Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > John Bunyan. Andrew Marvell > Grace Abounding
  The influence which moulded him Bunyan’s language  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

VII. John Bunyan. Andrew Marvell.

§ 3. Grace Abounding.

The last of these, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, which appeared in 1666, is the first of the four outstanding creations of his genius. It is really his own autobiography, an intense record, written after he had “tarried long at Sinai to see the fire and the cloud and the darkness,” and it has been recognised as one of the great books of the world on religious experience, and not unworthy to take its place by the side of the Confessions of Augustine. Another book which preceded this by a year, entitled The Holy City, or the New Jerusalem, is of interest to us as being a kind of foregleam of that celestial city to which, in after days, he conducted the pilgrims of his dream. At one time, there were no fewer than sixty other nonconformists in prison with him under the new Conventicle act of 1664, and they were accustomed to hold religious services among themselves in the common room of the county gaol. As he tells us in his preface to the book in question, it was his turn one Sunday morning to speak to the rest; but he felt so empty and spiritless that he thought he would not be “able to speak among them so much as five words of truth with light and evidence.” However, as he turned over the pages of his Bible, in the book of Revelation, his eye lit upon the glowing picture of the city of God coming down out of heaven, her light like unto a stone most precious as it were a jasper stone clear as crystal. Musing upon this glowing vision, seen by that other prisoner in Patmos, Bunyan says, “Methought I perceived something of that jasper in whose light this holy city is said to come or descend;” and the Lord helped him to set this great hope before his brethren: “we did all eat and were well-refreshed.” But the matter did not end there. When the sermon was over, the vision splendid rose before his mind again:
the more I cast mine eye upon it the more I saw lie in it. Wherefore setting myself to a more narrow search, through frequent prayer to God, what first with doing and then with undoing, and after that with doing again, I thus did finish it.

  The influence which moulded him Bunyan’s language  

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