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WHEN one of the strict Baptists told Bunyan, that was great men's servants are known by their livery, so are gospel Be. lievers by the livery of water-baptism," Bunyan said, "Go you but ten doors from where men know you,-and see how many of the world, or Christians, will know you by this goodly livery. What !-known by water-baptism to be one who hath put on Christ, as a servant by the gay livery his master gave him ? Away, fond man; you do quite forget the text, * By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye Love one another !'”— Works, vol. ii. p. 1238. This Text was Bunyan's watchword; and he gave all men the full bene. fit of it, who held the great doctrines of the Reformation, how. ever they might differ from him as to discipline or forms. His love of the Brethren was not, indeed, confined to Protes. tants. It embraced all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Where he saw love to Him, he thought of nothing else. Accordingly, in his review of the character and spirit of the Martyrs, he names nothing else. What they thought of Christ, regulated all his thoughts of them. This maxim makes his sketches of them brief; but it renders them highly characteristic of his own spirit; as will be seen by the following specimens of his review.
Ignatius found that in Christ that made him choose to go through the torments of the Devil and hell itself, rather than not to have him.
6 What saw Romanus in Christ when he said to the raging Emperor, who threatened him with fearful torments, • Thy sentence, O Emperor, I joyfully embrace, and refuse not to be Bacrificed—by as cruel torments as thou canst invent ?
“What saw Menas the Egyptian in Christ when he said under most cruel torments, • There is nothing in my mind that can be compared to the kingdom of heaven; neither is all the world, if it was weighed in a balance, to be preferred with the price of one soul. Who is able to separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our Lord ? And I have learned of
Lord and King not to fear them that kill the body.'
“What did Eulaliah see in Christ when she said as they were pulling her one joint from another, Behold, O Lord, I will not forget thee : What a pleasure is it for them, O Christ, that remember thy triumphant victory ?'
“What think you did Agnes see in Christ when rejoicing. ly she went to meet the soldier, that was appointed to be her executioner? •I will willingly,' said she receive into my heart the length of this sword, and into my breast will draw the force thereof, even to the hilts; that thus I, being married to Christ my spouse, may surmount and escape all the dark. ness of this world.'
66 What do ou think did Julitta see in Christ, when at the Emperor's telling her, that except she would worship the gods, she should never have protection, laws, judgments nor life, she replied, “Farewell life, welcome death; farewell riches, wel. come poverty. All that I have, if it were a thousand times more, would I give, rather than to speak one wicked and blasphemous word against my Creator ?
6 What did Marcus Arethusius see in Christ when after his enemies did cut his flesh, anointed it with honey, and hanged him up
in a basket for flies and bees to feed on, he would not give (to uphold idolatry) one halfpenny to save his life?
“ But what need I give thus particular instances of words and smaller actions, when by their lives, their blood, their endur. ing hunger, sword, fire, pulling asunder, and all torments that the Devil and hell could devise, they showed their love to Christ, after they were come to him ?” — Works, vol. i. p. 418.
The man who loved the Dead according to this rule, was not likely to draw nice distinctions amongst “ the living in Jeru. salem." He did not, although long and often tempted by the close Communionists to do so. For they did more than abuse him publicly for his catholicity. They tampered privately with him and others, “ for no less than sixteen or eighteen years. He was not willing to reveal this inconsistency of the men who reviled him. But when they affected to despise him too, he told all the truth. “ What kind of a you am I," he
says, “ that you thus trample my person, my gifts and grace (if I have any) so disdainfully under your feet ? Myself
66 What say
they have sent for, and endeavoured to persuade me to break communion with my brethren. Also with many others have they often tampered, if haply their seeds of division might take.”—Vol. ii. p. 1205.
Bunyan pleaded the cause of all Pædobaptists as firmly as he did his own. He would « know no
man after the flesh," when liberty of conscience, or the right of private judg. ment, was invaded. Then he could cast John of Leyden in the teeth of the strict Baptists, as openly as Gunning or Featley quoted John against all Baptists :-not, indeed, in order to bring odium upon them; but to make them ashained of them. selves for their approaches to the Leyden spirit. you,” he asks,“ to John of Leyden ? What work did he make by the abuse of the ordinance of baptism? I wish that this age had not given cause, through the church-rending spirits some possess, for making complaint in this matter; who also had for their engine the baptism with water. You yourself, Sir, would not stick to make inroads and outroads too, in all the Churches in the land, that suit not your fancy. You have already been bold to affirm, that all those who have baptized infants ought to be ashamed, and repent, before they be showed the pattern of the House.' What is this but to threaten, could you
have your will of them, that you would quickly take from them their present church privileges, and let them see nothing of them, till subjection to water-baptism especially was found to attend each of them.”- Works, vol. ii. p. 1212.
In opposition to this, Bunyan's maxim was, “I am for communion with saints because they are saints. I shut none of the brethren out of the churches, por forbid them that would receive them. I am for union and concord with saints as saints."
This was so well known to be the fact, that his opponents could only say that he shut them out from his pulpit: and this all the Churches of his order did; but merely because of their "church-rending principles.” And as to the strict Baptists who were not preachers, they were not likely to apply for admission to the Sacrament where Bunyan presided. Those of them who were in Bedfordshire would not, he says, even “pray with men as good as themselves : but would, either like Quakers, stand with their hats on their heads, or else withdraw until we had done."-Vol. ii. p. 1244.
Bedfordshire has been very different ever since Bunyan's death! Indeed, through all his diocese, his catholic spirit still prevails amongst the dissenting Churches,--and as his spirit.
They would say now in his words, “ Show us the man that is a visible believer, and that walketh with God, and though he differ with us about baptism, the doors of the Church stand open to him, and to all our heaven-born privileges he shall be admitted.” When will the American Baptists speak this language? Is it true that only one American Baptist Church ever tried the experiment of open Communion; and that it proved an utter failure?
Next to his Bible, nothing had more influence upon Bun. yan than the judgment of the great and good Henry Jesse, on this subject. That noble-minded man exclaimed, (and all Bunyan's soul responded,) “0, how is the heart of God set upon having his children in His House, and in each others' hearts, as they are in His Heart-and as they are upon the shoulders and breast of His Son, their high.priest! And, as if all this will not do it, but the devil will divide them still, -the God of Peace will come in shortly, and bruise Satan under their feet.”—Jesse's Judgment, p. 4. We can almost hear yet.-Bunyan's “ Amen, even so, come quickly!”
It must not be supposed from the contrast he thus presents, that all the strict Baptists of his time were equally strict. He was, indeed, far a-head of all his contemporaries, except Jesse ; but still a few would have overtaken him had they not been held back by local influence. He has not named them, and I cannot; but he says, “ This I thank God for,--that some of the Brethren for this way are, of late, more moderate than formerly: and that those who retain their former sourness still, are left by their Brethren to the vinegar of their own spirit; their brethren ingenuously confessing that, could their company bear it, they have liberty in their own souls to communicate with saints as saints.”— Works, vol. iä.
We can hardly expect from Bunyan any compliments to the Church of England. She deserved none at his hand. Indeed, the wonder is, that he did not retaliate severely. He could have done so; and it was not fear that prevented him. The fact is, he loved the Doctrinal Articles of the Church more than he hated the Prayer Book. He saw in them, a testimony and a barrier against Popery, which he deemed favourable to Christianity. It was, therefore, with perfect sincerity, that he said in the preface of his work, against Bishop Fowler's Legalism, “GENTLE READER, a Minister of the Church of England overthroweth the whole. some doctrine of that Church.” Accordingly, he says, at the close of the Work, “ The Points in controversy between us are (as I do heartily believe) Fundamental Truths of the Christian religion. Let all men know,--that I quarrel not with him about things wherein I dissent from the Church of England; but do contend for the truth contained in these very Articles, from which he hath so deeply revolted.”—Justification Defended.
Dr. Southey did himself great credit when he said of Bun. yan." His was indeed so Catholic a spirit, that though cir. cumstances had made him a Sectarian, he liked not to be called by the denomination of his Sect.” There were more reasons for paying this compliment than the one Dr. Southey has quoted. Bunyan not only proclaimed that the title Baptists belonged to none, “ so properly as to the disciples of John;" but also rebuked those of them who “ spoke stoutly, and a hundred times over," against the Baptism of the Church of England, as Antichristian.- Works, vol. ii.
1245. He held, indeed, all party titles to be “ factious :” and because they tended to division, he traced their origin to “ Babylon and Hell,” not to “ Jerusalem, or Antioch.” He himself claimed and begged to be called only as a “ Christian-a Believer, or any other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost.” His reasons for all this, are equally strong and beautiful ; and they will have equal weight some day, although they had none when he uttered them, and but little now. I will quote no more of them than just what Dr. Southey has recorded, that posterity may see, when, “ the times of reformation shall come,” how well Bunyan reasoned, and how prophetically the Doctor selected the very arguments which will annihilate the first principles of his Book of the Church, and the last vestiges of sectarianism in all Churches.—“ Divisions run Religion into briars and thorns; contentions and parties. Divisions are to Churches, like wars to countries : where war is, the ground lieth waste and untilled; none taketh care of it. When men are divided, they seldom speak the Truth in love: and then no marvel they grow not up to Him in all things who is the Head. It is a sad presage of an approaching Famine (as one well observes)—not of bread, nor water, but of the Word of God, when the thin ears of Corn devour the plump full ones ;—when our controversies about doubtful things, and things of less moment, eat up our zeal for the more indisputa. ble and practical things in religion ;-which may give us