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them,) were unworthy of taking its holy petitions upon their unhallowed lips. Whilst, therefore, it is a melancholy fact in the annals of genius, that Bunyan denounced the book itself as if it had been weak or worthless, it is a glorious fact in the annals of religious liberty, that he dared death, as well as endured bondage, in order to dissuade his own adherents from touching the Common Prayer : for to touch it then, whilst it was both the symbol and shibboleth of Intolerance, would have been homage to Tyranny, and high treason against the first principles of Protestantism. Bunyan felt this, and flung it to the winds at all hazards.
This hostility to the Prayer Book had a re-action which did good. It led the thoughtful admirers of the Liturgy to throw their soul into the prayers, and compelled even hirelings to read them with something like devotion; and thus the prejudices of many were conciliated wherever the service was well conducted. This is, happily the case still. Less justice would be done to the Prayers in many Churches, if fewer Chapels rejected the use of them. Bunyan is not to thank, nor are the Nonconformists, for this re-action; for they did not intend to produce it. Nonconformists, however, rejoice in it now. The Churchmen who doubt this, do not know them. They do not indeed, blame Bunyan for teaching “Touch not;" but they bless God on behalf of every devotional man who pours the spirit of prayer into the forms of the Church ; just as they rejoice in the multiplication of evangelical Clergymen. There is no inconsistency on their part in this. It implies no con cession to Church or State, of even the shadow of a right to impose forms of worship. The whole body of Dissenters agree, on that point, with a clerical Editor of Bunyan's Pil.. grim, “ that nominal Protestants enacting laws requiring con. formity to their own creeds and forms, and inflicting punishe ments on such as peaceably dissent from them are actually involved in the guilt of the heathen persecutors, and of their anti-Christian successors, even if their doctrine and worship be allowed to be scriptural and spiritual. For these methods only serve to promote hypocrisy, and to expose the conscientious to the malice, envy, or avarice of the unprincipled.” Scott's Notes.
Bunyan's jailor seems to have been of this opinion. At least, he acted agreeably to it, as far and as long as he could., He not only allowed Bunyan to visit his family and his flock, but even permitted him to go to London. This last step perila led both. It can hardly be called a rash step, however, on the part of Bunyan. He needed more influential friends, in prospect of a second trial, than Bedford could furnish. Besides, all the Baptists of the county were not sufficiently his friends, to make a joint and hearty effort on his behalf. His “ Open Communion” church and creed shut up some of their sympa. thies ; and most of his brethren had quite enough to do to take care of themselves. It was also the right time, in one sense, to visit London. The King was juggling the Dissenters, and the Mayor harassing the Quakers and Baptists, and the Cabinet hatching the Act of Uniformity. Thinking men were thus upon the alert to learn from the persecutions in the country, what more might be expected in town. Henry Adis (a Free. Will Baptist, as he calls himself,) was also preparing his THUNDER against the City Magistrates, and especially against Alderman Brown, in a pamphlet entitled “ Thunder to Brown the Mayor, by one of the Sons of Zion, become a Boanerges.” Altogether Bunyan found
"Fit audience, if few,” to listen to his complaints and appeals against his unjust sen. tence. It was also of importance to him to become acquainted with the few Baptists in London, who maintained open communion. One of these, Henry Jesse, was a man whose talents, learning, and philanthropy, would have given additional weight to any good cause. Bunyan knew this, and defended himself with Jesse's weapons, when the strict Baptists assailed him. This was wormwood to his opponents : for all these churches knew that Jesse was a convert to immersion, to boast of; because he had prepared a new translation of the Scriptures, and was the almoner of the poor Jews in Jerusalem, as well as the most influential minister of the denomination.
Thus, although hazardous, it was not rash in Bunyan to visit London, whilst his jailor allowed him to be a prisoner at large. He won friends there, who, although they could not deliver him, appreciated him, and became both the means and the medium of bringing him before the world as an author. In. deed, but for them, it is impossible to see how his first works in prison could have been published to his advantage, or even published at all. He had no money, and his fellow-prisoners had no influence with the trade; and thus, instead of pointing old truths with pure Saxon, or setting “ apples of gold in frames of silver,” he must have continued as he began, to tag stay. laces with old brass, had not his London friends interfered.
With these ultimate consequences of Bunyan's visit to London before us, it is not difficult to excuse his jailor's dereliction of official duty. Even Dr. Southey says, “ He had fortunately a friend in the jailor.” But did not the jailor betray the trust confided to him, and Bunyan sin in accepting freedom ? Now the former certainly went far beyond all the discretionary power which law or custom allowed to jailors. He did not, however, stretch his prerogative farther in Bunyan's favour, than the judges strained theirs against Bunyan. If he vio. lated his office by favouring him, they violated theirs by insulting him. The judges went as far beyond law when the prisoner was at the bar, as the jailor stopt short of the law when the prisoner was condemned. Thus one extreme begat another. Undue severity, on the part of the judges, produced an excess of leniency in the jailor.
But the man deserves to be acquitted as well as excused. He was paying both King and Law a high compliment, in taking for granted that they were more equitable than Keeling and Twisdon. Charles had made promises, and issued proclamations, in favour of Nonconformists, which it was the jailor's duty to believe, until they were revoked ; and they were not revoked when he mitigated Bunyan's sentence. That sen. tence was in the very teeth of the royal proclamations, and thus it tacitly called the King a liar and a hypocrite : an ima plication which, however true, the jailor had no reason to be. lieve at the time. Thus he had no alternative but to disobey the judges, or give the lie direct to the King. He preferred the former until the King gave the lie to himself.
There is, I am aware, special pleading in this argument. Be it so! It is thus one of the many proofs furnished by ex. perience, that it is impossible to revere the majesty of law, when the administration of justice is either cruel or insulting. In Bunyan's case, an honest man could no more blame the jailor, than he could praise the judges ; for his departure from the letter of the law appears a virtue in the presence of their outrages against the spirit of the law.
I once thought, judging from the lengths which the jailor ventured to go, that he must have made up his mind to lose his situation rather than enforce iniquitous sentences. It was, however, only in Bunyan's case that he dared any thing ; although there were other prisoners equally innocent. He was, however, kind to them all; and peculiarly so to Bunyan, even after he could not allow him to ramble. His confidence in him at first was almost superstitious. " It being known to some of the persecuting prelates,” says Ivimey, “ that Bunyan was often out of prison, they sent down an officer to talk with the jailor on the subject; and in order to find him out, he was to arrive there in the middle of the night. Bunyan was at home with his family ; but so restless that he could not sleep. He therefore told his wife that he must return immediately. He did so, and the jailor blamed him for coming in at so unreasonable an hour. Early in the morning the messenger came, and said, “Are all the prisoners safe? Yes.' • Is John Bunyan safe?' “Yes.' Let me see him.' He was called and appeared, and all was well. After the messenger left, the jailor said to Bunyan, · Well, you may go out again when you think proper; for you know when to return, better than I can tell you.'”
Bunyan's return from London did not end so well. His visits among the Baptists excited suspicion ; because some of that body were Fifth Monarchy men, or such extravagant Mila lenarians, that the whole body was singled out to be watched with unwinking jealousy. Bunyan was, therefore, soon discovered, whilst moving to and fro amongst them, and soon re. ported to the government as a conspirator from the country, in league with them. Accordingly, another Venner's insurrection was suspected by the weak—and wished for by the strong. Both the hope and the fear ended, however, in the closer confinement of Bunyan, when he returned to Bedford : for he went back. The fact seems to be, that he had moved about in Lon.. don, as he well might, with such an air of innocence and sime plicity, that even informers could not get up a charge against him which would have satisfied even Alderman Brown, although the comedians of the day were in the habit of saying, that the devil had just ceased to be black, and had become BROWN. It surprised Bunyan, therefore, as well as pained him, to find on his return, that close imprisonment awaited him. He had not anticipated this result, as he walked back. He had, indeed, pleased himself with the fond hope of being much with his fa. mily, and often amongst his flock, to cheer both with his presence, and to encourage them by the promises of sympathy he had received in the metropolis. No wonder, therefore, that he exclaimed, when his jailor told him, as he entered the prison, that he must no longer look out at the door, “God knows it is. a slander, that I went to London to make or plot an insurrection, or to sow divisions.” He felt keenly for the jailor also. “My enemies," he says, “ were so angry, that they had almost cast my jailor out of his place; threatening to indict him, and to do what they could against him.”
All this, however, neither alienated nor alarmed the Jailor, so as to render him indifferent about Bunyan. He could no longer let him slip out of prison; but he did all he could to obtain a fair hearing for him at the next Assizes, although that “right Judas," Cobb, was opposed to him. Bunyan's account of this is very characteristic. “ Because I had a desire to come be. fore the Judge in 1662, I desired my Jailor to put my name into the calender among FELONS, and made friends of the Judge and High Sheriff, who promised that I should be called ; so that I thought what I had done might have been effectual for the obtaining of my desire : but all was in vain ; for when the assizes came, though my name was in the calendar, and also though both the judge and sheriff had promised that I should appear before them, yet the justices and the clerk of the peace, did so work it about, that I, notwithstanding, was deferred, and was not suffered to appear: and although I say, I do not know of all their carriages towards me, yet this I know, that the clerk of the peace (Mr. Cobb) did discover himself to be one of my greatest opposers : for, first he came to my Jailor, and told him that I must not go down before the judge, and therefore must not be put into the calendar. To whom my Jailor said, that my name was in already. He bid him put it out again : my Jailor told him that he could not : for he had given the judge a calendar with my name in it, and also the sheriff another. At which he was very much displeased, and desired to see that calendar that was yet in my Jailor's hand, who, when he had given it him, he looked on it, and said it was a false calendar ; he also took the calendar and blotted out my accusation, as my Jailor had written it. (Which accusation I cannot tell what it was, because it was so blotted out.) And he himself put in words to this purpose : • That John Bunyan was committed to prison ; being lawfully convicted for uphold. ing of unlawful meetings and conventicles, &c.' But yet for all this, fearing that what he had done, unless he added thereto, it would not do, he first ran to the clerk of the assizes ; then to the justices, and afterwards, because he would not leave any means unattempted to hinder me, he came again to my Jailor, and told him, that if I did go down before the judge, and