Mini-Biography Part 1
To follow through with Hebrew 6:11-12 ("And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance c of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."), I wanted to share some stories of Christians who have been used by God in many ways. I hope that you will leave reading these blogs knowing that God can use you as well. This is part one in a four part series. Suggestions are appreciated.
This literary giant was born in 1628 in Bedford, England. Like the generation ahead of him, he followed suit and becamed trained in "tinkering" or metal works. At a young age, his mother and sister died a month apart from each other. This set the course of a life closely knit with suffering, a theme often apparent throughout his works.
When pondering his youth, Bunyan stated,
“I had few equals, especially considering my years . . . for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God. . . . Until I came to the state of marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.” Fresh out of the military, this ringleader married at a young age - his wife, a believer, stirred his thoughts of God through reading with him a few select Christian pieces. However, Bunyan rebelled for many years, including a time where he suddenly became interested in godliness, but to his own admission was only a "poorly painted hypocrite".
After providentially overhearing a group of women talk about Christ, through strong conviction he gave his life to Christ and was invited to sit under the preaching of John Gifford. He served the church faithfully as a layman and guest preacher for 17 years, but his preaching won the hearts of the people. "In the days of toleration, a day’s notice would get a crowd of 1,200 to hear him preach at 7 o’clock in the morning on a weekday." (Piper, The Hidden Smile of God)
Shortly after, a new England parliament that restricted the preaching of the Puritans sent him to jail. With the ability to leave any time if only he would be willing to refrain from preaching the Gospel, he stayed true to his convictions and gutted through twelve years of prison- something he would later call a blessing.
But his time in jail was surely not wasted. With no more than a poor man's education and a trade in metal works, he put his pen to use. While in confinement he wrote Pilgrim's Progress, one of his more famous of 60 works that are still in print today.
He later died ten days into a fever from riding horseback in treacherous weather with these last words on his lips, "Weep not for me, but for yourselves; I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, through the mediation of His Blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner, where I hope we ere long shall meet to sing the new song and remain everlastingly happy, world without end."
An excerpt from his A Plain and Profitable Discourse on John 6:37:
This coming to Christ, it is called a running to him, as flying to him; a flying to him from wrath to come. By all which terms is set forth the sense of the man that comes; to wit, That he is affected with the sense of his sin, and the death due thereto; that he is sensible that the avenger of blood pursues him, and that, therefore, he is thus off, if he makes not speed to the Son of God for life (Matt 3:7; Psa 143:9). Flying is the last work of a man in danger; all that are in danger do not fly; no, not all that see themselves in danger; flying is the last work of a man in danger; all that hear of danger will not fly. Men will consider if there be no other way of escape before they fly. Therefore, as I said, flying is the last thing. When all refuge fails, and a man is made to see that there is nothing left him but sin, death, and damnation, unless he flies to Christ for life; then he flies, and not till then.-G