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John Bunyan was born in 1628. In 1644 he was caught up in the Civil War and drafted into the Parliamentary army. Four years later he entered a period of intense spiritual struggle (chronicled in Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners), after which he emerged a new man. He joined a Nonconformist church and began to preach. Bunyan spent many years in prison because of his faith and during this time began writing The Pilgrim's Progress. The first part was published in 1678 and the second part, together with the whole work, was published in 1684. Bunyan died in 1688.
Author Image: John Bunyan - British Library, London, UK/ Bridgeman Art Library
Bunyan wrote the first part of "The Pilgrim's Progress" when he was in prison for conducting unauthorized Baptist religious services outside of the Church of England. It was published in 1678; the second part was published in 1684. In Bunyan's hands a pious tract is transformed into a work of imaginative literature whose influence, both indirectly on the English consciousness and directly on the literature that followed, has been immeasurable.The rich countryman's phrases that Bunyan borrowed or invented have become enshrined in the language, and many of the characters he created to people his imaginary world have won for themselves an independent and unforgettable existence.
Composed and published while John Bunyan (1628-1688) was in prison for his religious principles, "Grace Abounding" is an extraordinary spiritual autobiography. It was written in an age when religious radicalism was regarded as socially subversive, and is a haunting, often harrowing and ultimately inspiring account of his inner life: his long struggle with and eventual triumph over doubt and despair, his spiritual regeneration and his subsequent emergence as a preacher and writer of great imaginative power. God and Satan are the chief protagonists in Bunyan's drama, existing not as theological concepts but as terrifyingly immediate adversaries in the competition for his soul.Yet he finds his spiritual defences in the Bible, and "Grace Abounding" charts his passionate and imaginative involvement with this ultimate source of wisdom.
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