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Woman. No, my lord, said she, it is not so; God hath owned him, and done much good by him.
Twisdon. God! said he; his doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.
Woman. My lord, said she, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known, that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil.
Twisdon. My lord, said he to Judge Hale, do not mind her, but send her away.
Hale. Then, said Judge Hale, I am sorry, woman, that I cannot do thee any good; thou must do one of those three things aforesaid, namely: either to apply thyself to the king, or sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error; but a writ of error will be cheapest.
Woman. At which Chester again seemed to be in a chafe, and put off his hat, and, as she thought, scratched his head for anger; but then I saw, said she, that there was no prevailing to have my husband sent for, though I often desired them that they would send for him, that he might speak for himself, telling them that he could give them better satisfaction than I could, in what they demanded of him, with several other things which now I forget. Only this I remember, that though I was somewhat timorous at my first entrance into the chamber, yet before I went out I could not but break forth into tears, not so much because they were so hard-hearted against me and my husband, but to think what a sad account such poor creatures will have to give at the coming of the Lord, when they shall there answer for all things whatsoever they have done in the body, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
Bunyan's wife was a partaker of his own spirit, a heroine, in this trying situation, of no ordinary stamp. This courageous woman, and Lord Chief Justice Hale, and Bunyan, have long since met in heaven, but how little could they recognize each other's character on earth! How little could the distressed, insulted wife have imagined, that beneath the Judge's ermine there was beating the heart of a child of God, a man of humility, integrity, and prayer! How little could the great, learned, illustrious, and truly pious judge have dreamed, that the man, the obscure tinker, whom he was suffering to languish in prison for want of a writ of error, would one day be the subject of greater admiration and praise, than all the judges in the kingdom of Great Britain! How little could he dream, that from that narrow cell where the prisoner was left incarcerated, and cut off apparently from all usefulness, a glory would shine out, illustrating the government and grace of God, and doing more good to man, than all the prelates and judges in the reign of Charles II. put together had accomplished ! Twelve full years Bunyan remained in this pri
He wrote several works while there, besides the Pilgrim's Progress, among which was a work entitled, “A Confession of my Faith, and a Reason of my
Practice.” In this work, written but a short time before the end of his imprisonment, he makes a more distinct allusion to the sufferings of his incarceration, than he was wont to do. 6 Faith and holiness," says he, “are my professed principles, with an endeavor, so far as in me lieth, to be at peace with all men.
What shall I say? Let mine
enemies themselves be judges, if any thing in these following doctrines, or if aught that any man hath heard me preach, doth or hath, according to the true intent of my words, savored either of heresy or rebellion. I
say again, let they themselves be judges, if aught they find in my writing or preaching, doth render me worthy of almost twelve years imprisonment, or one that deserveth to be hanged, or banished forever, according to their tremendous sentence. But if nothing will do, unless I make my conscience a continual butchery and slaughtershop, unless putting out my own eyes, I commit me to the blind to lead me, as I doubt is desired by some, I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows, rather than thus to violate my faith and principles.”
When John Bunyan was first thrown into prison, he found a great friend in the jailor, through whose kindness his confinement, previous to his last examination, and the petition of his wife, was not at all rigorous. He was permitted to preach, to visit his friends, and even to go to London. It is related of him, that it being known to some of the persecuting prelates 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 un
seasonable 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 made use of his liberty at this time to visit his fellow Christians in London, which, says he,“my enemies hearing of 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. They charged me also that I went thither to plot and raise division, and make insurrection, which, God knows, was a slander ; whereupon my liberty was more straitened than it was before, so that I must not look out of the door.” From this severe imprisonment it was that he wrote his Prison Meditations, dedicated to the heart of suffering saints and reigning sinners. From the character of these stanzas, we should deem it very probable that he had accustomed himself to scribble in verse before his imprisonment, a habit with which he doubtless solaced not a few of the hours in his little cell. Some verses in his meditations upon the four last things, Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell, are not wanting in beauty. His meditation of Heaven sprung from its vivid foretastes.
What gladness shall possess our heart,
When we shall see these things!
Rise like eternal springs !
O, blessed face; 0, holy grace,
When shall we see this day?
We humbly to thee pray.
Thus, when in heavenly harmony
These blessed saints appear,
What gladness will be there!
O, would the day were come!
To this desired home.
Angels we also shall behold,
When we on high ascend,
And on the Lord attend.
Shall stand about the throne,
And shall to us be known.
There cherubim, with one accord,
Continually do cry
And heavenly majesty!
And welcome us to rest,
And of the heavens possest.
Doubtless it was such music in his soul, such visions before him, and such panting desires after heaven, that set him to the composition of the Pilgrim's Progress. He wrote a book of tled, “Divine Emblems, or Temporal Things Spiritualized, fitted for the use of Boys and Girls.” Some of them are very beautiful, revealing the true poet; passages there are, which would not dishonor Chaucer or Shakspeare, and which show to what great excellence, as a poet, Bunyan might have attained, had he dedicated himself to the effort. What he wrote, he wrote with the utmost simplicity, and in the same pure, idiomatic language which