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John Bunyan was born in 1628 and had very little schooling. He followed his father in the tinker’s trade, and he served in the parliamentary army from 1644 to 1647. Bunyan married in 1649 and lived in Elstow until 1655, when his wife died. He then moved to Bedford, and married again in 1659. John Bunyan was received into the Baptist church in Bedford by immersion in 1653.

In 1655, Bunyan became a deacon and began preaching, with marked success from the start. In 1658 he was indicted for preaching without a license. The authorities were fairly tolerant of him for a while, and he did not suffer imprisonment until November of 1660, when he was taken to the county jail in Silver Street, Bedford, and there confined (with the exception of a few weeks in 1666) for 12 years until January 1672. Bunyan afterward became pastor of the Bedford church. In March of 1675 he was again imprisoned for preaching publicly without a license, this time being held in the Bedford town jail. In just six months this time he was freed, (no doubt the authorities were growing weary of providing Bunyan with free shelter and food) and he was not bothered again by the authorities.

John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress in two parts, of which the first appeared at London in 1678,which he had begun during his imprisonment in 1676. The second part appeared in 1684. The earliest edition in which the two parts were combined in one volume came out in 1728. A third part falsely attributed to Bunyan appeared in 1693. The Pilgrim’s Progress is the most successful allegory ever written, and like the Bible has been extensively translated into other languages. It well may be the second most translated book beyond the Scriptures.

John Bunyan wrote many other books, became involved in most interesting controversies such as water baptisms of immersion and argued in favor of the Lord’s Supper only for baptized believers. On a trip to London, John Bunyan caught a severe cold, and he died at the house of a friend at Snow Hill on August 31, 1688. His grave lies in the cemetery at Bunhill Fields in London.

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.”

“He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find him the rest of the day.”

“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

“If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.”

“There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.”

“But pleasures are like poppies spread: You seize the flower,–its bloom is shed.”

“Nae man can tether time nor tide.”

“One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner.”

“Words easy to be understood do often hit the mark; when high and learned ones do only pierce the air.”

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