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must be equally surprised to find, that hardly one remarkable character, good or bad, or mixed in any manner or proportion imaginable; or one fatal delusion, by-path, or injurious mistake, can be singled out, which may not be paralleled in the PILGRIM'S PROGRESS ; that is, as to the grand outlines ; for the minutiæ, about which bigoted and frivolous minds' waste their zeal and force, are, with very few exceptions, wisely passed over. This circumstance is not only very surprising, but it suggests an argument, perhaps unanswerable, in contirmation of the divine authority of those religious sentiments, which are now often derided under the title of orthodoxy: For every part of this singular book exclusively suits the difierent descriptions of such as profess those doctrines; and relates the experiences, mistakes, falls, recoveries, distresses, temptations, and consolations of serious persons of this class in our own times, as exactly as if it had been penned from the observation of them, and for their immediate benefit; while, like the sacred Scriptures, it remains a sealed book to all who are strangers to evangelical religion.
These remarks may very properly be concluded with the words of a justly admired poet of the present day, who in the following lines has fully sanctioned all that has been here advanced.
"O thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing
COWPER TIROCINIUM, v. 129.
Several persons have already favoured the public with original explanatory notes, of the nature of those here published; but the editor, on mature deliberation, did not think himself precluded by this consideration, from communicating his sentiments on a favourite book, according to a plan he had formed in his own mind. Every man who thinks for himself has his own views of a subject, which often vary, more or less, from the sentiments of others, whom he nevertheless esteems and loves with great cordiality : and the great Head of the Church has intrusted different talents to his servants, to qualify them for usefulness among distinct descriptions of persons. It is indeed incontrovertible, that some men will receive the great truths of Christianity with candour and docility, when exhibited in a style and manner suited to their peculiar taste, who disregard and reject them, when conveyed in language which numbers, perhaps justly, think far more interesting and affecting. It need not, therefore, be apprehended, that the labours of different writers on the same subject should materially interfere with each other : rather we may indulge a hope, that, as far as they accord to the standard of divine truth, they will, in different circles, promote the common cause of vital godliness.
The editor's aim, in this attempt to elucidate the Pilgrim's PROGRESS, is, to give a brief key to the grand outlines of the allegory, from which the attentive reader
may obtain a general idea of the author's design ;-to bestow more pains in fixing the precise meaning of those parts, which might most perplex the inquirer, and which seem to have most escaped the notice, or divided the sentiments, of expositors ;--to state and establish, compendiously but clearly, those doctrinal, practical, and experimental views of Christianity, which Mr. Bunyan meant to convey ; to guard them carefully from those extremes and perversions which he never favoured, but which too frequently increase men's prejudices against them; to delineate the more prominent features of his various characters, with a special reference to the present state of religious profession, distinguishing accurately what he approves, from the defects even of true Pilgrims ; and in fine, to give as just a representation, as may be, of the author's sentiments concerning the right way to heaven, and of the many false ways and bye-paths,
ich prove injurious to all who venture to them, and fatal to unnumbered multitudes. In executing this plan, no inforimation that the editor could procure has been neglected ; but
he does not invariably adhere to the sentiments of any man : and while his dependence is placed, as he hopes, on the promised teaching of the Holy Spirit, he does not think himself authorized to spare any pains, in endeavouring to render the publication acceptable and useful.
The text is printed, as it stands in the oldest editions, which may be supposed to contain the author's own terms, which later editors have frequently modernized. A few obsolete or unclassical words, and unusual phrases, seem to become the character of the Pilgrim; and they are often more emphatical than any which can be substituted in their stead. Some exceptions, however, have been admitted ; as the author, if living, would probably change a very few expressions for such as are less offensive to modern ears ; and in other instances the slips of his pen, while taken up with things of vastly superior importance, would now be mistaken for errors of the press. Great pains have been taken to collate different copies of the work, and to examine every scriptural reference ; in
; order to render this edition, in all respects, as correct as possible.—The editor has the satisfaction of adding, that he has been favoured by Mrs. Gurney, Holborn, with the use of the second edition of the First Part of the PILGRIM, by which he has been enabled to correct many errors of subsequent editions. The author's marginal references seemed so essential a part of the work, that it was deemed indispensably requisite to insert them in their places. But as the marginal notes do not appear to convey any material instruction distinct from that contained in the text, and to be principally useful in pointing out any passage, to which the reader might wish to refer; it was thought most advisable to omit them, and to supply their place by a running title on the top of every page, conveying as nearly as possible the same ideas : for, indeed, they so incumber the page, and break in upon the uniformity of printing, that all hope of elegance must be precluded while they are retained.
Mr. Bunyan prefaced each part of the Pilgrim's PROGRESS with a copy of verses : but as his poetry does not suit the taste of these days, and is by no means equal to the work itself, it hath been deemed expedient to omit them. That prefixed to the First Part is entitled “The Author's Apology for his Book ; in which he informs the reader that he was unawares drawn into the allegory, when employed about another work; that the further he proceeded, the more rapidly
did ideas flow into his mind; and this induced him to form it into a separate book; and that, showing it to his friends,
• Some said, “ John, print it,' others said, 'Not so ;'
Some said, It might do good ;' others said, 'No.' The public will not hesitate in determining which opinion was the result of the deeper penetration ; but will wonder that a long apology for so valuable a publication should have been deemed necessary. This was, however, the case ; and the author, having solidly, though rather verbosely, answered several objections, and adduced some obvious arguments in very unpoetical rhymes, concludes with these lines, which may serve as a favourable specimen of the whole :--
• Would'st thou divert thyself from melancholy?
The poem prefixed to the Second Part, in a kind of dialogue between the author and his book, is still less interesting ; and serves to show, that he had a more favourable opinion of its comparative merit, than posterity has formed ; which is no
i singular case.—Some verses are likewise found at the bottom of certain plates that accompanied several of the old editions, which they, who omit the plates, or substitute others, know not where to insert. To show all regard, however, to every thing that Mr. BUNYAN wrote, as a part of the work, they will be found in the notes on the incidents to wbich they refer,
THE celebrated author of the Pilgrim's ProGRESS was born, A. D. 1628, at Elstow, a small village near Bedford. His father earned his bread by the low occupation of a tinker; but he Lore a fair character, and took care that his son, whom he brought up to the same business, should be taught to read and write. We are told, indeed, that he quickly forgot all he had learned, through his extreme profligacy: yet it is probable, that he retained so much as enabled him to recover the rest, when his mind became better disposed ; and that it was very useful to him in the subsequent part of his life.
The materials, from which an account of this valuable man must be compiled, are so scanty and imperfect, that nothing very satisfactory must be expected. He seems from his earliest youth to have been greatly addicted to gross vice as well as impiety: yet he was interrupted in his course by continual alarms and convictions, which were sometimes peculiarly overwhelming; but they hail no other effect at the time, than to extort from him the most absurd wishes that can be imagined. A copious narrative of these early conflicts and crimes is contained in a treatise published by himself, under the title of Grace abounding to the chief of Sinners.
During this part of his life, he was twice preserved from the most imminent danger of drowning : and being a soldier in the parliament's army at the siege of Leicester, A. D. 1645, he was drawn out to stand sentinel ; but one of his comrades, having by his own desire taken his place, was shot through the head on his post; and thus BUNYAN was reserved by the all-disposing hand of God for better purposes. He seems, however, to have made progressive advances in wickedness, and to have become the ringleader of youth in every kind of profaneness and excess.
His career of vice received a considerable check, in consequence of his marriage with the daughter of a person who had been very religious in his way, and remarkably bold in reproving vice, but who was then dead. His wife's discourse to him concerning her father's piety, excited him to go regularly to church: and as she brought him, for her whole portion, The Practice of Piety, and The plain Man's Pathway to Heaven, he employed himself frequently in reading these books.
The events recorded of our author are so destitute of dates, and regard to the order in which they happened, that no clear arrangement can now be made of them: but it is probable that this new attention to religion, though ineffectual to the reformation of his conduct, rendered him more susceptible of convictions; and his vigorous imagination, at that time altogether untutored by knowledge or discretion, laid him open to a variety of impressions, sleeping and waking, which he verily supposed to arise from words spoken to him, or objects presented before his bodily senses; and he never after was able to break the association of ideas which was thus formed in his mind. Accordingly he says, that one day when he was