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The Author has been much facilitated in his researches by Librarians especially. As usual, he is not a little indebted to his friend Joshua Wilson, Esq. and to the Rev. Mr. Belcher of Bunyan Chapel, Greenwich. His obligations to friends at Bedford are acknowledged in the body of the Work. To his friend Mr. William Dash, of Kettering, he is indebted for the best of the old editions of the Pilgrim's Progress; to Mr. Althens, Jun., for the loan of Boetius a' Bolswerts' Pilgrim, of 1627 ; to Mr. R. Baines, for not a few scarce books; to B. Hanbury, Esq. of the Bank; and last, though not least, to the Baptist College at Bristol.
XXIV. BUNYAN'S SECOND WIFE . .
XXXVI. BUNYAN's Church PERSECUTED
A STRANGER, who admires and loves Bunyan, approaches Bedford as a poet or a divine would enter Smyrna ; the form. er thinking only of Homer, and the latter only of Polycarp ; and both trying how vividly they can realize the image of their favourite, amidst the scenes once consecrated by his presence, and still enshrined by his memory. It is no diffi. cult thing, I suppose, for a real poet, if he believes Herodotus, to imagine the rocks of Smyrna vocal yet with the harp of Homer; nor for a real Christian, if he credits Eusebius, to mistake the evening sun-light upon them, for the last glimmerings of Pylycarp's martyr-pile. Even I felt no difficulty, on entering Bedford, and walking around it, to associate every thing with Bunyan, or to enshrine any thing with his Pilgrim. The town, indeed, did not seem to me 6 the City of Destruc. tion;" and the bridge was too good, and the water too clear, to allow the river to be regarded as “the Slough of Despond:” but it was hardly possible not to see Christian in every poor man who carried a burden, and Christiana in every poor woman who carried a market-basket in one hand, and led a child with the other. One sweet-looking peasant girl, also, might bave been MERCY's youngest sister. She would have been
beautiful anywhere ; but she was enchanting upon the spot where Bunyan's Mercy (that finished portrait of female love. liness) had walked and wept. In like manner, any ragged urchin, if only robust and boisterous enough, and evidently the ringleader of fun or mischief, seemed the boy Bunyan himself, although only a few minutes before a venerable old man had seemed the very personification of the Baptist Minister of Bedford : but no one seemed to be the Glorious Dreamer, although many looked sleepy enough.
There is wisdom as well as weakness in such reveries, when the memory that inspires them is really immortal. If Dr. Johnson was warranted to say at Icolmkill, “Far from me be such frigid philosophy as would conduct us indifferent or unmoved over any ground dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue : that man is little to he envied whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona—that illustrious island, from which savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion ;” any man who can feel may rationally give way to all his feelings at Bedford bridge, where the GLORIOUS DREAMER conceived and wrote The Pilgrim's Progress. That one book has diffused more light over Christendom, than Iona ever did over the Hebrides, even when it was “the luminary of the Caledonian regions.” Iona will never be the light of the North again : but the Pilgrim will be one of the chief lights of the world un. til the end of time.
It is strange, but it is true, that the mind, although occu. pied, and even absorbed, with the remote as well as the immediate visions of Bunyan's incalculable influence upon the world at large, should yet keep the eye of the musing visitor searching the fields and hedges around Bedford, for spots where the wild tinder-boy was likely to have played at cat, and taken dangerous leaps, and robbed orchards. It is, however, impossible not to pause every now and then, as if the marks of his heels were yet visible on the other side of the ditches, and the marks of his knife upon the old trees. He was such a thorough scapegrace whilst a boy, that all marks of mischief and daring seem left by him alone.
Bunyan was born in the year 1628, at Elstow, a village near Belford. His father, although a tinker, and thus, of course, a tramper often, and very poor, does not seem to have had any real connexion with the gypsy tinkers. Bunyan says, indeed, "My father's house (meaning his descent) was