pg 177Note on the Text
Only one edition, that of 1688, was published in Bunyan's lifetime, 'during the last year', as Offor says, 'of his eventful life'.
It was entered in the Stationers' Register by Nathaniel Ponder on 9 January 1687 (i.e. 1687/8): 'Entred … booke or coppie under the hand of Master Warden BREWSTER entituled Of the river of water of life, by John Bunyan of Bedford. Lycensed by ROB: MIDGLEY vj'.
The term Catalogues make no mention of its publication. It is noted in every list of Bunyan's works published by himself and friends, but not reprinted in the editions of Doe, Wilson, Chandler, or Whitfield.
In the following bibliographical descriptions, bold roman type represents gothic or black-letter type in the original.
THE FIRST EDITION, 1688
Title-page: [within double rules] THE " Water of Life: | OR, A | DISCOURSE | SHEWING | The Richness and Glory of the Grace | and Spirit of the Gospel, as set forth | in Scripture by this Term, The | Water of Life. | [rule] By JOHN BUNYAN. | [rule] And whosoever will, let him take the | Water of Life freely, Revel. 22. 17. | [rule] LONDON, | Printed for Nathanael Ponder, at the | Peacock in the Poultrey, 1688.
Collation: 8°; A4, B–I8, K2; pages [i–viii] + 116 + 16 = 140. The pagination is correct. $ 1–4 less A1, A3, A4,I4, K2.
Contents: A1a, tide-page; A1b, blank; A2a, [double rule] THE | EPISTLE | TO THE | READER. -A4b,…So prayes | thy Friend, | John Bunyan. | [rule]; B1a, [double rule] OF THE | River of Water | OF | LIFE. | [rule].-I2b, Text, Let this suffice for this time. | [rule] | FINIS | [rule] I3a, ADVERTISEMENT. | A Catalogue of Books Printed for, and Sold by Nath. | Ponder Stationer, at the Peacock in the Poultrey, | London. -K2b; [rule].
Running titles: Introduction: A2b–A4a, The Epistle | to the Reader. A4b, The Epistle, &c. Pages 2–116 The Water of Life. On pages 3, 19, 33, 49, the 'T' is from the wrong fount.
Catchwords: Correct, except for C7a/C7b deep] deep. On I7a, K1a, K1b, the catchword is preceded by an asterisk.
pg 178NOTES ON COPIES COLLATED
BL copy (e. 111. e. 11): pages 113 and 114 are blank.
BL copy (c. 58. a. 25): This is bound up with a 1685 edition of A Discourse Upon the Pharisee & the publican and a fourth edition of One Thing is Needful. This copy lacks pp. 81–4 and I3–K2. The pages have been badly sheared. It has a portait of 'John Bunyan Minister of the Gospel at Bedford Dyed at London August 31st 1688 Aged 60 having written 60 B. Printed for John Marshall & Sold by him at the Bible in Gracechurch Street.' It seems almost certainly part of this book, although the rebinding of the three tracts is so tight that it is impossible to find out exactly how it joins. It has worn identically with the rest of the book and been sheared identically.
Bunyan Meeting copies (BM 23/1 and BM 23/2). Copy 23/2 has Sturt's portrait. Copy BM 23/1 has no portrait. Otherwise they are identical, and exactly identical with the Bodleian copy.
Bodleian copy (1. C. 193). The text which follows is based on the Bodleian copy of the first edition.