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The subscriber has been requested by his friend the Rev. Jeremiah Chaplin, the worthy son of an honored father,* and the editor of the present selections from Bunyan, to attach to them some prefatory remarks. Needless as he feels it himself to be, and presumptuous as, to some, the attempt even may seem, to say aught in behalf of a work that, faithfully drawn as it is from Bunyan's overflowing stores, can require no other recommendation; yet the subscriber could not refuse all compliance with the wishes of one who has given diligent and hearty and appreciating study to the rich and varied remains of 6 the immortal Dreamer.”
Many of the Christians of our time, though conversant with the Pilgrim's Progress, and the Holy WAR, are apparently little aware of the glowing genius, and fervent piety, and strong sense, and picturesque imagery, and racy, vigorous English, that mark the many other writings of the honored tinker of Elstow. These last, if less known than the story of the pilgrimage to the Celestial City, and of the siege and recovery of the good town of Mansoul, yet bear all of them the traces of the same vivid fancy, the same earnest heart, and the same robust
* The late Rev. Dr. Chaplin, the founder and first president of Waterville college, in the state of Maine.
and sanctified intellect. To save from comparative disuse and consequent unprofitableness—from being buried in an undeserved seclusion, if not oblivion, many sparkling truths, and pithy sayings, and pungent rebukes, likely to do great good if they could but have, in our busy day, a more general currency over the wide mart of the world ;-and to bespeak a new circle of influence, and a broader sphere of notoriety and usefulness for these overlooked legacies of a good and great man of a former age, has been the editor's object in the prolonged sifting to which he has subjected all Bunyan's writings. Of that patient and conscientious study the present selection has been the result. It is not hoped, or even wished for them, that in the case of any readers able to give the requisite leisure, these excerpts should supersede the original writings. But these last, in mass, are beyond the means and the time which are at the command of many Christians, who would yet greatly prize the briefer examples of Bunyan's experience and Bunyan's teachings that are here presented. And even to others of more affluence and leisure, this manual may serve to commend the author's works in their entireness. Mr. Chaplin himself would most anxiously disavow any claim to have exhausted the mines from which he brings these gatherings. His specimens resemble rather those laces which the good Bunyan tagged in Bedford jail-not in themselves garments, but merely adjuncts and ornaments of larger fabrics. He who would see the entire wardrobe of the Dreamer's mind, and the shape and proportions of the goodly vestures of truth in which he sought to array himself and his readers, must, after handling these the laces, turn to the robes, from whose edge these have been skilfully detached.
In the character and history of John BUNYAN, the great Head of the church seems to have provided a lesson of special significance, and singular adaptedness, for the men and the strifes of our own time. Born of the people, and in so low a condition, that one of Bunyan's modern reviewers, by a strange mistake, construed Bunyan's self-disparaging admissions to mean that he was the offspring of gypsies—bred to one of the humblest of handicrafts, and having but the scantiest advantages as to fortune or culture, he yet rose, under the blessings of God's word and providence and Spirit, to widest usefulness, and to an eminence that shows no tokens of decline. Down to our own times, the branches of his expanding influence seem daily spreading and extending themselves; and the roots of his earthly renown seem daily shooting themselves deeper, and taking a firmer hold on the judgment of critics and the hearts of the churches. When the English houses of Parliament were recently rebuilt, among the imagery commemorative of the nation's literary glories, a place was voted for the bust of the Bedford pastor, once so maligned and persecuted. Once tolerated by dainty Christians for the sake of his piety, while they apologized for what they deemed his uncouthness; he is now, at last, even from men of the world, who do not value that piety, receiving the due acknowledgment of his rare genius and witching style. It is not many years since Gilpin, an English clergyman of cultivated tastehimself a ready and popular writer-issued an edi. tion of the Pilgrim's Progress, modified, if not rewritten in much of its phraseology, because he deemed the original too rude for usefulness. In our own day, one of the highest authorities as to the graces and powers of our language, the English statesman and scholar, T. B. Macaulay, has pronounced upon that style, which Gilpin by implication so disparaged, the most glowing eulogies. Schools and leisure and wealth are useful, but they are not indispensable either to felicity or to honor. Bunyan lacked them all; and yet in the absence of them achieved greatness-and what is far better, wide and enduring usefulness. No man, with God's exhaustless Scriptures in his hands, and with the rich book of nature and providence open in its pictured radiance before his eyes, needs to have either a dwindling or an impov. erished soul. Of that latter volume, the works of God, as of that former, the word of God, Bunyan was evidently a delighted and unwearied student. His references to birds and insects, flowers and running brooks and evening clouds, and forests and mountains, all show a man whose nature was genially awake to the harmony and beauty of the material world that lay in order and splendor around him. It was, in Bunyan, no mere mimicry caught from books and companions—the echo of any fashion of his times. He writes of what he had seen with his own eyes ; and seems to avoid aiming at aught beyond that. Hence to the ocean, which probably he never thus saw-and which had he beheld it in its placid vastness, or in its stormy wrath, he could not well have
forgotten-his writings contain, as far as we remember, no allusions, in all the varied and exuberant imagery which they employ. His books, more than those of his more learned contemporaries, Richard Baxter, and John Owen, that "mighty armor-bearer of the truth," as Bunyan happily calls him, were written exclusively from the resources of his own personal observation. And, in consequence of this, they have the freshness and odors of the outer world pervading them—scents and sounds of the highways along which, in the trampings of his trade, he had plodded, and of the hedges that had shaded him. To use the language of the patriarch's benediction, they have “ THE SMELL OF A FIELD WHICH The Lord HATH BLESSED. His books are, like Walton's Angler, of the open air, and the purling streams. You catch, back of the good man's Bible, as he reverently ponders and commends it, glimpses of rural landscapes, and of open skies-God's beautiful world, still lovely, even though sin has marred it. Like the Sermon on the Mount, Bunyan's page has the traits of fieldpreaching. And it was so, also, in his references to the inner world of his own heart. He wrote not from the dried specimens of earlier collectors from the shrivelled and rustling leaves of some old herbary--from the philosophy and metaphysical analysis of other men's emotions, so much as from the glowing records of his own consciousness and experience, the fruits of grace and plants of righteousness, blooming and fragrant in the watered garden of his own heart. And this dipping of the pencil into his own soul, and into the freshness of nature around