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in BUNHILL fields, where a tomb-stone to his memory may still be seen.-He was twice married: by his first wife, he left four children, one of which, a daughter named MARY, who was blind, died before him. He was married to his second wife A.D. 1658, two years before his imprisonment, by whom he seems not to have had
children: she survived him about four years. Concerning the other branches of his family we have not been able to gain any information.
Mr. BUNYAN was tall and broad set, though not corpulent: he had a ruddy complexion, with sparkling eyes; and hair inclining to red, but in his old age, sprinkled with grey. His whole appearance was plain, and his dress always simple and unaffected.--He published sixty tracts, which equalled the number of years he lived. The Pilgrim's Progress had passed through more than fifty editions in 1784.
His character seems to have been uniformly good, from the time when he was brought acquainted with the blessed gospel of CHRIST: and though his countenance was rather stern and his manner rough; yet he was very mild, modest, and affable, in his behaviour. He was backward to speak much, except on particular occasions, and remarkably averse to boasting; ready to submit to the judgement of others, and disposed to forgive injuries, to follow peace with all men, and to employ himself as a peace-maker: yet he was steady to his principles; and bold in reproving sin without respect of persons.—Many slanders were spread concerning him during the course of his ministry; some of which he refuted: they have however all died away; and no one now pretends to say any thing to his disadvantage,-except as his firm attachment to his creed, and his practice as a Calvinist, a Dissenter, and an Anti-pædo-baptist, has been called bigotry; and as the account given of his own experience has been misunderstood, or misrepresented.
He was undoubtedly endued with extraordinary natural talents; his understanding, discernment, memory, invention,
THE LIFE OF JOHN BUNYAN.
and imagination, were remarkably sound and vigorous : so that he made very great proficiency in the knowledge of scriptural divinity, though brought up in ignorance: but he never made much progress in human learning.–Even such persons, as did not favour his religious principles have done ample justice to his mental powers. The celebrated Dr. JOHNSON ranks the Pilgrim's Progress among a very few books indeed, of which the reader when he comes to the conclusion, wishes they had been longer; and allows it to rank high among the works of original genius'.—But it is above all things wonderful, that BUNYAN's imagination, fertile and vigorous in a very great degree, and wholly untutored by the rules of learning, should in this instance have been so disciplined by sound judgement, and deep acquaint. ance with the scripture, as to produce in the form of an alle. gory, one of the fairest and most unexceptionable treatises on the system of Calvinism, that can be found in the ENGLISH language! In several of his other publications his imagination sometimes carried him beyond just bounds: but here he avoids all extremes, and seems not to deviate either to the right hand or to the left. Perhaps, as he was himself liable to depression of spirit, and had passed through deep distresses, the view he gives of the pilgrim's temptations may be too gloomy: but he has shown in the course of the work, that this arose principally from inadequate views of evangelical truth, and the want of christian communion, with the benefits to be derived from the counsels of a faithful minister.
I P10zzi's Anecdotcs of JOHNSON.---BOSWELL's Life of JOHNSON, vol. ii.
p. 97. 2d edit.
The high estimation in which · The Pilgrim's Progress' has been held for above a century, sufficiently evinces its intrinsic value: and there is every reason to suppose, that it will be read with admiration and advantage for ages to come; probably till the consummation of all things.
The pious christian, in proportion to“ his growth in grace, " and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus,” derives more and more instruction from repeated perusals of this remarkable book; while his enlarged experience and extended observation enable him to unfold, with progressive evidence, the meaning of the agreeable similitudes employed by its ingenious author. And even the careless or uninstructed reader is fascinated to attention, by the simple and artless manner in which the interesting narrative is arranged. Nor should this be represented as a mere amusement, which answers no further purpose: for it has been observed by men of great discernment, and acquaintance with the human mind, that
young persons, having perused the Pilgrim as a pleasing tale, have often retained a remembrance of its leading incidents, which, after continuing perhaps in a dormant state for several years, has at length germinated, as it were, into the most important and scasonable instruction; while the events of their own lives placed it before their minds in a new and affecting point of view. It may, therefore, be questioned, whether modern ages have produced any work which has more promoted the best interests of mankind.
These observations indeed more especially apply to the first part of the Pilgrim's Progress; that being complete in itself, and in all respects superior to the second. Yet this, also, contains many edifying and interesting passages: though in unity of design, in arrangement of incident, and in simplicity of allegory, it is not comparable to the other. Indeed, the author, in his first effort, had nearly exhausted his subject; and nothing remained, for his second attempt, but a few detached episodes (so to speak) to his original plan: nor could any vigour of genius have wrought them up to an equal degree of excellence. It must, however, be allowed, that Mr. Bunyan here frequently sinks below himself, both in fertility of invention, force of imagination, and aptness of illustration : nay, he sometimes even stoops to a puerile play of fancy, and a refined nicety in explaining doctrines, which do not at all accord with the rest of the work. But the same grand principles of evangelical and practical religion, which stamp an inestimable value on the first part, are in the second also exhibited with equal purity, though not with equal simplicity : and, on many occasions, the author rises superior to bis disadvantages; and introduces characters, or incidents, which arrest the attention, and interest the heart of every pious and intelligent reader.
It would not perhaps be difficult to show, that the Pilgrim's Progress, as first published, is as really an original production of vigorous native genius, as any of those works, in prose or verse, which have excited the admiration of mankind, through successive ages, and in different nations. It does not indeed possess those ornaments which are often mistaken for intrinsic excellence : but the rudeness of its style (which at the same time is characteristic of the subject) concurs to prove it a most extraordinary book: for, had it not been written with very great ingenuity, a religious treatise, evidently. inculcating doctrines, always offensive, but now more unfashionable than formerly, would not, in so homely a garb,
kave so durably attracted the attention of a polished age and nation. Yet it is undeniable, that Bunyan's Pilgrim continues to be read and admired by vast multitudes; while publications on a similar plan, by persons of respectable learning and talents, are consigned to almost total neglect and oblivion!
This is not, however, that view of the work, which entitles it to its highest honour, or most endears it to the pious mind: for, comparing it with the other productions of the same author, (which are indeed edifying to the humble believer, but not much suited to the taste of the ingenious) we shall be led to conclude, that in penning this he was favoured with a peculiar measure of the divine assistance: especially when we recollect, that, within the confines of a jail, he was able so to delineate the christian's course, with its various difficulties, perils, conflicts, &c, that scarcely any thing seems to have escaped his notice. Indeed, the accurate observer of the church in his own days, and the learned student of ecclesiastical history, must be equally surprised to find, that hardly one remarkable character, good or bad, or mixed in any manner or proportion imaginable; or that one fatal delusion, by-path, or injurious mistake, can be singled out, which may not be paralleled in the Pilgrim's Progress: that is, as to the grand outlines; for the minutix, about which bigotted and frivolous minds waste their zeal and force, are with very few exceptions wisely passed over. This circumstance is not only surprising, but it suggests an argument, not easily answered, in support of the truth of those religious sentiments, which are now often derided under the title of orthodoxy; for every part of this singular book exclusively suits the different descriptions of such as profess those doctrines; and relates the experiences, mistakes, falls, recoveries, distresses, temptations, conflicts, supports, and consolations of serious persons of this class in our own times, as exactly as if it had been penned from the observation of them, and for their immediate benefit: while, like the sacred Scriptures,