« PreviousContinue »
he was only inferior to Newton; but his mind was too early preoccupied, not to say absorbed, by mathematical studies, for him afterwards to acquire that peculiar delicacy of tact, essential to the successful contemplation of moral phe
I shall conclude these few remarks, by noticing a memorable observation of Dr. Barrow, which will serve to characterise at once the intellectual and the moral constitution of his mind. It is, that "A strait line is the shortest in morals as well as in geometry."
JOHN BUNYAN, the well-known author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was born at Elstow, within a mile of Bedford, 1628. His origin was very humble, his father being a tinker; in which occupation himself was also brought up. In his early years he seemed to manifest an inherent depravity, and was particularly addicted to cursing and swearing. But being reclaimed (as he says himself) by a voice from heaven, he began to read the Scriptures with great zeal, and soon became as remarkable for enthusiastic piety as he had been before for vulgar profaneness. In the year 1671, he became pastor of a Calvinistic congregation at Bedford. He died at the age of sixty, in 1688.
The most complete edition of Bunyan's works is that of Mr. George Whitefield, in two volumes folio, 1767; and the most considerable pieces in this collection are:
1, Grace abounding to the chief of Sinners, in a faithful account of the Life of John Bunyan.
2. The Doctrine of the Law and Grace unfolded, or a Discourse touching the Law and Grace.
3. The Pilgrim's Progress, in two parts, 4. The Jerusalem Sinner saved.
5. The Heavenly Footman; or a Description of the Man that gets to Heaven. Together with the Way he runs in, the Marks he goes by. Also some directions how to run so as to obtain.
6. Solomon's Temple spiritualized.
7. A Discourse upon the Pharisee and Pub lican.
8. The Life and Death of Mr. Badman. It is in the form of dialogue; and contains the different stages of a wicked man's life, and an account of his miserable death.
9. The Barren Fig-tree; or, the Doom and Downfall of the fruitless Professor.
10. One Thing is Needful; or, Serious Me
ditations upon the four last things, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell,
10. The Holy War, made by Shaddai upon Diabolus, for regaining the Metropolis of the World; or the losing and taking again of the Town of Mansoul.
12. A Discourse of the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
13. Christian Behaviour, being the Fruits of true Christianity.
14. A Discourse touching Prayer.
15. The Strait Gate; or great Difficulty of going to Heaven.
16. The Holy City, or New Jerusalem. 17. Divine Emblems.
In the Heavenly Footman, (article the fifth) is the following curious passage:
They that will have heaven, they must run for it; because the devil, the law, sin, death, and hell, fol loweth them. There is never a poor soul that is go ing to heaven, but the devil, the law, sin, death, and hell, make after that soul. The devil your adversary, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour. And I will assure you the devil is nimble; he can run apace; he is light of foot; he hath overtaken many; he hath turned up their heels,
and hath given them an everlasting fall. Also the law can shoot a great way; have a care thou keep out of the reach of those great guns, the ten commandments.
Bunyan complains of being grievously calumniated.
What the devil (says he,) could devise, and his instruments invent, was whirled up and down the country against me, thinking that by that means they should make my ministry to be abandoned. It began, therefore, to be rumoured up and down, among the people, that I was a witch, a jesuit, a highwayman, and the like. To all which I shall only say, God knows that I am innocent. But that which was reported with the boldest confidence, was, that I had my misses, my whores, my bastards, yea, two wives at once, and the like. Now these slanbecause but slan
ders, with the other, I glory in,
ders, foolish or knavish lies, and falsehoods, cast upon me by the devil and his seed. And should I not be dealt with thus wickedly by the world, I should want one sign of a saint, and a child of God, Matt. v. 10, 11. My foes have missed their mark in this their shooting at me. I am not the man. I wish that they themselves be guiltless. If all the fornicators and adulterers in England were hanged