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Riverside Literature Series

THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

FROM THIS WORLD TO THAT WHICH IS TO COME

DELIVERED UNDER THE SIMILITUDE OF

A DREAM

WHEREIN IS DISCOVERED THE MANNER OF HIS SETTING OUT
HIS DANGEROUS JOURNEY, AND SAFE ARRIVAL

AT THE DESIRED COUNTRY

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Copyright, 1896,
BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & 00

All rights reserved.

mho Lee

INTRODUCTION.

I. JOHN BUNYAN’s life fell in an epoch peculiarly congenial to the development of his spiritual powers. For a quarter century before his birth the temper of England had been rapidly changing. A spirit of intense earnestness, deepening to gloom, had gradually taken the place of the easy gaiety and exuberance which were the heritage of the age

of Elizabeth. As the Stuart doctrine of absolute sovereignty became more insistent, and the aristocratic society grouped around the throne gave way more and more to moral license, the great body of the Commons grew sterner in its assertion of popular rights, and more fanatically grim in its devotion to the Puritan ideal of living. The great political drama left quite untouched the little Bedfordshire hamlet where Bunyan spent his boyhood ; but the religious zeal which was the flaming core of the mighty quarrel burned here as fiercely as anywhere in England. It is the working of this subtle fire upon his intensely sensitive tem perament and vivid imagination, which lifts the history Bunyan's obscure youth into unique interest.

Bunyan's father was a tinker, a term which in the early seventeenth century meant something between vagrant mechanic and petty thief. He was evidently considerably higher in the social scale, however, than his calling would imply, for he had a fixed residence, and was wealthy enough to send his son John to the village school at Elstow. Here the boy led the ordinary zestful life of a vigorous country lad. Besides the habit of swearing, of which he was cured by a single reproof, his vices appear to have been nothing

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