore, though they would not let me out of prison, as
they let out thousands, yet they could not meddle with me, as touching
the execution of their sentence; because of the liberty offered for the
suing out of pardons.  Whereupon I continued in prison till the next
assizes, which are called _Midsummer assizes_, being then kept in
_August_, 1661.

Now, at that assizes, because I would not leave any possible means
unattempted that might be lawful, I did, by my wife, present a petition
to the judges three times, that I might be heard, and that they would
impartially take my case into consideration.

The first time my wife went, she presented it to Judge _Hale_, who very
mildly received it at her hand, telling her that he would do her and me
the best good he could; but he feared, he said, he could do none.  The
next day, again, lest they should, through the multitude of business,
forget me, we did throw another petition into the coach to Judge
_Twisdon_; who, when he had seen it, snapt her up, and angrily told her
that I was a convicted person, and could not be released, unless I would
promise to preach no more, etc.

Well, after this, she yet again presented another to judge Hale, as he
sat on the bench, who, as it seemed, was willing to give her audience.
Only Justice _Chester_ being present, stept up and said, that I was
convicted in the court, and that I was a hot-spirited fellow (or words to
that purpose), whereat he waived it, and did not meddle therewith.  But
yet, my wife being encouraged by the high-sheriff, did venture once more
into their presence (as the poor widow did before the unjust judge) to
try what she could do with them for my liberty, before they went forth of
the town.  The place where she went to them, was to the _Swan-chamber_,
where the two judges, and many justices and gentry of the country, was in
company together.  She then coming into the chamber with a bashed face,
and a trembling heart, began her errand to them in this manner:—

            [Picture: Bunyan’s Wife pleading with the Judges]

_Woman_.  My lord (directing herself to judge Hale), I make bold to come
once again to your Lordship, to know what may be done with my husband.

_Judge Hale_.  To whom he said, Woman, I told thee before I could do thee
no good; because they have taken that for a conviction which thy husband
spoke at the sessions: and unless there be something done to undo that, I
can do thee no good.

_Woman_.  My lord, said she, he is kept unlawfully in prison; they
clapped him up before there was any proclamation against the meetings;
the indictment also is false.  Besides, they never asked him whether he
was guilty or no; neither did he confess the indictment.

_One of the Justices_.  Then one of the justices that stood by, whom she
knew not, said, My Lord, he was lawfully convicted.

_Wom._  It is false, said she; for when they said to him, Do you confess
the indictment? he said only this, that he had been at several meetings,
both where there were preaching the Word, and prayer, and that they had
God’s presence among them.

_Judge Twisdon_.  Whereat Judge _Twisdon_ answered very angrily, saying,
What, you think we can do what we list; your husband is a breaker of the
peace, and is convicted by the law, etc.  Whereupon Judge _Hale_ called
for the Statute Book.

_Wom._  But, said she, my lord, he was not lawfully convicted.

_Chester_.  Then Justice _Chester_ said, My lord, he was lawfully
convicted.

_Wom._  It is false, said she; it was but a word of discourse that they
took for a conviction (as you heard before).

_Chest._  But it is recorded, woman; it is recorded, said Justice
_Chester_; as if it must be of necessity true, because it was recorded.
With which words he often endeavoured to stop her mouth, having no other
argument to convince her, but it is recorded, it is recorded.

_Wom._  My Lord, said she, I was a while since at _London_, to see if I
could get my husband’s liberty; and there I spoke with my lord
_Barkwood_, one of the House of Lords, to whom I delivered a petition,
who took it of me and presented it to some of the rest of the House of
Lords, for my husband’s releasement; who, when they had seen it, they
said, that they could not release him, but had committed his releasement
to the judges, at the next assizes.  This he told me; and now I am come
to you to see if any thing may be done in this business, and you give
neither releasement nor relief.  To which they gave her no answer, but
made as if they heard her not.

_Chest._  Only Justice _Chester_ was often up with this,—He is convicted,
and it is recorded.

_Wom._  If it be, it is false, said she.

_Chest._  My lord, said Justice _Chester_, he is a pestilent fellow,
there is not such a fellow in the country again.

_Twis._  What, will your husband leave preaching?  If he will do so, then
send for him.

_Wom._  My lord, said she, he dares not leave preaching as long as he can
speak.

_Twis._  See here, what should we talk any more about such a fellow?
Must he do what he lists?  He is a breaker of the peace.

_Wom._  She told him again, that he desired to live peaceably, and to
follow his calling, that his family might be maintained; and moreover,
said, My Lord, I have four small children, that cannot help themselves,
one of which is blind, and have nothing to live upon, but the charity of
good people.

_Hale_.  Hast thou four children? said Judge Hale; thou art but a young
woman to have four children.

_Wom._  My lord, said she, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not
been married to him yet full two years.  Indeed, I was with child when my
husband was first apprehended; but being young, and unaccustomed to such
things, said she, I being smayed {224} at the news, fell into labour, and
so continued for eight days, and then was delivered, but my child died.

_Hale_.  Whereat, he looking very soberly on the matter, said, Alas, poor
woman!

_Twis._  But Judge _Twisdon_ told her, that she made poverty her cloak;
and said, moreover, that he understood I was maintained better by running
up and down a preaching, than by following my calling.

_Hale_.  What is his calling? said Judge Hale.

_Answer_.  Then some of the company that stood by, said, A tinker, my
lord.

_Wom._  Yes, said she; and because he is a tinker, and a poor man,
therefore he is despised, and cannot have justice.

_Hale_.  Then Judge _Hale_ answered very mildly, saying, I tell thee,
woman, seeing it is so, that they have taken what thy husband spake for a
conviction; thou must either apply thyself to the King, or sue out his
pardon, or get a writ of error.

_Chest._  But when Justice _Chester_ heard him give her this counsel; and
especially (as she supposed) because he spoke of a writ of error, he
chafed, and seemed to be very much offended; saying, My lord, he will
preach and do what he lists.

_Wom._  He preacheth nothing but the Word of God, said she.

_Twis._  He preach the Word of God! said Twisdon; and withal, she thought
he would have struck her; he runneth up and down, and doth harm.

_Wom._  No, my lord, said she, it is not so; God hath owned him, and done
much good by him.

_Twis._  God! said he, his doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.

_Wom._  My lord, said she, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will
be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil.

_Twis._  My lord, said he, to Judge Hale, do not mind her, but send her
away.

_Hale_.  Then said Judge Hale, I am sorry, woman, that I can do thee no
good; thou must do one of those three things aforesaid, namely, either to
apply thyself to the King, or sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error;
but a writ of error will be cheapest.

_Wom._  At which Chester again seemed to be in a chafe, and put off his
hat, and as she thought, scratched his head for anger: but when I saw,
said she, that there was no prevailing to have my husband sent for,
though I often desired them that they would send for him, that he might
speak for himself; telling them, that he could give them better
satisfaction than I could, in what they demanded of him, with several
other things, which now I forget; only this I remember, that though I was
somewhat timorous at my first entrance into the chamber, yet before I
went out, I could not but break forth into tears, not so much because
they were so hard-hearted against me, and my husband, but to think what a
sad account such poor creatures will have to give at the coming of the
Lord, when they shall there answer for all things whatsoever they have
done in the body, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.

So, when I departed from them, the book of statutes was brought, but what
they said of it I know nothing at all, neither did I hear any more from
them.

                                * * * * *

_Some Carriages of the Adversaries of God’s Truth with me at the next
Assizes_, _which was on the_ 19_th_ _of the first month_, 1662.

                                * * * * *

I SHALL pass by what befell between these two assizes, how I had, by my
jailor, some liberty granted me, more than at the first, and how I
followed my wonted course of preaching, taking all occasions that were
put into my hand to visit the people of God; exhorting them to be
steadfast in the faith of Jesus Christ, and to take heed that they
touched not the Common Prayer, etc., but to mind the Word of God, which
giveth direction to Christians in every point, being able to make the man
of God perfect in all things through faith in Jesus Christ, and
thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works.  2 Tim. iii. 17.  Also how
I having, I say, somewhat more liberty, did go to see the Christians at
_London_; which my enemies hearing of, were so angry, that they had
almost cast my jailor out of his place, threatening to indict him, and to
do what they could against him.  They charged me also, that I went
thither to plot and raise division, and make insurrection, which, God
knows, was a slander; whereupon my liberty was more straitened than it
was before; so that I must not now look out of the door.  Well, when the
next sessions came, which was about the 10th of the 11th month (1661), I
did expect to have been very roundly dealt withal; but they passed me by,
and would not call me, so that I rested till the assizes, which was held
the 19th of the first month (1662) following; and when they came, because
I had a desire to come before the judge, I desired my jailor to put my
name into the calendar among the felons, and made friends of the judge
and high-sheriff, who promised that I should be called: so that I thought
what I had done might have been effectual for the obtaining of my desire:
but all was in vain; for when the assizes came, though my name was in the
calendar, and also though both the judge and sheriff had promised that I
should appear before them, yet the justices and the clerk of the peace,
did so work it about, that I, notwithstanding, was deferred, and was not
suffered to appear: and although I say, I do not know of all their
carriages towards me, yet this I know, that the clerk of the peace (Mr
Cobb) did discover himself to be one of my greatest opposers: for, first
he came to my jailor and told him that I must not go down before the
judge, and therefore must not be put into the calendar; to whom my jailor
said, that my name was in already.  He bid him put it out again; my
jailor told him that he could not: for he had given the judge a calendar
with my name in it, and also the sheriff another.  At which he was very
much displeased, and desired to see that calendar that was yet in my
jailor’s hand, who, when he had given it him, he looked on it, and said
it was a false calendar; he also took the calendar and blotted out my
accusation, as my jailor had written it (which accusation I cannot tell
what it was, because it was so blotted out), and he himself put in words
to this purpose: That John Bunyan was committed to prison; being lawfully
convicted for upholding of unlawful meetings and conventicles, etc.  But
yet for all this, fearing that what he had done, unless he added thereto,
it would not do, he first ran to the clerk of the assizes; then to the
justices, and afterwards, because he would not leave any means
unattempted to hinder me, he came again to my jailor, and told him, that
if I did go down before the judge, and was released, he would make him
pay my fees, which he said was due to him; and further, told him, that he
would complain of him at the next quarter sessions for making of false
calendars, though my jailor himself, as I afterwards learned, had put in
my accusation worse than in itself it was by far.  And thus was I
hindered and prevented at that time also from appearing before the judge:
and left in prison.

Farewell.

                                                              JOHN BUNYAN.



_A Continuation of_ Mr BUNYAN’S LIFE; _beginning where he left off_, _and
concluding with the Time and Manner of his Death and Burial_: _together
with his true Character_, _etc._


READER, the painful and industrious author of this book, has already
given you a faithful and very moving relation of the beginning and middle
of the days of his pilgrimage on earth; and since there yet remains
somewhat worthy of notice and regard, which occurred in the last scene of
his life, the which, for want of time, or fear, some over-censorious
people should impute it to him as an earnest coveting of praise from men,
he has not left behind him in writing.  Wherefore, as a true friend, and
long acquaintance of Mr _Bunyan’s_ that his good end may be known, as
well as his evil beginning, I have taken upon me, from my knowledge, and
the best account given by other of his friends, to piece this to the
thread too soon broke off, and so lengthen it out to his entering upon
eternity.

He has told you at large, of his birth and education; the evil habits and
corruptions of his youth; the temptations he struggled and conflicted so
frequently with, the mercies, comforts, and deliverances he found, how he
came to take upon him the preaching of the Gospel; the slanders,
reproaches and imprisonments that attended him, and the progress he
notwithstanding made (by the assistance of God’s grace) no doubt to the
saving of many souls: therefore take these things, as he himself hath
methodically laid them down in the words of verity; and so I pass on to
what remains.

After his being freed from his twelve years’ imprisonment and upwards,
for nonconformity, wherein he had time to furnish the world with sundry
good books, etc., and by his patience, to move _Dr Barlow_, the then
Bishop of _Lincoln_, and other church-men, to pity his hard and
unreasonable sufferings, so far as to stand very much his friends, in
procuring his enlargement, or there perhaps he had died, by the
noisomeness and ill usage of the place.  Being now, I say, again at
liberty, and having through mercy shaken off his bodily fetters,—for
those upon his soul were broken before by the abounding grace that filled
his heart,—he went to visit those that had been a comfort to him in his
tribulation, with a Christian-like acknowledgment of their kindness and
enlargement of charity; giving encouragement by his example, if it
happened to be their hard haps to fall into affliction or trouble, then
to suffer patiently for the sake of a good conscience, and for the love
of God in Jesus Christ towards their souls, and by many cordial
persuasions, supported some whose spirits began to sink low, through the
fear of danger that threatened their worldly concernment, so that the
people found a wonderful consolation in his discourse and admonitions.

As often as opportunity would admit, he gathered them together (though
the law was then in force against meetings) in convenient places, and fed
them with the sincere milk of the Word, that they might grow up in grace
thereby.  To such as were anywhere taken and imprisoned upon these
accounts, he made it another part of his business to extend his charity,
and gather relief for such of them as wanted.

He took great care to visit the sick, and strengthen them against the
suggestions of the tempter, which at such times are very prevalent; so
that they had cause for ever to bless God, Who had put it into his heart,
at such a time, to rescue them from the power of the roaring lion, who
sought to devour them; nor did he spare any pains or labour in travel,
though to remote counties, where he knew or imagined any people might
stand in need of his assistance; insomuch that some, by these visitations
that he made, which was two or three every year (some, though in a
jeering manner no doubt, gave him the epithet of Bishop _Bunyan_) whilst
others envied him for his so earnestly labouring in Christ’s vineyard;
yet the seed of the Word he (all this while) sowed in the hearts of his
congregation, watered with the grace of God, brought forth in abundance,
in bringing in disciples to the church of Christ.

Another part of his time is spent in reconciling differences, by which he
hindered many mischiefs, and saved some families from ruin, and in such
fallings-out he was uneasy, till he found a means to labour a
reconciliation, and become a peace-maker, on whom a blessing is promised
in holy writ; and indeed in doing this good office, he may be said to sum
up his days, it being the last undertaking of his life, as will appear in
the close of this paper.

When in the late reign, liberty of conscience was unexpectedly given and
indulged to dissenters of all persuasions, his piercing wit penetrated
the veil, and found that it was not for the dissenters’ sakes they were
so suddenly freed from the hard prosecutions that had long lain heavy
upon them, and set in a manner, on an equal foot with the Church of
_England_, which the papists were undermining, and about to subvert: he
foresaw all the advantages that could have redounded to the dissenters
would have been no more than what _Polyphemus_, the monstrous giant of
_Sicily_, would have allowed _Ulysses_, _viz._: That he would eat his men
first, and do him the favour of being eaten last: for although Mr
_Bunyan_, following the examples of others, did lay hold of this liberty,
as an acceptable thing in itself, knowing God is the only Lord of
conscience, and that it is good at all times to do according to the
dictates of a good conscience, and that the preaching the glad tidings of
the Gospel is beautiful in the preacher; yet in all this he moved with
caution and a holy fear, earnestly praying for the averting impending
judgments, which he saw, like a black tempest, hanging over our heads for
our sins, and ready to break in upon us, and that the _Ninevites’_ remedy
was now highly necessary: hereupon he gathered his congregation at
_Bedford_, where he mostly lived, and had lived and spent the greatest
part of his life; and there being no convenient place to be had for the
entertainment of so great a confluence of people as followed him upon the
account of his teaching, he consulted with them for the building of a
meeting-house, to which they made their voluntary contributions with all
cheerfulness and alacrity; and the first time he appeared there to edify,
the place was so thronged, that many was constrained to stay without,
though the house was very spacious, every one striving to partake of his
instructions, that were of his persuasion, and show their good-will
towards him, by being present at the opening of the place; and here he
lived in much peace and quiet of mind, contenting himself with that
little God had bestowed upon him, and sequestering himself from all
secular employments, to follow that of his call to the ministry; for as
God said to _Moses_, He that made the lips and heart, can give eloquence
and wisdom, without extraordinary acquirements in an university.

During these things, there were regulators sent into all cities and towns
corporate, to new model the government in the magistracy, etc., by
turning out some, and putting in others: against this Mr _Bunyan_
expressed his zeal with some weariness, as foreseeing the bad consequence
that would attend it, and laboured with his congregation to prevent their
being imposed on in this kind; and when a great man in those days, coming
to _Bedford_ upon some such errand, sent for him, as ’tis supposed, to
give him a place of public trust, he would by no means come at him, but
sent his excuse.

When he was at leisure from writing and teaching, he often came up to
_London_, and there went among the congregations of the non-conformists,
and used his talent to the great good-liking of the hearers; and even
some to whom he had been mis-represented, upon the account of his
education, were convinced of his worth and knowledge in sacred things, as
perceiving him to be a man of round judgment, delivering himself plainly
and powerfully; insomuch that many, who came mere spectators for novelty
sake rather than to edify and be improved, went away well satisfied with
what they heard, and wondered, as the Jews did at the Apostles, _viz._:
Whence this man should have these things; perhaps not considering that
God more immediately assists those that make it their business
industriously and cheerfully to labour in His vineyard.

Thus he spent his latter years in imitation of his great Lord and Master,
the ever-blessed Jesus; he went about doing good, so that the most prying
critic, or even Malice herself, is defied to find, even upon the
narrowest search or observation, any sully or stain upon his reputation,
with which he may be justly charged; and this we note, as a challenge to
those that have the least regard for him, or them of his persuasion, and
have one way or other appeared in the front of those that oppressed him;
and for the turning whose hearts, in obedience to the commission and
commandment given him of God, he frequently prayed, and sometimes sought
a blessing for them, even with tears, the effects of which, they may,
peradventure, though undeservedly, have found in their persons, friends,
relations, or estates; for God will hear the prayer of the faithful, and
answer them, even for them that vex them, as it happened in the case of
_Job’s_ praying for the three persons that had been grievous in their
reproach against him, even in the day of his sorrow.

But yet let me come a little nearer to particulars and periods of time,
for the better refreshing the memories of those that knew his labour and
suffering, and for the satisfaction of all that shall read this book.

After he was sensibly convicted of the wicked state of his life, and
converted, he was baptized into the congregation, and admitted a member
thereof, _viz._, in the year 1655, and became speedily a very zealous
professor; but upon the return of King _Charles_ to the crown in 1660, he
was the 12th of _November_ taken, as he was edifying some good people
that were got together to hear the word, and confined in _Bedford_ jail
for the space of six years, till the act of Indulgence to dissenters
being allowed, he obtained his freedom, by the intercession of some in
trust and power, that took pity on his sufferings; but within six years
afterwards he was again taken up, _viz._, in the year 1666, and was then
confined for six years more, when even the jailor took such pity of his
rigorous sufferings, that he did as the Egyptian jailor did to _Joseph_,
put all the care and trust in his hand: When he was taken this last time,
he was preaching on these words, viz.: _Dost thou believe the Son of
God_?  And this imprisonment continued six years, and when this was over,
another short affliction, which was an imprisonment of half a year, fell
to his share.  During these confinements he wrote the following books,
viz.: _Of Prayer by the Spirit_: _The Holy City’s Resurrection_: _Grace
Abounding_: _Pilgrim’s Progress_, the first part.

In the last year of his twelve years’ imprisonment, the pastor of the
congregation at _Bedford_ died, and he was chosen to that care of souls,
on the 12th of _December_ 1671.  And in this his charge, he often had
disputes with scholars that came to oppose him, as supposing him an
ignorant person, and though he argued plainly, and by Scripture, without
phrases and logical expressions, yet he nonplussed one who came to oppose
him in his congregation, by demanding, Whether or no we had the true
copies of the original Scriptures; and another, when he was preaching,
accused him of uncharitableness, for saying, _It was very hard for most
to be saved_; saying, by that he went about to exclude most of his
congregation; but he confuted him, and put him to silence with the
parable of the stony ground, and other texts out of the 13th chapter of
_St Matthew_, in our Saviour’s sermon out of a ship; all his methods
being to keep close to the Scriptures, and what he found not warranted
there, himself would not warrant nor determine, unless in such cases as
were plain, wherein no doubts or scruples did arise.

But not to make any further mention of this kind, it is well known that
this person managed all his affairs with such exactness, as if he had
made it his study, above all other things, not to give occasion of
offence, but rather suffer many inconveniences, to avoid being never
heard to reproach or revile any, what injury soever he received, but
rather to rebuke those that did; and as it was in his conversation, so it
is manifested in those books he has caused to be published to the world;
where like the archangel disputing with Satan about the body of _Moses_,
as we find it in the epistle of _St Jude_, brings no railing accusation
(but leaves the rebukers, those that persecuted him) to the Lord.

In his family he kept up a very strict discipline in prayer and
exhortation; being in this like _Joshua_, as the good man expresses it,
viz., _Whatsoever others did_, _as for me and my house_, _we will serve
the Lord_: and indeed a blessing waited on his labours and endeavours, so
that his wife, as the Psalmist says, _was like a pleasant vine upon the
walls of his house_, _and his children like olive branches round his
table_; _for so shall it be with the man that fears the Lord_, and though
by reason of the many losses he sustained by imprisonment and spoil, of
his chargeable sickness, etc., his earthly treasure swelled not to
excess; he always had sufficient to live decently and creditably, and
with that he had the greatest of all treasures, which is content; for as
the wise man says, _That is a continual feast_.

But where content dwells, even a poor cottage is a kingly palace, and
this happiness he had all his life long; not so much minding this world,
as knowing he was here as a pilgrim and stranger, and had no tarrying
city, but looked for one made with hands eternal in the highest heavens:
but at length was worn out with sufferings, age, and often teaching, the
day of his dissolution drew near, and death, that unlocks the prison of
the soul, to enlarge it for a more glorious mansion, put a stop to his
acting his part on the stage of mortality; heaven, like earthly princes,
when it threatens war, being always so kind as to call home its
ambassadors before it be denounced, and even the last act or undertaking
of his, was a labour of love and charity; for it so falling out that a
young gentleman, a neighbour of Mr _Bunyan’s_, happening into the
displeasure of his father, and being much troubled in mind upon that
account, and also for that he heard his father purposed to disinherit
him, or otherwise deprive him of what he had to leave; he pitched upon Mr
_Bunyan_ as a fit man to make way for his submission, and prepare his
father’s mind to receive him; and he, as willing to do any good office,
as it could be requested, as readily undertook it; and so riding to
_Reading_ in _Berkshire_, he then there used such pressing arguments and
reasons against anger and passion, as also for love and reconciliation,
that the father was mollified, and his bowels yearned to his returning
son.

But Mr _Bunyan_, after he had disposed all things to the best for
accommodation, returning to _London_, and being overtaken with excessive
rains, coming to his lodgings extremely wet, fell sick of a violent
fever, which he bore with much constancy and patience, and expressed
himself as if he desired nothing more than to be dissolved, and be with
Christ, in that case esteeming death as gain, and life only a tedious
delaying felicity expected; and finding his vital strength decay, having
settled his mind and affairs, as well as the shortness of time, and the
violence of his disease would permit, with a constant and christian
patience, he resigned his soul into the hands of his most merciful
Redeemer, following his pilgrim from the City of Destruction, to the New
_Jerusalem_; his better part having been all along there, in holy
contemplation, pantings and breathings after the hidden manna and water
of life, as by many holy and humble consolations expressed in his letters
to several persons in prison, and out of prison, too many to be inserted
at present.  He died at the house of one Mr _Struddock_, a grocer, at the
Star on _Snow Hill_, in the parish of _St Sepulchre’s_, _London_, on the
12th of _August_ 1688, and in the sixtieth year of his age, {241} after
ten days’ sickness; and was buried in the new burying place near the
Artillery Ground; where he sleeps to the morning of the resurrection, in
hopes of a glorious rising to an incorruptible immortality of joy and
happiness; where no more trouble and sorrow shall afflict him, but all
tears be wiped away; when the just shall be incorporated as members of
Christ their head, and reign with Him as kings and priests for ever.



_A brief Character of Mr_ JOHN BUNYAN


HE appeared in countenance to be of a stern and rough temper, but in his
conversation mild and affable; not given to loquacity or much discourse
in company, unless some urgent occasion required it; observing never to
boast of himself or his parts, but rather seem low in his own eyes, and
submit himself to the judgment of others, abhorring lying and swearing,
being just in all that lay in his power to his word, not seeming to
revenge injuries, loving to reconcile differences, and make friendship
with all; he had a sharp quick eye, accompanied with an excellent
discerning of persons, being of good judgment and quick wit.  As for his
person, he was tall of stature, strong boned, though not corpulent,
somewhat of a ruddy face, with sparkling eyes, wearing his hair on his
upper lip, after the old British fashion; his hair reddish, but in his
latter days, time had sprinkled it with grey; his nose well set, but not
declining or bending, and his mouth moderate large; his forehead somewhat
high, and his habit always plain and modest.  And thus have we
impartially described the internal and external parts of a person, whose
death hath been much regretted; a person who had tried the smiles and
frowns of time; not puffed up in prosperity, nor shaken in adversity;
always holding the golden mean.

    In him at once did three great worthies shine,
    Historian, poet, and a choice divine:
    Then let him rest in undisturbed dust,
    Until the resurrection of the just.



POSTSCRIPT


IN this his pilgrimage, God blessed him with four children, one of which,
named _Mary_, was blind, and died some years before; his other children
were _Thomas_, _Joseph_, and _Sarah_; his wife _Elizabeth_ having lived
to see him overcome his labour and sorrow, and pass from this life to
receive the reward of his work, long survived him not; but in 1692 she
died, to follow her faithful pilgrim from this world to the other,
whither he was gone before her; whilst his works, which consist of sixty
books, remain for the edifying of the reader, and praise of the author.

                                                                   _Vale_.

                                * * * * *

                                  FINIS

                                * * * * *



FOOTNOTES


{7}  The marginal summaries have not been included in this Project
Gutenberg eText.—DP.

{184}  The text from which he intended to preach was, _Doth thou believe
on the Son of God_?  Jn. ix. 35.  See Preface to his _Confession of
Faith_.

{187a}  Justice Wingate.

{187b}  _Ibid._

{191a}  A right Judas.

{191b}  Bunyan.

{210}  The Venner insurrection is here referred to.

{214}  Bunyan here refers to a translation of Wickliffe’s doctrine in
John Foxe’s _Martyrology_, a favourite book of his.

{219}  April 23, 1661.

{224}  ‘Smayed,’ an obsolete contraction of ‘dismayed,’

{241}  It is an established fact that John Bunyan died on Friday, August
31, 1688.  He is recorded to have preached his last sermon on August 19.





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