Archive for July 14th, 2013


John Bunyan (1628-1688)


In the 1660s, Charles II, King of England, asked John Owen (1616–83) who served as chaplain to Cromwell why he went to hear the preaching of an uneducated tinker. The King was amazed that Owen, a prominent preacher, would stoop to associate with a tinker. After all, there was quite a contrast between the two. Looking the King in the eye, Owen answered, “May it please your Majesty, could I possess the tinker’s ability for preaching, I would willingly relinquish all my learning.”


The tinker was John Bunyan (1628–88), the Puritan pastor and author of Pilgrim’s Progress. He lived in a small cottage in the obscure village of Bedford, but Owen, walked in kings’ palaces, was respected by many of the nobility, and had preached to Parliament and in England’s great cathedrals.

The tinker preached to a church that met in an old barn and at its peak may have numbered 300. What makes the difference? It is the rock hard conviction that burns within, while scholarship tends to make one weigh pros and cons, buts and ifs- that is sure to fritter away the cutting edge of the individual’s life. One only needs to look Arthur J Balfour Prime minister of Great Britain and one of the brilliant minds that ever steered the destiny of the realm and whose 1917 declaration paved the way for a homeland for the Jews. He was known to pause before the grand staircase in his home, Hamlet-like  debating, which side to take, left or right? John Bunyan though illiterate  made full use of his faculties and by writing direct his style acquired vigor and simplicity as though soul of the fellow suspired when he wrote and had left sweat marks as it were. The enduring appeal of the Pilgrim’s Progress owes much to it. Bunyan’s most influential work would be translated into more languages over the next 400 years than any book except the Bible.


Bunyan was an old man when Owen first heard him. “The soul-experiences through which he [Bunyan] had passed,” notes one biographer, “had done more to equip him for what God had so definitely called him than any academic training could do.”(ack: William P. Farley/enrichment journal. ag.org)






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Rubaiyat #101-fifth ed. Illustration

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