John Bunyan (November 1628 – August 1688) was born in England-based Bedfordshire’s Elstow. This evangelical Baptist preacher is famous as the writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Published in 1678, this book was the most distinguishing expression of the Puritan religious point of view.
Early Life of John Bunyan
John Bunyan was the son of Margaret Bentley and Thomas Bunyan. He pursued his tinsmith father’s trade. As he carried on with life as a wandering peddler, first while accompanying his father and then by himself, John Bunyan met many people. He talked to them and keenly studied the countryside and its ways. He stored these observations in his memory, which he found pretty valuable when he started writing. He was able to recall graphic details of characters, scenes, and conversations.
Young Bunyan was lucky to get a chance to go to school, despite living in somewhat lonely countryside. Though he didn’t get much schooling, it at least taught him to read and write. John Bunyan always counted his education as one of his utmost blessings. He grew up in an era when schooling of any type was typically out of the reach of the poor. When most Englishmen used to be illiterate, Bunyan was indeed blessed to be able to read and write. This ability later opened doors to an entirely new world for him.
John Bunyan soon rebelled against God and enrolled in Cromwell’s New Model Army as a teenager. He carried on with his defiant ways. On one occasion, his life was miraculously saved when a fellow soldier took his position at the siege of Leicester. A musket bullet hit that man’s head and caused his immediate death.
Though his military service was mostly uneventful, it paved the way for Bunyan to connect with the Cromwell’s army’s left-wing sects’ irate religious life. He came in contact with the preaching captains, and those seekers, quakers, and ranters who had started questioning all religious authority, excluding that of the individual conscience. This ambiance helped Bunyan become familiar with the principal line of thoughts of the Puritan sects. These religious sects believed that striving for religious truth was synonymous with a determined personal search, depending on free grace revealed to the person, and denouncing all types of public organization.
John Bunyan’s Marriage
Three years later, Bunyan was discharged from the army. In 1648, he got married to a God-fearing woman. His wife brought two books as dowry – Arthur Dent’s The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and Lewis Bayly’s The Practice of Piety. Reading these books convinced John Bunyan of his sin. As a result, he tried to reform his life. But he recognized he was lost without Christ. In 1651, he was introduced to John Gifford, a pastor in Bedford. He was a nonconformist minister who was influential in directing Bunyan to repentance and faith.
In that same year, John Bunyan moved to Bedford with his family, consisting of his wife and four children. He was baptized in 1653 by immersion in the River Ouse. He was then appointed a deacon of Gifford’s church, and his testimony was used to help convert many people. By 1655, John Bunyan was preaching to a variety of Bedford congregations, and people came to hear him in large numbers. Bunyan had an unmatched power to touch people’s hearts, which was evident in hundreds of people who came to listen to his words.
In the subsequent years, Bunyan started publishing books and soon established himself as a highly regarded Puritan writer. Unfortunately, the death of his first wife occurred around this time. In 1659, John Bunyan remarried Elizabeth. She became her husband’s strong supporter during his imprisonments. Bunyan was arrested in 1660 for preaching without King Charles II’s official permission and had to spend the following 12.5 years in Bedford County Gaol.
Despite suffering a lot during his time in prison, John Bunyan wrote extensively. In 1672, he was released and started working as a pastor in Bedford. After spending some productive years of ministry, he was imprisoned again in March 1675 for preaching publicly sans a license. During this captivity, he started the first part of his most celebrated book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. This book was finally published in 1678 and went on to sell more than 100,000 copies in its initial ten years in print.
The Pilgrim’s Progress
This allegorical story, which describes John Bunyan’s conversion process, became instantaneously popular with every social class. Every English household that had a Bible also owned this celebrated allegory. Ultimately, it became the bestselling book (except for the Bible) in publishing history.
Despite his other works, John Bunyan is best remembered for The Pilgrim’s Progress. By the time he was 59, Bunyan had become one of England’s most eminent writers. He continued his pastoring duties and died in London in 1688. If you are looking for John Bunyan Antique Bibles & Rare Bible, Visit the world’s most unusual gift-shop today at GreatSite.com.