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JOHN BUNYAN

1628-1688
English

"If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot. "

John Bunyan was born on 28th November 1628 in Harrowden, England. John was probably educated at his father's house, possibly with other poor country boys, but in his writings he refers to his days in school so it is possible that he also spent some time at the school in Houghton Conquest. Either way, his later writings demonstrate a high degree of literacy.

Like his father, he chose a job 'on the road', by adopting the trade of Tinker. This was a fairly skilled but lowly occupation. The tinker's trade was a respected one - few people could afford to purchase new pots when old ones became holed, so pots would need to be frequently mended. Unfortunately, the semi-nomadic nature of their life lead to tinkers being regarded by some in the same poor light as gypsies.

During 1644–1647 John served at Newport Pagnell garrison  as the civil war was nearing the end of the first stage. He was saved from death by a fellow soldier who volunteered to go into battle in his place and was killed while walking sentry duty. In 1649, when he was about 21, he moved into a cottage on Elstow High Street and in 1650 married a young woman, whose name is not known.

John Bunyan had an open mind to all who had biblical faith in Jesus Christ, but was opposed to those who caused divisions over the form and time of baptism. The first recorded assertion that Bunyan was a Baptist appears to come much later, as repeated by a Dr Armitage in 1887 from an anonymous source supposedly around 1690, after John's death.

In January of 1661 he was incarcerated for the crimes of "pertinaciously abstaining" from attending mandatory Anglican church services and preaching at "unlawful meetings". It was during this time that he conceived his allegorical novel: The Pilgrim's Progress. At one time, The Pilgrim's Progress was considered the most widely read and translated book in the English language - apart from the Bible. The charm of the work, which gives it wide appeal, lies in the interest of a story in which the intense imagination of the writer makes characters, incidents, and scenes alike, live in the imagination of his readers as things actually known and remembered by themselves. Its touches of tenderness and quaint humour, as well as its bursts of heart-moving eloquence, and pure, idiomatic English, also contribute to its general appeal.

As he was riding to London from Reading to resolve a disagreement between a father and a son, he caught a cold and developed a fever. He died at the house of his friend, John Strudwick, a grocer and chandler on Snow Hill in Holborn Bridge on 31 August 1688.

TITLES BY JOHN BUNYAN

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