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Ew books have been fo generally received, or have paffed through fo many editions, as the Pilgrim's Progrefs, written by John Bunyan, who was once a tinker in the town. of Bedford, but afterwards a very laborious,, faithful, and able minifter of the New Teftament, and was confined in Bedford jail above twelve years for nonconformity.
Some may be ready, with a contemptuous fneer, to exclaim, "What, a tinker become a minifter!" Yes; and such a minister, that few have excelled him in spiritual and divine knowledge. He was one who approved himfelf a minister of God, according to the marks laid down by St. Paul, 2 Cor. iv. 6. He was. manifeftly declared to be an epiftle of Christ ; one who knew the mind of Chrift; one, on whose heart the law of truth was written; wherefore from his mouth dropped the words
of truth; one, who received his doctrine not from man, but by the Spirit of the Lord, whereby he was fatisfied that they were of God; one, to whom the Lord had given great fpiritual difcernment into the myfteries of the gospel; one, who had an understanding exercised to difcern the difference between truth and error; one, who had experienced the different effects of truth and error in his own foul, therefore (when engaged in defence of the gospel, and contending for the faith delivered to the faints) he knew the nature of the controversy, the va-lue of the truth, and the baneful effects of every error; fo that he was zealoufly affected, knowing that it was a good caufe and an honourable fervice in which he was employed.
The works which he has left behind him will be lafting monuments of the grace and power of God, as perfected or manifested in this highly favoured and eminently distinguished fervant of the Lord, who was indeed, in his day, a burning and fhining light, and a glorious inftance of the freeness and power of grace. By the account which he has given us of himself, it appears that he was a most
abandoned character, and was fuffered to run awful lengths in profaneness —Yet — Oh! the freenefs of grace! extended to one fo notoriously wicked: Oh! the power of grace! How great and visible must the change have appeared, even to those who could fee no further than his outward conduct!
Many may outwardly appear religious, who are ftrangers to the power of God's grace, and the gospel falvation, who have never experienced a real change-paffing from death unto life, and from the power of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son; yet we are exprefsly told, that the grace of God-to whomfoever that grace is manifefted and revealed, according to the effectual working of the Spirit of God, bringing falvation home to a finner's heart and confciencenever fails of teaching to deny ungodlinefs and worldly lufts, and to live foberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentlenefs, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against fuch there is no law: and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lufts. The power of God was no less difplayed
displayed in the converfion of his heart, than in that infight which was given him into the true meaning of the Scriptures, God having opened the eyes of his understanding to see into those things which are hid from the wise and prudent, but are revealed to babes. The Jews marvelled when they heard our Lord teaching in the temple, and cried out, faying, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" He, who knows the mystery of the Father and the Son, knows that the Son can do nothing of himself, as he fays himself, "The words that I speak unto 66 you, I speak not of myfelf; but the Fa"ther, that dwelleth in me, he doth the "works"." It is true; God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, but unto every one of us is given grace according to the meafure of the gift of Chrift; of which grace it is plain that the author of this book had been eminently a partaker. It is certain that he was well acquainted with the mystery of godlinefs; the way of life and falvation; the power and influence of divine grace; and the life of faith; by that fweet, favoury, precious, and experimental defcription which he
a John v. 19.
John xiv. 10.