图书图片
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

And after all these cares, that beautifully printed volume is full of errors.

It must be allowed that Mr. Southey was at a vast distance from the press, and that not having the great advantage of consulting the original editions, he had to weigh the various readings. Finding “ Heman” one of the Lord's champions in Heptinstall's edition, changed for Haman in another, and then to Mordecai in a third, he unfortunately preferred the last to the true reading of Bunyan, who had named as the champion the humble unassuming Psalmist Heman.

The edition now presented to the Society is carefully corrected from Bunyan's first copy, which is followed literally, in the orthography, capitals, italics, and punctuation. Every omission or alteration that the author made during his life is noted, as well as the edition in which such alterations first appeared. Where the author in the second part refers to the first his figures are retained, but a reference is added to this edition in parenthesis. All the original wood-cuts are accurately copied by that very excellent and worthy artist, Mr. Thomas Gilks, of Fenchurch Buildings. Every reference has been proved, and where there appeared an evident typographical error it is corrected ; but in all such cases the alteration is noted at the foot of the page. Restored to its original state, the reader will find that the colloquial Saxon-English used by John Bunyan is by far the best medium through which his narrative can be told.

The great popular error, with regard to this extraordinary book, has been a notion that no unlettered man, from his own resources, however fertile, could have written it; more especially while shut up in a prison. Let every reader impartially examine the evidence produced in the Introduction, proving that the Pilgrim's Progress was written in prison, and that no sentence or idea was borrowed in its composition : coming to this conclusion, then must he be deeply affected with the consideration that divine teaching, aided by the bible alone, performed that which all previous human learning, however profound, had been unable to accomplish. We may safely conclude that all the author's trials, and sufferings, and deep experience, were intended to fit him for this important work, which no man, fettered with conventional or educational trammels, could have effected.

If the editor has been severe upon a system of compulsory ceremonies, which has ever entailed misery upon all countries

[ocr errors]

1

Southey's Edition, p. 170. Heptinstall, 163. Hanserd Knollys Society, 156.

in which it has existed, he pleads his conscientious indignation while reviewing the cruelties practised upon our pilgrim forefathers, and among them upon the high-minded, unflinching, honourable author of the Pilgrim's Progress; who was dragged from the arms of an affectionate family, incarcerated in a damp prison situated upon the bed of a river for nearly thirteen years, and threatened with an ignominious death, for holding and frequenting assemblies for religious worship, sanctioned by the authority of Jesus Christ, but prohibited by Acts of Parliament. The Jews crucified the Saviour, pagans tormented by cruel deaths his disciples, and all state religionists, whether popish or protestant, have offered up to the Moloch UNIFORMITY their holocaust of human victims. Even under the Commonwealth certain tryers were empowered to deprive ungodly, imbecile, traitorous priests, or pluralists, of their livings,—a power which should exist only in the churches under their ministry. Many who have written of Bunyan and his trials have restrained their feelings because these cruelties were perpetrated under the sanction of law. Did Danielor the Hebrew youths temporise when violation of unholy laws subjected them to the lions' den or fiery furnace? If such writers were called upon by law to worship Mahomet, and deny Christ, would they obey? If required to give up their children as a burnt sacrifice, would they obey ? Does God require us with our spirits to obey him, rather than man when human laws trench upon the divine prerogatives ? Dare we hesitate ? Who is to judge ? Who can judge ? But the individual whose naked soul must answer for itself, before the judgment-seat of God. Those who seek the yoke of the state merely to aid them in obtaining wealth and honour, under the pretext of curing souls, have ignorantly spoken of dissenters with contempt—and shall not the Christian be faithful to them? We are bound by our allegiance to Christ to seek peace with all men ; but we are equally bound to be faithful when dealing with the systems of the oppressor ; more especially when he appears as a “man black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe.” 1 Our controversy is not with individuals, many of whom are worthy our highest esteem, but who submit to a system, which, in our opinion is opposed to the spread of Christianity. The weapons of our warfare, are not rates, tithes, fines, imprisonments, tortures, or death ; but are spiritual, and able to pull down those strongholds which defy all the carnal weapons that ever were or can be invented.

Pilgrini's Progress, p. 139.

1

If any of my observations are too harsh upon a gentleman who appears publicly to dispute the veracity of Bunyan, and that of his personal and pious friends, I shall regret having made them. But a doubt as to the truthfulness of such a man could not pass unnoticed, and more especially when such doubts had not the slightest foundation in evidence.

My most serious apology is due to the subscribers for so long an Introduction. This apology cannot be made in fewer words than those of Bunyan :

If that thou wilt not read, let it alone.” The great object of exhibiting a correct text has been attained. Ilow far the Introduction may dissipate doubts as to where the Dream was written, or show the school in which the author was trained to compose his immortal Allegory, the reader must judge.

Much yet may be discovered to throw additional light upon this interesting subject : every new fact increases the fame of the humble unassuming author of the Pilgrim's Progress.

To a host of kind and obliging friends I am deeply indebted ; to name them all would occupy too much space, but some of these acts of kindness must be personally acknowledged. :-To R. S. Holford, Esq., for the use of the first edition ; to W. B. Gurney, Esq., for the second ; to Mr. Leslie, for the third ; to the executors of my late friend Lea Wilson, Esq. ; to R. B. Sherring, Esq., Bristol

; to W. Vines, Esq., Leather-sellers' Hall ; to Joshua Wilson, Esq., Highbury ; to the Rev. J. H. M. Luxmoore ; the

2 Rev. R. Philip ; Mr. H. Althans, jun.; Mr. Thos. Rodd, and to Mr. Lilley, for the use of rare books. To Sir G. Grey, and to Charles Lechmere, Esq., for the liberal use of the State Papers; to J. B. Lennard, Esq., for extracts from the registers of the Privy Council. To Mr. Bowden and the Society of Friends for access to the royal pardon, and other documents in the archives at Devonshire House; and in common with the whole Christian community, I am under the greatest obligation to Dr. Cheever, for his admirable Lectures on the Pilgrim's Progress.

GEORGE OFFOR.

[graphic]

BEDFORD GAOL.-Situated over the middle of the river Ouse, in which John Bunyan wrote the wondrous DREAM. This Prison was pulled down in 1765: the View was taken in 1761.

INTRODUCTION.

Art thou for something rare, and profitable?
Wouldst thou see a Truth within a Fable ?
Art thou forgetful? wouldst thou remember
From New-year’s-day to the last of December?
Then read my fancies, they will stick like Burs.

BUNYAN'S A POLOGY FOR his Book.

a

THE progress of a human being,-possessed of an immortal soul, beset by spiritual foes of deepest subtilty, travelling through an enemy's country,—from its entrance upon the responsible duties of this world, until death ushers it into an eternal existence, either of exquisite happiness or awful misery, is happily represented by a pilgrimage.

The patriarch felt this when he bowed before Pharaoh, and said, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are . . . few

, and evil. I have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” 1

1 Gen, xlvii. 9.

.

David sang the statutes of the Lord in the house of his pilgrimage. And after the lapse of ages, when the volume of inspiration was about to close, the inspired apostles continued the simile, “and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”3 “I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts ;"4 “ See then that ye walk circumspectly;”; “So run that ye may obtain.”6 These are

5 instructions that reach every Christian convert in all ages throughout the world. We are warned to be sober, and to be vigilant; because our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.? “He shall

7 “ cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”8

All mankind are pilgrims : all are hastening through this world. The Christian willingly considers that his life is a journey, because he is seeking a better country; but the greater multitude are anxious to forget that this life is a preparation for futurity; and they shudder when approaching the brink of the grave. Although perpetual examples warn them that suddenly, at a moment when they least expect the fatal catastrophe, it may befall them ; still, as if infatuated, they make no inquiry of the Holy Oracles, but take the miserable counsel of “Worldly-Wiseman," to seek a refuge in lies, which death will terribly sweep away; or they wholly neglect any preparation for so important and certain, if not sudden, an event.

on the advance; time hurries on those whose pilgrimage is limited to the foul but fascinating streets of the “ City of Destruction,” to their eternal doom; while those who receive the Christian calling press on in the narrow and difficult path that leads to the heavenly Jerusalem.

To cordense the instructions given in the inspired writings into a map of the road, a guide or hand-book to the Celestial City, a help to Zion's travellers, and a faithful warning to the votaries who crowd the broad road to ruin, was a labour

All are

[ocr errors]

2 Ps. cxix. 54.
61 Cor. i.x 24.

3 Heb, xi. 13.
7 1 Pet. y. 8.

4 1 Pet. ii. 11.
* Rev, ü. 10.

5 Eph. v. 15.

« 上一页继续 »