Obrazy na stronie

then must the soul be filled with that hath the possession of him to eternity!

“ If you would be better satisfied what the beatific vision means, my request is, that you would live holily, and go and see."

Bunyan's death was lamented as a “heavy stroak" by his church and congregation at Bedford, as we learn from the old Church “ Booke;" and Wednesday, the fourth of September," was kept in prayer and humilyation" in consequence of it. His remains were interred in the celebrated burying-place of the dissenters in Bunhill-fields, London. They were deposited in the vault of his friend, Mr. Strudwick; and over them a tomb was erected to his memory,

bearing this inscription :



OB. 31 Aug. 1688, ÆT. 60.
“The Pilgrim's Progress now is finished,
And death has laid him in his earthly bed.'

Elegy on the death of the Rev. J. B. Bunhill-fields was first used as a cemetery, in the time of the plague. After this it was leased by the London dissenters for the interment of their friends; and it has since become rich in the dust of eminent saints, whose ashes repose there till the morning of the resurrection,

A further notice of it and of some eminent persons buried there will be found in the Appendix, page 341. Bunyan's tomb is said to be now in a decayed condition, and the inscription nearly illegible; in consequence of which measures have been taken to erect a new one in its place. “A committee has been formed to collect subscriptions for this purpose; and small sums are solicited, that the greater number may enjoy the pleasure of contributing to perpetuating this memorial of departed genius and piety."

“ Brother in Christ! thy flight we view,

Thy works, which trace thee to the skies; Fain would our spirits follow too,

And to thy height of glory rise. O might the mantle of thy zeal,

Thy faith and prayer, on us descend! Might we thy kindling ardour feel,

Our all in Jesu's cause to spend."

* London Baptist Magazine,




BUNYAN's person and character are thus described by his earliest biographer, who was personally acquainted with him :-"He appeared in countenance to be of a stern and rough temper,—but in his conversation mild and affable ; not given to loquacity or much discourse in company, unless some urgent occasion required it; observing never to boast of himself or his parts, but rather to seem low in his own eyes, and submit himself to the judgment of others. .... He had a sharp, quick eye, accompanied with an excellent discerning of persons, being of good judgment and quick wit. As for his person, he was tall of stature, strong boned, though not corpulent; somewhat of a ruddy face, with sparkling eyes; wearing his hair on his upper lip, after the old British fashion ; his hair reddish, but in his latter days time had sprinkled it with gray; his nose well set, but not declining or bending, and his mouth moderately large ; his forehead somewhat high; and his habit always plain and inodest. And thus


have we impartially described the internal and external parts of a person whose death has been much regretted; who had tried the smiles and frowns of time, not puffed up in prosperity, nor shaken in adversity, always holding the golden mean."

Respecting his temporal circumstances, we are told by the same authority, that “though by the many losses he sustained by imprisonment and spoil, his chargeable sickness, &c., his earthly treasure swelled not to excess; he always had sufficient to live decently and creditably; and with that he had the greatest of all treasures, which is content; for as the wise man says, that is 'a continual feast.""

* In endeavouring to transmit to posterity an idea of the personal appearance of this extraordinary man, his earliest biographers are somewhat at variance with the painter of his portrait. The former represent his countenance to have been indicative of a stern and rough temper, though his nature in reality was mild and gentle. They misunderstood his physiognomy, which Sadler, the artist to whom he sat in 1685, three years before his death, read far more ably. He has, in fact, produced a portrait in which breathes forth the true character of the man: the capacious forehead, the full mild eye, the high nose, the large and well-formed mouth, the chin indicating firmness, and the placid expression of benevolence diffused over the whole countenance, are all in harmony with the mind of Bunyan as it appears in his works.-St. John.

[ocr errors]

A few short paragraphs will suffice to tell all that is known respecting the family and descendants of Bunyan. His wife Elizabeth, who pleaded his cause with so much spirit before the judges, did not long survive him ; but in 1692 “ followed her faithful Pilgrim to the celestial city, there to dwell in the presence of the King and her husband for ever.”

He appears to have had six children. Mary, his "poor blind child,” for whom he expressed such tender solicitude while in prison, died a few years

before him. Thomas, his eldest son, who joined the church at Bedford in 1673, continued a member forty-five years. He occasionally preached in the neighbouring villages, and was sometimes appointed to visit disorderly members; he must therefore have been in good repute both for discretion and piety. Of the other children, John, Joseph, * Sarah, and Elizabeth, we believe nothing is known but their names. Katharine Bunyan, admitted a member

* In connection with this son there is an anecdote which strikingly exhibits the disinterestedness and simplicity of Bunyan's character. “I once told him," says one, “of a gentleman in London, a wealthy citizen, that would take his son Joseph apprentice without money, which might be a great means to advance himn : but he replied to me, «God did not send me to advance my family, but to preach the gospel.""

« PoprzedniaDalej »