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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WHITEFIELD; THE EXPERIMENTAL GUIDES, &c.
Though thou hast “lien amongst the pots, yet shalt thou be as
GEORGE VIRTUE, 26, IVY LANE.
FOREIGNERS have long wondered, that a century and a half should have passed away without producing a Life of Bunyan. We ourselves can hardly explain this anomaly in our biographical literature. It has certainly not arisen, however, from any national indifference to Bunyan. Perhaps, the real reason is, that we identify him with his Pilgrim : for CHRISTIAN is, in one sense, as Montgomery has well said, “ a whole-length Portrait of the Author himself.” We thus feel that we can know nothing better of Bunyan; and therefore we let our curiosity fall asleep. And yet, it ought to occur to us, that he was not likely to tell all the best, concerning himself, even in an Allegory; for he was as modest as he was frank. Besides, his Pilgrim never writes Books, nor preaches Sermons; and thus neither the literary nor the ministerial life of Bunyan has any place in the Allegory. In like manner, neither Doubting Castle, nor the Cage at Vanity Fair, is any emblem of his own imprisonment in Bedford Jail.
These considerations would have weighed with the public, and even led to a demand for a real Life of Bunyan, long ago, had not every new biographical Sketch, repeated merely the old facts. This repressed curiosity; especially when neither Dr. Southey nor Mr. Conder added any thing to the old facts, but new and beautiful forms. Even Mr. Ivimey, the historian of the Baptists, made but few discoveries, although he threw some valuable lights upon both “the Pilgrim” and “Grace Abounding.
There is neither censure nor sarcasm in these remarks. No one, perhaps, who had only a literary purpose to answer, would have
prepared an Ark for the saving” of Bunyan's Remains : whereas, the Author of this Volume had to complete the design of his
Experimental Guides for the Perplexed and Doubting,” by an explanation of the wonderful and mysterious experience of John