« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
bers; and then the sectaries overthrew the Church, put the Primate to death, ejected all the clergy who adhered to their principles, imprisoned some, deported others, and prohibited even the private and domestic use of the Liturgy. The very Baptists of Bunyan's congregation, and at a time too when Bunyan was their pastor, interdicted *a “dearly beloved sister" from communicating with a Church of which her son-in-law was minister, because he was not a Baptist; and they excluded † a brother," because in a great assembly of the Church of England he was profanely bishopt, after the antichristian order of that generation, to the great profanation of God's order, and heartbreaking of his Christian brethren." The Independents flogged and hanged the Quakers; and the Quakers prophesied in the gall of bitterness against all other communities, and condemned them to the bottomless pit, in hearty belief and jubilant expectation that the sentence would be carried into full effect by the Devil and his Angels.
It is not known in what manner the attempt at silencing Bunyan was defeated. He tells us that the ignorant and malicious were then stirred up to load him with slanders ; and that whatever the Devil could devise, and his instruments invent, was whirled
up and down the country" against him, thinking that by that means they should make his ministry to be abandoned, It was rumoured that he was a Witch, a Jesuit, a Highwayman : and now it was that the aspersions cast upon his moral character called forth that characteristic vindication of himself which has already been noticed. Equally characteristic, is the appeal which he made to his own manners and deportment. " And in this,” says he, “I admire the wisdom of God, that he made me shy of women from my first conversion until now.
These know, and can also bear me witness, with whom I have been most intimately concerned, that it is a rare thing to see me carry it pleasant towards a woman. The common salutation of women I abhor ; 'tis odious to me in whomsoever I see it. Their company alone I cannot away with!. I seldom so much as touch a woman's hand; for I think these things are not so becoming me. When I have seen good men salute those women that they have * Ivimey, vol. ii. p. 37,
+ Ib. p. 40.
visited, or that have visited them, I have at times made my objection against it; and when they have answered that it was but a piece of civility, I have told them it is not a comely sight. Some indeed have urged the holy kiss; but then I have asked why they made baulks? why they did salute the most handsome, and let the ill-favoured go? Thus how laudable soever such things have been in the eyes of others, they have been unseemly in my sight.”—Dr. Doddridge could not have thus defended himself. But though this passage might have been written by a saint of the monastic calendar, Bunyan was no woman-hater. He had at this time married a second wife ; and that he “carried it pleasant" towards her, appears by her behaviour towards him in his troubles.
These troubles came on a few months only after the Restoration, Bunyan being one of the first persons after that event who was punished for nonconformity. The nation was in a most unquiet state. There was a restless, rancorous, implacable party who would have renewed the civil war, for the sake of again trying the experiment of a Commonwealth, which had so completely and miserably failed when the power was in their hands. They looked to Ludlow as their General; and Algernon Sidney * took the first opportunity of soliciting for them men from Holland and money from France. The political enthusiasts who were engaged in such schemes, counted upon the sectaries for support. Even among the sober sects there were men who at the cost of a rebellion would gladly have again thrown down the Church Establishment, for the hope of setting up their own system during the anarchy that must ensue. Among the wilder, some were eager to proclaim King Jesus, and take possession of the earth as being the Saints to whom it was promised ; and some, (a few years later,) less in hope of effecting their republican projects than in despair and vengeance, conspired to burn London: they were discovered, tried, convicted, and executed ; they confessed their intention; they named the day which had
* Euvres de Louis xiv. T. 2. p. 204. Ludlow's Memoirs. (Edinburgh, 1751.) vol. 3. 151, 156. Ludlow's passport from the Comte d'Estrades, sent him that he might go from Switzerland to Paris, there to confer with Sidney upon this project, is printed in the same volume, p. 157.
been appointed for carrying it into effect, because an astrological scheme had shewn it to be a lucky one for this design; and on that very day the fire of London broke out. In such times the Government was rendered suspicious by the constant sense of danger, and was led, as much by fear as by resentment, to severi. ties which are explained by the necessity of self-defence,-not justified by it, when they fall upon the innocent, or even upon the less guilty.
A warrant was issued against Bunyan as if he had been a dangerous person, because he went about preaching: this office was deemed (and well it might be) incompatible with his calling; he was known to be hostile to the restored Church, and probably it might be remembered that he had served in the Parliament's army. Accordingly, he was arrested at a place called Samsell, in Bedfordshire, at a meeting in a private house. He was aware of this intention, but neither chose to put off the meeting, nor to escape, lest such conduct on his part should make "an ill savour in the country ;” and because he was resolved" to see the utmost of what they could say or do to him :" so he was taken before the Justice, Wingate by name, who had issued the warrant. Wingate asked him why he did not content himself with following his calling, instead of breaking the law; and Bunyan replied, that he could both follow his calling, and preach the word too. He was then required to find sureties : they were ready, and being called in, were told they were bound to keep him from preaching, otherwise their bonds would be forfeited. Upon this Bunyan declared that he would not desist from speaking the word of God. While his mittimus was making in consequence of this determination, one whom he calls an old enemy of the truth, entered into discourse with him, and said he had read of one Alexander the coppersmith who troubled the Apostles,—"aiming 'tis like at me,” says Bunyan, " because I was a tinker; to which I answered, that I also had read of Priests and Pharisees that had their hands in the blood of our Lord.” Aye, was the rejoinder, and you are one of those Pharisees, for you make long prayers to devour widows' houses. “I answered,” says Bunyan, “that if he had got no more by preaching and praying than I had done, he would not be so rich as now he
was.” This ended in his committal to Bedford jail, there to remain till the quarter sessions. He was offered his liberty if he would promise not to call the people together, but no such promise would he make; and when he was told that none but poor, simple, ignorant people came to hear him, he replied, that such had most need of teaching, and therefore it was his duty to go on in that work. It appears, however, that after a few days he listened to his friends, and would have given bond for his appearance at the sessions ; but the magistrate to whom they applied, was afraid take it. “Whereat,” says Bunyan, “ I was not at all daunted, but rather glad, and saw evidently that the Lord had heard me. For before I went down to the Justice, I begged of God, that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty ; but if notHis will be done ; for I was not altogether without hopes but that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in the country: therefore I could not tell which to choose ; only I in that manner did commit the thing to God. And verily at my return I did meet my God sweetly in the prison again, comforting of me, and satisfying of me that it was His will and mind that I should be there."
Some seven weeks after this the sessions were held, and John Bunyan was indicted as a person who “devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to Church to hear divine service, and who was a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom.” He answered, that as to the first part of this, he was a common frequenter of the Church of God: but being demanded whether he attended the parish Church, he replied that he did not, and for this reason, that he was not commanded so to do in the word of God; we were commanded there to pray, but with the spirit, not by the Common Prayer book, the prayers in that book being made by other men, and not by the motion of the Holy Spirit within our own hearts. And as to the Lord's prayer, said he, “there are very few that can, in the Spirit, say the two first words of that prayer; that is, that can call God their Father, as knowing what it is to be born again, and as having experience that they are begotten of the
Spirit of God; which if they do not, all is but babbling." Having persuaded himself by weak arguments, Bunyan used them as if they had been strong ones : “Shew me," he said," the place in the Epistles where the Common Prayer book is written, or one text of scripture that commands me to read it, and I will use it. But yet, notwithstanding, they that have a mind to use it, they have their liberty ; that is, I would not keep them from it. But for our parts, we can pray to God without it. Blessed be his name!” But the sectaries had kept their countrymen from it, while they had the power; and Bunyan himself in his sphere laboured to dissuade them from it.
Men who are called in question for their opinions, may be expected to under or over-state them at such times, according as caution or temerity may predominate in their dispositions. In none of Bunyan's writings does he appear so little reasonable, or so little tolerant, as upon these examinations. He was a brave man;
;-a bold one,-and believed himself to be an injured one, standing up against persecution; for he knew that by his preaching, evident and certain good was done ; but that there was any evil in his way of doing it, or likely to arise from it, was a thought which, if it had arisen in his own mind, he would immediately have ascribed to the suggestion of Satan. Some further disputation ensued: “We were told,” he said, “to exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day;"! but the Justice replied, he ought not to preach. In rejoinder, he offered to prove that it was lawful for him, and such as him, to preach, and quoted the Apostle's words, “ As every man hath received the gift, even so let him minister the same unto another.” Let me a little open that scripture to you, said the magistrate : As every man hath received his gift; that is, as every man hath received a trade, so let him follow it. If any man have received a gift of tinkering, as thou hast done, let him follow his tinkering. And so other men their trades, and the divine his calling.” But John insisted that spiritual gifts were intended in this passage. The magistrate said men might exhort if they pleased in their families, but not otherwise. John answered, “If it were lawful to do good to some, it was lawful to do good to more. If it were a good thing to exhort our families, it was good to exhort others.