The Life of John Bunyan by Edmund Venables


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Life of John Bunyan, by Edmund Venables

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Life of John Bunyan

Author: Edmund Venables

Release Date: April 21, 2005 [eBook #1037]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1888 Walter Scott edition by David Price, email

by Edmund Venables, M.A.


John Bunyan, the author of the book which has probably passed through
more editions, had a greater number of readers, and been translated into
more languages than any other book in the English tongue, was born in the
parish of Elstow, in Bedfordshire, in the latter part of the year 1628,
and was baptized in the parish church of the village on the last day of
November of that year.

The year of John Bunyan's birth was a momentous one both for the nation
and for the Church of England. Charles I., by the extorted assent to the
Petition of Right, had begun reluctantly to strip himself of the
irresponsible authority he had claimed, and had taken the first step in
the struggle between King and Parliament which ended in the House of
Commons seating itself in the place of the Sovereign. Wentworth (better
known as Lord Strafford) had finally left the Commons, baffled in his
nobly-conceived but vain hope of reconciling the monarch and his people,
and having accepted a peerage and the promise of the Presidency of the
Council of the North, was foreshadowing his policy of "Thorough," which
was destined to bring both his own head and that of his weak master to
the block. The Remonstrance of Parliament against the toleration of
Roman Catholics and the growth of Arminianism, had been presented to the
indignant king, who, wilfully blinded, had replied to it by the promotion
to high and lucrative posts in the Church of the very men against whom it
was chiefly directed. The most outrageous upholders of the royal
prerogative and the irresponsible power of the sovereign, Montagu and
Mainwaring, had been presented, the one to the see of Chichester, the
other--the impeached and condemned of the Commons--to the rich living
Montagu's consecration had vacated. Montaigne, the licenser of
Mainwaring's incriminated sermon, was raised to the Archbishopric of
York, while Neile and Laud, who were openly named in the Remonstrance as
the "troublers of the English Israel," were rewarded respectively with
the rich see of Durham and the important and deeply-dyed Puritan diocese
of London. Charles was steadily sowing the wind, and destined to reap
the whirlwind which was to sweep him from his throne, and involve the
monarchy and the Church in the same overthrow. Three months before
Bunyan's birth Buckingham, on the eve of his departure for the
beleaguered and famine-stricken city of Rochelle, sanguinely hoping to
conclude a peace with the French king beneath its walls, had been struck
down by the knife of a fanatic, to the undisguised joy of the majority of
the nation, bequeathing a legacy of failure and disgrace in the fall of
the Protestant stronghold on which the eyes of Europe had been so long
anxiously fixed.

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