was born in 1628 near Bedford, in the agricultural midlands of England. He was the son of a tinker (a maker and mender of metal pots). He had little schooling. During the English Civil War, he served in the Parliamentary Army. He underwent a period of acute spiritual anxiety, and finally found peace in a Baptist congregation. He became a lay preacher, while earning his living as a tinker.
After the Restoration in 1660, Bunyan (under suspicion for having fought on the anti-Anglican side) was ordered to preach no more, and, since he refused to desist, he was several times sentenced to jail, where he spent his time studying, preaching to his fellow prisoners, and writing. His first substantial work was an autobiography, Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners. This was followed by other works, of which by far the most read and most loved is his The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come, usually called Pilgrim's Progress. The work recounts in allegorical form the experience of a person (called Christian), from his his first awareness of his sinfulness and spiritual need, to his personal conversion to Christ, to his walk as a believer. He is shown as a pilgrim in this world on his way to the "Celestial City," which will be his true home forever. The work was an immediate sensation, and its popularity endured. For a century and more thereafter, there were many English-speaking Christians who were thoroughly familiar with only two books, The Bible and Pilgrim's Progess. (Those who have read the book or seen the movie Little Women, portraying the life of an American family in the 1860's, will remember that the book was a family favorite.)
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