A. THE DOCTRINE OF THE LAW AND GRACE UNFOLDED
(i) Bunyan in the 1650s
The years prior to the publication of The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded were crucial in Bunyan's life. As the decade of the 1650s opened, Bunyan had his military service behind him and had returned to his tinker's trade. His first child, a blind daughter, was baptized in July 1650. Now began an extended period of spiritual crisis. Subsequently he encountered the Bedford Separatists, and in 1655 joined their congregation, the founder and pastor of which was John Gifford. His spiritual turmoil was not yet settled, but the following year he began preaching in public in the surrounding area. He regarded himself as unworthy of the task, and professed amazement that his preaching produced results.1 Public proclamation quickly broadened into public disputation when Bunyan encountered the first Quakers in Bedfordshire. In successive years he attacked their doctrine, particularly that of Edward Burrough, in Some Gospel Truths Opened (1656) and A Vindication of Some Gospel Truths Opened (1657). The following year he published A Few Sighs from Hell, or the Groans of a Damned Soul, drawing material from his sermons. The subject-matter suited the increased expectations of the time of an imminent Last Judgement. His first wife, of whom little is known, died in 1658, leaving him with four young children.
Law and Grace was published in 1659. Like his third work, it seems to be based largely on homiletical material. His earliest sermons had been primarily concerned with human corruption and the curse of God on all men in accordance with the law. It was preaching rooted in experience, as Bunyan testifies: 'Now this part of my work I fulfilled with great sence; for the terrours of the Law, and guilt for my transgressions, lay heavy on my Conscience. pg xviI preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel …' He went as one 'in chains to preach to them in chains, and carried that fire in my own conscience that I perswaded them to beware of'.1 Relief from this spiritual agony came around 1658, though its effects are still reflected in the pages of Law and Grace. His sermons then began to be concerned more with the work and benefits of Christ,2 and this concern is also present in Law and Grace. The treatise also reflects Bunyan's activities in these years on behalf of the Bedford church. The Church Book indicates that he was sent to visit wayward brethren and probably also candidates for church membership. In the course of such activity he undoubtedly thought about the 'signs' of election and damnation, which take up a good deal of Law and Grace, as well as arguments aimed at directing people to consider which of the covenants they were under. The material in the treatise, drawn from sermons and pastoral activities, reflects Bunyan's work in the period 1656–9, as well as his own earlier private religious experience.
(ii) Sources of Bunyan's Thought
Unlike most writers of theological treatises in seventeenth-century England, Bunyan had not studied theology at Oxford or Cambridge. He apparently taught himself the essentials of Protestant theology and gleaned what he could from ministerial friends. Regrettably he rarely indicates the materials he read or the conversations that took place with ministers. His writings show that he was convinced his message would bear greater weight if it rested on Biblical authority alone. There was probably a pragmatic reason for this: in most contests characterized by appeals to divines, Bunyan would probably have been a clear loser. There is, however, one extant account of his common-sense effectiveness in extempore debate. The debate took place in a barn with Thomas Smith, Professor of Arabic at Cambridge, and University Librarian, over the authority of Scripture.3 Nevertheless, when Bunyan set out to refute Edward Fowler's The Design of Christianity, he discovered pg xviithat Fowler appealed to the continental reformers John Calvin, Peter Martyr, Wolfgang Musculus, and Jerome Zanchy. Bunyan retorted that his creed was based on Scripture alone,1 a position that would appeal directly to many unversed in theological literature. In 1675 Bunyan reaffirmed that he had not 'borrowed my Doctrine from libraries',2 but based his faith on the Bible alone.
Two points are certain. First, Bunyan would not have asserted any doctrine which he did not believe had Scriptural authority. Like others in the Puritan tradition, he pushed to an extreme the Protestant tenet of reliance on the sole authority of the Bible. Second, Bunyan was influenced by other Protestants in the formulation of his theology, though he chose to deny it for reasons of piety and practicality. The strength of his preaching lay in a resurgent consciousness of the inner working of God expressed with effective colloquial vigour. His sermons were fortified by an appeal to Scripture alone. Just as it would have been impractical to engage in a contest of citing secondary authorities, so it would have detracted from his piety to claim reliance on anything but the Holy Spirit for his beliefs. Thus in The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded he piously disparages his formal education and asserts that knowledge of God is dependent on the enlightenment of man by the Holy Spirit.3
Some of the sources which influenced the development of Bunyan's thought are known. Bunyan mentions several in his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. When he married for the first time, his bride brought him Arthur Dent's The Plaine Mans Path-way to Heauen and Lewis Bayly's The Practise of Pietie.4 Dent's was a popular handbook of piety which influenced Bunyan's literary method (notably the use of dialogue) as well as his thought. Bayly's work was a popular manual of devotion which appears to have exercised somewhat more influence on Bunyan than did Dent's handbook. Both writers were Calvinists. Although Bunyan does not fully agree with all of their ideas, their influence pg xviiican probably be seen in various aspects of his doctrines of God, predestination, faith, and, to a lesser degree, the church.1
Bunyan had been sufficiently impressed with the books of Dent and Bayly to write of them, 'I …found some things that were somewhat pleasing to me …'2 A much greater impact was made on Bunyan by Martin Luther's commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. In the course of reading Luther he discovered that his own spiritual state was accurately depicted: 'I found my condition in his experience, so largely and profoundly handled, as if his Book had been written out of my heart …' In the early 1670s it was Bunyan's judgement that apart from the Bible Luther's commentary was 'most fit for a wounded Conscience'.3 Bunyan again paid tribute to Luther in The Pilgrim's Progress. In the course of Christian's trying journey through the valley of the shadow of death 'he thought he heard the voice of a man, as going before him …'4 The direct reference is to a well-known text in the Psalms (xxiii. 4), but indirectly Bunyan was alluding to Luther. Both Bunyan and Luther underwent profound psychological experiences in the course of their conversions, and Bunyan saw in Luther not only an expositor but also a spiritual guide with whom he felt an instinctive sympathy.
Luther probably had a greater influence on Bunyan than did any other writer. Bunyan envisaged God much as Luther had. Their God was conceived above all else in terms of the dichotomy of wrath and grace experientially perceived. This conception of God is fundamental to The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded. Luther's religious experience as well as his Biblical exposition had led him to the conclusion that 'the doctrine of grace can by no means stand with the doctrine of the law'.5 This is precisely the theme of Bunyan's chief theological work. Bunyan was also influenced by Luther's concept of salvation as a present possession of the believer, and by his emphasis on the necessity of justification by grace and faith alone. Luther's repeated emphasis on these doctrines is clearly echoed in Bunyan's treatise.
pg xixLaw and Grace also reveals the influence of John Gifford, pastor of the Separatist church at Bedford, who was presented to the living of the parish church of St. John's in 1653 under the Cromwellian establishment. Gifford talked with Bunyan and invited him to meetings with believers at his home.1 Bunyan subsequently wrote that Gifford's doctrine 'was much for my stability'. It was Gifford's influence that led Bunyan to adopt the sectarian belief that religious truth came from the enlightening activity of the Holy Spirit. He 'pressed us to take special heed, that we took not up any truth upon trust, as from this or that or another man or men, but to cry mightily to God, that he would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein, by his own Spirit in the holy Word …'2 Gifford and his successor, John Burton, also influenced Bunyan in his doctrine of the church, which was based on the principles of separation, fellowship, freedom, and holiness.3 From his ministers Bunyan learned that the only baptism necessary for church membership was the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not baptism by water. His concept of the Separatist church and his position on baptism are both reflected in The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded.4
In this treatise Bunyan makes a marginal reference to John Dod and Robert Cleaver's A Plain and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements (1603).5 Like the works of Dent and Bayly, this was a popular book that went through many editions. Like them also, it was Calvinist in its theology. Bunyan urged his readers to refer to this work for an exposition of the Ten Commandments, which he did not wish to undertake. Bunyan himself was influenced by the expository work of Dod and Cleaver. He stressed their assertion that 'whosoeuer will have any true comfort by his obedience to Gods law, must not content himselfe to looke to one, or two: but must make conscience, and haue a care to keepe them all and euery one'. He also appears to have taken particular notice of their treatment of the Law in spiritual terms. Dod and Cleaver pg xxappended a short catechism to their exposition, which contains, among other things, a brief statement of the doctrine of predestination. Bunyan accepted this doctrine, which is stated in Law and Grace, though others (including Bayly and Luther) besides Dod and Cleaver were very likely responsible for influencing him to accept it. The theme of Bunyan's treatise is also stated in Dod and Cleaver's catechism:
What are the parts of the word?
The law and gracious promise (otherwise called the couenant of workes, and the couenant of grace,) which from the coming of Christ is called the Gospell.1
Dod and Cleaver are not, however, the sole source from which Bunyan develops his scheme of covenant thought.
Before 1659, then, it is certain that Bunyan was influenced in varying degrees by Dent, Bayly, Luther, Dod and Cleaver, Gifford, and probably Burton and John Gibbs, minister at Newport Pagnell and a friend of Bunyan. He was, of course, also aware of the views of Edward Burrough, the Quaker disputant. It is probable that Bunyan was influenced by yet another work or works in these early years of his Christian life. First, a number of legal terms or allusions appear in Law and Grace. The best examples are 'Premunire', 'replieve', 'indenting', and 'thrown over the bar'. There is no reason to believe Bunyan derived these terms from a legal work, for he had no occasion to read such a work before his imprisonment. Rather he probably learned these usages from reading the work of another Protestant writer. Second, Bunyan's exposition of the covenant scheme was in accord with that of other strict (as distinct from moderate) Calvinists. (See the following section.) There is insufficient material in the works he is known to have read to provide him with the requisite distinctions. It can therefore be reasonably concluded that Bunyan read the views of another strict Calvinist on the covenant in the late 1650s. The same work may have provided him with the legal terminology that he uses in this treatise.
The plan of the treatise is little more than a stereotype of Puritan-pg xxisectarian homiletic practice. Bunyan could have derived this from the sermons of Gifford and Burton as well as from reading any published sermons of the period. He had also been exposed to the sermons of the preachers associated with the Parliamentary army in the Civil War. Moreover, much of the illustrative material and queries about his spiritual state are autobiographical. There are numerous parallels between passages in this treatise and in Grace Abounding. Bunyan did not have to read widely to write Law and Grace, but there are unmistakable indications of influence from at least six or seven sources, most of them published. Late in life Bunyan wrote: 'My Bible and Concordance are my only Library in my writings.'1 Bunyan may very well have normally refrained from consulting other authors as he actually wrote, but there can be no denying that in theology as well as in literary devices he was not free from debt to the work of other men. In the case of his early theology this debt was certainly to Luther, contemporary English Calvinism (especially the strict variety), and the open-membership, open-communion movement in the Separatist tradition.
(iii) Bunyan and Covenant Theology
English Calvinist theologians in the seventeenth century were increasingly caught up in the attempt to develop Christian doctrine in the context of a covenant scheme. The first English writer to popularize this trend was William Perkins in the late sixteenth century. Perkins had a marked interest in practical divinity— the cases of conscience posed by troubled parishioners to their ministers.2 The chief of these questions among Calvinists was that of assurance. Perkins dealt with the matter in 1589 in his Treatise Tending unto a Declaration Whether a Man Be in the Estate of Damnation or in the Estate of Grace. In his subsequent writings he began to treat the question by expounding Christian doctrine in a covenant context, analysing the type of conduct and belief appropriate to pg xxiithose living under covenants of works and grace respectively. Spiritual introspection and self-analysis were urged as means to determine the answer to the question. The value of the covenant theme to deal with the problem of assurance was subsequently recognized and developed by such men as William Ames, John Preston, and Richard Sibbes.1 Ultimately it became something of a hallmark of most writers in the Puritan tradition.
The covenant idea had been receiving increased attention in England and on the Continent before Perkins recognized its potential value in a pastoral and psychological context. The idea of the covenant appears, of course, in the Old and New Testaments, and Christian writers made use of it from the earliest times. But Perkins caused a marked increase in the popularity of the idea. Some of those who wrote after him emphasized the contractual nature of the covenant in which the respective commitments of God and man as contracting parties were spelled out for all to perceive. The sovereignty of God and the necessity of grace were clearly recognized, but the role of man in the scheme of salvation was more strongly emphasized. Other writers, including Bunyan (whose Law and Grace is his principal exposition of covenant theology), minimized the reciprocal element in the covenant. Instead they treated the covenant of grace essentially as God's unilateral, absolute promise of salvation to his elect. Archbishop James Ussher, for example, emphasized that the covenant of grace was made by 'God alone, for properly man hath no more power to make a spirituall Covenant in his naturall estate, then before his creation he had to promise obedience'. Likewise John Owen insisted that 'the condition of the Covenant is not said to be required, but it is absolutely promised …'2
The development of covenant theology had important ramifications within the Puritan tradition. Recent scholarship has emphasized the significance of the experiential element in Puritanism.3 pg xxiiiYet it is essential to recognize that the covenant theme 'provided a theological consistency for experiential notions',1 and that in many cases the nature of acceptable experience was rigidly conceived. Covenant theologians carefully depicted the soteriological process and the godly disposition requisite for it, which became controlling norms for experience. Faith did not lose its experiential quality, but the nature of that experience was determined by criteria fundamentally intellectual though they were applied to the emotional life.2 Thus experience plays a key role in Bunyan's exposition of the covenants, but he always firmly defines the nature of what is to be experienced. Even Grace Abounding, a classic example of the psychological turmoil of a man struggling to determine whether he was a party to the covenant of grace, conforms to the general pattern of experience established as correct by earlier covenant writers. Ultimately, then, the seeker of assurance is faced with a series of experiences which he must personally undergo if he desires even nominal assurance of participation in the covenant of grace. Within the broad Puritan tradition there was generally nothing like experiential freedom on account of the precise and rigid accounts of spiritual experience given in authoritative expositions of the covenants.
The antecedents of covenant theology have been traced.3 The pg xxivview of the covenant that stresses its reciprocal element and the responsibility incumbent on man as the result of the essentially legalistic vows taken in baptism can be traced back to William Tyndale and the Swiss Reformers Ulrich Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger. The sacraments are important for their interpretation of the covenants. The sacraments are signs and seals of the covenant of grace, but are also ceremonies in which vows to God are undertaken. The condition of the covenant on man's part is to worship and obey God; failure to fulfil this condition means the failure to receive God's blessing. In the words of Tyndale, 'God bindeth himself to fulfil that mercy unto thee only if thou wilt endeavour thyself to keep his laws …'1 This interpretation of the covenant can be traced through the writings of such Englishmen as John Bale, John Hooper, and the Separatist Robert Browne. In the seventeenth century the emphasis on a reciprocal covenant was continued by writers such as Richard Baxter, John Ball, Thomas Blake, Anthony Burgess, Samuel Rutherford, and Stephen Geree.
The view of the covenant emphasizing its promissory nature can be traced back to John Calvin. Certainly Calvin did not deny man's responsibility in the covenant with God, but the emphasis was placed on the belief that 'the covenant is at the outset drawn up as a free agreement, and perpetually remains such'.2 Calvin's marked concern with divine sovereignty is manifested in his treatment of the covenant of grace as fundamentally a unilateral promise from God, with the contractual element subordinated but not obliterated. From the publication of the Genevan translation of the Bible in 1560, Calvin's concept of an essentially promissory covenant became increasingly popular in Calvinist circles in England. His influence can be seen in the writings of John Robinson, William Perkins, and numerous contemporaries of Bunyan, including John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, Samuel Petto, John Tombes, and Archbishop James Ussher. Those who carried this tradition to its ex-pg xxvtreme became Antinomians. They included John Saltmarsh, Tobias Crisp, Vavasor Powell, and Walter Cradock.
The covenant tradition to which numerous contemporaries of Bunyan adhered provides a convenient means of classifying them. Those who adhered to the reciprocal-covenant emphases of Zwingli and Tyndale may be designated 'moderate Calvinists', whereas those who followed Calvin in his emphasis on a promissory covenant may be designated 'strict Calvinists'. Those who pushed beyond the strict Calvinists were Antinomians, and those who emphasized human responsibility to the extent of accepting man's free will were, of course, Arminians. In Law and Grace Bunyan demonstrates his basic adherence to the strict Calvinist tradition, though on occasion he evinces Antinomian influence. The moderate Calvinist, Richard Baxter, in fact attacked Bunyan's treatise in 1690 as Antinomian and a book which 'ignorantly subverted the Gospel of Christ'.1
Key areas of debate for these groups were the nature of the covenants of works and grace, and the place of law in the latter. With respect to the covenant of works Bunyan was firmly a strict Calvinist. Unlike the moderate Calvinists and Arminians, Bunyan did not believe the covenant of works was that established initially by God. The first covenant entered into was the covenant between the Father and the Son, which was a covenant of grace. Nevertheless the first covenant manifested to man was the covenant of works, the chief task of which was to make man aware of his need for the covenant of grace. The covenant of works was initially made with Adam, stipulating that he render perfect obedience to the Law of God. Adam's sin violated that ordinance and, according to Bunyan, corrupted all mankind. Man became depraved and unable to fulfil any of the divine commands. The covenant of works as a means of attaining eternal life was for ever lost to all men. Man—specifically the elect—could be saved from damnation only through the covenant of grace.
For Bunyan the covenant of grace was God's gracious promise of the forgiveness of sins. With Antinomians and strict Calvinists pg xxviBunyan conceived of this covenant as first formed between the Father and the Son. It was thus so firmly established that nothing could shake it. It was entered into before the creation of man, and was the groundwork upon which the eternal salvation of the elect perpetually rested. As developed in Law and Grace, the covenant between the Father and the Son is used by Bunyan to assure struggling Christians of the permanence of their faith and the unquestionable reality of their ultimate salvation. Because the parties to the original contract were divine, and because the implications of that contract for man were promissory in nature, nothing could be more certain than the ultimate triumph of all the elect.
The certainty of salvation in a covenant context is indicated by Bunyan in yet another way. In this treatise he informed his readers that it was God who brought sinners into the covenant of grace. Subsequently, in The Pilgrim's Progress, he made the same point in dramatic imagery when he had Good-Will (divine grace) open the wicket gate for Christian.1 Scrutiny of this scene reveals that Christian had first to ask Good-Will whether he could gain admittance, but this squares with Bunyan's exhortations in Law and Grace to the sinner to seek faith from God. The main point is incontrovertible: just as Good-Will was the only one who could open the gate, so God alone could bring the sinner into the covenant of grace. Bunyan subsequently made this explicit in the commentary on the first part of Genesis (which remained unpublished during his lifetime):
We read not here [Gen. ix. 15, where the covenant is manifested to Noah] of any Compact or Agreement between Noah and God Almighty; wherefore such Conditions and Compacts could not be the Terms between him and us; What then? why that Covenant that he calls his, which is his gift to us, I will give thee for a Covenant; this is the Covenant which is between God and us: There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus.2
The elect covenant with God only as their mediator has covenanted for them. The conditions required by the Father are not conditions pg xxviifulfilled by man but by the Son. In Law and Grace, therefore, the reader discovers that Bunyan is primarily occupied with the Son's fulfilment of the Father's covenant conditions rather than with man's responsibilities. Even with respect to the faith required of man, that faith is a gift of God implanted in the elect by the Holy Spirit. One is reminded that in The Holy War Captain Credence (faith) is not a resident of Mansoul (the elect individual) but one of Emanuel's officers. Bunyan would not agree that man had the natural capacity to believe effectually, and so fulfil a covenant condition by himself. Neither would he accept the thesis that divine grace was given to all men to enable them to believe if they so decided. All must be done by the Son for the elect. This does, of course, assure the acceptability of the covenant conditions fulfilled for the elect by Christ.
Bunyan's analysis of the covenant of grace does not make much of the contractual relationship between God and man. The conditions are fulfilled for man by the Son; the agreement is essentially completed. Bunyan's interpretation, unlike that of the moderate Calvinists, did not provide ample opportunity to develop a set of obligations to be fulfilled by man, even when aided by grace. The gulf between Bunyan's position and that of the Arminians was sharply delineated. The noted Arminian Independent John Goodwin repeatedly stresses that the 'proper and immediate end' of the covenant of grace is 'to give Assurance unto… Men, that upon their Faith and Repentance, and their Perseverance in both unto the end, they shall have Salvation and Eternal Life conferred upon them'. The element of human responsibility is also underscored by the moderate Calvinist Stephen Geree: Man 'must doe something, he must give his consent, and agree to the Articles, before the Covenant can actually be made'.1 For Bunyan, however, the sovereignty of God in salvation had to be preserved without hint of compromise. But why, then, speak in terms of a covenant relationship at all? The Antinomian preacher John Saltmarsh asked himself this question and concluded that 'it were good, that we did not rest pg xxviiitoo much in the notion of a Covenant…' The covenant, Saltmarsh believed, was only an allusion; the promise was fact.1 Bunyan, however, retained the covenant concept not only because it had Biblical precedent, but also because his emphasis was on the contractual relationship between the Father and the Son, which (as he described it) had all the basic characteristics of a legal covenant.
Bunyan's position on baptism by water, briefly stated in this treatise, was particularly conducive to his exposition of covenant thought. For Calvinists, especially of the strict variety, the covenant of grace was made with the elect only. For those who believed that water baptism was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, a disturbing enigma occurred when baptized persons strayed from a profession of Christianity. One solution to the problem (advocated by Baptists) was to baptize only adults who had firmly confessed adherence to Christian beliefs. Even these people could, however, stray from the church. Alternatively, one could distinguish between those really in the covenant of grace and those only apparently in the covenant. In this case baptism was sometimes only an apparent sign or seal. Bunyan, however, did not require baptism by water for church membership. Consequently he was not faced with the problem of baptism as a sign or seal of the covenant of grace. The only essential baptism for Bunyan, as he suggests in this treatise, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
To be baptized with the Holy Spirit was to be brought into the covenant of grace. Once in the covenant of grace there was no way for that covenant to be broken and the individual eternally damned. The reason was simple. Fulfilment of the conditions had been undertaken by the Son for the elect. Nothing man could do could alter what the Son had already accomplished. Whether he obeyed God or whether he sinned had no effect on the permanence of the covenant. Once Good-Will had opened the wicket gate, eternal destiny with God was assured. Those, however, who had clambered over the wall rather than passed through the gate had no such assurance and security. Bunyan never simplistically identified church membership or the profession of Christianity with involvement in the covenant of grace.
pg xxixThe recurring theme of Law and Grace is that those party to the covenant of grace are no longer subject to the consequences decreed for violation of the covenant of works (the Mosaic Law). The theme is distinctly Pauline (Rom. vi. 14), though the Apostle had not cast his discussion of law and grace in covenant terms. Paul had not intended his doctrine to be construed as an invitation to licentiousness. Apart from a few extremists, seventeenth-century writers agreed that freedom under grace had limitations. The difficulty arose in attempting to give concrete expression to those limitations. In The Holy War Bunyan portrayed Emanuel granting Mansoul 'the holy Law, and my Testament, with all that therein is contained, for their everlasting comfort and consolation'.1 This law provided the elect with limitations on their freedom as parties to the covenant of grace. The covenant had, in other words, a legal aspect. This did not mean that the believer was bound to obey the Mosaic Law or face damnation. It meant instead that there existed a 'Law of Grace', and that the saint was 'not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ'.2 This was Pauline teaching (1 Cor. ix. 21), and was commonly accepted. Even the Antinomian Walter Cradock admitted that 'Christ hath lift up a standard & expects that every one should submit to his blessed Law.'3
Difficulty arose, however, in trying to determine the precise nature of the law of grace. For Bunyan the essence of the law was expressed by Jesus (Mark xii. 29–31) in his commands to love God and one's neighbour as oneself. This was the essence of the Ten Commandments, the heart of the Mosaic Law. Saints were not exempt from the Mosaic Law in this sense, but they were exempt from the 'ministration' of the Mosaic Law as given in the Old Testament. Moderate Calvinists rejected such a distinction, contending that the Mosaic prescriptions were still in force for believers. Anthony Burgess accuses those making a distinction such as Bunyan's of being Antinomians,4 but Bunyan stops short of pg xxxAntinomianism (cf. below, p. 174). The difference between the strict Calvinist and the Antinomian on the place of the Law in the believer's life was largely one of emphasis. John Saltmarsh states the Antinomian case:
Though the Law be a beam of Christ in substance and matter, yet we are not to live by the light of one beam now when the Sun of righteousnesse is risen himself… . What need we light up a Candle for the children of the day to see by?… Nor doth it become the glory of Christ revealed, to be beholding to any of the light upon Moses face.1
Bunyan, on the other hand, carefully sought to impress his readers that the Mosaic Law or Ten Commandments was a guide for saints, a rule for the Christian life. A holy life was a life lived in accordance with the precepts of the Law. The Law was viewed appropriately when it informed the believer of his transgressions, but not when it pronounced judgement on him. The Law could serve as guide, but not saviour or judge.
Bunyan was closest to the Antinomians when he sought to interpret Romans viii. 2, which contrasts the law of the Spirit with the law of sin and death. In this sense Bunyan referred to the law of grace as a new law—a phrase popular with the Antinomians. He believed this new law was 'written and preserv'd' in 'the Heart spiritual', a statement not too far removed from Saltmarsh's Antinomian assertion that the Holy Spirit makes the believer 'the very Law of Commandments in himself, and his heart the very two Tables of Moses …'2 Such views prompted Richard Baxter to warn his readers about those sectaries who asserted that 'the first Covenant is Moral as a Law, and the second Covenant is the very in-being of a Divine Nature …'3 Bunyan, however, shied from Antinomian subjectivity, associating the new law of grace with the essence of the old law. 'The whole Law, as to the morality of it, is delivered into the hand of Christ, who imposes it now … as a Rule of life to those that have believed in him …'4 Those party pg xxxito the covenant of grace therefore had a stringent set of ethical standards to strive for, but continuation in the covenant was not based on attaining the full standard of obedience prescribed by Christ.
According to his exposition of the covenants, with the corollary doctrines of divine sovereignty, predestination, and salvation, Bunyan should logically have contented himself with caring for the spiritual needs of professed believers or simply stating God's ways to man to those outside the church. Yet repeatedly in Law and Grace and elsewhere he encourages his readers to take action themselves. They cannot open the wicket gate; they cannot fulfil a covenant condition without effectual grace, which few men were given; all covenant conditions are in the hands of the Son, not men. But Bunyan in a sense advocates his own practical 'doctrine' of preparation.1 Those who would be clean in God's sight are pg xxxiiencouraged to discover their spiritual filth by reading the Bible, especially the Mosaic Law. They are told to reckon themselves the greatest sinners in the world. They must let feelings of guilt seize on their hearts. Then they must approach Christ and 'plunge thy self into his Merits, and the vertue of his Blood …' Bunyan assumes that the sinner, in spite of his depraved state, is able to 'flye in all haste to Jesus Christ…'1 Curiously, man can do nothing to save himself, but apparently he cannot be saved unless he makes the trek from the City of Destruction to the wicket gate as the preparation for his salvation. The grace of God is like a flowing river, and the would-be saint must do his utmost to place himself in the river's path.
(iv) Law and Grace, Grace Abounding, and The Pilgrim's Progress
The strongly personal character of Bunyan's early writing is revealed in the amount of autobiographical material which he included in Law and Grace, and which is consummated in Grace Abounding. The parallels extend from accounts of his schooling to the nature of his religious experience and indications of personal preferences. In Law and Grace, Bunyan reports that he was raised at his father's house and was never educated in the writings of Plato and Aristotle (p. 16). This account is somewhat modified in his spiritual autobiography, where he indicates that his parents sought pg xxxiiito put him to school despite their humble background (§ 3). In both works he portrays himself in youth as one who was a thoroughgoing sinner and much inclined to the company of evil companions (p. 157 and §§ 11, 43). The young Bunyan was given to swearing (p. 156 and § 26) and a love of sin (p. 157 and § 23). Both works likewise reveal some of his preferences: for games (p. 157 and § 21), for dancing (p. 157 and § 35), and for music (pp. 70, 124 and § 298).
Law and Grace contains a variety of references to Bunyan's conversion experience that were subsequently amplified in Grace Abounding. Both works record the Sabbath incident when a heavenly voice interrupted his game of cat (p. 157 and § 22). In Law and Grace Bunyan testifies to the fruitlessness of trying to find religious peace by obeying the law (p. 55); his efforts are explained more fully in his autobiography (§§ 28–36). His initial turning to religion is recorded in Law and Grace (pp. 157–8) and amplified in Grace Abounding (§ 30). The Ranters are warned of their erroneous beliefs in Law and Grace (pp. 209–10), but in his autobiography Bunyan reveals that he himself was almost enticed by those beliefs in his search for inner peace (§§ 44–5). The pressing question of assurance of election is noted in both works (pp. 214–15 and § 59). Virtually Arminian in its implications is Bunyan's continuing concern with the 'day of grace'—the period during which God's grace was extended to an individual (pp. 211–13 and § 66). Firmer footing was established through his psycho-visual perception of Christ and his work for man, which was verified for Bunyan through Biblical testimony (p. 158 and § 120). Then came the traumatic experience associated with the dread of the unpardonable sin (p. 201 and §§ 148 ff). The subsequent conviction of the nature of the believer's righteousness, which Bunyan believed was inspired, is recorded in both works (p. 147 and §§ 229–30). His bout of consumption and the accompanying spiritual crisis is also recorded in both works (pp. 147–8 and §§ 255–9). Above all, the intensive nature of Bunyan's conversion experience is revealed in Law and Grace as well as in Grace Abounding (cf., e.g., p. 159 and § 276). Finally, Bunyan's interest in recording his religious experience is revealed in Law and Grace before it finds an outlet in his spiritual pg xxxivautobiography (p. 156; cf. § 92). Law and Grace is consequently important not only for Bunyan's thought but also for his biography.
Law and Grace is also essential for a fuller understanding of The Pilgrim's Progress for which it provides a theological foundation. Moreover Law and Grace anticipates The Pilgrim's Progress in certain respects: the occasional use of typology (e.g. pp. 91, 93, 94, 97) foreshadows its more extensive use in the allegory just as the questions and answers in Law and Grace anticipate the use of dialogue in The Pilgrim's Progress. The autobiographical element is also present in both works. Of greatest significance, however, is the parallel structure of the believer's experience as it is portrayed in the two works.
At the outset of The Pilgrim's Progress, Christian is depicted as a man clothed in rags with a great burden on his back. He is a man, according to Law and Grace, who is living under the covenant of works. Although the treatise devotes much space to depicting the condition of man under this covenant, Bunyan spends little time in the allegory moving Christian from the covenant of works to the covenant of grace. Throughout the pilgrimage, however, he has Christian confront characters who often manifest attitudes characteristic of those living under the covenant of works. The states of mind of Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, Atheist, and Talkative, for example, are signs of reprobation. It matters not whether they are, as Bunyan explains in Law and Grace, openly profane or more refined sinners (pp. 52 ff.). Equally damned is the man who seeks to avoid sin by adhering to the precepts of the law. Bunyan portrays him as Mr. Legality of the village of Morality. Christian, attracted to this possibility before he entered the wicket gate, was prevented from reaching the village by his fear of the overhanging hill—Mount Sinai, the law. If Christian had arrived at Mr. Legality's house and taken up residence in Morality, he would still have remained under the covenant of works and been subject to damnation. Bunyan emphasizes this point in Law and Grace (e.g. pp. 54 ff.). Ignorance of this fact, he warns, will be no excuse.
Christian is saved from damnation only because he is brought by Good-Will (divine grace) into the new covenant, the covenant of grace. But the manner of entrance in The Pilgrim's Progress is more pg xxxvin keeping with Bunyan's experience as recorded in Grace Abounding than it is with Bunyan's theology as it is set forth in Law and Grace. According to the latter, the covenant of grace was made between God the Father and his Son, and all the elect were part of the covenant before creation (pp. 88 ff). In this sense entering the wicket gate was merely a recognition of a fait accompli, though it was a requirement for all pilgrims. Those entering via other routes, such as Formalist and Hypocrisy, were reprobates. Once in the gate, however, Bunyan requires Christian to plod yet further until he arrives at the cross, where he is relieved of his burden (sin) and receives new clothing (the righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner, p. 86). Theologically the delay between entering the gate and the activities at the cross is intolerable, but it is experientially verifiable for Bunyan (cf. p. 157) and various fellow Calvinists. The early stages of the pilgrimage do not bring unrelieved assurance. Even after the burden was removed from Christian's back there were spiritual crises. The Hill Difficulty had to be climbed; Mistrust and Timorous had to be encountered; Doubting Castle had to be endured. Perhaps with unconscious insight Bunyan was revealing to his readers that the pilgrim bad to doubt and undergo temptation; these were the signs of election, and thus in a sense marks of assurance. Such was one of the prime paradoxes of the Puritan tradition. (The intensity of the experience, however, could and did vary. This is a primary theme of the story of Christiana and Great-heart in the second part of The Pilgrim's Progress.)
For Christian the key to the successful overcoming of these trials was the promises. The importance attributed to them in The Pilgrim's Progress is a reflection of the role allotted them in Law and Grace in accordance with the nature of the new covenant. Because the conditions of that covenant were fulfilled for the elect by Christ, the covenant blessings come to the elect as promises (pp. 128–9, 153–4). Christian's trials are doubtful in outcome only as long as he neglects to rely on the promises. Their usefulness for the elect is manifested even before Christian passes through the wicket gate. It is the promises that provide the exit from the Slough of Despond, underscoring Bunyan's pg xxxviconviction that the covenant of grace is first and foremost a contract between the Father and the Son. Christian is a beneficiary of covenant promises even before he has individually covenanted with God.
After recollecting certain phases of his conversion experience (pp. 143–6), Bunyan anticipates Christian's visit to the Interpreter's House by referring to the enlightened understanding bestowed on the elect following their justification by imputed righteousness (pp. 147–8). Justification and enlightenment do not mean peace but the furious onslaught of the forces of evil. The onslaught comes from within as well as from without (pp. 150–1), just as it does in The Pilgrim's Progress. Apollyon, Vanity Fair, and Giant Despair await Christian. The Calvinist knows, though he sometimes forgets, that perseverance is assured to those in the new covenant (pp. 192–200). Thus Christian is shown that no amount of water can quench the fire in the believer as long as it is fuelled with the oil of divine grace. Hopeful was more mindful of this than Christian when the two were imprisoned in the Doubting Castle of Giant Despair. Bunyan was in that Castle more than once in his religious experience, as he relates in Law and Grace (pp. 158–60). As always, release came by recollection of the promises. There was an apparently easier way, as Christian discovered on Mount Caution. The rough road of the pilgrim could be avoided, but only at the cost of passing through the stile into the meadow that led back to Doubting Castle, and ultimately to a blind wandering among tombstones.
Perseverance did not rule out the possibility of slipping back into sin during the pilgrimage (p. 166). One such sin was becoming too assured of election. Christian, with Hopeful following, was victimized in this manner by Mr. Vain-confidence. But the covenant could not be broken, and Christian and Hopeful were preserved, though not without suffering the suitable tribulation of despair (pp. 166–7). Meditating on the problem of despair in Law and Grace, Bunyan anticipated the figure of Little-faith when he explained to his readers that the ups and downs of the pilgrimage were due primarily to the failure of the pilgrim to realize that the continuity of the covenant was not dependent on his performance pg xxxvii(p. 167). Thus Bunyan used the covenant notion as an exhortation to assurance rather than an admonition to perform reciprocal conditions in order to keep the covenant in force.
One of the gravest doubts that could plague the pilgrim was the fear of committing the unpardonable sin. As Christian wandered in the valley of the shadow of death, a wicked creature suggested grievous blasphemies to him in such a manner that Christian believed they were his own. Quite possibly Bunyan was recalling his own fears that he had committed the unpardonable sin (G.A., § 148). That fear is dealt with extensively in Law and Grace (pp. 201–10). The space accorded to it reflects the impact which it had on Bunyan's religious experience. But by 1678 the memory had waned, and the unpardonable sin was not accorded a major role in The Pilgrim's Progress.
The figure of Ignorance, which dominates the closing pages of the first part of The Pilgrim's Progress, is paralleled in a major dialogue towards the end of Law and Grace. In both cases Bunyan is dealing with those who are not averse to religion—indeed they have a modest knowledge of Christian doctrine (as does Talkative); yet they persist in being blind to the only acceptable path to salvation. For this they must be eternally damned, even if they persist in their belief throughout their lives and remain religious if not Christian (pp. 172–6). What a man does is basically inconsequential; what matters is the spirit in which he acts and believes (pp. 179 ff.).
Finally, it is worth noting that the role accorded to the church is more pronounced in The Pilgrim's Progress than in Law and Grace. Christian enters the House Beautiful, but not until he has passed through the wicket gate and received new clothing at the cross. The House Beautiful has no soteriological significance, though it clearly reflects Bunyan's experience with the Bedford congregation. In Law and Grace Bunyan states that he is not opposed to churches governed in accordance with Gospel principles (e.g. p. 183), but unlike most covenant theologians he persistently refuses to associate the covenant of grace with either the church or the sacraments. In both works the church and sacraments are clearly incidental to the primary thrust of the believer's experience.
pg xxxviiiB. I WILL PRAY WITH THE SPIRIT
(i) Bunyan's First Imprisonment
The year 1659 was an eventful year in Bunyan's life. Early in 1659, he married Elizabeth, about whom virtually nothing is known before her marriage to Bunyan. Throughout the year he continued preaching and disputing, undoubtedly aware of the dangers involved. Two years earlier he had been indicted for preaching at Eaton Socon, though the case was dropped. Despite the freedom of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, a conservative reaction was setting in.
In 1659 Bunyan was also involved in a controversy with the Quakers on the matter of witchcraft. A Margaret Pryor, who occasionally attended Quaker meetings, claimed to have been temporarily turned into a mare by a Quaker 'witch' known as Widow Morlin. Bunyan believed the alleged victim and wrote a pamphlet or broadside attacking the Quakers for practising witchcraft. Bunyan's pamphlet has been lost, but the original charges are contained in The Strange & Terrible Newes from Cambridge Being a True Relation of the Quakers Bewitching of Mary Philips [i.e. Margaret Pryor] (1659). Bunyan's pamphlet was attacked by a Quaker alderman from Cambridge, James Blackley, in A Lying Wonder Discovered. and the Strange and Terrible Newes from Cambridge Proved False (1659).1
On Christmas day 1659 Bunyan was invited to preach at Yelden, Bedfordshire, by the rector of the parish church, William Dell, who was also Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.2 pg xxxixEarlier in the year, however, Bunyan had not fared as well with another Cambridge man, Thomas Smith, Professor of Arabic and University Librarian.1 In May Bunyan had been preaching in Daniel Angier's barn at Toft, Cambridgeshire, when Smith challenged his right to preach.2 The challenge was subsequently reiterated in print in Smith's The Quaker Disarm'd (1659). Bunyan defended himself by claiming that he had been called by the church at Bedford. He was also defended in print by the influential General Baptist, Henry Denne, noted for his evangelistic activities in the eastern counties.3 Denne taunted Smith about Bunyan's ability to mend souls as well as pots and pans in The Quaker No Papist (1659).
Presumably Bunyan continued with similar preaching and debating the following year; it is very likely that the time consumed by his preaching prevented him from becoming a deacon in the Bedford church. Of the greatest moment for Bunyan in 1660 was the Restoration of Charles II and the consequences that followed. The Bedford congregation sensed trouble and set apart days of prayer even before Charles was restored. Although aware of the dangers of continuing to preach Bunyan accepted an invitation from some of his friends to preach at Lower Samsell, Bedfordshire, on 12 November 1660. Before the service he learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, under an Elizabethan statute for nonconformity (35 Eliz. c. 1), but he refused to flee, convinced that his cause was good. He was seized and taken before a local magistrate, Francis Wingate, who had signed the warrant. Bunyan refused to pg xlgive an assurance that he would not preach again and was committed to the county gaol in Bedford. He was sentenced at the quarter-sessions in January 1661 by Sir John Kelynge (Keeling), who is probably the prototype for Lord Hategood in The Pilgrim's Progress.1
After three months Bunyan was visited by the Clerk of the Peace, John Cobb, who tried in vain to persuade him to give up his preaching. He was unaffected by the amnesty promised in connection with Charles's coronation in April 1661. The pleadings of his wife at the Midsummer Assizes in August were likewise of no avail. Yet until April 1662 Bunyan had considerable freedom for a prisoner. He advised troubled believers from the surrounding area who visited him in prison. He even travelled to London to consult the Baptists there. In September 1661 he and three fellow believers were sent by the Bedford church to visit lapsed members. There was also an opportunity to preach as well as to read and write in prison. In addition to the Bible, his primary reading during his early imprisonment was John Foxe's Actes and Monuments,2 which he had cited twice in his tract on prayer. Probably his first writing in prison was his Profitable Meditations (1661), a collection of verses. At about the same time he wrote the pastoral letters in which he gave an account of his imprisonment; they were first published in 1765, as A Relation of the Imprisonment of Mr. John Bunyan.
(ii) Contents of the Tract
I Will Pray with the Spirit was written between these works and Christian Behaviour (1663). There is no surviving copy of the first edition, but the second edition is dated 1663. Some writers follow Charles Doe's dating of the work in 1663,3 but it was probably written before 1663. Early in 1662 Bunyan wrote:
I had, by my Jailor, some liberty granted me, more than at the first, and … I followed my wonted course of preaching, taking all pg xlioccasions that was put into my hand to visit the people of God, exhorting them to be stedfast in the faith of Jesus Christ, and to take heed that they touched not the Common Prayer, &c. but to mind the word of God, which giveth direction to Christians in every point…1
This preaching led to the writing of I Will Pray with the Spirit, which is an expanded version of a sermon.2 Since the preaching was done before April 1662, it is probable that the writing took place at that time or later in 1662 when Bunyan had greater leisure. The issue of extempore prayer was crucial with Bunyan in this period.3 In one sense the tract can be read as a justification of the position he maintained before Sir John Kelynge, a staunch advocate of the Book of Common Prayer. He informed Kelynge that 'those prayers in the Common Prayerbook, was such as was made by other men, and not by the motions of the Holy Ghost, within our Hearts; and as I said the Apostle saith, he will pray with the spirit and with understanding; not with the spirit and the Common Prayerbook.'4 The issue was most burning for Bunyan in 1661 and 1662; by 1663 Bunyan's attention shifted to matters of family relations and ethical concerns, probably reflecting the questions that had been posed to him as a spiritual counsellor.
At the outset of Bunyan's examination by Kelynge and his fellow justices, Bunyan asserted that Christians are not commanded to pray according to the forms of the Book of Common Prayer. Instead they are to pray with the Spirit and the understanding, as Paul indicated in 1 Corinthians xiv. 15, which Bunyan made the basic text for I Will Pray with the Spirit. The principles pg xliiasserted by Bunyan in the ensuing argument with Kelynge are developed in the tract on prayer, which provides a commentary on his defence. His key principle was that he could do nothing in religion that was not required by Scripture, a manifestation of the insistence of those in the Puritan tradition on sola scriptura as the criterion for worship.1 The Book of Common Prayer could not be used 'because it was not commanded in the word of God, and therefore I could not do it'.2
There had been considerable dissatisfaction with the Book of Common Prayer from the second half of the sixteenth century on. The Puritans, for example, had criticized the prayers both for their type and for their content. Yet conservative Puritans acknowledged the value and legitimacy of set forms of prayers, whereas more liberal Puritans ('proto-Independents') and Separatists favoured extempore prayer. Dispute over read versus extempore prayers continued throughout the Civil War, Commonwealth, and Protectorate, with the Presbyterians maintaining a strong preference for read prayers. Richard Baxter is representative of moderates who valued both liturgical and extempore prayer. Bunyan was more extreme, expressing a position on extempore prayer akin to that of such sectarian contemporaries as John Saltmarsh and William Erbury. Bunyan even took pains in his tract on prayer to warn of the dangers of reciting the Lord's prayer without the Spirit and enlightened understanding, a principle earlier advanced by the Barrowists and the Brownists. The tract, therefore, reflects the virtual culmination of the trend away from liturgical prayer toward reliance on the inner working of the Spirit alone. Bunyan stopped short, however, of stressing the silent waiting upon the Spirit characteristic of the Seekers and the Quakers.3
In place of set forms of prayer Bunyan developed the idea of prayer as 'a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the pg xliiiholy Spirit…' The emphasis was on the free working of the Spirit in the believer, who is admonished to submit to the will of God. It reflects an increased attention devoted to the Holy Spirit by seventeenth-century Puritans. Bunyan did not believe that the Spirit could work effectually if it was impeded by set forms of prayer. He buttressed his opposition to the Book of Common Prayer with the reminder that its lineage could be traced in part to the Catholic tradition. Moreover, he likened those who persecuted him for his failure to conform to the practices of the Church of England to Bishop Edmund Bonner and the Catholic persecutors of heretics in Marian England. In view of Bunyan's strong interest in the martyrology of John Foxe, this work may well have been the source of Bunyan's reference to the persecuting Bishop and 'his murdering office'.1
Placing himself squarely in the tradition of the persecuted is only one example of the way in which Bunyan used his personal experience to support and illustrate his exposition of prayer. On several occasions he writes of 'my own Experience' concerning prayer. The inner spiritual struggles he was later to describe in Grace Abounding are hinted at here. On the basis of his experience he tells his readers that genuine prayer is not external but 'experimental'. The understanding with which the believer is to pray does not come from education but from spiritual enlightenment. Bunyan castigates the doctors of divinity who, because of their theological training, presume to establish a human institution and require obedience to it. From his prison cell he pointedly notes that those who do not accept such human contrivances are branded as seditious and heretical. (The accusation of sedition was true; that of heresy was not.) Bunyan clinched his argument by urging his readers to 'look into the Goals in England, and into the Alehouses of the same: and I believe, you will find those that plead for the Spirit of Prayer in the Goal, and them that look after the Form of mens Inventions only, in the Alehouse'.
pg xlivDespite the occasional lapse into invective, the tract as a whole reflects the spirit of a man who speaks warmly in the 'of' mood, not the 'about' mood.1 His language is the language of faith, not the language of the academic. Essentially he describes what he has experienced, and urges others to have a similar experience: 'When I say, believingly, I mean, for the soul to believe, and that from good experience, that the work of Grace is wrought in him …' His quest for the experiential rather than the formal did lead him to a manifestation of hostility to the established clergy,2 but it also led him to a belief in religious toleration. The Spirit had to be free to work in men, and men were not to impose barriers to impede the Spirit's freedom. This is the essence of Bunyan's message in I Will Pray with the Spirit.
1 G. A., § 273 (pp. 84–5).
1 G. A., §§ 276–7 (pp. 85–6).
2 G. A., § 278 (p. 86).
3 See below, p. xxxix.
1 Edward Fowler, The Design of Christianity (1671), p. 84; and Bunyan, Defence, p. 29.
2 Light, sig. A4.
3 Below, pp. 16, 149.
4 G. A., § 15 (p. 8); see the accompanying note on p. 134.
1 See Greaves.
2 G. A., § 15 (p. 8).
3 G. A., §§ 129–30 (pp. 40–1).
4 P. P., p. 64.
5 A Commentarie of Master Doctor Martin Luther upon the Epistle … to the Galathians (1635), f. 30v.
1 G. A., § 77 (p. 25).
2 G. A., § 117 (p. 37).
3 The classic treatment of these principles is found in Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Visible Saints (Oxford, 1957).
4 Below, pp. 61–2, 74, 182–3.
5 Below, p. 35.
1 (17th ed., 1628), pp. 9, 8, 24, .
1 Solomon, sig. A8. For a discussion of Bunyan's reliance on other authors, primarily with respect to literary devices, see Tindall, pp. 190–209.
2 See Louis B. Wright, 'William Perkins: Elizabethan Apostle of "Practical Divinity"', Huntington Library Quarterly, iii (Jan. 1940), 171–96.
1 See C. J. Sommerville, 'Conversion Versus the Early Puritan Covenant of Grace', Journal of Presbyterian History, xliv (Sept. 1966), 178–97; and John von Rhor, 'Covenant and Assurance in Early English Puritanism, CH, xxxiv (June 1965), 195–203.
2 Ussher, A Body of Divinitie (1647), p. 158; Owen, Salus electorum, sanguis Jesu: or the Death of Death in the Death of Christ (1648), p. 103, cf. pp. 103 ff.
3 See, e. g., James F. Maclear, '"The Heart of New England Rent": The Mystical Element in Early Puritan History', Mississippi Valley Historical Review, xlii (Mar. 1956), 621–52; Norman Pettit, The Heart Prepared: Grace and Conversion in Puritan Spiritual Life (New Haven, 1966); and Geoffrey F. Nuttall, The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience (Oxford, 1946).
1 Pettit, The Heart Prepared, p. 11. Jerald C. Brauer observed that covenant theology was 'an ideal theological structure to bear the Puritan religiousness. It contained within it the possibility of stressing both the emotional and the rational, the subjective and the objective.' 'Reflections on the Nature of English Puritanism', CH, xxiii (June 1954), 104. The covenant was also used for political purposes by Puritan preachers. See John F. Wilson, Pulpit in Parliament (Princeton, N. J., 1969), Chap. VI.
2 See Robert Middlekauff, 'Piety and Intellect in Puritanism', William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., xxii (July 1965), 457–70.
3 L. J. Trinterud, 'The Origins of Puritanism,' CH, xx (Mar. 1951), 37–57; J. G. Møller, 'The Beginnings of Puritan Covenant Theology', JEH, xiv (Apr. 1963), 46–7; Greaves, 'The Origins and Early Development of English Covenant Thought', Historian, xxxi (Nov. 1968), 21–35; 'John Knox and the Covenant Tradition', JEH, xxiv (Jan. 1973), 23–32; and 'John Bunyan and Covenant Thought in the Seventeenth Century', CH, xxxvi (June 1967), 151–69. Perry Miller's works are still classics. Especially relevant are The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (New York, 1939) and various pieces in Errand into the Wilderness (Cambridge, Mass., 1956). For a recent discussion of Miller's theses, see Michael McGiffert, 'American Puritan Studies in the 1960's', William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. xxvii (Jan. 1970), 36–67.
1 Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions to Different Portions of the Holy Scriptures, ed. Henry Walter (Cambridge, 1848), p. 403.
2 Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNiell and trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia, 1960), III. xvii. 5.
1 Baxter, The Scripture Gospel Defended, and Christ, Grace and Free Justification Vindicated against the Libertines (1690), sig. A2.
1 P.P., p. 25.
2 1692 Folio, p. 67.
1 John Goodwin, Ἀπολύτρωσις ἀπολυτρώσεως or Redemption Redeemed (1651), p. 456; Geree, The Doctrine of the Antinomians by Evidence of Gods Truth Plainely Confuted (1644), p. 98.
1 Free-grace: Or, the Flowings of Christs Blood Freely to Sinners (1645), p. 153.
1 H. W., p. 214.
2 The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate (1688), p. 105; and 1692 Folio, p. 191.
3 Cradock, Gospel-Libertie, in the Extensions [and] Limitations of It (1648), p. 38; but cf. pp. 18 and 43. See Geoffrey F. Nuttall, The Welsh Saints 1640–1660 (Cardiff, 1957), p. 69.
4 Vindiciae Legis (2nd ed., 1647), p. 214.
1 Free-grace, pp. 146–7.
2 Bunyan, Questions about the … Seventh-day-sabbath (1685), p. 35; and Saltmarsh, Free-grace, p. 146.
3 Baxter, Catholick Theologie (1675), Book I, part I, chap, ccliv.
4 Questions about the … Seventh-day-sabbath, p. 38.
1 The basic study of the doctrine of preparation is Pettit's The Heart Prepared, especially Chaps. I and III. Bunyan did not develop his incipient concept of preparation into a regular doctrine, although it was so developed elsewhere, especially in New England. Nor did he conceive of it as did William Perkins, John Preston, Richard Sibbes, and William Ames (see below), who developed the idea of preparation in conjunction with man's responsibilities in the covenant of grace. That line of thought ultimately weakened Calvinism seriously: 'The federal theology circumscribed providence by tying it to the behavior of the saints; then with the extension of the field of behavior through the elaboration of the work of preparation, the destiny of New England was taken out of the hands of God and put squarely into the keeping of the citizens.' Bunyan's theology avoided such a development by its emphasis on the covenant of grace being between the Father and the Son. Cf. Perry Miller, '"Preparation for Salvation" in Seventeenth-Century New England', JHI, iv (June 1943), 286; cf. pp. 257–63.
William Perkins (1558–1602) studied under Lawrence Chaderton at Christ's College, Cambridge, and was appointed Lecturer at Great St. Andrew's. As Fellow of Christ's, his noted pupils included William Ames and John Robinson. He vacated his fellowship in 1594, and died in 1602. His principal works include De Praedestinationis modo et ordino (Cambridge, 1598), A Treatise of God's Free Grace and Man's Free will (Cambridge, 1602), and The Whole Treatise of the Cases of Conscience (Cambridge, 1606 and 1608).
William Ames (1576–1633) studied under Perkins at Christ's College, Cambridge. He was forbidden to preach at Colchester by the Bishop of London, and went to Leyden. There he engaged in doctrinal controversies. He attended the Synod of Dort. He was appointed to the chair of theology at Franeker, taking up duties in 1622. Four years later he became Rector of the University. Ill health caused his removal to Rotterdam, where he was to become pastor of an English congregation. He died shortly after his move. His major works include Medulla Theologia (an exposition of Calvinism published in Latin and subsequently in English) and De Conscientia (Amsterdam, 1631), a major work on casuistry.
John Preston (1587–1628) studied at King's College, Cambridge, and Queens, College, Cambridge. He was markedly moved by a sermon preached by John Cotton c. 1611, and thereafter studied divinity. He was appointed Dean and Catechist of Queens', and succeeded John Donne as preacher at Lincoln's Inn in 1622. The same year he was elected Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Two years later he was appointed Lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. Among his writings are The New Covenant (1629) and numerous sermons.
Richard Sibbes (1577–1635) was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was appointed a Fellow in 1601. He was deprived in 1615 of his fellowship and his position as Lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, because of his Puritan views. Two years later he became preacher at Gray's Inn. In 1626 he was appointed Master of St. Catharine's Hall, Cambridge. From 1626 to 1633 he was also a Feoffee for Impropriations. His published works include numerous devotional pieces and sermons, many of them published posthumously and edited by such leading Puritans as Thomas Goodwin and Philip Nye.
1 In addition to Blackley's pamphlet and The Strange & Terrible Newes from Cambridge, see Tindall, Appendix; H. G. Tibbutt, 'John Bunyan and the Witch', Bedfordshire Magazine, ix (Winter 1963–4), 89–90. Bunyan's notorious reputation with the Quakers, due also in part to his earlier pamphlet controversy with Edward Burrough, is reflected in a letter from Alexander Parker to George Fox, the '4th day of the 3rd month 1659', in which the Bedford congregation is referred to as 'Bunian his society' and 'Bunyan's people'. Friends' House, Swarthmore MSS., iii. 144 (Transcripts, iii. 45). For Bunyan's relation to the Quakers, see T. L. Underwood's introduction to vol. i of The Miscellaneous Works of John Bunyan (forthcoming).
2 Dell (c. 1607–69), a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, became rector of Yelden in 1641, and later (c. 1644) a chaplain in the New Model Army. He was appointed Master of Gonville and Caius College in 1649, but, anticipating ejection, resigned in 1660. He was ejected from Yelden in 1662. His remaining years were marked by his acquisition of considerable land and an interest in lumber. See Eric C. Walker, William Dell: Master Puritan (Cambridge, 1970); Leo F. Solt, Saints in Arms: Puritanism and Democracy in Cromwell's Army (Stanford and London, 1959).
1 Thomas Smith, M.A., B.D., was also vicar of Caldecote, Cambs., and lecturer in rhetoric at Christ's College. See John Peile, Biographical Register of Christ's College, 1505–1905 (Cambridge, 1910), i. 468.
2 Bunyan's retorts were successful enough to provoke Smith to defend his position in A Letter to Mr E. Toft (1659). See Brown, pp. 114–17, and Tindall, pp. 48–9.
3 Henry Denne (d. 1660?) was educated at Cambridge, served as curate of Pirton, Herts., from 1630 to 1640, and joined the Baptists in 1643. He attacked paedobaptism from the pulpit and in the press, for which he suffered brief imprisonment. Subsequent opposition caused him to join the parliamentary army in 1646, though he resumed his controversial preaching after the war and served as a Messenger for the General Baptists.
1 For further information on Bunyan's imprisonment see Joyce Godber, 'The Imprisonments of John Bunyan', Trans. Cong. Hist. Soc. xvi (Apr. 1949), 23–32; W. T. Whitley, 'Bunyan's Imprisonments: A Legal Study', Trans. Bapt. Hist. Soc. vi (1918–19), 1–24.
2 The influence of Foxe's magnum opus is examined by William Haller, Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Elect Nation (New York, 1963).
3 e.g. Brown, p. 470; Harold E. B. Speight, The Life and Writings of John Bunyan (New York and London, 1928), p. 88.
1 A Relation of the Imprisonment of Mr. John Bunyan, in G.A., p. 129.
2 The structure of Bunyan's sermons, which is typical of those in the Puritan tradition, can be traced back in English literature to John Hooper. See, e.g., J. W. Blench, Preaching in England in the Late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (New York, 1964), pp. 94, 101–2. The normal form of the sermon consists of the reading and exposition of a Scriptural passage, the development of doctrines or lessons from the passage, and the addition of moral applications or 'uses'. See also Caroline Francis Richardson, English Preachers and Preaching, 1640–1670 (New York, 1928); and Horton Davies, Worship and Theology in England from Cranmer to Hooker, 1534–1603 (Princeton, N.J., 1970), pp. 304–8.
3 The importance of prayer in Elizabethan religious literature is analysed by Faye L. Kelly, Prayer in Sixteenth-Century England (Gainesville, Fla., 1966). Prayer continues to receive significant attention in the literature of the seventeenth century.
4 A Relation of the Imprisonment, in G.A., p. 114.
1 See Davies, Worship and Theology in England, 1534–1603, pp. 258–61.
3 The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, ed. George Townsend, vi (AMS reprint, New York, 1965), 704; cf. the numerous references to Bonner's persecuting activity throughout vol. vii.
1 See especially Horton Davies, The Worship of the English Puritans (1948), Chap. VIII; Geoffrey F. Nuttall, The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience (Oxford, 1946), pp. 65–72; also Davies, Worship and Theology in England, 1534–1603, pp. 261–73; Gordon Stevens Wakefield, Puritan Devotion: Its Place in the Development of Christian Piety (1957), pp. 68–70.
1 I am indebted to Professor Paul Holmer of the Yale University Divinity School for this phrasing.
2 On this subject see James Fulton Maclear, 'Popular Anticlericalism in the Puritan Revolution', JHI, xvii (Oct. 1956), 443–70.