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under a double obligation to do so; for she lieth liable every moment to eternal danger. If she behave herself unseemly and unruly, being graceless and Christless, then labour thou to overcome her evil with thy goodness ; her frowardness by thy patience and meekness. It is a shame for thee, who hast ano. ther principle, to do as she! Let all be done without rancour, or the least appearance of anger.”
"-Works, vol. iv. p. 2103. Bunyan goes so far, and so minutely, into conjugal duty, in his treatise on · Christian Behaviour,' that he seems to have had a public reason for speaking so explicitly. There is, of course, always too much reason for enforcing this duty : but it so happened, that, in 1657, his Brethren had discussed at the Association, the question, “ Whether a man in any case of ruling over his wife, may lawfully strike her ?” Their de. cision on this cardinal point was, “ He ought to preserve the point of Rule, if it may be, without striking; that having no precept nor example in Holy Scripture.”—Tiverton Minutes. Signed, Thos. COLLIER! I need neither say that Bunyan was no party in this discussion, nor that the decision was too cold and equivocal for his taste ; and I will not say, that he struck at this fact. He did, however, strike hard blows at some of the Resolutions of the Western Association, as I shall have occasion to show, and as they richly deserved. Bunyan had, however, sturdy, although not stern notions of the Hus. band's authority. He does not mince the matter of obedience or subjection on the part of a wife ; but he puts the claim well. He does more than say, “it is odious in wives to be like parrots, not bridling their tongue :" he appeals also to their good sense, and asks, “ Do you think it seemly for the Church to parrot it against her Husband? The wife should know, as I said before, that Her husband is her Lord, as Christ is over the Church. And now I say also, that if she walk with her husband as becometh her, she shall preach to him the obedience of the Church.” This is the great general principle on which Bunyan reasons and remonstrates. But he knew the heart as well as the Law, and said to the Ladies, 6 Now for the right-timing of thy intentions ! Consider thy Husband's disposition, and take him when he is farthest off from the passions which are thy afflictions. Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband, until his wine was gone from him, and he in a sober temper again. The want of this observation is the cause why so much is spoken, and so little effected, Take him also at those times, when he is most taken with thee, and when he showeth tokens of love and delight in thee. Thus did Esther with her husband, and prevailed. Take heed also that what thou doest, goes not in thy name, but his ; not to thy exaltation, but his; carrying all things so by thy dexterity and prudence, that not one of thy husband's weak. nesses be discovered to others by thee. Do it, and the Lord prosper thee !”— Works, vol. iv. p. 2108.
If all this be not moral Philosophy, it is something better. It certainly comes home to the business of life, and to the bosom of nature. And yet, although good, it is not the best that might have been selected from Bunyan’s Works : for my object has been rather to develop his mind and taste, than to elucidate his Ethical system. As a System, worked out without Books or Models, or any but spiritual Motives, that is wonderful! And in this point of view, his Theology is equally so. Of him only is it literally true, that he was a man of ONE Book." Accordingly, in enforcing Morals, he is not afraid to go all the lengths of the Bible, in proclaiming the rewards of virtue. He can crucify Works as merit, and crown them as obedience, with an equally steady and impartial hand. He throws the best of them into the bottomless pit without ceremony, when they are put for. ward as a claim for mercy, or a price for salvation ; but as fruits of the Spirit, and as conscientious efforts to glorify God, he brings them out at Death and Judgment, enshrined with what he calls “ a spangling reward.” 6 A dying bed is made easy,” he says, “by good works." “ An unchristian walk makes it as uncomfortable, as if the man lay on nothing but the cords of his bed, Mounts Ebal and Gerrizim, I take to be a type of the Judgment. He whom mount Ebal smiteth, misseth heaven. Mount Gerrizim is sure to bless the good
He shall enter into rest, and his works shall follow him.”— Works, vol. ii. p. 1106.
I need not add, that Bunyan made the love of Christ the motive of all holy obedience : but I must add his own illus. tration of this :-delight in holy things, wrought by Redeem.
“Like live-honey runs,
Works, vol. iv. p. 2648.
BUN YAN'S WIT.
So few specimens of Bunyan's wit have obtained currency, that a whole Chapter of it will excite surprise at first. And yet it ought not. The man must have been not a little wag. gish as well as witty, who invented such happy names for the Judge and Jury that tried and burnt Faithful, at Vanity Fair. Indeed, most of the names which Bunyan gives to recreant or pretended Pilgrims, are happy hits, and speak volumes. Many of the characters in his Holy War also, as well as the manæu. vres of it, are rich in masterly strokes of shrewdness and pi. quancy. His coinage, like old Fuller's or Donne's, “ rings like good metal.”
It is not, however, upon this fund, that I am now about to draw. I merely refer to it, as suggesting, if not warranting, the idea, that he who struck out such names and characters in his Allegories, must also have thrown out in his other writings, and in conversation, many smart things. This has, hitherto, been overlooked : owing, perhaps, to the impression left upon his modern Critics, by the gravity ascribed to him by his an. cient Biographers. The latter say, “ He was mild and affable in conversation; not given to loquacity, or much discourse, unless some urgent occasion required. It was obverved, he never spoke of himself, or of his talents ; but seemed low in his own eyes.
He was never heard to reproach or revile any, whatever injury he received ; but rather rebuked those who
It is well known, that he managed all things with such exactness, as if he had made it his study, above all other things, not to give offence.”
After this account of his temperament, wit seems out of the question; and humour, a contradiction in terms. Both exist, however, where they would never be suspected, except by a reader who was searching for them. Besides, it is not to wit, as mere waggery, humour, or playfulness; but as a vein of point and power, that I refer : and, unless Í mistake that vein
egregiously, the following specimens of it, will justify the title of this Chapter; and place Bunyan before the world in a light equally new and true. I must first, however, apply a stroke of his own wit to himself. He says that the thought of a Surgeon or a Bone-setter, if he have a hard heart, or fingers like iron, can make us quake for fear; and he adds, “ He that handleth a wound, had need have fingers like feathers, or like down. To be sure, the Patient wisheth they were so !” _Vol. i.
157. fol. ed. Bunyan did not always recollect his own maxim, in hand. ling wounds. His heart is never hard; but his hand is some. times rather too heavy. It was not iron ; but its “ nails were as Eagles' claws,” when strict Baptists, or extravagant Qua. kers, came under it. Then, his fingers are not feathers, nor his thumbs down. They are, indeed, Porcupine's quills, when. ever Bigotry or Cant falls in his way.
When the strict Baptists assailed Bunyan for admitting and advocating open Communion, they told him, that some of the sober Independents” disliked his Book on that subject.
He archly asked, “What then? I can say without lying, that several Baptists have wished your Book burnt, before it had come to light. Is your Book ever the worse for that ?”
“ The sober Dr. Owen,” as he calls him, had promised to write “ an Epistle,” in favour of Bunyan's liberal views on this subject; but afterwards declined to do so. Bunyan was publicly twitted with this 6 waiving” on the part of Owen. He nobly and promptly replied, “What if the sober Dr. Owen, though he told me and others, he would write an epistle to my book, yet waived it afterwards? This also is to my advan. tage ; because it was through the earnest solicitations of seve. ral of you, that his hand was stopped at that time. And, perhaps, it was more for the glory of God, that Truth should go naked into the world, than seconded by so mighty an armourbearer.” — Works, vol. iii. p. 1257.
When Dr. Fowler, afterwards Bishop of Bristol, published his work on - The Design of Christianity," he gave this challenge to the advocates of the great principle of the Reformation—Justification through faith in Christ ;-What pretence can there be, that faith is the condition or instrument of justi. fication, as it complieth only with the precepts of relying on Christ's merits ? It is evident as the sun at noon-day, that obedience to the other precepts must go before obedience to this; that is, before faith in Christ.” Bunyan dryly and adroitly answered,— This you say : but Paul said to the ignorant jailor, who knew nothing of the mind of God in the doctrine of Justification, that he should first believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and so should be saved. Again, when he preached unto the Corinthians, the first doctrine he delivered unto them was, that Christ died for their sins, according to the Scriptures."
Bunyan did not treat the Dignitary with less ceremony, on this occasion, than he did the Sectaries, who made light of sin, in order to give weight to new-fangled notions of Re. demption. " It is a poor shift,” he said, “ when the Enemies of Truth are forced to diminish sin, and to enlarge the borders of their Fig-leaf garments : they thus deny, as much as in them lies, one of the attributes of God ;-his justice.”—Wroks, vol. i. p. 172. fol. ed.
Bunyan could employ his ignorance dexterously, as well as any smattering of learning he had picked up, when occasion required. On one occasion the strict Baptists charged him with using against them the very “arguments of the Pædo. Baptist :” and as he had nothing to concede in favour of infants, and nothing to retract in favour of strict Communion. ists, he slyly slipt out of the dilemma, by saying truly, I in. geniously tell you,
I know not what Pædo means; and how then should I know his arguments ?” He had also used a word or two of Latin (picked up, most likely, from some of his fellow-prisoners; some of whom were scholars ;) for which Danvers and Paul (his assailants) had “mocked” him. They “ took nothing by their motion.” “ Though you mock me for speaking a word in Latin, you have not one word of God that commands you to shut out your Brethren for want of water-baptism, from your communion.” They had said, “ you would have it thought that you go away with the garland, unless we bring positive Scriptures that your (plan) is forbidden.” Garland, indeed: unhappy word for them! Bunyan knew of no garlands but those which the priest of Jupiter hung around the necks of the oxen he wished to sacrifice to Paul and Bar. nabas; and, with his knowledge of the Bible, he was sure to think of them. He did. “I know of no garlands,” he said, 6 but those in the Acts :-Take you
them !” But nothing provoked Bunyan's sarcastic power, more than selfishness in the Clergy; whether Episcopalian or Presbyte. rian.
He makes his « teeth meet at every bite," upon benefice-hunters. “ Would the people learn to be covetous,” he