JOHN BUNYAN was born at Elstow, within a mile of Bedford, in the year 1628, of honest but very poor parents. In his "Grace Abounding" he gives many particulars of his history and experience, from which we shall extract largely, as his history is best told in his own plain and powerful language. It is prefaced by an introduction to his children, from which the following is an extract:­-


"Children, Grace be with you. Amen.

"I thank God upon every remembrance of you; and rejoice, even while I stick between the teeth of the lions in the wilderness, that the grace, and mercy, and knowledge of Christ our Saviour; which God hath bestowed upon you, with abundance of faith and love; your hungerings and thirstings after farther acquaint­ance with the Father, in the Son; your tenderness of heart, your trembling at sin, your sober and holy deportment also, before both God and men, is a great refreshment to me; for 'you are my glory and joy.' (1 Thess. 2. 20.)


"I have sent you here enclosed a drop of that honey that I have taken out of the carcase of a lion. (Judg. 14. 5-8.) I have eaten thereof myself, and am much refreshed thereby. Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we shall find a nest of honey within them. The Philistines understand me not. It is something of a relation of the work of God upon my soul, even from the very first till now; wherein you may perceive my castings down, and risings up: for he woundeth, and his hands make whole. It is written in the Scripture, 'The father to the children shall make known the truth of God.' (Isa. 38. 19.)


In this discourse of mine you may see much - ­much I say - of the grace of God towards me. I thank God, I can count it much, for it was above my sins, and Satan's temptations too. I can remember my fears and doubts, and sad months, with comfort; they are as the head of Goliath in my hand; there was nothing to David like Goliath's sword, even that sword which should have been sheathed in his bowels; for the very sight and remembrance of that did preach forth God's deliverance to him. Oh, the remembrance of my great sins, of my great tempta­tions, and of my great fear of perishing for ever! They bring afresh into my mind the remembrance of my great help, my great supports from Heaven, and the great grace that God extended to such a wretch as I.


"My dear children, the milk and honey are beyond this wilderness. God be merciful to you, and grant that you be not slothful to go in to possess the land."



Chapter One


Back to Index