was born in 1628 at Elstow near Bedford, the son of a brazier. Between 1644 and 1647 he served in the Parliamentary army; returning to Elstow to follow his father's trade, he underwent a deep spiritual crisis that lasted for several years. I
n about 1653 he joined an independent church in Bedford and before long began to preach and to publish polemical and doctrinal religious works. In 1660, following the Restoration, he was arrested and, on his refusal to stop preaching, was held in Bedford gaol for the next twelve years. While in prison, he published several books, the most important being his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666), and also began to write The Pilgrim's Progress (1678).
On his release from prison in 1672 Bunyan became pastor of the Bedford congregation and the remaining years of his life were spent preaching and writing. The best-known of his later works are The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680), The Holy War (1682) and the second part of The Pilgrim's Progress (1684) He died in 1688 and was buried in Bunhill Fields.
TO GO FREE, all John Bunyan had to do was make one promise. He must agree not to preach publicly anymore. Bunyan's reply: "If I was out of prison today, I would preach the gospel again tomorrow by the help of God."
Older folk must have shaken their heads in wonder. "John Bunyan of all people! Why, we remember when he was a filthy mouthed ringleader in every sort of mischief."
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.)
John Bunyan, who has been named "the Immortal Tinker", became one of the world's most well-known Christian writers. He wrote many books, but his most famous one, "Pilgrim's Progress", has become a world classic.
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